Redressing the Private-Public Distinction
Utilizing Hegelian thought, this essay considers the implications of conceptually compartmentalizing the public and private life of individuals. Inspired by relational concepts of personhood in feminist philosophy and the Private is Political movement, I revisit Hegel's understandings of personhood and the State in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Using Hegel's syllogistic framework, I call attention to the arbitrary division between the private and public life that is maintained in standard models of citizenship. Through the Citizenship Problem and Yeatman’s Formulation, I extract three characteristics of an ideal model of citizenship. Through further implementation of Hegel’s syllogistic structure, I argue that personhood and citizenship are structurally symmetric; therefore, these spheres of social life can be successfully integrated into a coherent concept of selfhood. I synthesize these notions into a syllogism of self-as-citizen, thereby developing a coherent notion of personhood that acknowledges the integration of all spheres of social life.
Faculty Mentor: Aron Edidin