Philosophy 151 winter 2004 g j mattey
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Philosophy 151 Winter, 2004 G. J. Mattey. Hegel. Philosophy. Philosophy is ultimately concerned with God, conceived as infinite and absolute Its secondary concern is with nature and the human mind, both of which are finite and relative

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Philosophy 151 winter 2004 g j mattey

Philosophy 151

Winter, 2004

G. J. Mattey

Hegel


Philosophy

Philosophy

  • Philosophy is ultimately concerned with God, conceived as infinite and absolute

  • Its secondary concern is with nature and the human mind, both of which are finite and relative

  • Philosophy endeavors to relate nature and mind to each other, as well as to God

  • Generally, philosophy can be defined as “the thinking study of objects”


Getting started

Getting Started

  • The non-philosophical sciences begin with accepted accounts of their objects and of the way they are to be investigated

  • Philosophy must demonstrate not only the characteristics of its objects, but also their very existence

  • It may not begin with any presuppositions

  • How, then, is philosophical investigation to begin?


Thinking

Thinking

  • There are two modes of thinking

    • Philosophical thinking (thinking proper), which leads to conceptual knowledge

    • Active thinking, which appears in the guise of feeling, intuition and conception

  • There is a prejudice which separates feeling from thinking, especially in the sphere of religion

  • But feeling is only separated from “meta-thinking,” thinking about thinking


Levels of thinking

Levels of Thinking

  • Meta-thinking is what gives rise to reflection, argumentation, and philosophy

  • But feeling, intuition, and conception are themselves permeated with thought

  • This lower-level thought gives rise to law, religion, and ethics

  • Meta-thinking is not required for these

  • Metaphysical proofs for God’s existence are not required for rational faith


Form and content

Form and Content

  • The differences among the kinds of thought are differences in its form

  • Different thought-forms may share the same content

  • But the way the content is related to the thought-form can obscure its identity

    • The content of lower-level thinking is idea or conception (Vorstellung)

    • The content of meta-thinking is concept (Begriff)


Ideas and concepts

Ideas and Concepts

  • Ideas are metaphors for concepts

  • Understanding of an idea does not imply grasping of the corresponding concept

  • Nor does grasping of the concept reveal what ideas correspond to it

  • Ordinary consciousness finds it difficult to comprehend philosophy because it has not learned to bring out the conceptual content in its judgments (e.g., being in “This leaf is green”)


Philosophy and ordinary consciousness

Philosophy and Ordinary Consciousness

  • Philosophy must locate ordinary conceptions in the space of its concepts

  • It must justify itself if there are any points of conflict

  • Ordinary consciousness operates within its conceptions but presumes that this kind of thinking can be philosophical

  • This view is corroborated by claims to “intuitive knowledge” (by Jacobi)


Actuality

Actuality

  • In all thinking, the forms of thought must be brought into harmony with actuality

  • Thus we distinguish in experience between mere appearance and real existence

  • The concepts produced by philosophical thinking must apply to what is real

  • The highest and final aim of philosophy is to find its rational concepts in the real


Genuine actuality

Genuine Actuality

  • In philosophy, as in religion, God is the only genuine actuality

  • Existence is in part appearance and in part actuality

  • The contingent, which ordinary consciousness deems actual, falls short of the concept of actuality

  • It may just as well not exist as exist


The actuality of the rational

The Actuality of the Rational

  • The actuality of the rational is opposed by those who claim that concepts are mere figments of the imagination

  • It is also opposed by those who elevate concepts above actuality

  • It is said that actuality is not rational because things are not as they ought to be

  • But the “oughts” of ordinary consciousness do not concern philosophical concepts, but only their “superficial surface”


Empirical sciences

Empirical Sciences

  • Ancient Greek philosophy was aloof and abstract from experience

  • Modern philosophy (after Luther) turned toward experience

    • Through the external senses

    • Through internal self-consciousness

  • Its issue is natural science, which it called natural philosophy


Shortcomings

Shortcomings

  • At first, natural science may give satisfaction in its own field

  • But it falls short in two respects

    • It does not embrace the realm of freedom, spirit, and God, because they are infinite in content

    • It does not yield necessity

      • The relations among things are external and accidental

      • It begins with what is given, not what is demonstrated

  • Meta-thinking remedies these defects


Completion

Completion

  • Speculative philosophy brings the investigations of natural science to completion

