Political Economy and the Critique of Social Contract Theory in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Original scientific paper

Domagoj Vujeva ; Faculty of Political Science Zagreb

Fulltext: croatian, pdf (328 KB) pages 107-126 cite

The author deals with Hegel’s reception of political economy in the Philosophy of Right, showing that reception to be decisive for the development of Hegel’s legal and political philosophy and its mature form, but also for his understanding of the modern natural law tradition and the theory of social contract. Relying on the findings of Dag Strpić, the author argues that Hegel considered “civil society” to be the place of realization of the contractual idea of the state. The “laws” immanent to modern market economy, which were “discovered” by political economy, make in Hegel’s view contractual constitution of the state superfluous and provide at the same time the internal measure for the critique of the contractual theory. This, however, does not mean that Hegel accepts the social model of classical political economy, nor its understanding of the relation between the state and society. He questions its central assumption on the self-regulatory capacity of the market, for which reason he finds necessary the regulation of the market by the state. In the final analysis, as it is shown, the “universality” of civil society is grounded in the “universality” of the political state, which is a higher level of actualization of human freedom than civil society.

Hegel; Political Economy; Strpić; Social Contract

Hrčak ID: 244412