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Does Hegel's Perception of the World History Mean More Than Just a Popular Quotation?

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Introduction

Does Hegel's Perception of the World History Mean More Than Just a Popular Quotation? As an absolute idealist with an absolute mind, Georog Wilhelm F. Hegel claimed that the only real thing that had ever existed was "the ideal" itself. Ideal in everything: from a human being - to the development of human history, from the very beginning - to the acme of the highest potential, from the emergence of absolute mind - to its culmination within the history.1 Such was the approach of the Great German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, born at Stuttgart on August 27, 1770, to the universal things, i.e. spirit, mind, essence, freedom, nation, state, history, consciousness etc. In the course of historic development, Hegel's philosophical and theological paradigms greatly influenced the standpoints of many prominent thinkers both of the past and modern historical methods and studies. This paper generally outlines the core features of Hegelian perception of the world's history through the progress of the consciousness of freedom, attitudes of prominent thinkers to his paradigm, as well as contemporary value of such approach. Hegel perceived history as a complex and organic process that was hardly ever comprehended by his contemporaries. Hegel used historical facts to prove that history itself displays a rational process of development, and, by studying it, we can understand our own nature and place in the world. Therefore, according to Hegel, the world should be transformed in order to fully understand the principle of individual freedom.2 The central theme of The Philosophy of History (1830) is that all the historical events are caused by reason which is the struggle for freedom of human kinds, i.e. "The only Thought, which Philosophy brings... ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless, the difference between Hegel's and Marx's approaches is apparent, "whereas Hegel thinks that the motor of history are ideas and ideals, and usually those of the philosophers, Marx argued the motor of History is the economic activity of societies: more precisely Marx argued that it is the mode (type) of production of a society which is the motor of human history."19 In such a way, Marx ultimately emphasized on the core role of economic relationships in society, and applied Hegel's thesis that "for every old idea, there is a new one which conflicts with it; Out of the struggle a new idea is created (Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis), and history is just the product of conflict"20 to classes of people throughout history. According to Marx, "any ruling class controlled the means of production which gave them wealth and power to rule. Whenever a new method of production occurred, there was conflict between the older ruling class and a newer class using the newer and superior means of production.21 As well as Marx, Walter Benjamin, perceives the class struggle as "a struggle for the rough and material things, without which there is nothing fine and spiritual. Nevertheless these latter are present in the class struggle as something other than mere booty, which falls to the victor. They are present as confidence, as courage, as humor, as cunning, as steadfastness in this struggle, and they reach far back into the mists of time. They will, ever and anon, call every victory which has ever been won by the rulers into question. Just as flowers turn their heads towards the sun, so too does that which has been turn, by virtue of a secret kind of heliotropism, towards the sun which is dawning in the sky of history. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to Hegel the history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom. For other historians, freedom is not a product of history; man is born free to work out his own destiny. Whatever our starting-point, however, the political problems posed by man's freedom in society, basically the relationship of the individual to the state and to his fellow men, generate a variety of questions the relationships between freedom and equality, freedom and justice, freedom and the rights of the state, freedom and law - which have had different answers in different cultures and at different historical moments. Although the philosophical or theological conception of freedom has common roots in all cultures, the way in which that conception is translated into specific institutionalized human rights is, as we know, historically determined, and changes with the evolution of cultures and social systems.33 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Philosophy of History presents a version of history based on his own dialectic philosophy. He interprets the events of the past and tries to assign each event a place in his philosophy. Thus, this kind of history seeks to uncover the true nature of reality in the past. It is a philosophical position. Hegel's philosophy of history was the first of its kind in Germany. The kind of history he proposed doing was thoroughly subjective and uncritical, but it was nonetheless critical in that it studied the nature of history itself, as a means for arriving at a dialectic conception of history.34 In this paper, I reflected Hegel's paradigm from different angles and showed how it was perceived by prominent thinkers. Therefore, Hegel' theory of the history through the progress of the consciousness of freedom remains relevant under the conditions of modern world, and, of course, impacts approaches to understanding history by today's scientists. ...read more.

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