1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
HEGEL, GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH (1770–1831), German philosopher, was born at Stuttgart on the 27th of August 1770. His father, an official in the fiscal service of Württemberg, is not otherwise known to fame; and of his mother we hear only that she had scholarship enough to teach him the elements of Latin. He had one sister, Christiana, who died unmarried, and a brother Ludwig, who served in the campaigns of Napoleon. At the grammar school of Stuttgart, where Hegel was educated between the ages of seven and eighteen, he was not remarkable. His main productions were a diary kept at intervals during eighteen months (1785–1787), and translations of the Antigone, the Manual of Epictetus, &c. But the characteristic feature of his studies was the copious extracts which from this time onward he unremittingly made and preserved. This collection, alphabetically arranged, comprised annotations on classical authors, passages from newspapers, treatises on morals and mathematics from the standard works of the period. In this way he absorbed in their integrity the raw materials for elaboration. Yet as evidence that he was not merely receptive we have essays already breathing that admiration of the classical world which he never lost. His chief amusement was cards, and he began the habit of taking snuff.
In the autumn of 1788 he entered at Tübingen as a student of theology; but he showed no interest in theology: his sermons were a failure, and he found more congenial reading in the classics, on the advantages of studying which his first essay was written. After two years he took the degree of Ph.D., and in the autumn of 1793 received his theological certificate, stating him to be of good abilities, but of middling industry and knowledge, and especially deficient in philosophy.
As a student, his elderly appearance gained him the title “Old man,” but he took part in the walks, beer-drinking and love-making of his fellows. He gained most from intellectual intercourse with his contemporaries, the two best known of whom were J. C. F. Hölderlin and Schelling. With Hölderlin Hegel learned to feel for the old Greeks a love which grew stronger as the semi-Kantianized theology of his teachers more and more failed to interest him. With Schelling like sympathies bound him. They both protested against the political and ecclesiastical inertia of their native state, and adopted the doctrines of freedom and reason. The story which tells how the two went out one morning to dance round a tree of liberty in a meadow is an anachronism, though in keeping with their opinions.
On leaving college, he became a private tutor at Bern and lived in intellectual isolation. He was, however, far from inactive. He compiled a systematic account of the fiscal system of the canton Bern, but the main factor in his mental growth came from his study of Christianity. Under the impulse given by Lessing and Kant he turned to the original records of Christianity, and attempted to construe for himself the real significance of Christ. He wrote a life of Jesus, in which Jesus was simply the son of Joseph and Mary. He did not stop to criticize as a philologist, and ignored the miraculous. He asked for the secret contained in the conduct and sayings of this man which made him the hope of the human race. Jesus appeared as revealing the unity with God in which the Greeks in their best days unwittingly rejoiced, and as lifting the eyes of the Jews from a lawgiver who metes out punishment on the transgressor, to the destiny which in the Greek conception falls on the just no less than on the unjust.
The interest of these ideas is twofold. In Jesus Hegel finds the expression for something higher than mere morality: he finds a noble spirit which rises above the contrasts of virtue and vice into the concrete life, seeing the infinite always embracing our finitude, and proclaiming the divine which is in man and cannot be overcome by error and evil, unless the man close his eyes and ears to the godlike presence within him. In religious life, in short, he finds the principle which reconciles the opposition of the temporal mind. But, secondly, the general source of the doctrine that life is higher than all its incidents is of interest. He does not free himself from the current theology either by rational moralizing like Kant, or by bold speculative synthesis like Fichte and Schelling. He finds his panacea in the concrete life of humanity. But although he goes to the Scriptures, and tastes the mystical spirit of the medieval saints, the Christ of his conception has traits that seem borrowed from Socrates and from the heroes of Attic tragedy, who suffer much and yet smile gently on a destiny to which they were reconciled. Instead of the Hebraic doctrine of a Jesus punished for our sins, we have the Hellenic idea of a man who is calmly tranquil in the consciousness of his unity with God.
During these years Hegel kept up a slack correspondence with Schelling and Hölderlin. Schelling, already on the way to fame, kept Hegel abreast with German speculation. Both of them were intent on forcing the theologians into the daylight, and grudged them any aid they might expect from Kant’s postulation of God and immortality to crown the edifice of ethics. Meanwhile, Hölderlin in Jena had been following Fichte’s career with an enthusiasm with which he infected Hegel.
It is pleasing to turn from these vehement struggles of thought to a tour which Hegel in company with three other tutors made through the Bernese Oberland in July and August 1796. Of this tour he left a minute diary. He was delighted with the varied play of the waterfalls, but no glamour blinded him to the squalor of Swiss peasant life. The glaciers and the rocks called forth no raptures. “The spectacle of these eternally dead masses gave me nothing but the monotonous and at last tedious idea, ‘Es ist so.’”
Towards the close of his engagement at Bern, Hegel had received hopes from Schelling of a post at Jena. Fortunately his friend Hölderlin, now tutor in Frankfort, secured a similar situation there for Hegel in the family of Herr Gogol, a merchant (January 1797). The new post gave him more leisure and the society he needed.
About this time he turned to questions of economics and government. He had studied Gibbon, Hume and Montesquieu in Switzerland. We now find him making extracts from the English newspapers on the Poor-Law Bill of 1796; criticising the Prussian land laws, promulgated about the same time; and writing a commentary on Sir James Steuart’s Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy. Here, as in contemporaneous criticisms of Kant’s ethical writings, Hegel aims at correcting the abstract discussion of a topic by treating it in its systematic interconnexions. Church and state, law and morality, commerce and art are reduced to factors in the totality of human life, from which the specialists had isolated them.
But the best evidence of Hegel’s attention to contemporary politics is two unpublished essays—one of them written in 1798, “On the Internal Condition of Württemberg in Recent Times, particularly on the Defects in the Magistracy,” the other a criticism on the constitution of Germany, written, probably, not long after the peace of Lunéville (1801). Both essays are critical rather than constructive. In the first Hegel showed how the supineness of the committee of estates in Württemberg had favoured the usurpations of the superior officials in whom the court had found compliant servants. And though he perceived the advantages of change in the constitution of the estates, he still doubted if an improved system could work in the actual conditions of his native province. The main feature in the pamphlet is the recognition that a spirit of reform is abroad. If Württemberg suffered from a bureaucracy tempered by despotism, the Fatherland in general suffered no less. “Germany,” so begins the second of these unpublished papers, “is no longer a state.” Referring the collapse of the empire to the retention of feudal forms and to the action of religious animosities, Hegel looked forward to reorganization by a central power (Austria) wielding the imperial army, and by a representative body elected by the geographical districts of the empire. But such an issue, he saw well, could only be the outcome of violence—of “blood and iron.” The philosopher did not pose as a practical statesman. He described the German empire in its nullity as a conception without existence in fact. In such a state of things it was the business of the philosopher to set forth the outlines of the coming epoch, as they were already moulding themselves into shape, amidst what the ordinary eye saw only as the disintegration of the old forms of social life.
His old interest in the religious question reappears, but in a more philosophical form. Starting with the contrast between a natural and a positive religion, he regards a positive religion as one imposed upon the mind from without, not a natural growth crowning the round of human life. A natural religion, on the other hand, was not, he thought, the one universal religion of every clime and age, but rather the spontaneous development of the national conscience varying in varying circumstances. A people’s religion completes and consecrates their whole activity: in it the people rises above its finite life in limited spheres to an infinite life where it feels itself all at one. Even philosophy with Hegel at this epoch was subordinate to religion; for philosophy must never abandon the finite in the search for the infinite. Soon, however, Hegel adopted a view according to which philosophy is a higher mode of apprehending the infinite than even religion.
