Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is probably the greatest German idealist and one of the outstanding philosophers of Western thought. He sets himself to address the problem of the Absolute (God) or infinite and the relation between the finite and infinite. Hegel's first major work in 1801 when he was at
Jena (called the Jena lectures). He compared the writings of Schelling and
Fichte and hence gave the impression that he was a disciple of Schelling. With
Schelling Hegel edited the Critical Journal
of Philosophy (1802-03), but his lectures at Jena (which were not published until the 20th
c.) already established his independence from Schelling which became clear with
the publication of his famous Phenomenology
of Spirit (1807). The Battle of Jena (where Napoleon won) led to his poverty
and eventually a job as Director of the Gymnasium at Nuremberg until 1816 where he also produced
the Science of Logic (1812-16).
Following the publication of the second volume, Hegel accepted a position at
where he published Encyclopedia of the
Philosophical Sciences in Outline (1817) in which he presented the main
divisions of philosophy: logic, nature, and spirit. At Heidelberg Hegel also lectured on aesthetics.
In 1818 Hegel went to
until his death of cholera in 1831. Here he wrote Outlines of the Philosophy of Right (1821), new edition of the Encyclopedia (1827-30), and was revising
the Phenomenology of Spirit. His
lectures were eventually published in four volumes on religion and history of
philosophy (3 volumes each) and one volume on the philosophy of history.
Summaries of Hegel's works and ideas (best read in succession):
Hegel - Overview of Philosophy and SummariesHegel On Self-Consciousness