Hegel’s lectures have had as great a historical impact as the works he himself published. Important elements of his system are elaborated only in the lectures, especially those given in Berlin during the last decade of his life. The original editors conflated materials from different sources and dates, obscuring the development and logic of Hegel’s thought. The Hegel Lectures series is based on a selection of extant and recently discovered transcripts and manuscripts. The original lecture series are reconstructed so that the structure of Hegel’s argument can be followed. Each volume presents an accurate new translation accompanied by an editorial introduction and annotations on the text, which make possible the identification of Hegel’s many allusions and sources.
This new edition of Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy sets forth clearly, for the first time for the English reader, what Hegel actually said. These lectures challenged the antiquarianism of Hegel’s contemporaries by boldly contending that the history of philosophy is itself philosophy, not just history. It portrays the journey of reason or spirit through time, as reason or spirit comes in stages to its full development and self-conscious existence, through the successive products of human intellect and activity. These lectures proved to be extremely influential on the intellectual history of the past two centuries. They are crucial to understanding Hegel’s own systematic philosophy in its constructive aspect, as well as his views on the centrality of reason in human history and culture.
Volume I holds additional importance because, as well as setting out Hegel’s discussion of the history of Chinese and Indian philosophy, it presents the interesting and significant changes that Hegel made to the stage-setting introduction to these lectures across the years from 1819 to 1831. This edition adapts the considerable editorial resources of the German edition that it translates, to the needs of the general reader as well as the serious scholar, so as to constitute an unparalleled resource on this topic in the English language.
This new translation from Oxford University Press is the first critical edition of Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy available in English. It supersedes in many respects the previous translation. The merit and value of the new translation can be best appreciated by comparing it with the older, less expensive version. Haldane’s and Simson’s work is not bad as a translation, but it is more than 100 years old, and its irremediable defect is that it is a translation of the second German edition, the least desirable edition of Hegel’s History of Philosophy Lectures… (Read more about this at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews)
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