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In the 1821 Preface to his Elements of the philosophy of right, Hegel famously claimed that ‘philosophy…is its own time comprehended in thoughts’. It is tempting to view history in equivalent terms. After all, historical research usually engages the past under the influence of contemporary concerns. Topics acquire pertinence on account of prevailing values and interests. And yet there is a clear difference between being roused to investigate a subject as a result of its ongoing resonance and interpreting its meaning in terms of current attitudes. This distinction, however, is often blurred, and with it appropriate relations between historical analysis and moral judgement. It may well be that, at the level of political philosophy, each of these activities can be reconciled; but first their respective provinces should be carefully delimited.Read the article for free here.