Hegel’s Idea of Philosophy: With a New Translation of Hegel’s Introduction to the History of Philosophy

In his Introduction to the History of Philosophy, Hegel undertook to say what philosophy is; that it can be said to have a history. He treated philosophy as an organic unity, a process, to which philosophers down through the ages have made contributions. Thus in Hegel’s view, the history of philosophy is inseparable from doing philosophy, and philosophy can be done only historically. Hegel engaged in a critique both of “philosophies” and of the ways of treating philosophy’s history.

The author’s analysis, combined with his translation of a version of the Introduction not previously available, makes intelligible a mode of philosophical thinking which is highly complex and which has had an extraordinarily formative influence on contemporary thought. The result is a treatment more readily understandable to the educated reader than would be Hegel’s own technical vocabulary.

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