McDowell, for example) and in “continental” philosophy (in the many challenges to the position of Hegel, for example), where both lines can be traced back to concerns raised by Kant’s distinction between intuitions and concepts, and how each plays a role in judgment. Allard does great service in showing how Bradley can be tted into this continuing debate, by showing how it is the issue that animates The Principles of Logic; and now that Bradley’s relevance has been established in (...) this way, what remains is to provide some sort of critical assessment of how valuable Bradley’s particular contribution might turn out to be. (shrink)
In an influential recent article, Karl Ameriks posed the question: ‘But can an interesting form of Hegelian idealism be found that is true to the text, that is not clearly extravagant, and that is not subject to the [charge] of triviality…?’,1 and concluded by answering the question in the negative: ‘In sum, we have yet to find a simultaneously accurate, substantive, and appealing sense in which Hegel should be regarded as an idealist’.2 Other commentators on this topic have tended (...) to be more positive; but then the fact that these commentators have differed sharply between themselves may suggest that another concern is over the coherence of Hegel’s position, and whether a consistent account is possible of it at all. In this paper, I will consider the charges of inaccuracy, triviality and extravagance that Ameriks and others have raised. Of these charges, the first two are obviously damaging; but it might reasonably be felt that that last is less clearly so (why shouldn’t a philosophical theory be extravagant?), and also that it is open to different readings (for example, does it mean ‘not consistent with “common sense”’, or ‘not consistent with the findings of the sciences’ – but what do these include?). The context of Ameriks’ concern here is how far Hegel’s position can be made consistent with Kantian objections against the pretensions of metaphysics, either by respecting those objections, or at least by satisfactorily addressing them. The interpretative issue here is thus one of charity: Hegel’s position will seem reactionary and ill-informed if it appears to be conceived in ignorance of the work of his great predecessor. One prominent recent interpreter has put the worry as follows. (shrink)
This article considers possible future directions of philosophy, based around the experience of the author as editor of the European Journal of Philosophy for about a decade. After some discussion of the original impetus for the journal, and of how the philosophy scene has changed since it was founded in 1993, the article focuses particularly on the themes of transcendentalism and naturalism as likely to shape the philosophical debates of the future, as they have done in the past.
Abstract In this paper, I respond to three commentators on my book Understanding Moral Obligation: Kant, Hegel Kierkegaard. Anne Margaret Baxley focuses on my treatment of Kant, Dean Moyar on my treatment of Hegel, and William Bristow on my treatment of Kierkegaard. In this reply, I try to show how the critical points that they raise can be addressed.
This paper considers whether Hegel's master/slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit should be considered as a refutation of solipsism. It focuses on a recent and detailed attempt to argue for this sort of reading that has been proposed by Frederick Beiser ? but it argues that this reading is unconvincing, both in the historical motivations given for it in the work of Jacobi and Fichte, and as an interpretation of the text itself. An alternative reading of the dialectic is (...) proposed, where it is argued that the central problem Hegel is concerned with is not solipsism, but the sociality of freedom. (shrink)
In many histories of modern ethics, Kant is supposed to have ushered in an anti-realist or constructivist turn by holding that unless we ourselves 'author' or lay down moral norms and values for ourselves, our autonomy as agents will be threatened. In this book, Robert Stern challenges the cogency of this 'argument from autonomy', and claims that Kant never subscribed to it. Rather, it is not value realism but the apparent obligatoriness of morality that really poses a challenge to our (...) autonomy: how can this be accounted for without taking away our freedom? The debate the book focuses on therefore concerns whether this obligatoriness should be located in ourselves (Kant), in others (Hegel) or in God (Kierkegaard). Stern traces the historical dialectic that drove the development of these respective theories, and clearly and sympathetically considers their merits and disadvantages; he concludes by arguing that the choice between them remains open. (shrink)
One argument put forward by Christine Korsgaard in favour of her constructivist appeal to the nature of agency, is that it does better than moral realism in answering moral scepticism. However, realists have replied by pressing on her the worry raised by H. A. Prichard, that any attempt to answer the moral sceptic only succeeds in basing moral actions in non-moral ends, and so is self-defeating. I spell out these issues in more detail, and suggest that both sides can learn (...) something by seeing how the sceptical problematic arises in Kant. Doing so, I argue, shows how Korsgaard might raise the issue of scepticism against the realist whilst avoiding the Prichardian response.1. (shrink)
