Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

German Philosopher

Author Quotes

The propulsion by the universality of thought is the absolute worth of civilization.

Spirit, and the course of its development, is the substantial object of the philosophy of history. The nature of Spirit may be understood by contrasting it with its opposite, namely Matter. The essence of Matter is Gravity; the essence of Spirit is Freedom. Matter is outside itself, whereas Spirit has its centre in itself. Spirit is self-contained existence.

The Church has consistently and justly refused to allow that reason might stand in opposition to faith, and yet be placed under subjection to it. The human spirit in its inmost nature is not something so divided up that two contradictory elements might subsist together in it. If discord has arisen between intellectual insight and religion, and is not overcome in knowledge, it leads to despair, which comes in the place of reconciliation. This despair is reconciliation carried out in a one-sided manner. The one side is cast away, the other alone held fast; but a man cannot win true peace in this way. The one alternative is, for the divided spirit to reject the demands of the intellect and try to return to simple religious feeling. To this, however, the spirit can only attain by doing violence to itself, for the independence of consciousness demands satisfaction, and will not be thrust aside by force; and to renounce independent thought, is not within the power of the healthy mind. Religious feeling becomes yearning hypocrisy, and retains the moment of non-satisfaction. The other alternative is a one-sided attitude of indifference toward religion, which is either left unquestioned and let alone, or is ultimately attacked and opposed. That is the course followed by shallow spirits.

The essence of the modern state is that the universal be bound up with the complete freedom of its particular members and with private well-being, that thus the interests of family and civil society must concentrate themselves on the state.... It is only when both these moments subsist in their strength that the state can be regarded as articulated and genuinely organized.

The History of the World is nothing but the development of the Idea of Freedom.

The Mind of the world, exercises its right in the ‘history of the world which is the world's court of judgment’.

The public authority takes the place of the family where the poor are concerned.

Spiritual culture, the modern intellect, produces this opposition in man which makes him an amphibious animal, because he now has to live in two worlds which contradict one another.

The collision with philosophy enters only insofar as this ground takes leave of its own distinctive character and its content is supposed to be grasped in categories and made dependent upon them, without leading the categories to the concept and completing them in the idea.

The fact that society has become strong and sure of itself leads to a mitigation of its punishment.

The History of the World travels from East to West, for Europe is absolutely the end of History, Asia the beginning.

The Mohammedan principle – the enlightenment of the Oriental World – is the first to contravene this barbarism and caprice [of the real world]. We find it developing itself later and more rapidly than Christianity; for the latter needed eight centuries to grow up into a political form.

The recollection of spiritual forms as they are in themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their spiritual kingdom ..., looked at from the side of their free existence appearing in the form of contingency, is History; looked at from the side of their intellectually comprehended organization, it is the Science of the ways in which knowledge appears.

States, nations, and individuals are all the time the unconscious tools of the world mind at work within them.

The conception and its existence are two sides, distinct yet united, like soul and body. The body is the same life as the soul, and yet the two can be named independently. A soul without a body would not be a living thing, and vice versa. Thus the visible existence of the conception is its body, just as the body obeys the soul which produced it.

The family as a legal entity in relation to others must be represented by the husband as its head.

The Idea, as unity of the Subjective and Objective Idea, is the absolute and all truth, the Idea which thinks itself.

The morality of the individual, then, consists in his fulfilling the duties of his social position.

The richer in relationships thoughts become, the more confused and meaning becomes their representation in such forms as numbers.

History... is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.

In connection with the judgment of impulses, this dialectic appears in the following form: (a) As immanent and so positive, the determinations of the immediate will are good; thus man is said to be by nature good. (b) But, in so far as these determinations are natural and thus are in general opposed to freedom and the concept of mind, and hence negative, they must be uprooted, and so man is said to be by nature evil. — At this point a decision in favor of either thesis depends equally on subjective arbitrariness.

In the history of philosophy the different stages of the logical idea assume the shape of successive systems, each based on a particular definition of the Absolute. As the logical Idea is seen to unfold itself in a process from the abstract to the concrete, so in the history of philosophy the earliest systems are the most abstract, and thus at the same time the poorest. The relation too of the earlier to the later systems of philosophy is much like the relation of the corresponding stages of the logical Idea: in other words, the earlier are preserved in the later: but subordinated and submerged. This is the true meaning of a much misunderstood phenomenon in the history of philosophy – the refutation of one system by another, of an earlier by a later. Most commonly the refutation is taken in a purely negative sense to mean that the system refuted has ceased to count for anything, has been set aside and done for. Were it so, the history of philosophy would be, of all studies, most saddening, displaying, as it does, the refutation of every system which time has brought forth. Now although it may be admitted that every philosophy has been refuted, it must be in an equal degree maintained that no philosophy has been refuted. And that in two ways. For first, every philosophy that deserves the name always embodies the Idea: and secondly, every system represents one particular factor or particular stage in the evolution of the Idea. The refutation of a philosophy, therefore, only means that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced to a factor in the completer principle that follows.

It is only because right is the embodiment of the absolute concept or of self-conscious freedom that it is something sacrosanct. But the exclusively formal character of right (and duty also, as we shall see) arises at a distinct stage in the development of the concept of freedom. By contrast with the right which is comparatively formal (i.e. abstract) and so comparatively restricted, a higher right belongs to the sphere and stage of mind in which mind has determined and actualized within itself the further moments contained in its Idea; and it belongs to this sphere as the sphere which is concretes, intrinsically richer, and more genuinely universal.

Man is free, this is certainly the substantial nature of man; and not only is this liberty not relinquished in the state, but it is actually in the state that it is first realized. The freedom of nature, the gift of freedom, is not anything real; for the state is the first realization of freedom.

One more word about giving instruction as to what the world ought to be. Philosophy in any case always comes on the scene too late to give it. As the thought of the world, it appears only when actuality is already there cut and dried after its process of formation has been completed... When philosophy paints its grey in grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy's grey in grey it cannot be rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.

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Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
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German Philosopher