February 27, 2014
HISTORY AND THE DIALECTIC
For Hegel: freedom for humans is the goal of world history.
o History is the actualization of freedom through the modern state
o We’re progressively actualizing the idea of freedom.
The existence of a state does not make it rational
o If it is not rational, it is not completely actual.
History as a process is not value neutral
o There is a right way and a wrong way to actualize
Actualization is: the move from abstract right to concrete right
Concepts of political thought may be more actualized in some societies than others
The universe has an abstractly real structure
The universe is rational because us as humans are rational and we are of the universe
Hegel: we must figure out how to actualize the rationality of the universe
o We don’t know what freedom is until it becomes real in the world
There are 2 streams of knowledge
o Human beings are biological entities of the world
o Human beings are free
Our social drives and biological drives are incompatible
o If they are compatible: we must make sure our social structures can be as rational
as our biological structures; if they’re not, we’re in trouble
A dialectical process:
o Works in different ways and in different levels
Thoughts are dialectical: an idea will general suggest its opposite. There
are both integrally related.
Each idea is only partially true, therefore it leads to its opposite.
Ie, slavery. The idea of slavery doesn’t exist without the idea of
Thinking always produces a counter-question
The way history forms makes it dialectical
Has basic logic as thinking
Hegel: sees his own philosophy as important to the political process
The goal is a harmonious society
o Freedom is the reason we need this harmony
Freedom: simply to do what one pleases
Nobody asks why people desire the things they desire and assume there is a truth to it
o What produces the preferences of people?
o We live in this system because it teaches us about what we think we want
Whatever preferences that have been developed in t