History and the Progress of the Consciousness of Freedom

Peter C. Hodgson

in Shapes of Freedom

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654956
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741333 | DOI:
History and the Progress of the Consciousness of Freedom

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Reason identifies the central theme of world history, which gives it meaning: ‘the progress of the consciousness of freedom’; and it articulates this theme in a threefold structure (using a terminology not employed by Hegel himself): synchronic (pattern), diachronic (progress), and surchronic (see chapter 5). The first two of these structures are examined in chapters 2–4. From a synchronic perspective, freedom takes shape through the interweaving of the divine idea and human passions: history is a divine-human production. Viewed diachronically, freedom unfolds through stages of historical development: one is free (the Oriental world), some are free (the Greek and Roman worlds), and human beings as such are free (the Germanic/European world). History has a beginning, a progression, and an end.

Keywords: consciousness of freedom; diachrony; historical development; pattern; progress; synchrony

Chapter.  13907 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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