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The Secret of Hegel

The Secret of Hegel

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The Secret of Hegel: Being the Hegelian System in Origin Principle, Form and Matter is a philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 book by James Hutchison Stirling
James Hutchison Stirling
James Hutchison Stirling , philosopher, born in Glasgow, and educated there and at Edinburgh, where he studied medicine, which he practised until the death of his father in 1851, after which he devoted himself to philosophy....


The book has influenced many British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 philosophers and helped to create the movement
Cultural movement
A cultural movement is a change in the way a number of different disciplines approach their work. This embodies all art forms, the sciences, and philosophies. Historically, different nations or regions of the world have gone through their own independent sequence of movements in culture, but as...

 known as British idealism
British idealism
A species of absolute idealism, British idealism was a philosophical movement that was influential in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The leading figures in the movement were T.H. Green , F. H. Bradley , and Bernard Bosanquet . They were succeeded by the...


The secret

Stirling wrote:
The secret of Hegel may be indicated at shortest thus: As Aristotle—with considerable assistance from Plato—made explicit the abstract Universal that was implicit in Socrates, so Hegel— with less considerable assistance from Fichte and Schelling—made explicit the concrete Universal that was implicit in Kant.

On page 84, Stirling gave an even shorter condensation: "Here is the secret of Hegel, or rather a schema to a key to it: Quantity—Time and Space—Empirical Realities."

Readers' comments

John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

, in his letter of November 4, 1867 to Alexander Bain
Alexander Bain
Alexander Bain was a Scottish philosopher and educationalist in the British school of empiricism who was a prominent and innovative figure in the fields of psychology, linguistics, logic, moral philosophy and education reform...

, wrote:
Besides these I have been toiling through Stirling’s Secret of Hegel. It is right to learn what Hegel is & one learns it only too well from Stirling’s book. I say "too well" because I found by actual experience of Hegel that conversancy with him tends to deprave one’s intellect. The attempt to unwind an apparently infinite series of self–contradictions, not disguised but openly faced & coined into [illegible word] science by being stamped with a set of big abstract terms, really if persisted in impairs the acquired delicacy of perception of false reasoning & false thinking which has been gained by years of careful mental discipline with terms of real meaning. For some time after I had finished the book all such words as reflexion, development, evolution, &c., gave me a sort of sickening feeling which I have not yet entirely got rid of.

Frederick Copleston
Frederick Copleston
Frederick Charles Copleston, SJ, CBE was a Jesuit priest and historian of philosophy.-Biography:...

 (A History of Philosophy vol. VII, p. 12) wrote:
...we may be inclined to smile at J. H. Stirling's picture of Hegel as the great champion of Christianity.

Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

The secret was well kept!