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About Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Hegel's principal achievement is his development of a distinctive articulation of idealism sometimes termed "absolute idealism," in which the dualisms of, for instance, mind and nature and subject and object are overcome. His philosophy of spirit conceptually integrates psychology, the state, history, art, religion, and philosophy. His account of the master-slave dialectic has been highly influential, especially in 20th-century France. Of special importance is his concept of spirit (Geist: sometimes also translated as "mind") as the historical manifestation of the logical concept and the "sublation" (Aufhebung: integration without elimination or reduction) of seemingly contradictory or opposing factors; examples include the apparent opposition between nature and freedom and between immanence and transcendence. Hegel has been seen in the 21st century as the originator of the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad; however, as an explicit phrase, this originated with Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
Hegel has influenced many thinkers and writers whose own positions vary widely. Karl Barth described Hegel as a "Protestant Aquinas," while Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that "All the great philosophical ideas of the past century--the philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche, phenomenology, German existentialism, and psychoanalysis--had their beginnings in Hegel."
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Jakob Schlesinger (1792-1855) (Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Hegel (1770-1831) is one of the major philosophers of the nineteenth century. Many of the major philosophical movements of the twentieth century - from existentialism to analytic philosophy - grew out of reactions against Hegel. He is also one of the hardest philosophers to understand and his complex ideas, though rewarding, are often misunderstood.
In this magisterial and lucid introduction, Frederick Beiser covers every major aspect of Hegel's thought. He places Hegel in the historical context of nineteenth-century Germany whilst clarifying the deep insights and originality of Hegel's philosophy.
A masterpiece of clarity and scholarship, Hegel is both the ideal starting point for those coming to Hegel for the first time and essential reading for any student or scholar of nineteenth century philosophy.
- chapter summaries
- annotated further reading.
The last of Hegel's works to be published in his lifetime, this volume combines moral and political philosophy to form a sociologic view dominated by the idea of the state. Hegel defines universal right as the synthesis between the thesis of an individual acting in accordance with the law and the occasional conflict of an antithetical desire to follow private convictions. The state, he declares, must permit individuals to satisfy both demands, thereby realizing social harmony and prosperity--the perfect synthesis. Further, Hegel renounces his formerly favorable assessment of the French Revolution and rejects the republican form of government, suggesting instead an idealized form of a constitutional monarchy, in which ultimate power rests with the sovereign.
“We will never be finished with the reading or rereading of Hegel.” Jacques Derrida
Hodgson's marvelously clear Introduction, with helpful commentary and annotations, lucidly unfolds the evolution of Hegel's religious thought, the emergence of its central themes, and the religious genius epitomized in his notion of Absolute Spirit.
Anticipating as it does the modern world's drive to think historically, dialectically, and wholistically, Hodgson shows that Hegel's thought might well tutor the next century as much as it did the last.