Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831


Phänomenologie Des Geistes = Phenomenology Of Spirit Vol 1

p. 5  Preface:   The systematic development of truth in scientific form can alone be the true shape in which truth exists. To help to bring philosophy nearer to the form of science — that goal where it can lay aside the name of love of knowledge and be actual knowledge — that is what I have set before me. The inner necessity that knowledge should be science lies in its very nature; and the adequate and sufficient reason for this is simply and solely the systematic exposition of philosophy itself.

p. 176  Self-consciousness has before it another self-consciousness; it has come outside itself. This has a double significance. First it has lost its own self, since it finds itself as an other being; secondly, it has thereby sublated that other, for it does not regard the other as essentially real, but sees its own self in the other. It must cancel this its other. To do so is the sublation of that first double meaning, and is therefore a second double meaning. First, it must set itself to sublate the other independent being, in order thereby to become certain of itself as true being, secondly, it thereupon proceeds to sublate its own self, for this other is itself.

p. 193-194  Since, however, individuality when acting should show itself to be alive, or when thinking should grasp the living world as a system of thought, there ought to lie in thought itself a content to supply the sphere of the ego, in the former case with what is good, and, in the latter, true, in order that there should throughout be no other ingredient in what consciousness has to deal with, except the notion which is the real essence. But here, by the way in which the notion as an abstraction cuts itself off from the multiplicity of things, the notion has no content in itself; the content is a datum, is given.

Consciousness, no doubt, abolishes the content as an external, a foreign existent, by the fact that it thinks it, but the notion is a determinate notion, and this determinateness of the notion is the alien element the notion contains within it. Stoicism, therefore, got embarrassed, when, as the expression went, it was asked for the criterion of truth in general, i.e. properly speaking, for a content of thought itself. To the question what is good and true, it responded by giving again the abstract, contentless thought; the true and good are to consist in reasonableness. But this self-identity of thought is simply once more pure form, in which nothing is determinate.

Phänomenologie Des Geistes = Phenomenology Of Spirit Vol 2

p. 434 The ethical world, the world rent asunder into the” here” and the ” yonder,” and the moral point of view (moalische Weltanschauung) are, then, individual forms of spirit (Geister) whose process and whose return into the self of spirit, a self simple and self-existent (jursichseynd), will be developed. When these attain their goal and final result, the actual self-consciousness of Absolute Spirit will make its appearance.

p. 490-491  Nothing has a spirit self established and indwelling within it; rather each is outside itself in what is alien to it. The equilibrium of the whole is not the unity which abides by itself, nor its inwardly secured tranquility, but rests on the alienation of its opposite. The whole is, therefore, like each particular moment, a self-estranged reality.

It breaks up into two spheres:  in one kingdom self-consciousness is actually both the self and its object, and in another we have the kingdom of pure consciousness, which, being beyond the former, has no actual present, but exists for Faith, is matter of Belief.

Now just as the ethical world passes from the separation of divine and human law, with its various forms, and its consciousness gets away from the division into knowledge and the absence of knowledge, and returns into the principle which is its disunity, into the self which is the power to destroy and negate this opposition, so, too, both these kingdoms of self-alienated spirit will return into the self.

But while the former was the first self, holding good directly, the particular person, this second, which returns into itself from its self-relinquishment, will be the universal self, the consciousness grasping the conception; and these spiritual worlds, all of whose moments insist on being a fixed reality and an unspiritual subsistence, will be dissolved in the light of pure Insight.

This insight, being the self-grasping itself, completes the stage of culture. It takes up nothing but the self, and everything as the self, i.e. it comprehends everything, extinguishes all objectiveness, and converts everything implicit into something explicit, everything which has a being in itself into what is for itself. When turned against belief, against faith, as the far-away region of inner being lying in the distant beyond, it is Enlightenment (Aufklarung).

This enlightenment also terminates self-estrangement in this region whither spirit in self-alienation turns to seek its safety as to a region where it becomes conscious of a peace adequate to itself. Enlightenment upsets the household arrangements, which spirit carries out in the house of faith, by bringing in the goods and furnishings belonging to the world of the Here and Now, a world which that spirit cannot refuse to accept as its own property, for its conscious life likewise belongs to that world.

A main line of argument in the Critical Philosophy bids us pause before proceeding to inquire into God or into the true being of things, and tells us first of all to examine the faculty of cognition and see whether it is equal to such an effort. We ought, says Kant, to become acquainted with the instrument, before we undertake the work for which it is to be employed; for if the instrument be insufficient, all our trouble will be spent in vain.

