Disappearance and Terror: Hegel’s Critique of the Positive Violence of Right
Dossier | Legal, Economic, and Political in Hegel's Philosophy of Right
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Hegel; positivity; disappearance; terror; violence of the law Hegel; positividad; desaparición; terror; violencia de la ley Hegel; positividade; desaparecimento; terror; violência da lei

How to Cite

Acosta López, M. del R. (2021). Disappearance and Terror: Hegel’s Critique of the Positive Violence of Right. Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 2(4), e21061. https://doi.org/10.46652/resistances.v2i4.61


In this paper, I intend to address the relation between law and violence in Hegel’s early writings. I propose to analyze the development of the concept of “positivity” in Hegel’s Early Theological Writings (with a particular emphasis on the fragments written in Frankfurt and known as “The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate”) in comparison with Hegel’s analysis of ‘Absolute Freedom and Terror’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit. I contend that the concepts of disappearance and terror that Hegel associates with the latter, are two distinct and differentiated moments of what Hegel in his early writings describes as the violence of positivity. In fact, I show that disappearance and terror are the extreme versions, put to the test in their actualization in the practical world, of the two ‘faces’ of positivity in the Frankfurt fragments. Hegel’s insightful criticism of the violence of the law in these fragments, together with the putting to the test of these ideas in the Phenomenology, provides a very useful set of tools for understanding the risk of a radical form of violence that Hegel sees at the foundation of a paradigmatically modern interpretation of the notion of “sovereignty” and its concrete manifestations in modern conceptions of right and state action. 

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Copyright (c) 2021 María del Rosario Acosta López


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