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Reading Hegel himself

As even great secondary literature on Hegel often includes some problematic parts (and by far the most part of the Hegel related secondary literature introduces more problems to the reader than it helps to solve), it is highly recommended that you do not rely on such literature but read Hegel himself. This will also help you to better judge the secondary literature (including our own work at Hegel.Net).

For a first introduction, we recommend that you read Hegel's own introductions to his lectures: the introductions to his lectures on History of Philosophy (start with that one), Philosophy of Religion, Aestetics, and Philosophy of History (most of these are available online, but there also exists a useful reader of all these introductions in one printed book).

In a second step, read Hegel's lectures. See to it that you do not stick only to some one or two books of Hegel (especialy when you mainly focus on Hegel's Phenomenology and/or his Philosophy of History, together with his Philosophy of Right, you will get a wrong picture for sure, as you are missing the systematic background. Unfortunately, this seems to be the major way of Hegel reception in the English world, causing several misinterpretations).

Instead, make sure that you read the Encyclopedia, the book which Hegel himself used to teach and explain his system in his mature years in Berlin, which includes a brief exposition of the complete system, including an abbreviated version of his Science of Logic. No Hegel understanding can be complete without understanding Hegel's Logic and the overall architecture of his system.

Must haves:

General and Bibliographical:

On Objective Spirit / Philosophy of Right:

Hegel and Marx:


The reviews above are based on comments from Maurizio Canfora, Beat Greuter, Kai Froeb and Paul Trejo (in alphabetical order). However, the merger of these (sometimes differing) reviews has been done by Kai Froeb and so none of the reviews above may necessarily represent the views of these individuals.

Hegel.Net is a joint effort of Hegelians worldwide. So, as always, your corrections, comments and additions to the above reviews, as well as reviews on any other Hegel related book, are most welcome. Please contact us by email ([email protected]).

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