Idealistic Studies 41 (3):167-185 (2011)

Chong-Fuk Lau
Chinese University of Hong Kong
This paper aims to make better sense of Hegel’s Philosophy of Objective Spirit and defend it against the charge of political conservatism and optimism. I will argue for the left Hegelian position in the theological-philosophical respect, thereby leaving the left-right divide in the social-political respect largely open. I will explain that Hegel’s commitment to the inherent rationality of the state and the course of human history as the progress of freedom does not imply blind optimism, since his thesis is not to be taken as a factual description. Hegel’s point is rather a conceptual one: to comprehend the human world means to comprehend it as a holistically rational entity and process, which is the essential nature of comprehending in the context of the humanities. I will further clarify Hegel’s point by introducing relevant ideas from contemporary philosophy of mind and language, comparing it in particular with Davidson’s principle of charity
Keywords Hegel  Freedom  Reason
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Reprint years 2012
ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies201141314
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