The Owl of Minerva 40 (1):77-114 (2008)

Chong-Fuk Lau
Chinese University of Hong Kong
This paper analyzes and compares the doctrines of categories of Aristotle, Kant and Hegel, each of which is first discussed separately. The paper explains the essential double perspective of the problem, showing how a logico-linguistic analysis of the form of rational discourse serves for them as an important clue to ontological problems. Although Aristotle and Kant’s doctrines differ significantly, they both endorse a kind of isomorphism between language/thought and reality. By contrast, Hegel, who takes a critical attitude toward the capability of human language and discursive thinking, rejects the possibility of deriving the structure of reality from the forms of predication or judgment. Nevertheless, the forms of judgment do play an equally crucial role in Hegel’s doctrine, though in a very different way from his predecessors. It is the structural “deficiency” of the judgmental form that turns out to be the driving force for the dialectical movement of the Concept. By shifting the primary concern from the categories themselves to the transitions between them, Hegel opens up the possibility of a dynamic system of categories
Keywords Major Philosophers
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Reprint years 2009
ISBN(s) 0030-7580
DOI 10.5840/owl2008/200940113
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