Acategoriality and the unity of being in Holderlin's novel 'hyperion'

Mind and Matter 5 (2):167-200 (2007)
It will be argued that a mode of consciousness which Jean Gebser introduced as 'acategoriality' in the 1950s was anticipated by Holderlin 150 years earlier. According to Gebser, acategoriality is an epistemic act oriented towards a primary experience of being, that is highly integrative and exceeds categorial knowledge. Holderlin shows in his novel 'Hyperion' how the individual subject can realize this experience. He proposes a comprehensive concept of integrative epistemic acts denoted as 'intellectual intuition' whose most differentiated form is acategorial. The accurate de-scription of an acategorial state in 'Hyperion' will be related to an analytical framework formulated within the theory of complex dynamical systems. This framework provides a solution for an analytical problem that Holderlin's conception of acategoriality raises. Conversely, Holderlin's novel offers paradigmatic phenomenological examples for acategorial mental states that are useful for their detailed analytical understanding.
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