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Comparing Hegel And Kant's Views On Reason

537 words - 2 pages

Comparing Hegel and Kant's Views on Reason

That "the idea pays the ransom of existence and transience—not out of its own pocket, but with the passions of individuals" is an idea with categorizes what Hegel calls "the Cunning of Reason" (35). It is in this way that Hegel describes universal Reason, a force which ensures the end of history in its own self-consciousness. Like Kant, Hegel develops a teleological history which moves toward a specific end, and similar to Kant, this end involves the actualization of Reason within human events. However, the path that history takes, according to the two, differs greatly. While both men envision a dichotomous struggle, Kant finds the struggle within mankind while Hegel sees it everyone, even within Reason itself. The Kantian struggle between man's sensuous and rational sides seems almost pacific compared to the divided kingdom of Hegel's. The "cunning of reason" is simply the representation of one of those dichotomies—between human intention and human outcome. "[Men] fulfill their own interests, but something further is thereby brought into being, something which is inwardly involved in what they do but which was not in their consciousness or part of their intention" (30). Like puppets moving according to invisible strings, humanity, in its immaturity, moves only through the illusion of Free Will, being guided by Reason which has its own ends. "…We regard the immanent development of Spirit as necessary…while we ascribe to freedom whatever appears in the conscious will of human beings as their interest" (28).

No where is the cunning of Reason demonstrated better than in Hegel's...

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