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“Philosophy and Dictatorship”
Undergraduate Mid-Term Essay


Someone has written:

"Gentile's thinking was heavily influenced by the Hegelian tradition.  Yet, his commitment to a dictatorial state and his denigration of the individual would have made Hegel cringe with discomfort."

What would be the cause of Hegel's discomfort with Gentile's position?  Please respond to this question by comparing and contrasting Hegel's and Gentile's conceptions of the three philosophical issues that undergird their thinking:  epistemology, morality, and human agency (freedom).

Feel free to use all of your required reading.  These materials will be entirely sufficient for responding to this assignment. Otherwise, please do not refer to any readings outside of this seminar. In particular, I do not want you to feel tempted to read more about Hegel’s conception of the state than you already have available.  Just take it for granted that the quotation is correct---Hegel would not have supported fascist dictatorship!

Your essay should be typed, double-spaced, and no more than five pages of clear, carefully-organized, and scintillating prose.  Use lots of evidence to back up your claims.  If, at times, you are not exactly sure what you are arguing, there is an excellent chance that I will not know either.

The absolute deadline for this essay is by class time, Wednesday, March 19.  However, it is in your best interest to turn this paper in earlier, preferably by the weekend of March 15-16.  Otherwise, I will not be able to evaluate and return your paper before Easter break.