Hegel's Political Philosophy
Interpreting the Practice of Legal Punishment
Mark Tunick


To scholars of Western intellectual history Hegel is one of the most important of all political thinkers, but politicians and other "down-to-earth" persons see his speculative philosophy as far removed from their immediate concerns. Put off by his difficult terminology, many participants in practical politics may also believe that Hegel's idealism unduly legitimates the status quo. By examining his justification of legal punishment, this book introduces a Hegel quite different from these preconceptions: an acute critic of social practices. Mark Tunick draws on recently published but still untranslated lectures of Hegel's philosophy of right to take us to the core of Hegel's political thought. Hegel opposes radical criticism like that later offered by Marx, but, argues Tunick, he employs "immanent" criticism instead. For instance, Hegel claims that punishment is the criminal's right and makes the criminal free. From this standpoint, he defends specific features of the practice of punishment that accord with this retributive ideal and criticizes other features that contradict it. In a lucid account of what Hegel means by right and freedom, Tunick addresses Hegel specialists and those interested in criminal law, the interpretation of legal institutions and social practices, and justification from an immanent standpoint.

First published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.