Chapter

Hegel’s Philosophy of World History

Peter C. Hodgson

in Shapes of Freedom

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654956
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741333 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654956.003.0001
Hegel’s Philosophy of World History

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The first chapter offers an introduction to the work by considering the textual sources of the lectures, some of the key categories (spirit, shape, freedom, history, God), and the modes of writing history that Hegel distinguishes (original, reflective, philosophical). While he regards himself as a philosophical historian, he engages with reflective historians and adopts many of their procedures. Philosophical world history addresses the ‘concrete universal’, which is the ‘spirit’ that guides the world, and which requires thought to be recognized and interpretation to be understood. The three major interpretative categories that apply to world history are ‘change’, ‘creation of new life’, and ‘reason’. His claim that reason rules the world is one of Hegel’s most controversial, but is defended in the present book.

Keywords: change; concrete universal; creation; interpretation; reason; shape; spirit; thought

Chapter.  13064 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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