    • It unifies the highest conceptions of natural science under concepts

    • It injects the concepts into natural science’s picture of the world, thus bringing necessity to what natural science relates only accidentally

  • Speculative philosophy contains natural science while remodeling and expanding it


Critical philosophy

Critical Philosophy

  • Kant admonished us not to begin philosophizing until we have certified the instruments of philosophical cognition

  • This is paradoxical, because we must use philosophy to examine its credentials

  • It does no good to follow Reinhold and proceed from hypotheses


Dialectical thinking

Dialectical Thinking

  • When thought examines itself, it is thrown into contradiction

  • Its reaction is attempt to overcome the oppositions and solve them

  • That thought is of its very nature dialectical is one of the main lessons in logic

  • Yet the reaction has always been to discredit thought and to withdraw to claims such as that of “immediate knowledge”


Mediation

Mediation

  • “To mediate is to begin and to go on to a second thing”

  • The existence of the second thing depends on the starting-point

  • Knowledge of God begins with experience

  • But when it is attained, it remains independent by elevating itself above it

  • Knowledge of God is immediate when it is “mediated” by thought itself


Universality

Universality

  • There is a danger in purely a priori thought

  • It tends to get lost in abstractions

  • In ancient philosophy it is formalistic, concerned only with the universality of ideas

  • The same holds for modern philosophy

    • The absolute is the all

    • The subject and object are identical

  • What moves philosophy along is natural science, which supplies concrete content


History of philosophy

History of Philosophy

  • The development of philosophy has always been guided by a unitary living mind

    • Each system is only a stage in the development of the single system of philosophy

    • The principle which guides each system is a branch of a single whole

    • Philosophy at any one point includes and is the result of the previous systems

  • Systems are more philosophical when they attain greater universality


Development in pure thought

Development in Pure Thought

  • The historical development of philosophical systems is mirrored in the relations of concepts in pure thinking

  • Freely-developed concepts (Ideas) form a universal system which the absolute

  • The truth unfolds from within concrete concepts

  • It is the unity of these concepts, which themselves remain within it as “moments”


System

System

  • Only philosophy in the form of a system is scientific

  • Otherwise, it is contingent, expressing only individual peculiarities of mind

  • A system is not defined by an isolated principle

  • Instead, it is a universal principle comprehending all particular principles


A circle of circles

A Circle of Circles

  • Each part of philosophy is a kind of circle, complete within itself

  • The Idea is found within the specifics in which the principles are formed

  • Because it is “internally a totality,” the circle “bursts through the limits imposed by its special medium”

  • In this way, it gives rise to a larger circle

  • The whole resembles a circle of circles


Philosophical encyclopaedia

Philosophical Encyclopaedia

  • Philosophical encyclopaedia is not a mere aggregation of sciences

  • It contains a unifying principle of the whole

  • Yet it can be broken down into several particular sciences

  • It has no room for the detailed exposition of particulars

  • Rather, it presents the beginnings and basic concepts of the sciences


The positive element in science

The Positive Element in Science

  • The positive feature in a science is that part which is not connected by principles

  • Sciences are positive in three ways

    • They treat contingencies, which are not determined by reason, but by chance

    • They take the finite to be self-contained

    • They have heterogeneous grounds of cognition, inference, feeling, faith, authority, based on internal and external intuition


Positive philosophy

Positive Philosophy

  • Philosophy based on data from anthropology, psychology, and generally on experience is positive in form

  • But it may contain rational principles and thus the universal

    • Experimental physics might represent the rational science of nature

    • History might represent human affairs as guided by a rational principle


Self containment

Self-Containment

  • Philosophy begins with thought as its immediate object

  • Since philosophy may not begin with a mere assumption, the starting-point must be the final result

  • “In this manner, philosophy exhibits the appearance of a circle which closes with itself, and has no beginning in the same way of the other sciences”


The concept of the concept of science

The Concept of the Concept of Science

  • The individual philosopher approaches the Idea externally, and this is a kind of beginning

  • One begins with a concept of science, which as the first implies a separation of subject and object

  • But the concept of science ultimately unites subject and object

  • The goal of philosophy is to arrive at the concept of its own concept


The system

The System

  • The system is fully intelligible only when the Idea has been comprehended within it

