Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Portrait of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was an important German philosopher and is seen as one of the founding fathers of modern thought. He was born on 27th August 1770 in Stuttgart, Germany and died on 14th November 1831 in Berlin, Germany aged. He is one of the most founding figures in German idealism and one the most important influences on modern Western philosophy.

Major Works

“Phenomenology of Spirit” (1807) (sometimes known as “Phenomenology of Mind”)
“Science of Logic” (1812 and 1816) 
“Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences” (1817) 
“Philosophy of Right” (1821) 

Biography Timeline

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is born on 27th August 1770, in Stuttgart, Germany. His father was Georg Ludwig Hegel a civil servant and his mother was Maria Magdalena Louisa Hegel (née Fromm).

1773: His sister, Christiane, is born in April. Hegel attends the Deutsche Schule.

1777: He enters the Stuttgart Gymnasium and studies classical history. He meets and becomes friends with Johann Holderlin.

1776: Birth of his brother Georg Ludwig in May.

1780: He takes the Landexamen.

1783: His mother dies of a fever on 20th September and Georg is also seriously ill.

1784: He goes up to the Obergymnasium.

1786: He writes “On Certain Differences between Ancient and Modern Poets”.

1788: He graduates from the Gymnasium in September.

1788: He begins a study of philosophy in October.

1790: He enrols in the Theological Faculty in the Stift where he later shares a room with Friedrich Schelling.

1792: Johann Gottlieb Fichte publishes “An Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation”.

1793: He writes an essay on “Folk Religion”. During the summer he visits Stuttgart and then sits his Konsistorialexam on 19th September. in October he becomes house tutor to K. F. son Steiger.

1795: He visits Geneva in May and writes “Life of Jesus and begins “The Positivity of the Christian Religion”.

1795: Friedrich Schelling publishes “On the Ego”.

1796: He goes on a long walking tour through the Bernese Alps in Switzerland and returns to Frankfurt in December.

1797: In January he works with Vogel a wine merchant. Friedrich Schelling publishes “Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature”.

1798: He translates and discusses Jean-Jacques Cart’s work which defends the freedoms of the Vaud against the Bernese aristocracy.

1798: Hebegins writing “The German Constitution” and completes “The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate”.

1799: His father dies in Stuttgart in January. Hegel now has enough money to contemplate going to university.

1800: He visits Mainz, in September then under French rule.

1801: In January he moves to Jena University.

1801: He publishes his first philosophical book “The Difference Between Fichte’s and Schelling’s Systems of Philosophy” and researches the orbits of the planets in the Solar System.

1802: He lectures on Natural Law and completes his German Constitution, which advocates a unified Germany under an Emperor. He also works with Friedrich Schelling editing the Critical Journal of Philosophy. He writes the “System of Ethical Life” often known as Realphilosophie One.

1803: He writes “The First Philosophy of Spirit” often known as Realphilosophie Two.

1805: He is appointed as an unpaid “extraordinary professor” in Jena.

1806: He lectures on the “Philosophy of the Human Spirit” and completes the “Phenomenology of Spirit”. Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Prussians at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt.

1807: Birth of his illegitimate son, Ludwig Fischer in February. In March he moves to Bamberg to become the editor of the Bamberger Zeitung newspaper. The “Phenomenology of Spirit” is published in April.

1808: He writes “Who Thinks Abstractly?” In November he is appointed Rector of the Gymnasium in Nuremberg.

1811: He marries Marie von Tucher in September.

1812: The first volume of the “Science of Logic” is published.

1813: His son Karl is born. The second volume of the“Science of Logic” published.

1814: Birth of his son Immanuel.

1816: The third volume of the “Science of Logic” is published and Hegel moves to become a professor at the University of Heidelberg.

1817: He publishes the “Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences” and becomes joint editor of the Heidelberger Jahrbücher. He gives his first Lectures on Aesthetics.

1818: He moves to Berlin on 5th October and becomes a member of the Gesetzlose Gesellschaft.

1818: He passes over the guardianship of his sister, Christiane to his cousin in June.

1820: The “Philosophy of Right” is published in October.

1821: He moves to Dresden where he is dean of the philosophical faculty for a one-year. He gives his first Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion.

1822: Hallesche A. L. Zeitung publishes an attack on Hegel after they take exception to his preface to Hinrichs’s book on the philosophy of religion. Hegel fails to get the government to side with him in the dispute. He gives his first lectures on Philosophy of History and on the History of Philosophy. In October he visits the Netherlands.

1824: He visits Vienna and Prague and in November he writes to the Prussian police to intercede for Victor Cousin.

1826: He writes “On a Complaint on Account of a Public Slander of the Catholic Religion” and sends “Über die Bekehrten” (On the Converted) to the Berliner Schnellpost. In July he founds the Jahrbücher für Wissenschaftliche Kritik. He produces a new edition of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences.

1827: He visits Johann von Goethe in Weimar. He publishes “On the Episode of the Mahabharata Known as the Bhagavad-Gita by Wilhelm von Humboldt” in the Jahrbücher für Wissenschaftliche Kritik.

1829: He is elected rector of the university. In September he visits the spa town of Karlsbad where he accidentally meets Friedrich Schelling and on his return he visits Goethe for a second time.

1830: He publishes his review of Goeschel’s “Aphorisms on Ignorance and Absolute Knowing” in the Jahrbücher für Wissenschaftliche Kritik and “On the Hegelian Doctrine or Absolute Knowing and Modern Pantheism – On Philosophy in General and Hegel’s Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Particular” in the same journal. The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences reaches its third edition. On 25th June he gives a speech (in Latin) on the three hundredth anniversary of the Augsburg Confession.

1831: Hepublishes his review of “Ideal-realism” in the Jahrbücher für Wissenschaftliche Kritik and reprints “The Phenomenology of Spirit” without amendments. He writes “On the English Reform Bill”. In August he flies Berlin to Kreuzberg because of a cholera epidemic but returns in October for the new university term thinking it is all clear.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel dies on 14th November 1831 in Berlin. Although doctor’s said the cause death was cholera it is now thought likely he died from a gastrointestinal disease. He was buried on 16th November in the Dorotheenstady Cemetery in Berlin next to Johann Gottlieb Fichte.