Of Hegelian and Marxian History


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s philosophy of history, like the rest of his philosophy, is informed by Aristotelian categories from the outset, but he develops them and their specific application to history and society much further.  Indeed his conception of the historical process comes so close to that of Karl Marx as to have left Marx with little more than tasks of adjustment on Hegel’s work in order to arrive at his own theory.  Louis Pierre Althusser’s judgment that there is an enormously difficult set of tasks involved in digging out the ‘rational kernal’ from Hegelian dialectic, and in finding out what is involved in ‘inverting’ Hegel so that he stands on his feet instead of his head, is a great piece of pompous professorial exaggeration.  It is much less of an exaggeration to say that Hegel did not leave Marx with a great deal to do.”

—Scott Meikle, Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx, 1985


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