Idealistic Studies 31 (2/3):125-134 (2001)

Simon Lumsden
University of New South Wales
At every point of transition in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit each shape of consciousness becomes a seemingly irreconcilable contradiction. It is just at these points, however, that the shape of consciousness in question shows itself as a 'higher' or more adequate shape of consciousness that is able to suspend or move beyond [aufheben] these seemingly irreconcilable differences. The transitions in Hegel's systematic works are complicated and often bewildering. One element is constant in all of them, however: a type of one-sided abstraction which Hegel calls Verstand. It expresses itself as the unyielding manner in which the shapes of consciousness or categories of thought adhere to the certainty of their truth claims. This certainty inevitably expresses itself in antinomies; antinomies that the logic of Verstand itself is unable to reconcile; only reason can achieve this. Verstand cannot be conflated with the dialectical movement as a whole; nevertheless, Verstand has a central and important role to play in the dialectical logic of both the PhG and the Science of Logic. It is a limited way of thinking which abstracts and isolates, but it is powerful, initiating and sustaining the dialectical mechanic of conceptual development in Hegel's systematic works.
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies2001312/39
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