Hegel, Marx, And The English State

1st Edition

David MacGregor

Published May 23, 2019
Reference - 355 Pages
ISBN 9780367004163 - CAT# K402748


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In this radically revised intellectual portrait of Hegel and Marx that challenges standard interpretations of their political theory, David MacGregor considers the nature of the state in capitalist society. This is the first book to place Marx’s and Hegel’s political thought directly into social and historical context. Revealing the revolutionary content of Hegel’s social theory and the Hegelian themes that underlie Marx’s analysis of the English state in Capital, the author shows how the transformation of the Victorian state in the nineteenth century influenced the mature Marx to reclaim Hegelian arguments he had earlier abandoned. These ideas included a theory of politics and social class that colored Marx’s view of capitalist and working-class opposition to government reform initiatives. MacGregor criticizes interpretations of state action that present government solely as a tool of capitalist and patriarchal interests. Noting the essential significance of child labor in the growing industrialization during Hegel’s and Marx’s time, the author contends that “alienation,” as the two philosophers understood the term, assumes a labor force in which many workers are socially powerless children and women. Given these conditions, the centrality of the English Factory Acts to workers’ lives becomes obvious, a centrality acknowledged by Marx but forgotten by his followers. The author concludes his discussion with an assessment of current arguments about the state and civil society, relating these debates to Hegel’s conception of the rational state.

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