Known for his dense and abstract writings, G W F Hegel (1770-1831) was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century. His ideas were united by his conception of history as a process in which cycles of conflict drive humanity toward a state of collective freedom and enlightenment – to put it all rather simply. In this interview with the UK broadcaster and philosophy populariser Bryan Magee (1930-2019), the Australian philosopher Peter Singer helps to unpack some of Hegel’s ‘notoriously obscure’ ideas. In particular, Magee and Singer focus on how Hegel’s conception of history as leading toward an endpoint influenced another revolutionary thinker, Karl Marx, as well as how the two differed on the matter of materialism. Capturing Singer in the early stages of his profoundly influential life as a public intellectual, the conversation also provides compelling insights into his own worldview.
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