Hegel’s Understanding of History | Issue 140

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Hegel & History

Jack Fox-Williams outlines the basics of how history works for Hegel.

One of Hegel’s most interesting but misunderstood areas of enquiry concerns history, particularly his so-called ‘dialectical’ approach to understanding the development of human society. This article aims to provide a brief but useful outline of Hegel’s historical theory, and demonstrate its relevance to the modern age.

Hegel by Pinto
Image © Venantius J Pinto 2020. To see more art, please visit flickr.com/photos/venantius/albums

Hegel’s Classification of History

In his Introduction to Lectures on the Philosophy of World History (1837), Hegel argues that there are three ways of doing history.

The first of these is original history. Original history refers to

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