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Contemporaries of Hegel

Franz Xaver von Baader (1765-1841)

Usualy known as a Roman Catholic theologian and mystical philosopher in books on Hegel's time, Franz von Baader lived in Scottland and England as a young man for 5 years (1792-1796), where he came under the deep influence of the scottish anarchist couple Mary Wollstonecrafts (also a first feminist) and her man Wiliam Godwin. Later in his life he became a catholic romantic. According to Hans Grassl, he seems to have played an important part in the reactionary wing of the freemansons of his time, gaining some influence in reactionary circles especialy in France and Russia and even became one of the three ideological inspirers of the "Holy Alliance".

Having first hand experience of the situation in the UK and the teachings of Hume and Adam smith, as well as the first radicals, Baader developed into a sharp critique of Hume, Kant and the British economic shool of Adam Smith as well as the modern, non-Christian, capitalist society, which he does not measure in terms of economic categories of the medivial age, but like Franz List several years after him, in modern categries. This makes him the most important forerunner to Franz List in the eyes of many.

As a theologian and mystical philosopher, he was especialy interested in Christian Mystics like Jakob Böhme. Living in Munich, he played an important role in the first years of the University of Munich and became a friend of Schelling, whom he is said to have influenced toward a reactionary mysticism.

Several reports exist that Baader was very critical to hostile towards Hegel's Philosophy and criticised Hegel in public. However, it seems that Hegel did read some of Baader's book, probably both his economical critiques as well as his mystical ones. Baader visited Hegel in Berlin, where Hegel agreed with Baader on the significance of Jakob Böhme. As a result, Hegel praises Baader in his foreword to the 2nd (1827) edition of his Encyclopedia. However, Baader never gave up his critical attitude to Hegel.

(Beside the sources below, some of the material presented above is taken from the introduction of Hans Grassl (p.9-56) to the Franz von Baader reader "Gesellschaftslehre", Kösel-Verlag KG, München 1957.)

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814)

Fichte developed his own system of transcendental idealism, the Theory of Science (Wissenschaftslehre, 1796). Hegel says:
"He wrote a treatise on Religion, termed a "Critique of all Revelation," where the Kantian phraseology is employed throughout - so much so that it was thought to be the work of Kant."
(Lectures on the History of Philosophy). Hegel then summaries his attack on Fichte with the following argument against Fichte. Hegel said:

"The Fichtian standpoint of subjectivity has thus retained its character of being unphilosophically worked out, and arrived at its completion in forms pertaining to sensation which in part remained within the Fichtian principle, while they were in part the effort - futile though it was - to go beyond the subjectivity of the ego."
(Lectures on the History of Philosophy)

In the Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel spoke of "Philosophy as Science (or in German - Wissenschaft)" This is following Kant and Fichte. In addition, in the Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel spoke of "nothing less than a sun-clear report" (Kaufmann's translation et p. 78). This is a clear reference to Fichte's A Sun Clear Report to the General Public Concerning the Actual Essence of the Newest Philosophy: An Attempt to Force the Reader to Understand (1801). Fichte, charged with Atheism (1798), leaves Jena for Berlin (1799). Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation (1808). In 1811 he was made the first Rector of the University of Berlin.

During the War of Liberation in 1813 Fichte canceled his lectures and went into the militia. Johanna Fichte, his wife was a nurse in a military hospital she got sick but lived. However, Johann Gottlieb Fichte got sick and died at the height of fame serving in the German militia of the time.
http://www.phil.upenn.edu/~cubowman/fichte/ and

Jakob Friedrich Fries (1773-1843)

One of the people that Hegel really disliked was Fries. Fries taught at the University of Jena at the same time as Hegel. Fries wrote a book entitled, Reinhold, Fichte, and Schelling (1803) where he was very critical of all of the post-Kantians. One could say that one reason Hegel published the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) was to try to get university positions before Fries got them. Fries did get a position at the University of Heidelberg in 1805 and Hegel was stunned. Fries published a book with the title of Knowledge, Faith and Intimation (1805). Fries thinks that these feelings that we have are independent of reason and understanding "Ahndung," or "intimation." Feelings (inkling, divination, presentiment) are intimations of the transcendent. Fries was a follower of Kant, but not with the Idealism of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Rather he wanted the post-Kantians to go toward an empiricist and moralistic way.

