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4 - Exclusiveness and Political Universalism in Bruno Bauer

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2009

Douglas Moggach
Affiliation:
University of Ottawa
Massimiliano Tomba
Affiliation:
Teaches in the Department of Historical and Political Studies, University of Padua
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Summary

The entire course of post-Hegelian reflection can be defined as a many-faceted attempt to respond to the crisis provoked by the collapse of a society that had beendivided into estates (Stände). The political reflection of the Hegelian school was confronted by the task of rethinking the relation between the individual and the state, on theone hand and, on the other, of finding a new organisational principle capable of holding together the mass ofatoms liberated by the dissolution of the old estate order. In this framework there emerged philosophies of history that attempted to construct a principle of social organisation by looking ahead to the future, anticipating a new synthesis of the individual with the political whole.

What distinguishes the reflections of Bruno Bauer is the extreme radicalism and consistency with which he confronted the crisis, almost identifying himself with the forces that had provoked it. It is with Bauer that the crisis becomes an epochal event: not only a crisis of political concepts, but also of theology and of metaphysics. In a series of lengthy historical studies, Bauer tries to reconstruct the genesis of the crisis, delineating a movement of long duration, at whose origin lies the concentration of powers in the modern absolutist state; but also a crisis of brief duration, due to a rapid historical acceleration in the wake of the French Revolution. According to Bauer, it was precisely the absolute monarchy that had prepared the terrain for the republic through a levelling of the Stände.

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Chapter
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The New Hegelians
Politics and Philosophy in the Hegelian School
, pp. 91 - 113
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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