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Re: [hegel] Re: Primer on the meaning of Phenomenal Knowledge, The Notion, and notions

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  • Beat Greuter
    Dear Stephen ... Both not. It is an example or demonstration of the movement of the concept with its metaphsysical implications having to be solved. A good
    Message 1 of 93 , Dec 12, 2009
      Dear Stephen

      You write:

      >Dear Beat,
      >Would you call your compasrison of the devbelopment of analytic philosophy with the dialectic an analogy or an application?

      Both not. It is an example or demonstration of the movement of the
      concept with its metaphsysical implications having to be solved. A good
      example or demonstration is always something happened in history or
      nature as for instance in religion, philosophy, state, plants, animals,
      human beings. A bad example is a mere abstract thought or statement as
      for instance "a bachelor is an unmarried man" for an example of an
      analytical statement.

      >One difference is that the starting-point, RussellĀ“s philosophy, is arbitrarily chosen, unlike Being as the Beginning.

      I am not sure whether this is the point here or not. I had in mind
      Hegel's insight in the presuppostion or essence of his logic of being as
      a whole.

      I referred to Russell's book on "The Problems of Philosophy" (1912),
      especially the chapter on "Truth and Falsehood". Russell may have
      changed his view later as so many did thinking on their own metaphysical
      presuppostions. This is the interesting feature of Analytic Philosophy
      that makes it a good example or demonstration of the movement of the

      >By "fact and thought became identical" you mean a parallel with nature in Hegel, right?

      What is "Nature in Hegel"? I referred here to the logic of essence as
      the sublation of being.

      >is that indeed the main upshot of Strawson, or have you picked it out for the sake of the parallel (I ask that as not knowing Strawson too well beyond his book on formal logic)?

      I do not know whether this is the main upshot of Strawson or not. I
      referred to an essay from him on "Truth" (1950) in a German book on
      "Theories of Truth" (stw 210, 1977). In this essay he advocated a kind
      of coherence theory of truth: "Facts are that, what propositions (as far
      as they are true) propose; they are not that what we propose something
      about" (my translation from the German edition).

      >I would be grateful if you would spell out for me (us) the parallel with spirit in McDowell, whether again what you single out is truly definitive for McD's thought.

      This I cannot do here. McDowell (in "Mind and World") refers to Kant all
      along the book and tells us what Kant should have done to become true.
      Almost at the end he tells us that Hegel did this - "the philosopher
      ........ hardly nobody takes notice of in the philosophical tradition I
      grew up though I mentioned him some time ago" (my translation from the
      German edition). This is really generous. It must have to do something
      with the cunning of reason. "Mind and World" is a funny book. You should
      read it.

      >Do you see any other applications of this sort for the dialectic?

      Not applications, but examples or demonstrations. Yes, a lot in Hegel's

      >Does it distort things, e.g. if one should rather see "analytical philosophy" as a school/period where some actors were more in tune with Hegelian thinking than others.

      Rather less than more (see McDowell's comment above).

      >of course this raises questions about the "end of philosophy" as conceived by Ken foldes and others.

      These are interesting questions as the questions about the end of
      religion or the end of history. I think with Analytical Philosophy we
      reached an end of philosophy to the effect that the dialectic of thought
      has become visible or actualized and is no longer an edifice or a
      succession of intellectual edifices where dialectic first has to be
      uncovered from outside.

      >i was interested in what you wrote and would be glad if you could fill it out re these queries. Thanks,

      Thanks for your interest!

