The Inhabitability of Modern Life

Terry Pinkard

in Hegel's Naturalism

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860791
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932986 | DOI:
The Inhabitability of Modern Life

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One is alienated when a basic norm no longer inspires allegiance, but one's second nature continues to dispose one to committing oneself to it, or when the norm inspires allegiance, but there is no motivation in second nature for it. Hegel's paradigm case for alienation was that of the ancien régime, which found its full expression in Diderot's story of Rameau's nephew, a character who embodies this kind of alienation and drift. In contemporary civil society, there is the ever‐present threat of alienation and descent into theatricality, where each sees all of life as a game to be won or lost. Although Hegel thought that the modern nation‐state as a kind of bureaucratic democracy of sorts would help to hold those tensions in balance, that belief itself was in tension with other elements of his thought.

Keywords: alienation; civil society; politics; nation‐state; bureaucracy; democracy; citizenship

Chapter.  15256 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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