Hegel's Truth: A Property of Things?

Hegel Bulletin 43 (2):267-277 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In his Encyclopaedia Logic, Hegel affirms that truth is ‘usually’ understood as the agreement of thought with the object, but that in the ‘deeper, i.e. philosophical sense’, truth is the agreement of a content with itself or of an object with its concept. Hegel then provides illustrations of this second sort of truth: a ‘true friend’, a ‘true state’, a ‘true work of art’. Robert Stern has argued that Hegel's ‘deeper’ or ‘philosophical’ truth is close to what Heidegger labelled ‘material’ truth, namely a property attributed to a thing on the basis of the accordance of that thing with its essence. It has since been common to think of Hegel's concept of ‘philosophical’ truth as ‘ontological’, ‘objective’ or ‘material’ in contrast to ‘epistemological’ or ‘propositional’ definitions. In this paper, I wish to add an important nuance to the existing literature on this subject: even though things have a truth-value for Hegel, the latter is always negative. I argue that Hegel's criterion of ‘philosophical’ truth, which is best formulated as ‘agreement with self’, is first and foremost intended to examine the truth-value of thought-determinations. I then argue that even though this criterion may also be applied to examine the truth-value of things (namely, even though things have a truth-value), things never fall under this definition. After reviewing several of Hegel's explicit remarks on the matter, I provide an alternative explanation to those features of Hegel's ‘philosophical’ truth which have led scholars to view it as a truth in things. Especially, I argue that what are generally seen as Hegel's examples (‘true friend’, ‘true state’, ‘true work of art’) are not intended as examples but only as imperfect illustrations of ‘philosophical’ truth.

Similar books and articles

Truth, Identity, and Correspondence in Hegel’s Critique of Judgment.Ben Levey - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):425-436.
Hegel on Private Property: A Contextual Reading.Samuel Duncan - 2017 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (3):263-284.
Aristotle on the nature of truth.Christopher P. Long - 2010 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hegel und die Wahrheitstheorien der Gegenwart. Ein Streit unter Nachbarn.Tilo Wesche - 2009 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (3):355-375.
The anti-Hegelian aspect of Tischner’s theory of truth.Artur Jochlik - 2019 - Idea. Studia Nad Strukturą I Rozwojem Pojęć Filozoficznych 31:123-147.


Added to PP

303 (#69,281)

6 months
157 (#22,141)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Tal Meir Giladi
University Paris Nanterre

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Basic writings: from Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964).Martin Heidegger - 1977 - New York: Harper Perennial Modern Thought. Edited by David Farrell Krell.
The Opening of Hegel's Logic: From Being to Infinity.Stephen Houlgate - 2006 - West Lafayette, IN, USA: Purdue University Press.
Hegelian metaphysics.Robert Stern - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Hegel and the Metaphysics of Absolute Negativity.Brady Bowman - 2013 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references