HEGEL, George Wilhelm Friedrich


HEGEL, George Wilhelm Friedrich
(1770-1831)
   German philosopher whose system is commonly known as "HEGELIANISM." His complex idealist philosophy contains many elements the most influential of which are
   1) the DIALECTIC which is generally interpreted to mean that all reasoning is dialectical proceeding from a CONCEPT to a new and contradictory concept which gives way to a third concept that transcends and synthesizes both earlier concepts. This is usually stated as thesis-antithesis and synthesis;
   2) the theory of self-realization by which the dialectical process in the individual leads to a determinate "SELF" which is "for itself;" (3) the theory of history which is a dialectical process leading to the manifestation of the ABSOLUTE SPIRIT and arguing that in every specific age the spirit manifests itself in the Zeitgeist or the "spirit-of-the-age" which determines social and political life, knowledge, religion and art. Hegel's work strongly influenced such people as FEUERBACH and MARX. Critics contend that it leads to TOTALITARIANISM and is so obscure as to bewitch the intellect.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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