Article

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Philosophy of History

David Duquette

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0133
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Philosophy of History

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Hegel’s philosophy of history emphasizes the development of freedom and the consciousness of freedom over the course of world history. For Hegel, this development is marked by conflict and struggle, rather than smooth uninterrupted progress, and is manifested for the most part in political developments construed broadly, including world-historical events such as the French Revolution, in the significant actions of world-historical “heroes” such as Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte, and in the achievements of peoples and nations. According to Hegel, the end or goal of history is the actualization of freedom in the life of the modern nation-state. He claimed that history was a rational process of development and that it could be understood and made intelligible for anyone willing to look at it rationally, which means looking at it holistically and as an endeavor of the World Spirit with a discernible purpose. Moreover, he attempted to show that history exhibited real progress toward the ultimate goal of freedom and that the modern period, the time in which he lived up until his death in 1831, brought this development to fruition and, in a way, a culmination. This theory of history has been both highly influential and controversial—it is essential to any overall study of the philosophy of history.

Article.  10719 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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