Skepticism and Negativity in Hegel’s Philosophy

Southwest Philosophy Review 39 (2):113-133 (2023)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue that the topic of skepticism is central to Hegel’s philosophical work. However, I contend that in returning to the subject of skepticism throughout his career, Hegel does not treat skepticism simply as an epistemological challenge to be overcome on the way to truth, as some commentators suggest, but as part of the very truth which it is philosophy’s task to explain. I make this case by considering three texts through which Hegel develops the connection between skepticism and the ‘negative’ or ‘dialectical’ dimension of reality: “Relationship of Skepticism to Philosophy” (1802), the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), and the Encyclopedia Logic (1817). In this, I also demonstrate how the topic of skepticism informs the development of Hegel’s speculative metaphysics throughout his career and, thus, present a problematic that sheds light on the important continuity between these different phases of Hegel’s project.

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Miles Hentrup
Florida Gulf Coast University

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1781 - Mineola, New York: Macmillan Company. Edited by J. M. D. Meiklejohn.
The history of scepticism: from Savonarola to Bayle.Richard H. Popkin - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Richard H. Popkin.
The Opening of Hegel's Logic: From Being to Infinity.Stephen Houlgate - 2006 - West Lafayette, IN, USA: Purdue University Press.

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