An excelent recent work on Fries in German is Gerald Hubmann's 'Ethische Überzeugung und politische Gesinnungsethik - Jakob Fries und die deutsche Tradition der Gesinnungsethik', Universitätsverlag C.Winter, Heidelberg 1997


Karl Friedrich Goeschel (1784-1861)

Karl Friedrich Goeschel wanted a reconciliation of Christianity with modern culture. Lived in Berlin at the same time as Hegel. In 1830, Hegel wrote a positive review of Goeschel's book entitled Aphorisms on Ignorance and Absolute Knowing in the "Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik".

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Goethe was the most famous writer of this period in German literature. Wrote 'Faust' (1808) and 'Sorrows of Young Werther' (1774). Very good friend of Friedrich Schiller.

Goethe never really understood Hegel's philosophy and always remained suspicious to hostile towards it, however he used to say that while he did not like Hegel's Philosophy, he liked the man Hegel personally, especially because Hegel supported Goethe's 'Farbenlehre' (Hegel's pupil von Henning even gave complete lectures on Goethe's 'Farbenlehre', including the presentation of Goethe's experiments, to the delight of Goethe).

As for Hegel, he read Goethe's works and quotes them often in his works. He gave a collection of Goethe's works as gift to his son Karl.

Hegel and Goethe first met 1801 when Hegel was in Jena. During the next thirty years, they met in total some 10-20 times. Goethe's corespondence with Hegel amounts to some 10 letters and he seldom mentiones Hegel otherwise.

As for secondary sources on the relation on Hegel and Goethe (in German):

  • Rudolf Honegger: 'Goethe und Hegel. Eine literarhistorische Untersuchung' (in "Jahrbuch der Goethe-Gesellschaft", pp. 38-111, vol. 11, 1925, Weimar) - a complete account of the relationship between Hegel and Goethe from a literary, scientific and academic viewpoint.
  • 'Bei Goethe in Weimar' (in "Hegel in Berlin. Preussische Kulturpolitik und idealistische Ästhetik, Ausstellungskatalog", pp. 171-180, Berlin 1981, Ed. Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz) -- a brief but effective summary of the content of Honegger's article.

http://www.biblint.de/goethe.html (German), for those interested in literature, including a short Bibliography and a Gallery.

Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788)

Hamann was one of Kant's closes friends and yet, Kant argued against him in a number of publications. Hamann has an irrationalistic theory of faith and in general was against Englightment. Was liked by S. Kierkegaard. One person wrote about him:

"'Magus of the north', a Protestant mystic who disliked the analytical rationalism of the Enlightenment and saw more creative power in feeling, language, and especially poetry, the 'mother-tongue of the human race'"

Hegel wrote an extensive critique of Hamann's work in the "Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik".,

http://members.aol.com/agrudolph/jghamann.htm (German) and
http://www.gutenberg2000.de/autoren/hamann.htm (German) and
http://www.mauthner-gesellschaft.de/mauthner/hist/hama.html (German) and

Christian Gottlieb Heinrich (1748-1810)

Professor of History at Jena was against the appointment of Schiller in history. Schiller later moved to philosophy.

Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841)

Studied philosophy with the age of 18 at Jena under Fichte, which he later criticised. With 22 he is Hofmeister in Berne at the family Steiger (but another part of the family than the one were Hegel teached), were he learned to know the work of Pestalozzi. 1805 he becomes professor in Göttingen, from 1809 to 1833 held the chair of philosophy at Königsberg (after Krug and before Rosenkranz).

After Hegel's death, Herbart had hoped to get Hegel's chair in Berlin, but instead, Gabler was chosen by von Altenstein, the prussian minister responsible for education, who protected the Heglians until his death 1839. So Herbart later returned to Göttingen as professor of philosophy.

Hegel himself does not mention Herbart in his work, however he is (seldom) mentioned in Hegel's letters (some 2-4 times across all Hegel's life span) and in these cases in negative conotations.

Two of Hegel's followers, Gabler (1827) and Henning (1831, in the "Jahrbücher für Wissenschaftliche Kritik") wrote negative critiques of Herbart's system and Hegel has agreed explicit in a letter to Gabler to all his critique and of course he must also have agreed with the critique of his follower Henning, published in his (Hegel's) journal.

On the other hand, Hegel's enemy Fries wrote a very positive critique of Herbart, where he praised him, and put him in contrast to the specualtion of German idealism, which he criticised.

