HE MATTER UNDER CONSIDERATION HERE IS HISTORY. History’s form is the presentation of a succession of events and deeds. But what are the deeds proper to the history of philosophy? They are the activities of free thought; this means the way the intellectual world has come into being, been produced, developed. What we are to consider, then, is the history of thought.

There is an age-old assumption that thinking distinguishes man from the beast. This we shall accept. What makes man nobler than the beast is what he possesses through thought. Whatever is human is so only to the extent that therein thought is active; no matter what its outward appearance may be, if it is human, thought makes it so. In this alone is man distinguished from the beast.

Still, insofar as thought is in this way the essential, the substantial, the active in man, it has to do with an infinite manifold and variety of objects. Thought will be at its best, however, when it is occupied only with what is best in man, with thought itself, where it wants only itself, has to do with itself alone. For, to be occupied with itself is to discover itself by creating itself;’ and this it can do only by manifesting itself. Thought is active only in producing itself; and it produces itself by its very own activity. It is not simply there; it exists only by being its own producer. What it thus produces is philosophy, and what we have to investigate is the series of such productions, the millennial work of thought in bringing itself forth, the voyage of discovery upon which thought embarks in order to discover itself.

This says in general what our subject-matter is. Still, the statement is so general that there is need to determine more precisely our purpose and the manner of attaining it.

The general remarks we have just made already provide the occasion for further reflection, and it is proper to philosophical consideration to reflect immediately on what has been thought, not to let it be put to use in the way it has been unreflectively thought. As we have said, our subject-matter is the series of free thought’s productions, the history of the intellectual world. The statement is simple, yet it seems to involve a contradiction. The thought which is essentially thought is in and for itself; it is eternal. What truly is is contained only in thought, and it is true not only today and tomorrow but eternally, outside all time, and, to the extent that it is in time, it is forever, at all times, true. Now, right here the contradiction immediately appears, i.e., that thought should have a history. What is presented in history is mutable, has taken place, was once, and is now past, has sunk into the night of the past, is no longer. Thought, however, is not subject to change, it is not something that has been or is past, it is. The question, then, is: how can what is outside history, since it is not subject to change, still have a history?

The second reflection concerns the relation of philosophy to the other forms and products of the spirit. We have already said that man thinks and that precisely this is essential to him. We have also said, however, that thought has purposes other than those of philosophy, that it has to do with a large number of other objects which are also products or activities of thought. Religion, art, statecraft, and the like, are also works of the thinking spirit, and yet they must be kept separate from our theme. The question, then, is: how are these distinguished from the activities of spirit which constitute our subject-matter? Similarly: what historical relation is there between the philosophy of a given time and its religion, art, politics, etc.?

In this Introduction we shall bring out these two points of view in order to orient ourselves regarding the manner in which the history of philosophy is to be handled in these lectures. These two points of view provide a path to a third, to a division which permits a general overview of the total historical process. I shall not, however, concern myself with external reflections on the history of philosophy, such as its usefulness and other things which can be said regarding it. Its usefulness will be revealed in the revelation of philosophy itself.

At the end, however, since this is customary, I shall touch briefly on the sources for the history of philosophy. An Introduction should have only one purpose – to give a more precise picture of what our purpose is. The notion which is to be developed here is the concept itself. This concept does not admit of being proved here (since it is in and for itself); proof of it belongs to the science of philosophy, in the order of logic. The concept does, however, admit of being made acceptable and plausible by being related to other familiar notions (Vorstellungen) in ordinary cultivated consciousness. Still, this is not philosophical; it merely contributes to clarity.

First, then, we shall consider the concept, the purpose of the history of philosophy. Secondly, we shall consider the relationship of philosophy to other products of the human spirit, such as art, religion, statecraft, etc., and especially its relation to history itself.


What we shall here consider is a succession of the manifestations of thought. This is the first and, therefore, the most superficial way in which the history of philosophy appears. Following immediately on this comes the need to become acquainted with its purpose, with the universal through which the diversified plurality manifested in the succession is bound together in such a way that the multiplicity is so related to its own unity as to be formed into a whole, a totality. It is this unity which first of all constitutes the purpose or concept. We are quite correct, then, in wanting to know a purpose or concept in a determinate way before going into detail. We want first of all an overall view of the woods and only after that to know the individual trees. One who looks first at the trees and sticks only to them does not get an overall view of the woods and becomes lost and confused. The same is true of philosophies; they are infinite in number and are conflictingly opposed to each other. One would be confused, then, if one wanted to know first individual philosophies. It would mean failing to see the woods for the trees, failing to see philosophy for philosophies. Nowhere does this happen more readily and more frequently than in the history of philosophy. The multiplicity of philosophies frequently occasions a failure to know and esteem philosophy itself.

