Contract and Crime
Hegel’s analysis of property, which was explained in the preceding chapter, is too abstract to provide an accurate picture of concrete ownership. All of the concepts, distinctions, and relations of Abstract Right, including those studied in this chapter, are too abstract to be taken as descriptions of concrete phenomena. While their social reality is the topic of Hegel’s chapter on civil society (§§ 182–256), even there they do not show their full potential, because this also includes political aspects, which can only be understood within the framework of the state (§§ 257 ff.). The reference of someone’s property to other persons who should respect it if they exist (i.e., its reference to the abstract concept or possibility of other persons) was anticipated in Hegel’s definition of property, but the interpersonal relations that develop from it were not yet made explicit. While the abstract structure of the social relation implied in ownership is analyzed in §§ 71–80 (on the Contract), the concrete realization of that structure is given in Hegel’s chapter on Civil Society (§§ 182 ff.). In this chapter, we will see how Hegel unfolds the abstract structure of the contractual relationship and its inability to defend itself against the negativity of crime.
KeywordsCivil Society Double Negation Contracting Parti Contractual Relationship Ethical Life
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