Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hegel - Overview of Philosophy and Summaries

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is probably the greatest German idealist and one of the outstanding philosophers of Western thought. He sets himself to address the problem of the Absolute (God) or infinite and the relation between the finite and infinite. Hegel's first major work in 1801 when he was at Jena (called the Jena lectures). He compared the writings of Schelling and Fichte and hence gave the impression that he was a disciple of Schelling. With Schelling Hegel edited the Critical Journal of Philosophy (1802-03), but his lectures at Jena (which were not published until the 20th c.) already established his independence from Schelling which became clear with the publication of his famous Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). The Battle of Jena (where Napoleon won) led to his poverty and eventually a job as Director of the Gymnasium at Nuremberg until 1816 where he also produced the Science of Logic (1812-16).

Following the publication of the second volume, Hegel accepted a position at Heidelberg where he published Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline (1817) in which he presented the main divisions of philosophy: logic, nature, and spirit. At Heidelberg Hegel also lectured on aesthetics.

In 1818 Hegel went to Berlin until his death of cholera in 1831. Here he wrote Outlines of the Philosophy of Right (1821), new edition of the Encyclopedia (1827-30), and was revising the Phenomenology of Spirit. His lectures were eventually published in four volumes on religion and history of philosophy (3 volumes each) and one volume on the philosophy of history.

Summaries of Hegel's works and ideas (best read in succession):

Hegel - Overview of Philosophy and Summaries
Hegel On Self-Consciousness

Learn more on and by Hegel: