Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Center for Science and Math Education


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher and educator in the nineteenth century. Among his most famous theories is the Hegelian dialectic, which describes an ongoing process of evolution encompassing man, nature, and spirit into a holistic understanding of the universe. Humankind, as an embodied, subjective self, strives for the Absolute, or truth and growth. This self-realization can occur only if embedded within a community that values and grants freedom, and the historical and cultural context of the community serves as a foundation and launching point for continued evolution. Bildung is prominent within Hegel’s work, a term used to describe the education of the individual and collective toward a more ethical, socially responsive state. This chapter examines Hegel’s life, his social and historical context, and the central tenants of the Hegelian dialectic and Bildung to consider what this might mean for institutionalized education in a postmodern world. Through Bildung, it is possible to envision an educational system that promotes the learning of ethics in everyday life, value systems, and freedom of others.

Publication Title

The Palgrave Handbook of Educational Thinkers