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Hegel's LawsThe Legitimacy of a Modern Legal Order$
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William E. Conklin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804750301

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804750301.001.0001

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Persons, Property, Contract, and Crime

Persons, Property, Contract, and Crime

(p.113) Chapter Four Persons, Property, Contract, and Crime
Hegel's Laws
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses why Hegel believed that a thinking individual would recognize the concepts of personhood, property, contract, and crime when the individual sought to possess external things of nature. Section 1 explains how the retention of an immediacy with objectivity prevents the observed individual from becoming aware that she or he is autonomous of the objectivity which concepts construct. Section 2 identifies series of concepts that the individual wills as she or he emerges from the tribe: personhood, property, contract, and crime. Section 3 reconstructs two arguments, with examples, as to why there are limits to the inviolable right to private property in Abstract Right. Section 4 retrieves how ethicality emerges in the individual's recognition of a stranger by virtue of being a contractee. Section 5 recounts how the philosopher comes to realize at this point that a new objectivity has interceded between the observed individual and the objectivity of nature. When an observed individual contravenes or undermines the newfound objectivity, she or he challenges the very legitimacy of the objectivity of consciousness. The latter must punish the criminal in order to return the objectivity to its proper legitimacy. The criminal's act is contrary to the criminal's interest as a rational person who has the potential to be self-conscious. This has implications for sentencing by deterrence and by rehabilitation.

Keywords:   Hegel, personhood, property, contract, crime, objectivity, Abstract Right, ethicality, criminals, sentencing

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