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13211Comment on Paragaph 440 PhdG

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  • greuterb
    Sep 14, 2012
      > Dear Group,
      > A comment on Paragraph # 440
      > It has been my contention that the science of empiricism is an
      > integral part of Hegel’s Phenomenology and without it we may have
      > simply a series of empty ideas about what we can know about the world.
      > Paragraph # 440 seems to confirm this about the role of empiricism and
      > experience. I offer the following and welcome any comments from the
      > Group. Within the paragraph is the thesis that the elements of
      > empiricism are confirmed as parts of the movement of his speculative
      > thought. Please let me know if you disagree.
      > “Spirit is thus Consciousness in general, which contains
      > sense-certainty, perception and understanding, , so far as in
      > analyzing its own self it holds fast by the moment of being a reality
      > objective to itself, and by abstraction eliminates the fact that this
      > reality is its own self objectified, its own self-existence. “
      > Baille translation
      > “Spirit then is consciousness in general which embraces
      > sense-certainty, perception, and the Understanding, in so far as in
      > its self-analysis Spirit holds fast to the moment of being an
      > objectively existent actuality to itself, and ignores the fact that
      > this actuality is its own being-for-itself. “ Miller translation
      > 1. sense certainty
      > 2. perception
      > 3. understanding
      > Items 1, 2, and 3 are an integral part of knowledge and each is a
      > necessary condition for the attainment of the ideal form of absolute
      > knowledge. The sufficient condition for knowledge is that of the three
      > items and the movement of Hegel’s speculative thinking. This appears
      > to confirm the importance of empiricism in Hegel’s thesis. When
      > Spirit includes these items in its domain then it is an integral part
      > of the “existent actuality” of Hegel’s speculative system.
      > It seems to me that Hegel accepted the reality of the world outside of
      > the mind (unlike subjective idealism).

      Bob, no serious philosopher did ever deny the reality of the world
      outside of the mind. This would be pure solipsism. The philosophical
      question, however, is how this 'reality' is recognized by a living being
      and particularly by a human being and if and how 'objectivity' can
      thereby be defined and achieved. Your cited paragraph 440 from the PhdG
      shows that for Hegel the subjective side of recognition (consciousness,
      self-consciousness and reason as the unity of both) alone is not able to
      achieve 'objectivity' since it is merely abstract and becomes concrete
      only if grounded as a moment in "Spirit, the ethical essence that has an
      actual existence" (PhdG, § 440). For the subjective (transcendental)
      idealism, however, reason with its categories is posited 'absolute' for
      grasping the 'objective' truth being ensured an empirical relation to
      the outside world from which 'reality' (contents and facts) allegedly
      comes. Hegel's 'objectivity' here, however, is 'relative' since it
      depends on an actual ethical essence with its given values wherein the
      subjective side is grounded. I cannot see here any real empirism as it
      is included in subjective idealism. Then you mention "the ideal form of
      absolute knowledge" (what does 'ideal' mean here?) which, however, is
      only achieved at the end of the PhdG with empirism even more remote than
      in "Spirit, the ethical essence that has an actual existence". So, you
      should show to us how empirism is included in the form of absolute
      knowledge which is expounded in Hegel's Logic. I guess that for this the
      Logic of Being is most relevant where in absolute quality the real and
      the ideal are united as a first still narrow realization of
      'objectivity'. While in the subjective (transcendental) logic idealism
      and realism (empirism) fall totally apart both are truly united in
      Hegel's Logic what is the prerequisite for achieving 'objectivity'.

      Beat Greuter

      > Our knowledge of the reality of the outside world was for him, limited
      > because of the restrictions placed there by the sciences of the day.
      > Kant’s offering of limited or finite knowledge in his Critique of
      > Reason was a challenge for Hegel. Hegel offered his Phenomenology and
      > its theory of speculative thinking along with the ingredients, sense
      > data, perception, and understanding as a solution to the challenge.
      > Regards,
      > Bob Fanelli
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