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Title: Tyranny and Ethical Life in Hegel’s Political Thought: the Tyrant-Legislator and Constituent Power
Authors: Boyd, Nathaniel J.
Keywords: Hegeltyrannyethical lifeAristotelianismconstitutionalismmodernityconstituent power
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Nathaniel J. Boyd, "Tyranny and Ethical Life in Hegel’s Political Thought: the Tyrant-Legislator and Constituent Power" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2021) XXIII/1", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2021, pp. 145-162
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
This article examines the intersection in Hegel’s political thought between Aristotelianism – with its ideas of custom, the ethical life of the polis – and constitutional modernity. It shows how Hegel appropriated the classical issue of tyranny as well as Rousseau’s legislator, Machiavelli and Spinoza to evolve a unique concept of constituent power. Ethical life, in Hegel’s hands, was bent to political modernity. This resulted in a doctrine of the substance of the political that was simultaneously constituent and constituted power. The article argues that this led to a system of law that was also a metaphysic of spirit, which linked a given constitutional order perpetually to its organising form. The ontological status of political authority and its relation to law is a core problem of modern constitutionalism, which often reverts to a founding event, a regulative (normative) order or existential agency to justify itself. Through placing the notion of constituent power in a broader historical continuum, this study shows how Hegel’s political thought reveals how constitutions are neither a mere creature of law nor of sovereign decision.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
DOI: 10.13137/1825-5167/32025
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2021) XXIII/1

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