Reason in the World: Hegel's Metaphysics and its Philosophical Appeal

, US: Oxford University Press USA (2015)
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This book defends a new interpretation of Hegel's theoretical philosophy, according to which Hegel's project in his central Science of Logic has a single organizing focus, provided by taking metaphysics as fundamental to philosophy, rather than any epistemological problem about knowledge or intentionality. Hegel pursues more specifically the metaphysics of reason, concerned with grounds, reasons, or conditions in terms of which things can be explained-and ultimately with the possibility of complete reasons. There is no threat to such metaphysics in epistemological or skeptical worries. The real threat is Kant's Transcendental Dialectic case that metaphysics comes into conflict with itself. But Hegel, despite familiar worries, has a powerful case that Kant's own insights in the Dialectic can be turned to the purpose of constructive metaphysics. And we can understand in these terms the unified focus of the arguments at the conclusion of Hegel's Science of Logic. Hegel defends, first, his general claim that the reasons which explain things are always found in immanent concepts, universals or kinds. And he will argue from here to conclusions which are distinctive in being metaphysically ambitious yet surprisingly distant from any form of metaphysical foundationalism, whether scientistic, theological, or otherwise. Hegel's project, then, turns out neither Kantian nor Spinozist, but more distinctively his own. Finally, we can still learn a great deal from Hegel about ongoing philosophical debates concerning everything from metaphysics, to the philosophy of science, and all the way to the nature of philosophy itself.



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This chapter discusses the organizing focus of Hegel’s Science of Logic. It is argued that Hegel holds a metaphilosophical commitment to the fundamentality of the metaphysics of reason, rather than any broadly epistemological problem concerning either knowledge or intentionality. This comm... see more

The Dialectic of Mechanism

Hegel claims that the reasons which explain things are always found in immanent concepts, universals, or kinds. The most important threat to this “concept thesis,” for Hegel, is this: early modern physics’ success at discovering mechanisms can seem to threaten the idea that things do what ... see more

Against Empiricist Metaphysics and for the Concept Thesis and the Metaphysics of Reason

Hegel’s concept thesis holds that the reasons which explain things are always found in immanent concepts, universals, or kinds. One threat to this claim, perhaps most important from a contemporary perspective, is the empiricist view that there is no such thing as reason in the world—there ... see more

Kant’s Challenge and Hegel’s Defense of Natural Teleology

Hegel argues for a basic difference between lawful reason and teleological reason in the world. He finds the central challenge for his view to be Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment argument, and, in particular, Kant’s skeptical conclusion: not even in the obvious-seeming case of life... see more

Kant’s Dialectic Argument and the Restriction of Knowledge

Kant’s Transcendental Dialectic provides a strong case for the restriction of our knowledge to the bounds of sensibility, and the consequent impossibility of metaphysics for us. This critique of metaphysics does not rest on epistemological assumptions. It turns on arguments for the inescap... see more

The Opening for Hegel’s Response to Kant’s Dialectic

Hegel promises to argue for his metaphysics on the basis of internal engagement with Kant’s critique of metaphysics. This chapter argues that it is specifically Kant’s Dialectic critique that Hegel takes so seriously. Hegel provides strong reasons for more directly dismissing critiques of ... see more

Against the Metaphysics of the Understanding and the Final Subject or Substratum

This chapter defends Hegel’s argument against what he calls “the metaphysics of the understanding,” including many forms of early modern philosophies of substance. Hegel argues that metaphysics has pervasively assumed that reality must correspond to the form of subject-predicate judgment, ... see more

Insubstantial Holism and the Real Contradiction of the Lawful

Hegel argues for an account of the laws of nature on which lawful reality is relational; natural kinds that interact in a law-governed manner have inner or intrinsic natures, but these are such as can only be comprehended in terms of their relations to others. This is a kind of metaphysica... see more

Method and Conclusion of the Logic

This chapter argues that the conclusion of Hegel’s Logic completes his metaphysics of reason or explanation and resolves an epistemological problem it raises. In short, if the process of thinking through the contradictions discussed in the Logic can lead to a successful account of the real... see more

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James Kreines
Claremont McKenna College

References found in this work

The Freedom of Life: Hegelian Perspectives.Thomas Khurana (ed.) - 2013 - Berlin, Germany: August Verlag.

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