  • A preliminary division is into three parts

    • Logic: the Idea in and for itself

    • Philosophy of nature: the Idea in its otherness

    • Philosophy of mind: the Idea returning to itself away from its otherness

  • The division does not co-ordinate the parts, but they develop out of one another


The goal of philosophy

The Goal of Philosophy

  • The ultimate aim of philosophy is reconcile thought and actuality

  • Actuality is divided into nature and spirit

  • These are brought into unity insofar as they are both subordinate to the concept

  • Nature and history are discovered to comprise an intelligent universe

  • “Philosophy is thus true theodicy”


Historical development

Historical Development

  • The development of philosophy is the work of spirit, which comes gradually to self-consciousness

  • Although spirit seems to have lost its way at times, it has always been proceeding forward, like a mole

  • The history of philosophy is the history of the essential development of human spirit

  • Philosophy is always in step with the other activities of human beings


End and means

End and Means

  • The present is the highest stage of philosophy

  • The single philosophy that develops is “the revelation of God”

  • Older philosophy is only a necessary link on the way to the end-point

  • It consists of a series of principles which refute one another when they advance in the same time period


Stages of ancient philosophy

Stages of Ancient Philosophy

  • Pre-Socratic philosophy started from the present world and sought its Idea

  • Plato made universal thinking the essence

  • Aristotle integrated conceptual thinking with the universe as a whole

  • The Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics turned inward, emphasizing the subjective

  • The neo-Platonists recognized the Idea as the absolute at the expense of subjectivity


Modern philosophy

Modern Philosophy

  • Modern Philosophy unites the Idea and the subject as self-knowing spirit

  • The Idea recognizes that it has been split into the knowing thing and the thing known

  • First, spirit recognizes an intellectual world of its own making

  • Then it endeavors to bring that world back into actuality, by recognizing infinite essence as spirit thinking itself


Stages of modern philosophy

Stages of Modern Philosophy

  • Descartes began with consciousness and saw that all contact with actuality proceeds through consciousness

  • Spinoza saw the opposition between consciousness and objectivity and made them identical, but only externally

  • Kant and Fichte saw the subject as for itself but had trouble relating it to the other

  • The end-point is consciousness finding its identity with and difference from the other


Intellectual intuition

Intellectual Intuition

  • The reconciliation of subject and object is supposed to take place through intellectual intuition

  • But intellectual intuition is not mere immediate acquaintance with a transcendent object or merely beautiful thoughts

  • Instead, intellectual intuition yields knowledge, because the apparently external is really internal


Restlessness

Restlessness

  • What is revealed in intellectual intuition is an endless movement or transition

  • The Idea is not the presentation of a static reality

  • Instead, it presents the movement of opposition into unity and unity into opposition

  • Despite the restless motion of what it contains, the Idea is at rest with itself


World spirit and absolute spirit

World-Spirit and Absolute Spirit

  • It appears that in the present time, the spirit of the world has cast off everything objective that is different from itself

  • It has become absolute and not relative to anything else

  • Self-consciousness has ceased to be limited and has found itself to be unlimited

  • This is the end of the process of the development of spirit


The procession of spirits

The Procession of Spirits

  • Absolute spirit is the knowledge of the Idea

  • It is opposed to finite spirit

  • But at the same time it is unified with finite spirit, which exists as “moments” in the absolute

  • Thus by studying the procession of spirits, we come to understand the spirit of the present time, which is absolute spirit


An example

An Example

  • The absolutely simple concept is “Being”

  • Although it comprehends everything, this concept is devoid of all differentiating content

  • Thus Being passes over to its dialectical opposite, “Nothing”

  • But Nothing is equally one-sided

  • The two are united in “Becoming,” in which “Being” and “Nothing” are “moments”


Phenomenology

Phenomenology

  • Phenomenology is the study of forms of consciousness as they appear and develop

  • The appearance and development of these forms is not a strict historical sequence

  • Instead, phenomenology reveals the “logical” dependence of the forms upon one another

  • It begins with the most “immediate” form and ends with a form which comprehends all those that lead up to it


First stage consciousness

First Stage: Consciousness

  • The immediate relation of consciousness to an object is “sense-certainty”

  • Consciousness is simple and its object is merely what is, a “this”

  • This relation is not adequate for truth because there is no universal in the “this”

  • In “perception,” the object of consciousness is a “thing with many properties”

