The Philosophy of History

The Philosophy of History

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The Philosophy of History

The Philosophy of History

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Excerpt

The changed form in which Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of History are re-issued, suggests the necessity of some explanation respecting the relation of this second edition both to the original materials from which the work was compiled, and to their first publication.

The lamented Professor Gans, the editor of the "Philosophy of History," displayed a talented ingenuity in transforming lectures into a book; in doing so he followed for the most part Hegel's latest deliveries of the course, because they were the most popular, and appeared most adapted to his object.

He succeeded in presenting the lectures much as they were delivered in the winter of 1830-31; and this result might be regarded as perfectly satisfactory, if Hegel's various readings of the course had been more uniform and concordant, if indeed they had not rather been of such a nature as to supplement each other. For however great may have been Hegel's power of condensing the wide extent of the phenomenal world by thought, it was impossible for him entirely to master and to present in a uniform shape the immeasurable material of history in the course of one semester. In the first delivery in the winter of I822-23, he was chiefly occupied with unfolding the philosophical idea, and showing how this constitutes the real kernel of history, and the impelling soul of world-historical peoples. In proceeding to treat of China and India, he wished, as he said himself, only to show by example how philosophy ought to comprehend the character of a nation; and this could be done more easily in the case of the stationary nations of the East, than in that of peoples which have a bonâ fide history and a historical development of character. A warm predilection made him linger long with the Greeks, for whom he always felt a youthful enthusiasm; and after a brief consideration of the Roman World he endeavored finally to condense the Mediaeval Period and the Modern Time into a few lectures; for time

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