My aim in this essay is to lead the reader through the complexity of Hegel’s philosophical understanding of organic nature by highlighting its distinctive theoretical features and by examining these historically, both against the background of the approaches, achievements and trends of the empirical sciences of his time and in light of their scholarly reception.1 First, I focuss on Hegel’s definition of the ‘universal form’ of life, pointing to what the connection is, in his philosophy of nature, between the structure (...) of conceptual and living processes in the path to the individualization of matter. Second, since Hegel calls animal life “the truth of organics,” 2 I shall try to explain how in the philosophy of nature the Idea of life comes to differentiate itself into certain essential characteristics of immediate, finite and individual animals, passing through the stages of geological nature and vegetable organisms. (shrink)
From 1754 to 1756 Kant wrote on such central, related topics as the axial rotation of the Earth, the theory of heat, and the composition of matter, focusing on space, force, and motion. It has been noted that each of these topics pertains to his 1755 Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens, in which he drew on extant cosmogonies and the analogical form of Newtonianism developed by naturalists including Buffon, Haller, and Thomas Wright. How does Kant build on (...) these various sources? This article aims to provide a nuanced account of specific features of the relation between natural history and natural philosophy in Kant’s early developmental theory of the universe and to illuminate the strategy that guides his innovative, selective appropriation of contemporaneous insights. -/- . (shrink)
The purpose of my study is to reconstruct the historical development of Kant's pre- critical approach to mechanical explanation and cosmology. I shall focus on three main works: the 1755 Theorie des Himmels, the 1763 Beweisgrund and the 1766 Träume. I shall challenge some interpretations of the relation between mechanism and finalism, looking for the emergence of a principle of demarcation separating both ontologically and epistemologically organics from inorganics products. I shall try to show why Kant came to be dissatisfied (...) with his early systematic account of the formation and arrangement of the heavenly bodies on purely mechanical principles. Finally I shall argue that the pre-critical period ends, paving the way to a revision of cosmology in the light of an appreciation of the role of chemical affinity for the construction of the world-edifice. (shrink)
To readers of the Science of Logic, “mode” signifies the externality of the absolute, and its proper place within the text is at the level of the determinations of reflection, within the Doctrine of Essence. Let us take a look at the third section of the Doctrine of Essence: “Actuality”. In its broadest meaning, this signifies “reflected absoluteness,” that is to say, the unity of essence and existence; therefore, it is not a purely immediate existence, but “the immediate unity of (...) form between inner and outer.” Through this definition, a new kind of logical process is made possible - that of the actual totality’s self-manifestation. In the opening chapter of this section, headed “The Absolute,” the determination of the absolute is carried through from its initial unity to truly absolute identity by means of the complex play of reflection. Hegel’s treatment of this subject is beyond the scope of this paper; but if, at the initial stage of its dialectical cycle, reflection is external to the absolute - instead of being the proper determination of it - then it can at least be observed that in the third subdivision of the chapter what is under consideration is the negative return of the absolute into itself, and that this return is accomplished in such a way that “mode” is both the externality of the absolute and its reflection into itself: its being into itself and for itself. As one of the recent commentators on the Science of Logic has pointed out: “Le mode est ‘1’apparance comme apparance’: avec lui se profile un type d’extériorité qui ne sera plus en dette à l’egard d’une interiorité … la manifestation de l’absolu n’est pas une sortie de soi, mais plutôt sa constitution dans l’exteriorité des modes, puis des modalités de l’effectivité.”. (shrink)
This essay aims to demonstrate a clear and significant difference, not merely expository revisions or additions, in the logical progression of Being between Hegel's two main versions of the Doctrine of Being. This controversial issue is analyzed by retracing and examining changes that international scholarship still widely neglects. Focusing on Hegel's introduction of the doubled transition of Quality and Quantity in the genesis of Measure, the essay argues that the main point of the revisions is that Hegel views the whole (...) determinateness of Being as self-sublating its own externality, because in one determination of Being passing into another one, the first does not vanish;; instead, both remain within their relational unity. Hegel's new version of the genesis of Measure indicates an essentially qualitative appreciation of the quantitative methods of the empirical sciences. This accords with Hegel's growing acknowledgment in Berlin of the independent cognitive status of the natural sciences in regard to philosophy, and with his reassessment of the relation between intuition, representation and conceptual cognition of the objects of consciousness, to do justice to their real differences and their being for themselves within their own existence. (shrink)
A new interpretation of Hegel's reading of Sophocles's Antigone, focussing on Antigone's urge to action grounded in her religious feeling, on her facing the risk of death and the consequences of this move for her sense of self-awareness, becoming also conscious of her onesidedness in respect to Creon's (equally onesided) reasons.
In an attempt to reconcile first-hand historical research on scientific material and philosophical concerns, this paper aims to show how Hegel took active part in the scientific debate of the time, by publicly siding with some strands of contemporaneous natural science against others, as well as how Hegel supports a considered scientific position, by providing it with philosophical justification and foundation, taking issue at the same time with formulations of British Empiricism and German Idealism.
Any historical and critical appreciation of Hegel's basic thesis of the identity of metaphysics with logic cannot fail to compare it with his charging Kant and Fichte with attaching a merely subjective meaning to logical determinations, as well as Schelling with spinozism and extrinsicalness in conceiving the absolute indifference of subject with object. This paper aims to give an account of Hegel's notion of nature as it arises from the fulfillment of the logical idea (as the Anderssein of the idea (...) in which it is in the form of the alienation (Entaeusserung)) by focussing attention on the logical pathway of the notion of externality (Aeusserlichkeit) in the Doctrine of Being. I argue for an alternative to the received view on the outcome of the Logic of Being, by pointing out two different meanings, overlooked so far, attached to the category of measure vs. the notion of Mode and to Spinoza's substance in 1812 and 1832. (shrink)
As guest editor of this special issue of Esercizi Filosofici, the author introduces Kenneth R. Westphal’s and Paolo Parrini’s position papers on pragmatism, idealism and realism by elucidating the background and rationale of the workshop she organized on 29 April, 2015 at the Department of Humanities of the University of Trieste, within the framework of her undergraduate course in «History of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy». The Appendix lists questions posed by students and by the audience, to which the invited speakers (...) replied in discussion following the presentations; their respective replies follow their main papers. -/- published (open access) in: Esercizi Filosofici, vol.10, n.1(2015), pp.1-15 . (shrink)
For the first time, documental evidence is provided in German to support the claim that during his Bern period Hegel continued to cultivate his interests and training in mathematics, physics and the natural sciences, thus filling an important lacuna in the development of Hegel's thought, also for the multifarious fund representative of both French Cartesian school and Newtonian handbooks present in Tschugg's library. So far, indeed, the Geometrische Studien and the 1801 De orbitis had been viewed as a sudden return (...) to previous concern, after the Bern's gap. Moreover, according to the received view, the sources of Hegel's Dissertation dated back to the Frankfurt period. (shrink)
This paper recounts a dramatic paradigm shift in the debate on the value and significance of Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, from the harsh criticism it faced over the past two centuries to its reappraisal, in the last three decades, through both the vindication of Hegel’s competence in the empirical sciences and the appreciation of his assessment of organic life and habitat, at the intersection with anthropology. The paper concludes with the most recent trends in scholarship, which focus on the problem (...) of the naturality of man in respect to culture and to democratic societies and on the systematic transition from Hegel’s philosophy of nature to the philosophy of spirit. (shrink)