Friday, 18 January 2013

Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual - Part 1: Western Philosophy, 1: Hegel & Marx

The most obvious way to look at the concept of "the Individual" is, of course, from a philosophical perspective - or, more precisely, from a number of different philosophical perspectives.

If you are not too familiar with what philosophy is and what it does, here a brief introduction:
This clip is also available on youtube:

Let's start our investigation of the individual through the eyes of philosophy by first looking at some of the most famous Western philosophers: Hegel and Marx - here mediated by Peter Singer:


What concept of the individual do you think underlies Hegel's ideas? And how does this concept change in Marx? Please comment!

More philosophical perspectives will follow later.

Thank you,



  1. I think that the main concept of Hegel is the concept of human will, personality and freedom. As Peter Singer (a really famous australian philosopher) said the Hegel' goal is "the development of mind towards freedom [...], towards consciousness of freedom, towards realizing Human freedom and understanding freedom". For Hegel, the "consciousness of freedom is attained by Absolute Knowledges. Hegel thinks that ideas and mind are always in conflict, that is why people should move to a consciousness of freedom to developing the society.

  2. @ Claire, I am not familiar with Hegel, or Singer however with Marx I imagine a working class tyranny was never meant to ensure freedom above all else. Freedom seems like something that would have been more of a concern of the Romantics than anything else.

    1. Well, I guess, Marx was a lot more pragmatic than Hegel. After all, Hegel usually gets classified as an "Idealist," while Marx is more of a "Materialist," although I think he has some very idealistic goals as well.
      You are totally right: freedom was one of the key values of the Romantics.

  3. I guess that theories of Marx and Hegel argue about social change caused by human activities that are meant to improve society as a social reformist ideals can flourish. However, the idea of ​​European countries have proposed to the government that has the power of the political parties to reform society. Emphasized that social development must be carried out by the use of such knowledge is proposed to train social scientists to undertake social problems and policy measures to solve social problems.

    1. You are right: both Hegel and Marx - as well as many others - definitely wanted social change in order to improve the conditions of the societies of their times....

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