This talk follows the read-ahead model; the format consists of a brief 20-minute lecture followed by a 60-minute Q&A session. All attendees must register in advance to gain entry. Registered attendees will receive a link to access Prof. Sedgwick’s paper via email along with the talk's Zoom link.
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Hegel’s “Philosophic” Approach to World History
In the first paragraphs of his Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Hegel flags the fact that his “philosophic” approach to world history is neither purely empirical nor purely a priori but somehow a hybrid of both. As he notes, the philosophic historian sets out to satisfy what seem to be incompatible demands: the demand to objectively describe the historical facts without the distorting influence of interpretation, and the demand to avoid the naïveté of assuming that our access to the facts is unmediated. In this chapter, I identify key features of Hegel’s philosophic method and suggest how that method can help us demystify some of his most curious pronouncements, for example, that the purpose of history can be known and realized by us, and that the “actual” is “rational”.