The essence of his standpoint is expressed in thesis that history of philosophy is, by all means, a philosophy. As a movement of the spirit and presentation of his development, philosophy and its history express themselves through what Hegel calls development of concrete. Establishment of history of philosophy such as this is enabled by distinguishing history of outer circumstances from internal history as history of mind. The later is always a result of all previous philosophies, and it preserves them by simultaneously exceeding them. In the same manner that an idea progresses in its logical notion, it also shows its development in history of philosophy. Hegel steps out against understanding the difference as contradiction, and indicates that the substance of spirit is actually in the unity of identity and difference.
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He achieved recognition in his day and—while primarily influential in the continental tradition of philosophy—has become increasingly influential in the analytic tradition as well.
Hegel's principal achievement was 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 influential, especially in 20th-century France. Hegel has been seen in the twentieth century as the originator of the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad,  but as an explicit phrase it originated with Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Hegel has influenced many thinkers and writers whose own positions vary widely. Christened Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, he was known as Wilhelm to his close family.
She died of a "bilious fever" Gallenfieber when Hegel was thirteen. Hegel and his father also caught the disease, but they narrowly survived. At the age of three, he went to the German School. When he entered the Latin School two years later, he already knew the first declension , having been taught it by his mother. In , he entered Stuttgart's gymnasium illustre and during his adolescence read voraciously, copying lengthy extracts in his diary.
All greatly admired Hellenic civilization and Hegel additionally steeped himself in Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Lessing during this time. Hegel at this time envisaged his future as that of a Popularphilosoph , i.
Although the violence of the Reign of Terror in dampened Hegel's hopes, he continued to identify with the moderate Girondin faction and never lost his commitment to the principles of , which he would express by drinking a toast to the storming of the Bastille every fourteenth of July. During this period, he composed the text which has become known as the Life of Jesus and a book-length manuscript titled "The Positivity of the Christian Religion".
Also in , the unpublished and unsigned manuscript of " The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism " was written. In , Hegel came to Jena with the encouragement of his old friend Schelling, who held the position of Extraordinary Professor at the University there. Hegel secured a position at the University as a Privatdozent unsalaried lecturer after submitting the inaugural dissertation De Orbitis Planetarum , in which he briefly criticized arguments that assert—based on Bode's Law or other arbitrary choice of mathematical series —there must exist a planet between Mars and Jupiter.
In , the University promoted Hegel to the position of Extraordinary Professor unsalaried after he wrote a letter to the poet and minister of culture Johann Wolfgang Goethe protesting at the promotion of his philosophical adversary Jakob Friedrich Fries ahead of him. With his finances drying up quickly, Hegel was now under great pressure to deliver his book, the long-promised introduction to his System.
Hegel was putting the finishing touches to this book, The Phenomenology of Spirit , as Napoleon engaged Prussian troops on 14 October in the Battle of Jena on a plateau outside the city. On the day before the battle, Napoleon entered the city of Jena. Hegel recounted his impressions in a letter to his friend Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer :. I saw the Emperor—this world-soul [ Weltseele ]—riding out of the city on reconnaissance.
It is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it. Pinkard notes that Hegel's comment to Niethammer "is all the more striking since at that point he had already composed the crucial section of the Phenomenology in which he remarked that the Revolution had now officially passed to another land Germany that would complete 'in thought' what the Revolution had only partially accomplished in practice".
Unable to find more suitable employment, Hegel reluctantly accepted. Ludwig Fischer and his mother whom Hegel may have offered to marry following the death of her husband stayed behind in Jena. In November , Hegel was again through Niethammer, appointed headmaster of a Gymnasium in Nuremberg , a post he held until While in Nuremberg, Hegel adapted his recently published Phenomenology of Spirit for use in the classroom. Part of his remit being to teach a class called "Introduction to Knowledge of the Universal Coherence of the Sciences", Hegel developed the idea of an encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences, falling into three parts logic, philosophy of nature and philosophy of spirit.
This period saw the publication of his second major work, the Science of Logic Wissenschaft der Logik ; 3 vols. Having received offers of a post from the Universities of Erlangen , Berlin and Heidelberg , Hegel chose Heidelberg, where he moved in Soon after, his illegitimate son Ludwig Fischer now ten years old joined the Hegel household in April , having thus far spent his childhood in an orphanage  : —55 as his mother had died in the meantime. Hegel published The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline as a summary of his philosophy for students attending his lectures at Heidelberg.