      Beat Greuter

      >To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
      >From: greuterb@...
      >Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 21:48:48 +0100
      >Subject: Re: [hegel] Re: Primer on the meaning of Phenomenal Knowledge, The Notion, and notions
      >Dear Alan,
      >You write:
      >>Hi Beat,
      >>I think this notion that reality is conceptual "all the way down" as John
      >>McDowell puts it originates with the thought of Wilfred Sellars who
      >>was the
      >>mentor for most of the analytical philosophers who have taken an
      >>interest in
      >>Hegel. This lends itself quite nicely to what has been called the
      >>'nonmetaphysical' reading of Hegel which sees his philosophy as
      >>primarily an
      >>exercise in conceptual clarification. The problem I have with this reading
      >>is that these thinkers then want to take these clarified concepts as norms
      >>or correctives to be applied to our worldly knowledge. I see Pippin and
      >>Winfield as taking this tack even though in many respects their views
      >>from one another. I tend to think that Hegel was of the camp that
      >>wanted to
      >>leave the world pretty much as it is. In this respect, I think Marx's
      >>frustration about philosophers (wanting to understand rather than
      >>change the
      >>world) is on the mark even if I would side with the philosophers. But of
      >>course I may be wrong about this view of Hegel and the world.
      >I do not think that the analytical philosophers having found Hegel
      >interesting for their own unsolved problems have in general a
      >'nonmetaphysical' reading of Hegel (if they have a reading at all). Of
      >course, it depends what 'metaphysical' does mean for you. For Hegel
      >metaphysics after Kant is a critical epistemology which Kant started
      >with but could not implement it because of his dualistic intellectual
      >edifice and his unknowable thing in itself. Analytical philosophy itself
      >has passed through this path again (Russell, Wiener Kreis, Wittgenstein,
      >Austin, Armstrong, Strawson, Goodman, Davidson, McDowell). Looking at
      >this path with a metaphysical eye we can observe that first the fact was
      >outside in the world independent of thought (Russell, Wiener Kreis).
      >After this fact and thought became identical (Strawson). On the third
      >level fact and thought are kept separated by thought as the being in
      >itself and the being for itself: the thinking on our experiences
      >(McDowell). In Hegel's Logic you can follow the same (dialectical) path:
      >being - essence - concept. It is the path of our thinking. This path is
      >deeply metaphysical in the sense of a critical sight on our world
      >relationship, on our being which is never merely separated from our
      >thinking otherwise we could not think and act at all.
      >Having this in mind I am surprised that for you "Hegel was of the camp
      >that wanted to leave the world pretty much as it is". For Hegel the
      >world cannot resist our thought because thought made it. However, for
      >him there is no causal explanation of the world as a whole with which we
      >could justify our action for change. With such causal explanation we
      >absolutize both, the being and thinking, without considering their
      >mutual relationship in the development of the concept. Considering this
      >does not mean an uncritical accordance with the given but a critical
      >comprenhension which neither presupposes a critical position beyond the
      >world nor an uncritical one within it.
      >Beat Greuter
      >>I tend to see the absolute as what I like to think of as a shadow
      >>to the conceptual development. That is, the discussion in the system about
      >>determinate concepts I believe takes on its peculiar Hegelian twist due to
      >>how the determinate and the indeterminate (the absolute) interrelate.
      >>Thus I
      >>am sympathetic to Zizek's discussion that I believe draws on parallels
      >>between the Hegelian absolute and the Lacanian Real. On my view, the
      >>absolute roughly takes the place that in traditional metaphysics would be
      >>the real or the other to thought - being (or the special beings, God,
      >>world) as it is apart from our thought of it. I think Hegel is
      >>attempting to
      >>have it both ways in that the absolute as indeterminate - and yet as what
      >>instigates the non-objective speculative dialectic - is both distinct from
      >>and very much a part of the circle of determinations that always tend to
      >>terminate for Hegel in his works with the appearance of an absolute within
      >>the realm so constituted. Thus the absolute makes an appearance but
      >>only to
      >>prove to be elusive to our grasp (hence the frustration many readers have
      >>with what they see as the obscurity or insufficiency of Hegel's discussion
      >>about the absolute). I don't know if this puts me in the metaphysical
      >>but I certainly do not see Hegel as an improved transcendental
      >>One of the more curious stances is that of Houlgate who seems to agree
      >>the nonmetaphysicians that all Hegel is about is conceptual clarification
      >>but thinks that because in this clarification thought and being are
      >>one that
      >>Hegel's thought is also an ontology (see Houlgate's "Hegel's Logic" in The
      >>Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy).
      >>Thought all
      >>the way down is equally being all the way down. I think this is a correct
      >>thought but only if it is related to what is dialectical in Hegel's
