Lectures on the Philosophy of Right, 1819–1820

Published in 1821, Outlines of the Philosophy of Right is considered the definitive articulation of the legal, moral, social, and political philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel. However, shortly before its publication, Hegel delivered a series of lectures on the subject matter of the work at the University of Berlin. These lectures are unlike any others Hegel gave on the philosophy of Right in that they do not supplement a published text but rather give a full and independent presentation of his mature political thought. Yet, they are also unlike Hegel’s formal treatise in that they form a smooth and flowing discourse, much like Hegel’s lectures on the philosophy of history, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, and history of philosophy. Substantively, these lectures contain more extensive discussions of poverty and the proletariat than are found in Hegel’s published text – discussions that carry out the retreat from optimism about the present age intimated in the preface to Outlines but nowhere evident in the text itself.

Translated with an introduction and notes by Alan Brudner, Hegel’s 1819/20 lectures on the philosophy of Right present his complete thoughts on law and the state in a manner that is more accessible and engaging than any other Hegelian text on these subjects.

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