Source: G.W.F. Hegel, System of Ethical Life (1802/3) and First Philosophy of Spirit (Part III of the System of Speculative Philosophy 1803/4) Edited and translated by T.M. Knox;
Published: by State University of New York Press, Albany 1979;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.
A Note on the Translation
Of all Hegel’s posthumously published manuscripts, the System der Sittlichkeit is perhaps the most enigmatic. Even German scholars who have studied all of the posthumous publications closely do not seem to dissent from this verdict. For example Haering, who made the most comprehensive study of Hegel’s early writings, says: “It is true that the difficulties of understanding it are quite extraordinary” (Hegel, sein Wollen und sein Werk, ii, 338). For this reason we have not always found it entirely possible to render into clear and intelligible English what is scarcely intelligible in German. It has, nevertheless, seemed to us that the effort was worth making because this essay is the earliest of Hegel’s systematic manuscripts that survives intact, and it represents his mature social thought in embryonic form. Its importance, long recognised by German scholars, has now been made clear to Anglo-Saxon students by Shlomo Avineri (Hegel’s Theory of the Modern State, Cambridge, 1972).
The translation is based on the edition of Georg Lasson (originally published by F. Meiner Verlag in 1913). We have used the second edition, of 1923, and have indicated the pagination of this edition in square brackets in the margin of our text. The original draft for the translation was made by T. M. Knox and it is in essence his work. But we have both gone over it thoroughly, and we now share responsibility for whatever errors and imperfections may still be found in it.
T. M. Knox
H. S. Harris
See Also: Who Thinks Abstractly?, c. 1808
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