By Hans Freyer
Theory of Objective Mind is the first book of the important German social philosopher Hans Freyer to appear in English. The work of the neo-Hegelian Freyer, especially the much admired Theory of Objective Mind (1923), had a notable influence on German thinkers to follow and on America's two greatest social theorists, Talcott Parsons and Edward Shils.
Freyer took what remained valid in G. F. Hegel's work and drew upon the subsequent insights of the early work of Edmund Husserl in an effort to understand the nature of culture by clarifying methodologically the process of Verstehen, the relation between life and objectivated form and the formation of the historical world as described by Wilhelm Dilthey and especially Georg Simmel.
Theory of Objective Mind remains a thought-provoking source of insight into the nature of human cognition and action, and necessarily of culture itself. Indeed, its pressing relevance for social philosophy today is clear from its analysis of nationality as a form of objective mind. No less relevant are its valuable analyses of creativity, tradition, and revolution as philosophical problems. For all those who seek to understand culture not just historically or sociologically but above all philosophically, Theory of Objective Mind is indispensable.
Hans Freyer (1887-1969) was one of the leading social theorists in Germany—arguably, the most brilliant—after the passing of the incomparable generation of Georg Simmel, Max Weber, and Max Scheler.
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