‘Self-Consciousness, Anti-Cartesianism and Cognitive Semantics in Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology’

In S. Houlgate & M. Baur (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Hegel. Blackwell (2011)

Kenneth R. Westphal
Bogazici University
If Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology is to justify our capacity to know the world as it is, by examining a complete series of forms of consciousness, why and with what justification does he omit the Cartesian ego-centric predicament? By augmenting Franco Chiereghin’s explication of Hegel’s concept of thought, and of why Hegel provides it only at the start of the second half of ‘Self-Consciousness’, this paper shows how Hegel showed that Pyrrhonian, Cartesian and Humean scepticism, and also mental content internalism, all depend upon the deductivist model of rational justification (scientia), and that this model is suited only to strictly formal domains, not to the non-formal substantive domain of empirical knowledge. Hegel thus refutes the epistemological presuppositions of the ego-centric predicament; hence he may omit it from the forms of consciousness examined in the Phenomenology.
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