By Gary K. Browning (auth.)
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Extra info for Hegel and the History of Political Philosophy
Hegel's understating of the Hegel's Plato 41 novel elements in the Republic is echoed in subsequent Hegelianised accounts of Plato's political philosophy. 26 Hegel's interpretation of the Republic is undoubtedly perceptive in the manner it relates its argument to the historical context. 27 There is also an abundance of evidence in the dialogues to show that Plato's political philosophy is a selfconscious reaction to the cynical pursuit of self-interest and the moral relativism that were being practised and advocated by Sophists in Plato's lifetime.
Hegel does not acknowledge the frank recognition of philosophical paradox and puzzlement expressed in the dialogues and the irreducibly artistic expression of an unended quest for certainty. '39 Criticism of Hegel's reading of Plato retains significance as Hegel's Plato 45 the tendency to misrepresent Plato's thought by viewing it in Hegelian terms is not confined to Hegel himself. 41 Other, more recent reviews of the relation between the political philosophies of Plato and Hegel likewise tend to assume an identity between their formal approaches to philosophising.
Indeed Hegel considers the breakdown of the Greek polis to have occurred in the late fifth century BC, due to the strain imposed by the novel assertion of individual rights and interests. While Hegel's understanding of the progressive development of political and cultural freedom is contained in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History, his most detailed discussion of Plato's political theory lies within his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. In his Introduction to the latter, Hegel argues that to engage in the history of philosophy necessarily evokes philosophical questions concerning the relationship between past and present ways of thinking that are similar to those the philosopher raises in reviewing political history and 38 Hegel and Political Philosophy the problems posed by the standpoint of reflective historians.