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Hegel, atheism, and Solomon’s In the Spirit of Hegel

April 17th, 2010 · 4 Comments

In the Spirit of Hegel (Paperback)
~ Robert C. Solomon

Watching the new atheists, I often think of this book by Robert Solomon, a humanist yet student of Hegel, and his tome on Hegel’s classic that attempts to claim that Hegel was an atheist.
Others have thought so, and the same, for Kant.
The point is only that atheism was truly born in the generation of Kant and his successors, as the metaphysical Illusion of religion and false empiricism both came home to the generation of the Enlightenment.

To call Hegel an atheist is provocative, but I doubt many students of Hegel will agree or endorse this nonetheless interesting work, which might caution the new atheists against the superficial anti-theism that the ‘real atheists’ of the Kant generation embraced and then transcended. Hegel is a lost cause at this point, but musing over his ‘atheism’ might help to see that theism and atheism are equally empty.

Tags: atheism · Booknotes · Kant · Philosophy · Science & Religion

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Darwiniana » How to be an atheist (theist) // Apr 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    […] Hegel, atheism, and Solomon’s In the Spirit of Hegel […]

  • 2 Ben Tetler // Mar 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Kojeve certainly regarded Hegel’s philosophy as fundamentally atheist:

    ‘in the final analysis dialectic means atheism.’

    Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, p. 259 note

    Many others do. Stephen Houlgate for example.

  • 3 nemo // Mar 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Kojeve is a poor guide to Hegel, although your point is of interest.

  • 4 Darwiniana » Was Hegel an atheist? // Mar 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    […] http://darwiniana.com/2010/04/17/hegel-atheism-and-solomons-in-the-spirit-of-hegel/comment-page-1/#c… Comment cites Kojeve’s judgment that Hegel was an atheist. Many have said so, and we have discussed the issue here many times. Robert Solomon’s book In the Spirit is an interesting version of this. I think that this claim fails, and merely points to Hegel’s progression beyond religious theism. Still, it is hard to know his views, since he didn’t have the liberty to express an atheist view in the cultural politics of his era. […]

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