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Fox MA. The Accessible Hegel. 2005.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/963
The Accessible Hegel
Hegel is one of the greatest philosophers of all time – by some peoples' reckoning, he would rank first. Certainly his comprehensiveness of outlook and ability to draw diverse and opposing ideas and modes of experience together into a unified rational account of reality are unmatched.If you are at all like me, a first encounter with Hegel will be somewhat daunting, but you will also learn from it that something in his profound vision of things speaks to your inner self, and you can't let him go after that. The territory he explores – where human activities are shown to be exquisitely rich and full of surprises and deeper meanings – strikes one as strange,yet often oddly familiar. Hegel tells a story that is nothing less than the philosophical history of civilization and what he took to be its most significant accomplishments, in which each participant has had an identity and a role to play. Anyone can therefore profit enormously from reading it.To say that digesting Hegel's works requires special effort would be a classic understatement. When you begin reading, everything seems rather overwhelming; your head is swimming and it's hard to get your bearings or to feel sure that you have made any advance. You re-read, perhaps, but this helps only a little. Then, after a while, the task gets easier, as you persist and press on. Somewhere down the line, things start to fall into place, and you see the overall configuration of his system taking shape. Finally, the details also make sense, and you look back with much improved comprehension and confidence at the texts that had once left you so baffled. What I have described is not an unusual scenario when one attacks a demanding author in any field, and this should be remembered in order to counteract discouragement. My final piece of advice is this: Let Hegel's words wash over you, so to speak, in the justifiable expectation that you will understand much better in the end.