Philosophy Seminar - ‘The Making of history—Hegel and the early German 
When:   20 Feb 2018, 11:30am - 1pm
Venue:  Room LG06, AGSM Building, UNSW Kensington Campus (G27 of campus map)
Who:    Philosophy Seminar - School of Humanities & Languages
‘The Making of history—Hegel and the early German constitutionalists'
Speaker: Ludwig Siep (University of Münster)


Two of the most important questions of a philosophy of history are whether 
there is progress in history and what or who the driving forces of historical 
development are. The second point, in short the question who “makes” history, 
was hotly debated throughout the 19th century. If “making” means the execution 
of a plan and in case of success the fulfilment of a purpose, then there are 
only very few candidates for the role of “maker” of history. The maker of 
universal history could either be God – a single god in monotheism or several 
gods, either together or in conflict – or human beings, either individually or 
in a group. The present age is confronted with new global responsibilities 
regarding the preservation of the human race – for instance concerning climate 
change – or the duty to fight extreme poverty in a great part of the 
un-industrialized world. These tasks require global collective action in a 
hitherto unknown way. And this in view of individual and minority rights, 
democratic and regional self-government and the soft international law not 
enforceable by a central power. Thus a look into the 19th century debate about 
the degree to which man is able to “make” history may be useful for the new 
tasks ahead.

I will discuss the “making of history” according to Hegel’s philosophy in the 
first part of my talk (1.). I will sketch the split of the Hegelian syntheses 
and especially the anthropological turn among the left-Hegelians in the second 
part of my paper (2.). The main interest of my lecture, however, is a turn from 
philosophy of history to anthropology which radically differs from the Left 
Hegelian one (3). It took place in the development of early Liberalism or early 
Constitutionalism especially in Southern Germany. They regarded the Left 
Hegelians as heirs of Hegel’s “theological” view of history governed by an 
absolute subject, replacing reason by the human species. Furthermore, the 
materialistic turn of the Hegelian Left in their view resulted in a 
deterministic view of history. Such a view left no room for personal freedom 
and group efforts to change existing power structures and institutions. 
Instead, history should be seen as a series of collective experiences on the 
way to modern constitutionalism. This conception of historic experience seems 
to me of special interest for contemporary practical philosophy. But let us try 
to remember the Hegelian answer first

About the speaker:

[Philosophy Seminar, February 20, 11.30am-1pm]

Ludwig Siep is one of the leading Hegel-scholars in the world, and his 
expertise and publications range from German Idealism, through history of 
practical     philosophy, to general and applied ethics. He is professor 
emeritus at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, and holds a Senior 
Professorship at the     German cluster of excellence Religion und Politik. He 
has held numerous visiting appointments around the world, and is currently 
co-editor of Hegel-Studien,     and chair of the Hegel Commission of the North 
Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.

  Ludwig Siep in Wikipedia:

  Ludwig Siep in University of Münster, including his list of publications:

For more information please contact Heikki Ikäheimo,

SydPhil mailing list

To unsubscribe, change your membership options, find answers to common 
problems, or visit our online archives, please go to the list information page:

Reply via email to