      >>Houlgate in my view does not have a proper appreciation for dialectics, a
      >>feature common to the nonmetaphysicians. So, he seems to me instead to
      >>be a
      >>modern day Anselm, simply finding being where he finds thought. He
      >>thus sees
      >>himself as giving a metaphysical reading of Hegel. I agree, but see this
      >>sort of metaphysics as too much like the bad metaphysics that tends to
      >>embarrass modern thinkers.
      >>So much for this little excurses. Except I should mention for anyone
      >>interested that Brandom's book on Hegel's Phenomenology can be downloaded
      >>from his website. It appears as a series of attachments to his class
      >>on the
      >>Phenomenology at the University of Pittsburgh. I found this out oddly
      >>through a chance meeting with a student who actually had taken this class.
      >>When I asked when Brandom's book was coming out he told me about the free
      >>Regards, Alan
      >>-----Original Message-----
      >>From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>[mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On
      >>Behalf Of Beat
      >>Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 3:38 AM
      >>To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      >>Subject: Re: [hegel] Re: Primer on the meaning of Phenomenal
      >>Knowledge, The
      >>Notion, and notions
      >>Alan Ponikvar writes:
      >>>>Hi Randall,
      >>>>I have no trouble relating what Hegel has to say about knowledge as it
      >>appears in 81-82 with Kant's insight that all consciousness implies
      >>self-consciousness. And your interest in reading Hegel in light of Kant is
      >>shared by many commentators. But then one might want to know if Hegel's
      >>description of natural consciousness in 81-82 is an empirical or
      >>transcendental account. If Hegel is to limit himself to knowledge as it
      >>appears then one might suppose that anything he has to say must be
      >>read off
      >>of the phenomena themselves. This would make his description what he
      >>says it
      >>is: a fact. But this would seem to conflict with Kant's approach. Hegel's
      >>first interest is in what he calls "the abstract determinations of
      >>and truth." This leads to another question: is this description meant to
      >>peer into the essence behind the phenomenon that is knowing giving us the
      >>reality of knowing behind the appearance? If so, can we not ask Hegel what
      >>justifies this essentialist definition? If he tells us that these
      >>determinations are valid because this is how knowledge shows itself
      >>then we
      >>are right back in the skeptical circle of reasons. How can the reliability
      >>of appearances be used to justify an insight into the essences behind
      >>>>It is your reference to rules with respect to phenomenal knowing that is
      >>one cause of my concern. Again, for Kant the a priori rules make both
      >>awareness and the objects of awareness possible. They are not to be
      >>with general principles that rule over instances. This is the distinction
      >>between informing matter and serving as a one over many. Kant is speaking
      >>about the former, Hegel about the latter.
      >>>>That phenomenal knowledge is its own concept of itself has both a
      >>speculative and nonspeculative meaning. As nonspeculative it simply refers
      >>to the general form characteristic of knowing. As speculative it refers to
      >>what is going to happen such that the experience of consciousness
      >>its own truth. These will prove to be two distinct features of
      >>knowledge as
      >>it appears. It is what lies behind Hegel's cryptic claim that the
      >>realization of the concept is to be the loss of the reality of
      >>>>Finally, your reference to 80 precedes rather than follows an account of
      >>what he might be talking about. And given what I have just said above this
      >>passage creates what will be the overriding challenge of a proper
      >>understanding of the exposition. If guided by what we know about the
      >>conceptions of knowing it is easy to understand what it might mean to
      >>at the point where a concept and an object might correspond. But what
      >>this mean with respect to the dialectical actualization of the concept
      >>Hegel claims is the truth of each shape of consciousness? This concept
      >>not correspond with - in fact it is not clear that it even has - some
      >>>>regards, Alan
      >>I think this is very well expressed. If we take the latest development
      >>of Analytic Philosophy then we can summarize - and Hegel was the first
      >>who did this - there is no fact behind the fact. There is a truth
      >>relation between the proposition and the fact which is not independent
      >>of the proposition itself but its inherent (not identical) criterion
      >>(Phenomenology of Spirit). This truth relation is dynamic and all our
      >>facts are recalled experiences we collect during our life. The feature
      >>of the experience is the synthesis of objective and subjective spirit -
      >>a synthesis which is the absolute for a while. But most important: our
      >>experience is from the very beginning always conceptual. There is no
      >>such thing as an independent pre-conceptual intuition and transcendental
      >>concepts with facts given in the world for looking after by given
      >>subjects as Kant thought (there are indeed other interpretations of
      >>Kant's respective thought, however, I am sceptical about this). Our
      >>facts are made (fac-tum, Tat-sache) and this requires actions. Otherwise
      >>we are subject to a bad Platonism.
      >>Beat Greuter