For the official (university) Philosophy in Germany after Hegel's death, Herbart was important as he marked the turn away from metaphysic and Logic to psychology, where "philosophers" would try to derive logic out of empirical Psychology (note: this a position opposite to that of Hegel). This position was influental in Germany universities in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Later it was criticised and defeated by Husserl in his "Logische Untersuchungen" (logical Enquiries).

Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803)

Herder was against the synthesis of faith and reason. His collected works are long, 33 volumes. He was one of the early Kant's well-known students. Attacked Enlightenment. On of the leading lights of the "Sturm und Drang" (storm and urge) movement. Friend of Hamann. Later entered in a public dispute with Kant and spent most of his later energy in the fruitless attempt to prove Kant wrong.

Hegel read Herder in young years and was especialy influenced by Herder's 'Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit' (published in 4 parts 1784, 1785, 1787 and 1791), which can be traced especially in Hegel's 'Lectures on the Philosophy of History'.

http://www.ets.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/Herder.htm and

Hermann Friedrich Wilhelm Hinrichs (1794-1861)

Studied theology at Strassburg, and philosophy at Heidelberg under Hegel. He became a Privatdozent in 1819, and held professorships of Philosophy at Breslau (1822) and Halle (1824). In 1822 he writes a Philosophy of Religion, to which Hegel wrote a famous foreword. In 1825 wrote on Aesthetics and Goethe's great work 'Faust' The title is: 'Aesthetische Vorlesgungen über Goethe's Faust, als Beitrag zur Anerkennung wissenschaftlicher Kunstbeurtheilung.' Also wrote on tragedy. The title is: Das Wesen der antiken Tragödie, in ästhetischen Vorlesungen durchgeführt an den beiden Oedipus des Sophokles im allgemeinen und an der Antigone insbesondere.
Was a great follower of Hegel.

Hegel's Vorrede zu Hinrichs' Religionsphilosophie[1822]

Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel (1741-1796)

Hippel was the town mayor ("Bürgermeister") of Königsberg and a personal friend of Kant and Hamann, a very remarkable person, full of energy and inteligence. He wrote several writings, most of them of humorous nature. Hegel read in his youth Hippel's 'Lebensläufe nach Aufsteigender Linie nebst Beylagen A, B, C' from 1778-1780 and praises it in his works.

Hippel's book 'Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Weiber' (Berlin 1792, 4 years before his death) was revolutionary for his time as an early piece of feminism, but seems to have been little known. In his work 'Hegel, Marx and The English State' (University of Toronto Press, 1992), the Canadian professor and well known Hegel researcher David MacGregor draws surprising and convincing parallels between Hegel's conception of Family and Hippel's theses in his essay on Women. MacGregor never provides any proof that Hegel actually read Hippel's book; however, from what he says it seems that there are a lot of points in common, so that one could suppose that this is a realistic possibility.

Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)

Hegel first met Hölderlin at the Tübingen Protestant Seminary called the Stift in October 1788. In 1790, Hegel, F.J.W. Schelling, and Hölderlin are roommates (see our Hegel biography). They are reading F.H. Jacobi’s works and are in the web of the so called Pantheism Controversy. At the same time, they are reading the Greeks in this connection (Hen kai Pan). Schelling and Hölderlin are in a reading group about Kant, but Hegel does not join. Together they talk of the Kantian notion of the “invisible church”. However, Hegel is already more distant from Kant than Hölderlin and Schelling. They share a keen interest in the French Revolution (1789). Hölderlin in 1794 and 1795 attends classes by Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814). He talks to Hegel about Fichte. Hegel writes a poem (Eleusis) to Hölderlin in August 1796. During 1797, by help of Hölderlin, Hegel becomes "Hofmeister" at the family Gogel (see our Hegel biography), which was a friend of the family of the Gontards where Hölderlin worked (both houses were closeby). Hölderlin increasingly is doing more poetry and has published a novel (Hyperion). Hegel acts the middle man between Hölderlin and his beloved Susette Gontard. Hölderlin is working on translations of the Greeks. By 1798 Hölderlin has moved and by early 1801 Hegel moves to Jena to be close to Schelling and his first philosophical writings are published in the Critical Journal of Philosophy edited by Hegel and Schelling. In 1807, Hölderlin had a mental break down and lived the next 36 years in a tower over looking the Neckar River near Tübingen.

