Ideas of Georg W.F.Hegel, by Theme

[German, 1770 - 1831, Born in Stuttgart. University of Heidelberg 1816. Professor in Berlin, 1818 till his death.]

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Wisdom emerges at the end of a process
1. Philosophy / B. History of Ideas / 5. Later European Thought
Hegel produced modern optimism; he failed to grasp that consciousness never progresses [Cioran]
1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 4. Later European Philosophy / d. Nineteenth century philosophy
Hegel was the last philosopher of the Book [Derrida]
Hegel inserted society and history between the God-world, man-nature, man-being binary pairs [Safranski]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
Philosophy moves essentially in the element of universality
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Philosophy is exploration of the rational
Philosophy is the conceptual essence of the shape of history
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / b. Philosophy as transcendent
Philosophy aims to reveal the necessity and rationality of the categories of nature and spirit [Houlgate]
True philosophy aims at absolute unity, while our understanding sees only separation
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / e. Philosophy as reason
If we look at the world rationally, the world assumes a rational aspect
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Hopes for Philosophy
Free thinking has no presuppositions
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Hegel doesn't storm the heavens like the giants, but works his way up by syllogisms [Kierkegaard]
The ideal of reason is the unification of abstract identity (or 'concept') and being
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 2. Possibility of Metaphysics
Older metaphysics naively assumed that thought grasped things in themselves
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
For Hegel, things are incomplete, and contain external references in their own nature [Russell]
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 6. Metaphysics as Conceptual
If we start with indeterminate being, we arrive at being and nothing as a united pair [Houlgate]
Thought about being leads to a string of other concepts, like becoming, quantity, specificity, causality... [Houlgate]
We must start with absolute abstraction, with no presuppositions, so we start with pure being
Logic is metaphysics, the science of things grasped in thoughts
Metaphysics is the lattice which makes incoming material intelligible
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 7. Against Metaphysics
On the continent it is generally believed that metaphysics died with Hegel [Benardete,JA]
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
Without philosophy, science is barren and futile
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 1. Continental Philosophy
Truth does not appear by asserting reasons and then counter-reasons
We must break up the rigidity that our understanding has imposed
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
Highest reason is aesthetic, and truth and good are subordinate to beauty
The world seems rational to those who look at it rationally
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 3. Pure Reason
Let thought follow its own course, and don't interfere
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
Objectivity is not by correspondence, but by the historical determined necessity of Geist [Pinkard]
Categories create objective experience, but are too conditioned by things to actually grasp them
Subjective and objective are not firmly opposed, but merge into one another
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 8. Naturalising Reason
The structure of reason is a social and historical achievement [Pinkard]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
Truth does not come from giving reasons for and against propositions
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 2. Sufficient Reason
Making sufficient reason an absolute devalues the principle of non-contradiction [Meillassoux]
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 3. Non-Contradiction
Being and nothing are the same and not the same, which is the identity of identity and non-identity
The so-called world is filled with contradiction
If truth is just non-contradiction, we must take care that our basic concepts aren't contradictory
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
Rather than in three stages, Hegel presented his dialectic as 'negation of the negation' [Bowie]
Dialectic is the instability of thoughts generating their opposite, and then new more complex thoughts [Houlgate]
Hegel's dialectic is not thesis-antithesis-synthesis, but usually negation of negation of the negation [Moore,AW]
Dialectic is the moving soul of scientific progression, the principle which binds science together
Older metaphysics became dogmatic, by assuming opposed assertions must be true and false
Dialectic is seen in popular proverbs like 'pride comes before a fall'
Socratic dialectic is subjective, but Plato made it freely scientific and objective
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
Superficial truth is knowing how something is, which is consciousness of bare correctness
Genuine truth is the resolution of the highest contradiction
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
What I hold true must also be part of my feelings and character
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 5. Truth Bearers
In Hegel's logic it is concepts (rather than judgements or propositions) which are true or false [Scruton]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 7. Falsehood
In the deeper sense of truth, to be untrue resembles being bad; badness is untrue to a thing's nature
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
The deeper sense of truth is a thing matching the idea of what it ought to be
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
The true is the whole
5. Theory of Logic / D. Assumptions for Logic / 2. Excluded Middle
