WTSTW 2020: Hegel, modern ideologies and rational history

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Dr Knox Peden explores the influence of German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, and his idea of where the truth of Christianity is to be found.

From nationalism to liberalism to communism, the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (born in 1770) 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.

About the speaker

Dr Knox Peden is Senior Lecturer in Continental Philosophy at Flinders University. 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. Oxford will publish his French Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, co-authored with Stephen Gaukroger, later this year.

About The Series

Presented by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre, Works That Shaped The World is an engaging series of talks exploring humankind's achievements and creations. The inaugural 2019 series explored the moon through topics ranging from Shakespeare and cinema, to environmental humanities and Pythagoras, marking the 50 years since the Apollo 11 landing. The 2020 series focuses on the year 1770, and the legacy 250 years later of people and objects born of that year.

Find out more about the series and subscribe to the podcast at cass.anu.edu.au/wtstw