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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Georg W. F. Hegel and history


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Jakob Schlesinger


Georg W. F. Hegel (1770-1831) is an influential philosopher best known for his dialectical analysis of history. Political scientist Francis Fukayama said,


"Hegel was the first philosopher to speak the language of modern social science, insofar as man for him was the product of his concrete historical and social environment and not, as earlier natural right theorists would have it, a collection of more or less fixed 'natural' attributes." (The End of History and the Last Man, 1992)


Librarian James Billington said,


"[To Hegel] everything became relative to historical context because his own capacity for seeing the whole picture was assumed to be absolute... His method applied reason to precisely those phenomena that most interested the romantic mind: art, philosophy, and religion." (Fire in the Minds of Men, 1980)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Hegel.




"History, is a conscious, self-meditating process - Spirit emptied out into Time; but this externalization, this kenosis, is equally an externalization of itself; the negative is the negative of itself... Thus absorbed in itself, it is sunk in the night of its self-consciousness; but in that night its vanished outer existence is preserved, and this transformed existence - the former one, but now reborn of the Spirit's knowledge - is the new existence, a new world and a new shape of Spirit." (The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807)


Philosophy of mind


"The force of mind is only as great as its expression; its depth only as deep as its power to expand and lose itself." (The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807)


"Poetry is the universal art of the spirit which has become free in itself and which is not tied down for its realization to external sensuous material; instead, it launches out exclusively in the inner space and the inner time of ideas and feelings." (Lectures on Aesthetics, 1835)


"Any idea is a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize something means to think it." (Elements of the Philosophy of Right, 1820)


"The enquiry into the essential destiny of Reason as far as it is considered in reference to the World is identical with the question, what is the ultimate design of the World?" (Lectures on the Philosophy of History, 1832)