Referring back to Kant, J.G. Fichte affirms the superiority of value over fact, of having to be over being: the practical foundation is placed at the basis of philosophizing, and human freedom, and therefore the “I” as the principle of philosophy, is a faith. For G.W.F. Hegel the point of view of the absolute, that is, of science, is not immediately obtained, but it presupposes the path that human consciousness takes from the most elementary to the most complex forms until it reaches a degree of awareness that allows it to practice science.
This description is the subject of the Phenomenology, which follows a series of experiences, through which man conquers the awareness of his freedom, i.e. he gets rid of the object as something foreign and mysterious and feels this world as his own. Having reached this awareness, he rethinks the path and enucleates from it the concepts matured through those experiences.
The logic and philosophy of nature and spirit are precisely the results of these elaborations. And this is what gives rise to the absolute knowledge, a knowledge that has its measure only in itself, and that is historical knowledge, well anchored in time. It discovers that the path traveled by humanity is a sensible one, that has achieved the progressive awareness of human freedom and is therefore rational.
The concepts of philosophy are the expression of this rationality, which is therefore not the result of an act of the mind, but it is an objective, realized rationality reflected by thought. Of course, this does not mean that everything that exists is rational: the rational is what is most significant in reality, it is the bearer of meaning. And meaning is precisely given by that process where man has acquired the awareness of his freedom. From this point of view, Hegelian philosophy is an interpretation of the historical course. To philosophize is, therefore, to understand what has been: «philosophy is one’s own time learned through thought».