Hegel's Idealism

In Frederick C. Beiser (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge University Press 137--74 (2008)
The nature of Hegel’s idealism has been much disputed, and this chapter offers an account of it that is distinctive. Against recent commentators such as Robert Pippin, it is argued that Hegel was not a Kantian or transcendental idealist; it is also argued that Hegel was not a mentalistic idealist, offering a kind of ‘spirit monism’ that reduced the world to mind. It is argued instead that Hegel understood idealism to be the view that ‘the finite has no veritable being’, where this leads to a position according to which thought cannot grasp what truly exists through experience but only through a kind of rationalist theorizing, and that this in turn requires us to accept a form of realism about concepts. It is therefore argued that this conceptual realism makes up the core of Hegel’s idealism, understood as the anti-nominalist doctrine that reality is structured by concepts that render it accessible to thought.
Keywords G W F Hegel  Immanuel Kant  Idealism  Realism  Transcendental idealism  Hegel's idealism  conceptual realism  nominalism  Robert B Pippin
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