‘Foundations of Hegel’s Social Theory: Actualizing Freedom’ by Frederick Neuhouser

Published by Harvard University Press in 2003.

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This work tries to understand the philosophical foundations of Hegel’s social theory by articulating the normative standards at work in his claim that the three central social institutions of the modern era—the nuclear family, civil society, and the constitutional state—are rational or good.

The central question is: what, for Hegel, makes a social order rational? In answering the book aspires to be faithful to Hegel’s texts and to articulate a compelling theory of rational social institutions; the aim is not only to interpret Hegel correctly but also to demonstrate the richness and power that his vision of the rational social order possesses.


Frederick Neuhouser is the Viola Manderfeld Professor of German and a Professor of Philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is a specialist in European philosophy of the 18th and 19th centuries, especially Rousseau, Fichte, and Hegel.

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