  • But the singularity and universality of the thing cannot be united by perception


The understanding

The Understanding

  • The final form of “consciousness” is the understanding

  • The understanding thinks its objects conceptually

  • It distinguishes between the object’s appearance and its reality in itself as “force”

  • In its attempt to look past the appearance, it discovers itself in the “in itself”

  • Consciousness becomes self-consciousness


Second stage self consciousness

Second Stage: Self-Consciousness

  • Immediate self-consciousness has as its object as “the pure undifferentiated ‘I’”

  • Its initial form is that of “desire,” which seeks to do away with the “otherness” of the object

  • To be an “I,” the object must be a duplicate of the consciousness of which it is object

  • The otherness of other “I” is overcome through “acknowledgement” by the other “I”


Mutual recognition

Mutual Recognition

  • In order to be conscious of itself, a consciousness A must be acknowledged as a consciousness by an other B

  • B can acknowledge A only if B is itself a self-consciousness, which requires that it be acknowledged by A

  • Thus, self-consciousness requires mutual recognition

  • Self-consciousness exists only as mediated


Unity in diversity

Unity in Diversity

  • Each consciousness is “infinite,” in that it places no bounds upon itself

  • But self-consciousness is mediated by an other

  • The problem of self-consciousness is to come outside of itself while not losing itself in the other

  • Mutual recognition, then, is “the duplication of self-consciousness in its unity”


The first double movement

The First Double-Movement

  • One consciousness is confronted by another consciousness

  • In confronting the other, consciousness A recognizes itself in the other, B, and thus loses its independence from B

  • A also does away with the independence of B by finding itself in B

  • The two consciousnesses are at this point inter-dependent


The second double movement

The Second Double-Movement

  • Consciousness A then endeavours to do away with the first result and to re-establish itself as what is essential in the relation

  • To become certain of itself, it tries to do away with the other, B

  • But since the other is itself, it is thereby trying to do away with itself


The third double movement

The Third Double-Movement

  • By doing away with the other, self-consciousness gets itself back

  • And by withdrawing itself from the other, it frees the other from dependence on it

  • This same result is reached from the standpoint of the other

  • Has something been gained, or is consciousness back where it started from?


Inequality

Inequality

  • The double-relation of self-consciousness appears first as an unequal relation

  • Consciousness has a one-sided view of itself as “simple being-for-itself”

  • Everything besides itself is viewed as inessential

  • This is merely the “certainty” of self-consciousness, and not the “truth” to be found only in mutual recognition


Life and death

Life and Death

  • To prove itself to be the essential, consciousness acknowledges only itself

    • It tries to bring about the death of the other individual consciousness in order to overcome its “otherness”

    • It puts its own life at risk because it too is inessential or other to itself

  • But success brings about the destruction of consciousness itself, so the life-and-death struggle fails to yield the required recognition


Dependent and independent

Dependent and Independent

  • The outcome is that self-consciousness recognizes life as essential to it

  • Consciousness does not exist as a simple, self-contained unity

  • Consciousness exists both for itself and for another consciousness as a thing

  • As being for itself, it is independent

  • As a thing for another consciousness, it is dependent


Master and servant

Master and Servant

  • Consciousness existing for itself, but in relation to a dependent consciousness, exists as master in the relationship

  • The servant acknowledges the master and the master is acknowledged by the servant

  • The servant stands in a direct relationship to things, while the master stands only in an indirect relation to things


Enjoyment

Enjoyment

  • The servant cannot destroy the otherness of things, but takes away their independence by working on them

  • The master is then able to enjoy the things which embody his will

  • Thus he has reached a higher stage than that of desire, which bumps up against the independence of the other


No satisfaction

No Satisfaction

  • The master is the essential being in the relation, the only being-for-itself

  • The servant is only being-for-the-master

  • The servant’s doings are essentially those of the master

  • But the relationship is one-sided

    • The master does not attain real recognition because of the inferior position of the servant

    • He needs to be recognized as an equal


Universal dissolution

Universal Dissolution

  • The development of the master has played itself out

  • The servant is in a position for further development—through universal fear

  • His world has become totally open, as his master can do anything to him

  • “Absolute fluidity” is the essence of consciousness


The power of work

The Power of Work

  • Although the master enjoys the fruit of the servant’s work, he only confronts the thing as negated and as nothing to him

  • The servant engages the object in such a way that it is preserved and yet transformed

