In the philosophical concepts of I. Kant and G. Hegel, problems were first posed
the active, creative nature of human consciousness and the specifics of the laws operating in society, in comparison with the laws of nature.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) – the founder of classical German philosophy and the founder of one of the largest trends in modern legal theory. Kant’s doctrine took shape in the early 70s of the 18th century. in the course of his critical revision of previous philosophy. He initially outlined his socio-political views in a series of short articles, which included the works “The Idea of a Universal History in a World-Civil Plan” and “Toward an Eternal Peace”, and then summarized it in the treatise “Metaphysics of Morals” (1797).
In the section on Kant’s doctrine of international law and eternal peace, the thinker’s philosophical and legal position is quite reasonably linked to his theory of knowledge and ethics. The discovery of the contradictory, dialectical nature of reason, the discovery of the unity and inconsistency of the existence of man and human society as an objective motivating reason for the emergence of a law-like order and a union of states allowed Kant to overcome the metaphysical limitations of the enlighteners and thereby rise to a new level in understanding the transformation of the feudal estate-serf society into a society of bourgeois “freedom” and “equality”.
Developing Rousseau’s ideas about the contractual origin of the state, Kant makes the central principle of his political conception civil liberty (the freedom not to obey any other law than the one to which consent is given). This principle is inextricably linked with the principles of civic equality (in the sense of equality in mutual moral and legal abilities and duties between an individual citizen and “standing above” persons in the composition of the people)1 and civic independence (meaning a kind of autonomy of the rights and forces of a citizen , extending to the area of his legal actions and participation in the affairs of states as an independent particle in the composition of the people). The principles of civil liberty and equality in Kant oppose feudal arbitrariness and violence, as well as hereditary privileges, which, according to the philosopher, should be inferior to the merits of knowledge, abilities and accumulated experience.
Achieving a universal legal civil society and a just civil order – such, according to Kant, is the greatest problem for the human race, which “nature forces” to solve. The ideal form, most consistent with the spirit of the original treaty, he considered a representative republic. At the same time, according to the method of applying law and exercising power, he preferred autocracy as the simplest (compared to aristocracy or democracy), although the most dangerous form for the people and the law itself, in view of the potential inherent in it to degenerate into despotism.
In 1784, in The Idea of a Universal History in Universal Civil Law, Kant wrote that the attempt of philosophers to develop a world history “according to the plan of nature, aimed at the perfect civil unification of the human race, must be recognized as a possible attempt, as if contributing to this goal. In the same work, Kant clearly recognizes that a perfect civil order is impossible without the establishment of legislative (ie, within a certain legal state) external relations between states. Already in this period, the philosopher is trying to identify trends and interests that pave the way for the “future great state association of peoples”, and expresses the hope that “after some transformative revolutions” the highest goal of nature will be realized – “universal world-civil state”.
Returning to this topic in the Metaphysics of Morals after the treatise Towards Perpetual Peace (1790) was written, Kant, in his substantiation of the doctrine of the law of peoples, the right of a citizen of the world, and the law of the state of peoples, proceeds from two fundamental propositions. First of all, from the supremacy of the principles of civil freedom, equality and independence, which underlie the status of a citizen as an independent particle in the composition of the people. Secondly, from the fact that the legal relationship of the totality of citizens (who, according to his conception, actually create the state) and their relationship to other peoples must be conceived within the framework of general concepts of public law. Thus, at the center of Kant’s philosophy of law and its international legal concept is the individual and his legal relations with other individuals in the composition of the people, with citizens of other states. It is no coincidence that § 50 of the Metaphysics of Morals, entitled “On the Legal Relationship of a Citizen to the Fatherland and Foreign Countries”, serves as a kind of justification for the transition to the problems of the law of peoples (§ 53,-61) and the right of a citizen of the world (§ 62).
The philosophical teaching of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) represents the highest stage in the development of classical German idealism. His main works are Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Science of Logic (1812-1816), Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences (1817). The main work of the thinker on issues of state and law is “Philosophy of Law” (1821).
Hegel created a grandiose philosophical system that covered the entire body of theoretical knowledge of that time. The main parts of Hegelian philosophy are: logic, philosophy of nature and philosophy of spirit. Each of them in turn
divided into several teachings. The state and law were attributed by the theorist to the subject
philosophy of the spirit.
In the doctrine of external state law (international law), Hegel criticizes the Kantian idea of eternal peace.
According to Hegel, states relate to each other as independent, free and independent individuals. The substance of the state, its sovereignty, acts as the absolute power of the ideal whole over everything individual, special and finite, over life, property and the rights of individuals and their associations. In the question of sovereignty, we are talking about the reality of the state as a free and moral whole. This, according to Hegel, is “the moral moment of the war, which should not be regarded as an absolute evil and a purely external accident …”.
Hegel interprets the sphere of interstate relations as an area of manifestation of external state law . According to Hegel, international law is not a valid law, which is the internal state law (positive law, legislation), but only an obligation. What will be the validity of this obligation depends on the sovereign wills of various states over which there is no higher right and judge in the usual sense of these concepts.
A dispute between states, if their sovereign wills do not come to an agreement, Hegel believed, can only be resolved by war. From these positions, Hegel criticized Kant’s idea of eternal peace, supported by a union of states. At the same time, Hegel recognized that even in war, as a state of lawlessness and violence, such principles as the mutual recognition of states, the transient nature of war, and the possibility of peace continue to operate. “… In general, war,” wrote Hegel, “is not waged against internal institutions and peaceful family and private life, not against private individuals.” With approval, Hegel noted that the latest wars are conducted more humanely than in former times.
In the collision of various sovereign wills and through the dialectic of their relationships, according to Hegel, the universal world spirit appears, which has the highest right in relation to individual states (the spirits of individual peoples) and judges them. Following Schiller, Hegel characterizes world history as a world court.
World history as progress in the consciousness of freedom is, in essence, the history of sovereign states (moral substances), the history of progress in state formations. In accordance with this, world history breaks up, according to Hegel, into four world-historical worlds: Eastern, Greek, Roman and German. The following forms of states correspond to them: Eastern theocracy, ancient democracy and aristocracy, modern constitutional monarchy. “The East knew and knows only that one is free, the Greek and Roman world knows that some are free, the Germanic world knows that all are free.”
The bearer of the world spirit is the people ruling at a given stage of history, which receives a one-time and only opportunity to compose an epoch of world history.