Studying and explaining Hegel's political thoughts and its effects on political geography

Document Type : Research Paper


1 University Of Tehran

2 پژوهشگر

3 university of tehran



Extended Abstract
The geographical attitude was established since human found the ability to know and understand his living environment. The method of knowing the environment and exploiting a set of special abilities and techniques was born, which was later called geography by the thinking human. The period of concern of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Montesquieu, Jean Boden, and Hegel can be referred regarding the political thoughts of political philosophers about geography. Meanwhile, Hegel is one of the philosophers and thinkers who greatly influenced the political society. This paper examined Hegel's ideas about economy and civil society against geography and its relationship with politics, because many important geopolitical theories are directly and indirectly indebted to this political philosopher.
This research is a theoretical and fundamental type of research, and library and documentary methods were used to collect information, and descriptive-analytical methods were used to analyze the findings.
Results and discussion
The following can be discussed regarding the effects of Hegelian ideas in political geography: 1. Real-politics or the power-oriented approach in classical geopolitics, whose main elements are state-centeredness, the principle of survival, and self-help, which are best addressed in the comprehensive Hegelian system. 2. Organic state: Hegel develops the concept of organic state within the framework of his dialectical theory and influences Ritter and Ratzel. 3. New world order: Fukuyama identifies his thesis based on the universal desire for recognition of Hegel's third negation (negation of life through the awareness of death and risking life on the way to self-awareness, i.e., the awareness of death). According to Hegel, the last stage in human history will be a homogeneous and universal situation that fulfills all human needs. 4. Heartland Theory: According to Hegel, the world is divided into two parts of new (America and Australia) and old world (Asia, Africa and Europe), in which the old world, especially the countries of the Mediterranean basin, is the historical heart. This view has close similarities with Heartland Mackinder's view. According to Hegel, it is not possible to understand the ancient world without the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Sea is the axis of world history and all the great countries of ancient history around this navel of the earth.
The influential geopolitical factors (fixed and variable) in Hegel's thought can be listed as follows: 1. Negative view about geography: Hegel denied the influence of politics and society on geographical features because nature has no independent positive concept and has never been absolutely determining while influencing (especially in the more evolved stages of the soul). 2. Climate: Hegel believes that effects and results should not be attributed too much to climate in the link between psychological and natural principles, especially climate. He is against Aristotle's statement that tropical or cold regions are not the stage of world history, and harsh climate is incompatible with a free spirit, and the temperate region is the scene of world history. 3. Expanse and population: Hegel did not confuse power with pure material force. From Hegel's point of view, the strength of a country is not in the large number of its population and warriors, nor in the size of the land, but the guarantee of the survival and implementation of the constitution of a government "is in the soul and history of that nation." These two have made and will make the basic laws or form of governments. 4. Border: According to Hegel's opinion, mountains are more suitable than sea and river water for demarcation between countries because of its advantages, which is the factor of unity of people.
This study investigated Hegel's views is his explicit and implied references to political geography such as the state, territory, population, climate, border, political organization of space and the way the government is structured, and even his negative view of geography and its effects on society. Especially his views about the government, national sovereignty and even war, which are the basis of real-politic thoughts, among the thinkers after him, were reviewed. Hegel considered the division of the world into two parts, new (America and Australia) and old (Asia, Africa and Europe), and the countries of the Mediterranean Basin as the heart of world history, which is reminiscent of Mackinder's thoughts. In addition, within the framework of his dialectical theory, he developed the organic concept of the state, which was later used by Ratzel and became the basis for many developments in world history. Therefore, a large part of the political geography literature in the 19th and 20th centuries is rooted in the philosophy of the Hegelian organismic state. In this philosophy, vital space and self-sufficiency became the motto of doctrines that resulted in full-scale war. Identifying the West with Europe and America as the future and free land of the world and finally, peace due to the special nature of democratic legitimacy and its ability to fulfill human aspirations were other results, which are the origin of Fukuyama's idea of ​​the new world order and the end of history. In general, Hegel's influence cannot be limited to one of the philosophical trends or scientific fields. Few philosophers in the western world have influenced the society after him as much as Hegel. His realpolitik theory roams in geopolitics like Hegel's spirit in today's politics. The importance of the government, national interests, the concept of war, and giving importance to the constant and variable elements of geopolitics in the calculation of power in his theory in the eyes of the realism and neorealism schools of theorizing still remain valid. Even his negative view about geography should not be considered as a view of destroying nature and geography. This point of view should be considered as the point of view of a person who lived in an era where concern for progress and hope for the practical and Sisyphean side of humanity was the main discourse. Despite human work negating nature from the perspective of the subject's self-awareness, in a concrete way, the subject and the world of nature are reconciled in a concrete way.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 08 November 2022
  • Receive Date: 17 May 2022
  • Revise Date: 06 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 08 November 2022
  • First Publish Date: 08 November 2022