Knowledge, freedom and willing: Hegel on subjective spirit

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):26 – 52 (2009)
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This paper argues that Hegel's depiction of knowledge, as presented in the Encyclopaedia philosophy of subjective Spirit, is founded on what he deems to be the practical interests of self-consciousness. More specifically, it highlights the significance of the will in Hegel's understanding of the cognitive process. I begin with a survey of the relation between category-formation and the notion of self-determining freedom in the Logic , and therewith draw attention to the unity of thinking and willing in the Concept. I then indicate how Hegel's philosophy of subjective Spirit should be read as the applied logic of the Concept, according to which the socially constituted self-conscious I seeks to realise its claims to freedom through its theoretical cognitions of objects. As part of what could be called Hegel's integrative theory of the faculties, I finally argue that the will underscores both the determinate character of our theoretical cognitions and the reflexivity of knowledge in general. On this score, I maintain that Hegel, whose relation to Kant and Fichte I also consider, is of the view that it is with reference to willing that we can account for the self-referential nature of reason in toto as the actualised unity of theoretical-practical subjectivity.



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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Phenomenology of Spirit.Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - 1977 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Arnold V. Miller & J. N. Findlay.
Critique of judgment.Immanuel Kant - 1790 - New York: Barnes & Noble. Edited by J. H. Bernard.
Elements of the philosophy of right.Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - 1991 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Allen W. Wood & Hugh Barr Nisbet.
Critique of Judgment.Immanuel Kant & Werner S. Pluhar - 1790 - Indianapolis, Indiana: Barnes & Noble. Edited by J. H. Bernard. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar.

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