In his Lectures on the Philosophy of History Hegel expounded the thesis that philosophy supplies the general criteria for the understanding of the march of events through time. The meaning of history is disclosed to an intellect who has mastered the most general categories available to man in his capacity as a reflective being. In this role he transcends the accidents of age and locality, and places himself at the level of the historical process itself. Man therefore is able—provided his concepts are of sufficient generality—to take in at a glance the whole of his past and to envisage the future. Man here is ‘generic man’, the embodiment of mankind as a whole, and his understanding relates not to this or that aspect of history, but to the goal of the process itself. In attaining this insight, philosophy rises to a comprehension of past and present reality, now seen to incorporate the rational principle which strives to bring existence into conformity with its own essence. Hegel, however, held that this end had already been achieved and that the struggle was over. In contrast, Marx reasserted the revolutionary credo which measured progress by the fulfilment of its ultimate aims: liberty and autonomy. His ‘generic man’, who is also ‘autonomous man’, attains true status only in a ‘realm of freedom’ which has left Hegel’s rational State behind, and brought to a close the reign of constraint and the tyranny of material necessity.