Hegel (The Routledge Philosophers)
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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.
its own tribunal to criticism. To exempt its tribunal from scrutiny would be nothing less than ‘dogmatism’, accepting beliefs on authority, which is the very opposite of reason. The criticism of reason therefore inevitably became the meta-criticism of reason. If the Enlightenment was the age of criticism, the 1790s were the age of meta-criticism. All the doubts about the authority of reason, which are so often said to be characteristic of our ‘post-modern’ age, were already apparent in late
concept of pure being (reines Seyn), being as it is apart from any determinations that we attribute to it. For Hegel, this is another formulation for substance, for reality in itself, reality apart from the speciﬁc determinations that relate it to something else. Indeed, in the Encyclopedia version of his logic he is explicit that pure being is the proper characterization of Spinoza’s substance (§86; VIII, 183). This account of the method of philosophy was ﬁrst developed Absolute Idealism 61
principle of nature when it is really only its purpose or end. The ﬁrst cause is nothing less than Spinoza’s substance, which does indeed act from the necessity of its own nature alone. 74 Hegel Hegel’s absolute idealism also gave human agency a much greater role in the cosmos than anything imagined by Spinoza. Spinoza had made man into a mode of the single divine substance. Since substance has an independent essence and existence, and since a mode has a dependent essence and existence, man
of Hegel’s own later distinction between an abstract and a concrete universal. Alone Kant’s concept of a natural purpose is still not suﬃcient to explain the organic concept of nature. Although it determines the structure of each organism, it does not take the added – and very large – step that the entire cosmos is a natural purpose. Here again, though, Kant anticipated Hegel and the romantics. In §67 of the Critique of Judgment Kant had suggested that we can generalize the idea of an organism so
objective, the ideal and the real. They are then simply diﬀerent degrees of organization and development of a single living force, which is found everywhere within nature. These apparent opposites can then be viewed as interdependent. The mental is simply the highest degree of organization and development of the living powers of the body; and the body is only the lowest degree of organization and development of the living powers of the mind. According to the organic concept of nature, as