notes on hegel’s philosophy of right / §§82-104.

notes on the philosophy of right iv

Section 3 / Wrong


In a contract, what is right is already assumed. For Hegel, this becomes wrong when the two rights are brought together and one is “particular” (or peculiar) in a way that differs from the other. The opposing right, in its particularity, is a “semblance” (counterfeit) of right, it is only resolved when it negates itself to become right and not universal.


Even if wrong is merely a semblance of right, it desires to be self-sufficient. The wrong may appear to be right, or it is a clear nullity of the right, i.e. it’s just wrong, in the sense of the latter, it is a crime.

A. Unintentional Wrong


Possessions and contracts are drawn up by particular individuals, with any particularities that become inevitable under such agreements. These can be made legal in the universal recognition of the agreement. But, these can be interpreted in differing ways. Hence, we have the growth of varied disagreements resulting from the festering misunderstandings.


With civil law we make claims (or disputes) onto things that have to do with individuals and/or their property, we find that disputes of this kind are brought about by basic questions having to do with what is properly mine, or yours, along with any subsequent negations.


When we have only our particular interests in mind, right is made into a mere “semblance” (counterfeit) of itself, perhaps represented as an obligation. Yet, when confronted with universal right, as it is in-itself, two people can (hopefully) be made to recognize something beyond their mutual disagreement/s.

B. Deception


Deception is brought about by an individual’s “reduction” of the right to a semblance, which must be a counterfeit of right. Deception occurs, if we are fooled into thinking that the deception is right.


Although a contract, concerning property etc., can be legitimate, another’s respect for the universal will may not be in line with the actual terms of the agreements in the contract.


The universal aspect of right must be held, above and beyond, that which is arbitrary. Anything that does not recognize this is deceptive.

C. Coercion and Crime


To own something means you can bribe someone with it (as an unfortunate manifestation of your monomaniacal suffering).


Although certain people can be dominated by others due to their obsequiousness, my free will can resist being physically beaten. My free will might fall weak to banal external enforcements—only if I let in.


Force and coercion work in tandem to destroy the willing, the willful.


Coercion can be sublated (Aufheben) by coercion. Also, we must unfortunately, allow for forms of coercion that are obliquely horrible (re: pedagogical).


We will be sure to recognize that abstract right has it within its power to coerce the wrongfulness placed on it.


To infringe on another person’s rights, by coercion, is a crime. Hegel mentions the curious “negatively infinite judgment” [I’m continuing to research Hegel’s use of the judgment in his Logic] provisionally, the infinite judgment seems to be a judgment that is made between the individual and the “notion” (concept) and an infinite judgment must be when we are trying to subsume the ‘big picture’ in our way of judging the conceptual nature of things. So, a negative infinite judgment must go against a positive judgment, therefore, it is a crime. Crime, not only negates my will, it also tries to obviate my universal “capacity for rights.”


Surely, there must be a variance of quality and quantity by which we can assess a crime’s malfeasance. This must be determined in relation to the specific damage visited upon another person. Crimes manifest in a multitude of guises and must be considered with due measure.


When a crime is committed, there is an attempt to nullify a person’s rights. So, in turn, there is the open possibility to then nullify the negation (re: to right the wrong). Punishment seeks to sublate the wrongdoing.


Your evil “infringement” is only external, therefore, you should be held responsible for any or all property damage incurred by your spurious malfeasance.


Another person, can willfully injure my person, in so doing, this person is positively wrong, i.e. an injurious crime cannot coincide positively with the existence of other’s rights, freedoms, wills, etc. The only positive place for the injurious crime remains with what criminal does against me (see footnote: Feuerbach’s father).


A criminal sets up a kind of law unto his crime—punishable offences are often rationalized into existence.


Crimes are to be punished according to the quality and quantity of the crime committed. Your injustice deserves a proper punishment (review lengthy section again, re: the absurdity of an eye-for-an-eye, etc.).


Revenge doesn’t always exact an equivalent justice and it can be sustained throughout generations. Revenge might lose its original complaint over the years.


To resolve a wrongdoing, the “subjective will” must aspire/appeal to the “universal will” to lay claim to justice, rather than to simply declare revenge.

Transition from Right to Morality


We must acquire within ourselves the universal ability to recognize when we have been wronged, hereby making an advancement in the determination/s of our will. This must be a self-actualization that is transferable within our relationship with others. Freedom develops from the will in the abstract to be made self-determinate. Our will is made actual in our possessions. When we hold these possessions in common with others, we do so under contract. For something to be wrong the contingency of an individual’s will poses as a semblance of right (and so, banality continues in its counterfeit mode, ad infinitum…). It is at this point where we can (with Hegel’s assistance) progress to questions of morality.

Aurelio Madrid

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