Thom Brook's project of a systematic reading of Hegel's Philosophy of Right

Hegel Bulletin 33 (2):1–9 (2012)
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Thom Brooks'sHegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Rightpresents a very clear and methodologically self-conscious series of discussions of key topics within Hegel's classic text. As one might expect for a ‘systematic’ reading, the main body of Brooks's text commences with an opening chapter on Hegel's system. Then follow seven chapters, the topics of which are encountered sequentially as one reads through thePhilosophy of Right. Brooks's central claim is that too often Hegel's theories or views on any of these topics are misunderstood because of a tendency to isolate the relevant passages from the encompassing structure of thePhilosophy of Rightitself, and, in turn, from Hegel's system of philosophy as a whole, with its logical underpinnings. Brooks is clearly right in holding that Hegel hadintendedthePhilosophy of Rightto be read against the background of ‘the system’ and the ‘logic’ articulating it —nobody doubts that— but there is a further substantive issue here.Shouldcontemporary readers heed Hegel's advice? Brooks's answer is emphatically in the affirmative, and what results is a series of illuminating discussions in which he makes a case for his own interpretations on the basis of systematic considerations, presented against a range of alternatives taken from the contemporary secondary literature, which is amply covered, often in the extensive endnotes to the book.
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