Hegel helped to get new editions of Hölderlin's works published, Hyperion in 1822 and poems in 1826. According to what Princess Wilhelm of Prussia (nee Marianne von Hessen-Homburg) wrote into her diary on March 6, 1830, when Hegel had vistied her that day, she had mentioned Höderlin to him and he began to speak of the glowing time of his youth, Hölderlin and his book 'Hyperion'. Since that time, Hölderlin has become even more famous as a poet and is connected to the philosophical world through Martin Heidegger’s elucidations of Hölderlin.

Full Text of his Hölderlin's poems, etc.:

(Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich) Alexander Freiherr Von Humboldt (1769-1859)

Brother of Wilhelm von Humboldt. Was a scientific traveler (central and south America, 1799-1804, also traveled to Siberia, Ural Mountains, and Caspian Sea in 1829). Together with Ritter one of the founders of modern Geography.

Wrote many books about the discoveries made in these voyages, which were wide read and even influenced Charles Darwin.

His book "Cosmos", where he gives a complete picture of the natural sciences of his time in all their connections, was the scientific bestseller of the 19th century (at least in Germany).

Corresponded with all big (and many small) natural scientists of his time. His public lectures in the late 1820s in Berlin, were attended by up to 1,500 people from all classes. Probably the man whom Goethe apreciated most at that time.

Sceptical towards Hegel.

Wilhelm Freiherr Von Humboldt (1767-1835)

Wilhelm von Humboldt changed the Prussian school system of the times to a more humanistic way and liberal. Did early studies in linguistics and developed a theory of language. Was attacked by Hegel's 1827 review, "On the episode of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad-Gita by Wilhelm von Humboldt" in the "Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik". Von Humboldt's vision of a university as a union of "teaching and research" remains with us today. Founder of the University of Berlin (1810), but was not involved in its development.

He was always surprised that Hegel's system became famous. Later a remote alley of Hegel (but not too close).

Wilhelm von Humboldt Gesellschaft e.V. zur Wahrung und Förderung der Bildung, der Kultur und der deutschen Sprache http://www.wvh-gesellschaft.org/index.html (German).

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819)

He thought that our knowledge of mundane and divine matters rests, not on argument, but on feeling and faith. The one word should come to mind on Jacobi position is FAITH. He was clearly against the French revolution. Considered Goethe to be on the side of fatalism. Jacobi attack Lessing and Moses Mendelssohn. Started the Pantheism Controversy by accusing Lessing after his death to have been spinozist in his article "Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an Herrn Moses Mendelssohn" (1785).

In his article "Glauben und Wissen" (in the "Kritisches Journal der Philosophie"), Hegel devotes his second of his three critiques to Jacobi. In the Preface to the 'Phenomenology of Spirit' (1807) Hegel spoke of "the unmethod of intimation" (Kaufmann's translation, et p. 74). Mostly likely he was thinking of Jacobi. Later in his life Hegel came to a bit more positive judgment of Jacobi (see the part on Jacobi in his 'Lectures on the History of Philosophy' and paragraphs 61ff of Hegel's 'Encyclopedia' of 1830).

http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/j/jacobi.htm and

Wilhelm Traugott Krug (1770-1842)

Wilhelm Traugott Krug (1770-1842) wrote 'Groundwork of Philosophy', setting forth a "Transcendental Synthesis". Wrote some awful reviews of Hegel's works. Krug followed Kant to the chair of Philosophy at University of Königsberg (1804). Hegel wrote an early work entitled 'How the Ordinary Human Understanding Takes Philosophy (as displayed in the works of Mr. Krug' in 1802. Krug was a common sense philosopher dressed up as a Kantian. Krug also attacked Reinhold and Fichte.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781)

Close friend to Mendelsohn. Together they formed the begining of the German version of the enlightment. Early work, On the education of the Human Race, 1778. Lessing has been considered a deist, a theist, a Spinozist-pantheist, a panentheist and most likely some kind of atheist. Jacobi's reports about Lessing's remarks to him about Spinzoa (published after Lessing's death) started the great Panthenism Controversy in the late 1700s.

Hegel read one of Lessing plays in his youth and made notes about in his diary and later quoted from it in his writings. The play is called Nathan der Weise (1779). He must have also read other works of Lessing. At the Stift, Hegel was called "the intimate of Lessing".


Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786)

Popular philosopher - rationalism. Together with Lessing the most important figure of the early enlightment in Germany. He was model for Lessing's play, 'Nathan der Weise' (1779). Defended orthodox theology based on reason.Work on fine art and aesthetics. Loved poetry, wrote Hebrew poems at the age of 10. Also important in the creation of a secular, enlightend jewish culture in Germany.

