chapter  4
18 Pages

Hegel on Race and Development

WithFrank M. Kirkland

This chapter examines the philosophical salience of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel on the race-concept "race" and on the contending views of the meaning of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The charge of racial chauvinism has been long-standing and resonates against Hegel's philosophy and against the claims of others which reverberate with the racial chauvinism attributed to him. Hegel's racism strongly resounds especially in the popular mind. Hegel's claim is based on his racial chauvinism and/or the scientific and historiographical research on Africa has repudiated the claim's veracity. Hegel's idealism leads him to characterize Africans, in terms of "natural spirit". Africans are sentient human beings subject to the imperatives stemming from nature. The impact of Immanuel Kant notion of "transition" on "race" is quite different from that of Hegel's concept of "development" on it. In Kant's philosophy, "race" and its purported racist ends are matters whose empirical reality reliant on scientific certification is subject to the conceptual jurisdiction of nature.