Sunday, April 23, 2017

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the philosophy of history

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is an influential philosopher best know for his analysis of history, ideas and god. Librarian James Billington says,
[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)
This post is a collation of quotes from Hegel describing his philosophy of history.

Analysis of history

"History, is a conscious, self-meditating process - Spirit emptied out into Time." (The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807)

"Reading the morning newspaper is the realist's morning prayer. One orients one's attitude toward the world either by God or by what the world is. The former gives as much security as the latter, in that one knows how one stands." (Quoted in Miscellaneous writings of G.W.F. Hegel by Jon Bartley Stewart)

Analysis of concepts

"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)

"Opinion considers the opposition of what is true and false quite rigid, and, confronted with a philosophical system, it expects agreement or contradiction." (The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807)

"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)

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