Free «Hegel vs Kant on Reason» Essay Sample

Hegel uses philosophic history, a methodology of writing history, to defend and support his ideology that reason rules history. In this approach, reason or thinking is infinitely free, and that what distinguishes man from non-rational animate. Reason is self-reliant, and it is independent of other things outside its own laws and judgments. Hegel (1989) further argues that reason has intense power, which enables it to actualize its own laws in the universe. According to this philosopher the substance of history is a product of reason since all that is  in history books is generated by rational process in humans. Non rational animate lack documented history because they lack the ultimate process of reason which creates this history.

Immanuel Kant, on the other hand, has a different view on his critique of pure reason, which is one of his historic works in philosophy. In this piece of work Kant, purports to bridge the rationalism and empiricism schools of thought (Hegel, 1989). In rationalism, knowledge could be attained by reason while in empiricism; it could be attained by senses a posteriori. In his argument, Kant postulates that reason or rationalism can deduce the form through which the world can encounter objects even if the objects are unknown. According to Kant, world of the phenomenon is rationally real but transcendentally ideal. This means reason and the mind of rational beings play a critical role in determining history and experience; appearances occur through time, space and reason.

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Hegel (1989) believed that historical formulations influence the different philosophies and modes of reasoning. Reason, according to this philosopher, fails when it is given as an abstraction, which is independent of historical reality. In other words, history played a central role in human reasoning and in his work titled The Phenomenology of Spirit history led to the formation of self-consciousness.

Adolf Hitler as a World Soul

According to Aristotle a soul is that virtue of which living things has life. Living things have three components that comprise their existence as living forms. These components are the matter what can be considered as a body for humans, form and what unites the two, which is the soul. Hegel (1989) argues in his Phenomenology of the Spirit, and Science of Logic freedom and morality are governed by spiritualism and the soul.

As a soldier, the actions of Adolf Hitler and his brutal murders reflect disconnection between his soul and the spirit of consciousness which is characteristic of a world soul. It is this spirit that governs and controls reason which determines the freedom and morality. In world souls, the self-spirit of consciousness is dead which is why an individual in such a state can act against morality.

According to Hegel history influences reason and thought. In this perspective, the actions of Adolf Hitler in the world war two illustrate empiricism behavior in thought and reason (Hegel, 1989). This further supports his argument that finite and infinite, particular and universal and nature and freedom do not occur as two independent realities but instead the latter in all groups is self-transcending of the other.

The freedom of the spirit and nature of the soul directed and influenced the behavior of the dictator, which in some instance were inhumane. The need to achieve greatness and fame is a normal phenomenon of the soul in all rational beings. For Hitler, the end justified the means and the freedom pursued by the soul and spirit overruled the question of morality.

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Can freedom be born of unfreedom (based on Hegel’s dialectical view of progress)?

In his view of progress, Hegel (1989) affirms the involvement of God the infinite spirit in the evolution of man. According to him, it reflects a desire by God to bring self-awareness to the finite creatures. In his view culture, society and philosophy laid at the center of contradictions and tensions such as freedom and authority, knowledge and faith among others. Hegel in understanding progress appreciated the works of Jakob Bohme The Fall of Man. This is a piece of work illustrating the transition of man from the state of innocent obedience to the almighty God to a state of disobedience.

This transition came with the aspect of freedom after Adam and Eve abandoned a paradise where they lived with God. Living in paradise with God was like living in unfreedom state surrounded by limited choice and test. For instance, they were not to eat the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Hegel in his philosophy supports the idea that freedom can be born of unfreedom. In the disobedience state, Adam and Eve achieve the freedom of living where they want and doing what they desire without the fear of breaking commandments (Hegel, 1989). This freedom is a manifestation of the opposing forces, which he describes as contradictions and negation. In this example freedom, (what Adam and Eve wanted to do) and authority (the commandment from God barring Adam and Eve from eating the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge) consist of these factors that are in continuous friction.

After the disobedience, God (Authority) punished them through which the acquired the freedom. Hegel devoted his work to interpret these contradictions and tensions as a comprehensive, evolving and rational unity that can be manifested through the same forces of opposition. In his piece of work, he termed these factors as the absolute idea or knowledge.

How did Hegel contribute to the conquistador’s mentality (the idea that we are bringing progress)?

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The historical change in the course of world History involves a positive progress towards a good and perfect nature than the present. In nature nothing new comes into being below the sun, all is a mere repetition of an earlier occurrence. According to Hegel (1989) it is the change or progress in the realm of spirit that brings the visible change. This is a characteristic that is different form nature which in other words is the desire to achieve perfectibility. In accordance to his school of thought, this principle brings change itself under laws and controls that change.

In reality, perfectibility is a fact that is undetermined and tends to lack aim or purpose for its course. It occurs without a standard format or pattern, and the better it is the more perfect it tends to achieve becomes entirely undetermined. The idea of progress also implies on the inner principle, which is a presupposed potentiality that brings the self into existence. This is the same spirit responsible for the realization of world history and progress. Development is also influenced by natural and organic objects whose existence is dependent on external influence such as humans (Hegel, 1989).

These natural, organic substances bring forth interactions and differentiation, which connects it with the external influential forces that initiate its development. Thus, this object lives in a progressive form of transformation and progress towards perfect forms. Similarly, the spirit is that which transforms and makes into that which itself, it is. This means the progress of an organism occurs immediately, unhindered, and in direct interaction with nature.

Man is a social animal (Aristotle). Explain based on Hegel

In his quote, Aristotle refers to the human nature of interdependence, and that no one is self-sufficient except gods and beasts. In the philosophical perspective, of Hegel humans or man not only interact bodily but also in through the spirit and soul. Hegel describes this in his Philosophy of Right, which comprises of the philosophies of subjective spirit, objective spirit and the absolute spirit (Hegel, 1989).

It is in the philosophy of objective spirit that involves patterns and forms of social interactions and cultural objects through which the spirit is objectified. Natural and environmental factors play a vital role in influencing the social interaction that man use. The factor of interdependence extends further from the human domain to history and spiritual, non-objective interactions.

It is through the social interaction that man can be differentiated from the other animals which have limited interdependence. Man has instituted culture and traditions that govern his life through families and relationship with other humans. Non rational animals lack the spiritual consciousness present in man, which Hegel has termed philosophy of spiritual objectivity. This spirit is capable of evolving and creating law to govern nature in which it exists. In this nature, as social being man has created a living cycle comprised of various stages of life and style (Hegel, 1989).

Any individual living outside this cycle is referred to as antisocial or abnormal. For instance, it is normal to get married at a certain age perceived by the social community as the ideal age; now violating such a norm is likely to get a negative response. The social community has mechanisms of stabilizing to norm whenever faced with instability. Some animals though they have interdependence it is only limited to feeding and breeding unlike in human that extends to social development and growth.

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