Hegel’s Influence

Because Hegel’s philosophy meant to show the interconnectedness of everything in the universe, it did much to stimulate the study of art, religion, history, and science. Indeed, Hegel was an aca- demic “rock star.” B. Russell (1945) commented on Hegel’s widespread popularity: “At the end of the nineteenth century, the leading academic example, he did not believe in miracles), two of his early books, The Life of Jesus (1795) and The Spirit of Christianity (1799), indicate a general sympathy toward Christian theology.


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Hegel’s belief that the whole is more important than particular instances led him to conclude that the state (government) was more important than the individuals that composed it. In other words, for Hegel, people existed for the state. This is exactly the opposite of Locke’s position, which held that the state existed for the people. B. Russell (1945) nicely summarized Hegel’s view of the relationship between the individual and the state: “Hegel con- ceives the ethical relation of the citizen to the state as analogous to that of the eye to the body: In his place the citizen is part of a valuable whole, but iso- lated he is as useless as an isolated eye”.

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