Reading and understanding Hegel

The new recommended reading section may help you to successfully dive further into Hegel studies. Scans of the original German Hegel books as PDFS are available via the Editions page (or directly via The pdf files listing).

A short overview of Hegel's philosophy can be found in the article on Hegel's philosophy in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" of 1911.

About us

Hegel.net is dedicated to explaining the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) in all its richness. You can find out more about the mission of the web site in the section “About us”.

Hegel.net sections

These are the sections of hegel.net, which you can access via the main menu on the top of the page:

Articles

This area gives you a table of all specific articles (without the PDFs and original texts) available at hegel.net in English, which you can search and order by title and author. When you switch to other languages by clicking the flag in top menu, you will see the articles available in other languages (the German version alone contains some 500+ articles). A new overview "Website News" lists the several NEW articles since July 2020 at hegel.net for you.

Hegel - Biography, Time and Reception

Hegel is about Hegel's life and times and includes a Hegel gallery, a list of contempories of Hegel and a useful timeline. You will also find articles on Hegel's reception: Reports on Hegel studies worldwide and what people have written about Hegel past and present.

Resources

Here you will find resources for your Hegel studies:

New (2020-06-24): Search

We added a (Google powered) search at the top so that you can search our site. Every language section has its own search. Please understand that as this depends on how good Google is at indexing our site, new articles and pages are not in the index yet. In such case, a separate search in the tables of available articles and available triangles can help (that later table is also available in a trilingual (de/en/fr) and a quadrolingual (de/en/fr/it) version).

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The triangle

The parts of the Hegelian system itself can be accessed both from the System menu on the top as well as via the triangle on the upper part of each page: clicking on one of the outer triangles brings you to a level deeper into the Hegelian system, while clicking on the text in the middle triangle brings you one back one level to the top (see also our Info page). Left to (or, depending on how wide your screen is, below) each triangle you will find links to articles and Hegel texts concerning the specific topic of the page (the topic is written in the middle of the triangle as well as below the triangle).

The Hegel picture

Some of the triangles have an illustration, above for example you see a picture of Hegel. Unlike the other pictures you will encounter, you can click on this Hegel picture as a shortcut to visit the section of hegel.net dedicated to Hegel himself. The currently used birthday picture (Hegel has his 250th birthday this year) was drawn by graphic artist Dietwald Doblies, who is also responsible for the graphic design of our posters. The original painting, from which the graphic is derived, was painted by Jakob Schlesinger is exhibited in the "Alte Nationalgallerie", Berlin. It is the most well known picture of Hegel and therefore illustrates Hegel here. This picture was painted 1831, Hegel's last year, when Hegel suffered from severe stomach pains (as a result of which he probably died). It was not appreciated by Hegel's family according to a private letter from Hegel's wife to Rosenkranz. A nicer Hegel portrait is sketched by Hegel's friend Wilhelm Hensel in Heidelberg (under which Hegel wrote “Who knows me, will recognise me here”) illustrates our Hegel page (more Hegel portraits can be found in our Hegel gallery).

Works

Phenomenology of Spirit/Mind

The famous "Phenomenology of Spirit/Mind" (1807) is Hegel's earliest major work and so gives us the picture of the Hegelian philosophy in the making - at the stage before the scaffolding has been removed from the building. For this reason the book is at once the most brilliant and the most difficult of Hegel's works.

System (from the Encyclopedia)

Hegel's philosophical system as such, as it is described in his "Encyclopedia of Philosophical Science" (1817/1827/1830) and further expanded especially in his many lectures, is divided into three parts (that correspond to the three volumes of his Encyclopedia):

  • Logic: Neither a formal logic, nor linguistic, nor a psychology or neurology, this area discusses the categories of thinking, so it explores what we do when we think when we thereby try to find out the truth, so in this area we think about thinking. As this also includes to reflect what is scientific in what we do when we do science, you could also call it the science of science. The order of the logic, like any other parts of the system, is in itself ordered logically, starting with the most basic/abstract items, presuming nothing (except the will to think and to find the truth). This part of Hegel's system is subject of an own book, his "Science of Logic" (vol.1 1812, vol. 2 1813, vol. 3 1816, with the revised 1st volume published in 1831), also called the "Great Logic", in contrast to the smaller first volume of the Encyclopedia, nicknamed the "Short Logic".
  • Nature: This area is about the philosophy of nature, dicussing the terms, concepts, axioms and methods we use when we practice science of nature. While Hegel had a good overview of the science of nature of his time, this area is the one that needs most work in order to include the findings of modern science. Still, especially the first part ("mechanics") and the last part ("life") are still found worth to investigate by modern Hegelians. Like in other parts of the system, where we have expanded the Hegelian system to include new areas/discoveries, we have marked them in brackets "[]" (e.g. in the areas classification single-cell organisms, classification plant kingdom, classification animal kingdom, chemical substances, and sun/light)
  • [Human] Spirit/Mind (in German "Geist"): This area of philosophy deals with the subject that in modern universities is called "humanities", "society" and/or "culture" (in ancient philosophical systems, this part is called "Ethics"). It enters into greatly expanded detail concerning the mind, as follows:
    • The subjective spirit (mind) - deals with human mind as such, especially the individual (subjective) mind, so it deals among others with anthropology and psychology
    • The objective spirit (mind) - deals with the human spirit transforming/shaping nature/the "objective" world according to its concepts/goals/ideas, thereby expressing itself. It is subject of an own book of Hegel, "The Philosophy of Right" (1821). Among others it deals with law/jurisprudence ("abstract right"), morality and ethical life (German "Sittlichkeit"), which in itself consists of the subjects of familiy, society and political philosophy (including world history),
    • The absolute spirit (mind) - deals with those areas where we reflect our thoughts and actions, especially our reasons, values and goals behind them. Such basic values and concepts govern our lives at the most basic level and by reflecting them, we can come to a greater level of understanding and freedom. (The absolute spirit is "absolute" in so far that it not limited in this area by anything else other than itself and its own stage of development). This area explores fine arts, religion and philosophy itself, as the science of science (the later including therefor also the complete Hegelian System, insofar having a circular structure, as you will discover yourself when you continue to click the uppermost triangle).

Game

In the Game/Quiz section, for your entertainment you can test your formal knowledge of the Hegelian system by trying to find the place of various subjects within the Hegelian system.

Mailing list for questions etc.

In case you have any questions about Hegel and Hegel related topics or want to discuss these with us, feel free to use our email discussion list .

Written in June 2020 by hegel.net editor Kai Froeb, Munich, Germany.