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philosophy 151 winter 2004 g j mattey n.
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  1. Philosophy 151 Winter, 2004 G. J. Mattey Hegel

  2. Philosophy • Philosophy is ultimately concerned with God, conceived as infinite and absolute • Its secondary concern is with nature and the human mind, both of which are finite and relative • Philosophy endeavors to relate nature and mind to each other, as well as to God • Generally, philosophy can be defined as “the thinking study of objects”

  3. Getting Started • The non-philosophical sciences begin with accepted accounts of their objects and of the way they are to be investigated • Philosophy must demonstrate not only the characteristics of its objects, but also their very existence • It may not begin with any presuppositions • How, then, is philosophical investigation to begin?

  4. Thinking • There are two modes of thinking • Philosophical thinking (thinking proper), which leads to conceptual knowledge • Active thinking, which appears in the guise of feeling, intuition and conception • There is a prejudice which separates feeling from thinking, especially in the sphere of religion • But feeling is only separated from “meta-thinking,” thinking about thinking

  5. Levels of Thinking • Meta-thinking is what gives rise to reflection, argumentation, and philosophy • But feeling, intuition, and conception are themselves permeated with thought • This lower-level thought gives rise to law, religion, and ethics • Meta-thinking is not required for these • Metaphysical proofs for God’s existence are not required for rational faith

  6. Form and Content • The differences among the kinds of thought are differences in its form • Different thought-forms may share the same content • But the way the content is related to the thought-form can obscure its identity • The content of lower-level thinking is idea or conception (Vorstellung) • The content of meta-thinking is concept (Begriff)

  7. Ideas and Concepts • Ideas are metaphors for concepts • Understanding of an idea does not imply grasping of the corresponding concept • Nor does grasping of the concept reveal what ideas correspond to it • Ordinary consciousness finds it difficult to comprehend philosophy because it has not learned to bring out the conceptual content in its judgments (e.g., being in “This leaf is green”)

  8. Philosophy and Ordinary Consciousness • Philosophy must locate ordinary conceptions in the space of its concepts • It must justify itself if there are any points of conflict • Ordinary consciousness operates within its conceptions but presumes that this kind of thinking can be philosophical • This view is corroborated by claims to “intuitive knowledge” (by Jacobi)

  9. Actuality • In all thinking, the forms of thought must be brought into harmony with actuality • Thus we distinguish in experience between mere appearance and real existence • The concepts produced by philosophical thinking must apply to what is real • The highest and final aim of philosophy is to find its rational concepts in the real

  10. Genuine Actuality • In philosophy, as in religion, God is the only genuine actuality • Existence is in part appearance and in part actuality • The contingent, which ordinary consciousness deems actual, falls short of the concept of actuality • It may just as well not exist as exist

  11. The Actuality of the Rational • The actuality of the rational is opposed by those who claim that concepts are mere figments of the imagination • It is also opposed by those who elevate concepts above actuality • It is said that actuality is not rational because things are not as they ought to be • But the “oughts” of ordinary consciousness do not concern philosophical concepts, but only their “superficial surface”

  12. Empirical Sciences • Ancient Greek philosophy was aloof and abstract from experience • Modern philosophy (after Luther) turned toward experience • Through the external senses • Through internal self-consciousness • Its issue is natural science, which it called natural philosophy

  13. Shortcomings • At first, natural science may give satisfaction in its own field • But it falls short in two respects • It does not embrace the realm of freedom, spirit, and God, because they are infinite in content • It does not yield necessity • The relations among things are external and accidental • It begins with what is given, not what is demonstrated • Meta-thinking remedies these defects

  14. Completion • Speculative philosophy brings the investigations of natural science to completion • It unifies the highest conceptions of natural science under concepts • It injects the concepts into natural science’s picture of the world, thus bringing necessity to what natural science relates only accidentally • Speculative philosophy contains natural science while remodeling and expanding it

  15. Critical Philosophy • Kant admonished us not to begin philosophizing until we have certified the instruments of philosophical cognition • This is paradoxical, because we must use philosophy to examine its credentials • It does no good to follow Reinhold and proceed from hypotheses

  16. Dialectical Thinking • When thought examines itself, it is thrown into contradiction • Its reaction is attempt to overcome the oppositions and solve them • That thought is of its very nature dialectical is one of the main lessons in logic • Yet the reaction has always been to discredit thought and to withdraw to claims such as that of “immediate knowledge”

  17. Mediation • “To mediate is to begin and to go on to a second thing” • The existence of the second thing depends on the starting-point • Knowledge of God begins with experience • But when it is attained, it remains independent by elevating itself above it • Knowledge of God is immediate when it is “mediated” by thought itself

