‘Hegel’s Rabble: An Investigation into Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’ by Frank Ruda


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In Hegel’s Rabble, Frank Ruda identifies and explores a crucial problem in the Hegelian philosophy of right that strikes at the heart of Hegel’s conception of the state. This singular problem, which Ruda argues is the problem of Hegelian political thought, appears in Hegel’s text only in a seemingly marginal form under the name of the “rabble”: a particular side-effect of the dialectical deduction of the necessity of the existence of state from the contradictory constitution of civil society. Working out from a thorough analysis of this problem and drawing on contemporary discussions in the work of such thinkers as Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Slavoj Žižek, the book proceeds to re-examine and reconstruct Hegel’s entire political project. Ruda goes on to argue that only by re-thinking this problem of ‘the rabble’ in Hegel’s thought – the only problem Hegel is able neither to resolve nor to sublate – can the early Marxian conception of ‘the proletariat’ be properly understood. The book closes with an Afterword from Slavoj Žižek.

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