On an acquaintance such as this is built the sort of shallow know-it-all claim to show that nothing comes of the history of philosophy. One philosophy contradicts another; the very multiplicity of philosophies proves the inanity of the philosophical endeavor. This is said, presumably in the interests of truth or of what one thinks is the truth: the one thing to be sought is unity, i.e., truth, since truth is one, and the multitude of philosophies, each one claiming to be the true one, contradicts the principle which says that the true is in unity.

Thus, the chief consideration in this Introduction centers on the question: what is the situation here in regard to the contradiction between the unity of truth and the multiplicity of philosophies? What is the result of this long labor of the human spirit, and how is it to be comprehended? What sense do we want to give to our treatment of the history of philosophy?

The history of philosophy is the history of free, concrete thought – which is to say, of reason. Free concrete thought is concerned only with itself. Nothing can be called reason which is not the result of thinking – not, however, of abstract thinking, for that is the thinking proper to understanding, but of concrete thinking, which is reason. The question, then, should be expressed more precisely in this way: in what sense should the history of thinking reason be considered, i.e., what meaning is to be given to it? To this we can answer that no other meaning can be given to it than what is found in the sense of thought itself – or we can say that the question itself does not make sense. We can ask with regard to any thing whatever what its sense or meaning is. Thus, with regard to a work of art we can ask what the picture means, with regard to language what a word means, with regard to religion what a symbol or a ceremony means, with regard to other kinds of activity we can ask about their moral value, etc. The meaning or sense of which we speak is none other than the essential or the universal, the substantial in an object, which is the object concretely thought. Herein we always have a double aspect, an exterior and an interior, an external appearance which is intuitively perceptible and a meaning which, precisely, is thought. Now, because the object with which we are concerned is thought, there is here no double aspect; it is thought itself which does the meaning. Here the object is the universal; so we cannot ask about a meaning which is separate or separable from the object. The only meaning or determination which the history of philosophy has, then, is thought itself. Herein thought is the innermost, the highest, and one cannot, therefore, settle on a thought about it. With regard to a work of art we can reflect on it, advance considerations whether the form corresponds to its meaning; which means we can have a position regarding it. The history of free thought can have no other sense or meaning than that of speaking about the thought itself. The character which here takes the place of sense and meaning is simply the thought.

Here we must propose a series of thought-determinations, i.e., we must preface the whole thing with some thoroughly general, abstract concepts, which we shall come back to later, and by applying them get a more precise notion of the concept of history of philosophy. At this point, however, the abstract concepts in question are merely presuppositions; they are not to be treated logically, philosophically, or speculatively, nor are they to be proved. Here it should be sufficient to present these concepts historically and in a provisional way.

Preliminary Notions

The notions (Bestimmungen) in question are: thought, concept, idea or reason, and their development.

  1. Thought as Concept and Idea
  2. Thought. First, then, there is thought.

(1) As Concept. Thought is not something empty and abstract; it is determining, in fact self-determining. In other words, thought is essentially concrete. This concrete thought we call concept. Thought must be a concept; no matter how abstract it may seem to be, of itself (in sich) it must be concrete. As soon as thought is philosophical it is of itself concrete. From one point of view it is correct to say that philosophy deals in abstractions, insofar as it has to do with thoughts, which are abstracted from the sensible, the so-called concrete. From another point of view it is quite incorrect to speak in this way: abstractions belong to the reflection proper to understanding, not to philosophy; and it is precisely those who condemn philosophy for being abstract who are most immersed in the sort of reflections which are proper to understanding, even though they think they have to do with the concretest of contents. Because they reflect on the matter at hand (die Sache),what they have is a combination of the merely sensible and subjective thoughts – i.e., abstractions.

(2) As Idea. In more precise terms, concrete thought is concept. Still further determined it is idea. The idea is the concept insofar as it is realized. To be realized it must determine itself, and this determination is nothing else but itself. Thus, its content is itself. Its infinite relation to itself, then, means that only from itself does its determination come.

