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Philosophy and the Historical Perspective$
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Marcel van Ackeren

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266298

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266298.001.0001

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Hegel on the Political Significance of Collective Self-Deceit

Hegel on the Political Significance of Collective Self-Deceit

(p.171) 11 Hegel on the Political Significance of Collective Self-Deceit
Philosophy and the Historical Perspective

Robert Pippin

, Marcel van Ackeren, Lee Klein
British Academy

In a famous passage in his Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel claimed that ‘philosophy is its own time comprehended in thought’. But our time is very different from Hegel’s, so two approaches have developed to understanding the relevance of his work for the contemporary world. One looks to remaining points of contact, such as his criticism of a contractualist view of the state. Another tries to apply his general approach to contemporary issues. Both are valuable, but in this article, the latter is taken up, and one issue is the focus. The question is, assuming there can be collective intentionality and collective agency (what Hegel calls Geist (spirit)), how should we understand Hegel’s claim that such group agents can be collectively self-deceived? And how would that claim bear on the contemporary political world?

Keywords:   Hegel, time, Geist, spirit, intentionality, agency, political world, state, contemporary

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