At Frankfort, meanwhile, the philosophic ideas of Hegel first assumed the proper philosophic form. In a MS. of 102 quarto sheets, of which the first three and the seventh are wanting, there is preserved the original sketch of the Hegelian system, so far as the logic and metaphysics and part of the philosophy of nature are concerned. The third part of the system—the ethical theory—seems to have been composed afterwards; it is contained in its first draft in another MS. of 30 sheets. Even these had been preceded by earlier Pythagorean constructions envisaging the divine life in divine triangles.
Circumstances soon put Hegel in the way to complete these outlines. His father died in January 1799; and the slender sum which Hegel received as his inheritance, 3154 gulden (about £260), enabled him to think once more of a studious life. At the close of 1800 we find him asking Schelling for letters of introduction to Bamberg, where with cheap living and good beer he hoped to prepare himself for the intellectual excitement of Jena. The upshot was that Hegel arrived at Jena in January 1801. An end had already come to the brilliant epoch at Jena, when the romantic poets, Tieck, Novalis and the Schlegels made it the headquarters of their fantastic mysticism, and Fichte turned the results of Kant into the banner of revolutionary ideas. Schelling was the main philosophical lion of the time; and in some quarters Hegel was spoken of as a new champion summoned to help him in his struggle with the more prosaic continuators of Kant. Hegel’s first performance seemed to justify the rumour. It was an essay on the difference between the philosophic systems of Fichte and Schelling, tending in the main to support the latter. Still more striking was the agreement shown in the Critical Journal of Philosophy, which Schelling and Hegel wrote conjointly during the years 1802–1803. So latent was the difference between them at this epoch that in one or two cases it is not possible to determine by whom the essay was written. Even at a later period foreign critics like Cousin saw much that was alike in the two doctrines, and did not hesitate to regard Hegel as a disciple of Schelling. The dissertation by which Hegel qualified for the position of Privatdozent (De orbitis planetarum) was probably chosen under the influence of Schelling’s philosophy of nature. It was an unfortunate subject. For while Hegel, depending on a numerical proportion suggested by Plato, hinted in a single sentence that it might be a mistake to look for a planet between Mars and Jupiter, Giuseppe Piazzi (q.v.) had already discovered the first of the asteroids (Ceres) on the 1st of January 1801. Apparently in August, when Hegel qualified, the news of the discovery had not yet reached him, but critics have made this luckless suggestion the ground of attack on a priori philosophy.
Hegel’s lectures, in the winter of 1801–1802, on logic and metaphysics were attended by about eleven students. Later, in 1804, we find him with a class of about thirty, lecturing on his whole system; but his average attendance was rather less. Besides philosophy, he once at least lectured on mathematics. As he taught, he was led to modify his original system, and notice after notice of his lectures promised a text-book of philosophy—which, however, failed to appear. Meanwhile, after the departure of Schelling from Jena in the middle of 1803, Hegel was left to work out his own views. Besides philosophical studies, where he now added Aristotle to Plato, he read Homer and the Greek tragedians, made extracts from books, attended lectures on physiology, and dabbled in other sciences. On his own representation at Weimar, he was in February 1805 made a professor extraordinarius, and in July 1806 drew his first and only stipend—100 thalers. At Jena, though some of his hearers became attached to him, Hegel was not a popular lecturer any more than K. C. F. Krause (q.v.). The ordinary student found J. F. Fries (q.v.) more intelligible.
Of the lectures of that period there still remain considerable notes. The language often had a theological tinge (never entirely absent), as when the “idea” was spoken of, or “the night of the divine mystery,” or the dialectic of the absolute called the “course of the divine life.” Still his view was growing clearer, and his difference from Schelling more palpable. Both Schelling and Hegel stand in a relation to art, but while the aesthetic model of Schelling was found in the contemporary world, where art was a special sphere and the artist a separate profession in no intimate connexion with the age and nation, the model of Hegel was found rather in those works of national art in which art is not a part but an aspect of the common life, and the artist is not a mere individual but a concentration of the passion and power of beauty in the whole community. “Such art,” says Hegel, “is the common good and the work of all. Each generation hands it on beautified to the next; each has done something to give utterance to the universal thought. Those who are said to have genius have acquired some special aptitude by which they render the general shapes of the nation their own work, one in one point, another in another. What they produce is not their invention, but the invention of the whole nation; or rather, what they find is that the whole nation has found its true nature. Each, as it were, piles up his stone. So too does the artist. Somehow he has the good fortune to come last, and when he places his stone the arch stands self-supported.” Hegel, as we have already seen, was fully aware of the change that was coming over the world. “A new epoch,” he says, “has arisen. It seems as if the world-spirit had now succeeded in freeing itself from all foreign objective existence, and finally apprehending itself as absolute mind.” These words come from lectures on the history of philosophy, which laid the foundation for his Phänomenologie des Geistes (Bamberg, 1807).
On the 14th of October 1806 Napoleon was at Jena. Hegel, like Goethe, felt no patriotic shudder at the national disaster, and in Prussia he saw only a corrupt and conceited bureaucracy. Writing to his friend F. J. Niethammer (1766–1848) on the day before the battle, he speaks with admiration of the “world-soul,” the emperor, and with satisfaction of the probable overthrow of the Prussians. The scholar’s wish was to see the clouds of war pass away, and leave thinkers to their peaceful work. His manuscripts were his main care; and doubtful of the safety of his last despatch to Bamberg, and disturbed by the French soldiers in his lodgings, he hurried off, with the last pages of the Phänomenologie, to take refuge in the pro-rector’s house. Hegel’s fortunes were now at the lowest ebb. Without means, and obliged to borrow from Niethammer, he had no further hopes from the impoverished university. He had already tried to get away from Jena. In 1805, when several lecturers left in consequence of diminished classes, he had written to Johann Heinrich Voss (q.v.), suggesting that his philosophy might find more congenial soil in Heidelberg; but the application bore no fruit. He was, therefore, glad to become editor of the Bamberger Zeitung (1807–1808). Of his editorial work there is little to tell; no leading articles appeared in his columns. It was not a suitable vocation, and he gladly accepted the rectorship of the Aegidien-gymnasium in Nuremberg, a post which he held from December 1808 to August 1816. Bavaria at this time was modernizing her institutions. The school system was reorganized by new regulations, in accordance with which Hegel wrote a series of lessons in the outlines of philosophy—ethical, logical and psychological. They were published in 1840 by Rosenkranz from Hegel’s papers.
As a teacher and master Hegel inspired confidence in his pupils, and maintained discipline without pedantic interference in their associations and sports. On prize-days his addresses summing up the history of the school year discussed some topic of general interest. Five of these addresses are preserved. The first is an exposition of the advantages of a classical training, when it is not confined to mere grammar. “The perfection and grandeur of the master-works of Greek and Roman literature must be the intellectual bath, the secular baptism, which gives the first and unfading tone and tincture of taste and science.” In another address, speaking of the introduction of military exercises at school, he says: “These exercises, while not intended to withdraw the students from their more immediate duty, so far as they have any calling to it, still remind them of the possibility that every one, whatever rank in society he may belong to, may one day have to defend his country and his king, or help to that end. This duty, which is natural to all, was formerly recognized by every citizen, though whole ranks in the state have become strangers to the very idea of it.”