His major work was 'Phaedon oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele' (1767), which raised great interest. Kant wrote a refutation of this work in his second edition of his critique of pure reason.

Hegel read Mendelsohn's 'Phaedon' when he was young.


Novalis (1772-1801)

His real name was Friedrich Leopold Friedrich Baron von Hardenberg (not to be confused with the later Prussian Chancellor Hardenberg). Romantic Movement in Jena 1799. Wrote a novel entitled, Hymns to the Night. (Hymnen An Die Nacht). This was written after the untimely death of fiancée at the age of 14. He defines Philosophy as homesickness, as the need to be at home in all places.

Hegel said about Novalis:
"Subjectivity signifies the lack of a firm and steady basis, but likewise the desire for such, and thus it evermore remains a yearning. These yearnings of a lofty soul are set forth in the writings of Novalis. This subjectivity does not reach substantiality, it dies away within itself, and the standpoint it adopts is one of inward workings…";
(Lectures on the History of Philosophy).

Karl Leonhard Reinhold (1758-1823)

Made Kant famous person. Reinhold taught Kantian philosophy at the University of Jena (1787). In 1788 was teaching to classes with over 400 students. Leading interpreter of Kantian philosophy until Fichte published his Critique of All Revelation anonymously. Every one thought this book was the work I. Kant. This launched Fichte's career and made him more famous than Reinhold's Elementarphilosophie ("The Philosophy of Elements"). Reinhold also attacked Schelling. Hegel is out to defend Schelling in his early writings against the attacks of Reinhold: The last part of Hegel's early book 'Differenz des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie' (1801), is devoted to Reinhold, the chapter's title is: 'Über Reinholds Ansicht und Philosophie'. Reinhold's publication, 'The Fundamental Concepts and Principles of Ethics' (1798), uses the expression "common sense". In general, he worked on Kant's philosophy and came up with a theory of consciousness.

Carl Ritter (1779-1859)

Carl Ritter was the founder of modern Geography (see any text on the history of Geography) and teached at the University of Berlin at the same time as Hegel. He was influenced by Herder, Schleiermacher and Alexander von Humboldt. There is no indication that he was influenced by Hegel. He also did not use dialectic. However some of his concepts in his Geography are used by his Berlin collegue Hegel in his world history (where we can also find traces of Herder, either direct or thru Ritter, and of Schiller).

Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776-1810)

Famous German natural scientist of Hegel's time, who discovered the ultraviolet rays, and who is mentioned in Hegel's Philosophy of Nature.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

French philosopher of enlightment.

Hegel read him with passion in his time as student at the Stift. Later, in his Bernese time, he prefered Montesquieu.

Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779-1861)

Very Influential Professor of Law in Berlin of the Romantic school at Hegel's time. 1812, after Fichte's death, until 1815 head of the Berlin university. Head of the law department of the university. Judge. Even became a Minister of the interior in Prussia 1842-48.

Hegel was an enemy of Savigny and vice versa. While Savigny is little mentioned in Hegel's correspondence, Savigny, in his letters to Prof. Creutzer in Heidelberg, always complained bitterly about Hegel and his school (while Creutzer tried to defend Hegel).

Hegel's criticises Savigny explicit in his Philosopy of Right, paragraphs 286. The law specialist of the Hegel School, Gans, wrote a deadly critique of Savingy's major work in the "Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik".

Hegel's older son Karl, who, while not a Hegelian, felt proud to honour the heritage of his father (contrary to his brother Immanuel who studied under Savigny and became a reactionary and anti Hegelian), and was, according to his autobiography, very content that his major work as a professor of medival history, concerning the history of the cities and their documents, as a sideeffect proved that (in this matter) his father Hegel was right and Savigny was wrong.
http://www.savigny.de (in German)

Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling (1775-1854)

F.W.J. Schelling was a roommate with G.W.F. Hegel and the famous classical poet, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) at the Tübingen Stift. His first major publication Ideen zur Philosophie der Natur (1797) was published at the age of twenty-two. He was appointed to a chair of Philosophy at Jena University, 1798 (age of twenty-three). In 1803 he moved to a chair at Würzburg University until 1806. During this time he wrote his treatise on human freedom in 1809 (age of thirty-six). This was to be his last major work published during his lifetime even though he wrote volumes more. These were not to be published in his lifetime.

