10 Cardozo L. Rev. 1427 (1988-1989)
The Inherent Rationality of the State in Hegel's Philosophy of Right

handle is hein.journals/cdozo10 and id is 1445 raw text is: THE INHERENT RATIONALITY OF THE STATE
Bernhard Schlink*
In Hegel's Philosophy of Right, the section on civil society has
always been easier to accept than the section on the state.1 The sec-
tion on civil society, especially the first part on the system of needs,
obviously deals with economic and social reality, while the section on
the state often reads, at least to the casual reader, like a strange ideal-
ization or even apotheosis of the state. Further, the details of the in-
ternal constitution, which Hegel examines, are the details of the
constitutional monarchy which has long been outdated. Finally, if
according to some modern French and also American social philoso-
phers, our social world is atomized into conflicts and agonal confron-
tations, then this analysis is a better fit with what Hegel writes about
the system of needs than with what he writes about the state.
So, the difference between the two contributions by Andrew
Arato2 and Fred Dallmayr3 is not surprising. As the titles suggest,
Arato finds Hegel's theory of civil society still relevant enough to
merit reconstruction; Dallmayr sees Hegel's concept of the state in
ruins which can only be arranged into something new, and so he takes
every freedom in rethinking the Hegelian state.
But we should not be misled. Whatever the time difference be-
tween Hegel's world and ours, and however atomized our social
world may be, the state has remained. It is an even stronger presence
today than it was in Hegel's time. The state has become the predomi-
nant political formation of society the world over. For a long time,
the European reality and concept of the state and the American real-
ity and concept of government have been understood as being far
apart. Today, the distance of the political system from society that
characterizes the concept of the state, as opposed to the concept of
government, is regarded as an inherent feature of the American polit-
* Professor of Public Law, University of Bonn; Judge of the Constitutional Court of the
State of Nordrhein-Westfalen.
I See S. Avineri, Hegel's Theory of the Modem State (1972); K. Marx, Critique of Hegel's
'Philosophy of Right' (J. O'Malley ed. 1970) (1843); 2 K.R. Popper, The Open Society and Its
Enemies (1945); M. Riedel, Biirgerliche Gesellschaft und Staat bei Hegel (1970); 2 F. Rosen-
zweig, Hegel und der Staat (1920); Ilting, Die Struktur der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie, in
Hegel's Political Philosophy 90-110 (Z. Pelczynski ed. 1971).
2 Arato, A Reconstruction of Hegel's Theory of Civil Society, 10 Cardozo L. Rev. 1363
3 Dallmayr, Rethinking the Hegelian State, 10 Cardozo L. Rev. 1337 (1989).


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