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understanding and reason

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  • greuterb@bluewin.ch
    In the Zusatz to para 467 of Part Three of the Encyclopaedia Hegel writes: „Obgleich aber der Verstand den eben angegebenen Mangel an sich hat, so ist er
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2010
      In the Zusatz to para 467 of Part Three of the Encyclopaedia Hegel writes:

      „Obgleich aber der Verstand den eben angegebenen Mangel an sich hat, so ist er doch ein notwendiges Moment des
      vernünftigen Denkens. Seine Tätigkeit besteht überhaupt im Abstrahieren. Trennt er nun das Zufällige vom Wesentlichen
      ab, so ist er durchaus in seinem Rechte und erscheint als das, was er in Wahrheit sein soll. Daher nennt man
      denjenigen, welcher einen wesentlichen Zweck verfolgt, einen Mann von Verstand. Ohne Verstand ist auch keine
      Charakterfestigkeit möglich, da zu dieser gehört, daß der Mensch an seiner individuellen Wesenheit festhält. Jedoch
      kann der Verstand auch umgekehrt einer einseitigen Bestimmung die Form der Allgemeinheit geben und dadurch das
      Gegenteil des mit dem Sinn für das Wesentliche begabten, gesunden Menschenverstandes werden.“ (TWA 10/286)



      "Even though the understanding has the mentioned deficiency in itself it is nevertheless a necessary moment in rational
      thinking. Its activity consists generally in abstraction. When it separates the accidential from the essential it is
      indeed in its right and appears as that what it should be in truth. Therefore, one calls somebody who pursues essential
      purposes a man of understanding. Without understanding no strength of character is possible since it belongs to this
      that man retains his individual essentiality. However, the understanding can otherwise also give the form of
      universality to a one-sided determination and thereby become the opposite of the sound common sense endowed with the
      sense for the essential." (my translation)



      This text is from the Philosophy of the Subjective Mind in the section about the Theoretical Mind in its third moment -
      Thinking. It shows also the transition into the Philosophy of the Practical Mind.



      The text shows how deeply Hegel is Aristotelian. However, his criticism of the understanding goes beyond Aristotle
      where the concept is no longer a mere determined identity excluding the opposite within it (being - nothing). Instead,
      Hegel persues the movement of the concept in which the one-sided determinations overcome their own contained and
      produced opposition and develop their mediation. It is precisely this movement which characterizes the "common sense
      endowed with the sense for the essential". There is no individual essentiality beyond this movement.



      Best regards,

      Beat Greuter
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