Excluded middle is the maxim of definite understanding, but just produces contradictions
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 2. Logical Connectives / c. not
Negation of negation doubles back into a self-relationship [Houlgate]
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 3. Antinomies
Tenderness for the world solves the antinomies; contradiction is in our reason, not in the essence of the world
The idea that contradiction is essential to rational understanding is a key modern idea
Antinomies are not just in four objects, but in all objects, all representations, all objects and all ideas
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / c. Becoming
The dialectical opposition of being and nothing is resolved in passing to the concept of becoming [Scruton]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / d. Non-being
Nothing exists, as thinkable and expressible
To grasp an existence, we must consider its non-existence [Houlgate]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / e. Being and nothing
Thinking of nothing is not the same as simply not thinking [Houlgate]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / h. Dasein (being human)
Personality overcomes subjective limitations and posits Dasein as its own
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 5. Reason for Existence
Hegel gives an ontological proof of the existence of everything [Scruton]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 1. Grounding / a. Nature of grounding
The ground of a thing is not another thing, but the first thing's substance or rational concept [Houlgate]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Kant's thing-in-itself is just an abstraction from our knowledge; things only exist for us [Bowie]
Hegel believe that the genuine categories reveal things in themselves [Houlgate]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 1. Categories
Even simple propositions about sensations are filled with categories
Thought about particulars is done entirely through categories
7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
For Hegel, categories shift their form in the course of history [Houlgate]
Our concepts and categories disclose the world, because we are part of the world [Houlgate]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 5. Category Anti-Realism
Hegel said Kant's fixed categories actually vary with culture and era [Houlgate]
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 2. Internal Relations
The nature of each category relates itself to another
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
The one substance is formless without the mediation of dialectical concepts
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
Essence is the essential self-positing unity of immediacy and mediation
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 14. Knowledge of Essences
Real cognition grasps a thing from within itself, and is not satisfied with mere predicates
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
In absolute knowing, the gap between object and oneself closes, producing certainty
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 4. The Cogito
I develop philosophical science from the simplest appearance of immediate consciousness [Hegel]
The Cogito is at the very centre of the entire concern of modern philosophy
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / d. Absolute idealism
In the Absolute everything is the same
The Absolute is not supposed to be comprehended, but felt and intuited
Genuine idealism is seeing the ideal structure of the world [Houlgate]
Being is Thought
The 'absolute idea' is when all the contradictions are exhausted [Bowie]
Hegel, unlike Kant, said how things appear is the same as how things are [Moore,AW]
Hegel's non-subjective idealism is the unity of subjective and objective viewpoints [Pinkard]
Hegel claimed his system was about the world, but it only mapped conceptual interdependence [Pinkard]
Authentic thinking and reality have the same content
The Absolute is the primitive system of concepts which are actualised [Gardner]
The absolute idea is being, imperishable life, self-knowing truth, and all truth
The absolute idea is the great unity of the infinite system of concepts [Moore,AW]
Existence is just a set of relationships
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 5. A Priori Synthetic
Hegel reputedly claimed to know a priori that there are five planets [Field,H]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 1. Perception
Experience is immediacy, unity, forces, self-awareness, reason, culture, absolute being [Houlgate]
The sensible is distinguished from thought by being about singular things
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 5. Interpretation
Hegel tried to avoid Kant's dualism of neutral intuitions and imposed concepts [Pinkard]
12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism
Sense perception is secondary and dependent, while thought is independent and primitive
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
Empiricism contains the important idea that we should see knowledge for ourselves, and be part of it
Empiricism made particular knowledge possible, and blocked wild claims
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
Empiricism unknowingly contains and uses a metaphysic, which underlies its categories
Empiricism of the finite denies the supersensible, and can only think with formal abstraction
The Humean view stops us thinking about perception, and finding universals and necessities in it
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 3. Internal or External / a. Pro-internalism
Consciousness derives its criterion of knowledge from direct knowledge of its own being
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / a. Coherence as justification
Hegel's 'absolute idea' is the interdependence of all truths to justify any of them [Bowie]
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 2. Types of Scepticism
Humean scepticism, unlike ancient Greek scepticism, accepts the truth of experience as basic
