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Hegel’s ‘Libéralisme Interventionniste’ and the Legacy of Steuart and Smith

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The Scottish Enlightenment and Hegel’s Account of ‘Civil Society’

Abstract

In the present chapter, the influence of th0065 Scottish Enlightenment on Hegel is elucidated with regard to his views on what we would call the relation of state and society and what, following Hegel’s own terminology, might be described as the rôle of ‘the public authority’ (PhR, § 235) — as distinct from the state proper (§§ 257 ff) — vis-à-vis ‘civil society’. This issue is of great significance for the overall evaluation of Hegel’s political philosophy, as it leads right into the fierce battleground of universalist and individualist interpretations3 of Hegel’s system and -although this often implies that the disputed ‘liberalism’ of Hegel’s political philosophy is confused with the question of Hegel’s personal stand in politics4 — it is on this battleground that the views of most hostile readers and interpreters have been formed.5 In spite of this wide relevance, Hegel’s views on the conditions and scope, the precise fields and methods of governmental intervention have not yet received sufficient attention. The following attempt to clarify these issues will be trying to reconstruct Hegel’s position in greater detail and to throw light on it by frequent careful comparisons with Hegel’s foremost masters in matters of political economy: Sir James Steuart and Adam Smith.

The political organization of the ‘ethical community’ ... has to be responsive to the legitimate claims of ‘particularity’ and ‘subjectivity’, yet independent and strong enough to resist their excessive pressure and escape the danger of being dominated by them.2

This appropriate phrase has been coined by Paul Chamley (1963) p. 41.

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References

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  31. See below, chapter 6.

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  51. Franz Rosenzweig reached the same conclusion (1920) Vol. I, p. 152.

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  54. HGW, Vol. VIII, p. 272: “die öffentliche Sicherheit jeder Art.”

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  56. VRP, Vol. IV, p. 598: “At times, it has happened that all journeymen of a trade have refused to work because of discontent with their masters... The branch of needs which they have entered upon has to be satisfied; it is their duty to supply; the public has a right to their products and can enforce it.”

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  60. VRP, Vol. IV, p. 600; cp.: HGW, Vol. VIII, p. 244; VRP, Vol. III, p. 704 (L.v. Henning’s marginal notes).

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  61. HGW, Vol. VIII, p. 245; VRP, Vol. IV, p. 503.

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  62. TMK, § 248+, p. 278 - TWA, Vol. VII, p. 392; cp.: VRP, Vol. IV, p. 614.

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  63. SJS: Vol. I, pp. 188, 252–255; Vol. II, pp. 402–404, 696. To achieve this aim, Steuart advocated granaries as well as taxes and bounties to support this scheme: SJSW, Vol. V, pp. 332, 355–359.

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© 1988 Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht

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Waszek, N. (1988). Hegel’s ‘Libéralisme Interventionniste’ and the Legacy of Steuart and Smith. In: The Scottish Enlightenment and Hegel’s Account of ‘Civil Society’. Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas, vol 120. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-2750-6_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-2750-6_5

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