From nationalism to liberalism to communism, the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel inspired a variety of modern ideologies that share at least one thing in common: the notion that history is rational, and that it becomes ever more so the more we recognize it as such. This talk will explore this theme in Hegel’s philosophy by looking at its basis in his critique of religion, and in particular his idea that the truth of Christianity is to be found not in its explicit tenets but instead in its worldly history as a set of communal practices. In this, Hegel sought to carry over the redemptive element in Christianity while making manifest an alternative basis for it. The consequences of this effort remain open to debate.
Dr Knox Peden is Senior Lecturer in European Enlightenment Studies at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Spinoza Contra Phenomenology: French Rationalism from Cavaillès to Deleuze (Stanford, 2014) and articles in History & Theory, Modern Intellectual History, and Intellectual History Review, among other venues. French Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, co- authored with Stephen Gaukroger, has just appeared with Oxford University Press.