On the 16th of September 1811 Hegel married Marie von Tucher (twenty-two years his junior) of Nuremberg. She brought her husband no fortune, but the marriage was entirely happy. The husband kept a careful record of income and expenditure. His income amounted at Nuremberg to 1500 gulden (£130) and a house; at Heidelberg, as professor, he received about the same sum; at Berlin about 3000 thalers (£300). Two sons were born to them; the elder, Karl, became eminent as a historian. The younger, Immanuel, was born on the 24th of September 1816. Hegel’s letters to his wife, written during his solitary holiday tours to Vienna, the Netherlands and Paris, breathe of kindly and happy affection. Hegel the tourist—recalling happy days spent together; confessing that, were it not because of his sense of duty as a traveller, he would rather be at home, dividing his time between his books and his wife; commenting on the shop windows at Vienna; describing the straw hats of the Parisian ladies—is a contrast to the professor of a profound philosophical system. But it shows that the enthusiasm which in his days of courtship moved him to verse had blossomed into a later age of domestic bliss.
In 1812 appeared the first two volumes of his Wissenschaft der Logik, and the work was completed by a third in 1816. This work, in which his system was for the first time presented in what, with a few minor alterations, was its ultimate shape, found some audience in the world. Towards the close of his eighth session three professorships were almost simultaneously put within his reach—at Erlangen, Berlin and Heidelberg. The Prussian offer expressed a doubt that his long absence from university teaching might have made him rusty, so he accepted the post at Heidelberg, whence Fries had just gone to Jena (October 1816). Only four hearers turned up for one of his courses. Others, however, on the encyclopaedia of philosophy and the history of philosophy drew classes of twenty to thirty. While he was there Cousin first made his acquaintance, but a more intimate relation dates from Berlin. Among his pupils was Hermann F. W. Hinrichs (q.v.), to whose Religion in its Inward Relation to Science (1822) Hegel contributed an important preface. The strangest of his hearers was an Esthonian baron, Boris d’Yrkull, who after serving in the Russian army came to Heidelberg to hear the wisdom of Hegel. But his books and his lectures were alike obscure to the baron, who betook himself by Hegel’s advice to simpler studies before he returned to the Hegelian system.
At Heidelberg Hegel was active in a literary way also. In 1817 he brought out the Encyklopädie d. philos. Wissenschaften im Grundrisse (4th ed., Berlin, 1817; new ed., 1870) for use at his lectures. It is the only exposition of the Hegelian system as a whole which we have direct from Hegel’s own hand. Besides this work he wrote two reviews for the Heidelberg Jahrbücher—the first on F. H. Jacobi, the other a political pamphlet which called forth violent criticism. It was entitled a Criticism on the Transactions of the Estates of Württemberg in 1815–1816. On the 15th of March 1815 King Frederick of Württemberg, at a meeting of the estates of his kingdom, laid before them the draft of a new constitution, in accordance with the resolutions of the congress of Vienna. Though an improvement on the old constitution, it was unacceptable to the estates, jealous of their old privileges and suspicious of the king’s intentions. A decided majority demanded the restitution of their old laws, though the kingdom now included a large population to which the old rights were strange. Hegel in his essay, which was republished at Stuttgart, supported the royal proposals, and animadverted on the backwardness of the bureaucracy and the landed interests. In the main he was right; but he forgot too much the provocation they had received, the usurpations and selfishness of the governing family, and the unpatriotic character of the king.
In 1818 Hegel accepted the renewed offer of the chair of philosophy at Berlin, vacant since the death of Fichte. The hopes which this offer raised of a position less precarious than that of a university teacher of philosophy were in one sense disappointed; for more than a professor Hegel never became. But his influence upon his pupils, and his solidarity with the Prussian government, gave him a position such as few professors have held.
In 1821 Hegel published the Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (2nd ed., 1840; ed. G. J. B. Bolland, 1901; Eng. trans., Philosophy of Right, by S. W. Dyde, 1896). It is a combined system of moral and political philosophy, or a sociology dominated by the idea of the state. It turns away contemptuously and fiercely from the sentimental aspirations of reformers possessed by the democratic doctrine of the rights of the omnipotent nation. Fries is stigmatized as one of the “ringleaders of shallowness” who were bent on substituting a fancied tie of enthusiasm and friendship for the established order of the state. The disciplined philosopher, who had devoted himself to the task of comprehending the organism of the state, had no patience with feebler or more mercurial minds who recklessly laid hands on established ordinances, and set them aside where they contravened humanitarian sentiments. With the principle that whatever is real is rational, and whatever is rational is real, Hegel fancied that he had stopped the mouths of political critics and constitution-mongers. His theory was not a mere formulation of the Prussian state. Much that he construed as necessary to a state was wanting in Prussia; and some of the reforms already introduced did not find their place in his system. Yet, on the whole, he had taken his side with the government. Altenstein even expressed his satisfaction with the book. In his disgust at the crude conceptions of the enthusiasts, who had hoped that the war of liberation might end in a realm of internal liberty, Hegel had forgotten his own youthful vows recorded in verse to Hölderlin, “never, never to live in peace with the ordinance which regulates feeling and opinion.” And yet if we look deeper we see that this is no worship of existing powers. It is rather due to an overpowering sense of the value of organization—a sense that liberty can never be dissevered from order, that a vital interconnexion between all the parts of the body politic is the source of all good, so that while he can find nothing but brute weight in an organized public, he can compare the royal person in his ideal form of constitutional monarchy to the dot upon the letter i. A keen sense of how much is at stake in any alteration breeds suspicion of every reform.
During his thirteen years at Berlin Hegel’s whole soul seems to have been in his lectures. Between 1823 and 1827 his activity reached its maximum. His notes were subjected to perpetual revisions and additions. We can form an idea of them from the shape in which they appear in his published writings. Those on Aesthetics, on the Philosophy of Religion, on the Philosophy of History and on the History of Philosophy, have been published by his editors, mainly from the notes of his students, under their separate heads; while those on logic, psychology and the philosophy of nature are appended in the form of illustrative and explanatory notes to the sections of his Encyklopädie. During these years hundreds of hearers from all parts of Germany, and beyond, came under his influence. His fame was carried abroad by eager or intelligent disciples. At Berlin Henning served to prepare the intending disciple for fuller initiation by the master himself. Edward Gans (q.v.) and Heinrich Gustav Hotho (q.v.) carried the method into special spheres of inquiry. At Halle Hinrichs maintained the standard of Hegelianism amid the opposition or indifference of his colleagues.
Three courses of lectures are especially the product of his Berlin period: those on aesthetics, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of history. In the years preceding the revolution of 1830, public interest, excluded from political life, turned to theatres, concert-rooms and picture-galleries. At these Hegel became a frequent and appreciative visitor and made extracts from the art-notes in the newspapers. In his holiday excursions, the interest in the fine arts more than once took him out of his way to see some old painting. At Vienna in 1824 he spent every moment at the Italian opera, the ballet and the picture-galleries. In Paris, in 1827, he saw Charles Kemble and an English company play Shakespeare. This familiarity with the facts of art, though neither deep nor historical, gave a freshness to his lectures on aesthetics, which, as put together from the notes of 1820, 1823, 1826, are in many ways the most successful of his efforts.
The lectures on the philosophy of religion are another application of his method. Shortly before his death he had prepared for the press a course of lectures on the proofs for the existence of God. In his lectures on religion he dealt with Christianity, as in his philosophy of morals he had regarded the state. On the one hand he turned his weapons against the rationalistic school, who reduced religion to the modicum compatible with an ordinary worldly mind. On the other hand he criticized the school of Schleiermacher, who elevated feeling to a place in religion above systematic theology. His middle way attempts to show that the dogmatic creed is the rational development of what was implicit in religious feeling. To do so, of course, philosophy becomes the interpreter and the superior. To the new school of E. W. Hengstenberg, which regarded Revelation itself as supreme, such interpretation was an abomination.