  • The consciousness of the servant understands the permanent existence of things

  • It engages the world rather than abolishing it


Advancement

Advancement

  • The working servant overcomes fear of the master through his hard work and discipline

  • The servant comes to be a being-for-itself

  • He recognizes his “negative” power over the things upon which he works

  • Absolute fear is required in order to make the scope of this power extend over all things

  • Mere anxiety would have only limited results


Further phases of self consciousness

Further Phases of Self-Consciousness

  • Stoicism finds the experience of freedom in pure abstract thinking

  • Skepticism doubts the world itself, though it cannot escape the practical life

  • The “unhappy consciousness” tries to confront the dualities of master and servant, of freedom and bondage, of the essential “I” and the inessential world


Reason

Reason

  • The conflict is overcome through idealism

  • The world is subject to human reason and the human being is free because the “otherness” of the world has been abolished

  • Reason attempts to understand the natural world through laws

  • Its highest calling is to discover in itself the laws of morality


Spirit

Spirit

  • Reason fails to comprehend the ethical order through its abstract laws

  • Morality exists only in the realm of spirit

  • It is in spirit that consciousness is finally united in a moral community

  • The earlier forms were mere abstractions

  • In spirit there is for the first time “self-supporting, absolute, real being” (paragraph 440)


Religion

Religion

  • Religion is the recognition by spirit of its absolute being

  • The moral community attains its highest form in the religious community

  • But religious thinking is ultimately merely representational


Absolute knowing

Absolute Knowing

  • The final phase in the development of consciousness is conceptual

  • Consciousness comes to know itself through purely conceptual thinking

  • This thinking is able to comprehend all the previous forms, which appeared in time

  • It recognizes consciousness as it truly is, which embodies all the forms that had been uncovered in the phenomenology of spirit


Philosophy of history

Philosophy of History

  • Our text is from the Introduction to lecture notes from Hegel’s course “Philosophical History of the World”

  • Mostly it is from the second edition, which was edited by Hegel’s son, Karl, with italicized interpolations from the third edition

  • That edition is a mosaic put together by Karl of notations by Hegel for courses beginning in 1822-23 and ending in 1930-31


Three methods of writing history

Three Methods of Writing History

  • Hegel’s purpose was to write “philosophical” history

  • He distinguished this from two other modes of writing history

    • Original history, in which the author writes from the standpoint of the spirit of the time in which the events unfolded

    • Reflective history, in which the author writes from the standpoint of a spirit that transcends the time in which he is writing


Types of reflective history

Types of Reflective History

  • Universal history, which aims to describe “the entire history of a people or a country, or of the world”

  • Pragmatical history, which aims to use past events to convey lessons for the present

  • Critical history, which investigates the truth and credibility of historical narratives

  • Specialized history, which investigates the development of areas such as art, law, and religion


Philosophical history

Philosophical History

  • Most generally, philosophical history is “the thoughtful contemplation of history”

  • Philosophical thought is alleged to produce ideas a priori out of speculation

  • History is supposed to describe events factually, just as they happened

  • So it seems that philosophical contemplation of history stands in conflict with the essential function of history


Reason1

Reason

  • The only thought philosophy brings to history is that of reason

  • Specifically, philosophy claims that reason is the law of the world

  • All events have come about in conformity to rational law

  • Philosophy demonstrates that reason must be the law of the world


Substance and form

Substance and Form

  • Reason is “the True, the Eternal, the Absolute Power”

  • It manifests itself in the world in two ways

    • It is the substance or power of the world, the material of the world and that which acts on that material

    • It is the form of the world, in that whatever comes to pass in the world does so “only in its image and fiat”


Historical data

Historical Data

  • Philosophical history must not simply impose its concepts on its descriptions of the world

  • It must be sensitive to the available data and not invent them for its own purposes

  • At the same time, every historian must interpret the data by bringing reason to it

  • “To him who looks at the world rationally, the world looks rationally back”


Anaxagoras

Anaxagoras

  • In the present, people are comfortable with the notion that reason governs the world

  • This notion was first put forward by the ancient Greek philosopher Anaxagoras

  • The intelligence (noûs) which governs the world is not finite human intelligence

  • It is embodied in “universal, unchangeable laws”

  • But it remained only abstract and not applied


Divine providence

Divine Providence

  • The religious belief that a divine Providence rules the world is consistent with the philosophical claim that reason rules it

