This essay criticizes some strategies of Hegel scholarship, especially the non-metaphysical school and its recent metaphysical successor. My main claim is that these approaches are rhetorically opaque, and thus vulnerable to a certain anticolonial argument. In place of these strategies, I recommend and illustrate a more historically perspicuous approach that is sensitive to concerns about the role of European philosophy in the Americas.
In our Introduction to the special issue on Hegel and Sellars, we explain why there needs to be a more detailed analysis of the similarities and differences between Hegel and Sellars. Sellars is usually regarded as closer to Kant than to Hegel, but this obscures the more Hegelian features of his theoretical and practical philosophy. We briefly describe each article in the special issue.
For two hundred years, people have been trying to make sense of Hegel’s so-called “dialectical method”. Helpfully, Hegel frequently compares this method with the idea of life, or the organic (cf., e.g., PhG 2, 34, 56). This comparison has become very popular in the literature (in, e.g., Pippin, Beiser, and Ng). Typically, scholars who invoke the idea of life also note that the comparison has limits and that no organic analogy can completely explain the nature of the dialectical method. To (...) my knowledge, however, no scholar has attempted to explain exactly where or why the organic analogy falls short. In this paper, I propose to remedy this lack by exploring in depth two different organic models. In brief, I argue that both versions of the organic model require an appeal to something external to the organism, and no such appeal can be made sense of within the dialectical method. (shrink)
The analytical understanding cannot deal with integral wholes and therefore cannot understand the soul or God. The material body is illusory in the sense that it cannot be understood in its true identity without knowing its relationship to God. Analyzing its composition in terms of separated molecules or neurons is also illusory. To understand how to go from an untrue or partially true part to its truth in the whole a method developed by Hegel called conceptual thinking is required. Reproduction (...) is not merely concerned with individuals, it involves the genus or genus process. The universal that determines the species is not changed when particulars under the universal change, die, reproduce according to their “own kind” or species. Without connecting the individual organisms with their species we may wrongly think they can evolve into any species by chance. But this is not how individual and species are related to each other. The species determines how the individuals will appear and controls their reproduction, growth, and so on. They are not independent to become what they want by choice or by chance. Everyone calls themselves “I” so “I” is a universal, although each means only oneself. In the same way each organism is identified with its species, although we mean its own particular organism – for example, a dog and not canine in general. Thus the universal and particular cannot be separated from each other. Similarly individuals who identify only personal reason independent of universal Reason are misconceiving their true identity. At the same time universal and particular are related, they are not the same but a unity in difference. The universal by itself is as abstract as the particular by itself. At the same time their relation can only be comprehended within a higher unity, the higher Self or Supreme Individual. (shrink)
For post-Kantian philosophy, “life” is a transitory concept that relates the realm of nature to the realm of freedom. From this vantage point, the living seems to have the double character of being both already and not yet free: Compared with the external necessity of dead nature, the living already seems to exhibit a basic type of spontaneity and normativity that on the other hand still has to be superseded on the path to the freedom and normativity of spirit. The (...) contributions in the third volume of the series Freedom and Law take their departure from Hegel in order to investigate the extent to which we need figures and concepts of the living to understand the genesis and structure of theoretical and practical self-determination. In these analyses, Hegel’s philosophy reveals itself as a thinking not restricted to a mere opposition between the determinations of life and the freedom of spirit, but rather conceives of a freedom that realizes itself in and through life: a freedom of life. (shrink)
“Indeed, we now know that the proportion of genetic sequences on earth that belongs to visible organisms is negligible. Furthermore, only 15% of the genetic sequences found in the samples from the environment and from feces analyzed in metagenomic studies belong to the three domains of microbes currently recognized in the tree-of-life framework – bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Viruses contain another 15-30% of these genetic sequences.” This means that the majority of unidentified genetic sequences pose an unresolved problem. Where do (...) they come from? New genes suddenly appear, called ORFans (“orphan genes”) without any precursors. They may be produced by gene duplication, or fusion, or some other unknown process. Yet, Darwin’s tree of life concept would make it impossible to consider such processes. The transfer of genetic sequences from parasites to hosts could involve hundreds of genes for bacteria or viruses. But, as Raoult writes, “the current classification of the domains of life is based on the ribosome – the production apparatus of proteins – which does not exist in these viruses.” Adherence to the dogmatism of Darwin thus prevents these new discoveries, that overturn his century-and-a-half old teachings, from ever reaching the new generation of scientists. Raoult concludes, "Genetic research, in particular, must be free to find new models to explain, and enhance, twenty-first-century scientific discovery. Today, Darwin’s theory of evolution is more a hindrance than a help, because it has become a quasi-theological creed that is preventing the benefits of improved research from being fully realized.". (shrink)
It is best to study Hegel as he presents himself in the context of his own writings. In this way we allow Hegel to teach us what the Science of Philosophy is, and how, through such Science, the Absolute Truth reveals or rationally unfolds itself, although this may challenge, in a radical and transformative way, the accepted ideas and methods we may currently have of philosophy and science. By taking the approach of simply following Hegel’s thought in its own development, (...) we discover in the process that we have actually re-invented Philosophy and Science in a such a totally comprehensive and systematic way that we are finally able to integrate Mind and Matter into an Absolute Whole that transcends and encompasses both while yet maintaining a clear differentiation and distinction between them – a genuine unity in diversity that has been the cynosure of philosophical inquiry from time immemorial. (shrink)
The is a reading of Hegel's chapter on teleology in the Science of Logic. It argues that inadequacies in the intentional model of teleology that dominated both pre-Kantian and Kantian thought about teleology force us to recognize a much more Aristotelian conception of natural teleology that must be presupposed to make sense of the teleology of intentions.
This paper argues that there can be, For each individual mental state, Some identifiable neural "embodiment" only if the brain operates in accord with a hegelian teleological model. "embodiments" are neural configurations which do, Or would, Produce all the behaviors connected with the mental state. The argument hinges on how these behaviors are described: if under predicates of neurophysics only, Then only under wildly disjunctive predicates, Which cannot be projected for any candidate configuration; if under "teleological" predicates, Then under predicates (...) projectible for teleological hardware. Hegel's logic provides for a teleology consistent with modern science. (shrink)
This research is a historical-exegetical analysis of Hegel’s reformulation of Kant’s regulative principle of teleology into a constitutive principle. Kant ascribes teleology to the faculty of reflective judgment where it is employed as a guide to regulate inquiry, but does not constitute actual knowledge. Hegel argues that if Kant made teleology into a constitutive principle then it would be a much more comprehensive theory capable of overcoming contingency in natural science, and hence, bridging the gap between natural science and theology. (...) In this paper I argue that Hegel’s defense of the transition from natural science to theology is ultimately unsuccessful because it is built upon on an instinct of reason, which is the instinctive feature of human rationality to transition beyond the contingency remaining in our empirical understanding of nature, to a theological understanding of nature, in which all aspects of nature are necessarily related. (shrink)