Now, the idea is what we call truth – a large word. To the unprejudiced it will ever continue to be a large word, and it will make his heart swell. Recently, of course, the conclusion has been reached that we are incapable of knowing the truth. The object of philosophy, however, is concrete thought, and when this is further determined it is, precisely, idea or truth. As for the claim that the truth cannot be known, this claim is made specifically (fur sich) in the history of philosophy, and when we come to it we shall examine it more closely. Here need only be mentioned that it is to some extent the historians of philosophy themselves who give the prejudice a semblance of validity. Tennemann, for example, who is a Kantian, is of the opinion that it is absurd to want to know the truth; and the proof of this is the history of philosophy. What is difficult to understand is that anyone with this conviction should work so hard at philosophy, could in fact continue to be concerned with it, with no purpose in mind. This sort of thing makes the history of philosophy a mere account of all kinds of opinions, each of which falsely claims to be the truth. Another prejudice says that we can, of course, know about the truth, but only after we have reflected on it (that truth is not known in immediate perception or intuition – neither in external sensible nor in so-called intellectual intuition – since every intuition is as such sensible). I should like to call attention to (appellieren an) this prejudice. Granted that it is one thing to be capable of knowing about the truth and another to know the truth. It is only by reflection, however, that I experience what the truth of the matter is. First, then, there is the contention that we cannot know the truth and, secondly, that we know truth only through reflection. If we give a more precise account of these contentions we shall have progressed further in the picture (Vorstellung) we are trying to give.

The first determinations we have arrived at, then, are that thought is concrete, that the concrete is truth, and that the truth can be the result only of thinking. To be even more determinate we can say that the spirit develops itself out of itself.

Idea as Development

The first point was that thought, free thought, is in itself essentially concrete. This implies that it is alive, that it moves of itself. The infinite nature of spirit is its own process in itself, which means that it does not rest, that it is essentially productive and exists by producing. More precisely we can understand this movement as development; the concrete as active is essentially self-developing. This involves making distinctions; and if we understand more precisely the character of the distinctions involved in the process something different necessarily emerges – the movement turns out to be development. These distinctions come out, even when we stop simply at the familiar notion of development; it is merely a question of reflecting on the notion of development.

  1. Being-in-Itself. With regard to development, what immediately comes to our attention is that there must be something there that develops, which is to say something hidden – the seed, the tendency, the capacity, what Aristotle calls dunamisi.e., possibility (not some superficial possibility as such, but real possibility), or, as it is called, the in-itself, that which is in itself and at first merely that.

Customarily we have in regard to what is in itself the high opinion that it is what truly is. To get to know God and the world is to get to know them in themselves. What is in itself, however, is not yet the true but only the abstract; it is the seed of what truly is, the tendency, the being-in-itself of the true. It is something simple, something which, of course, contains in itself multiple qualities, but in the form of simplicity – a content which is still hidden.

An example of this is the seed. The seed is simple, almost point; even through a microscope it can scarcely be seen. This simple thing, however, is pregnant with all the qualities of the tree. In the seed is contained the whole tree, its trunk, branches, leaves, its color, odor, taste, etc. Nevertheless, this simple thing is the seed, not the tree itself; the fully articulated tree does not yet exist. It is essential to know that there is something utterly simple, which in itself contains a manifold, which latter, however, does not yet exist for itself. A more important example is the 1. When I say I, this is the utterly simple, the abstract universal, that which is common to all, for everyone is an I. Still, the I which each one is is the most diverse wealth of notions, drives, desires, inclinations, thoughts, etc. In this simple point, the I, all this is contained. It is the force, the concept of all that man develops out of himself. With Aristotle we can say that in the simple, which is in itself, in the dunamis, potentia in the tendency, all that develops is contained. In development no more comes out than what is already there in itself.

  1. Being-there. What follows is that the in-itself, the simple, the hidden, develops and unfolds. For it to develop means to posit itself, to enter into existence, to be as something distinct. At first it is distinct only in itself, and it exists only in this simplicity or neutrality, like water which is so clear and transparent and yet contains within itself so many physical and chemical materials, even organic possibilities. Whether it is in itself and hidden, or whether it is revealed and, as such, exists, it is one and the same thing, or rather, one and the same content. The difference is simply one of form, but on this difference everything depends.

The big difference consists in this: Man knows what he is, and only when he does so is he actually what he is. Without this, knowing reason is nothing, nor is freedom. Man is essentially reason; man and child, educated and uneducated, each is reason; or rather, the possibility of being reason is present in each, is given. Still, reason is of no use to the child, to the uneducated. It is only a possibility; and yet, not an empty but a real possibility, with its own orientation to fulfillment. Only the adult, the educated, knows through experience that he is what he is. The difference is simply that in the one case reason is present only as a tendency, only in itself, whereas in the other case it is so explicitly, beyond the form of possibility and posited in existence.

