Hegel’s lectures have had as great a historical impact on the intellectual history of the past two centuries as the works he himself published. Important elements of his system are elaborated only in the lectures, especially those given in Berlin during the last decade of his life.
These lectures challenged the antiquarianism of Hegel’s contemporaries by boldly contending that the history of philosophy is itself philosophy, not just history. It portrays the journey of reason or spirit through time, as reason or spirit comes in stages to its full development and self-conscious existence, through the successive products of human intellect and activity. They are crucial to understanding Hegel’s own systematic philosophy in its constructive aspect, as well as his views on the centrality of reason in human history and culture.
The original editors conflated materials from different sources and dates, obscuring the development and logic of Hegel’s thought. Based on a selection of extant and recently discovered transcripts and manuscripts, the original lecture series are reconstructed so that the structure of Hegel’s argument can be followed. Each volume presents an accurate new translation accompanied by an editorial introduction and annotations on the text, which make possible the identification of Hegel’s many allusions and sources.