Drs. Arnold Veenkamp (University of Groningen)

Drs. Arnold Veenkamp is part of a panel discussion with Jasper Jans and Rieks Bruins Slot concerning Hegel's Conception of the State and its Relevance Today.

In the Philosophy of Right Hegel offers a framework for a rational, modern state. Though the realization of freedom is the primary concern in Hegel's political writings, one can hardly say he is an advocate for democracy. Hegel is often seen as an apologist for the totalitarian Prussian state of his days or even as a direct forerunner of German national socialism in the 20th century. In my paper I will try to show, however, that Hegel's concept of freedom as rational self-determinacy (as opposed to contemporary notions of freedom such as the arbitrary freedom of choice) is still relevant to contemporary political thought. Whereas contemporary liberal representational governments have - at least partly - overcome the mode of democracy criticized by Hegel, his views can still be employed to criticize radical forms of democracy.

I studied Sociology at the University of Groningen. After my graduation I worked for about ten years as a researcher for the city of Groningen. Some four years ago I returned to university on a part-time basis to study Philosophy of a specific discipline at the University of Groningen. My main interests are in social philosophy and the history of philosophy. I'm currently working on by BA-thesis on Hegels Philosophy of Right. Since september 2006, I'm working as an education and research coordinator for the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Groningen.