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The Power of Ideas - Essay Example

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During the 19th century, when Hegel developed his theories of idealism, and when the notions of Continental Philosophy were being explored by men like Nietzche and Husserl, much was taking place in the world. The primary focus was on the way the world was changing, mostly because of the Industrial Revolution in Europe…
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Download file to see previous pages This resulted in Hegel's theories, as well as the deeper focus on existentialism and phenomenology.
Hegel's idealism, also known as Absolute Idealism, has severely affected society at large. The primary reason for this is because Hegel's work developed the framework for both Marxism and Darwin's Evolutionary Theory. Hegel's notions start with the idea that knowledge does not have the ability to explain itself; therefore human beings must trust their senses to understand knowledge. The mind also comes into play here, because the mind processes all senses, and thus becomes the primary focus of knowledge. Hegel believed that humans must contradict themselves in order to form a new way of thinking. To further explain this, Hegel burrowed the idea of the Absolute Ego from Fichte and renamed it the Absolute Spirit; to Hegel this meant that the earth cannot be measured based on personality. Hegel heavily believed in Pantheism and attributed this to the absolute spirit; basically, Hegel believed that God was in everything. This belief is a reflection of a Romantic view, and was a movement in the 19th century in direct result of the Industrial Revolution occurring in Europe (Hegel 1991). ...
First, existentialist ideas will be discussed. Many of these themes were introduced by Arthur Schopenhauer, Soren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Existentialism believed that philosophy focuses on the individual, and that individual's interactions with the world. For example, Nietzche, a Continental philosopher, did not agree with Hegel's concept of idealism. Nietzche firmly felt the world is controlled by will-to-power. Furthermore, Nietzche also disagreed with Hegel on the concept of absolute truth; Nietzche did not believe in an absolute truth, he felt that everything was open to one's own interpretation. This is far different from Hegel's notion that the individual must look inward, to the self. Another concept promoted by existentialism that conflicts with Hegel's notions is the existentialist idea that the world itself is an absurd place, and there is no description for why the world acts in this way. Furthermore, existentialists believe that this inability for humans to understand why the world is chaotic causes self doubt, and therefore individuals have to decide how to live and progress in this type of chaotic world. Hegel, being a pantheist, would have seen some order in the world, as reflected in the idea that God is in everything. He would not have agreed with the concepts of a chaotic world causing self doubt.
Hegel did not accept the existentialist concept of the "thing-in-itself." He believed that reality was a reflection of thought and rational. Thus, reality was not a collection of separate specifics; instead, it functioned like an articulate system of thinking, like mathematics; forming one large whole which pieces are all connected. Where Hegel was abstract to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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