In this book Kelly provides a wide-ranging but careful scholarly analysis of the meeting of two vital themes in the French Revolutionary period: intellectual and moral perceptions of history, and the patterns of political systems. He argues that a close exploration of the former is critical to our understanding of political philosophy at the end of the Age of Reason.
The author traces his central preoccupations in a series of linked studies of Rousseau, Kant, Fichte and Hegel. Each essay is in its own right an important contribution to the history of political ideas. Cumulatively, they furnish a context of thought in which Hegel’s system of thought can be clarified and reinterpreted.
Kelly thus succeeds not only in conveying an appreciation of the connection between philosophy and politics in Hegel, but in tracing the stages of an entire school of interpretation.
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