Another Hegelian wrote me:

"As for the Philosophy of Nature, I fear you may be one or two generations ahead of yourself! This is today the weakest link in Hegel’s theory,


Look how much scientific data has yet to be organized under the System of Dialectics!"

I agree with you, that this is one of the tasks of Hegelians in our time, to include the knowledge of our time into Hegel’s System.

Besides his Philosophy of the subjective Spirit, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature (PoN) is still one of the least studied parts of his system.

However, as with other Hegel research, the situation has also become better in this area in the last 15-20 years.

In the English world, there is first of all the work of Professor Petry (he teaches at a Dutch university), who translated and commented Hegel’s PoN in a much praised 3 volume edition. I think he also (co) organized / lead some conferences in England and Germany on Hegel’s PoN in the 80s.

I’ll take the opportunity to present some helpful bibliographical details on outstanding German works on Hegel’s PoN of the last 20 years.

For a start, I recommend these works:


For getting an overview on Hegel’s System:

Hoesle, Vittorio: “Hegel’s System,” Meiner Verlag, Hamburg 1988, ISBN 3-7873-0775-3, 666 Pages, Paperback.

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

In the context of Hegel’s PoN it has a good discussion of some basic questions, like the relation of Hegel’s Science of Logic (SoL) and nature, Hegel’s System and nature etc, and also a integrates a nice bibliographical overview on recent work on Hegel’s PoN in his text.


Horstmann, Rolf-Peter and Petry, Michael J. (Hrsg): “Hegel’s Philosophie der Natur,” Ernst Klett Verlag, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-608-91408-0; 128,– DM

These are the conference papers of one of the conferences on PoN mentioned above. The focus is on proving that Hegel was usually remarkable up-to-date in his knowledge of the natural science and mathematics of his time. It also shows why Hegel argued against some of the theories of his time.


Petry, Micahel John (Hrsg): “Hegel und die Naturwissenschaften,” Fromann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1987, ISBN 3-7728-1146-9, 565 pages, about 240 DM.

The papers of another Hegel PoN conference, held in Tuebingen. In these papers, the focus is more on what is reasonable for us today in Hegel’s PoN. e.g. there are articles from Prof. Wandschneider and Vittorio Hösle on the systematic place and architecture of Hegel’s PoN in the context of his system, on Hegel’s mechanic and it’s relation to Einstein’s theory, on Hegel’s Biology and others. It also includes a bibliography on works on Hegel’s PoN since Hegel’s death and a list of all books related to mathematic and natural science in Hegel’s library (both provided by Prof.Neuser).

Both b)) and c)) also include articles on Hegel’s Mathematic.

Much of the material in c)](#c)) is being used in a)), btw.[d)

von Pechmann, Alexander: “Die Kategories des Masses in Hegel’s ‘Wissenschaft der Logik’” Pahl-Rugenstein Verlag, Köln 1988, ISBN 3-7609-5051-5

This work comments and clarifies the chapter on Measure in Hegel’s greater Logic (Science of Logic, SoL). This also includes discussions on the calculus and on movement, as well as some other material related to natural sciences.

Unfortunately, as several books mentioned in this list, it is no more available (I’d like to become a publishing house for these “lost” treasures).

e) Wandschneider, Dieter: “Raum, Zeit, Relativitaet - Grundbestimmungen der Physik in der Perspektive der Hegel’schen Naturphilosophie,” Verlag Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt 1992, ISBN 3-465-01471-5, 231 Seiten.

This is a very famous book (it probably has already been published in another edition earlier, as a)), c)) and f)) do quote from it).

It tries to reconstruct the first part of Hegel’s PoN (up to the chapter concerning the light), and shows how it is compatible with Einstein’s Theories (and how it is more compatible with Einstein then with Newton).

Prof. Wandschneider is a close friend of Vittorio Hösle and is Professor in the Technical University of Aachen. He also wrote a very good book where he tries to reconstruct the first chapters of Hegel’s logic, btw:

e-2) Wandschneider, Dieter “Grundzuege einer Theorie der Dialektik. Rekonstruktion und Revision der dialektischen Kategorienentwicklung in Hegel’s ‘Wissenschaft der Logik’,” Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-608-91749-9, 231 Seiten, Leinen


Ihming, Karl-Norbert: “Hegel’s Deutung der Gravitation,” athenaeum, Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-610-09231-9, 245 pages

his dissertation, examines Hegel remarks on gravitation. He also quotes Wandschneider, but not Neuser. Ihming is now professor in Bielefeld.


Engelhardt, Dietrich von: “Hegel und die Chemie - Studien zur Philosophie und Wissenschaft der Natur um 1800,” Guido Pressler Verlag, Wiesbaden 1976, no ISBN, 252 pages.

examines Hegel’s theories on Chemistry with the science of chemistry of his time.


Breidbach, Olaf: “Das Organische in Hegel’s Denken,” Verlag Koenigshausen + Neumann, Wuerzburg 1982, ISBN 3-88479-070-6

relates Hegel’s Philosophy of Biology to the theories of his time, including Goethe. Prof.Breidbach is today Professor in Jena for the history of science of the 18th and 19th century.

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