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Sociology 2240E
Brendan Murphy

Hegel and Idealism Lecture 2 Hegel (The Dude) - Seen as one of the world’s greatest thinkers at the time - Polymath  loads of talents - Check owl Double Focus 1. How does history and the world take the present form they do? Why has history developed in the way it has? - Is it random? - Aims to get at the core of this 2. How do human subjects exist as part of the world? How do they relate to each other? Overview of Hegel’s philosophy - There are a series of start-stop, periods of change in human history  things change through a breaking of the old world and a build-up of the new world o Always starting a new world - Human’s have the capacity for reason and that can manifest as a negative force that works as part of a dialectic - Social change occurs during particular periods of time when all knowledge culminates in a shift towards an unknown Other o Think of it like a sea-saw  all of the information shifting from one side to the other until change finally happens ex. protestant reformation Hegel’s Premise - The world operates on a rational framework – laws that Hegel terms the world’s reason without consciousness o “to him who looks at the world rationally the world looks rationally back”  A mechanic who looks at a car engine understands how everything works  this is a similar premise - But the world requires human involvement to make it historical o People must engage to make it work to make a significant form of change in the world - Therefore the world is a combination of nature and spirit linking together to create an idea - Idea is the pre-form and it becomes split and ripped apart into the time (spirit) and space (nature) o Our task is to link the truth (the abstract) to the concrete – or the time and space – back together Idea, Spirit, Nature Idea - driving force, the power that wants to be found - all existence is a manifestation of the idea Spirit - If you want to access spirit you have to do that through thought - Human thought is the immaterial presence of the Idea - By making spirit concrete the Idea becomes more complete Nature - Both society and the natural world - Nature is the concrete presence of the Idea - By making nature abstract (i.e. thought) the Idea becomes more complete o By thinking about and understanding the physical realm, we make the idea more complete The meeting of the abstract and the concrete is the dialectic. Dialectic: to opposing forces that meet, and interact, resolving themselves by producing an integrated third force. Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis Dialectical movement Thesis + Antithesis = Syn-thesis + antithesis = (syn)thesis etc. Hegel’s Dialectic Abstract + Negative = Positive Abstract: the thought Negative: counter-thoughts to the one held in mind Positive: where conflict between the two is reconciled and which advances knowledge Challenging a conception with something new  this change creates something new  this movement is Hegel’s Dialectic This is important because it drives us forward. It creates History. Hegel’s Conception of History - Hegel links history into one continuous (and very bloody) process - Each period of history has an essence that must become actualised (made real) o When this happens, when rational thinking is put into action, this creates societal change Different Historical Periods Hegel divided History into four main periods: - African (pre-history)  there is no distinction between humans and nature; no sustained rational thought - Oriental (one is free)  social relations exist to support the one (the emperor), who was free - Roman (some are free)  by introducing laws, a small group of people (generally rich and white) were free, codified laws - Enlightenment (all are free)  from the protestant reformation to the French revolution, community has grown to understand that everyone is free - The Americas  post-napoleon - The world does not progress at the same rate  this allows someone to rate themselves saying they are better or worse in comparison of a variety of factors Hegalian Social History African + negative = Oriental + negative = Roman + negative = etc… World Historic Individuals - When a period has
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