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Post-Kantian Social and Political Philosophy: Hegel and Marx (PH9E6-20/30)

Programme content

The module aims to provide an in-depth examination of, and critical engagement with, Hegel's Elements of the Philosophy of Right, and to show how parts of this work form the basis of Marx's critique of the modern state. Particular attention will be paid to Hegel's attempt to situate personality and moral subjectivity together with their respective conceptions of freedom within his theory of a modern form of ethical life (Sittlichkeit), and to his conceptual separation of civil society from the political state, which plays a key role in Marx's theory of the modern state as an alienated form of life. In this way, a series of questions concerning the nature of modern society and the state will be raised, including the question as to the latter's sources of legtimacy in relation to its individual members.

Module Director:

David James

Sample reading list (PDF Document)

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2013/14 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • General introduction: The Preface to Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • The Introduction to Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right: right, will and freedom
  • Abstract right: personality and property
  • Morality
  • Ethical life and the family
  • Civil society
  • The State
  • Marx’s critique of Hegel’s theory of the state
  • External sovereignty and history
Timing and CATS

This module is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.