A Hegelian school began to gather. The flock included intelligent pupils, empty-headed imitators, and romantic natures who turned philosophy into lyric measures. Opposition and criticism only served to define more precisely the adherents of the new doctrine. Hegel himself grew more and more into a belief in his own doctrine as the one truth for the world. He was in harmony with the government, and his followers were on the winning side. Though he had soon resigned all direct official connexion with the schools of Brandenburg, his real influence in Prussia was considerable, and as usual was largely exaggerated in popular estimate. In the narrower circle of his friends his birthdays were the signal for congratulatory verses. In 1826 a formal festival was got up by some of his admirers, one of whom, Herder, spoke of his categories as new gods; and he was presented with much poetry and a silver mug. In 1830 the students struck a medal in his honour, and in 1831 he was decorated by an order from Frederick William III. In 1830 he was rector of the university; and in his speech at the tricentenary of the Augsburg Confession in that year he charged the Catholic Church with regarding the virtues of the pagan world as brilliant vices, and giving the crown of perfection to poverty, continence and obedience.
One of the last literary undertakings in which he took part was the establishment of the Berlin Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik, in which he assisted Edward Gans and Varnhagen von Ense. The aim of this review was to give a critical account, certified by the names of the contributors, of the literary and philosophical productions of the time, in relation to the general progress of knowledge. The journal was not solely in the Hegelian interest; and more than once, when Hegel attempted to domineer over the other editors, he was met by vehement and vigorous opposition.
The revolution of 1830 was a great blow to him, and the prospect of democratic advances almost made him ill. His last literary work, the first part of which appeared in the Preussische Staatszeitung, was an essay on the English Reform Bill of 1831. It contains primarily a consideration of its probable effects on the character of the new members of parliament, and the measures which they may introduce. In the latter connexion he enlarged on several points in which England had done less than many continental states for the abolition of monopolies and abuses. Surveying the questions connected with landed property, with the game laws, the poor, the Established Church, especially in Ireland, he expressed grave doubt on the legislative capacity of the English parliament as compared with the power of renovation manifested in other states of western Europe.
In 1831 cholera first entered Europe. Hegel and his family retired for the summer to the suburbs, and there he finished the revision of the first part of his Science of Logic. On the beginning of the winter session, however, he returned to his house in the Kupfergraben. On this occasion an altercation occurred between him and his friend Gans, who in his notice of lectures on jurisprudence had recommended Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Hegel, indignant at what he deemed patronage, demanded that the note should be withdrawn. On the 14th of November, after one day’s illness, he died of cholera and was buried, as he had wished, between Fichte and Solger.
Hegel in his class-room was neither imposing nor fascinating. You saw a plain, old-fashioned face, without life or lustre—a figure which had never looked young, and was now prematurely aged; the furrowed face bore witness to concentrated thought. Sitting with his snuff-box before him, and his head bent down, he looked ill at ease, and kept turning the folios of his notes. His utterance was interrupted by frequent coughing; every sentence came out with a struggle. The style was no less irregular. Sometimes in plain narrative the lecturer would be specially awkward, while in abstruse passages he seemed specially at home, rose into a natural eloquence, and carried away the hearer by the grandeur of his diction.
Philosophy.—Hegelianism is confessedly one of the most difficult of all philosophies. Every one has heard the legend which makes Hegel say, “One man has understood me, and even he has not.” He abruptly hurls us into a world where old habits of thought fail us. In three places, indeed, he has attempted to exhibit the transition to his own system from other levels of thought; but in none with much success. In the introductory lectures on the philosophy of religion he gives a rationale of the difference between the modes of consciousness in religion and philosophy (between Vorstellung and Begriff). In the beginning of the Encyklopädie he discusses the defects of dogmatism, empiricism, the philosophies of Kant and Jacobi. In the first case he treats the formal or psychological aspect of the difference; in the latter he presents his doctrine less in its essential character than in special relations to the prominent systems of his time. The Phenomenology of Spirit, regarded as an introduction, suffers from a different fault. It is not an introduction—for the philosophy which it was to introduce was not then fully elaborated. Even to the last Hegel had not so externalized his system as to treat it as something to be led up to by gradual steps. His philosophy was not one aspect of his intellectual life, to be contemplated from others; it was the ripe fruit of concentrated reflection, and had become the one all-embracing form and principle of his thinking. More than most thinkers he had quietly laid himself open to the influences of his time and the lessons of history.
The Phenomenology is the picture of the Hegelian philosophy in
the making—at the stage before the scaffolding has been removed
from the building. For this reason the book is at once the
most brilliant and the most difficult of Hegel’s works—the
menology. most brilliant because it is to some degree an autobiography of Hegel’s mind—not the abstract record of a logical evolution, but the real history of an intellectual growth; the most difficult because, instead of treating the rise of intelligence (from its first appearance in contrast with the real world to its final recognition of its presence in, and rule over, all things) as a purely subjective process, it exhibits this rise as wrought out in historical epochs, national characteristics, forms of culture and faith, and philosophical systems. The theme is identical with the introduction to the Encyklopädie; but it is treated in a very different style. From all periods of the world—from medieval piety and stoical pride, Kant and Sophocles, science and art, religion and philosophy—with disdain of mere chronology, Hegel gathers in the vineyards of the human spirit the grapes from which he crushes the wine of thought. The mind coming through a thousand phases of mistake and disappointment to a sense and realization of its true position in the universe—such is the drama which is consciously Hegel’s own history, but is represented objectively as the process of spiritual history which the philosopher reproduces in himself. The Phenomenology stands to the Encyklopädie somewhat as the dialogues of Plato stand to the Aristotelian treatises. It contains almost all his philosophy—but irregularly and without due proportion. The personal element gives an undue prominence to recent phenomena of the philosophic atmosphere. It is the account given by an inventor of his own discovery, not the explanation of an outsider. It therefore to some extent assumes from the first the position which it proposes ultimately to reach, and gives not a proof of that position, but an account of the experience (Erfahrung) by which consciousness is forced from one position to another till it finds rest in Absolutes Wissen.
The Phenomenology is neither mere psychology, nor logic, nor moral philosophy, nor history, but is all of these and a great deal more. It needs not distillation, but expansion and illustration from contemporary and antecedent thought and literature. It treats of the attitudes of consciousness towards reality under the six heads of consciousness, self-consciousness, reason (Vernunft), spirit (Geist), religion and absolute knowledge. The native attitude of consciousness towards existence is reliance on the evidence of the senses; but a little reflection is sufficient to show that the reality attributed to the external world is as much due to intellectual conceptions as to the senses, and that these conceptions elude us when we try to fix them. If consciousness cannot detect a permanent object outside it, so self-consciousness cannot find a permanent subject in itself. It may, like the Stoic, assert freedom by holding aloof from the entanglements of real life, or like the sceptic regard the world as a delusion, or finally, as the “unhappy consciousness” (Unglückliches Bewusstseyn), may be a recurrent falling short of a perfection which it has placed above it in the heavens. But in this isolation from the world, self-consciousness has closed its gates against the stream of life. The perception of this is reason. Reason convinced that the world and the soul are alike rational observes the external world, mental phenomena, and specially the nervous organism, as the meeting ground of body and mind. But reason finds much in the world recognizing no kindred with her, and so turning to practical activity seeks in the world the realization of her own aims. Either in a crude way she pursues her own pleasure, and finds that necessity counteracts her cravings; or she endeavours to find the world in harmony with the heart, and yet is unwilling to see fine aspirations crystallized by the act of realizing them. Finally, unable to impose upon the world either selfish or humanitarian ends, she folds her arms in pharisaic virtue, with the hope that some hidden power will give the victory to righteousness. But the world goes on in its life, heedless of the demands of virtue. The principle of nature is to live and let live. Reason abandons her efforts to mould the world, and is content to let the aims of individuals work out their results independently, only stepping in to lay down precepts for the cases where individual actions conflict, and to test these precepts by the rules of formal logic.