Part 1  229-230

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In the civic community universality is only necessity. In the relation of wants, right as such is the only steadfast principle. But the sphere of this right is limited, and refers merely to the protection of what I have. To right as such, happiness is something external.

In the system of wants the subsistence and happiness of every individual is a possibility, whose realization is conditioned by the objective system of wants. By the administration of justice compensation is rendered for injury done to property or person. But the right, which IS actualized in the particular individual, contains the two following factors. It asks firstly that person and property should be secured by the removal of all fortuitous hindrances, and secondly that the security of the individual’s subsistence and happiness, his particular well-being should be regarded and actualized as a right.

p. 244

When a large number of people sink below the standard of living regarded as essential for the members of society, and lose that sense of right, rectitude, and honour which is derived from self-support, a pauper class arises, and wealth accumulates disproportionately in the hands of a few.  244

Part 2

p. 247ff

The state is the march of God in the world; its ground or cause is the power of reason realizing itself as will. When thinking of the idea of the state, we must not have in our mind any particular state, or particular institution, hut must rather contemplate the idea, this actual God, by itself.

Everything depends on the union of universality and particularity in the state. In the ancient states the subjective end was out-and-out one with the volition of the state. In modern times, on the contrary, we demand an individual view, an individual will and conscience. Of these things the ancients had none in the same sense. For them the final thing was the will of the state.

While in Asiatic despotisms the individual had no inner nature, and no self-justification, in the modem world man’s inner self is honoured. The conjunction of duty and right has the twofold aspect that what the state demands as duty should forthwith he the right of individuality, since the state’s demand is nothing other than the organization of the conception of freedom The prevailing characters of the individual will are by the state brought into objective reality, and in this way first attain to their truth and realization. The state is the sole and essential condition of the attainment of the particular end and good.


Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Vol. I: 1822-1823

p. 18  The nature of Spirit may be understood by a glance at its direct opposite — Matter. As the essence of Matter is Gravity, so, on the other hand, we may affirm that the substance, the essence of Spirit is Freedom.

Matter possesses gravity in virtue of its tendency towards a central point. It is essentially composite; consisting of parts that exclude each other. It seeks its Unity; and therefore exhibits itself as self- destructive, as verging towards its opposite [an indivisible point. If it could attain this, it would be Matter no longer, it would have perished. It strives after the realization of its Idea ; for in Unity it exists ideally.

Spirit, on the contrary, may be defined as that which has its centre in itself. It has not a unity outside itself, but has already found it ; it exists in and -with itself. Matter has its essence out of itself ; Spirit is self-contained existence (Bei-sich-selbst-seyn) . Now this is Freedom, exactly. For if I am dependent, my being is referred to something else which I am not; I cannot exist in- dependently of something external. I am free, on the contrary, when my existence depends upon myself. This self-contained existence of Spirit is none other than self- consciousness — consciousness of one’s own being.

p. 34-40  A World-historical individual is not so unwise as to indulge a variety of wishes to divide his regards. He is devoted to the One Aim, regardless of all else. It is even possible that such men may treat other great, even sacred interests, inconsiderately; conduct which is indeed obnoxious to moral reprehension. But so mighty a form must trample down many an innocent flower — crush to pieces many an object in its path.

But though we might tolerate the idea that individuals, their desires and the gratification of them, are thus sacrificed, and their happiness given up to the empire of chance, to which it belongs; and that as a general rule, individuals come under the category of means to an ulterior end,— there is one aspect of human individuality which we should hesitate to regard in that subordinate light, even in relation to the highest ; since it is absolutely no subordinate element, but exists in those individuals as inherently eternal and divine.

Subjective volition — Passion — is that which sets men in activity, that which effects “practical” realization. The Idea is the inner spring of action; the State is the actually existing, realized moral life. For it is the Unity of the universal, essential Will, with that of the individual; and this is “Morality.

Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Vol. II: 1822-1823

p. 1 Plato, who must be numbered among the Socratics, was the most renowned of the friends and disciples of Socrates, and he it was who grasped in all its truth Socrates great principle that ultimate reality lies in consciousness, since, according to him, the absolute is in thought, and all reality is Thought. He does not understand by this a one-sided thought, nor what is understood by the false idealism which makes thought once more step aside and contemplate itself as conscious thought, and as in opposition to reality ; it is the thought which embraces in an absolute unity reality as well as thinking, the Notion and its reality in the movement of science, as the Idea of a scientific whole.

p.181-182  Aristotle characterizes the nature of the soul more closely (De Anima, II. 1) by referring to the three moments of existence: “First there is matter, which is in itself no individual thing; secondly, the form and the universal, which give a thing individuality; thirdly, the result produced by both, in which matter is potentiality and form is energy ” matter thus does not exist as matter, but only implicitly.