Within much contemporary epistemology, Kant’s response to skepticism has come to be epitomized by an appeal to transcendental arguments. This form of argument is said to provide a distinctively Kantian way of dealing with the skeptic, by showing that what the skeptic questions is in fact a condition for her being able to raise that question in the first place, if she is to have language, thoughts, or experiences at all. In this way, it is hoped, the game played by (...) the skeptic can be turned against herself.1 At the same time, however, this appeal to transcendental arguments is also widely felt to show what is wrong with Kant’s response to skepticism: for, it is suggested, such arguments can only be made to work against the background of his transcendental idealism. As we shall see, what this doctrine amounts to is much disputed; but as with any form of idealism, the worry is that it means compromising the very realism and objectivity we want to defend against skepticism in the first place, so that the price for adopting this Kantian strategy appears too high—the cure of using transcendental arguments in conjunction with transcendental idealism is almost as bad as the disease.2 Faced with this difficulty, two kinds of response have been canvassed. On the first, it is accepted that transcendental arguments do require a commitment to the wider philosophical framework of transcendental idealism, but it is claimed that this framework can and should be defended against the suggestion that it is itself ‘‘quasi-skeptical.’’ On the second, transcendental idealism is indeed abandoned as wrongheaded, but it is held that Kant’s transcendental arguments can be made to.. (shrink)
[INTRODUCTION] Like the terms 'dialectic', 'Aufhebung' (or 'sublation'), and 'Geist', the term 'concrete universal' has a distinctively Hegelian ring to it. But unlike these others, it is particularly associated with the British strand in Hegel's reception history, as having been brought to prominence by some of the central British Idealists. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that, as their star has waned, so too has any use of the term, while an appreciation of the problematic that lay behind it has seemingly (...) vanished: if the British Idealists get any sort of mention in a contemporary metaphysics book (which is rarely), it will be Bradley's view of relations or truth that is discussed, not their theory of universals, so that the term has a rather antique air, buried in the dusty volumes of Mind from the turn of the nineteenth century. This is not surprising: the episode known as British Idealism can appear to be a period that is lost to us, in its language, points of historical reference (Lotze, Sigwart, Jevons), and central preoccupations (the Absolute). Even while interest in Hegel continues to grow, interest in his Logic has grown more slowly than in the rest of his work, with Book III of the Logic remaining as the daunting peak of that challenging text - while it is here that the British Idealists focussed their attention and claimed to have uncovered that 'exotic' but 'vanished specimen', the concrete universal. Finally, as the trend of reading Hegel pushes ever further in a non-metaphysical direction, it might be thought that the future of the concrete universal is hardly likely to be brighter than its recent past - for it may seem hard to imagine how a conception championed by the British Idealists, who were apparently shameless in their metaphysical commitments, can find favour in these more austere and responsible times. In this paper, however, I want to make a case for holding that there is something enlightening to be found in how some of the British Idealists approached the 'concrete universal', both interpretatively and philosophically. At the interpretative level, I will argue that while not everything these Idealists are taken to mean by the term is properly to be found in Hegel, their work nonetheless relates to a crucial and genuine strand in Hegel's position, so that their discussion of this issue is an important moment in the reception history of his thought. At a philosophical level, I think that the question that concerned Hegel and these British Idealists retains much of its interest, as does their shared approach to it: namely, how far does our thought involve a mere abstraction from reality, and what are the metaphysical and epistemological implications if it turns out it does not? As such, I will suggest, taking seriously what these British Idealists have to say about the concrete universal can help us both in our understanding of Hegel, and in our appreciation of the contribution Hegel's position can make to our thinking on the issues that surround this topic. (shrink)
This paper focuses on one of C. S. Peirce's criticisms of G. W. F. Hegel: namely, that Hegel neglected to give sufficient weight to what Peirce calls "Secondness", in a way that put his philosophical system out of touch with reality. The nature of this criticism is explored, together with its relevant philosophical background. It is argued that while the issues Peirce raises go deep, in some respects Hegel's position is closer to his own than he may have realised, whilst (...) in others that criticism can be resisted by the Hegelian. (shrink)
A modest transcendental argument is one that sets out merely to establish how things need to appear to us or how we need to believe them to be, rather than how things are. Stroud's claim to have established that all transcendental arguments must be modest in this way is criticised and rejected. However, a different case for why we should abandon ambitious transcendental arguments is presented: namely, that when it comes to establishing claims about how things are, there is no (...) reason to prefer transcendental arguments to arguments that rely on the evidence of the senses, making the former redundant in a way that modest transcendental arguments, which have a different kind of sceptical target, are not. (shrink)
