Peter Singer on Hegel and Marx

In his attempt to refute Hume's famous challenges to epistemology, metaphysics, morality, religion and personal identity, the famous philosopher Immanuel Kant became somewhat obsessed with finding an objective, eternal and universal set of principles that might help us regain the rug Hume had masterfully taken from under our feet. Whether Kant succeeded is a matter about which reasonable people can disagree.

Although greatly influenced by Kant's transcendental idealism, one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the eighteenth century, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, thought that Kant's attempt at securing an eternally unchanging formal structure of reason and reality failed to realize that reality is a historical process in which geist (mind) is on a constant path to come to know itself and attain its own freedom. Every temporal reality gives rise to its own antithesis, and the interaction between these two results in their mutual destruction and the production of a new stage in the unfolding of geist's perpetual struggle to know itself.

Somehow, from the very beginning of my philosophical training, Kant and Hegel were easy for me to read and understand (it would be Husserl and Heidegger who I would later find incomprehensible), but these masters of German idealism have an ill reputation for being impenetrable writers whose obscure and abstract language has led many to develop an amorous relationship with alcohol :)

If you find yourself in the category of people who simply cannot understand Hegel, you are in luck because Australian philosopher Peter Singer is here to explain, with great eloquence, Hegel's main ideas, how they influenced people like Marx, and the tremendous impact they have had on subsequent history. This is a great testament to the power of ideas and how they influence our lives.

Doesn't that conversation just make you want to bust out your copy of the Phenomenology of Mind? ;)
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