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    • Alan Ponikvar
      Hi John, I have been meaning to take a look at Adorno. These quotes are interesting. I also think that indifference is important for Hegel. It characterizes
      Message 93 of 93 , Dec 18, 2009
        Hi John,

        I have been meaning to take a look at Adorno. These quotes are interesting.
        I also think that 'indifference' is important for Hegel. It characterizes
        the opposition of consciousness where Hegel says right from the start that
        for consciousness being is whether it is known or not. But I also suspect
        that indifference characterizes what I view to be the inner difference of
        the absolute. But to show this would require too much for now. My only
        hesitation about what Adorno expresses here is his casual use of
        multiplicity. I believe it is important to be aware of when Hegel is really
        speaking of a multiplicity and when he is speaking of a duality as he is
        with being and nothing. In fact, I believe that Hegel sees as one of his
        systematic tasks to reduce his own multiplicities to dualities. So, for
        instance, at the end of the Phenomenology we have to comprehend not merely
        how the array of shapes culminate in absolute knowing but need to do so in
        light of the opposition between the consciousness and self-consciousness of

        Regards, Alan

        From: hegel@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of john
        Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 10:22 AM
        To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [hegel] Re: The reduction is unavoidable

        --- In hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com> , "Alan
        Ponikvar" <ponikvaraj@...> wrote:
        > Hi John,
        > I think it is always useful in reading Hegel to imagine a narrative that
        > will make sense of what is happening. But to say things end rather badly
        > really depends on one's point of view. An advocate for quantity would be
        > overjoyed to learn of the demise of quality. But that as we know would be
        > hasty response given what is to come next.
        > I tend to think that the reduction or suspension of the distinction
        > the indeterminate and determinate is not a distinction that can be reduced
        > to a case of a qualitative contrast between negatively opposed items. I
        > think what we get instead is the thought of becoming inverting and being
        > reconceived as determinate being. That is, rather than there being a
        > contrastive difference there is what I would view to be an indifferent
        > difference as indicated by the abrupt inversion. On my view, this
        > indifferent difference relates to the inner difference of the absolute -
        > something that is not an explicit theme here.
        > So here is how I relate this to the beginning of the Logic:
        > 1. First there is being which comes on the scene as a dumb presence or
        > as a product of abstraction.
        > 2. The emergence of nothing introduces an item that comes on the scene
        > by means of an inversion from a predicate to a subject term. Nothing is
        > itself a product of abstraction.
        > 3. There is a contrastive relationship between being and nothing that
        > engages thought in a movement.
        > 4. This movement as experienced by thought is brought to a halt with
        > the 'reflective' insight into becoming that means to comprehend this
        > movement taken as a whole.
        > 5. This insight draws a distinction between the movement as experienced
        > by thought and the stable insight itself. This involves the difference
        > between focusing on each moment in turn and focusing on the movement taken
        > in its totality.
        > 6. Thus the movement and the insight are about the same activity of
        > thought only seen from two distinct points of view - one as experienced,
        > other as apprehended through insight.
        > 7. It is this difference that is indifferent. It is this difference
        > that is not addressed or that remains unresolved and in play. This is the
        > inner difference of the infinite absolute as expressed in the domain of
        > finitude.
        > 8. This difference between thought in motion and at rest becomes as it
        > were a pivot point. Becoming is that point in that it recollects the
        > movement of becoming and brings it to a halt as a single thought and then
        > this effect of the single thought's bringing movement to a halt is
        > This bringing thought to a halt - this effect of this first insight - is
        > posited as determinate being.
        > 9. This inner difference of the absolute then relates to the intrinsic
        > difference of thought between its content and its activity or what I like
        > think of as the difference between the word and deed of thought as
        > So as you can see I am still fixated on this nub of thought at the
        > beginning.
        > Regards, Alan

