The Vitality of Contradiction: Hegel, Politics, and the Dialectic of Liberal-Capitalism

The Vitality of Contradiction: Hegel, Politics, and the Dialectic of Liberal-Capitalism

by Bruce Gilbert


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In The Vitality of Contradiction, Bruce Gilbert provides an exposition of Hegel's political philosophy to establish not only that societies fail because of their contradictions, but also how the unsurpassable oppositions of social life cultivate freedom. He moves beyond Hegel's works to consider the limits of liberal-capitalism and the contemporary social movements around the world that stretch us beyond the global economic system. Drawing on key Hegel texts such as Phenomenology of Spirit and the Philosophy of Right, Gilbert shows how societies outgrow themselves as they come to recognize key aspects of freedom and justice. He argues that the dialectic requires that we recognize how liberal-capitalism has both cultivated freedom and yet fails to lead us to more sophisticated forms of freedom. Gilbert also highlights organizations including Brazil's Movement of Landless Workers and the Mondragon cooperative in Spain and the sophisticated ways in which they are teaching the world new and better ways to be free. Engaging and perceptive, The Vitality of Contradiction illuminates the basic principles behind Hegel's political thought and indicates the ways in which his work encourages people to strive for a form of socialist democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780773542587
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 12/16/2013
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 14.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Bruce Gilbert is professor of philosophy and liberal arts at Bishop's University and adjunct professor at the Université de Sherbrooke and the Universidade Estadual Vale de Acaraú in Ceará, Brazil.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations of Hegel's Works ix

Preface xi

Introduction 3

Part 1 The Dialectic of Political Life

1 Empirical and Conceptual Dialectic 15

2 Mutual Recognition, Freedom, and Vital Contradiction 34

3 The Conceptual Dialectic of Political Life: First Steps 64

4 The Dialectic of the Ethical Society 87

5 The Condition of Right: Individual Freedom and Tyranny 109

6 Alienation and the Society of Absolute Freedom 119

Part 2 Freedom and the Just Society

7 The Fundamental Institutions of a Just Society 135

8 The Vital Contradiction of Civil Society and the State 162

9 Economy and Governance 186

Part 3 Liberal-Capitalism and the Cultivation of Freedom

10 The Dialectics of Liberal-Capitalism 213

11 Liberal-Capitalism and Socialist Civil Democracy 250

Conclusion 283

Notes 285

Bibliography 329

Index 347

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From the Publisher

"Gilbert offers a clear, approachable, compelling, and innovative approach to Hegel political philosophy. His dialectical defence of socialist civil democracy will be of great interest to Hegel scholars as well as political theorists and activists." Jim Vernon, Department of Philosophy, York University

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