Knowing and History: Appropriations of Hegel in Twentieth-Century France


Knowing and History charts the development of Hegelian philosophy of history in France from the 1930s through the postwar period, and critically assesses its significance for an understanding of our cultural present and of the possibilities for making meaning out of change over time.

Michael Roth provides detailed analyses of the works of three of the most important Hegelian thinkers: Jean Hyppolite, Alexandre Kojève, and Eric Weil. These philosophers turned to history as the source of truths and criteria of judgment: they forged connections between history and knowing as a means of confronting key modem philosophical problems, and of engaging their contemporary political concerns. According to Roth, the French Hegelians’ work illuminates the power and limitations of the philosophical approach to history. Further, he finds in the development of their philosophies one of the crucial transformations in modem intellectual history: the shift from a concern with questions of significance to a concern with questions of use or function.

Relevant to a wide variety of disciplines, Knowing and History will appeal to those specializing in intellectual history and political theory, as well as philosophers of history, critical theorists, and students of modem French thought and culture.


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