Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (German: [ˈɡeɔɐ̯k ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈheːɡəl]; August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, and a major figure in German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.
Hegel developed a comprehensive philosophical framework, or "system", of Absolute idealism to account in an integrated and developmental way for the relation of mind and nature, the subject and object of knowledge, psychology, the state, history, art, religion, and philosophy. In particular, he developed the concept that mind or spirit manifested itself in a set of contradictions or oppositions that it ultimately integrated and united without eliminating either pole. Examples of such contradictions include those between bondage and freedom, between immanence and transcendence, between universal and particular, between artificial and natural, between God and man, between divine and human, and between infinite and finite.
Hegel influenced writers of widely varying positions, including both his admirers and his detractors. Karl Barth compared Hegel to a "Protestant Aquinas." Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote, "All the great philosophical ideas of the past century—the philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche, phenomenology, German existentialism, and psychoanalysis—had their beginnings in Hegel..." Michel Foucault has contended that contemporary philosophers may be 'doomed to find Hegel waiting patiently at the end of whatever road we travel.' Hegel's influential conceptions are those of speculative logic or "dialectic", "absolute idealism". They include "Geist" (spirit), negativity, sublation (Aufhebung in German), the "Master/Slave" dialectic, "ethical life" and the importance of history.