Hegel’s Sittlichkeit

  • Ulrich Steinvorth


Though Hegel historicizes morality, he finds a normative absolute in what he calls the absolute right of the world spirit, the spirit of the most advanced and most powerful society. As we can only retrospectively know which society incarnated the world spirit, his claim allowed politicians to believe their state did. Yet Hegel presented not only history as the unfolding of spirit, often in remarkable ways, but also society, assigning to the spheres of objective and absolute spirit sphere-immanent norms that oblige their agents to devote themselves unconditionally to the sphere-activities. Such devotion is authenticity, though Hegel didn’t use the word. Thus, as a sociologist, conflicting with his views as a historian, he implies that authenticity as the spirit common to sphere-devotion is an absolute norm.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Steinvorth
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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