So far we have seen consciousness on one hand and the real world on the other. The stage of Geist reveals the consciousness no longer as critical and antagonistic but as the indwelling spirit of a community, as no longer isolated from its surroundings but the union of the single and real consciousness with the vital feeling that animates the community. This is the lowest stage of concrete consciousness—life, and not knowledge; the spirit inspires, but does not reflect. It is the age of unconscious morality, when the individual’s life is lost in the society of which he is an organic member. But increasing culture presents new ideals, and the mind, absorbing the ethical spirit of its environment, gradually emancipates itself from conventions and superstitions. This Aufklärung prepares the way for the rule of conscience, for the moral view of the world as subject of a moral law. From the moral world the next step is religion; the moral law gives place to God; but the idea of Godhead, too, as it first appears, is imperfect, and has to pass through the forms of nature-worship and of art before it reaches a full utterance in Christianity. Religion in this shape is the nearest step to the stage of absolute knowledge; and this absolute knowledge—“the spirit knowing itself as spirit”—is not something which leaves these other forms behind but the full comprehension of them as the organic constituents of its empire; “they are the memory and the sepulchre of its history, and at the same time the actuality, truth and certainty of its throne.” Here, according to Hegel, is the field of philosophy.
The preface to the Phenomenology signalled the separation from Schelling—the adieu to romantic. It declared that a genuine philosophy has no kindred with the mere aspirations of artistic minds, but must earn its bread by the sweat of its brow. It sets its face against the idealism which either thundered against the world for its deficiencies, or sought something finer than reality. Philosophy is to be the science of the actual world—it is the spirit comprehending itself in its own externalizations and manifestations. The philosophy of Hegel is idealism, but it is an idealism in which every idealistic unification has its other face in the multiplicity of existence. It is realism as well as idealism, and never quits its hold on facts. Compared with Fichte and Schelling, Hegel has a sober, hard, realistic character. At a later date, with the call of Schelling to Berlin in 1841, it became fashionable to speak of Hegelianism as a negative philosophy requiring to be complemented by a “positive” philosophy which would give reality and not mere ideas. The cry was the same as that of Krug (q.v.), asking the philosophers who expounded the absolute to construe his pen. It was the cry of the Evangelical school for a personal Christ and not a dialectical Logos. The claims of the individual, the real, material and historical fact, it was said, had been sacrificed by Hegel to the universal, the ideal, the spiritual and the logical.
There was a truth in these criticisms. It was the very aim of Hegelianism to render fluid the fixed phases of reality—to show existence not to be an immovable rock limiting the efforts of thought, but to have thought implicit in it, waiting for release from its petrifaction. Nature was no longer, as with Fichte, to be a mere spring-board to evoke the latent powers of the spirit. Nor was it, as in Schelling’s earlier system, to be a collateral progeny with mind from the same womb of indifference and identity. Nature and mind in the Hegelian system—the external and the spiritual world—have the same origin, but are not co-equal branches. The natural world proceeds from the “idea,” the spiritual from the idea and nature. It is impossible, beginning with the natural world, to explain the mind by any process of distillation or development, unless consciousness or its potentiality has been there from the first. Reality, independent of the individual consciousness, there must be; reality, independent of all mind, is an impossibility. At the basis of all reality, whether material or mental, there is thought. But the thought thus regarded as the basis of all existence is not consciousness with its distinction of ego and non-ego. It is rather the stuff of which both mind and nature are made, neither extended as in the natural world, nor self-centred as in mind. Thought in its primary form is, as it were, thoroughly transparent and absolutely fluid, free and mutually interpenetrable in every part—the spirit in its seraphic scientific life, before creation had produced a natural world, and thought had risen to independent existence in the social organism. Thought in this primary form, when in all its parts completed, is what Hegel calls the “idea.” But the idea, though fundamental, is in another sense final, in the process of the world. It only appears in consciousness as the crowning development of the mind. Only with philosophy does thought become fully conscious of itself in its origin and development. Accordingly the history of philosophy is the pre-supposition of logic, or the three branches of philosophy form a circle.
The exposition or constitution of the “idea” is the work of the Logic. As the total system falls into three parts, so every part of the system follows the triadic law. Every truth, every reality, has three aspects or stages; it is the unification of Logic. two contradictory elements, of two partial aspects of truth which are not merely contrary, like black and white, but contradictory, like same and different. The first step is a preliminary affirmation and unification, the second a negation and differentiation, the third a final synthesis. For example, the seed of the plant is an initial unity of life, which when placed in its proper soil suffers disintegration into its constitutents, and yet in virtue of its vital unity keeps these divergent elements together, and reappears as the plant with its members in organic union. Or again, the process of scientific induction is a threefold chain; the original hypothesis (the first unification of the fact) seems to melt away when confronted with opposite facts, and yet no scientific progress is possible unless the stimulus of the original unification is strong enough to clasp the discordant facts and establish a reunification. Thesis, antithesis and synthesis, a Fichtean formula, is generalized by Hegel into the perpetual law of thought.
In what we may call their psychological aspect these three stages are known as the abstract stage, or that of understanding (Verstand), the dialectical stage, or that of negative reason, and the speculative stage, or that of positive reason (Vernunft). The first of these attitudes taken alone is dogmatism; the second, when similarly isolated, is scepticism; the third, when unexplained by its elements, is mysticism. Thus Hegelianism reduces dogmatism, scepticism and mysticism to factors in philosophy. The abstract or dogmatic thinker believes his object to be one, simple and stationary, and intelligible apart from its surrounding. He speaks, e.g., as if species and genera were fixed and unchangeable; and fixing his eye on the ideal forms in their purity and self-sameness, he scorns the phenomenal world, whence this identity and persistence are absent. The dialectic of negative reason rudely dispels these theories. Appealing to reality it shows that the identity and permanence of forms are contradicted by history; instead of unity it exhibits multiplicity, instead of identity difference, instead of a whole, only parts. Dialectic is, therefore, a dislocating power; it shakes the solid structures of material thought, and exhibits the instability latent in such conceptions of the world. It is the spirit of progress and change, the enemy of convention and conservatism; it is absolute and universal unrest. In the realm of abstract thought these transitions take place lightly. In the worlds of nature and mind they are more palpable and violent. So far as this Hegel seems on the side of revolution. But reason is not negative only; while it disintegrates the mass or unconscious unity, it builds up a new unity with higher organization. But this third stage is the place of effort, requiring neither the surrender of the original unity nor the ignoring of the diversity afterwards suggested. The stimulus of contradiction is no doubt a strong one; but the easiest way of escaping it is to shut our eyes to one side of the antithesis. What is required, therefore, is to readjust our original thesis in such a way as to include and give expression to both the elements in the process.
The universe, then, is a process or development, to the eye of philosophy. It is the process of the absolute—in religious language, the manifestation of God. In the background of all the absolute is eternally present; the rhythmic movement of thought is the self-unfolding of the absolute. God reveals Himself in the logical idea, in nature and in mind; but mind is not alike conscious of its absoluteness in every stage of development. Philosophy alone sees God revealing Himself in the ideal organism of thought as it were a possible deity prior to the world and to any relation between God and actuality; in the natural world, as a series of materialized forces and forms of life; and in the spiritual world as the human soul, the legal and moral order of society, and the creations of art, religion and philosophy.
