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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel . The Dialectic Process and World Spirit. Biographical Information. Born in 1770 in Stuttgart, Germany Study of philosophy and theology Developed in the age of German Romanticism. The Dialectic. All thought was based upon pieces of a previous thought. Thales:

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Georg wilhelm friedrich hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

The Dialectic Process and World Spirit

Biographical information
Biographical Information

  • Born in 1770 in Stuttgart, Germany

  • Study of philosophy and theology

  • Developed in the age of German Romanticism

The dialectic
The Dialectic

  • All thought was based upon pieces of a previous thought

The dialectic debate thales problem


Its all water

The Dialectic Debate Thales Problem


There is a constant stuff Change was impossible senses could not be trusted


Nature flows

Senses reliable


nothing changes


Senses are reliable

Late 1700s, early 1800s

We cut and paste impressions and ideas constantly
We cut and paste impressions and ideas constantly.

  • “I am nothing but a bundle of perceptions”

What are ideas
What are ideas?

  • Ideas are “faint images”

    • = Arise from our memory of impressions

  • Memories are associated in man’s imagination via:

    • Resemblance

    • Contiguity in time/place

    • Cause and effect through principle of repetition

  • All these associative “principles” are learned, not innate!

  • What is the self
    What is the self?

    • Descartes: an unalterable I, “Cogito ergo sum”

    • Hume

      • The ego is a series of sense perceptions

        • “The mind is a kind of theater where several perceptions successively make their appearance: pass, re-pass, slide away and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations”

      • The so-called “I” is in perpetual flux

      • Like the spoon, the self as an unchanging thing is an illusion

    God? ……..

    • Descartes

      • the innate idea of a perfect being

        • The idea of a perfect, eternal, universal being is a concept without properties in this world

        • The idea must be given us from a source with such properties.

    • Hume

      • God is not knowable through our senses

      • …if in fact God is not just a false complex idea…

    How can i know the world is there
    How can I know the world is there?

    • Descartes

      • Outer reality could be fantasy

      • Mathematical properties confirm quantitative reality

      • Sense perceptions are subject to distortion and subjective – qualitative reality

      • But are we deceived completely about the world?

      • No: a perfect, universal, infinite being – which I’ve established must exist - would not, by definition, deceive us.

    How can i know the world is there1
    How can I know the world is there?

    • According to David Hume

      • Our senses are our source of knowledge

      • A world is mediated through the senses…

      • Big questions of ontology (study of being) are unanswerable…

    The dialectic1
    The Dialectic







    Kant’s blend

    Form of knowledge

    A priori and Content

    A posteriori

    Late 1700s, early 1800s

    Dialectic mechanism for progress
    Dialectic: Mechanism for Progress

    • Becomes an everlasting and continuous building on ideas

    • The strongest and most correct ideas survive through the dialectic process

    • The most rational and reasonable thinking survives as history

    Dialectical discussion
    Dialectical Discussion

    • Can history be viewed accurately in terms of the progress Hegel implies?

    • Is it true that the most correct or reasonable ideas survive and become the history we know today? Why or why not?

    National spirit volksgeist
    National Spirit: Volksgeist

    • The sum total of a state’s essence and personality; the sum total of the people who live in it

    Spirit of the age zeitgeist
    Spirit of the Age: Zeitgeist

    • “The spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."

    • The general cultural, intellectual, social and political climate within a nation in a given time

    World spirit weltgeist
    World Spirit Weltgeist

    • A force that drives the progression of human history

    • This is the embodiment of all human culture, language, life, thought, and reason as humanity evolves

    • Through it man will be able to understand a teleological (purposeful) account of history

    World spirit
    World Spirit

    • Humanity advances toward a self-knowledge and self-development as it progresses in rationality and freedom

    • Human culture and human development have made the world spirit conscious of its intrinsic value

    • Developing toward an expanding knowledge of itself

      • History is the story of world spirit slowly gaining consciousness of itself

    • History is, therefore, both progressive and purposeful

    Eternal truths
    Eternal Truths

    • Unlike Descartes, Spinoza, Plato and other major philosophers, Hegel rejected the concept of inherited eternal truths

    • All truth is subjective and reflective of the time period in which it originated

    • Believed that human knowledge and cognition changed and evolved with each generation

    Metaphor of the river
    Metaphor of the River

    • History can be seen as the equivalent to a flowing river

    • A river flows and is affected by tiny variables upstream

      • affected by the upstream variables, prior history

    • Eternal truths prove impossible to know in the middle because of positioning

      • No area of the river is the ‘truest’ part


    • Do you believe that there is a reason for history?

      • Why or why not?

    • Does man become more rational and more free as history progresses?

    • Are there any eternal truths?

    Cause and reason
    Cause and Reason

    • What is the difference between these two terms?

    • What is the reason for human history?

    Reality is full of opposites
    Reality is full of opposites

    Being Nothing



    Political philosophy and the state
    Political Philosophy and the State

    • The state is the highest embodiment of the dialectic process

      Thesis Antithesis





    World spirit1
    World Spirit

    • The state is seen as a complex spiritual organism as a realization of ethical ideas

    • It is in the state that the world spirit manifests itself in the world

    • That means that individuals are subservient to the greater progress of the nation

    The world spirit discovers itself
    The World Spirit Discovers Itself

    • In three stages

      • World spirit conscious of itself- subjective spirit

      • Higher consciousness of the family, civil society, and state- objective spirit

      • World spirit achieves self-realization – absolute spirit

    • Absolute spirit is art, religion, and philosophy

      • Is the goal of history to reach absolutes

      • But there has been none during the course of history

    • Philosophy is the highest form of knowledge because the world spirit reflects on its own impact on history

    If the world spirit is god
    If the World Spirit is God

    • Does God develop? Does God grow through human history and become more…

    • Does God learn through human history?


    • The universe is rational and directed by a dialectic toward one absolute truth embodied in the world spirit

      • The world spirit may be called God

    • The truth exists only as a whole of history

    • The dialectic is the process through which the truth is realized

    Works cited
    Works Cited

    • Falcone, Vincent J. Great Thinkers, Great Ideas. Norwalk: Cranbury Publications, 1988.

    • Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie's World. New York: Berkley Books, 1991.

    • "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)." The European Graduate School. The European Graduate School. 4 June 2008 <>.

    • "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Quotes." BrainyQuote. 2 June 2008 <>.

    • "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 13 Feb. 1997. Stanford University. 30 May 2008 <>.

    • Kreis, Steven. "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)." Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History. 28 Feb. 2006. The History Guide. 4 June 2008 <>.