        Dear Alan,

        Perhaps you'll be interested in what Adorno has to say about the
        being-nothing-becoming transition. He writes:

        "In Hegel's Logic, when he deals with Becoming, the synthesis of the first
        triad, he waits until Being and Nothingness have been equated as wholly
        empty and indefinite before he pays attention to the difference indicated by
        the fact that the two concepts' literal linguistic meanings are absolutely

        "He accentuates his early doctrine that nothing but the nonidentical can
        meaningfully--i.e., more than tautologically--predicate identity at all: it
        is not until their synthesis identifies them with each other that the
        moments will be nonidentical.

        "This is where the claim of their identity obtains that restlessness, that
        inward shudder, which Hegel calls Becoming...

        "Only in the accomplished synthesis, in the union of contradictory moments,
        will their difference be manifested. Without the step that Being is the same
        as Nothingness, each of them would--to use one of Hegel's favorite terms--be
        'indifferent' to the other; only when they are to be the same do they become

        "There is no question that Hegel, as opposed to Kant, restricted the
        priority of the synthesis: to Kant, multiplicity [That Being and Nothingness
        are different] and unity [That Being and Nothingness are the same] were
        already categories side by side; Hegel, following the model of late Platonic
        dialogues, recognized them as two moments of which neither is without the

        "Just the same, like Kant and the entire philosophical tradition including
        Plato, Hegel is a partisan of unity. An abstract denial of unity would not
        befit thinking either. The illusion of taking direct hold of the Many would
        be a mimetic regression, as much a recoil into mythology, into the horror of
        the diffuse, as the thinking of the One, the imitation of blind nature by
        repressing it, ends at the opposite pole in mythical dominion...

        The tendency of synthesizing acts is reversible by reflection upon what they
        do to the Many. Unity alone transcends unity. It is unity that grants the
        right to live to affinity, which was pushed back by the advancing unity and
        yet hibernated in it, secularized to the point of unrecognizability.

        "As Plato knew only to well, the syntheses of the subject are indirect
        conceptual imitations of what that synthesis seeks on its own."

        [Negative Dialectics, pages 157f]

        Well, that quote went on too long. You can skip the last four 'paragraphs'
        if you like.

        I like how he calls Becoming "that inward shudder". The "shudder" is, by the
        way, something of a technical term in Adorno's Aesthetics.

        And I like how he refers to "indifference" as "one of Hegel's favorite
        terms"--a somewhat amusing aside which is quite characteristic of Adorno's
        lectures but rare in his books.

        Of course the being-nothing-becoming transition is fairly unique. What
        Adorno says about it might be somewhat applicable to most of the other
        transitions in the Being section as well--but not in the Essence and Notion


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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