Thursday, August 29, 2019

'Hegel argues that the history of civilizations is the history of Essay

'Hegel argues that the history of civilizations is the history of Reason and rationality permeating mankind' To what extent is h - Essay Example Using Horkheimer and Adorno, it will be argued that human nature cannot be completely subjected, and second, that the elimination of superstition has also brought about the subjugation of nature in general. Therefore, there is a progress of reason, but some important limitations too so it cannot be maintained to have completely permeated humankind. For Hegel, history is the succession of stages of consciousness, and these stages of consciousness culminate in a notion which might be said to be a universality of reason or a notion reflecting wide-scale enlightenment.[Hegel, 1952: 216]. To realize universal reason, is to understand history, and to have therefore, self-understanding. Hegel addresses the nature of history at the end of the Philosophy of Right. Concerning these stages, Hegel identifies ‘four’ main periods. These are the ‘Oriental realm’, ‘the Greek Realm’, ‘the Roman realm’, and finally the ‘Germanic realm’ [ Hegel, 1995: 220-223]. Of the first realm, he states that they are both indicative of "natural† and ‘patriarchal’ communities. Further, he identifies these as forms of consciousness where pantheistic views of nature dominate all forms of explanations, and indeed, where history itself is poetry [Hegel, 1952: 222]. While the Greeks eliminate many of the limitations of the irrational that preceded them, they still had â€Å"slavery† which he suggests that as being a â€Å"compromise† of â€Å"freedom†. Slaves, for example, are like Oedipus before he discovered his own identity. In other words, if history is about memory or recollection, and it is about self consciousness or self awareness, then, in this regard we can understand how a society with slaves cannot be a society with universal reason. Slaves are denied the possibility of real self understanding, but by virtue of being enslaved. Reason is essential to freedom [Gallagher, 1997: 128]. The second last stage is the Roman realm which like the Greeks is a divided society. First, he argues that there is equality and private rights, however, the nature of the relations among individuals is both formal and abstract [Hegel, 1952: 221-2]. A division persists between the classes, however, the division in the Roman realm is between those who follow there intuition or senses (superstition), and those who use ‘reason’ and self-understanding as a guiding principle. [Hegel, 1952: 221]. In this sense, Rome had an educated elite, but an un-educated and â€Å"superstitious† majority. In the ‘Germanic realm’, reason is reconciled with irrationality. This occurs in a two-fold sense, according to Hegel. First, those who follow passion, belief, sensation or the ‘law of the heart’, become elevated toward the ‘head’, so to speak. Second, ‘reason’ which had been ‘abstracted’ from the senses becomes embodied in this world. There exists a mutual recognition in each others rational capacities, and this mutual recognition entails that ‘universality’ is no longer abstract, but rather, manifest in a community of rational individuals [Pinkard, 2002: 160]. For Horkheimer and Adorno, the progress of reason is also viewed as a product of the Enlightenment, however, the progress is viewed as a means of subjugation rather than emancipation. While the progress of history promises the emancipation of people through enlightenment and reason,

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