Practical philosophy in the classical German tradition from Kant to Hegel seems to be moralistic and even ascetic. The core of its moral and legal philosophy is a concept of freedom as independence from any longing for pleasure and happiness. Tracing the development of Hegel’s philosophy of subjective, objective and absolute spirit, however, exhibits a deep systematic connection between the forms of freedom and happiness in all their traditional and modern meanings. Many of them can be compared with modern conceptions, but others have to be saved from oblivion and defended against reductive conceptions of freedom and happiness in modern philosophy.
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