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 / 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 / 5. Aims of Philosophy / b. Philosophy as transcendent
True philosophy aims at absolute unity, while our understanding sees only separation
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 / 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
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
Highest reason is aesthetic, and truth and good are subordinate to beauty
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 5. Objectivity
Categories create objective experience, but are too conditioned by things to actually grasp them
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
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]
Older metaphysics became dogmatic, by assuming opposed assertions must be true and false
Socratic dialectic is subjective, but Plato made it freely scientific and objective
Dialectic is the moving soul of scientific progression, the principle which binds science together
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
Superficial truth is knowing how something is, which is consciousness of bare correctness
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 / L. Paradox / 3. Antinomies
Antinomies are not just in four objects, but in all objects, all representations, all objects and all ideas
The idea that contradiction is essential to rational understanding is a key modern idea
Tenderness for the world solves the antinomies; contradiction is in our reason, not in the essence of the world
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 / 4. The Absolute
In the Absolute everything is the same
The Absolute is not supposed to be comprehended, but felt and intuited
The 'absolute idea' is when all the contradictions are exhausted [Bowie]
The Absolute is the primitive system of concepts which are actualised [Gardner]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Reason for Existence
Hegel gives an ontological proof of the existence of everything [Scruton]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 1. Categories
Thought about particulars is done entirely through categories
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 / 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
Being is Thought
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
The sensible is distinguished from thought by being about singular things
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 / D. Scepticism / 2. Types of Scepticism
Humean scepticism, unlike ancient Greek scepticism, accepts the truth of experience as basic
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / b. Essence of consciousness
Consciousness is shaped dialectically, by opposing forces and concepts [Aho]
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 4. Persons as Agents
Hegel claims knowledge of self presupposes desire, and hence objects [Scruton]
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]
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 7. Compatibilism
In abstraction, beyond finitude, freedom and necessity must exist together
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
The act of thinking is the bringing forth of universals
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
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Aesthetics
Nineteenth century aesthetics focused on art rather than nature (thanks to Hegel)
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]
Art forms a bridge between the sensuous world and the world of pure thought
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 / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self
The in-itself must become for-itself, which requires self-consciousness
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 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]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract
Society isnít founded on a contract, since contracts presuppose a society [Scruton]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 7. Communitarianism
Human nature only really exists in an achieved community of minds
For Hegel, the moral life can only be led within a certain type of community [MacIntyre]
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
The older conception of God was emptied of human features, to make it worthy of the Infinite
If God is the abstract of Supremely Real Essence, then God is a mere Beyond, and unknowable
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]