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idealism. It profoundly impacted many future philosophical schools, including those opposed to Hegel's specific dialectical idealism, such as existentialism, the historical materialism of Marx, historism and British Idealism.

Hegel's influence was immense in philosophy and other sciences. Throughout the 19th century, many chairs of philosophy around Europe were held by Hegelians and Søren Kierkegaard, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—among many others—were deeply influenced by, but also strongly opposed to many of Hegel's central philosophical themes. Scholars continue to point out Hegelian influences in a range of theoretical and/or learned works, such as Carl von Clausewitz's book on strategic thought, On War (1831).[123] After less than a generation, Hegel's philosophy was banned by the Prussian right-wing and was firmly rejected by the left-wing in multiple official writings.

After the period of Bruno Bauer, Hegel's influence waned until the philosophy of British Idealism and the 20th-century Hegelian Western Marxism that began with György Lukács. In the United States, Hegel's influence is evident in pragmatism. The more recent movement of communitarianism has a strong Hegelian influence.

Reading Hegel

Some of Hegel's writing was intended for those with advanced knowledge of philosophy, although his Encyclopedia was intended as a textbook in a university course. Nevertheless, Hegel assumed that his readers are well-versed in Western philosophy. Especially crucial are Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Kant's immediate successors, most prominently Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Those without this background would be advised to begin with one of the many general introductions to his thought. As is always the case, difficulties are magnified for those reading him in translation. In fact, Hegel himself argued, in his Science of Logic, that German was particularly conducive to philosophical thought.[124]

According to Walter Kaufmann, the basic idea of Hegel's works, especially the Phenomenology of Spirit, is that a philosopher should not "confine him or herself to views that have been held but penetrate these to the human reality they reflect". In other words, it is not enough to consider propositions, or even the content of consciousness; "it is worthwhile to ask in every instance what kind of spirit would entertain such propositions, hold such views, and have such a consciousness. Every outlook in other words, is to be studied not merely as an academic possibility but as an existential reality".[125] Kaufmann has argued that as unlikely as it may sound, it is not the case that Hegel was unable to write clearly, but that Hegel felt that "he must and should not write in the way in which he was gifted".<

Hegel's influence was immense in philosophy and other sciences. Throughout the 19th century, many chairs of philosophy around Europe were held by Hegelians and Søren Kierkegaard, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels—among many others—were deeply influenced by, but also strongly opposed to many of Hegel's central philosophical themes. Scholars continue to point out Hegelian influences in a range of theoretical and/or learned works, such as Carl von Clausewitz's book on strategic thought, On War (1831).[123] After less than a generation, Hegel's philosophy was banned by the Prussian right-wing and was firmly rejected by the left-wing in multiple official writings.

After the period of Bruno Bauer, Hegel's influence waned until the philosophy of British Idealism and the 20th-century Hegelian Western Marxism that began with György Lukács. In the United States, Hegel's influence is evident in pragmatism. The more recent movement of communitarianism has a strong Hegelian influence.

Some of Hegel's writing was intended for those with advanced knowledge of philosophy, although his Encyclopedia was intended as a textbook in a university course. Nevertheless, Hegel assumed that his readers are well-versed in Western philosophy. Especially crucial are Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Kant's immediate successors, most prominently Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. Those without this background would be advised to begin with one of the many general introductions to his thought. As is always the case, difficulties are magnified for those reading him in translation. In fact, Hegel himself argued, in his Science of Logic, that German was particularly conducive to philosophical thought.[124]

According to Walter Kaufmann, the basic idea of Hegel's works, especially the Phenomenology of Spirit, is that a philosopher should not "confine him or herself to views that have been held but penetrate these to the human reality they reflect". In other words, it is not enough to consider propositions, or even the content of

According to Walter Kaufmann, the basic idea of Hegel's works, especially the Phenomenology of Spirit, is that a philosopher should not "confine him or herself to views that have been held but penetrate these to the human reality they reflect". In other words, it is not enough to consider propositions, or even the content of consciousness; "it is worthwhile to ask in every instance what kind of spirit would entertain such propositions, hold such views, and have such a consciousness. Every outlook in other words, is to be studied not merely as an academic possibility but as an existential reality".[125] Kaufmann has argued that as unlikely as it may sound, it is not the case that Hegel was unable to write clearly, but that Hegel felt that "he must and should not write in the way in which he was gifted".[126]

Some historians have spoken of Hegel's influence as represented by two opposing camps. The Right Hegelians, the allegedly direct disciples of Hegel at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, advocated a Protestant orthodoxy and the political conservatism of the post-Napoleon Restoration period. Today this faction continues among conservative Protestants, such as the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which was founded by missionaries from Germany when the Hegelian Right was active. The Left Hegelians, also known as the Young Hegelians, interpreted Hegel in a revolutionary sense, leading to an advocation of atheism in religion and liberal democracy in politics.

