2020 | Articulations of Nature and Politics in Plato and Hegel

Vicky Roupa

Blurbs: ““Hegel and Plato are towering figures in the history of philosophy, but often readers puzzle over what they are saying. There are very few books that deal with them clearly and intelligently. Hardly any that do so jointly.  This book is exceptional in offering a clear, scholarly and intelligent guide to their work. It focuses upon how Plato and Hegel deal with nature. While recognising the subtlety of Plato and Hegel on nature, Vicky Roupa establishes a nuanced yet clear exposition of their thought. The bonus is that the books is written in a highly readable style. This is a great book!”

– Gary Browning, Professor of Political Thought, Oxford Brookes University

This book examines nature as a foundational concept for political and constitutional theory, drawing on readings from Plato and Hegel to counter the view that optimal political arrangements are determined by nature. Focusing on the dialectical implications of the word ‘nature’, i.e. how it encompasses a range of meanings stretching up to the opposites of sensuousness and ideality, the book explores the various junctures at which nature and politics interlock in the philosophies of Plato and Hegel. Appearance and essence, inner life and public realm, the psychical and the political are all shown to be parts of a conflictual structure that requires both infinite proximity and irreducible distance. The book offers innovative interpretations of a number of key texts by Plato and Hegel to highlight the metaphysical and political implications of nature’s dialectical structure, and re-appraises their thinking of nature in a way that both respects and goes beyond their intentions.”

2022 | Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Critical Perspectives on Freedom and History

Blurb: “Hegel’s Philosophy of Right was his last systematic work and the most complete statement of his mature views on ethical and political philosophy. The text explores the relationships between three distinct conceptions of human freedom: persons as possessing contract rights, subjects as reflective moral agents, and individuals as members of an ethical community. It strongly influenced the early Marx and debates over liberalism and communitarianism that arose in the latter half of the twentieth century.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Philosophy of Right, the 18 essays in this volume by contemporary scholars examine the nature and impact of Hegel’s text. They examine a diverse array of topics, ranging from Hegel’s account of rights, religious freedom, gender, the state, history, and naturalism to some hitherto relatively overlooked topics such as Hegel and Luther, art and nationality, and Hegel and the market. Each contribution also pays homage to the work of Terry Pinkard, who, as a foremost interpreter and scholar of Hegel’s thought, revived and reinvented the contemporary field of Hegel studies.”


Editors’ Introduction Dean Moyar, Kate Padgett Walsh, and Sebastian Rand

Part 1: The Frame of Right

1. Mind your Ps and Qs: Thinking through Hegel on Provisionality and Qualification Lydia Goehr

2. “This is the very essence of the Reformation: Man in his very nature is destined to be free”: Hegel, Luther, and Freedom Robert Stern

3. Reading the Philosophy of Right in light of the Logic: Hegel on the Possibility of Multiple Modernities Arash Abazari

4. Objective Spirit and Nature Ludwig Siep

Part 2: From Formal Right to the Idea of Life

5. The Value of a Right: Status and Equivalence in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right Dean Moyar

6. A Withering of the Rose in the Cross of the Present: The Logical Structure of Liberal Capitalism’s Destruction of Ethical Life Jay Bernstein

7. True Right Against Formal Right. The Body of Right and the Limits of Property Thomas Khurana

Part 3: Ethical Life

8. The Institution of Sittlichkeit Jean-François Kervegan

9. The Significance of Plato for a “Disenchanted Aristotelian” Reading of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right Paul Redding

10. No Utopia: Hegel on the Gendered Division of Labor Andreja Novakovic

11. Debt and the Limits of Freedom in Market Society Kate Padgett Walsh

12. Hegel, Allegiance, and the Problem of Ethical Standing Robert Pippin

13. Civil Society and its Discontents: Hegel and the Problem of Poverty Stephen Houlgate

14. The Organic Lives of States Antón Barba-Kay

Part 4: Right and World History

15. Poetry and the Sense of History: Images, Narrative, and Justice in the Philosophy of Right Lydia Moland

16. Synchronic and Diachronic Aspects of Historicity in Hegel’s State Christopher Yeomans

17. Alle sind frei. Hegel’s Philosophy of History as Liberal Apologetics Mark Alznauer

18. “Humanity needed it, and it appeared forthwith”: Hegel on World-Historical Technologies Sebastian Rand.


Plato of Athens: A Life in Philosophy (2023)

Waterfield, Robin
Oxford University Press
Pages: 255

Plato of Athens is the first-ever biography of the world-famous philosopher. Born into a well-to-do family, Plato grew up in the gloom of wartime Athens at the end of the fifth century BCE. In his teens he honed his intellect by attending lectures by the many thinkers who passed through Athens and toyed with the idea of writing poetry. He decided to go into politics but became disillusioned, especially after the Athenians condemned his teacher, Socrates, to death. Instead he turned to writing and teaching, focusing especially on political theory, metaphysics, and ethics. In 383 he founded the Academy, the world’s first higher-educational research and teaching establishment. He also returned after a while to practical politics and spent a considerable amount of time trying to create a constitution for Syracuse in Sicily that would reflect his political ideals. The attempt failed, and Plato’s disappointment can be traced in his later political works. In his lifetime and after, Plato was considered almost divine. This led to the invention of tall tales about him, by both those who adored him and those who wanted to dethrone him. Plato of Athens steers a judicious course among these stories, debunking some but accepting a kernel of truth in others. As well as tracking the events of his life, considerable attention is paid to his written works—his “dialogues,” as they are called: they are summarized and discussed. Clearly and engagingly written throughout, Plato of Athens is the perfect introduction to the man and his work.

Of Rule and Office: Plato’s Ideas of the Political (2023)

Lane, Melissa
Princeton University Press
Pages: 480

Plato famously defends the rule of knowledge. Knowledge, for him, is of the good. But what is rule? In this study, Melissa Lane reveals how political office and rule were woven together in Greek vocabulary and practices that both connected and distinguished between rule in general and office as a constitutionally limited kind of rule in particular. In doing so, Lane shows Plato to have been deeply concerned with the roles and relationships between rulers and ruled. Adopting a longstanding Greek expectation that a ruler should serve the good of the ruled, Plato’s major political dialogues—the Republic, the Statesman, and Laws—explore how different kinds of rule might best serve that good. With this book, Lane offers the first account of the clearly marked vocabulary of offices at the heart of all three of these dialogues, explaining how such offices fit within the broader organization and theorizing of rule.

Lane argues that taking Plato’s interest in rule and office seriously reveals tyranny as ultimately a kind of anarchy, lacking the order as well as the purpose of rule. When we think of tyranny in this way, we see how Plato invokes rule and office as underpinning freedom and friendship as political values, and how Greek slavery shaped Plato’s account of freedom. Reading Plato both in the Greek context and in dialogue with contemporary thinkers, Lane argues that rule and office belong at the center of Platonic, Greek, and contemporary political thought.