It all really started because of my interest in the works of John Dewey. In various articles and books, there was continuing reference to Hegel’s works and Hegelian thought. A quick look at the Wikipedia entry left me lost more than before and unable to capture the essence of his philosophy, and with full awareness that I would probably leave the book half-read, I picked up this very short introduction by Peter Singer.
Though short, I must say that it was as unputdownable as any racy fiction I used to read in college or school. That’s beyond a compliment for a book on philosophy, attempting to describe the gist of the works of a philosopher who has a strong reputation for being obscure and unintelligible.
Peter Singer has done a fabulous job.
Hegel: A Very Short Introduction, by Peter Singer is a very simple book to read, given you have some interest and background in philosophy. Having said that, this is a book, almost anybody can pick up and make sense. Peter Singer employs the right devices to simplify and distil the essence of Hegel’s philosophy in mere 152 pages. He does not impose his interpretations at any time, and for when you feel he does, he ends a section with a good exposition of both sides of the story. It is not over-simplified, which is just right, because that would amount to a significant dilution in comprehending Hegel’s thought. This book allows you to imagine the breadth and he depth of Hegelian philosophy, and importantly for me — encountering that word anywhere, I have a clear map of what Hegelian thought would mean.
I would love to get into some recurring thoughts I have had about Hegel himself, but I shall reserve them for a different post, elsewhere.