  • But faith in Providence in general is not able to explain the occurrence of specific events

  • The “plan” is taken to be hidden from our view, and it is presumption to describe it

  • Only in specific events do we presume to detect the hand of God at work


License

License

  • The current philosophical dogma that God is unknowable leads to license

  • Without knowledge of God’s plan for the world, we have license to indulge our own fantasies about the course of its history

  • But God wishes to be known

  • Philosophical history develops intellectually what was at first only present to feeling and imagination


Religious feeling

Religious Feeling

  • Feeling is the lowest, the animal, form of cognition

  • The intellectual comprehension of God is reflected in feeling, but only inadequately

  • Feeling is inherently subjective: each is entitled to his own

  • So basing religious belief on feeling undermines its claim to universality


Large and small

Large and Small

  • It is common to detect the wisdom of God in animals, plants, and individual lives

  • It surely must be correct to search for it in the large events of history

  • The task is the same as was undertaken abstractly by Leibniz: to understand evil in the world

  • Evil is powerless in the face of the overall divine plan


Nature and spirit

Nature and Spirit

  • The world examined by philosophical history consists of both Nature and Spirit

  • Spirit alone is the substance of history

  • Human nature is universal and comprises the union of Nature and Spirit

  • The actions of human beings are concrete

  • Thus, these actions are the most concrete manifestation of Spirit


Freedom

Freedom

  • The essence of Spirit is freedom

  • All its properties exist only through freedom

  • Spirit is self-contained existence, which is just what freedom is

  • In the existence of Spirit, no reference is made to anything else: it is self-consciousness

  • By contrast, the essence of matter is gravity, which is relative


Spirit in history

Spirit in History

  • In self-consciousness, Spirit knows itself

  • In history, Spirit strives to attain knowledge of its own nature

  • Spirit is present at first only as potentiality

  • Its end is to produce itself as actuality

  • The first trace of Spirit contains within itself the whole of history


Stages in freedom s development

Stages in Freedom’s Development

  • Asian culture has never known that Spirit is free, but only that one (the despot) is free

  • The Greeks and Romans understood freedom, but not all were free because of the presence of slavery

  • Only the Germanic people came to know, through Christianity, that all are free

  • The initial religious awareness had to work its way into secular institutions


The final aim

The Final Aim

  • The final aim of historical development is the consciousness by Spirit of its own freedom

  • Because Spirit is the reality of the world, knowledge of its freedom makes it actual

  • All the struggles of history have been aimed at the actualization of freedom

  • God as a perfect being wills only his own will

  • So the Idea of freedom is the nature of God’s will


Disaster at every turn

Disaster at Every Turn

  • The human passions are the springboards of action

  • These actions need not respect law, and they eventually lead to ruin

  • Thus, the contemplation of history saddens us and turns us back toward the present

  • Why have happiness, wisdom, and virtue been sacrificed on the “slaughter-bench?”


Interest

Interest

  • Purposes and aims are ineffective in themselves

  • They require an act of will to become actual

  • This occurs when we have an interest in their actualization

  • Interest can be considered as passion: the will to act for one’s ends

  • Nothing great in the world is accomplished without passion


The harmonious state

The Harmonious State

  • The state represents common interests

  • It functions well when its interests are in harmony with the private interests of its citizens

  • It begins with the simple purpose of securing life and property

  • It finally attains harmony through self-conscious aims which have been worked out through “long intellectual struggles”


Freedom and necessity

Freedom and Necessity

  • The unarticulated end of the realization of freedom is the necessity that guides history

  • Until the end is attained, freedom exists only in the interests contained in conscious volition

  • The necessity of the end is implicit in this freedom, and freedom itself is realized through necessity

  • By analogy, we use natural materials such as water to exclude rain


Individual interest and universal good

Individual Interest and Universal Good

  • Acting on the basis of individual interests appears to work against morality

  • But morality can be understood on a larger basis than as what legislates individual action

  • “Immoral” actions can work toward the universal good

  • Their significance is greater than what pertains to the individual


Ethical life

Ethical Life

  • Individual morality lies in the individual’s carrying out his specific social role

  • To carry out that role is to do one’s duty

  • It is a perverse attempt to shirk one’s duty when one claims that morality presents difficulties for the individual

