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Hegel's Introduction to the System

Hegel's Introduction to the System: Encyclopaedia Phenomenology and Psychology

Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by Robert E. Wood
Foreword by William Desmond
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Hegel's Introduction to the System
    Book Description:

    As an introduction to his own notoriously complex and challenging philosophy, Hegel recommended the sections on phenomenology and psychology fromThe Philosophy of Spirit, the third part of hisEncyclopaedia of the Philosophic Sciences. These offered the best introduction to his philosophic system, whose main parts are Logic, Nature, and Sprit.

    Hegel's Introduction to the Systemfinally makes it possible for the modern reader to approach the philosopher's work as he himself suggested. The book includes a fresh translation of "Phenomenology" and "Psychology," an extensive section-by-section commentary, and a sketch of the system to which this work is an introduction. The book provides a lucid and elegant analysis that will be of use to both new and seasoned readers of Hegel.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-1654-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    William Desmond

    It is always a difficult thing to introduce the thought of Hegel. There is the sheer difficulty of Hegel’s thought, a difficulty of dimensions that many adept philosophers quail at even attempting an understanding. There is also the extensiveness of Hegel’s great published books, hisPhenomenology of Spirit, Science of Logic, andEncyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, each of which asks immense effort and patience from any reader. And yet despite such difficulty, Hegel has not only been read but has exercised huge influence on philosophical thought, and in a larger cultural sense, in the centuries since he wrote. Even...

  4. Part I: Introduction

    • Preface
      (pp. 3-10)
    • Chapter One Hegel’s Life and Thought
      (pp. 11-16)

      Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was born in 1770 and died in 1831 of a stomach ailment. From 1788–93 he attended the Lutheran theological seminary at Tübingen. Astonishingly, his two roommates were to become as famous as Hegel himself: the future philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and the future poet Friedrich Hölderlin. Wherever has something like that happened, that three famous thinkers were college roommates? They are rumoured to have planted a “freedom tree” to celebrate the beginning of the French Revolution; and every year thereafter until the end of his life Hegel toasted the storming of the Bastille. The...

  5. Part II: Overview of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophic Sciences

    • Chapter Two Overview of “Logic”
      (pp. 19-29)

      One of the problems facing us as we begin to read Hegel is his formidable terminology. Throughout his other texts he uses the technical terms forged in his Logic. In this chapter, we will locate and connect the various regions of the Logic in order to clarify the terminology.¹

      Hegel’s central concern is the nature of rational existence and the conditions – logical-ontological, cosmological, anthropological, personal, and historical – for its existence and flourishing. To focus upon today’s situation, we might say that he is providing insight into the conditions for the possibility of the scientist and the rationally free...

    • Chapter Three Overview of “Philosophy of Nature”
      (pp. 30-35)

      In this second part of the Encyclopaedia Hegel attempts to show the way in which the Idea, whose basic structures he had exposed in the Logic, externalizes itself in the realm of Nature as the basis for its return to itself in the third part, the realm of Spirit. The divine Logos, eternally pre-containing the pattern of all possible types of existents outside Itself, expresses itself first in the medium of matter, the principle of externality and dividedness.

      Hegel’s treatment of Nature is focused upon overcoming the Newtonian view of Nature and the Cartesian view of Spirit aligned with it....

    • Chapter Four Overview of “Philosophy of Spirit”
      (pp. 36-40)

      Philosophy of Spiritis the concluding part of Hegel’s tripartite exposition dealing with Logic, Nature, and Spirit. It ends with a consideration of the three realms as constituting a circle (the study of it being anen-cyclo-paedia, an “en-circling study”) in which each part implicates the other two. We could then begin with any one of them and show how the other two are presupposed. Spirit presupposes Nature, and Nature finds its end in Spirit; but both are expressions of the underlying realm of intelligibility that Hegel terms “Logic.” Formal logic is a subset of Hegel’s notion of Logic. The...

  6. Part III: Hegel’s Introduction to the System, Translation and Commentary:: The Key Sections of “Philosophy of Spirit”

    • Chapter Five Anthropology (Conclusion)
      (pp. 43-51)

      Anthropologyin Hegel’s sense of the term is not, as the term is used today, the study of primitive human existence. Possibly he uses this term to focus on the human being as one animal species among others. More narrowly conceived, Hegel’s Anthropology is the discipline that considers the human Spirit insofar as it ensouls a body and thus what effects embodiment has upon Spirit.

      This is in the line of Aristotle, for whom a soul, as “first act of an organized body having life potentially,” is named by its highest power. So the rational soul (“Spirit” in Hegel’s sense...

    • Chapter Six Phenomenology
      (pp. 52-94)

      The usual formal organization through triple division appears in this section asConsciousness, Self-Consciousness, andReason. The whole section follows the logic ofAppearancecoming out of the ground ofEssenceintoExistenceand being completed inActuality. Spirit, the end of the process, though at work in the beginning in the formation of the organism, first makes its appearance with the emergence of consciousness as the explicit coming to itself of living being. Spirit appears to itself as it manifests what is other than itself.

      Consciousness is the region of the subject–object relation where the focus is first...

    • Chapter Seven Psychology
      (pp. 95-180)

      If the field of awareness is rooted from below in the unconsciousness of organic life, it is suspended from above by a hierarchical set of operations required for the full emergence of actuated Rationality. At the logical level of underlying Essence, the Anthropology involved the body-informing power of Spirit or the Soul, related to the manifest body as inner essence to outer expression, while the Phenomenology constituted the level of Existence or Appearance expressing the spiritual essence. Now we approach the Psychology as the in-principle Actuality (Wirklichkeit) of Spirit manifest in its full functionality. As in Aristotle, each of the...

  7. Part IV: Overview of the Concluding Sections of “Philosophy of Spirit”

    • Chapter Eight Objective Spirit
      (pp. 183-193)

      Hegel’s analysis of Subjective Spirit gives us the general structure of a human subject. As we noted, it culminates in the representation of Free Spirit as the union of Theoretical and Practical Spirit. That does not simply involve a biologically mature individual, but an individual having assimilated and having been assimilated to a tradition of comprehensive inquiry and practice aware of itself as such. The latter is the phase of Objective Spirit, wherein individual humans, long dead, have brought into being by their own personal habits a realm of regular practices that still endures in having passed them on to...

    • Chapter Nine Absolute Spirit
      (pp. 194-200)

      Subjective Spirit is the Being-in-itself or the Essence underlying the sensory presence of the human being. Objective Spirit is the Determinate Being (Daseyn) or the Existence of the human subject, the Appearance of Spirit as one comprehensively organized community set over against others. But each human subject is human by reason of being referred to Being as a whole; each is directed beyond its culture to the encompassing Whole. In Religion this relation is the For-Itself, the Actuality of the human Essence. Religion is articulated by inspired individuals in images and isolated proclamations. It is lived through the raising of...

  8. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 201-204)
  9. Index
    (pp. 205-210)