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Love and Politics

Re-interpreting Hegel

Alice Ormiston

Publication Year: 2004

Alice Ormiston’s Love and Politics argues that modern politics is rooted not merely in the pursuit of power, but that it is essentially underpinned by the experience of love. Hegel understood love as a principle that unites reason and emotion, and self and other, and that provides the foundation for a deep sense of connectedness to the world and for genuine acts of autonomy. Through an original and highly accessible interpretation of Hegel’s works, Ormiston shows how the modern commitment to individual rights and freedoms can only be adequately understood by reference to the experience of love that lies at the foundation of the modern subject and its political expression in acts of conscience. Hegel’s thought thus joins forces with feminist arguments for an embodied theory of the subject and for a focus on empathy in political reasoning, with republican concerns about democracy and civic education, and with postmodern concerns about the otherness of certain experiences and forms of knowledge. Ormiston’s book offers a developed concept of the subject that can serve as a foundation for resistance to problems of our time, including atomism and instrumental rationality, the ills of an unfettered capitalism, and the reality of a radical evil.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

The Historical “Failure” of Ethical Life: The Split between ...

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p. ix

This book grew out of a dissertation on Hegel I completed at the University of Toronto in 1998. To a great extent, that dissertation was shaped by the people I encountered there, with whom I shared friendship, discussion, and real political experiences—Edward Andrew, Michelle Baert, Darin Barney, Lianne Barras, Kathy Bullock, Sandra Clancy, Ann-Marie Czikowski, Abraham ...

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pp. 1-8

The age of modernity is the age of abstract freedom, the shaking free of the bonds of traditional community, of the natural ties of birth, and the stepping forth into the world as an individual equal in worth to all. It is this feature that is fundamentally determinative of the meaning of modernity, and it is with the implications of this feature that thinkers have sought to ...

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1. “The Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate”: Toward a Reconsideration of the Role of Love in Hegel

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pp. 9-27

Hegel's "Spirit of Christianity and Its Fate” (SC), written in 1798–99, constitutes his most extensive consideration of love and his attempt to work out why a community based on the immediate bond of love is not possible for modern individuals. Although Hegel himself never published it, because it involved the articulation of a problem for which he had not yet conceived a ...

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2. From Christianity to Conscience: The Role of Love in Hegel’s Phenomenology

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pp. 29-64

In the 1800 fragment, Hegel holds that reflective thought can never comprehend a unity such as love and that love can only find objectification in the religious symbol. By the time of his 1801 On the Difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s Systems of Philosophy, he is engaged with Schelling in an attempt to ...

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3. Philosophy of Right: The Final Reconciliation of Love and Reason

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pp. 65-93

The reconciliation of the two figures of conscience in Phenomenology of Spirit constitutes the recognition of a universal principle in the world, realized in and through the willing and judgment of individuals. For Hegel, this movement reflects the mode by which absolute principles are realized more generally. But it is only with the unfolding of ...

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4. The Historical “Failure” of Ethical Life: A View from within Hegel

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pp. 95-124

If Hegel's ethical life is meant to describe an arena of deeper moral edification and unity in the life of the modern, secular individual, an elaboration of the knowledge of love at the level of the political, in a manner that can be reconciled with reflective thought and individual freedom, then we must ask ...

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5. Hegel and the Dual Task of Today

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pp. 125-132

Hegel's explanation of the various limitations in the realization of ethical life as he had envisioned it is significant both in its critical and its constructive potential. Critically, the explanation clearly situates him as a participant in what, in the twentieth century, has come to be known as the “critique of instrumental rationality.” Hegel’s awareness of the dark ...


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pp. 133-145

Select Bibliography

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pp. 147-157


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pp. 159-164

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485194
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791460672
Print-ISBN-10: 0791460673

Page Count: 164
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies (discontinued)
Series Editor Byline: Quentin Lauer See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 62338578
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Love and Politics

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Subject Headings

  • Love.
  • Political science -- Philosophy.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831.
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