Available in English for the first time, Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns revives discussion of the major political and philosophical tenets underlying contemporary liberalism through a revolutionary interpretation of G. W. F. Hegel’s thought. Domenico Losurdo, one of the world’s leading Hegelians, reveals that the philosopher was fully engaged with the political controversies of his time. In so doing, he shows how the issues addressed by Hegel in the nineteenth century resonate with many of the central political concerns of today, among them questions of community, nation, liberalism, and freedom. Based on an examination of Hegel’s entire corpus—including manuscripts, lecture notes, different versions of texts, and letters—Losurdo locates the philosopher’s works within the historical contexts and political situations in which they were composed.
Hegel and the Freedom of Moderns persuasively argues that the tug of war between “conservative” and “liberal” interpretations of Hegel has obscured and distorted the most important aspects of his political thought. Losurdo unravels this misleading dualism and provides an illuminating discussion of the relation between Hegel’s political philosophy and the thinking of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. He also discusses Hegel’s ideas in relation to the pertinent writings of other major figures of modern political philosophy such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Popper, Norberto Bobbio, and Friedrich Hayek.