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.
It is essentially the doctrine that the absolute is spirit, the divine universal subject, and that this subject creates the entire world. This interpretation makes Hegel’s idealism a form of subjective idealism, though of a higherorder and more metaphysical kind. The subject is no longer ﬁnite (i.e. empirical and individual) but inﬁnite (i.e. rational and universal). This inﬁnite self would not be simply the Kantian transcendental subject, which is purely formal; rather, it would be the Kantian
90/62). Indeed, for just this reason he writes his Life of Jesus where he interprets the gospel of Jesus in terms of Kant’s moral philosophy. Although the fundamental concern of the Positivity Essay is to expose the positivity of the Christian religion, i.e. its attempt to base belief upon legal authority rather than reason alone, Hegel still argues explicitly that the core of Christianity is rational (P I, 105, 124/153, 166), and that it became positive only as a result of historical accident.
doctrine he initially appears to accept. Although he ﬁrst states that this belief encourages morality, he soon retracts this by writing that the whole idea of the divinity of Christ rests upon a degrading conception of human nature. We elevate Christ to divine status, as if he alone were the paragon of virtue, only because we believe natural sin makes us incapable of virtue (BF I, 96–7/67). Hegel notes that the characteristic belief of Christianity is the divinity of Christ; yet he rejects this
of nature and history, as if he were nothing more than the totality of natural and historical events. This does not see that Hegel wanted to divinize nature and history as much as to naturalize and historicize the divine. In general, we must avoid inﬂating or deﬂating Hegel’s concept of the divine. The divine is ﬁrst in the order of explanation, but not The Religious Dimension 139 ﬁrst in the order of existence. If it comes to existence only in nature and history, it also cannot be reduced
from religion. 3 Berne (October 1793–December 1796) After passing his Konsistorialexamen in September 1793, Hegel got a job as a Hofmeister, a private tutor, to the Berne patrician family of Hauptmann Friedrich von Steiger. Although the job left him free time to pursue his own studies, Hegel felt lonely and isolated in Berne. He wished to be with Hölderlin and Schelling, closer to the exciting intellectual activity now taking place in Weimar and Jena. In Berne Hegel read a lot, wrote much, but