|Author||Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel|
|Original title||Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse|
The Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (abbreviated as EPS or simply Encyclopaedia; German: Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse, EPW, translated as Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline) by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (first published in 1817, second edition 1827, third edition 1830), is a work that presents an abbreviated version of Hegel's systematic philosophy in its entirety, and is the only form in which Hegel ever published his entire mature philosophical system. The fact that the account is exhaustive, that the grounding structures of reality are ideal, and that the system is closed makes the Encyclopedia a statement par excellence of absolute idealism.
Intended as a pedagogical aid for attendees of his lectures, Hegel revised and extended the Encyclopedia over more than a decade, but stressed its role as a "textbook" in need of elucidation through oral commentary. The 1830 text is widely available in various English translations with copious additions (Zusätze) added posthumously by Hegel's students, deriving from their lecture notes. These additions expand on the text with examples and illustrations, and while scholars do not take the Zusätze to be verbatim transcription of Hegel's lectures, their more informal and non-technical style make them good stand-ins for the "necessary oral commentary".
Part I of the work is sometimes referred to as the Lesser Logic (or Shorter Logic) to distinguish it from the Greater Logic, the moniker given to Hegel's Science of Logic.
The Encyclopedia has three main parts, each of which is further subdivided, which together purport to cover all the fundamental aspects of reality, and form a closed systematic unity.
Hegel is careful to methodically derive each category of reality ('thought-determination') from its predecessor notion, with the completed system bringing the circle to a close, demonstrating its unity.
The work describes the pattern of the Idea as manifesting itself in dialectical reasoning.
While some believe that the philosophy of nature and mind are applications of the logic, this is a misunderstanding. The purpose of the Encyclopedia is descriptive: to describe how Geist (Spirit or Mind) develops itself and not to apply the dialectical method to all areas of human knowledge, but Spirit is in process of growing, like a seed growing into a mature tree: it passes through stages. The first stage of Spirit's development is described in the Logic. Thus the Logic presents the categories of thought as they are in themselves; they are the minimal conditions for thinking anything at all, the conceptions that run in the background of all our thinking. These logical categories turn out to be none other than Geist itself. In order to get at what a thing is, we must think about it. No amount of observing will bring us to the essence of things. Thinking and being are equivalent, and so logic and metaphysics are equivalent as well. The underlying element of it all is Geist; thus the activity of thinking is no less than Geist articulating itself. (This is how Hegel could say that logic is the thought of the mind of God before creation.)
As Geist works itself out more fully, it reaches the point where it simply cannot remain as it is; it is incomplete, and therefore it "others" itself; this is where the philosophy of nature emerges. When this stage of its development is completed, Geist "returns" to itself, which is the emergence of the philosophy of mind.
Hegel coined the term "diamond net" in the book. He said, “the entire range of the universal determinations of thought… into which everything is brought and thereby first made intelligible.” In other words, the diamond net of which Hegel speaks are the logical categories according to which we understand our experience, thus making our empirical observations intelligible.
English translations of all three parts are available from Oxford University Press (Part One: Hegel's Logic, 1975; Part Two: Hegel's Philosophy of Nature, 2004; Part Three: Hegel's Philosophy of Mind, 1970), with each part bound as a separate book.
An English translation of the first part is also available from Cambridge University Press: Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline, Part I: Science of Logic, translated by Klaus Brinkmann, Daniel O. Dahlstrom (Cambridge University Press, 2010).