Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) portrait of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831); Steel engraving by Lazarus Sichling (1812–1863) after a lithograph by Julius L. Sebbers (1804-1837).
MONG students of philosophy the mention of Hegel's name arouses at once a definite emotion. Few thinkers indeed have ever so completely fascinated the minds of their sympathetic readers, or have so violently repulsed their unwilling listeners, as Hegel has. To his followers Hegel is the true prophet of the only true philosophic creed, to his opponents, he has, in Professor James's words, "like Byron's corsair, left a name 'to other times, linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes.'"
The feelings of attraction to Hegel or repulsion from him do not emanate from his personality. Unlike Spinoza's, his life offers nothing to stir the imagination. Briefly, some of his biographical data are as follows: He was born at Stuttgart, the capital of Wiirtemberg, August 27, 1770. His father was a government official, and the family belonged to the upper middle class. Hegel received his early education at the Latin School and the Gymnasium of his native town.
At both these institutions, as well as at the University of Tubingen which he entered in 1788 to study theology, he distinguished himself as an eminently industrious, but not as a rarely gifted student. The certificate which he received upon leaving the University in 1793 speaks of his good character, his meritorious acquaintance with theology and languages, and his meagre knowledge of philosophy. This does not quite represent his equipment, however, for his private reading and studies carried him far beyond the limits of the regular curriculum. After leaving the University he spent seven years as family tutor in Switzerland and in Frankfurt-on-the-Main.
Soon after, in 1801, we find him as Privat-Docent; then, in 1805, as professor at the University of Jena. His academic activities were interrupted by the battle of Jena. For the next two years we meet him as an editor of a political journal at Bamberg, and from 1808 to 1816 as rector of the Gymnasium at Nuremberg. He was then called to a professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg. In 1818 he was called to Berlin to fill the vacancy left by the death of Fichte. From this time on until his death in 1831, he was the recognized dictator of one of the most powerful philosophic schools in the history of thought.
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This image is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case Lazarus Sichling (1812–1863) Julius L. Sebbers (1804-1837) and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from the last day of that year.