From Hegel to Nietzsche: The Revolution in the Nineteenth Century Thought

Beginning with an examination of the relationship between Hegel and Goethe, Löwith discusses how Hegel’s students, particularly Marx and Kierkegaard, interpreted—or reinterpreted—their master’s thought, and proceeds with an in-depth assessment of the other important philosophers, from Feuerbach, Stirner, and Schelling to Nietzsche.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Goethe and Hegel
1. Goethe’s Idea of Primary Phenomena and Hegel’s Comprehension of the Absolute
a. The Unity of Principle
b. The Difference in Exposition
2. Rose and Cross
a. Goethe’s Rejection of Hegel’s Association of Reason With the Cross
b. Goethe’s Association of Humanity With the Cross
c. The Lutheran Sense of Rose and Cross
d. Hegel’s and Goethe’s “Protestantism”
e. Goethe’s Christian Paganism and Hegel’s Philosophical Christianity
f. The End of the World of Goethe and Hegel

The Origin of the Spiritual Development of the Age in Hegel’s Philosophy of the History of the Spirit

Section I: The Eschatological Meaning of Hegel’s Consummation of the History of the World and the Spirit
1. The Eschatological Design of World History
2. The Eschatological Nature of the Absolute Forms of the Spirit
a. Art and Religion
b. Philosophy
3. Hegel’s Reconciliation of Philosophy With the State and the Christian Religion

Section II: Old Hegelians, Young Hegelians, Neo-Hegelians
1. The Preservation of Hegelian Philosophy by the Old Hegelians
2. The Overthrow of Hegelian Philosophy by the Young Hegelians
a. L. Feuerbach (1804-1872)
b. A. Ruge (1802-1880)
c. K. Marx (1818-1883)
d. M. Stirner (1806-1856)
e. B. Bauer (1809-1882)
f. S. Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
g. Schelling’s Connection With the Young Hegelians
3 The Refurbishing of Hegelian Philosophy by the Neo-Hegelians

Section III: The Dissolution of Hegel’s Mediations in the Exclusive Choices of Marx and Kierkegaard
1. The General Criticism of Hegel’s Notion of Reality
2. The Critical Distinctions of Marx and Kierkegaard
a. Marx
b. Kierkegaard
3. Criticism of the Capitalistic “World and Secular Christianity
a. Marx
b. Kierkegaard
4. Estrangement as the Source of Hegel’s Reconciliation

The Philosophy of History Becomes the Desire for Eternity
Section IV: Nietzsche as Philosopher of Our Age and of Eternity
1. Nietzsche’s Evaluation of Goethe and Hegel
2. Nietzsche’s Relationship to the Hegelianism of the Forties
3. Nietzsche’s Attempt to Surmount Nihilism

Section V: The Spirit of the Age and the Question of Eternity
1. The Spirit of the Ages Becomes the Spirit of the Age
2. Time and History for Hegel and Goethe
a. The Present as Eternity
b. Hegel’s Philosophy of History and Goethe’s View of the Course of the World


Section I: The Problem of Bourgeois Society
1. Rousseau Bourgeois and Citoyen
2. Hegel: Bourgeois Society and Absolute State
3. Marx: Bourgeoisie and Ptoletariat
4. Stirner: The Individual “I” as the Common Ground of Bourgeois and Proletarian Man
5. Kierkegaard: The Bourgeois-Christian Self
6. Donoso Cortes and Proudhon: Christian Dictatorship from Above and Atheistic Reordering of Society from Below
7. A. de Tocqueville: The Development of Bourgeois Democracy Into Democratic Despotism
8. G. Sorel: The Nonbourgeois Democracy of the Working Class
9. Nietzsche: The Human Herd and Its Leader

Section II: The Problem of Work
1. Hegel: Work as Self-Renunciation in Forming the World
2. C. Rossler and A. Ruge: Work as Appropriation of the World and Liberation of Man
3. Marx: Work as Man’s Self-Alienation in a World Not His Own
a. Criticism of the Abstract Classical Notion of Work
b. Criticism of the Abstract Notion of Work in Hegelian Philosophy
4. Kierkegaard: The Meaning of Work for the Self
5. Nietzsche: Work as the Dissolution of Devotion and Contemplation

Section III: The Problem of Education
1. Hegel’s Political Humanism
2. The Young Hegelians
a. Ruge’s Politicization of Aesthetic Education
b. Stirner’s Reduction of Humanistic and Scientific Education to Self-Revelation of the Individual
c. Bauer’s Criticism of the Cliche of the “Universal”
3. J. Burckhardt on the Century of Education and G. Flaubert on the Contradictions of ‘Knowledge
4. Nietzsche’s Criticism of Education, Present and Past

Section IV: The Problem of Man
1. Hegel: Absolute Spirit as the Universal Essence of Man
2. Feuerbach: Corporeal Man as the Ultimate Essence of Man
3. Marx: The’Proletariat as the Possibility of Collective Man
4. Stirner: The Individual “I’ as the Proprietor of Man
5: Kierkegaard: The Solitary Self as Absolute Humanity
6. Nietzsche: ‘The Superman as the Transcendence of Man

Section V: The Problem of Christianity
1. Hegel’s Transcending of Religion by Philosophy
2. Strauss’s Reduction of Christianity to Myth
3. Feuerbach’s Reduction of the Christian Religion to the Nature of Man
4. Ruge’s Replacement of Christianity by Humanity
5. Bauer’s Destruction of Theology and Christianity
6. Marx’s Explanation of Christianity as a Perverted World
7. Stirner’s Systematic Destruction of the Divine and the Human
8. Kierkegaard’s Paradoxical Concept of Faith and His Attack Upon Existing Christendom
9. Nietzsche’s Criticism of Christian Morality and Civilization
10. Lagarde’s Political Criticism of Ecclesiastical Christianity
11. Overbeck’s Historical Analysis of Primitive and Passing Christianity

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