||Jasper Jans (University of Groningen)
Jasper Jans is part of a panel discussion with Arnold Veenkamp and
Rieks Bruins Slot concerning Hegel's Conception of the State and its
Abstract of 'Hegel's Constitutional Monarchy and Modern Republicansm:
An Attempt at Reconciliation'
In order to investigate if Hegel's philosophy concerning the modern state
is compatible with modern republicanism, I will try to substitute the
(hereditary) moment of invidual will with a non-hereditary official. I
argue that Hegel's rational state can be construed as some sort of
republic without doing injustice to his philosophical system. I will
show that even though Hegel constructs his constitutional monarchy in
opposition to democratic republicanism, he does not take this to imply
that the modern state must necessarily be a monarchy in the sense that
the word is conventionally applied, namely a state with one hereditary
ruler. According to Hegel, conventional monarchies do also not apply to
his conception of the rational state, for they lack "depth and concrete
rationality." Rather, the Hegelian state is a new conception that
supersedes these ancient constitutions.
Having opened the option of a new kind of monarchy, I will show that for
Hegel the word "monarchy" connotes a state with a single head of state
who has obtained this position through a non-arbitrary procedure of
selection. Firstly, the monarch's position is defined so strictly that
Hegel admits that the monarch's personality is no matter of importance.
After all, in a reasonable state the moment of the individual will is
hardly a source of political power. The monarch is to do no more than
to dot the i's and to sign his name, and thereby to express the universal
will. Combined with the fact that the reasons he provides to justify a
hereditary monarch can also be used to validate a non-hereditary monarch
as long as it were selected by non-arbitrary means, this means that it is
indeed possible that Hegel's state can be a republic. I will conclude,
nevertheless, that this republic is hardly desirable today.
I was born on December 20, 1984 in Groningen. After graduating from
Winkler Prins public high school in 2002 I studied History at the
University of Groningen. After receiving my propaedeutic I changed
my major to American Studies. In 2005 I received my BA-degree, and
decided to return to the study of History. Instead of pursuing a Master's
degree, though, I again enrolled in the History department's Bachelor's
program as well as in the Philosophy of a Specific Domain program offered
by the Institute of Philosophy. In the former I try to focus on the
history of ideas, whereas in the latter my focus is on the history of
philosophy. I hope to finish both this summer.