“The soul is substance, as being the form of the physical organic body which is possessed potentially of life; but its substance is energy the energy of a body such as has been described “(endowed with life).” This energy appears in twofold form: either as knowledge or as active observation. But it is evident that here it is to be regarded as the former of these. For the soul is present with us both when we sleep and when we wake; waking corresponds with active observation, and sleep with possession and passivity. But knowledge is in origination prior to all else. The soul is thus the first energy of a physical but organic body.” It is in respect of this that Aristotle gives to the soul the definition of being the entelechy (the realization of potential).

p. 228 The first period of Greek philosophy extended to Aristotle, to the attainment of a scientific form in which knowledge has reached the standing of free thought. Thus in Plato and Aristotle the result was the Idea; yet we saw in Plato the universal made the principle in a somewhat abstract way as the unmoved Idea; in Aristotle, on the other hand, thought in activity became absolutely concrete as the thought which thinks itself.

In this second period, which precedes the Alexandrian philosophy, we have to consider Dogmatism and Skepticism the Dogmatism which separates itself into the two philosophies, the Stoic and the Epicurean ; and the third philosophy, of which both partake and which yet differs from them both, Skepticism.

p.  249  Cicero says “Chrysippus, Diogenes and Antipater argued thus: If gods exist, and if they do not let men know beforehand what is to happen in the future, they cannot love men, or else they themselves do not know what stands before them in the future, or they are of opinion that it does not signify whether man knows it or not, or they consider such a revelation beneath the dignity of their majesty, or they cannot make it comprehensible to men.” All this they refute, for amongst other things they say that nothing can exceed the beneficence of the gods, &c.

Thus they draw the conclusion that “the gods make known to men the future” a system of reasoning in which the entirely particular ends of individuals also form the interests of the gods. To make men know and comprehend at one time and not at another, is an inconsistency, i.e. an incomprehensibility, but this very incomprehensibility, this obscurity, is the triumph of the common way of regarding religious affairs.

Thus in the Stoics all the superstitions of Home had their strongest supporters; all external, teleological superstition is taken under their protection and justified. Because the Stoics started from the assertion that reason is God (it certainly is divine, but it does not exhaust divinity), they immediately made a bound from this universal to the revelation of that which operates for the sake of individual ends. The truly rational is doubtless revealed to men as the law of God  but the useful, what is in conformity with individual ends, is not revealed in this truly divine revelation.

Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Vol. III: 1822-1823

p. 6  Now because man is in himself the image of God, but in existence is only natural, that which is implicit must be evolved, while the first natural condition must be abrogated. So much the more is it true that man first becomes spiritual, and attains to truth through rising above the natural, inasmuch as God Himself is a spirit only in that He transformed the hidden unity into the other of Himself, in order from this other to turn back again into Himself.

p. 35  The acquaintance of the Arabians with Aristotle has this interest in history that it was thus that Aristotle first became known also in the West. The commentaries on Aristotle and the collections of passages from his writings become thus for the Western world a fountain of philosophy. Western nations long knew nothing of Aristotle, excepting through such retranslations of his works and translations of Arabian commentaries on them. For such translations were made from Arabic into Latin by Spanish Arabs, and especially by Jews in the south of Spain and Portugal and in Africa; there was often even a Hebrew translation between.

p. 69-70  Peter of Novara in Lombard, Peter Lombard, collected the principal points in church doctrines from councils and Fathers, and then added subtle questions respecting particular items; with these the schools occupied themselves, and they became a subject of disputation. He himself, indeed, answered these questions, but he caused counter-arguments to follow, and his answer often left the whole matter problematical, so that the questions were not properly decided.

The arguments are thus enumerated on either side; even the Fathers contradicted themselves, and numerous passages from them were quoted by both the opposed sides in support of their respective views. In this way theses arose, then questions in reply to these argumenta, then again positions, and finally dubia (doubt); according as men chose to take the words in this sense or that, and followed this or that authority. Yet a certain degree of method began to enter in. Speaking generally, this middle of the twelfth century forms the epoch in which scholasticism became more universal as a learned theology.

