The Parmenides and De Anima in Hegel's Perspective

Hegel Bulletin 27 (1-2):51-68 (2006)
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In the chapter on ‘Plato and Aristotle’ of theLectures on the History of PhilosophyHegel praises Aristotle's work for displaying a principle of ‘pure subjectivity’ in a manner that he considers to be largely absent from the Platoniccorpus:In general, Platonic thinking [das Platonische] represents objectivity, but it lacks a principle of life, a principle of subjectivity; and this principle […], not in the sense of a contingent, merely particular subjectivity, but in the sense of pure subjectivity, is proper to Aristotle. Elsewhere, Hegel refers to Aristotelian conceptions of organic life and of thinking as to the earliest speculative insights of Western philosophy. In § 378 of theEncyclopaedia he calls theDe Anima‘the best or even only work of speculative interest ever written on the philosophy of spirit’. In yet other places, however, Hegel attributes at least ‘intuitive’ forms of speculation to Plato as well.In a preliminary way, a 'speculative relation’ in Hegel's acceptation is instantiated by a subject's theoretical and practical relation to itself — that is, theoretical self-knowing and practical self-will. ‘Speculative’ is any concept which grasps as a unity what other kinds of cognition keep asunder: for example, the subjective and objective dimensions of a phenomenon or state of affairs. But even independently of a detailed analysis of what ‘the speculative’ entails, one is struck by the apparent inconsistency of these claims regarding Plato or Aristotle with Hegel's overall view of the logical necessity of philosophy's historical development. This view is synthetically expressed in the 1820 Introduction to these sameLectures.



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Allegra De Laurentiis
State University of New York, Stony Brook

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References found in this work

Plato: Complete Works.J. Cooper & D. S. Hutchinson - 1998 - Phronesis 43 (2):197-206.
Plato and Parmenides.Francis MacDonald Cornford - 1939 - Mind 48 (192):536-543.
Plato: The Man and His Work.Glenn R. Morrow & A. E. Taylor - 1927 - Philosophical Review 36 (5):488.
Aristotle De Anima.Wm A. Hammond & R. D. Hicks - 1909 - Philosophical Review 18 (2):234.
Aristotle's Definition of Soul and the Programme of the De Anima.Stephen Menn - 2002 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 22:83-139.

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