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Friedrich Hegel (1770 - 1831)

Related: German philosophy - dialectics

The German philosopher Hegel wrote "Each consciousness pursues the death of the other", meaning that in seeing a separateness between you and the Other, a feeling of alienation is created, which you try to resolve by synthesis. Hegel's famous parable of the Master and Slave uses this concept of "the other" to great effect. [Jul 2006]


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. He received his education at the Tübinger Stift (seminary of the Protestant Church in Württemberg), where he was friends with the future philosophers Friedrich Schelling and Friedrich Hölderlin. He became fascinated by the works of Spinoza, Kant, and Rousseau, and by the French Revolution. Many consider Hegel's thought to represent the summit of 19th Century Germany's movement of philosophical idealism. It would come to have a profound impact on many future philosophical schools such as Existentialism, as well as the historical materialism of Karl Marx. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegel [May 2005]

Dialectical materialism

Dialectical materialism is the philosophical basis of Marxism as defined by later Communists and their Parties (sometimes called "orthodox" Marxism). As the name signals, it is an outgrowth of both Hegel's dialectics and Ludwig Feuerbach's and Karl Marx's philosophical materialism, and is most directly traced to Marx's fellow thinker, Friedrich Engels. It uses the concepts of thesis, antithesis and synthesis to explain the growth and development of human history. Although Hegel and Marx themselves never used the "thesis, antithesis, synthesis" model to summarize dialectics or dialectical materialism, it is now commonly used to illustrate the essence of the method. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism [May 2005]

Historical materialism

In Marxism and the study of history, historical materialism (or what Marx himself called "the materialist conception of history") is a method which accounts for the developments and changes in human history according to economic, technological, and more broadly, material development. It can be contrasted with other theories of history (which Marxists might call idealisms) which place the causal role for historical and social change on politics, philosophy, art, God, or any number of other, more cultural phenomena. It centers on the notion that the ways in which humans live are forever changing, so that even capitalism is an artificial institution that will someday go away.

Historical materialism as a term is often treated as interchangeable with dialectical materialism, the formulation adopted by Friedrich Engels in his application of Marx's method to natural sciences. This interchangeability is contested: according to many Marxists, historical materialism is a specifically sociological method (i.e., fundamentally suited to the study of relationships involving at least a single subject, not only objects), whereas dialectical materialism refers to a more general, abstract, philosophy. According to others, especially theorists of the Soviet orthodox Marxist tradition, there is no distinction between the two ideas.

As Karl Marx analyzed the logic of capitalism, he developed the concept of historical materialism based on the idea that human beings have entered into the following productive relations in rough historical order: the communal hunting and gathering of food, the relation of lord and serf, and the contract between labor and capital. While some of his early writings saw this as a series of stages, with somewhat automatic progress between them, his later works and those of later Marxists rejected the idea of "stages" of historical development. But Marx saw socialism as the next step after capitalism in the evolution of production, based in the logic of capitalism.

As part of his historical materialism, he developed the concepts of mode of production, exploitation, surplus value, crises, overproduction, and commodity fetishism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_materialism [May 2005]

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