What makes Hegel such a hard philosopher to read?

In answer to Quora question: "What makes Hegel such a hard philosopher to read?"

Thanks for the A2A. Okay so first off the original German isn't easy to understand, which makes the translation difficult, so there's that. I think the number of people who speak fluent German AND fluent English AND have a deep understanding of Hegel's work (not only his subtleties but also the evolution of his thinking over time) has always been pretty sparse. Add to this that Hegel's ideas are complex, and that he was often coming up with his own language to describe a new concept he was thinking through, and you just end up with some mightily inaccessible philosophical musings. For example:

"Natural consciousness will prove itself to be only knowledge in principle or not real knowledge. Since, however, it immediately takes itself to be the real and genuine knowledge, this pathway has a negative significance for it; what is a realization of the notion of knowledge means for it rather the ruin and overthrow of itself; for on this road it loses its own truth. Because of that, the road can be looked on as the path of doubt, or more properly a highway of despair. For what happens there is not what is usually understood by doubting, a jostling against this or that supposed truth, the outcome of which is again a disappearance in due course of the doubt and a return to the former truth, so that at the end the matter is taken as it was before."

I mean...many people would have to read this several times even to comprehend what Hegel was getting at. Add to this that he was often writing in the specific context of ideas framed by other philosophers (Kant, Fichte, Schelling, etc.) - and often with the assumption of the reader's familiarity with those philosophers - and the already difficult material becomes further abstracted.

My 2 cents.


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