An Introduction to Hegel: Freedom, Truth and History / Edition 2

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This classic introduction to one of the most influential modern thinkers, G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) has been made even more comprehensive through the addition of four new chapters.

  • New edition of a classic introduction to Hegel.
  • Enables students to engage with many aspects of Hegel’s philosophy.
  • Covers the whole range of Hegel’s mature thought.
  • Relates Hegel’s ideas to other thinkers, such as Luther, Descartes and Kant.
  • Offers a distinctive and challenging interpretation of Hegel’s work.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘This is a sympathetic and very enlightening introduction to Hegel’s thought, which will provide great assistance to those studying his work for the first time, while also being of interest to experts in the field. The new material on the Phenomenology, Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Subjective Spirit adds to what has always been one of the best texts on Hegel’s philosophy as a whole.’ Robert Stern, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

‘With the addition of five new chapters Houlgate’s book becomes, hands down, the best introduction to Hegel’s philosophy available. Houlgate is everywhere a lucid and patient guide to the depths and richness of Hegel’s thought. An indispensable book for newcomers to Hegel. Highly recommended.’ J. M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631230632
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/21/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 332
  • Sales rank: 1,200,811
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Houlgate is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Hegel, Nietzsche and the Criticism of Metaphysics (1986) and the editor of Hegel and the Philosophy of Nature (1998) and The Hegel Reader (Blackwell, 1998). He was President of the Hegel Society of America from 1994 to 1996 and is currently editor of the Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements to the Second Edition.

Acknowledgements to the First Edition.

List of Abbreviations.



1 History and Truth.

The Historicity of Thought and Civilization.

Comparing Civilizations.

Self-consciousness and Historical Progress.

History, Truth and Relativism.

History and the Absolute.

2 Thinking Without Presuppositions.

Thought and Freedom.

From Indeterminate to Determinate Thought.

The Method of Dialectical Thinking.

Logic and Ontology.

Logic, Science and History.

3 Phenomenology and Natural Consciousness.

Logic and Phenomenology.

The Method of Phenomenology.

Logic in Phenomenology.

The Role of the “We”.


From Certainty to Truth.

Absolute Knowing: The Standpoint of Philosophy.

4 The Path to Absolute Knowing.

Self-consciousness and the Master/Slave Relation.


The Unhappy Consciousness and Reason.

Spirit and Absolute Freedom.

Moral Spirit.


The Beautiful Soul, Evil and Forgiveness.


Absolute Knowing.

Phenomenology and Philosophy.

5 Reason in Nature.

From Logic to Nature.

Nature: The Idea as the “Negative of Itself”.

Reason and Nature’s “System of Stages”.

Contingency and the Limits of Philosophy.

Philosophy and Natural Science.

6 Space, Gravity and the Freeing of Matter.

Space and its Dimensions.


Place and Motion.

Matter and its Gravity.

Mass, Inertia and Weight.

Falling Bodies and Galileo’s Law.

The Solar System.

Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.

Hegel and Newton.

Hegel and Relativity.

7 Life and Embodied Spirit.

The “Ideal” Structure of Life.

Chemistry and Life.

Plants and Animals.

Sensation in Animals.

Life, Death and Spirit.


Embodied Spirit.

Intelligence and its Signs.

8 Freedom, Rights and Civility.

From Hegel to Hitler?.

The Limits of Choice.

Rights, Property and Slavery.

The Problem with Being Moral.

Freedom at Home in the World.

Civil Society and Poverty.

Freedom and the State.

9 Art and Human Wholeness.

Art, Religion and Philosophy.

The Function of Art.

Beauty and Ideal Character.

The Historicity of Art.

Symbolic and Classical Art.

Christianity, Aesthetic Autonomy and the “Death” of Art.

10 Philosophy and Christian Faith.

Philosophy, Reason and Geist.

Philosophy and Religious Representation.

God as Reason and Love.

Faith and Worship.

Death, Freedom and New Life.

Faith, Interpretation and Philosophy.

Philosophy and Faith in History.


Bibliographical Essay.


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