Recent studies have questioned this paradigm.[127] No Hegelians of the period ever referred to themselves as "Right Hegelians", which was a term of insult originated by David Strauss, a self-styled Left Hegelian. Critiques of Hegel

Recent studies have questioned this paradigm.[127] No Hegelians of the period ever referred to themselves as "Right Hegelians", which was a term of insult originated by David Strauss, a self-styled Left Hegelian. Critiques of Hegel offered by the Left Hegelians radically diverted Hegel's thinking into new directions and eventually came to form a large part of the literature on and about Hegel.[128]

The Left Hegelians also influenced Marxism, which has in turn inspired global movements, from the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution and myriad of practices up until the present moment.[128]

Twentieth-century interpretations of Hegel were mostly shaped by British idealism, logical positivism, Marxism and Fascism. According to Benedetto Croce, the Italian Fascist Giovanni Gentile "holds the honor of having been the most rigorous neo-Hegelian in the entire history of Western philosophy and the dishonor of having been the official philosopher of Fascism in Italy".[129] Since the fall of the Soviet Union, a new wave of Hegel scholarship has arisen in the West without the preconceptions of the prior schools of thought. Walter Jaeschke [de] and Otto Pöggeler in Germany as well as Peter Hodgson and Howard Kainz in the United States are notable for their recent contributions to post-Soviet Union thinking about Hegel.

In accounts of Hegelianism formed prior to the Hegel renaissance, Hegel's dialectic was often characterized as a three-step process, "thesis, antithesis, synthesis"; a "thesis" (e.g. the French Revolution) would cause the creation of its "antithesis" (e.g. the Reign of Terror that followed) and would result in a "synthesis" (e.g. the constitutional state of free citizens). However, Hegel used this classification only once and he attributed the terminology to Kant. The terminology was largely developed earlier by Fichte. It was spread by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus in accounts of Hegelian philosophy and, since then, the terms have been used for this type of framework.

The "thesis–antithesis–synthesis" approach erroneously gives the sense that things or ideas are contradicted or opposed by things that come from outside them. To the contrary, the fundamental notion of Hegel's dialectic is that things or ideas have internal contradictions. For Hegel, analysis or comprehension of a thing or idea reveals that underneath its apparently simple identity or unity is an underlying inner contradiction. This contradiction leads to the dissolution of the thing or idea in the s

The "thesis–antithesis–synthesis" approach erroneously gives the sense that things or ideas are contradicted or opposed by things that come from outside them. To the contrary, the fundamental notion of Hegel's dialectic is that things or ideas have internal contradictions. For Hegel, analysis or comprehension of a thing or idea reveals that underneath its apparently simple identity or unity is an underlying inner contradiction. This contradiction leads to the dissolution of the thing or idea in the simple form in which it presented to a higher-level, more complex thing or idea that more adequately incorporates the contradiction. The triadic form that appears in many places in Hegel (e.g. being–nothingness–becoming, immediate–mediate–concrete and abstract–negative–concrete) is about this movement from inner contradiction to higher-level integration or unification.

For Hegel, reason is "speculative" – not "dialectical".[130] Believing that the traditional description of Hegel's philosophy in terms of thesis–antithesis–synthesis was mistaken, a few scholars like Raya Dunayevskaya have attempted to discard the triadic approach. According to their argument, although Hegel referred to "the two elemental considerations: first, the idea of freedom as the absolute and final aim; secondly, the means for realising it, i.e. the subjective side of knowledge and will, with its life, movement, and activity" (thesis and antithesis), he did not use "synthesis", but instead spoke of the "Whole": "We then recognised the State as the moral Whole and the Reality of Freedom, and consequently as the objective unity of these two elements". Furthermore, in Hegel's language the "dialectical" aspect or "moment" of thought and reality, by which things or thoughts turn into their opposites or have their inner contradictions brought to the surface, what he called Aufhebung, is only preliminary to the "speculative" (and not "synthesizing") aspect or "moment", which grasps the unity of these opposites or contradiction.

It is now widely agreed that explaining Hegel's philosophy in terms of thesis–antithesis–synthesis is inaccurate. Nevertheless, this interpretation survives in a number of scholarly works.[131]

In the last half of the 20th century, Hegel's philosophy underwent a major renaissance. This was due to (a) the rediscovery and re-evaluation of Hegel as a possible philosophical progenitor of Marxism by philosophically oriented Marxists; (b) a resurgence of Hegel's historical perspective; and (c) an increasing recognition of the importance of his dialectical method. György Lukács' History and Class Consciousness (1923) helped to reintroduce Hegel into the Marxist canon. This sparked a renewed interest in Hegel reflected in the work of Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, Ernst Bloch, Raya Dunayevskaya, Alexandre Kojève and Gotthard Günther among others. In Reason and Revolution (1941), Herbert Marcuse made the case for Hegel as a revolutionary and criticized Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse's thesis that Hegel was a totalitarian.[132] The Hegel renaissance also highlighted the significance of Hegel's early works (i.e. those written before The Phenomenology of Spirit). The direct and indirect influence of Kojève's lectures and writings (on The Phenomenology of Spirit in particular) mean that it is not possible to understand most French philosophers from Jean-Paul Sartre to Jacques Derrida without understanding Hegel.[133] American neoconservative political theorist Francis Fukuyama's controversial book The End of History and the Last Man (1992) was heavily influenced by Kojève.[134] The Swiss theologian Hans Küng has also advanced contemporary Hegelian scholarship.[citation needed]

Beginning in the 1960s, Anglo-American Hegel scholarship has challenged the traditional interpretation of Hegel as offering a metaphysical system: this has also been the approach of Z. A. Pelczynski and Z. A. Pelczynski and Shlomo Avineri. This view, sometimes referred to as the "non-metaphysical option", has influenced many major English-language studies of Hegel.