This introduction of the absolute became a stumbling-block to Feuerbach and other members of the “Left.” They rejected as an illegitimate interpolation the eternal subject of development, and, instead of one continuing God as the subject of all the predicates by which in the logic the absolute is defined, assumed only a series of ideas, products of philosophic activity. They denied the theological value of the logical forms—the development of these forms being in their opinion due to the human thinker, not to a self-revealing absolute. Thus they made man the creator of the absolute. But with this modification on the system another necessarily followed; a mere logical series could not create nature. And thus the material universe became the real starting-point. Thought became only the result of organic conditions—subjective and human; and the system of Hegel was no longer an idealization of religion, but a naturalistic theory with a prominent and peculiar logic.
The logic of Hegel is the only rival to the logic of Aristotle. What Aristotle did for the theory of demonstrative reasoning, Hegel attempted to do for the whole of human knowledge. His logic is an enumeration of the forms or categories by which our experience exists. It carried out Kant’s doctrine of the categories as a priori synthetic principles, but removed the limitation by which Kant denied them any constitutive value except in alliance with experience. According to Hegel the terms in which thought exhibits itself are a system of their own, with laws and relations which reappear in a less obvious shape in the theories of nature and mind. Nor are they restricted to the small number which Kant obtained by manipulating the current subdivision of judgments. But all forms by which thought holds sensations in unity (the formative or synthetic elements of language) had their place assigned in a system where one leads up to and passes over into another.
The fact which ordinary thought ignores, and of which ordinary logic therefore provides no account, is the presence of gradation and continuity in the world. The general terms of language simplify the universe by reducing its variety of individuals to a few forms, none of which exists simply and perfectly. The method of the understanding is to divide and then to give a separate reality to what it has thus distinguished. It is part of Hegel’s plan to remedy this one-sided character of thought, by laying bare the gradations of ideas. He lays special stress on the point that abstract ideas when held in their abstraction are almost interchangeable with their opposites—that extremes meet, and that in every true and concrete idea there is a coincidence of opposites.
The beginning of the logic is an illustration of this. The logical idea is treated under the three heads of being (Seyn), essence (Wesen) and notion (Begriff). The simplest term of thought is being; we cannot think less about anything than when we merely say that it is. Being—the abstract “is”—is nothing definite, and nothing at least is. Being and not being are thus declared identical—a proposition which in this unqualified shape was to most people a stumbling-block at the very door of the system. Instead of the mere “is” which is as yet nothing, we should rather say “becomes,” and as “becomes” always implies “something,” we have determinate being—“a being” which in the next stage of definiteness becomes “one.” And in this way we pass on to the quantitative aspects of being.
The terms treated under the first head, in addition to those already mentioned, are the abstract principles of quantity and number, and their application in measure to determine the limits of being. Under the title of essence are discussed those pairs of correlative terms which are habitually employed in the explanation of the world—such as law and phenomenon, cause and effect, reason and consequence, substance and attribute. Under the head of notion are considered, firstly, the subjective forms of conception, judgment and syllogism; secondly, their realization in objects as mechanically, chemically or teleologically constituted; and thirdly, the idea first of life, and next of science, as the complete interpenetration of thought and objectivity. The third part of logic evidently is what contains the topics usually treated in logic-books, though even here the province of logic in the ordinary sense is exceeded. The first two divisions—the “objective logic”—are what is usually called metaphysics.
The characteristic of the system is the gradual way in which idea is linked to idea so as to make the division into chapters only an arrangement of convenience. The judgment is completed in the syllogism; the syllogistic form as the perfection of subjective thought passes into objectivity, where it first appears embodied in a mechanical system; and the teleological object, in which the members are as means and end, leads up to the idea of life, where the end is means and means end indissolubly till death. In some cases these transitions may be unsatisfactory and forced; it is apparent that the linear development from “being” to the “idea” is got by transforming into a logical order the sequence that has roughly prevailed in philosophy from the Eleatics; cases might be quoted where the reasoning seems a play upon words; and it may often be doubted whether certain ideas do not involve extra-logical considerations. The order of the categories is in the main outlines fixed; but in the minor details much depends upon the philosopher, who has to fill in the gaps between ideas, with little guidance from the data of experience, and to assign to the stages of development names which occasionally deal hardly with language. The merit of Hegel is to have indicated and to a large extent displayed the filiation and mutual limitation of our forms of thought; to have arranged them in the order of their comparative capacity to give a satisfactory expression to truth in the totality of its relations; and to have broken down the partition which in Kant separated the formal logic from the transcendental analytic, as well as the general disruption between logic and metaphysic. It must at the same time be admitted that much of the work of weaving the terms of thought, the categories, into a system has a hypothetical and tentative character, and that Hegel has rather pointed out the path which logic must follow, viz. a criticism of the terms of scientific and ordinary thought in their filiation and interdependence, than himself in every case kept to the right way. The day for a fuller investigation of this problem will partly depend upon the progress of the study of language in the direction marked out by W. von Humboldt.
The Philosophy of Nature starts with the result of the logical development, with the full scientific “idea.” But the relations of pure thought, losing their inwardness, appear as relations of space and time; the abstract development of thought Philosophy of nature. appears as matter and movement. Instead of thought, we have perception; instead of dialectic, gravitation; instead of causation, sequence in time. The whole falls under the three heads of mechanics, physics and “organic”—the content under each varying somewhat in the three editions of the Encyklopädie. The first treats of space, time, matter, movement; and in the solar system we have the representation of the idea in its general and abstract material form. Under the head of physics we have the theory of the elements, of sound, heat and cohesion, and finally of chemical affinity—presenting the phenomena of material change and interchange in a series of special forces which generate the variety of the life of nature. Lastly, under the head of “organic,” come geology, botany and animal physiology—presenting the concrete results of these processes in the three kingdoms of nature.
The charges of superficial analogies, so freely urged against the “Natur-philosophie” by critics who forget the impulse it gave to physical research by the identification of forces then believed to be radically distinct, do not particularly affect Hegel. But in general it may be said that he looked down upon the mere natural world. The meanest of the fancies of the mind and the most casual of its whims he regarded as a better warrant for the being of God than any single object of nature. Those who supposed astronomy to inspire religious awe were horrified to hear the stars compared to eruptive spots on the face of the sky. Even in the animal world, the highest stage of nature, he saw a failure to reach an independent and rational system of organization; and its feelings under the continuous violence and menaces of the environment he described as insecure, anxious and unhappy.
His point of view was essentially opposed to the current views of science. To metamorphosis he only allowed a logical value, as explaining the natural classification; the only real, existent metamorphosis he saw in the development of the individual from its embryonic stage. Still more distinctly did he contravene the general tendency of scientific explanation. “It is held the triumph of science to recognize in the general process of the earth the same categories as are exhibited in the processes of isolated bodies. This is, however, an application of categories from a field where the conditions are finite to a sphere in which the circumstances are infinite.” In astronomy he depreciates the merits of Newton and elevates Kepler, accusing Newton particularly, à propos of the distinction of centrifugal and centripetal forces, of leading to a confusion between what is mathematically to be distinguished and what is physically separate. The principles which explain the fall of an apple will not do for the planets. As to colour, he follows Goethe, and uses strong language against Newton’s theory, for the barbarism of the conception that light is a compound, the incorrectness of his observations, &c. In chemistry, again, he objects to the way in which all the chemical elements are treated as on the same level.
The third part of the system is the Philosophy of Mind. Its three divisions are the “subjective mind” (psychology), the “objective mind” (philosophic jurisprudence, moral and political philosophy) and the “absolute mind” (the Philosophy of mind. 1. Psychology. philosophy of art, religion and philosophy). The subjects of the second and third divisions have been treated by Hegel with great detail. The “objective mind” is the topic of the Rechts-Philosophie, and of the lectures on the Philosophy of History; while on the “absolute mind” we have the lectures on Aesthetic, on the Philosophy of Religion and on the History of Philosophy—in short, more than one-third of his works.
