Few philosophers are as puzzling for students as Hegel. His works are notoriously dense and make very few concessions to a reader unfamiliar with his systematic view of the world. Allen Speight's introduction to Hegel's philosophy takes a chronological perspective on the development of Hegel's system, examining works such as the Phenomenology and the Logic in their respective contexts to help explicate some of the most important questions in Hegelian scholarship. Speight begins with the young Hegel and his writings prior to the Phenomenology, focusing on the notion of positivity and how Hegel's social, economic, and religious concerns became linked to systematic and logical ones. He then examines the Phenomenology in detail, including its treatment of scepticism, the problem of immediacy, the transition from "consciousness" to "self-consciousness", and the emergence of the social and historical category of "Spirit". Other chapters explore the Logic, paying particular attention to a number of contested issues associated with Hegel’s claims to systematicity and the relation between the categories of Hegel's logic and nature or spirit (Geist). The final chapters discuss Hegel's ethical and political thought and the three elements of his notion of "absolute spirit" - art, religion, and philosophy - as well as the importance of history to his philosophical approach as a whole.
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