It also attempts to look carefully into the various prospects of the concept of freedom relevant for a modern state as well as the modern individual, and tries to find out if today’s individuals are contented with what Hegel provides in his explanation of freedom in the context of the modern state.
Hegel’s view of freedom is closely associated with the broader prospects of human life. According to Hegel, human life is characterised by freedom, liberty and rights. In this context, freedom and rights are entailed by a sense of responsibility that provides the community a stable context in which morality and creativity can be expressed freely. Further, this sense of responsibility acknowledges the needs (not wants) of the people within a society. This responsibility is assigned to the state. If the needs of the people are not acknowledged by the state, it simply indicates that the freedom of these people is constrained. This is the fundamental cause of revolutions occurred in societies. Hegel in Section 258 in the Preface of Philosophy of Right mentions that it is the state in which “freedom attains its highest right…[It] has the highest right over the individual, whose highest duty in turn is to be a member of the state.” (Wood, 1991) Thus, the contexts of duties and rights are very essential to understand the concept of freedom in a state.
While relating freedom of individuals with the duties of the state, Hegel states that it is the responsibility of the state to secure and protect property and personal freedom of individuals who are members of it. With its caprice, accident and myriad realities, the state can be conceived as “the ethical whole and the actualisation of freedom.” (Wood, 1991) Hegel further simplifies the concept of freedom by stating that the state embodies freedom of individuals by recognising and developing their personal individuality as well as particular interests. This individuality takes ...
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