Chapter

The Course of World History: Shapes of Freedom

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/9780199654956.003.0004
The Course of World History: Shapes of Freedom

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Spirit’s self-actualization begins with the paternalistic, static realm of China, progresses through the stages of fanciful imagination in the cultural traditions of India, the vast but flawed political organization of the Persian Empire, and comes to Egypt, where it struggles mightily but unsuccessfully to break free from its bondage to nature. The Oriental world of despotism is superseded in the West by a birth of freedom, namely the democracy and individual self-consciousness of the Greeks. The ensuing harsh dominion of the Roman world gives rise to its antithesis in the Christian revelation of the authentic divine and human freedom, which calls for its consummation in the free political institutions emerging in the medieval and modern European world. Hegel’s narrative is assessed and modified in the final section of the chapter.

Keywords: China; Christianity; Egypt; Europe; Greece; India; Persia; Rome; world history

Chapter.  23198 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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