The aim of this article is threefold. To begin with, I sketch in outline form some main aspects of Hegel’s theory of history. Second, I will consider in some detail its relation to theology, which is an important theme for his position in general, including his view of history. Finally, and since I believe that this theory is practically relevant, useful for our understanding of the historical world, I will apply Hegel’s theory of history to a practical contemporary problem, namely, 9/11. I argue that Hegel’s theory of history is best understood as a secular, idealist view based, not on theology, but rather on philosophical anthropology and idealist epistemology. Hegel’s approach to history as the result of human actions that are never irrational but in principle always rational helps us to understand the historical process. This theory is specifically useful in understanding the series of events leading up to and away from 9/11, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the War on Terror.
Hegel on History, 9/11, and the War on Terror, or Reason in History
TOM ROCKMORE IS PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AT DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY, USA. HE HAS PUBLISHED MANY BOOKS, PARTICULARLY ON THEMES AND AUTHORS DRAWN FROM NINETEENTH- AND TWENTIETH-CENTURY EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY. HIS MOST RECENT BOOK IS HEGEL, IDEALISM, AND ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY (YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 2006).