The Accessible Hegel

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Humanity Books, Jan 1, 2005 - Philosophy - 184 pages
1 Review
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century. Both through proponents such as Karl Marx and detractors such as Søren Kierkegaard, the impact of his ideas and reaction to them continue to be felt to this day. Unfortunately, reading Hegel is a notoriously difficult task and there is a good deal of debate about how to interpret his words. In fact, his contemporary, Arthur Schopenhauer, criticized Hegel’s writing as "the most ponderous and general mystification that has ever existed." There is thus a need for a clear presentation of his major philosophical contributions to help students and other interested persons in approaching the work of this important thinker.

Philosopher Michael Allen Fox admirably fills this need in The Accessible Hegel. He begins by examining Hegel’s thought as the culmination of classical German philosophy’s idealistic trend toward explaining the universe in its entirety. Unlike Kant, who believed that human reason was limited, Hegel argued that reason has the capacity to unravel the mysteries of existence. Throughout history reason has progressed, said Hegel, like an expanding circle grasping more and more of reality.

Fox discusses at length the chief component of Hegel’s systematic philosophy -- the concept of the dialectic. According to Hegel, in a world of becoming and persistent change, reason progresses through conflict and the resolutions that arise from the dialectic of opposing elements. The tumultuous clash of opposites leads to ever new advances in human knowledge and culture.

Fox also considers many of Hegel’s other ideas: his difficult notion of the Absolute, the final stage of history in which reason attains perfect mastery of the world and thought realizes its full potential; his dynamic conception of truth as evolving toward total comprehensiveness; the master-slave pattern of human relationships; the social structure of the self; the varied political interpretations and adaptations of Hegel’s philosophy on both the Left and the Right; and many other aspects of Hegel’s complex system.

For both beginners and those already familiar with Hegel’s work, this excellent overview of one of philosophy’s great geniuses offers many clarifications and insights.

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Review: The Accessible Hegel

User Review  - Samuel - Goodreads

I think this book is actually more useful to read after you've attempted to read some Hegel. I found that it clarified a few things that I found confusing to read on my own. Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Michael Allen Fox is professor emeritus of philosophy at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and adjunct professor of humanities at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of The Accessible Hegel, Deep Vegetarianism, and several other titles.

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