Review of Metaphysics 23 (4):690 - 698 (1970)

IN THE PREFACE to his Philosophy of Right Hegel writes: "Was vernünftig ist, das ist wirklich; und was wirklich ist, das ist vernünftig"--"What is rational is actual, and what is actual is rational." In paragraph 6 of the third edition of his Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences he repeats this statement verbatim, calling it "simple." Few interpreters, however, have ever found it so. Even friendly critics are baffled; hostile ones dismiss it as either scandalous or senseless. Two centuries after Hegel's birth there is thus still room for a modest exposition of the meaning of this famous Hegelian statement, much more so for one of its "simplicity." Both tasks, however--and in particular the second, seemingly hopeless one--should be undertaken in full awareness of two conditions which the Encyclopedia passage considers evident but which can be taken as such no longer. One is possession of "religion." The other is the kind of philosophical "culture" which includes "knowledge" of "God."
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197023464
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