Michael Petry has observed that “until 1970 there was nobody among the hegelians, not to mention the philosophers of the Naturwissenschaften, willing to recognise Hegel's philosophy of nature as an area of investigation to be taken seriously.” An analogous fate seems to have afflicted Aristotle's Physics, if one agrees with Heidegger that: “The Aristotelian Physics is the arcane (verborgene) fundamental book of Western philosophy and, insofar as arcane, it has never been studied sufficiently.”
Fortunately, the past neglect has been amply compensated for by the considerable degree of interest shown, in more recent years, towards both Hegel's and Aristotle's philosophy of nature. With reference to Hegel, that interest may have been nourished initially by the recognition of some isomorphic traits obtaining in Hegel's doctrine and in the methodology of structuralism and gestaltism. Furthermore, part of that interest must have also been triggered by the overall state of bankruptcy and disrepute which have befallen mechanistic, quantitative, empirical or neo-empirical and neo-positivist explanations of reality and of nature. Think of the developments of genetic biology, pathology and genetic engineering. Quantum Mechanics, the highly speculative turn in physics, cosmology, mathematics. By now, the assumptions, methods and findings of these sciences seem to be more kin to Aristotle and Hegel than to Newton and Galileo. Other hypothetical reasons could be offered, to explain the renewed attention paid to Hegel's philosophy of nature.
One point, to begin with, emerges from the panorama of recent research on Hegel, namely that - regardless of and despite the recurrent mythical, hyper-animistic, anthropomorphic images, sustained by analogies and metaphorical diction; also despite of the frequent obscurities and downright factual mistakes - the philosopher cannot be sweepingly accused of scientific ignorance, nor of endemically gratuituous a priori, abstract reflection.