Hegel and the History of Political Philosophy by Gary K. Browning (auth.)

By Gary K. Browning (auth.)

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27 Plato and Hegel: Reason, Redemption 23 The Laws, to a greater extent even than the Statesman, discloses Plato's readiness to engage in theorising the conditions of admittedly imperfect remedies for the troubles attending contemporary politics. Plato only permits himself a brief reference to the ideal of an enlightened autocrat having a completely free hand to arrange the political community along rational lines. 28 The actual state that Plato concentrates on recommending in the Laws makes concessions to the domain of practice.

50 For Hegel, the exercise of individual freedom is conditional upon the practices of a well-ordered state, and in the rational state he outlines, the citizens are envisaged as exhibiting a sense of community testifying to the universal ties sustaining their individual development. Hegel considers that participation in family life and in the classes and corporations of civil society will engender in the citizens a readiness to display this sense of community. Although Hegel, unlike Plato, allows the individual to exercise his own 28 Hegel and Political Philosophy initiative in joining a particular class, he sees all three classes of his state as fostering in the individual an awareness of his community of purpose with other individuals.

In this respect, Hegel's understanding of class relations differs from Plato's. 51 Hegel also considers the political arrangements of his state to be important in ensuring that the individual identifies with the political community. The individual will have the right to be governed and protected by laws that he can conscientiously obey as they will be framed according to rational procedures involving publicity given to debates within the legislature and the public accessibility of the codified system of laws.

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