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Hegel's Political PhilosophyA Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right$
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Thom Brooks

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625741

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625741.001.0001

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(p.114) Chapter 8 War
Hegel's Political Philosophy

Thom Brooks

Edinburgh University Press

Hegel's controversial views on war have been the main focus of interest in his theory of international relations as a whole, perhaps the most neglected area of Hegel's political thought. The controversy surrounding Hegel's discussion of war centres on the question of whether or not Hegel advocates war as a state policy. This chapter argues that Hegel neither advocates war as a state policy nor endorses perpetual peace, but instead claims no more than that conflict is inherent between states in an anarchical international sphere. Thus, even if desirable, perpetual peace is impossible to achieve. The primary aim here is to offer a clearer reading of Hegel's position and dispel readings which suggest that (a) Hegel was not a realist; (b) Hegel endorses war as a state policy; and (c) Hegel endorses perpetual peace. If this reading is correct, then it presents us with an important step forward in understanding Hegel's views on war.

Keywords:   Hegel, war, state policy, international relations

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