The Necessity of Contingency and the Powerlessness of Nature

Idealistic Studies 40 (3):243-255 (2010)
Abstract
In this paper I argue that there are two distinct senses of contingency operative within Hegel’s philosophy, and that the failure to sufficiently distinguish between them can lead to a misrepresentation of Hegel’s idealism. The first sense of contingency is the categorical one explicated in the Science of Logic, in which contingency carries the meaning of dependence and conditionality, while the second sense of contingency, predominantly found within the Philosophy of Nature, means irrationality and chance. Not only does Hegel acknowledge a systematic place for the necessity of contingency within his ontological logic, but he also admits the existence of real chance and multiplicity in nature. However, I claim that these two acknowledgements should not be collapsed since they involve different senses of contingency
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