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p. 119 Giordano Bruno was of an equally restless and effervescent temperament, and we see in him a bold rejection of all Catholic beliefs resting on mere authority. In modern times he has again been brought into remembrance by Jacobi (Werke, Vol. IV. Section II. pp. 5-46), who appended to his letters on Spinoza an abstract of one of Bruno’s works.

p. 169  Modern Philosophy:  The first two philosophers whom we have to consider are Bacon and Boehme; there is as complete a disparity between these individuals as between their systems of philosophy. None the less both agree that mind operates in the content of its knowledge as in its own domain, and this consequently appears as concrete Being. This domain in Bacon is the finite, natural world; in Boehme it is the inward, mystical, godly Christian life and existence; for the former starts from experience and induction, the latter from God and the pantheism of the Trinity.

p. 403 The German Illumination:  – The Germans were at this time quietly drifting along in their Leibnitzo-Wolffian philosophy, in its definitions, axioms and proofs. Then they were gradually breathed upon by the spirit of foreign lands, they made acquaintance with all the developments which there came to pass, and took very kindly to the empiricism of Locke; on the other hand they at the same time laid aside metaphysical investigations, turned their attention to the question of how truths can be grasped by the healthy human understanding, and plunged into the Aufklarung and into the consideration of the utility of all things a point of view which they adopted from the French.

Utility as the essence of existent things signifies that they are determined as not being in them selves, but for another : this is a necessary moment, but not the only one.

The German Aufklarung warred against ideas, with the principle of utility as its weapon. Philosophic investigations on this subject had degenerated into a feeble popular treatment of it which was incapable of going deeper; they displayed a rigid pedantry “and an earnestness of the understanding, but were unspiritual.The Germans are busy bees who do justice to all nations, they are old-clothesmen for whom anything is good enough, and who carry on their haggling with everyone.

Picked up as it was from foreign nations, all this had lost the wit and life, the energy and originality which with the French had made the content to be lost sight of in the form. The Germans, who honestly sift a matter to its root, and who would put rational arguments in the place of wit and vivacity, since wit and vivacity really prove nothing, in this way reached a content which was utterly empty, so much so that nothing could be more wearisome than this profound mode of treatment; such was the case with Eberhard, Teteus, and those like them.


From May 4,to August 21, 1829 Hegel lectured on the proofs of the existence of God, one hour per week for sixteen weeks. These lectures were published in 1832 after Hegel’s death.

Lectures on the philosophy of religion, together with a work on the proofs of the existence of God

p. 276-287 When any one wills anything, he demands, in order actually to take his resolution, an external objective confirmation or assurance ; he asks that he should know his resolution to be one which is a unity of the subjective and objective, one which is assured and ratified. And here this ratification is the unexpected, some-thing which happens suddenly, a materially significant. unconnected change in things, a flash in a clear sky, a bird rising up in a wide uniform horizon, and which breaks in upon the indeterminateness of the inner irresolution. This is an appeal to what is inward, an appeal to act suddenly, and to come to a determination within the mind in a chance way without a knowledge of the connection and grounds, for this is just the point at which the grounds or reasons stop short, or at which they are in fact absent.

The soul in its natural state is not as it should be; it ought to be free Spirit, but the soul is Spirit only through the abrogation of the natural will, of the desires. This abrogation, this subjection of itself to what is moral, and the habituation to this so that the moral or spiritual becomes the second nature of the individual, is, above all, the work of education and culture. The thought of this reconstruction of man’s nature must accordingly come into consciousness at this standpoint, because it is the standpoint of self-conscious freedom, and come into it in such a way as to show that this change or conversion is recognized as requisite.

The other negative element is misfortune in general, sickness, death, or any other mishaps. This negative element is explained by the prophets, and brought into connection with some guilty act or transgression. A negative of this kind first appears in the physical world in the shape, for example, of an unfavourable wind. The physical condition is then explained as having a spiritual connection, and as involving in itself the ill-will and wrath of the gods — that ill-will and wrath which are brought upon men by some crime and by some offence against the divine. Or it may be that lightning, thunder, an earthquake, the appearance of snakes, and such-like are interpreted to mean something negative which essentially attaches to a spiritual and moral Power. In this case the injury has to be done away with through sacrifice, and in such a way that he who has shown himself arrogant by committing the crime, imposes a forfeiture or himself, for arrogance is an injury done to a spiritual higher Power, to which accordingly humility has to sacrifice something in order to propitiate it and restore the equilibrium.


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