The purely psychological branch of the subject takes up half of the space allotted to Geist in the Encyklopädie. It falls under the three heads of anthropology, phenomenology and psychology proper. Anthropology treats of the mind in union with the body—of the natural soul—and discusses the relations of the soul with the planets, the races of mankind, the differences of age, dreams, animal magnetism, insanity and phrenology. In this obscure region it is rich in suggestions and rapprochements; but the ingenuity of these speculations attracts curiosity more than it satisfies scientific inquiry. In the Phenomenology consciousness, self-consciousness and reason are dealt with. The title of the section and the contents recall, though with some important variations, the earlier half of his first work; only that here the historical background on which the stages in the development of the ego were represented has disappeared. Psychology, in the stricter sense, deals with the various forms of theoretical and practical intellect, such as attention, memory, desire and will. In this account of the development of an independent, active and intelligent being from the stage where man like the Dryad is a portion of the natural life around him, Hegel has combined what may be termed a physiology and pathology of the mind—a subject far wider than that of ordinary psychologies, and one of vast intrinsic importance. It is, of course, easy to set aside these questions as unanswerable, and to find artificiality in the arrangement. Still it remains a great point to have even attempted some system in the dark anomalies which lie under the normal consciousness, and to have traced the genesis of the intellectual faculties from animal sensitivity.
The theory of the mind as objectified in the institutions of law, the family and the state is discussed in the “Philosophy of Right.” Beginning with the antithesis of a legal system and morality, Hegel, carrying out the work of Kant, presents 2. Law and history. the synthesis of these elements in the ethical life (Sittlichkeit) of the family and the state. Treating the family as an instinctive realization of the moral life, and not as the result of contract, he shows how by the means of wider associations due to private interests the state issues as the full home of the moral spirit, where intimacy of interdependence is combined with freedom of independent growth. The state is the consummation of man as finite; it is the necessary starting-point whence the spirit rises to an absolute existence in the spheres of art, religion and philosophy. In the finite world or temporal state, religion, as the finite organization of a church, is, like other societies, subordinate to the state. But on another side, as absolute spirit, religion, like art and philosophy, is not subject to the state, but belongs to a higher region.
The political state is always an individual, and the relations of these states with each other and the “world-spirit” of which they are the manifestations constitute the material of history. The Lectures on the Philosophy of History, edited by Gans and subsequently by Karl Hegel, is the most popular of Hegel’s works. The history of the world is a scene of judgment where one people and one alone holds for awhile the sceptre, as the unconscious instrument of the universal spirit, till another rises in its place, with a fuller measure of liberty—a larger superiority to the bonds of natural and artificial circumstance. Three main periods—the Oriental, the Classical and the Germanic—in which respectively the single despot, the dominant order, and the man as man possess freedom—constitute the history of the world. Inaccuracy in detail and artifice in the arrangement of isolated peoples are inevitable in such a scheme. A graver mistake, according to some critics, is that Hegel, far from giving a law of progress, seems to suggest that the history of the world is nearing an end, and has merely reduced the past to a logical formula. The answer to this charge is partly that such a law seems unattainable, and partly that the idealistic content of the present which philosophy extracts is always an advance upon actual fact, and so does throw a light into the future. And at any rate the method is greater than Hegel’s employment of it.
But as with Aristotle so with Hegel—beyond the ethical and political sphere rises the world of absolute spirit in art, religion and philosophy. The psychological distinction between the three forms is that sensuous perception (Anschauung) 3. Art, religion and philosophy. is the organon of the first, presentative conception (Vorstellung) of the second and free thought of the third. The work of art, the first embodiment of absolute mind, shows a sensuous conformity between the idea and the reality in which it is expressed. The so-called beauty of nature is for Hegel an adventitious beauty. The beauty of art is a beauty born in the spirit of the artist and born again in the spectator; it is not like the beauty of natural things, an incident of their existence, but is “essentially a question, an address to a responding breast, a call to the heart and spirit.” The perfection of art depends on the degree of intimacy in which idea and form appear worked into each other. From the different proportion between the idea and the shape in which it is realized arise three different forms of art. When the idea, itself indefinite, gets no further than a struggle and endeavour for its appropriate expression, we have the symbolic, which is the Oriental, form of art, which seeks to compensate its imperfect expression by colossal and enigmatic structures. In the second or classical form of art the idea of humanity finds an adequate sensuous representation. But this form disappears with the decease of Greek national life, and on its collapse follows the romantic, the third form of art; where the harmony of form and content again grows defective, because the object of Christian art—the infinite spirit—is a theme too high for art. Corresponding to this division is the classification of the single arts. First comes architecture—in the main, symbolic art; then sculpture, the classical art par excellence; they are found, however, in all three forms. Painting and music are the specially romantic arts. Lastly, as a union of painting and music comes poetry, where the sensuous element is more than ever subordinate to the spirit.
The lectures on the Philosophy of Art stray largely into the next sphere and dwell with zest on the close connexion of art and religion; and the discussion of the decadence and rise of religions, of the aesthetic qualities of Christian legend, of the age of chivalry, &c., make the Ästhetik a book of varied interest.
The lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, though unequal in their composition and belonging to different dates, serve to exhibit the vital connexion of the system with Christianity. Religion, like art, is inferior to philosophy as an exponent of the harmony between man and the absolute. In it the absolute exists as the poetry and music of the heart, in the inwardness of feeling. Hegel after expounding the nature of religion passes on to discuss its historical phases, but in the immature state of religious science falls into several mistakes. At the bottom of the scale of nature-worships he places the religion of sorcery. The gradations which follow are apportioned with some uncertainty amongst the religions of the East. With the Persian religion of light and the Egyptian of enigmas we pass to those faiths where Godhead takes the form of a spiritual individuality, i.e. to the Hebrew religion (of sublimity), the Greek (of beauty) and the Roman (of adaptation). Last comes absolute religion, in which the mystery of the reconciliation between God and man is an open doctrine. This is Christianity, in which God is a Trinity, because He is a spirit. The revelation of this truth is the subject of the Christian Scriptures. For the Son of God, in the immediate aspect, is the finite world of nature and man, which far from being at one with its Father is originally in an attitude of estrangement. The history of Christ is the visible reconciliation between man and the eternal. With the death of Christ this union, ceasing to be a mere fact, becomes a vital idea—the Spirit of God which dwells in the Christian community.
The lectures on the History of Philosophy deal disproportionately with the various epochs, and in some parts date from the beginning of Hegel’s career. In trying to subject history to the order of logic they sometimes misconceive the filiation of ideas. But they created the history of philosophy as a scientific study. They showed that a philosophical theory is not an accident or whim, but an exponent of its age determined by its antecedents and environments, and handing on its results to the future. (W. W.; X.)
