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Here are some small comments on Hegel's Philosophy of History (PoH).

You may know several of the informations provided, however, I thought they might be useful for those  interested for some reasons in Hegel's PoH.

Because of time limitations, I mainly provide bibliographical informations and don't go into any depth. However, in case you are interested, I am prepared to discuss some of the topics presented here into deeper detail.

1. Primary Sources:

Hegel did not write a PoH. Hegel published 4 main works, his "Phenomenology of Spirit" (PoS), his "Science of Logic" (SoL), the "Encyclopaedia of the philosophical sciences" (E, 3 different editions) and the "Philosophy of Right" (PoR).

Hegel writes about the PoH in the 2 later works (E, PoR).

His lectures, including those on PoH and his non published works/notes were all published post mortem.

The first edition of Hegel's lectures on PoH were compiled out of several scripts by his son Karl Hegel, who became a Professor for history btw, but who was not a Hegelian himself.

We now have some very good editions of these works and also of several scripts of his students of his various lectures.

Usualy, these editions are published by the well known philosophical publishing House "Meiner Verlag" in Hamburg. The edition is done by the Hegel Archiv, Bochum (It's part of the Bochum University).

Some good Hegel texts are also published in the publishing house "Fromann-Holzboog", Stuttgart / Bad Cannstatt.


However, everyone who reads Hegels PoH (and also his PoR) should keep in mind that ut is a part of the complete Hegelian System as explained in the Encyclopedia.

This leads to several links, which are probably not obvious for those students who only read the PoH:

2a) The probably best known link is the one to the Philosophy of Right, were the PoH provides the ending chapters therof (3a,3b,3c).

2b) Second, in E, the PoH is followed by the part on the "absolute spirit" (Art, Religion, Philosophy). This in itself implies a kind of critic of state and history by Hegel (3a,3b,3c).

2c) Also, Art, Religion and Philosophy also have their own history (which is handled in Hegel's lectures of these topics), so the question arises how these are related (3a,3c).

2d) Before the part on "the objective spirit" in E (=PoR) comes the part on the "subjective spirit". This has chapters beginning from the Anthropology (man determined up to some parts by nature) up to the issues of the theoretical (knowledge) and practical (will) aspects.

This part is in some kind a foundation of the whole objective spirit (in the PoR, some parts of the chapter on the will are included at the beginning), including PoH.

It also answers partially the question how the "List der Vernunft" (Cunning of Reason) works.



Hegels work is divided in 3 parts: Logic, Nature, Spirit.

The later again is divided in 3 parts: Subjective (2d), objective (2a) and absolute spirit (2b,2c). In Hegels System topics, which have similar places in his system share some properties (similar to some extent to the chemical periodical table).

So there is the question on how the Objective Spirit (including PoH), relates to the Philosophy of Nature (3b,3c).


Last but not least, as the logic is the foundation of Hegel's system and provides the explanation of his "periodical system", the question immediately arises how the PoH relates to Hegel's Logic and if there is also a correlation (3a, 3c).

The numbers in brackets refer to the secondary literature I will present now on that subjects:

3. Secondary Literature on 1) and 2)


The most important work for getting an overwiew on Hegels System is, as usual,

Hoesle, Vittorio: "Hegels System", Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-7873-0775-3, 666 Pages, Paperback.

It is becoming the classical text, and is highly recommended. It also covers nicely alternatives of Hegelians of his time and the secondary literature of about 1960-1988.


Peperzak, Adriaan Theodor, now Professor at the Loyola university in Chicago, wrote two books touching Hegel's PoH. Both were published at Fromann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt.

One is called "Selbsterkentnis des Absoluten" (on Hegels Philosophy of Spirit as a whole), and one is called "Hegels praktische Philosophie" ("Hegel's practical philosophy", 1991, ISBN 3-7728-1351-8).

This later one examines very closely (sentence for sentence) the part of Hegel's encyclopedia beginning from the will up to the philosophy of history.

This work is interesting in this context because he both covers the questions of the will and the question of the single subject, which is presupposed in the PoH and because he shows by looking at the PoH from the perspective of the whole system, that the PoH is not (only) affirmative but also critical (as it a) is paralleled with Nature and is in itself 2nd nature (which means it is a nature produced by the spirit but still is nature, mortal and imperfect), and so Hegel's system doesn't end in history but continues into art, religion, philosophy.


The best work on Hegel's PoH I know of is Bautz, Timo "Hegels Lehre von der Weltgeschichte" Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Muenchen 1988, 182 pages, ISBN 3-7705-2475-6


I understand that the "Internationale Hegelvereinigung", Berlin, had a congress on the subject of Hegel's PoH in the early 90s, and published two volumes with some 50-100 articles presented on that congress, but I haven't reviewed these yet. I can look up the bibliographical informations if someone of you wants me too.

4. A side note:

There exists a mailing list and a web site concerning Philosophy of History (not focused on Hegel) run by

Nikolai S. Rozov, PhD, Dr.Sc. Professor of Philosophy
E-MAIL: rozov@nsu.ru FAX: 7-3832-397101

ADDRESS: Philosophy Dept. Novosibirsk State University
630090, Novosibirsk, Pirogova 2, RUSSIA

Welcome to PHILOFHI (the mailing list for PHILosophy OF HIstory and theoretical history)



Philosophy of History Archive (PHA) http://www.nsu.ru/filf/pha/

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