In , Hegel accepted the renewed offer of the chair of philosophy at the University of Berlin, which had remained vacant since Johann Gottlieb Fichte 's death in Here, Hegel published his Philosophy of Right Hegel devoted himself primarily to delivering his lectures; and his lecture courses on aesthetics, the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of history and the history of philosophy were published posthumously from lecture notes taken by his students.
His fame spread and his lectures attracted students from all over Germany and beyond. Hegel was appointed Rector of the University in October , but his term as Rector ended in September Hegel was deeply disturbed by the riots for reform in Berlin in that year.
Now in a weak state of health, Hegel seldom went out. As the new semester began in October, Hegel returned to Berlin with the mistaken impression that the epidemic had largely subsided. By November 14, Hegel was dead. The physicians pronounced the cause of death as cholera, but it is likely he died from a different gastrointestinal disease. Hegel's son Ludwig Fischer had died shortly before while serving with the Dutch army in Batavia and the news of his death never reached his father.
Hegel takes Kant's critique of metaphysics seriously. As such, Hegel does not have a "metaphysics" in the traditional sense. Instead, topics that ordinarily fall under the umbrella of metaphysics Being, Becoming, etc. For this reason, a coherent understanding of Hegel's metaphysical logic begins with Kant. In the latter work, Kant bases his account of reason on a table of judgments inspired by Aristotelian syllogistic or term logic. From the table of judgments, Kant derives in turn his table of categories , the twelve pure concepts of the understanding that structure all experience irrespective of content.
Hegel is very inspired by this aspect of the Kantian philosophy, as well as by the ontologies of Plato's Sophist and Aristotle's Categories. Hegel's Logic picks up where these thinkers leave off. Just after introducing the table of categories in the Critique of Pure Reason , Kant writes that. In the Science of Logic , Hegel attempts to take up the project that Kant here suggests is necessary, but which he himself did not pursue: "to take note of and, as far as possible, completely catalog" the derivative concepts of the pure understanding and "completely illustrate its family tree.
What is clear, however, is that Hegel finds in Kant's Critique a radically new, "logical" way of treating metaphysical subject matter: concepts provide accounts of themselves through their relations to more ancestral concepts that fall under their appropriate heading in the table of categories. Although the Logic 's table of contents minimally resembles Kant's table of categories, the four headings of Kant's table quantity, quality, relation, and modality do not play, in Hegel's dialectic, the organizational role that Kant had in mind for them.
In fact, Hegel faults Kant for dogmatically copying the table of judgments from the "modern compendiums of logic" whose subject matter is, Hegel thinks, in need of "total reconstruction. In other words, because every concept is a composite of a pair of contraries value is black and white, temperature is hot and cold, etc. This is why Hegel's Logic begins with the concept of "being, pure being," "and God has the absolutely undisputed right that the beginning be made with him"  from which are derived more concrete concepts such as becoming, determinate being, something, and infinity.
The precise nature of the procedural self-concretization that drives Hegel's Logic is still the subject of controversy. Scholars such as Clark Butler hold that a good portion of the Logic is formalizable, proceeding deductively via indirect proof. Regardless of its status as a formal logic, Hegel clearly understood his dialectical logic to be "speculative," meaning that the course of the history of philosophy will inexactly reflect the course of the Logic and vice versa like the way a child resembles its parents :.
As the logical Idea is seen to unfold itself in a process from the abstract to the concrete, so in the history of philosophy the earliest systems are the most abstract, and thus at the same time the poorest For example: Parmenides takes pure being to be the absolute; Gorgias replaces it with pure nothing; Heraclitus replaces both being and nothing with becoming which is a unity of two contraries: coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.
That history should resemble this dialectic indicates to Hegel that history is something rational. For both Hegel and Kant, "we arrive at the concept of the thing in itself by removing, or abstracting from, everything in our experiences of objects of which we can become conscious.
If we abstract 'Ding' [ thing ] from 'Ding-an-sich' [ thing-in-itself ], we get one of Hegel's standard phrases: 'an sich. A child, in Hegel's example, is thus 'in itself' the adult it will become: to know what a 'child' is means to know that it is, in some respects, a vacancy which will only gain content after it has grown out of childhood.
The thing as it is in itself is indeed knowable: it is the indeterminate, "futural" aspect of the thing we experience——it is what we will come to know. In other words—although the thing-in-itself is at any given moment thoroughly unknown, it nevertheless remains that part of the thing about which it is presently possible to learn more.
