Hegel on War’s Purifying Powers: Stephen Hicks discusses Kimberly Baxter
Library of Social Science is a Scholarly Research Institute bringing together the finest authors in the world to explore the sources and meanings of collective forms of violence. We have developed a community of scholars who cite one another—speeding up the development of knowledge and understanding.

Our online publications are transmitted through cyberspace to reach scholars around the world. Often, they are noted on other websites. Kimberly Baxter’s article, “Hegel on Warfare and the State”—published by Library of Social Science—was discussed by Stephen Hicks in a post, “Hegel on War's Purifying Powers.” We have reproduced Hicks’s analysis below—which appears on his website, here.


Hegel on war’s purifying powers — Baxter article

Professor Kimberly Baxter’s article at the Library of Social Science site summarizes Hegel’s argument that the state’s higher ethical purposes necessitate war as a means.

According to Hegel, war is a “positive moment” wherein the state asserts itself as an individual and establishing its rights and interests. Sacrifice on behalf of the state is the “substantial tie between the state and its members — and so is a universal duty.”

Hegel alludes to Kant’s perpetual-peace thesis when he writes that,

“Just as the blowing of the winds preserves the sea from the foulness which would be the result of a prolonged calm, so also corruption in nations would be the product of prolonged, let alone ‘perpetual’ peace.”

Warfare thus constitutes a form of purification. (Though Kant did also argue that “At the stage of culture at which the human race still stands, war is an indispensable means for bringing it to a still higher stage.”)

For more, see Professor Baxter’s article here.