Introduction to The Philosophy of History: With Selections from The Philosophy of Right

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Hackett Publishing, 1988 - Philosophy - 123 pages
"An elegant and intelligent translation. The text provides a perfect solution to the problem of how to introduce students to Hegel in a survey course in the history of Western philosophy." --Graham Parkes, University of Hawaii

 

". . . eminently readable . . . admirably picks up the spirit of what Hegel is saying. . . . more readable and accurate than Hartmann's, and it trans­lates a more readable text than does Nisbet's. It includes (as Hartmann's does not) an excerpt, which serves as chapter five, from 'The Geo­graphical Basis of History' (particularly interesting for what it says of America), and a brief chapter six, entitled 'The Division of History.' The volume closes with an appendix, translating §§341–360 of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and deals directly with the very concept of 'World History.' It constitutes a big help in coming to grips with what Hegel means by 'Spirit.'" --Quentin Lauer, SJ, in International Philosophical Quarterly
 

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Review: Introduction to the "Philosophy of History": With Selections from the "Philosophy of Right"

User Review  - Tyler - Goodreads

It's the least complicated of Hegel's works and gives a decent introduction to his ideas in regard to his philosophy of history. However, in some cases he simply doesn't explain the concepts he's talking about, referring readers to other works of his or just philosophy in general. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Methods of History
3
Reason in History
12
Freedom the Individual and the State
19
I The Nature of Spirit
20
II The Means of Spirit
23
III The State As Realization Of Spirit
40
History in its Development
57
The Geographical Basis of History excerpt
83
The Division of History
92
From Hegels Philosophy of Right
99
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About the author (1988)

Born the son of a government clerk in Stuttgart, Germany, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel received his education at Tubingen in theology. Arguably the most influential philosopher of the nineteenth century, Hegel's lectures---most notably at the University of Berlin from 1818 to his death---deeply influenced not only philosophers and historians but generations of political activists of both the Right and Left, champions of the all-powerful nation-state on the one hand and Karl Marx on the other. His lectures at Berlin were the platform from which he set forth the system elaborated in his writings. At the heart of Hegel's philosophy is his philosophy of history. In his view, history works in a series of dialectical steps---thesis, antithesis, synthesis. His whole system is founded on the great triad---the Idea as thesis, Nature as antithesis, and the Spirit as synthesis. The Idea is God's will; Nature is the material world, including man; Spirit is man's self-consciousness of the Idea, his coming to an understanding of God's will. The formation over time of this consciousness is History. Spirit does not exist in the abstract for Hegel, but is comprehended in "peoples," cultures, or civilizations, in practice states. Hegelian Freedom is only possible in organized states, where a National Spirit can be realized. This National Spirit, a part of the World Spirit, is realized in History largely through the actions of World Historical Individuals, heroes such as Napoleon, who embody that Spirit. A profound misunderstanding of this doctrine led many German intellectuals to subvert it into a narrow, authoritarian nationalism that glorified the "state" as an end in itself. Although Hegel saw his philosophy as universal, applicable throughout the world, the focus and inspiration of his thought was European. And in his own even smaller world, he was content to support and work for the Prussian state, which he believed to be the highest development of history up to that time.

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