Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770–1831)
German philosopher of idealism who had
an immense influence on 19th- and 20th-century thought and history. During
is life Hegel was famous for his professorial lectures at the University
of Berlin and he wrote on logic, ethics, history,
religion, and aesthetics. The main feature of Hegel's philosophy was the
dialectic method by which an idea (thesis) was challenged by its
opposite (antithesis) and the two ultimately reconciled in a third
idea (synthesis) which subsumed both. Hegel found this method both
in the workings of the mind, as a logical procedure, and in the workings
of the history of the world, which to Hegel was the process of the development
and realization of the World Spirit (Weltgeist).
His anthropocentric philosophy, in which he held that the Earth is the best
of all possible worlds, led him to oppose pluralism.
Hegel's chief works were Phenomenology of the Mind (1807) and Philosophy
of Right (1821). His most important follower was Karl Marx.