Does Kant’s Opus Postumum Anticipate Hegel’s Absolute Idealism?

Kenneth R. Westphal
Bogazici University
The three presumptions that Hegel’s idealism further develops or radicalises Kant’s transcendental idealism, that their respective versions of idealism are linked by Kant’s account of self-positing (Selbstsetzungslehre) in the late opus postumum and that the basic model of Hegel’s early idealism holds also for his mature system are wide-spread and largely unexamined. This paper examines several problems confronting these presumptions, including Hegel’s refutation of the basic premises of Kant’s transcendental idealism and Transzendentalphilosophie in the late opus postumum (§2), Hegel’s critical rejection of intellectual intuition because it cannot escape Pyrrhonian scepticism (§3), and his critical rejection of the deductivist ideal of scientia, which undergirds Kant’s transcendental idealism and his late Transzendentalphilosophie (§4), the highly un-Kantian principles of Hegel’s mature idealism (§5) and finally Hegel’s thorough and incisive critique in the 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit of common philosophical views, concepts and presuppositions, including those which undergird the three presumptions noted above (§6). To understand properly Hegel’s philosophy of nature and hence also his philosophical system requires abandoning those three presumptions.
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