UCLA Hegels Understanding of History Question


Part 1: M12. Assignment: Hegel’s Understanding of History

Georg Hegel had an encyclopedic mind.  He seems to have remembered everything. He especially remembers historical conflicts and the tragedies they have wrought on peoples throughout history. That got him wondering about why and could those events teach us something and lead to better lives for people in the future.  He used a dialectic of thought to try to come to some understanding of what history means. We don’t usually think of history in this way, but to his credit Hegel was right to make some sense out of the tragedies that befall us, especially due to war. He calls this the “slaughter bench” of history, and he wondered if past events can teach us how to be better. 

Napoleon Bonaparte Biography.  Cloud Biography,  YouTube.  12 April 2012. 

Hegel mentions that certain individuals move history forward. Napoleon is one of those  world-historical individuals.  Hegel watched in fascination and then disappointment as the tragedy of the French Revolution unfolded and then as the country was brought to order under Napoleon. Unfortunately, Napoleon over reached .

There is so much to Hegel’s philosophy that it would take years to master even some small pieces of it, but our text does a good job of explaining his ideas of History and freedom and the place world-historical individuals have to make our world either better or worse.  So in the reading this week in the section that deals with his view of history and freedom. give a detailed explanation of how the World Spirit works through important historical people to advance the course of history and of our lives.

Part 2 : M12. Discussion: Camus & the Myth of Sisyphus


Can we imagine Sisyphus happy?

The Myth of Sisyphus.  Narrated by Alex Gendler. YouTube. Ted-Ed. 13 November 2018. 

Alienation is an important concept for both Hegel and for all of the Existentialist covered in our reading.  With Marx we are alienated from satisfaction in our work, for Hegel we are alienated from the meaning of our existence, for Kierkegaard alienation leads to dispair over the hypocrisy of others, for de Beauvoir after thousands of years of suppression by males, women are alienated from a true understanding of what it means to be a woman.  And as we see with the video here, Existentialist Albert Camus found life to be absurd leading to a life of meaningless actions, as with Sisyphus punishment of an eternity spent pushing the rock up the hill.  To this issue, Camus, in his version of the story, asks in the end can we imagine Sisyphus happy?

To answer this question, give a general explanation of the principles of Existentialism first, and then create an argument as to whether you believe Sisyphus could find happiness pushing that rock.

Rebecca J.
Rebecca J.
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