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Post-Kantian Social and Political Philosophy: Hegel and Marx (PH356-15)

This module is not running in 2015-16.

Programme content

The module aims to provide an in-depth examination of and critical engagement with one of the most controversial works in the history of social and political philosophy, Hegel's Elements of the Philosophy of Right, and to show how this work provides the basis for Marx's critique of the modern state. Particular attention will be paid to the various types of freedom that Hegel introduces, and to his attempt to situate personality and moral subjectivity within a modern form of ethical life so as to reconcile modern individualism with a human being’s social nature. Other issues to be discussed include Hegel’s revolutionary conceptual distinction between civil society and the political state, which plays a key role in Marx's theory of the modern state as an alienated form of life.

Module Director:

David James

Sample reading list (PDF Document)

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2014/15 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
  • Marx's critique of liberalism
Timing and CATS

This module runs in the Spring Term and is worth 15 CATS.