  • One of the two main factors in history is to maintain the ethical life of a people


Dissolution

Dissolution

  • The second main factor in history is the breakup of the state

  • The universal which is the ethical life is superseded by a higher universal which is the aim of reason itself

  • World-historical individuals grasp the higher universal and act to break up existing states

  • Julius Caesar, in fulfilling his ambition to rule, set up the new form of the Roman state


The hidden role of reason

The Hidden Role of Reason

  • World-historical individuals appear to act solely in their own individual interests

  • But these interests contained within them the end of the Spirit of the world

  • Although the end itself is not known by these individuals, they do understand what their times require

  • This understanding is what makes people follow their lead


The hero

The Hero

  • Generally, the leaders of the world do not have a happy end themselves

  • Happiness pertains only to the private realm, and they are public individuals

  • Nor are heroes moral, from the standpoint of the ethical norms of society

  • But they are better than those who accuse them of immorality

  • Carrying out their purpose wreaks havoc


The cunning of reason

The Cunning of Reason

  • Universal Reason attains its end through the passions of the individual

  • It is the individual, not Reason, that suffers in the process

  • This is the “cunning of Reason”

  • Individuals are sacrificed for the universal good

  • They are only means to a higher end


Ends in themselves

Ends in Themselves

  • Kant had proclaimed that morality requires treating people as ends in themselves

  • This would seem to conflict with their being used as means by Reason

  • But it is only by virtue of the divine in the individual, i.e., through the very Reason of which he is the tool, that he is an end in himself

  • Only as individuals to they contravene religion and morality


Ideals

Ideals

  • Many people complain that things are not what they ought to be

  • Actuality does not live up to their ideals

  • But these ideals may be the mere products of their imagination

  • If people were to recognize the true end of things, they would see that the universal law is not designed for individuals

  • Older people recognize this more clearly


The state

The State

  • The world-historical individual is the means by which the universal end is attained

  • The ordinary individual has a more limited end, which is the harmony of his own will with the moral whole, the State

  • One acts freely only insofar as this harmony exists

  • This is to be distinguished from the negative freedom one finds in selfish behavior


Characteristics of the state

Characteristics of the State

  • The role of the world-historical individual is to found States that are new moral orders

  • The State is also the basis for art and religion

  • The people of the State form a spiritual individual

  • The people are parts of the State as if “members of an organic body”

  • The State is “the divine Idea as it exists on earth”


State of nature

State of Nature

  • Some philosophers have postulated a “state of nature” in which people are free

  • But people in a naturalistic state without laws is a condition in which brute emotions rule

  • True freedom is found in the limitation of the base instincts of individuals through law and morality

  • It is the product of thought and not an original condition


The will of all

The Will of All

  • Subjective freedom is the consent of each individual

  • If made into a principle, it would allow no State action without the consent of all

  • In practice, this would require majority rule, which tramples on the rights of minorities

  • It is also completely impractical

  • It runs the risk that any group could claim to be “the people”


The constitution

The Constitution

  • Even if the will of the people is taken to be the basis of the state, it still must be carried out through government

  • It seems that the function of commanding and obeying is essential to the state

  • Yet the relationship between governor and governed should be made as equal as possible

  • This should be decided by the will of the majority


Forms of government

Forms of Government

  • The form of government is the outgrowth of the spirit of the people at the time

  • There are many mixtures of types of government: monarchy, aristocracy, democracy

  • The most true and just form is now thought to be the republic

  • In practice, government should be monarchy, though in a more refined form than despotism or military rule


Spiritual union

Spiritual Union

  • The State constitutes the spiritual unity of the people

  • The spiritual activities of the people, art, law, morality, religion, and science, are thus have the State as their medium

  • Religion is the highest form of spiritual activity in feeling

  • Art is the pictorial representation of the true

  • Philosophy is the highest form of all


Religion and the state

Religion and the State

  • The idea of God as the unity of the universal and the particular most closely matches the idea of the state

  • Secular existence concerns only private interests

  • The State is based on religion, for without it, the State has no “real center”

  • The religion must be moderate, so as not to endanger the state


The state and history

The State and History

  • Philosophical history has as its object the succession of States

  • The State is the embodiment of the national spirit

  • Through the State we understand the spiritual activities of a people

  • The gradual attainment of self-consciousness by the World Spirit lies in the perfection of the State


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