Western Political Thought Hegel-Part 1 for Andhra Pradesh PSC

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George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - Part I: Western Political Thought (Political Science)

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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The sequence of philosophy

The Sequence of Philosophy

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  • Born in Germany in 1770 in an upper middle class family .

  • Rose to philosophical excellency and settled in Berlin and died there only in 1831.

  • There he gain immortal fame and became not only the ‘king of philosophers’ but ‘philosopher of kings’.

  • According to Sabine “The significance of political thought of Hegel centers round two points and those are the dialectics as a method and the idealism of the nation state”.

  • Hegel drew his philosophy from various sources.

  • Was influenced by Plato and Aristotle.

  • He was also influenced by French revolution, which for him was a glorious mental dawn.

  • He studied Kant’s philosophy and rejected his individualistic conception of state and the idea of passive obedience to state.

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On Nature of Man

  • Agrees with Aristotle that man is a social and political animal both by nature and necessity.

  • He always wants both need and assistance of others for his mental, moral and physical development.

  • In actual life each individual is bound to find that without the assistance of others it shall not be possible for him to achieve what is best in him.

  • Each individual want some type of association for the realization of his freedom.

  • According to him earliest association was family.

  • Which served his sensual needs and afforded him the minimum necessary protection for his living.

  • Wayper has said about this institution that it incorporated in men ‘the idea of mutual love, and thus the basis from which Hegel begins his analysis of state’.

Hegel on State

Hegel on state

Hegel on State

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Points of Hegel

Points of Hegel

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The individual has only an indirect and reflected existence, whereas state possess ultimate reality.

  • In his view essence of state is freedom.

  • And true freedom lies in complete subordination to the dictates of state.

  • It is in state that man is able to enjoy his outward self over his inward idea of freedom.

  • According to him state is an agency which represents and aims at subjective freedom.

  • It is both absolute and infallible.

  • It is the march of God on earth and thus an end in itself and not means to an end.

  • Since the state represents reason, the freedom of individual in state lies in obeying the laws.

  • It represents individual , collective and divine will.

  • He preferred formation of federation but pleaded that system of representation in state should be on functional basis .

Philosophy of History

  • Hegel’s political thought is deeply embedded in his philosophical approach ,particularly in his philosophy of history.

  • He is chief exponent of idealism which is closely linked with his dialectical method.

  • Hegel’s principle of dialectical idealism implies :

    • Idea(spirit or consciousness) is the basic substance of universe, which includes physical objects as well as social and political institutions; it is the driving force behind all historical development.

    • Idea is endowed with capacity and tendency of development.

    • Idea always moves in a dialectical path ,that is the initial idea is confronted by its contradictory form(the opposite idea)and this confrontation results in the destruction of untenable parts of the two ,and integration of their tenable parts ;this process goes on repeating itself until it reaches the stage of the Absolute Idea.

  • But the synthesis so evolved may not be the whole truth, though it is relatively free from the untrue elements of the two ;it is nearer the truth and perfection.

  • It therefore takes the position of new thesis and undergoes the same process of clash with its antithesis and the emergence of a new synthesis.

  • This negation of negation continues till it reaches the stage of absolute idea which is free from contradiction.