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EC2024C Modern Social Though

Moorgate 01/12/2010

Hegelian Dialectics and its Application to the Philosophy of World’s History

Submission date: 14/01/2011
Word Counting: 2000 +

This essay aims to bring into critical account to the concept of Dialectics, as it is understood by Hegel. From this conception the Hegelian philosophy of History will be derived and explained. At theend the very idealist conception of History will be criticised from the point of view of its own disciples.
Philosophy is, for Hegel, the science without presuppositions; philosophy is a self-critical science. It is a self developing whole or circle which its end is, at once, its beginning.[?] In Hegelian understanding History is the process of human civilization working towards this end point ofconcrete self-knowledge. This process is guided by a spiritual force which Hegel calls the World-Spirit or Geist. Hegel’s philosophy is called Absolute Idealism, since the ultimate cause of progress is an abstract force – Geist. Hegel’s method of argumentation – or Dialectics - is a three fold manner in which the original proposition – Thesis – is confronted with its opposite, antithesis. From thebattle of these two, a new object, synthesis, arises which resolves the contradiction between the two former stages. In this way synthesis includes in its realm both thesis and antithesis. This movement will be repeated until an ultimate synthesis be so perfectly balanced that no new antithesis can arise, because there are no extremes left to which may form a new thesis. This is what Hegel callsTHE ABSOLUTE IDEA. Hegel’s dialectics refers to the movement of Geist from the abstract to the concrete by means of self-consciousness or category. Thesis is presented as an abstract singularity, in other words it is particular or a being in-itself. This object, self-consciously, recognises the otherness within itself, in that the self is conscious of what is other than itself; entering, thus, intothe realm of abstract consciousness by knowing its opposite, antithesis, that is to say an abstract universality. The product of thesis and antithesis results in an abstract multiplicity which knows itself now in an objective sense, or being for-itself. The determination of these two objects comes, when from the fusion of thesis and antithesis, another object arises, synthesis, which contains thetwo former; it, thereby, is in and for-itself. The Spirit has attained now its determination.
In other words, thesis is an abstract unity confronted by its opposite, antithesis, by means of an abstract multiplicity of both and resolving in the synthesis as a concrete unity[?].
However Hegelian dialectics implies the danger of becoming a never-ending process in which every synthesis becomes anew thesis leading to its antithesis….perpetually.
The problem arising from the above statement is that if a truth requires a system to be unveiled, only at the endpoint of such system the truth rightly exists, the previous stages are only partially true. Hence one is not in position to fully comprehend, fairly justify, or logically criticize a concept, definition, proposition, formula or law;until this point of completion is reached. Hegel himself recognizes the problem that arises from his dialectics[?]. This is the so-called Post-festum paradox. Authors such Rosen state, when speaking on this paradox, that only at the ending point of the dialectical process real knowledge may be attained.[?] One may go beyond knowledge, and by following this paradoxical thread one may doubt, equally, ofthe basis of any conception of rationality as such.[?]

In order to overcome the post-festum paradox and legitimate, thus, Hegelian dialectics from its own dead end Hegel’s disciples have proposed a number of ways. These are `method and system` and `immanent critique`,. The first way by which Hegelian dialectics may be saved from its own rejection of the possibility of real knowledge was...