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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 6 shows how and why Hegel’s general project in Phenomenology leads him to develop the kind of social theory we find in Spirit. The author argues that Spirit provides an intrinsically normative history of modernity: one that can simultaneously explain and justify the quintessentially modern commitment to freedom. This account focuses on two key philosophic claims Hegel makes: first, that guidance by practical reason is only possible if one belongs to a certain kind of social life, one characteristic of free nations; and, second, that the history of European civilization can be reconstructed as the progressive resolution of the necessary internal contradictions that afflict free nations.

Keywords: Hegel, spirit, social theory, European civilization, modernity

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