‘Hegel and Right: A Study of the Philosophy of Right’ by Philip J. Kain

Published by State University of New York Press in 2018.

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In this book, Philip J. Kain introduces Hegel’s Philosophy of Right by focusing on disagreements, both with standard interpretations of his work and with Hegel himself. Arguing that Hegel’s justification for punishment ultimately fails, Kain shows how this failure brings into focus the inherent difficulties in justifying punishment at all, thus producing a valuable Hegelian argument against punishment. Whereas many of Hegel’s critics have argued that he misunderstands Kant’s categorical imperative, Kain argues the opposite: that Hegel has a sophisticated understanding of it and simply attempts to provide a broader ethical context for Kant’s position. In addressing these and other questions, such as whether Hegel’s theory of recognition, properly understood, can provide philosophical support for same-sex marriage, and whether supporting monarchy over democracy means that Hegel seeks less rather than greater power for the state, Kain makes Hegel’s work more approachable by drawing out philosophical points of independent importance.

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