Late 20th-century literature in Western Theology that is friendly to Hegel includes works by such writers as Walter Kaufmann (1966), Dale M. Schlitt (1984), Theodore Geraets (1985), Philip M. Merklinger (1991), Stephen Rocker (1995) and Cyril O'Regan (1995).

Two prominent American philosophers, John McDowell and Robert Brandom (sometimes referred to as the "Pittsburgh Hegelians"), have produced philosophical works with a marked Hegelian influence. Each is avowedly influenced by the late Wilfred Sellars, also of Pittsburgh, who referred to his Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind (1956) as a series of "incipient Méditations Hegeliennes" (in homage to Edmund Husserl's 1931 Méditations cartésiennes). In a separate Canadian context, James Doull's philosophy is deeply Hegelian.

Beginning in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, a fresh reading of Hegel took place in the West. For these scholars, fairly well represented by the Hegel Society of America and in cooperation with German scholars such as Otto Pöggeler and Walter Jaeschke, Hegel's works should be read without preconceptions. Marx plays little-to-no role in these new readings. American philosophers associated with this movement include Lawrence Stepelevich, Rudolf Siebert, Richard Dien Winfield and Theodore Geraets.[citation needed]

Criticism of Hegel has been widespread in the 19th and the 20th centuries. A diverse range of individuals including Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, Franz Rosenzweig, Eric Voegelin and A. J. Ayer have challenged Hegelian philosophy from a variety of perspectives. Among the first to take a critical view of Hegel's system was the 19th-century German group known as the Young Hegelians, which included Feuerbach, Marx, Engels and their followers. In Britain, the Hegelian British idealism school (members of which included Francis Herbert Bradley, Bernard Bosanquet and in the United States Josiah Royce) was challenged and rejected by analytic philosophers Moore and Russell. In particular, Russell considered "almost all" of Hegel's doctrines to be false.[135] Regarding Hegel's interpretation of history, Russell commented: "Like other historical theories, it required, if it was to be made plausible, some distortion of facts and considerable ignorance".[136] Logical positivists such as Ayer and the Vienna Circle criticized both Hegelian philosophy and its supporters, such as Bradley.

Hegel's contemporary Schopenhauer was particularly critical and wrote of Hegel's philosophy as "a pseudo-philosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking".[137] Hegel was described by Schopenhauer as a "clumsy charlata

Hegel's contemporary Schopenhauer was particularly critical and wrote of Hegel's philosophy as "a pseudo-philosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking".[137] Hegel was described by Schopenhauer as a "clumsy charlatan".[138] Kierkegaard criticized Hegel's "absolute knowledge" unity.[139] The physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann also criticized the obscure complexity of Hegel's works, referring to Hegel's writing as an "unclear thoughtless flow of words".[140] In a similar vein, Robert Pippin notes that some view Hegel as having "the ugliest prose style in the history of the German language".[141] Russell wrote in A History of Western Philosophy (1945) that Hegel was "the hardest to understand of all the great philosophers".[142] Karl Popper quoted Schopenhauer as stating, "Should you ever intend to dull the wits of a young man and to incapacitate his brains for any kind of thought whatever, then you cannot do better than give Hegel to read...A guardian fearing that his ward might become too intelligent for his schemes might prevent this misfortune by innocently suggesting the reading of Hegel."[143]

Karl Popper wrote that "there is so much philosophical writing (especially in the Hegelian school) which may justly be criticised as meaningless verbiage".[144] Popper also makes the claim in the second volume of The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) that Hegel's system formed a thinly veiled justification for the absolute rule of Frederick William III and that Hegel's idea of the ultimate goal of history was to reach a state approximating that of 1830s Prussia. Popper further proposed that Hegel's philosophy served not only as an inspiration for communist and fascist totalitarian governments of the 20th century, whose dialectics allow for any belief to be construed as rational simply if it could be said to exist. Kaufmann and Shlomo Avineri have criticized Popper's theories about Hegel.[145]

Isaiah Berlin listed Hegel as one of the six architects of modern authoritarianism who undermined liberal democracy, along with Rousseau, Claude Adrien Helvétius, Fichte, Saint-Simon and Joseph de Maistre.[146]

Voegelin argued that Hegel should be understood not as a philosopher, but as a "sorcerer", i.e. as a mystic and hermetic thinker.[147] This concept of Hegel as a hermetic thinker was elaborated by Glenn Alexander Magee,[148] who argued that interpreting Hegel's body of work as an expression of mysticism and hermetic ideas leads to a more accurate understanding of Hegel.[149]