The whole difference in world-history is reducible to this difference. All men are rational, and the formal element in this rationality is human freedom; this is man’s nature, it belongs to his essence. Still, among many peoples slavery has existed, to some extent it still does, and people are satisfied with it. Orientals, for example, are men and as such free, and yet they are not free, because they have no consciousness of their freedom but are willing to accept every sort of religious and political despotism. The whole difference between Oriental peoples and those who are not subject to slavery is that the latter know that they are free, that to be free is proper to them.The former are also in themselves free, but they do not exist as free. This, then, introduces an enormous difference into man’s world-historical situation, whether he is free merely in himself or whether he knows that it is his concept, his vocation, his nature, to be as a free individual.This, then, is the second point – simply this difference of existential separateness. In itself the I is free, but it is also free for itself; and I am, only to the extent that I exist as free.

Development as Concretion

What concerns us here more precisely is the formal. If absolute development, the life of God and of the Spirit, is only one process, only one movement, then it is merely abstract. But universal movement as concrete is a series of manifestations (Gestaltungen) of the Spirit. This series should not be pictured as a straight line but as a circle, a return into itself. This circle has as its circumference a large number of circles; one development is always a movement passing through many developments; the totality of this series is a succession of developments curving back on itself; and each particular development is a stage of the whole. Although there is progress in development, it does not go forward into (abstract) infinity but rather turns back into itself.

Spirit must know itself, externalize itself, have itself as object, must know itself in such a way as to exhaust its own possibilities in becoming totally object to itself. It must reveal itself completely, going down into its uttermost depths and revealing those depths. The higher spirit’s development is, the deeper it is; in this way it is really deep, not just in itself; in itself it is neither deep nor high. Development is precisely a self-deepening of spirit, such that it brings its own depths to consciousness. The goal of spirit is, if we may employ the expression, to comprehend itself, to remain no longer hidden to itself. The road to this is its development, and the series of developments form the levels of its development.

Now, to the extent that something is the result of a level in a development it is once again the starting-point of a new and further development. The end of one level is always the beginning of another. Goethe, therefore, is correct when he says somewhere, “What has been formed becomes ever again matter.

The levels are distinct; each subsequent level is more concrete than the preceding; and the lowest is the most abstract. Thus, in regard to spirit, children are the most abstract; they are rich in sensible intuitions but poor in thoughts. At the beginning of a lecture we usually have much sensible material, which is poorest in regard to thoughts. Our first thoughts are more abstract determinations of our thinking than are later ones. Thus, we first come up against the notion of thing. There is no thing; it is only a thought; and so in the beginning only such abstract determinations of our thinking emerge. The abstract is simple and easy. Subsequent stages are more concrete. They presuppose the determinations proper to previous stages, and they develop them further. Each subsequent stage of the development, then, is richer, augmented by these determinations and, thereby, more concrete. There is, then, no thought which does not progress in its development.

These are the notions (Bestimmungen) I wanted to present by way of preface to my remarks. I have not proved them, only given an ordered enumeration of them, seeking to make them plausible to those who follow our way of thinking.

Now we have to make an application of these notions and see their concrete consequences. For that reason I have proposed them. We now turn to what is more precise, more determinate, in the matter of history, i.e., of the history of philosophy.

 Application of these Notions (Bestimmungen) to the History of Philosophy

  1. a.In accord with these notions philosophy is thought brought to consciousness, occupied with itself, made into its own object, thinking itself, and that in terms of the various notions proper to it. Thus, the science of philosophy is a development of free thought, or rather, it is the whole of this development; it is a circle which returns into itself, remains entirely with itself, is entirely itself, and wants to return only to itself. When we are occupied with the sensible we are not with ourselves but with something other. It is different when we are occupied with thought; thought is with itself only. Philosophy, then, is the development of thought, undisturbed in its activity. Thus, philosophy is a system. In recent times, system has become a term of reproach, because from it one gets the impression that it clings to a one-sided principle. The proper meaning of system, however, is totality, and it is true only as such a totality, whose point of departure is the most simple but which makes itself ever more concrete through development.
  2. Now, the history of philosophy is precisely that and nothing else. In philosophy as such, in the present, most recent philosophy, is contained all that the work of millennia has produced; it is the result of all that has preceded it. And the same development of Spirit, looked at historically, is the history of philosophy. It is the history of all the developments which Spirit has undergone, a presentation of its moments or stages as they follow one another in time. Philosophy presents the development of thought as it is in and for itself, without addition; the history of philosophy is this development in time. Consequently the history of philosophy is identical with the system of philosophy. Admittedly, this identity is at this point simply asserted; the proper speculative proof cannot here be given. The proof involves the nature of reason, of thinking, and this is to be taken up in the science of philosophy itself. The history of philosophy provides the empirical proof. Such a history’s task is to show that its own process is the systematizing of thought itself. In it will be presented what is presented in philosophy, simply with the addition of time, of the incidental historical circumstances connected with countries, various individuals, etc. When in time philosophy appears is a matter we shall consider in the second part of the Introduction.