  18. Universality • There is a danger in purely a priori thought • It tends to get lost in abstractions • In ancient philosophy it is formalistic, concerned only with the universality of ideas • The same holds for modern philosophy • The absolute is the all • The subject and object are identical • What moves philosophy along is natural science, which supplies concrete content

  19. History of Philosophy • The development of philosophy has always been guided by a unitary living mind • Each system is only a stage in the development of the single system of philosophy • The principle which guides each system is a branch of a single whole • Philosophy at any one point includes and is the result of the previous systems • Systems are more philosophical when they attain greater universality

  20. Development in Pure Thought • The historical development of philosophical systems is mirrored in the relations of concepts in pure thinking • Freely-developed concepts (Ideas) form a universal system which the absolute • The truth unfolds from within concrete concepts • It is the unity of these concepts, which themselves remain within it as “moments”

  21. System • Only philosophy in the form of a system is scientific • Otherwise, it is contingent, expressing only individual peculiarities of mind • A system is not defined by an isolated principle • Instead, it is a universal principle comprehending all particular principles

  22. A Circle of Circles • Each part of philosophy is a kind of circle, complete within itself • The Idea is found within the specifics in which the principles are formed • Because it is “internally a totality,” the circle “bursts through the limits imposed by its special medium” • In this way, it gives rise to a larger circle • The whole resembles a circle of circles

  23. Philosophical Encyclopaedia • Philosophical encyclopaedia is not a mere aggregation of sciences • It contains a unifying principle of the whole • Yet it can be broken down into several particular sciences • It has no room for the detailed exposition of particulars • Rather, it presents the beginnings and basic concepts of the sciences

  24. The Positive Element in Science • The positive feature in a science is that part which is not connected by principles • Sciences are positive in three ways • They treat contingencies, which are not determined by reason, but by chance • They take the finite to be self-contained • They have heterogeneous grounds of cognition, inference, feeling, faith, authority, based on internal and external intuition

  25. Positive Philosophy • Philosophy based on data from anthropology, psychology, and generally on experience is positive in form • But it may contain rational principles and thus the universal • Experimental physics might represent the rational science of nature • History might represent human affairs as guided by a rational principle

  26. Self-Containment • Philosophy begins with thought as its immediate object • Since philosophy may not begin with a mere assumption, the starting-point must be the final result • “In this manner, philosophy exhibits the appearance of a circle which closes with itself, and has no beginning in the same way of the other sciences”

  27. The Concept of the Concept of Science • The individual philosopher approaches the Idea externally, and this is a kind of beginning • One begins with a concept of science, which as the first implies a separation of subject and object • But the concept of science ultimately unites subject and object • The goal of philosophy is to arrive at the concept of its own concept

  28. The System • The system is fully intelligible only when the Idea has been comprehended within it • A preliminary division is into three parts • Logic: the Idea in and for itself • Philosophy of nature: the Idea in its otherness • Philosophy of mind: the Idea returning to itself away from its otherness • The division does not co-ordinate the parts, but they develop out of one another

  29. The Goal of Philosophy • The ultimate aim of philosophy is reconcile thought and actuality • Actuality is divided into nature and spirit • These are brought into unity insofar as they are both subordinate to the concept • Nature and history are discovered to comprise an intelligent universe • “Philosophy is thus true theodicy”

  30. Historical Development • The development of philosophy is the work of spirit, which comes gradually to self-consciousness • Although spirit seems to have lost its way at times, it has always been proceeding forward, like a mole • The history of philosophy is the history of the essential development of human spirit • Philosophy is always in step with the other activities of human beings

  31. End and Means • The present is the highest stage of philosophy • The single philosophy that develops is “the revelation of God” • Older philosophy is only a necessary link on the way to the end-point • It consists of a series of principles which refute one another when they advance in the same time period

  32. Stages of Ancient Philosophy • Pre-Socratic philosophy started from the present world and sought its Idea • Plato made universal thinking the essence • Aristotle integrated conceptual thinking with the universe as a whole • The Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics turned inward, emphasizing the subjective • The neo-Platonists recognized the Idea as the absolute at the expense of subjectivity

  33. Modern Philosophy • Modern Philosophy unites the Idea and the subject as self-knowing spirit • The Idea recognizes that it has been split into the knowing thing and the thing known • First, spirit recognizes an intellectual world of its own making • Then it endeavors to bring that world back into actuality, by recognizing infinite essence as spirit thinking itself

  34. Stages of Modern Philosophy • Descartes began with consciousness and saw that all contact with actuality proceeds through consciousness • Spinoza saw the opposition between consciousness and objectivity and made them identical, but only externally • Kant and Fichte saw the subject as for itself but had trouble relating it to the other • The end-point is consciousness finding its identity with and difference from the other

