History of Philosophy

Hegel was the first major philosopher to take the history of philosophy seriously in its own right. Medieval scholasticism had treated the history of philosophy as a valuable repository of possible opinions and arguments, but was little concerned with issues of historical interpretation. Early modernity just ignored the history of philosophy and wanted to start over, every man for himself. Anti-scholastic prejudice ran so high that apart from Leibniz, no major modern philosopher until Hegel treated Aristotle as anything more than a straw man.

Hegel wrote that the history of philosophy is inseparable from philosophy itself. Philosophy is a dialogue with the best insights of our fellow rational animals over the centuries. (For more on the historical meta-level, see Hegelian Genealogy; Aristotle and Kant; Languages, Books, Curricula; Renaissance; God and the Soul; Spinoza; Modernity, Again; Historiography. Other historically oriented notes are listed in the Index.)

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