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Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy [Paperback]

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Item description for Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel...

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was not only a great philosopher but a great historian of philosophy. He invented the idea of the philosophical tradition as a discussion among philosophers extending over centuries centering on a few main philosophical problems. The conceptual scheme, widely accepted in histories of philosophy, emerged in Hegel's lectures at the same time as German idealism itself. This new abridgment of a well-known edition makes the main insights of Hegel's famous Lectures on the History of Philosophy widely available in an inexpensive edition.
In this student-oriented text, Professor Tom Rockmore selects the most significant material in a one-volume abridgment. A short introduction explains the purpose and principles of the selections and assesses the continued importance of the work. This is followed by selections that include parts of the introduction to the discussion of Greek philosophy, as well as the sections on Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; the introduction to modern philosophy; and then the sections on Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and the "Final Result."

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Item Specifications...

Format: Abridged
Studio: Prometheus Books
Pages   761
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1989
Publisher   Prometheus Books
ISBN  1573924806  
ISBN13  9781573924801  

Availability  0 units.

More About Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was perhaps the most systematic of the post-Kantian idealist German philosophers. T. M. Knox translated many of Hegel's works into English. Harry Burrows Acton (1908-1974) was a British academic philosopher known for defending the morality of capitalism. John R. Silber was president of Boston University from 1971 until 1996.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born in 1770 and died in 1831.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern

Reviews - What do customers think about Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy?

A great philosopher on importance of history!  Aug 14, 2007
I read this book for a graduate class in history. Hegel's philosophy of history is perhaps the most fully developed philosophical theory of history that attempts to discover meaning or direction in history. Hegel incorporates a deeper historicism into his philosophical theories than his predecessors or successors. According to Hegel, the events whose story is told by political and legal history can be given a philosophical interpretation that will bring out its philosophical meaning. He does this himself in his lectures on the Philosophy of History. He views it to be a central task for philosophy to comprehend its place in the unfolding of history. History is for Hegel the development of Freedom, or rather, of the consciousness of Freedom. History is the process by which Spirit becomes conscious of itself. Individual thinkers, artists, and historical actors are primarily the means or instruments by which the collective spirit (God in the world) becomes conscious of truth.

Hegel constructs world history into a narrative of stages of human freedom, from the public freedom of the polis and the citizenship of the Roman Republic, to the individual freedom of the Protestant Reformation, to the civic freedom of the modern state. He attempts to incorporate the civilizations of India and China into his understanding of world history, though he regards those civilizations as static and therefore pre-historical. He constructs specific moments as "world-historical" events that were in the process of bringing about the final, full stage of history and human freedom. For example, Napoleon's conquest of much of Europe is portrayed as a world-historical event doing history's work by establishing the terms of the rational bureaucratic state. Hegel finds reason in history; but it is a latent reason, and one that can only be comprehended when the fullness of history's work is finished.

Many in Western Europe saw Europe or the Western European nations as the pinnacle of historical development, poised to carry their mission civilisatrice to Asia, Africa, Oceania. Yes, they could say, ancient civilizations had contributed to the eventual emergence of modern European civilization, but Europe had integrated what was valuable in those ancient insights into a higher form and it could now turn around and offer this higher form of culture to the rest of humanity who had remained "backward" and "underdeveloped." Hegel has very little to say about the New World. He acknowledges that the Native Americans have been overtaken by Europeans, thus the New World is a continuation of the Old World in its civilization and culture. He sees history progressing in America (populated by Englishmen), but finds that it has not matured yet. He sees America as a growing, prosperous, and industrious nation with a population that is a federation of people who love freedom. However, the nation is not politically fixed yet and he thinks, "a real state and a real government will arise only after a distinction of classes has arisen, when wealth and poverty become extreme." However, this can't happen as long as America has vast territory for people to expand and populate, he thinks these changes can't come about until America is as crowded as Europe so that people agitate each other and clamor for change. I think Hegel foresaw the Civil War. I think the America he ultimately envisioned is finally here today. Our country seems to be equally divided politically and I am not sure our present political institutions can hold us together.

Hegel once described Napoleon, whom he observed in the flesh just before or after one of Napoleon's major victories, as "the world spirit on horseback." Napoleon at that time was a major expression of the dynamic process which was transforming Europe in a certain direction. When Napoleon had served his purpose, he was discarded by the World Spirit, which then adopted other political leaders as its means.

It is worth observing that Hegel's philosophy of history is not the caricature of speculative philosophical reasoning that analytic philosophers sometimes paint it. His philosophical approach is not based solely on foundational a priori reasoning. Instead he proposes an "immanent" encounter between philosophical reason and the historical given. His prescription is that the philosopher should seek to discover the rational within the real--not to impose the rational upon the real. "To comprehend what is, this is the task of philosophy, because what is, is reason." Hegel's approach is neither purely philosophical nor purely empirical; instead, he undertakes to discover within the best historical knowledge of his time, an underlying rational principle that can be philosophically articulated.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in philosophy, political science, and history.

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