Hegel Finagled.

Author:Kainz, Howard P.
Position:Letter to the editor

Regarding "America in the European Mind" by Thomas Albert Howard (November): Mr. Howard's quotation from Hegel's Philosophy of History ("What has taken place in America so far is a mere echo of the Old World, and the expression of an alien vitality") is taken out of context. The context is that America did not, in Hegel's day, have much of a past. But the beginning of the paragraph from which Howard took the quote presents a much more sanguine view of America, albeit a bit speculative. Hegel says: "America is ... the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself--perhaps in a contest between North and South America. It is a land of desire for all those who are weary of the historical lumber-room of old Europe. Napoleon is reported to have said: 'cette vielle Europe m'ennuie.'"

This does not jibe well with the dismissive view of America that Howard ascribes to Hegel.

Howard P. Kainz

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thomas Albert Howard replies:

Professor Kainz singles out Hegel's isolated speculation about America's future as the...

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