Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 63 (2):283-318 (2001)

In his early Jena System Drafts, Hegel elaborates a conception of time which is no longer thematized in later works such as the Encychpaedia. Hegel's early philosophy of nature bears not only on time insofar as it constitutes — together with space — the basic framework of the sciences, but also on the interiorization of time which occurs in the animal. This interiorization marks a decisive moment in the transition from nature to human consciousness, for it is here, in Hegel's view, that time begins to enact itself as pure form of intuition. In this article I reconstruct Hegel's conception of this transition by sketching out the movement in which the pure concept unfolds itself in the element of exteriority and, within the limits imposed by that element, increasingly overcomes its self-externalization. According to Hegel's Jena texts, the concept initially determines itself as ether, space and time, reaches its turning point in the interiorization of time that occurs in the animal, and culminates in the distinction between the pure I and time which allows human consciousness to increasingly overcome its dependence on impressions caused by outward objects. I argue that this construction of the genesis of human consciousness sheds new light on Hegel's understanding of the relation between the pure concept and time, and hence on his philosophy as such
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