  35. Intellectual Intuition • The reconciliation of subject and object is supposed to take place through intellectual intuition • But intellectual intuition is not mere immediate acquaintance with a transcendent object or merely beautiful thoughts • Instead, intellectual intuition yields knowledge, because the apparently external is really internal

  36. Restlessness • What is revealed in intellectual intuition is an endless movement or transition • The Idea is not the presentation of a static reality • Instead, it presents the movement of opposition into unity and unity into opposition • Despite the restless motion of what it contains, the Idea is at rest with itself

  37. World-Spirit and Absolute Spirit • It appears that in the present time, the spirit of the world has cast off everything objective that is different from itself • It has become absolute and not relative to anything else • Self-consciousness has ceased to be limited and has found itself to be unlimited • This is the end of the process of the development of spirit

  38. The Procession of Spirits • Absolute spirit is the knowledge of the Idea • It is opposed to finite spirit • But at the same time it is unified with finite spirit, which exists as “moments” in the absolute • Thus by studying the procession of spirits, we come to understand the spirit of the present time, which is absolute spirit

  39. An Example • The absolutely simple concept is “Being” • Although it comprehends everything, this concept is devoid of all differentiating content • Thus Being passes over to its dialectical opposite, “Nothing” • But Nothing is equally one-sided • The two are united in “Becoming,” in which “Being” and “Nothing” are “moments”

  40. Phenomenology • Phenomenology is the study of forms of consciousness as they appear and develop • The appearance and development of these forms is not a strict historical sequence • Instead, phenomenology reveals the “logical” dependence of the forms upon one another • It begins with the most “immediate” form and ends with a form which comprehends all those that lead up to it

  41. First Stage: Consciousness • The immediate relation of consciousness to an object is “sense-certainty” • Consciousness is simple and its object is merely what is, a “this” • This relation is not adequate for truth because there is no universal in the “this” • In “perception,” the object of consciousness is a “thing with many properties” • But the singularity and universality of the thing cannot be united by perception

  42. The Understanding • The final form of “consciousness” is the understanding • The understanding thinks its objects conceptually • It distinguishes between the object’s appearance and its reality in itself as “force” • In its attempt to look past the appearance, it discovers itself in the “in itself” • Consciousness becomes self-consciousness

  43. Second Stage: Self-Consciousness • Immediate self-consciousness has as its object as “the pure undifferentiated ‘I’” • Its initial form is that of “desire,” which seeks to do away with the “otherness” of the object • To be an “I,” the object must be a duplicate of the consciousness of which it is object • The otherness of other “I” is overcome through “acknowledgement” by the other “I”

  44. Mutual Recognition • In order to be conscious of itself, a consciousness A must be acknowledged as a consciousness by an other B • B can acknowledge A only if B is itself a self-consciousness, which requires that it be acknowledged by A • Thus, self-consciousness requires mutual recognition • Self-consciousness exists only as mediated

  45. Unity in Diversity • Each consciousness is “infinite,” in that it places no bounds upon itself • But self-consciousness is mediated by an other • The problem of self-consciousness is to come outside of itself while not losing itself in the other • Mutual recognition, then, is “the duplication of self-consciousness in its unity”

  46. The First Double-Movement • One consciousness is confronted by another consciousness • In confronting the other, consciousness A recognizes itself in the other, B, and thus loses its independence from B • A also does away with the independence of B by finding itself in B • The two consciousnesses are at this point inter-dependent

  47. The Second Double-Movement • Consciousness A then endeavours to do away with the first result and to re-establish itself as what is essential in the relation • To become certain of itself, it tries to do away with the other, B • But since the other is itself, it is thereby trying to do away with itself

  48. The Third Double-Movement • By doing away with the other, self-consciousness gets itself back • And by withdrawing itself from the other, it frees the other from dependence on it • This same result is reached from the standpoint of the other • Has something been gained, or is consciousness back where it started from?

  49. Inequality • The double-relation of self-consciousness appears first as an unequal relation • Consciousness has a one-sided view of itself as “simple being-for-itself” • Everything besides itself is viewed as inessential • This is merely the “certainty” of self-consciousness, and not the “truth” to be found only in mutual recognition

  50. Life and Death • To prove itself to be the essential, consciousness acknowledges only itself • It tries to bring about the death of the other individual consciousness in order to overcome its “otherness” • It puts its own life at risk because it too is inessential or other to itself • But success brings about the destruction of consciousness itself, so the life-and-death struggle fails to yield the required recognition