Hegelianism in England.—On the continent of Europe the direct influence of Hegelianism was comparatively short-lived. This was due among other causes to the direction of attention to the rising science of psychology, partly to the reaction against the speculative method. In England and Scotland it had another fate. Both in theory and practice it here seemed to supply precisely the counter-active to prevailing tendencies towards empiricism and individualism that was required. In this respect it stood to philosophy in somewhat the same relation that the influence of Goethe stood to literature. This explains the hold which it had obtained upon both English and Scottish thought soon after the middle of the 19th century. The first impulse came from J. F. Ferrier and J. H. Stirling in Edinburgh, and B. Jowett in Oxford. Already in the seventies there was a powerful school of English thinkers under the lead of Edward Caird and T. H. Green devoted to the study and exposition of the Hegelian system. With the general acceptance of its main principle that the real is the rational, there came in the eighties a more critical examination of the precise meaning to be attached to it and its bearing on the problems of religion. The earlier Hegelians had interpreted it in the sense that the world in its ultimate essence was not only spiritual but self-conscious intelligence whose nature was reflected inadequately but truly in the finite mind. They thus seemed to come forward in the character of exponents rather than critics of the Western belief in God, freedom and immortality. As time went on it became obvious that without departure from the spirit of idealism Hegel’s principle was susceptible of a different interpretation. Granted that rationality taken in the sense of inner coherence and self-consistency is the ultimate standard of truth and reality, does self-consciousness itself answer to the demands of this criterion? If not, are we not forced to deny ultimate reality to personality whether human or divine? The question was definitely raised in F. H. Bradley’s Appearance and Reality (1893; 2nd ed., 1897) and answered in the negative. The completeness and self-consistency which our ideal requires can be realized only in a form of being in which subject and object, will and desire, no longer stand as exclusive opposites, from which it seemed at once to follow that the finite self could not be a reality nor the infinite reality a self. On this basis Bradley developed a theory of the Absolute which, while not denying that it must be conceived of spiritually, insisted that its spirituality is of a kind that finds no analogy in our self-conscious experience. More recently J. M. E. McTaggart’s Studies in Hegelian Dialectic (1896), Studies in Hegelian Cosmology (1901) and Some Dogmas of Religion (1906) have opened a new chapter in the interpretation of Hegelianism. Truly perceiving that the ultimate metaphysical problem is, here as ever, the relation of the One and the Many, McTaggart starts with a definition of the ideal in which our thought upon it can come to rest. He finds it where (a) the unity is for each individual, (b) the whole nature of the individual is to be for the unity. It follows from such a conception of the relation that the whole cannot itself be an individual apart from the individuals in whom it is realized, in other words, the Absolute cannot be a Person. But for the same reason—viz. that in it first and in it alone this condition is realized—the individual soul must be held to be an ultimate reality reflecting in its inmost nature, like the monad of Leibniz, the complete fulness and harmony of the whole. In reply to Bradley’s argument for the unreality of the self, Hegel is interpreted as meaning that the opposition between self and not-self on which it is founded is one that is self-made and in being made is transcended. The fuller our knowledge of reality the more does the object stand out as an invulnerable system of ordered parts, but the process by which it is thus set in opposition to the subject is also the process by which we understand and transform it into the substance of our own thought. From this position further consequences followed. Seeing that the individual soul must thus be taken to stand in respect to its inmost essence in complete harmony with the whole, it must eternally be at one with itself: all change must be appearance. Seeing, moreover, that it is, and is maintained in being, by a fixed relation to the Absolute, it cannot fail of immortality. No pantheistic theory of an eternal substance continuously expressing itself in different individuals who fall back into its being like drops into the ocean will here be sufficient. The ocean is the drops. “The Absolute requires each self not to make up a sum or to maintain an average but in respect of the self’s special and unique nature.” Finally as it cannot cease, neither can the individual soul have had a beginning. Pre-existence is as necessary and certain as a future life. If memory is lacking as a link between the different lives, this only shows that memory is not of the substance of the soul.
In view of these differences (amounting almost to an antinomy of paradoxes) in interpretation, it is not surprising to find that recent years have witnessed a violent reaction in some quarters against Hegelian influence. This has taken the direction on the one hand of a revival of realism (see Metaphysics), on the other of a new form of subjective idealism (see Pragmatism). As yet neither of these movements has shown sufficient coherence or stability to establish itself as a rival to the main current of philosophy in England. But they have both been urged with sufficient ability to arrest its progress and to call for a reconsideration and restatement of the fundamental principle of idealist philosophy and its relation to the fundamental problems of religion. This will probably be the main work of the next generation of thinkers in England (see Idealism).
Among Italian Hegelians are A. Vera, Raffaele Mariano and B. Spaventa (1817–1883); see V. de Lucia, L’Hegel in Italia (1891). In Sweden, J. J. Borelius of Lund; in Norway, G. V. Lyng (d. 1884), M. J. Monrad (1816–1897) and G. Kent (d. 1892) have adopted Hegelianism; in France, P. Leroux and P. Prévost.
Bibliography.—Shortly after Hegel’s death his collected works were published by a number of his friends, who combined for the purpose. They appeared in eighteen volumes in 1832, and a second edition came out about twelve years later. Volumes i.-viii. contain the works published by himself; the remainder is made up of his lectures on the Philosophy of History, Aesthetic, the Philosophy of Religion and the History of Philosophy, besides some essays and reviews, with a few of his letters, and the Philosophical Propaedeutic.
For his life see K. Rosenkranz, Leben Hegels (Berlin, 1844); R. R. Haym, Hegel und seine Zeit (Berlin, 1857); K. Köstlin, Hegel in philosophischer, politischer und nationaler Beziehung (Tübingen, 1870); Rosenkranz, Hegel als deutscher National-Philosoph (Berlin, 1870), and his Neue Studien, vol. iv. (Berlin, 1878); Kuno Fischer, Hegels Leben und Werke.
For the philosophy see A. Ruge’s Aus früherer Zeit, vol. iv. (Berlin, 1867); Haym (as above); F. A. Trendelenburg (in Logische Untersuchungen); A. L. Kym (Metaphysische Untersuchungen) and C. Hermann (Hegel und die logische Frage and other works) are noticeable as modern critics. Georges Noël, La Logique de Hegel (Paris, 1897); Aloys Schmid, Die Entwickelungsgeschichte der Hegelschen Logik (Regensburg, 1858). Vera has translated the Encyklopädie into French, with notes; C. Bénard, the Ästhetik. In English J. Hutcheson Stirling’s Secret of Hegel (2 vols., London, 1865) contains a translation of the beginning of the Wissenschaft der Logik; the “Logic” from the Encyklopädie has been translated, with Prolegomena, by W. Wallace (Oxford, 1874). W. Wallace also translated the third part of the Encyklopädie in Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind (1894); R. B. Haldane the History of Philosophy (1896); E. B. Speirs, lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (1895); J. Sibree, lectures on The Philosophy of History (1852); B. Bosanquet, Philosophy of Fine Art, Introduction (1886); W. Hastie, The Philosophy of Art (1886); S. W. Dyde, The Philosophy of Right (1896). Other recent expositions and criticisms in addition to those mentioned above are W. T. Harris, Hegel’s Logic (1890); J. B. Baillie, Origin and Significance of Hegel’s Logic (1901), and Outline of the Idealistic Construction of Experience (1906); P. Barth, Die Geschichtsphilosophie Hegels (1890); J. A. Marrast, La Philosophie du droit de Hegel (1869); L. Miraglia, I Principii fondamentali e la dottrina eticogiuridica di Hegel (1873); Hegel’s Philosophy of the State and History (Germ. Phil. Classics, 1887); G. Bolland, Philosophie des Rechts (1902), and Hegels Philosophie der Religion (1901); E. Ott, Die Religionsphilosophie Hegels (1904); J. M. Sterrett, Studies in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion (1891); M. Ehrenhauss, Hegels Gottesbegriff (1880); E. Caird, Hegel (1880); A. Seth Pringle-Pattison, Hegelianism and Personality (1893); Millicent Mackenzie, Hegel’s Educational Theory and Practice (1909), with biographical sketch; J. M. E. McTaggart, Commentary on Hegel’s Logic (1910). (J. H. Mu.)