I believe that Hegel wrote on many subjects. From his book The Science of Logic, I understand his position to be that of absolute idealism.

If I am ever to begin to tackle him, I would like to first know if he had set himself with a unitary goal or objective that is discernible throughout his work.

  • 3
    Hegels Phenomenology is preparation, I think for his logic. – Mozibur Ullah Jul 17 '15 at 11:20
  • Note: In my suggested edit, the word unitary is meant to mean 'of, pertaining to, characterized by, or aiming toward unity'. – Sampark Sharma Jan 20 '16 at 14:09
  • 1
    Like @MoziburUllah pointed at, taking the Logic without first having understood the movement of the concept through the individual in its stages of sensual experience, percieving, understanding, reason and individual spirit (chapters I-V) makes no sense. If any unitary goal is to be identified, it is the movement of the concept to reality in its truth. – Philip Klöcking Jan 20 '16 at 17:40

Hegel wrote two books on logic. His Science of Logic (1812–1816) and his Encyclopaedia Logic (1817). For Hegel logic is more like the ancient logos so it includes not only the formal arrangement of things but also the grounds of things, i.e. metaphysics. His Logic comes prior to his Phenomenology. Though more difficult and less of a go to text in the Anglo-American tradition it most definitely is the place to start. One understands how he arrived at his conception of the historical world-spirit by understanding his logic. One understands how he deals with phenomena by understanding his logic.

To situate Hegel one needs to have a clear idea what H. was objecting to in Kant's work, but that is another days's work.

With that out of the way, you want to know

"if he had set himself with a unitary goal or objective that is discernible throughout his work."

Like all systematic thinkers his goal is to explains things as he sees them. Insofar as that is anyone's goal that is his goal. But, what motivated him was to right the philosophical errors he felt that Kant committed.

We could ask how successful he was in this project. I think it is fair to say that his prejudice that the world is essentially rational guided his thinking. Schopenhauer's main beef with Hegel I believe is that S. asserted that the world is inherently irrational. Neither viewpoint, of course, allows the world to reveal itself as it is, both viewpoints pre-judge the world.

A technical primer for the Science of Logic is at nLab.

Two episodes from a podcast concerning the Science of Logic are here and here, episodes 134 part 1 & 2 on The Partially Examined Life.

  • "His logic comes prior to his phenomenology"...erm, no? The logic has originally been planned and announced to be the second part of the book we today know as Phenomenology of Spirit. The understanding of the becoming of the absolute Geist had to be understood prior to the logic for him. Only with the methodology of the phenomenology at hand, Hegel him self thought, we could go on to the logic. Therefore I am highly sceptical of this part of the answer. – Philip Klöcking May 24 '16 at 9:47
  • What kind of rhetorical move is "...erm, no?"? Respectfully I say ...erm, yes? I claim that though Phenomenology was published prior to Science the latter is conceptually prior. In Science Hegel starts at the beginning with Being, Nothing, and Becoming and builds up towards concepts and ideas and judgements and the whole shebang systematically. I don't have the space in this comment to demonstrate fully (that's not a cop out!) so maybe we should open a new question with the title, "Is the Science of Logic conceptually prior to the Phenomenology of Spirit*?" and have at it there :) – igravious May 24 '16 at 12:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy