Chapter

Civil Religion and Social Reform

Thomas Lewis

in Religion, Modernity, and Politics in Hegel

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199595594
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729072 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595594.003.0002
Civil Religion and Social Reform

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The opening chapter situates Hegel's early writings on civil religion and social reform in the intellectual and political context of the late eighteenth century. Over the course of the 1790s, Hegel tries out a variety of strategies to respond to what he sees as the interrelated social and religious challenges of the day—particularly the need for social cohesion and the prospects of religion playing a role in providing it. In doing so, he moves from a Kantian ethic through a focus on unity in love. These various attempts, however, constitute — in Hegel's own mind — a series of failures. While Hegel quickly rejects each solution he proposes, the problems that he identifies — especially the problem of social cohesion in complex modern societies — continue to motivate him throughout his lifetime.

Keywords: civil religion; social cohesion; reform; early writings; reform; love

Chapter.  19617 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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