• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Hegel legitimised the French Revolution but not the Revolutionaries themselves" Discuss.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

POLI2001 - Political Thought & Research Methods Stephen Parsons "Hegel legitimised the French Revolution but not the Revolutionaries themselves" Discuss. Hegel views on the role of the individual can be seen and used to justify the Revolution. Individual freedom can also be woven into these ideas and living in a community or society is how Hegel saw the individual fulfilling their life. Hegel agreed with the ideas of the classical Greeks in as much that he thought the individual should lead an ethical life. In this ideal each individual has obligations to the community in which they live. Hegel rejected Kant's view of freedom of the individual as he saw Kantian philosophy as rejecting the rest of the community and that an individual is a self-contained unit for whom history starts and finishes in their own lifetime. Hegel looked at this differently "Because humans act collectively to promote their freedom, the primary question of modern political philosophy, on Hegel's view, is not a priori what institutions would fulfil these functions, but rather how and to what extent existing institutions do fulfil these functions. This is why Hegel analysed the rationality of extent institutions.1 Hegel believed that rationality was superior to understanding. He also believed that the state should be rational in order to allow the individuals to fully develop and become free. ...read more.

Middle

He saw everything moving towards the self-understanding of reason. The individual was the vehicle for this. He also saw society at the end of history and stated others would realise this if they saw the will become free to follow nothing but its own substance, thought. This became Hegel's idea of radical autonomy. "The will should obey nothing but itself, its own immanent rationality".5 The idea of absolute freedom was weak because any idea to found a society on nothing but freedom would aim to destroy the society that already exists and anything that arises from its destruction. This is what the French Revolutionaries tried to do. Once the political systems that existed and had alienated them were destroyed, they turned on each other and any institutions that they saw as impinging on their freedom, such as the church. Hegel then was looking for a society founded on more than the struggle of individual wills. A society with no means to an end or end to a means. The concepts needed to be overcome. His criticism of the French Revolutionaries was also a criticism of Rousseau. He explained and dismissed the concept of absolute freedom. "He interprets Rousseau as a philosopher of an epoch in which, the external order being abolished, every man was free to transform his inner conviction into political reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

The idea of continuing on something that already exists. "One may be dissatisfied with political life, one may even propose to destroy it, but one may only do so in order to create a new political reality more satisfying than the old..., must not irresponsibly condemn the state without putting something equally concrete in its place.8 He is condemning not the idea of the Revolution but the failure of the Revolutionaries to reject their understanding of absolute freedom in favour of rationality that the individual cannot find true freedom of will, with will following its own reason, outside the context of the state where good infinity exists. Hegel still supported Revolutionary principles. He saw the Revolution as a positive in as much as it made people aware that they could obey rules and laws subjectively. It made people aware of their rights and he saw it as a conscious effort by people to assert freedom of the individual. The actual criticism came in fact that the Revolutionaries failed to create something concrete in place of the state they had destroyed rather than something based on absolute freedom. It is clear to see then that Hegel did justify the French Revolution in as much as it was an attempt to assert individual freedom in a society where a large section was alienated. He did not justify the Revolutionaries themselves as they tried to do this armed with an understanding of freedom that was self-destructive. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. 'Parties do not matter anymore.' Discuss.

    Similarly, the triumph of George W. Bush (choice of the party 'establishment') over John McCain (choice of the rank and file Republicans) illustrates that parties still play a role in the selection of presidential candidates. Moreover, just because parties do not completely control the primary and caucus process does not mean they do not matter anymore.

  2. Utilitarianism: Explanation And Study of Criticisms

    Rule Utilitarianism does not look at individual acts but the usefulness of a rule in morality. Mill was an Act Utilitarian and applied rules that usually bring the most good to situations. Strong Rule Utilitarians never break rules, and Weak Rule Utilitarianism keep rules in mind yet are prepared to break them if necessary.

  1. "Fascism is nothing more than an extreme form of Nationalism". Discuss

    who was a gifted and powerful individual. Fascists emphasise the necessity of an unquestioned all-powerful leader who they believe to reflect the will of the people. This has been evident in all fascist regimes, for example Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Franco in Spain. Beneath the leader there is a small elite, for example the

  2. Why was the Dreyfus Affair so bitterly divisive in France? The Dreyfus Affair began ...

    As a result of this, any 'foreign' intrusion was seen as a threat to France. The right feared that there was a "revolutionary enemy without and within."8 There was an atmosphere of spy mania, xenophobia9 and the fear of a mass conspiracy that was epidemic.

  1. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    People who excel at the approved traits are rewarded with promotions and stock options. All these practices might be cited as evidence that corporate behavior is instrumentally rational and that the search for power, especially for its own sake, is alien to the firm.

  2. The study of international or rather global politics, seeks to provide an account of ...

    The distinguishing characteristic of a state was its sovereignty or sovereign power (puissance souveraine). One of Bodin's most important ideas was the characterisation of the sovereign in terms of power as opposed to the traditional notion of the divine right of kings.

  1. Why has the Parti Socialiste come to dominate the French Left?

    In France, this process of disenchantment with Communism was exacerbated by the close links that the French Communist Party had with the Russian government in Moscow. However, such a model is rather too simplistic for an explanation of the dominance of the socialist party.

  2. Nationalism is inherently expansionist and destructive - discuss

    Cultural nationalism is another common form of nationalism that does not express expansionist destructive tendencies, indeed it even lacks the strength of self-determination evident in liberal nationalism. Instead it retains a clear sense of pride for the cultural factors that bind the nation together, for example language, art and history.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work