This book stands at the intersection of three vital currents in contemporary ethics: debates over philosophical anthropology and its significance for ethics, reevaluations of tradition and modernity, and a resurgence of interest in Hegel. Thomas A. Lewis engages these three streams of thought in light of Hegel’s recently published Vorlesungen über die Philosophie des Geistes. Drawing extensively on these lectures, Lewis addresses an important lacuna in Hegelian scholarship by first providing a systematic analysis of Hegel’s philosophical anthropology and then examining its fundamental role in Hegel’s ethical and religious thought.
Lewis contends that Hegel’s anthropology seeks to account for both the ongoing significance of the religious and philosophical traditions in which we are raised and our ability to transcend these traditions. Pursuing the implications of the integral role of practice in Hegel’s anthropology, Lewis argues for a more progressive interpretation of Hegel’s ethics and a “Hegelian” critique of Hegel’s most problematic statements on political and social issues. Lewis concludes that Hegel offers a powerful strategy for reconciling freedom and tradition.
This fresh interpretation of Hegel’s work provides a challenging new perspective on his ethical and religious thought. It will be of significant value to students and scholars in religious studies, philosophy, and political theory.
“Lewis’s work is carefully grounded in current Hegel scholarship and should serve to open up new avenues for the consideration of Hegel’s ethical-political thought. It makes Hegel’s views accessible in such a way that we may hope that those working in contemporary ethics find reason to reconsider, or consider for the first time, the insight into ethical life that Hegel offers.“
―Journal of the History of Philosophy
“…the latest book by Thomas A. Lewis is amongst the finest contributions to this intellectual wave. …his book is an outstanding contribution to the current research on Hegel…. Lewis is impressive in combining thorough research on Hegel with some of the most important questions of contemporary philosophy. …Lewis’s study is a very valuable and important piece of scholarship which cannot be ignored in the further debate and deserves a wide readership amongst Hegel-scholars and contemporary philosophers alike.“
“Drawing extensively on Hegel’s recently published Vorlesungen über die Philosophie des Geistes, he ‘addresses an important lacuna in Hegelian scholarship by first providing a systematic analysis of Hegel’s philosophical anthropology and then examining its fundamental role in Hegel’s ethical and religious thought.”
“This book sets out to fill a lacuna in the received picture of Hegel’s thought, namely, the lack of secondary attention to the moment of ‘subjective Spirit’ in the development of the system. . . . Lewis’s approach is careful and deliberative, and will do much to help scholars to a more adequate understanding of this central figure in modern thought.”
―Scottish Journal of Theology
“Freedom and Tradition in Hegel is a highly important contribution to the scholarship. Lewis brings Hegel’s ‘philosophy of subjective spirit’ to light in a way that corrects previous interpretations of Hegel’s thinking on religion, ethics, and politics. This book establishes Lewis as one of the leading Hegel scholars based in religious studies. It is a book that Hegel scholars in several disciplines will need to take seriously.“
―Jeffrey Stout, Princeton University
“Written with admirable clarity, this important contribution to Hegel scholarship is lively, argumentative, and substantial.“
―Stephen Crites, Wesleyan University
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