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It is quite fitting for a number of reasons that this chapter on the post-Enlightenment should conclude with a section on Hegel's interpretation of idealism. He gave expression to most of the criticisms of the Enlightenment, and appropriated many of its constructive suggestions. He gave voice and content to the later period's demand for a positive and constructive philosophy, one which made room for ethics, art, and religion. The influence of his thought was tremendous, immediately in Prussia where it became a philosophical basis for the expansion of that state, and later as it spread to England and the United States, where it became the leading school of philosophy for some time. Another way of indicating the position of Hegel's idealism is to recognize the fact that most of our contemporary twentieth century philosophy represents some form of criticism of idealism as it was expressed by Hegel. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XII: The Post-Enlightenment Period. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.