In the Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel spoke of "or to pass off one's absolute as the night in which, as one says, all cows are black - that is the naiveté of the emptiness of knowledge." (Kaufmann's translation, et p. 26). Hegel tried to calm Schelling down in letters even before Schelling saw this reference, but Hegel and Schelling were no longer friends after this.

Much later Hegel said:

"It was Schelling, finally, who made the most important, or, from a philosophic point of view, the only important advance upon the philosophy of Fichte; his philosophy rose higher than that of Fichte, though undoubtedly it stood in close connection with it; indeed, he himself professes to be a Fichtian. Now the philosophy of Schelling from the first admitted the possibility of a knowledge of God, although it likewise started from the philosophy of Kant, which denies such knowledge. At the same time Schelling makes Jacobi's principle of the unity of thought and Being fundamental, although he begins to determine it more closely."
(Lectures on the History of Philosophy, see the chapter on Schelling Online)

They met again in Karlsbad in 1829 and Hegel wrote home to his wife that he had come to peace with Schelling, but from what Schelling wrote home we know that Schelling in his inner mind did not agree.

The new king called the old Schelling from Munich some ten years after Hegel's death to fight "the dragon seed of Hegelianism", but Scheling's lectures became a total flop. However, in Schelling's Berlin lectures was a group of students who perhaps became more famous than Schelling himself, namely, S. Kierkegaard, J. Burckhardt, F. Engels, L. Feuerbach, and M. Bakunin.
http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/schelli1.htm and

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

German philosopher and poet who wrote a series of popular "Sturm und Drang" (storm and urge) plays, including 'Die Räuber' (he lived few houses away from young Hegel's family, when he wrote that play) and 'Wilhelm Tell'.

Although he criticized Kant's ethical theory in 'Über Anmuth und Würde' (On Grace and Dignity) (1793), Schiller applied Kantian notions to the sensuous appreciation of aesthetic experience in 'Briefe über die äesthetische Erziehung des Menschen' ( Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, in Schiller's journal 'Die Horen', 1795). 1789-1793, he taught Philosophy and History as a Professor at the University of Jena (today named "Friedrich Schiller Universität"). From 1793 to the end of his life lived in Weimar, enjoying the friendship of Goethe.

When he worked with Goethe, he made him interested in modern philosophy and thaugt him the basics of Kant's philosophy. In a letter to Goethe, Schiller expressed his pleasure that Goethe became interested in Hegel.

Schiller writes positive about Hegel in these letters:

  • Schiller to W.Humboldt, Weimar 1803-08-18
  • Schiller to Goethe, Weimar 1803-11-09
  • Schiller to Goethe, Weimar 1803-11-30

As far as we know, these are the only times that Schiller has written in his letters about Hegel. However, he was already in close contacts with Hegels close friend and university room mate Hoelderlin before, whom Schiller also had promoted. Both Hegel and Hölderlin read a lot of Schiller in their youth and student time and Hegel in his bernese years was one of the subscribers of "Die Horen" when they came out.

Hegel was greatly influenced by Schiller's language and ideas and incorporated a lot terminology from Schiller into the 'Phenomenology of Spirit', which even culminates in its very end in a quote from Schiller.

Schiller is mentioned often in Hegel's work and his influence can be sensed at many places, e.g. in Hegel's 'Lectures on Aestetics' but also in Hegel's 'Lectures on the Philosophy of History'. These lectures on the Philosophy of history were intended to be a fullfilment of Schiller's call for a "Universalgeschichte" (universal history) in Schiller's famous introductionary lecture in Jena (however, the Philosohy of History also shows influences of Montesquieu, Kant, Herder, Creutzer and Ritter).

August Wilhelm von Schlegel (1767-1845)

Brother of Friedrich Von Schlegel (1772-1829). Did the standard translation of Shakespeare into German. Also did work on Sanskrit and was involved in the publishing of Indian religious text. Schlegel was general known with his brother for his involvement the early German Romantic movement.

Friedrich Von Schlegel (1772-1829)

Friedrich Von Schlegel. Romantic movement. Hegel said: "This first form, Irony, has Friedrich von Schlegel as its leading exponent. The subject here knows itself to be within itself the Absolute, and all else to it is vain; all the conclusions which it draws for itself respecting the right and good, it likewise knows how to destroy again."
(Philosophy of History).
Studied Sanskrit.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834)

German philosopher and theologian (dialectical theology). Translated the dialogues of Plato into German, and invented the modern study of hermeneutics.

