Who was Hegel and why is he such an important figure in the history of philosophy? This series aims to make learning about the history of philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best videos, podcasts, and articles from across the internet and allowing you to choose the type of content that best suits your learning style. Simply choose one of following links to get started:
If you want a comprehensive overview:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Hegel. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article will be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 18,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that explains why Hegel is such an important figure in the history of philosophy:
“. . . Hegel attempted, throughout his published writings as well as in his lectures, to elaborate a comprehensive and systematic philosophy from a purportedly logical starting point. He is perhaps most well-known for his teleological account of history, an account that was later taken over by Marx and “inverted” into a materialist theory of an historical development culminating in communism…
Hegel’s own pithy account of the nature of philosophy given in the Preface to his Elements of the Philosophy of Right captures a characteristic tension in his philosophical approach and, in particular, in his approach to the nature and limits of human cognition. “Philosophy”, he says there, “is its own time comprehended in thoughts” (PR: 21).
On the one hand we can clearly see in the phrase “its own time” the suggestion of an historical or cultural conditionedness and variability which applies even to the highest form of human cognition, philosophy itself. The contents of philosophical knowledge, we might suspect, will come from the historically changing contents of its cultural context. On the other, there is the hint of such contents being raised to some higher level, presumably higher than other levels of cognitive functioning such as those based in everyday perceptual experience, for example, or those characteristic of other areas of culture such as art and religion. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
- Watch The School of Life’s short video on Hegel [6:53 mins]
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen to Robert Wallace discuss The Mystery of Hegel of The Philosopher’s Zone podcast [24:30 mins]
If you’d like to get more philosophy in your life, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or enter your email below to get a quote/passage from a classic work of philosophy delivered to your inbox each day. They include key passages from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, and many more. Each passage is paired with a link to a beginner friendly article, video, or podcast, so you can easily learn more about that day’s idea. The goal is to make it easier for everyone to get a little bit more philosophy into their life.