The paradox of beginning: Hegel, Kierkegaard and philosophical inquiry

This paper reconsiders certain of Kierkegaard's criticisms of Hegel's theoretical philosophy in the light of recent interpretations of the latter. The paper seeks to show how these criticisms, far from being merely parochial or rhetorical, turn on central issues concerning the nature of thought and what it is to think. I begin by introducing Hegel's conception of "pure thought" as this is distinguished by his commitment to certain general requirements on a properly philosophical form of inquiry. I then outline Hegel's strategy for resolving a crucial problem he takes himself to face. For his account of the nature of thought depends upon the idea of a form of inquiry in which nothing whatsoever is presupposed; but this idea appears basically paradoxical inasmuch as the mere act of beginning to inquire in a certain way embodies an assumption about how it is appropriate to begin. Turning to Kierkegaard, I consider a key objection to the effect that Hegel's strategy for resolving this paradox depends on the incoherent idea of a purely reflexive act of thinking. Finally, I draw out some central features of the alternative account of "situated" thought and inquiry which Kierkegaard presents as distinctively Socratic
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201740601154642
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
References found in this work BETA
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Plato: Complete Works.John M. Cooper & D. S. Hutchinson (eds.) - 1997 - Hackett Publishing Co..
Phenomenology of Spirit.G. W. F. Hegel - 1979 - Oxford University Press.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Kierkegaard and the Search for Self‐Knowledge.Daniel Watts - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (4):525-549.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Contemporary Significance of Confucianism.Tang Yijie & Yan Xin - 2008 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (4):477-501.
How Bad Is Rape?H. E. Baber - 1987 - Hypatia 2 (2):125-138.
The Hiddenness Argument Revisited.J. L. Schellenberg - 2005 - Religious Studies 41 (3):287-303.
Shifting Frames: From Divided to Distributed Psychologies of Scientific Agents.Peter J. Taylor - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:304-310.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

98 ( #52,668 of 2,178,142 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #73,247 of 2,178,142 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums