The Background of German Idealism and The Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit

Some Background to German Idealism and The Preface to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

People who have even basic familiarity with 19th Century philosophy have heard a variety of claims that are not immediately obvious. For example, “Kant is a major turning point in modern philosophy,” or “Kant is the father of German Idealism,” or “Hegel completes Kant’s project” or–conversely–“Hegel is betraying Kant’s project.” All of these claims are elusive unless one has read both widely and deeply in modern philosophy. Therefore, my goal in the first part of this discussion is to provide some context in which to understand these and similar claims. This summary is necessarily brief and very likely lacking in total accuracy, so I encourage you to jump in whenever you think I’m missing something or getting something wrong.

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