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Definition: According to Hegel, the fundamental unity of the universe toward which human history progresses via the dialectic process. Background: Hegel viewed the universe as an interrelated unity which he called The Absolute, a concept summarized by Russell (1945) as: "there is no truth except the whole truth" (p. 743). In other words, studying isolated instances without considering their interrelatedness to the whole will never yield true knowledge. According to Hegel, human history evolves toward The Absolute via a dialectic process, whereby there is a thesis (one point of view), an antithesis (a contrasting point of view), and an eventual synthesis (comprise); then, the synthesis becomes the thesis for the next cycle of development. Hegel accepted the categories of thought proposed by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), and then proceeded one step further by considering their origin. His answer: Kant's categories are the product of the dialectical process bringing us in closer contact with The Absolute. The Absolute, as proposed by Hegel, is similar to Plato's form of the Good, although unlike Plato, Hegel equates The Absolute with God. Further Reading:
Kemerling, G. (2001). The development of absolute idealism [On-line] Available: http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5k.htm
Oxford Companion to Philosophy. (1995). The Absolute [On-line] Available: http://www.xrefer.com/entry/551193
Russell, B. (1945). A history of western philosophy.. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Related Terms: Categories of thought
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770 - 1831)
Kant, Immanuel (1724 - 1804)
Plato (ca. 427 - 347 B.C.)
Self-Instructional Resources: Take a 1-item self-test over this concept.
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