Best books by Hegel

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    If you’re interested in Hegel and his philosophy, here are the titles you shouldn’t miss. Read on to learn more about the best books by G. W. F. Hegel.

    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher famed for his contribution and impact on Western philosophy. The influence of Hegel’s work can be felt in the later history of philosophy and many subsequent philosophical systems, especially those dealing with world history and political philosophy.

    Considered the pinnacle of German idealism, Hegel left a scorching mark on the philosophical world. Banned by the Prussian government, his works endured the test of time and inspired future philosophers, including the champion of existentialism, Soren Kierkegaard.

    G. W. F. Hegel explained his point of view through his books, which are all translated into English. If you’re interested in exploring Hegel’s thoughts, this article will give you an overview of the essential books by the philosopher.

    About Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and his philosophy

    G. W. F. Hegel was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and educated at the local grammar school. At 18, Hegel went to the nearby city of Tübingen to study philosophy and theology.

    During his studies, Hegel befriended several people who would become pivotal figures of 19th-century German and world culture. Most important among them were the poet Friedrich Hölderlin and fellow philosopher Friedrich von Schelling.

    These two personalities turned Hegel’s attention toward Immanuel Kant and Kantian philosophical dualism. Under those influences and following Schelling, Hegel went to the University of Jena. This university was a critical thought hotspot of the time, owing to the famed K.L. Reinhold and J.G. Fichte, who taught there.

    Throughout his life and career, Hegel lived and lectured in the main centers of German academia, including Berlin, Heidelberg, Berne, and Frankfurt.

    The combined influences of the prominent figures of the Enlightenment era, the French Revolution, and Napoleon’s conquests impacted the creation of Hegel’s system of philosophy. Of course, Hegel also drew on the works of previous philosophers, from Ancient Greek thinkers like Aristotle to historically closer figures like Spinoza and Rousseau.

    Hegel’s crucial system of thought is known as dialectics. Its foundation is in the idea of totality, representing the complete, truthful state. The concept of sublimation is crucial to achieving this totality – it’s the logic of overcoming something while preserving and uplifting it rather than destroying it.

    In particular, sublimation is achieved through a dynamic thinking system called negation. This is a dynamic principle that serves to challenge the static state and push it towards movement. The negation is the moving power behind Hegel’s primary dialectic system, which consists of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

    If all this sounds a bit convoluted, it’s because Hegel’s philosophy is practically impossible to describe in a few lines. That’s precisely why the following section will recommend the best books by Hegel for an in-depth study.

    Best books by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

    The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences
    This encyclopedia (or Encyclopaedia, as it was initially named) represents the complete systematization of Hegel’s philosophical system. The work is divided into three parts: The Science of Logic, The Science of Nature, and The Science of Geist.

    Elements of the Philosophy of Right

    In this book, Hegel expands on concepts conceived in The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences but weren’t developed properly in that title. Hegel fleshes out his political philosophy here and a systematic view of social, moral, and legal thought. The philosophy of right is considered an essential part of Hegel’s entire system. The book was translated by H. B. Nisbet and T. M. Knox.

    The Phenomenology of Spirit

    The Phenomenology of Spirit represents possibly the most impactful work by Hegel. It influenced numerous schools of thought, encompassing essential philosophical questions to views on Christianity and the nature of God. The book contains the following sections:

    • Consciousness
    • Self-Consciousness
    • Reason
    • Spirit
    • Religion
    • Absolute Knowing
    • The Science of Logic

    Unsurprisingly, this major work describes the complete system of Hegel’s logic. The philosopher outlined his dialectics method here but also delved into topics that may sound somewhat esoteric. For instance, the book brings forward the idea that being or reality is entirely shaped by thought and that the two are, in fact, the same.

    Besides these pivotal works, Hegel wrote many other books that deserve an honorable mention:

    • Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion
    • Philosophy of Mind
    • Philosophy of Nature
    • System of Ethical Life

    Listen to philosophy audiobooks with Speechify

    If you’re interested in philosophical subjects, you probably know how quickly your eyes strain from reading countless pages of complicated thoughts. In that case, you might want to try listening to philosophical works instead.

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    FAQ

    What is Hegel most famous for?

    One of Hegel’s most important ideas is the teleological approach to history, i.e., a view of history as a phenomenon with a particular goal or purpose. Hegel also established a highly systematic approach to philosophy which has garnered a large following both in his time and in recent decades.

    Why did Marx reject Hegel?

    While Karl Marx profoundly critiqued Hegel, he never outright rejected him. However, Marx’s philosophy contained crucial differences from Hegel’s, especially concerning the philosophy of history. Where Hegel saw history as the consequence of spirit or philosophy, Marx saw it as a result of labor.

    Is Hegel a realist or an idealist?

    While there have been many disputes regarding Hegel’s idealism, the philosopher considered himself an idealist. In fact, he was an avid proponent of so-called “absolute idealism.” The point of dispute comes from Hegel’s idealism, which differs from other similar philosophies.

    What was Hegel’s view of history?

    Hegel viewed history as a development of the human reason and spirit that’s been moving from less to more freedom. In Hegel’s philosophy, history has a definitive goal: for the spirit to gain ultimate freedom and for reason to prevail.

    What is Hegel’s theory of the spirit?

    The Hegelian view of the human spirit or “geist” refers to a society’s collective consciousness. According to Hegel, this spirit strives to achieve ultimate self-consciousness through constant evolution. On the other hand, the “objective spirit” would be more akin to an individual human mind.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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