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
It is a rejection of intellectual dignity to say that we cannot know the truth
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / b. Essence of consciousness
Consciousness is shaped dialectically, by opposing forces and concepts [Aho]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / c. Parts of consciousness
Consciousness is both of objects, and of itself
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 4. Persons as Agents
Hegel claims knowledge of self presupposes desire, and hence objects [Scruton]
A person is a being which is aware of its own self-directed and free subjectivity
16. Persons / E. Rejecting the Self / 2. Self as Social Construct
For Hegel knowledge of self presupposes objects, and also a public and moral social world [Scruton]
A human only become a somebody as a member of a social estate
Individuals attain their right by discovering their self-consciousness in institutions
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Nature of Free Will
A free will primarily wills its own freedoom [Houlgate]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Sources of Free Will
Freedom is produced by the activity of the mind, and is not intrinsically given
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 7. Compatibilism
In abstraction, beyond finitude, freedom and necessity must exist together
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
Geist is distinct from nature, not as a substance, but because of its normativity [Pinkard]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
The act of thinking is the bringing forth of universals
18. Thought / B. Mechanics of Thought / 2. Categories of Understanding
Hegel's system has a vast number of basic concepts [Moore,AW]
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 1. Concepts / a. Nature of concepts
Every concept depends on the counter-concepts of what it is not [Bowie]
We don't think with concepts - we think the concepts
Active thought about objects produces the universal, which is what is true and essential of it
19. Language / E. Analyticity / 4. Analytic/Synthetic Critique
When we explicate the category of being, we watch a new category emerge [Houlgate]
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
The concept of the will is the free will which wills its freedom
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
Evil enters a good will when we believe we are doing right, but allow no criticism of our choice [Houlgate]
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Aesthetics
Nineteenth century aesthetics focused on art rather than nature (thanks to Hegel) [Scruton]
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 2. Aesthetic Attitude
Hegel largely ignores aesthetic pleasure, taste and beauty, and focuses on the meaning of artworks [Pinkard]
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 5. Natural Beauty
Natural beauty is unimportant, because it doesn't show human freedom [Pinkard]
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 6. Art as Institution
For Hegel the importance of art concerns the culture, not the individual [Eldridge]
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
The purpose of art is to reveal to Spirit its own nature [Davies,S]
The main purpose of art is to express the unity of human life
Art forms a bridge between the sensuous world and the world of pure thought
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / f. Love
Love is ethical life in its natural form
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / a. Nature of happiness
World history has no room for happiness
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / c. Ethical intuitionism
Conscience is the right of the self to know what is right and obligatory, and thus make them true
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
Man is God if he raises himself, by denying his nature and finitude
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 3. Universalisability
You can't have a morality which is supplied by the individual, but is also genuinely universal [MacIntyre]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 4. Categorical Imperative
The categorical imperative lacks roots in a historical culture [Bowie]
Be a person, and respect other persons
The categorical imperative is fine if you already have a set of moral principles
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
Humans have no fixed identity, but produce and reveal their shifting identity in history [Houlgate]
The good is realised freedom
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self
The in-itself must become for-itself, which requires self-consciousness
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / b. The natural life
The state of nature is one of untamed brutality
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / c. A unified people
Hegel's Absolute Spirit is the union of human rational activity at a moment, and whatever that sustains [Eldridge]
The family is the first basis of the state, but estates are a necessary second
The soul of the people is an organisation of its members which produces an essential unity
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 3. Natural Values / c. Natural rights
We are only free, with rights, if we claim our freedom, and there are no natural rights [Houlgate]
We cannot assert rights which are unnatural
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 1. Purpose of a State
I aim to portray the state as a rational entity
Society draws people, and requires their work, making them wholly dependent on it
The state is the march of God in the world
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Social contract
Society isnít founded on a contract, since contracts presuppose a society [Scruton]
Individuals can't leave the state, because they are natural citizens, and humans require a state
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. General will
A fully developed state is conscious and knows what it wills
The people do not have the ability to know the general will
