Essay on Hegel’s Theory of State

This implies that for Hegel all states are rational in so far as they represent the various states of unfolding of Reason. By doing so he took a conservative position because it tantamounts to saying that whatever happens is manifestation of unfolding of Reason. No event ever occurs unless ordained by Reason. So every event takes place according to a rational plan. He considered the state as “March of God on Earth” or the ultimate embodiment of Reason.

State, for Hegel, is the highest manifestation of Reason because it emerges as a synthesis of family (thesis) and civil society (antithesis). Family fulfils man’s

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Biological needs food, sex and love. It is the first manifestation of spirit but it cannot fulfill the higher or more complex needs for which we need a civil society.

While the basic feature of family is unity based on love the civil society is necessary for the fulfilment of his competitive self-interest and for the satisfaction of diverse human needs, particularly the economic needs which the family cannot fulfil. The civil society is organised on the basis of individual’s material needs, which are not wholly private and yet are primarily self- regarding. It is less selfish than the family.

It is saved from disintegration because men begin to realise that their needs can be met only by recognising the claims of others. Civil society educates the individual where he begins to see that he can get what he needs only by willing what other individuals need. It is not a complete organic unity. Such unity is realised only when the tension involved in the contradiction between family and civil society is transcended in the final synthesis of the state.

The civil society looks after the material needs of human beings and therefore, Hegel sees it as state in its embryonic form. The state looks after the universal interests of the whole community and it acquires art organic character.

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