: This paper offers a distinctive interpretation of Hegel's Doppelsatz from the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: 'What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational'. This has usually been interpreted either conservatively (as claiming that everything that is, is right or good) or progressively (that if the world were actual, it would be right or good, but that there is a distinction that can be drawn between existence and actuality). My aim in this paper is to (...) argue against both interpretations, so that the position I offer is neutral between the two. My claim is that when Hegel identifies what is actual with what is rational in the Doppelsatz, his intention is not to offer a normative assessment of what is actual; rather, it is to suggest that genuine philosophy must be committed to reason in its methods of inquiry, if it is to properly undertake an investigation into the "spiritual universe" as well as the "natural" one. The Doppelsatz is thus a defence of philosophical rationalism, rather than a normative claim about "was ist wirklich". (shrink)
This paper sets out to demonstrate that a contrast can be drawn between coherentism as an account of the structure of justification, and coherentism as a method of inquiry. Whereas the former position aims to offer an answer to the ‘regress of justification’ problem, the latter position claims that coherence plays a vital and indispensable role as a criterion of truth, given the fallibility of cognitive methods such as perception and memory. It is argued that ‘early’ coherentists like Bradley and (...) Blanshard were coherentists of the latter kind, and that this sort of coherentism is not open to certain sorts of standard objection that can be raised against justificatory coherentism. (shrink)
The aim of this article is twofold. First, it is argued that while the principle of ‘ought implies can’ is certainly plausible in some form, it is tempting to misconstrue it, and that this has happened in the way it has been taken up in some of the current literature. Second, Kant's understanding of the principle is considered. Here it is argued that these problematic conceptions put the principle to work in a way that Kant does not, so that there (...) is an important divergence here which can easily be overlooked. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Spirit is Hegel's most important and famous work. It is essential to understanding Hegel's philosophical system and why he remains a major figure in western philosophy. Stern offers a clear and accessible introduction to what is undoubtedly one of the most complex books in the history of philosophy.
Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
The Kant-Hegel relation has a continuing fascination for commentators on Hegel, and understandably so: for, taking this route into the Hegelian jungle can promise many advantages. First, it can set Hegel’s thought against a background with which we are fairly familiar, and in a way that makes its relevance clearly apparent; second, it can help us locate Hegel in the broader philosophical tradition, making us see that the traditional ‘analytic’ jump from Kant to Frege leaves out a crucial period in (...) post-Kantian thought; third, it can show Hegel in a progressive light, as attempting to take that tradition further forward; fourth, it can help us locate familiar philosophical issues in Hegelian thought that otherwise can appear wholly sui generis; and finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, focusing on this relation can help raise and crystalise some of the fascinating ambiguities concerning Hegel’s outlook, regarding whether Hegel’s response to Kant shows him to have been a reactionary, Romantic, pre-critical thinker, who sought to turn the philosophical clock back to a time before Kant had written, or a modernist, Enlightened and essentially critical one, who remained true to the spirit if not the letter of Kant’s philosophy. (shrink)
In this volume of fourteen new essays, a distinguished team of philosophers offer a broad and stimulating examination of the nature, role, and value of transcendental arguments. Transcendental arguments aim to show that what is doubted or denied by the sceptic must be the case, as a condition for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. The essays consider how successful such arguments are as a response to sceptical problems.
The aim of this paper is to criticize Thomas Baldwin's claim, that in developing an identity theory of truth, F H Bradley was following Hegel. It is argued that Baldwin has incorrectly understood certain passages from Hegel which he cites in defense of this view, and that Hegel's conception of truth was primarily material, not propositional.
"Interpreting Hegel means taking a stand on all the philosophical, political and religious problems of our century." Merleau-Ponty G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), arguably the greatest philosopher of the nineteenth century, decisively influenced the direction of all subsequent European thought. He has been interpreted variously as a theist and an atheist, a conservative and a liberal, an essentialist and a proto-existentialist, a rationalist and an irrationalist. In all the areas he covered, Hegel sought a new form of understanding that had (...) eluded his predecessors but which he believed was necessary for mankind to once again find itself "at home in the world." This collection of works on Hegel reflects the many-sided nature of Hegel's reception from 1831 onwards, and offers critical studies on the full range of his work. The four volumes incorporate the classic readings of Hegel, from both the continental and analytic traditions, and also include the central twentieth-century readings influenced by developments in European thought which reappraise his work. These volumes offer a unique perspective on Hegel by revealing how our understanding of him is influenced by historical readings of his work. Each volume provides a clear and helpful introduction which sets the articles in their historic context and highlights the central philosophical issues they raise. (shrink)