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date: 23 August 2019

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrichlocked

(b Stuttgart, Aug 27, 1770; d Berlin, Nov 14, 1831).
  • Patrick Gardiner

Extract

(b Stuttgart, Aug 27, 1770; d Berlin, Nov 14, 1831).

German philosopher. From 1788 until 1793 he was a student at the university at Tübingen where he read philosophy and theology. He held academic posts at Jena between 1801 and 1806, but his career there was cut short by the Napoleonic occupation of the city. After a period as a newspaper editor and then as rector of a gymnasium at Nuremberg, he returned to university teaching, holding a chair of philosophy at Heidelberg in 1816 and one at Berlin two years later. The works he published during his lifetime fell mainly within the spheres of metaphysics, epistemology and political theory; while at Berlin, however, he also gave extensive lecture courses on other branches of philosophy, including aesthetics. The lectures on aesthetics, which Hegel delivered on various occasions during the 1820s, were edited and published posthumously in 1835.

In developing his philosophical system, which was formidable in its scope and daunting in its complexity, Hegel assigned to aesthetics a position of great importance. He considered art, along with religion and philosophy, one of the fundamental modes of consciousness whereby human beings acquired a profound comprehension both of themselves and of the world they inhabited. Thus he felt obliged to undertake a careful investigation of its nature and significance. But the close attention he paid to it also had a more personal source: Hegel was deeply responsive to, and knowledgeable about, certain forms of artistic achievement....

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