Hegel 's Concept Of Freedom

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What is Hegel’s concept of freedom? One wishes such a question could be easily answered. Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right has been read as Hegel tracing out his concept of freedom, at all of its different moments, in its many different forms, personal, interpersonal and communal.1 So we do not follow the path that Hegel traces and arrive at a concise definition of freedom; rather Hegel’s definition of freedom is contained in and expounded through the entire path.2 In this paper I will attempt to follow this path and make the various aspects of Hegel’s concept of freedom as clear as possible. Before I set out on this Hegelian path, I want to clearly differentiate between philosophical conceptions of freedom and political conceptions of freedom. Philosophical freedom is broadly concerned with the nature of the will. It is primarily concerned with the freedom of the individual, with free will. Political freedom, conversely, is concerned with the relationship between the subject and the external world, with rights, with what one is permitted to do. There is an obvious sense in which an ape living in the wild is freer than an ape confined to a small cage. If one were to argue that apes lack the necessary rationality, self-awareness, mind, soul, etc. that is necessary for freedom, or if one were to argue that the world is determinist and so both apes are equally unfree, one would be missing the point. The ape lacks what might broadly be
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