The great man of the ages is the one who reveals and accomplishes the will of his time
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 3. Constitutions
A constitution embodies a nation's rights and condition
24. Political Theory / B. Nature of a State / 4. Citizenship
Individuals must dedicate themselves to the ethical whole, and give their lives when asked
Social groups must focus on the state, which must in turn respect their inclusion and their will
People can achieve respect for their state by insight into its essence
24. Political Theory / C. Ruling a State / 4. Changing the State / c. Revolution
All revolutions result from spirit changing its categories, to achieve a deeper understanding
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 3. Conservatism
In the 1840s Hegel seemed to defend society being right as it is, as a manifestation of Mind [Singer]
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation
Majority rule means obligations can be imposed on me
The state should reflect all interests, and not just popular will, or a popular party [Houlgate]
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / d. Representative democracy
Representatives by region ignores whether they care about the national interest [Pinkard]
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / d. Liberal freedom
In modern states an individual's actions should be their choice
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 6. Liberalism / g. Liberalism critique
The human race matters, and individuals have little importance
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 7. Communitarianism / a. Communitarianism
Modern life needs individuality, but must recognise that human agency is social [Pinkard]
Human nature only really exists in an achieved community of minds
Moral individuals become ethical when they see the social aspect of a matter [Houlgate]
For Hegel, the moral life can only be led within a certain type of community [MacIntyre]
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 12. Feminism
Even educated women are unsuited to science, philosophy, art and government
24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 14. Nationalism
In a good state the goal of the citizens and of the whole state are united
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 1. Slavery
Slaves are partly responsible for their own condition
Slaves have no duties because they have no rights
State slavery is a phase of education, moving towards a full culture
Slavery is unjust, because humanity is essentially free
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 5. Freedom of lifestyle
True liberal freedom is to pursue something, while being free to cease the pursuit [Houlgate]
People assume they are free, but the options available are not under their control
The goal of the world is Spirit's consciousness and enactment of freedom
25. Social Practice / A. Freedoms / 6. Political freedom
Freedom requires us to submit to a family, or a corporation, or a state [Houlgate]
25. Social Practice / B. Equalities / 4. Economic equality
Money is the best way to achieve just equality
25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 1. Basis of Rights
The absolute right is the right to have rights
Rights imply duties, and duties imply rights
25. Social Practice / C. Rights / 4. Property rights
Man has an absolute right to appropriate things
Because only human beings can own property, everything else can become our property
A community does not have the property-owning rights that a person has
The owner of a thing is obviously the first person to freely take possession of it
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 1. War / a. Just wars
Wars add strength to a nation, and cure internal dissension
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / a. Aims of education
Children need discipline, to break their self-will and eradicate sensuousness
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / d. Study of history
History is the progress of the consciousness of freedom
We should all agree that there is reason in history
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 1. Nature
When man wills the natural, it is no longer natural
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation
Old metaphysics tried to grasp eternal truths through causal events, which is impossible
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
The movement of pure essences constitutes the nature of scientific method
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Science confronts the inner necessities of objects
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
If God is the abstract of Supremely Real Essence, then God is a mere Beyond, and unknowable
The older conception of God was emptied of human features, to make it worthy of the Infinite
God is the absolute thing, and also the absolute person
28. God / B. Proving God / 1. Proof of God
The God of revealed religion can only be understood through pure speculative knowledge
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / a. Ontological Proof
Hegel's entire philosophy is nothing but a monstrous amplification of the ontological proof [Schopenhauer]
We establish unification of the Ideal by the ontological proof, deriving being from abstraction of thinking
28. God / C. Attitudes to God / 4. God Reflects Humanity
God is the essence of thought, abstracted from the thinker [Feuerbach]
29. Religion / B. Monotheistic Religion / 4. Christianity / a. Christianity
Hegel made the last attempt to restore Christianity, which philosophy had destroyed [Feuerbach]
Hegel said he was offering an encyclopaedic rationalisation of Christianity [Graham]
To universalise 'give everything to the poor' leads to absurdity
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
To have pagan beliefs and be a pagan are quite different
Some religions lead to harsh servitude and the debasement of human beings
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / a. Immortality
Immortality does not come at a later time, but when pure knowing Spirit fully grasps the universal