Spirit in and for itself is quite completely, through and through, concrete. Since it is active, not only does its form consist in its becoming conscious of itself in pure thought, but it emerges in the totality of what belongs to its manifestation. (Gestaltung)a world-historical manifestation. When Spirit progresses it must progress in its totality, and, since its progress takes place in time; its total development, too, takes place in time. The thought which is fundamental to a given time is the all-pervading spirit. This latter must progress in consciousness of itself, and such a progress is the development of the whole mass (Masse)of the concrete totality, which is externalized and, therefore, takes place in time.

Since the history of philosophy has to do with pure thought it is itself a science, i.e., not an accumulation of knowledge ordered in a certain manner but a thought-development which in and for itself is necessary. It must, however, take into account the necessity that the emergence of thought take place in time. This, after all, is a course in history, and we must proceed historically, i.e., we must take up these manifestations (Gestaltungen) in their temporal succession, whereby they give the impression, in the manner in which they appear, of being contingent and unconnected. In so doing, however, we must emphasize the necessity inherent in the process of philosophy.

This is the sense, the meaning, of the history of philosophy. Philosophy develops through its history, and vice versa. Philosophy and history of philosophy mirror each other. To study the history of philosophy is to study philosophy itself, and this principally as a logic. We shall speak further on of the concrete. In order to interpret the history of philosophy in this way, one must, it is true, previously know what philosophy is and what its history is. Still, one must not take an a priori view of the history of philosophy based on the principles of one philosophy. Purely historically, thought shows the way it progresses for itself.

  1. More precisely, then, how does the development of philosophy make its appearance in time? We said, with regard to thought, that there is no asking what its meaning is, since it is its own meaning; there is nothing hidden behind it – not, however, in the ordinary sense of that expression, for thought itself is the ultimate, the deepest, behind which there is nothing further; it is entirely itself. Still, thought also has an appearance, and to the extent that one distinguishes the appearance from the thought, it is possible to speak of thought’s meaning. One of the ways thought appears; after all, is in one’s own idea of it; another is the historical.

Consequences in Regard to Treating the History of Philosophy

It is obvious before we start that one semester is too short a time in which to come quite thoroughly to terms with the history of philosophy, a work of the Spirit which spans millennia. The field, therefore, has to be narrowed. From what we have already said concerning the kind of history we want to speak about, there are, in regard to its extension, two conclusions to be drawn.

  1. We limit ourselves to principles and to their development in the various philosophies. This will be particularly true when we are treating of the earlier philosophies, not so much because of the lack of time, but rather because in them only principles can be of interest to us. They are the most abstract, simplest, and consequently also the most indeterminate principles – i.e., wherein determinateness has not yet been posited, even though in them all determinations are contained. To a certain extent these abstract principles are adequate; they go far enough to be of interest to us. Because, however, their development is not yet complete, qualitatively they are particular, i.e., in their application they extend only to a delimited sphere. Such, for example, is the principle of mechanism. Were we to consider what Descartes has to say about animal nature on the basis of this principle we should not be satisfied. Our own more profound concept demands for this a more concrete principle; it would not be enough for us to use this principle in explaining plant or animal nature. There is a sphere of reality suited to an abstract principle; thus the principle of mechanism is valid for inorganic nature, which belongs to the sphere of abstract existence. (The living is the concrete, the inorganic the abstract.) For a higher sphere, however, the principle of mechanism is inadequate. To give another example, the ancient abstract philosophies looked at the universe from the standpoint of the atomistic principle. Such a principle is totally inadequate, when there is question of life, of spirit. A consideration, therefore, of its relationship to life or to spirit is of no interest to us. From this point of view, then, it is philosophical interest which determines us to consider here only the principles of these philosophies.
  2. In regard to older philosophers, then, we must confine ourselves exclusively to the philosophical, leaving out the historical, biographical, critical, etc. – thus disregarding what has been written about them, what is only peripheral to them. In this connection all sorts of extrinsic considerations have been injected, e.g., that Thales was the first to predict an eclipse of the sun, that Descartes and Leibniz were skilled in mathematical analysis, etc. All such considerations we eliminate.

