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Hegel's Social EthicsReligion, Conflict, and Rituals of Reconciliation$
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Molly Farneth

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171906

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171906.001.0001

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date: 03 April 2020

Tragedy and the Social Construction of Norms

Tragedy and the Social Construction of Norms

(p.13) Chapter Two Tragedy and the Social Construction of Norms
Hegel's Social Ethics

Molly Farneth

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that, for Hegel, the authority of a community's norms is rooted in its social practices. It considers the lessons of Hegel's discussion of Sophocles' Antigone, in which he shows that a community that treats its norms as natural, fixed, and immediately given will be afflicted by tragedy. The central conflict of the Antigone is simultaneously a conflict between Creon and Antigone, between the roles and obligations of men and of women, and, more broadly, between human law and divine law. It is, in Hegel's interpretation, a conflict between two sets of one-sided stances, each of which stubbornly asserts itself as fixed and given.

Keywords:   G. W. F. Hegel, community norms, social practices, Antigone, women, men, human law, divine law

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