Karen Ng writes that "there is a central, recurring rhetorical device that Hegel returns to again and again throughout his philosophical system: that of describing the activity of reason and thought in terms of the dynamic activity and development of organic life. The speculative identity of mind and nature suggests that reason and history progress in the direction of the Absolute by traversing various stages of relative immaturity, just like a sapling or a child, overcoming necessary setbacks and obstacles along the way see Progress below.
The structure of Hegel's Logic appears to exhibit self-similarity , with sub-sections, in their treatment of more specific subject matter, resembling the treatment of the whole.
Hegel's concept of Aufhebung , by which parts are preserved and repurposed within the whole, anticipates the concept of emergence in contemporary systems theory and evolutionary biology. Hegel's thinking can be understood as a constructive development within the broad tradition that includes Plato and Immanuel Kant. What all these thinkers share, which distinguishes them from materialists like Epicurus and Thomas Hobbes and from empiricists like David Hume , is that they regard freedom or self-determination both as real and as having important ontological implications for soul or mind or divinity.
This focus on freedom is what generates Plato's notion in the Phaedo , Republic and Timaeus of the soul as having a higher or fuller kind of reality than inanimate objects possess.
While Aristotle criticizes Plato's "Forms", he preserves Plato's cornerstones of the ontological implications for self-determination: ethical reasoning, the soul's pinnacle in the hierarchy of nature, the order of the cosmos and an assumption with reasoned arguments for a prime mover. Kant imports Plato's high esteem of individual sovereignty to his considerations of moral and noumenal freedom as well as to God. All three find common ground on the unique position of humans in the scheme of things, known by the discussed categorical differences from animals and inanimate objects.
In his discussion of "Spirit" in his Encyclopedia , Hegel praises Aristotle's On the Soul as "by far the most admirable, perhaps even the sole, work of philosophical value on this topic". Rather than simply rejecting Kant's dualism of freedom versus nature, Hegel aims to subsume it within "true infinity", the "Concept" or "Notion": Begriff , "Spirit" and "ethical life" in such a way that the Kantian duality is rendered intelligible, rather than remaining a brute "given".
The reason why this subsumption takes place in a series of concepts is that Hegel's method in his Science of Logic and his Encyclopedia is to begin with basic concepts like "Being" and "Nothing" and to develop these through a long sequence of elaborations, including those already mentioned.
In this manner, a solution that is reached in principle in the account of "true infinity" in the Science of Logic' s chapter on "Quality" is repeated in new guises at later stages, all the way to "Spirit" and "ethical life" in the third volume of the Encyclopedia.
In this way, Hegel intends to defend the germ of truth in Kantian dualism against reductive or eliminative programs like those of materialism and empiricism. Like Plato, with his dualism of soul versus bodily appetites, Kant pursues the mind's ability to question its felt inclinations or appetites and to come up with a standard of "duty" or, in Plato's case, "good" which transcends bodily restrictiveness. Hegel preserves this essential Platonic and Kantian concern in the form of infinity going beyond the finite a process that Hegel in fact relates to "freedom" and the "ought" ,  : —, the universal going beyond the particular in the Concept and Spirit going beyond Nature.
Hegel renders these dualities intelligible by ultimately his argument in the "Quality" chapter of the "Science of Logic". The finite has to become infinite in order to achieve reality. The idea of the absolute excludes multiplicity so the subjective and objective must achieve synthesis to become whole.
This is because as Hegel suggests by his introduction of the concept of "reality",  : what determines itself—rather than depending on its relations to other things for its essential character—is more fully "real" following the Latin etymology of "real", more "thing-like" than what does not.
Finite things do not determine themselves because as "finite" things their essential character is determined by their boundaries over against other finite things, so in order to become "real" they must go beyond their finitude "finitude is only as a transcending of itself".
The result of this argument is that finite and infinite—and by extension, particular and universal, nature and freedom—do not face one another as two independent realities, but instead the latter in each case is the self-transcending of the former. This evolution was itself the result of God's desire for complete self-awareness. Modern philosophy, culture and society seemed to Hegel fraught with contradictions and tensions, such as those between the subject and object of knowledge, mind and nature, self and Other , freedom and authority, knowledge and faith, or the Enlightenment and Romanticism.
Hegel's main philosophical project was to take these contradictions and tensions and interpret them as part of a comprehensive, evolving, rational unity that in different contexts he called "the absolute Idea" Science of Logic , sections — or "absolute knowledge" Phenomenology of Spirit , " DD Absolute Knowledge".
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