Not hegel’s tales: Applied concepts, negotiated truths and the reciprocity of un-equals in conceptual pragmatism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (1):83-98 (2007)
Abstract
The article expresses skepticism on the alleged affinity between Hegel’s theory of conceptuality and conceptual pragmatism. Despite the intriguing philosophical impetus underlying the latter, the author formulates doubts about its compatibility with logical and metaphysical principles of absolute idealism. The criticism is articulated in four theses: (1) pragmatism’s concerns with (ultimately empirical) concept-acquisition and concept-application are largely alien to Hegel’s logical-metaphysical theory of conceptuality; (2) the interchangeability of ‘word’ and ‘concept’ in the pragmatist discussion is incompatible with Hegel’s notion of thinking; (3) the distinction of Vertsandesbestimmung and Vernunftbegriff , while ignored in practice in the pragmatist approach, is pivotal to Hegel’s understanding of the nature of conceptuality; (4) finally, pragmatism’s use of the recognition-thesis from the Phenomenology of Spirit ignores the noncontractarian, non-negotiative function of the same in Hegel’s work. Key Words: concept • consciousness • contractarianism • individuality • reason • recognition • singularity • subject • subjection.
Keywords Pragmatism  Hegel  Individuality
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