Introduction

The common representations of the “system collapse” of Hegelian philosophy are superficial and false.

The criticisms of Hegel in the 19th and 20th centuries are largely based on misunderstandings12 (especially in those forms that have become more familiar / effective).

J.E.Erdmann3, C.L.Michelet4 and C.Rosenkranz5 continued to teach and research (and write good books) as Hegelian professors until the 1870s, but after 1848 only a few people were interested.

There were many local Hegel renaissances outside Germany during Hegel’s time and afterwards (in all Scandinavia until about 1870, in Poland and Russia in the 19th century, in the USA and UK in the second half of the 19th century, in Italy from Hegel’s time uninterruptedly until the end of the 20th century etc.)

However, all these Hegel receptions were only partially and also partially deficient, we are in a better situation today.

Personally, I suspect that in time Hegel will get the status Plato and Aristotle had in the previous 2500 years.

Chronological listing (1830-1850)

In the following I will try to summarize some of the facts there together with many other single observations from various sources chronologically:

(The following should be read against the background of the circumstances of Hegel’s last years in Berlin, as described on the Hegel.net Hegel Biography, in the section about Berlin)

Further negative developments in 2nd half of the 19th century, adding to a climate negative to Hegel

All this leads to the fact that Hegel is a “dead dog” in the public consciousness (but also at the universities, where in the 19th century the process of the separation of the individual sciences from philosophy is taking place anyway - another point!

Summary of the biggest problems in the environment

In principle, at least three hostile tendencies come together from the surrounding area, which the Hegelians could no longer sufficiently oppose after Hegel’s death:

Philosophical-historical - inner philosophical explanation

From the point of view of the history of philosophy, of course, it should also be possible to explain the whole thing from an inner-philosophical point of view; that would be most interesting.


  1. For a detailed examination and refution of the critiques that appeared at Hegel’s lifetime, see Burkhardt, Bernd: “Hegels ‘Wissenschaft der Logik’ im Spannungsfeld der Kritik - Historische und systematische Untersuchungen zur Diskussion um Funktion und Leistungsfähigkeit von Hegels”Wissenschaft der Logik" bis 1831", Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim, 1993↩︎

  2. For an examiniation and refutuion of the critiques of Hegel’s logic in the works of the German 19th century Philosophy books on Logic, see Frank-Peter Hansen “Geschichte der Logik des 19. Jahrhunderts. Eine kritische Einführung in die Anfänge der Erkenntnis- und Wissenschaftstheorie”, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, November 2002.↩︎

  3. https://hegel.net/erdmann/↩︎

  4. https://hegel.net/michelet/↩︎

  5. https://hegel.net/rosenkranz/↩︎

  6. https://hegel.net/hegelwerke/↩︎

  7. Wolfgang Eßbach: “Die Junghegelianer - Soziologie einer Intellektuellengruppe”, Wilhelm Finck Verlag, München 1988↩︎

  8. https://hegel.net/bauer/↩︎

  9. Klaus Christian Köhnke: “Untersuchung zu Entstehung und Aufstieg des Neukantianismus - Die deutsche Universitätsphilosophie zwischen Idealismus und Positivismus”. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/M. 1986 / 1993. English: “The Rise of Neokantianism. German Academic Philosophy between Idealism and Positivism”, translated by R.J.Hollingdale, Foreword Lewis White Beck, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge / New York 1991.↩︎

  10. Domenico Losurdo: “Hegel und das deutsche Erbe. Philosophie und nationale Frage zwischen Revolution und Reaktion”, Pahl-Rugenstein, Köln 1989↩︎

  11. Vittorio Hösle: “Moralische Aufklärung und Institutionenverfall - Zur Dialektik von Aufklärung und Gegenaufklärung”. See online in German at https://hegel-system.de/de/moralische_reflexion.htm↩︎

  12. Vittorio Hösle: “Wahrheit und Geschichte”. Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart 1986↩︎

  13. see https://hegel-system.de/de/dpdf.htm↩︎