By the same token the historical account of the way systems were disseminated can be of little concern to us here. We treat simply the content of philosophical systems, not their extrinsic history. We know, for example, a host of Stoic teachers who had a great influence in their own times and even developed this or that detail. We abstract from such details and pass over these men. To the extent that they were famous only as teachers, the history of philosophy is silent about them.

The second point to be taken up in the Introduction is the relationship of philosophy to other manifestations of spirit, the relation of its history to other histories.

The Historical Status of Philosophy

  1. With regard to the historical status of philosophy the first thing to be taken into account is the general relationship which the philosophy of an era has with the rest of the manifestations which characterize the same era.

It is customarily said that the political situation, religion, mythology, etc., are to be taken account of in the history of philosophy, because they have greatly influenced the philosophy of an era, and, in its turn, philosophy has had a great influence on them. If, however, one is to be content with categories such as “great influence,” the effect of one on the other, etc., all one has to do is to show an external connection, i.e., the point of view implies that each is for itself, one independent of the other. Here, however, we must take an entirely different view of this relationship: the essential category is unity, the inner connection of these diverse manifestations. We must be convinced that there is only one spirit, one principle which manifests itself just as much in the political situation as in religion, art, morality, social relations, commerce, and industry – in such a way that these diverse forms are but branches of one main trunk. This is the main point of view. The spirit is only one, it is the one substantial spirit of one period, one people, one era, but a spirit which takes multiple forms; and these diverse forms are the moments which are to be brought out. It is not to be imagined that politics, civil constitutions, religions, etc., constitute the root or the cause of philosophy, nor that conversely the latter is the foundation of the former. In all of these moments there is one character, which is the foundation of all and penetrates all. No matter how diverse the different aspects are, there is nothing contradictory in this. No one of them contains anything heterogeneous to the foundation, however much they may seem to be mutually contradictory. They are simply shoots coming from the same root; and philosophy is one of them.

  1. Philosophy, then, is one aspect of the total manifestation of spirit – consciousness of spirit being its supreme flowering, since its effort is to know what spirit is. It is, in fact, the dignity of man to know what he is and to know this in the purest manner, i.e., to attain to the thinking of what he is. The result of this is a revelation of the place which philosophy holds among the other manifestations of spirit.
  2. Philosophy is identical with the spirit of the era in which it makes its appearance; it is not superior to its era but simply the consciousness of what is substantial in it, or, it is thinking knowledge of what belongs to that era. By the same token an individual is not superior to his era; he is its son; what is substantial in it is his essence, he simply manifests it in a particular form. No one can escape from what is substantial in his era – any more than he can get out of his own skin. Thus, from the substantial point of view, philosophy cannot leap beyond its own times.
  3. Nevertheless, philosophy does stand over and above its own era, which is to say, from the point of view of form, since it consists in the thinking of what is substantial in that era. To the extent that it knows the substantial, i.e., makes it an object over against itself, it has the same content but as a knowledge of it goes beyond. The difference, however, is simply formal; there is no difference in content.
  4. Now, this very knowledge is the actuality (Wirklichkeit) of spirit – I am only to the extent that I know myself. It is the spirit’s self-knowledge which formerly was not present. Thus, the formal difference is also a real, actual one. This knowledge it is, then, which produces a new form in the development of spirit. In this context developments are simply ways of knowing. By self-knowledge spirit posits itself as distinct from what it is; it posits itself for itself [as independent], develops in itself. This involves a new difference between what it is in itself and what its actuality is; and, thus, a new manifestation emerges. In itself, then, philosophy is already a further determinateness or character of spirit; it is the interior birthplace of the spirit which is later to appear in actuality. Its concretion emerges in the history of philosophy itself. In this connection we shall see that what Greek philosophy was came to actuality in the Christian world.

Here, then, is the second determination, i.e., that philosophy is first and foremost simply the thinking of what is substantial in its own time, that it does not stand above that time but only brings out its content.

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