Systematicity in Hegel’s history of philosophy

Hegel Jahrbuch 2019 (1):538-544 (2019)
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In this paper I argue that Hegel thought that systematicity was both a necessary condition for a body of thought to be recognized as philosophy and a normative principle by which progress in the history of philosophy can be evaluated. I argue that Hegel’s idiosyncrasies in the interpretation of thinkers who he considers to be philosophers can be explained by referring to the structure of his own philosophical system. I also argue that Hegel’s conception of philosophy as being essentially systematic leads him to claim that traditions that do not have systematic philosophy do not have philosophy at all and this leads to their marginalization. Finally, I identify the role of Hegel’s assumptions in shaping the self-understanding of philosophers through the shaping of the philosophical canon. By way of an example, I examine Hegel's influence on Cassirer's historical writings on Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophy. I also examine Hegel's wider influence on cultural history by tracing Hegelian motifs in Erwin Panofsky's work on medieval architecture and scholasticism.

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Zeyad El Nabolsy
Cornell University


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