The Economy of Civil Society and the Formation of the Civil Subject. Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, §§187-200
Dossier | Legal, Economic, and Political in Hegel's Philosophy of Right
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sociedade civil; o sistema de necessidades; divisão do trabalho; economia de mercado; educação para a liberdade; riqueza sociedad civil; sistema de las necesidades; división del trabajo; economía de mercado; educación para la libertad; riqueza civil society; system of needs; division of labor; market economy; education for freedom; wealth

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Schick, F. (2022). The Economy of Civil Society and the Formation of the Civil Subject. Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, §§187-200. Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 2(4), e21075.


In §187 of the Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel opens up a topic that is also important for understanding contemporary capitalist societies: How does human subjectivity change, how is it formed under the direction of a social form of relationship that is legally governed by the principles of the private individual and property and economically determined by the production of goods? Hegel notes a characteristic dialectical relationship between the ends of individuals on the one hand and the means available to them in the form of their respective property or non-property. While these means and thus economic relations with other subjects, from a subjective point of view, only have the position of means to their own private ends, conversely, the use of these means in social relations makes the individual the bearer of a function of a social context,  insofar as it does not exist as a consciously pursued end, but as a system of mutual dependence of private subjects on each other. This paper investigates this dialectical relationship with the help of three specific questions, namely: How does this relationship apply firstly to the field of human needs, secondly to the field of human labor, and thirdly to wealth and poverty in bourgeois societies? The paper comes, partly with Hegel, partly going beyond him, to the conclusion that, with all the development of needs, with all the technical progress in production and with all the growth of assets that the “system of needs” produces, we do not have before us a success story of human freedom for all.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Friedrike Schick


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