There is one interesting remark about his relationship to Hegel:
Hegel admired his 'On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers' (1799), but later came to hate him, avowedly because he rejected his view that religion rests on a feeling of "absolute dependence".

But later Hegel polemics against Schleiermacher became so bad that the students in the lecture hall would stomp their feet in displeasure. Taught at the University of Berlin at the same time as Hegel. Schleiermacher was a great and a very polished lecturer. Also a very succesful preacher who had no problem to fill churches with up to thousand people. Hegel was by many seen as the opposite: Hegel was a great thinker, but not a very good lecturer (see our Hegel biography).

As president of the "Königliche Akademie der Wissenschaften", Schleiermacher saw to it that Hegel had never a chance to become a member of the academy. However, Althaus, in his recent biography 'Hegel und Die heroischen Jahre der Philosophy' reports that there are some signs that Hegel and Schleiermacher came to peace with each other some weeks before Hegel's death in late 1831.

For Schleiermacher religion and theology is primarily neither morality (contra Kant) nor belief or knowledge (contra Hegel), but rather, an immediate self-consciousness or feeling of absolute reliance on God. He was very close friend of Friedrich Schlegel. Schleiermacher was against Napoleon as a foreign conqueror and dictator (in contrast to Hegel and Goethe). Considered by many to be the founder of modern Protestant theology.

http://www.island-of-freedom.com/SCHLEIER.HTM and
http://www.bautz.de/bbkl/s/s1/schleiermacher_f_d_e.shtml (German, with large Bibliography)
more links at http://anu.theologie.uni-halle.de/ST/SF/links (German)

Gottlob Ernst Schulze ("Aenesidemus", 1761-1833)

He was a skeptic and professor at Helmstadt. Became famous by attacking Reinhold and Kant's critical philosophy. Had read some of Hume. Reinhold and Fichte attacked him. Hegel also wrote a review of Schulze work in an article called "The Relation of Skepticism to Philosophy" in 1802. Taught Arthur Schopenhauer. In general, Schulze attack the whole idea of Kant's thing-in-itself. Schulze also published a book very close to Hegel's Encyclopedia; he called it Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, for use with Lectures (1814, 3 years before the first edition of Hegel's own encyclopedia was published). Hegel wrote a very long article on 1802 entitled 'On the Relationship of Skepticism to Philosophy, Exposition of its Different Modifications and Comparison of the Latest Form with the Ancient One'. The latest form is indeed Schulze. This article is basically a review of Schulze book, 'Critique of Theoretical Philosophy' (1801). Hegel was upset with Schulze commonsensical skepticism and tried to defend ancient skepticism like Sextus Empiricus against Schulze.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)

In the Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel spoke of "Comprehending God as the one substance outraged the age in which this definition was proclaimed. " (Kaufmann's translation, et p. 28). This is a reference to Spinoza.

Friedrich Adolf Trendlenburg (1802-1872)

He was not only a Professor in Berlin but had also a highly influential position in the Prussian Ministry of Education and also teaching teachers. Because of this influence, he is sometimes named "the unknown gray emminence in Prussian 19th century philosophy".

Trendlenburg studied under Hegel in Berlin but wasn't much influenced by Hegel nor has he influenced Hegel (we have no evidence that Hegel ever noticed him) and later became a sharp critique of Hegel.

His supposed refutation of Hegel's Logik in his "Logische Untersuchungen" gave Hegel's Logic a letal hurt in the eyes of most of the German public (who however, after having shipwrecked with Hegels ideas in the 1848 revolution, were very willing to find reasons to see Hegel refuted).

In todays German Hegel literature on Hegel's Logic, you sometimes find some pages or a chapter devoted to show how Trendlenburg was misreading Hegel's Logic (like Popper, Russel et at later). Fine samples for such discussions (however in German) are Hoesle's "Hegels System" and Wandschneider's "Grundzüge einer Theorie der Dialektik".

The above work is an edited and appended version of parts of Daniel Fidel Ferrer's Webpage 'Hegel Dialogue', used at Hegel.Net with the kind permission of the author. It will be further amended by Hegel.Net.

Hegel.Net is a joint effort of Hegelians worldwide. So, as always, your corrections, comments and additions to the above text, which are much work in progress, are needed and most welcome. Please contact us by email ([email protected]).

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