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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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The Shapes of Family Laws

The Shapes of Family Laws

(p.188) Chapter Seven The Shapes of Family Laws
Hegel's Laws
Stanford University Press

This chapter presents Hegel's discussion of family. Hegel describes the role of a member in the ethos of a family as someone who is unaware of her or his separation from the universals of the family. The individual lacks a will. Without a will, the individual is not conscious of her or his role in the family. The individual just acts as a family member. The observed member of the family, however, differs from the role of the philosopher who looks backward to the structure of consciousness presupposed by family members. The chapter begins by clarifying this distinction. It then explains the following: first, what Hegel signifies by a family member being a “natural being”; second, the need for contextualization in the immanent movement of legal consciousness; and third, the progression of the self-awareness of the observed subject and the philosopher to higher and higher levels of self-consciousness. After discussing the above three issues, the chapter identifies five very different forms of the family that correspond with different moments of legal consciousness. It then examines the social function of the family in the civilized legal orders. It concludes by emphasizing how the role of the family, as an ethical ethos, moves through experiential time.

Keywords:   Hegel, family law, family, ethos, natural being, legal consciousness, self-awareness, self-consciousness

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