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RE: [hegel] Plato and concrete universal?

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  • Alan Ponikvar
    Hi Beat, I think we can sharpen the issue here. You call attention to the following quote from the Logic: But because it is the result which appears as the
    Message 1 of 85 , Apr 29, 2010
      Hi Beat,

      I think we can sharpen the issue here. You call attention to the following
      quote from the Logic:

      "But because it is the result which appears as the absolute ground, this
      progress in knowing is not something provisional, or problematical and
      hypothetical; it must be determined by the nature of the subject matter
      itself and its content."

      I do not see how this means that the result is “most expected.” What exactly
      are we meant to expect prior to the Science?

      The issue throughout Hegel’s philosophy involves determining the nature of
      the subject matter. As I read Sache (and please correct me if I am wrong) it
      is ambiguous: it can mean and often does mean for Hegel both what is and the
      import or significance of what is. My Socratic point would be there are
      always two ways of reading a Hegelian account just as there are two ways of
      reading a Platonic dialogue – naively as what mere is or speculatively as to
      its true import. Until we have the proper subject matter – what truly is at
      issue - we can be misled as to what the presentation is about. Thus I tend
      to read "With What must Science Begin?” with suspicion. I think for the most
      part the issues raised are for a naïve reader still in need of Hegel’s
      ladder. For me, the sign of this is the focus on skeptical issues.
      Speculative thinking does not do combat with the skeptic. Speculative
      thinking simply reconceives what the skeptic identifies as reason as other
      than itself when caught in a regress or a circle. The skeptic fails to see
      what is really at issue or what he in fact has come upon. So just as the
      negative result has for Hegel a positive significance the Socratic knowledge
      of ignorance first taken by his interlocutor as a mere negative result
      becomes positive when what is at issue- the truth of knowing – is seen as
      guided by a knowledge of ignorance. Thus, Socrates leads us to Hegel while
      the skeptic has misled generations of Hegel interpreters into thinking that
      Hegel is just a more refined skeptic.

      Thus the reference to what is unexpected is a reference to what cuts against
      the expectations of common reason. In my view, Plato and Hegel share this
      insight. Actual knowledge of one’s own ignorance, like a speculative truth,
      is an alternative view – a view unexpected from the first point of view.
      What is unexpected is what appears as enacted as a dialectical return. The
      speculative insight is into this dialectical return which has nothing to do
      with what was intended in the act either by consciousness in the
      Phenomenology or the understanding in the Logic.

      So I hope I have provided a more meaningful account of the importance of the
      inadvertent, unexpected or cunning way that Hegelian and Socratic truth
      arise. So I reiterate: a Hegelian truth is an unexpected truth. My challenge
      to you is to explain what you mean by saying the Hegel’s truth is most
      expected. I am at a loss as to how to make sense of this.

      Regards, Alan

      From: hegel@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Beat
      Greuter
      Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 2:29 PM
      To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hegel] Plato and concrete universal?


      Alan Ponikvar writes:

      >
      >
      > Hi Bob,
      >
      > It is really quite simple. For the most part people do not think of
      > Socrates
      > as a skeptic, but no one has bothered to offer a non-skeptical reading of
      > his guiding principle. It goes as follows: if one is guided by the
      > knowledge
      > that one is ignorant then this knowledge as a guide is only vindicated if
      > one comes upon something one did not previously know about one's own
      > ignorance in the process of the inquiry. One is motivated to engage in
      > vigorous inquiry as a way of learning about what one still does not know
      > about one's ignorance. The problem with the skeptic is he knows too
      > much and
      > thus subverts his own principle. It is not what he knows - his ignorance -
      > but that he knows that the skeptic vindicates thus putting into
      > question the
      > central place of ignorance for the skeptic.
      >
      > Socratically inspired, one starts out any inquiry with a set of
      > beliefs that
      > if the Socratic principle is true will be challenged by what one comes
      > upon
      > in the inquiry. Thus we have a concrete rather than abstract universal
      > because unlike the abstract, the concrete universal does not pre-determine
      > nor is it indifferent to the particular. The particular instances of
      > learning of one's own ignorance become the only way the principle is
      > realized. But with each new insight into one's ignorance a new set of
      > settled beliefs are put in place, beliefs waiting to be challenged.
      > Thus the
      > principle is about a way of life and not about some final bit of wisdom.
      >
      > The Socratic principle - like Hegel's absolute - is essentially marked
      > by a
      > difference. For Socrates, this is the difference between what one
      > previously
      > thought one knew and what one now comes to see was a false belief.
      > This was
      > not the intended goal of the inquiry and thus like a Hegelian truth it
      > comes
      > about inadvertent to or behind the back of the guiding thought. It is a
      > truth that requires a performative actualization.
      >
      > Socrates always starts off as if he is engaging in a conventional inquiry
      > seeking some 'Platonic form' or common feature that will tell us what
      > virtue
      > or justice or courage is. But the point of the inquiry is not to find this
      > form; it is to reveal ignorance. So Socrates and his interlocutors are
      > usually engaging in inquiry with two distinct perspectives as to what is
      > actually happening. The Socratic principle then is a thought that orients
      > our expectations without really guiding us to a specific outcome.
      >
      > The role of convention is played by the understanding in Hegel's thought.
      > Understanding is intentional. It moves inferentially. Hegel begins
      > each new
      > thought with a series of inferences that follow from this thought.
      > Eventually, thought comes to an impasse. The understanding is blocked and
      > something emerges non-inferentially at this impasse that exhibits
      > something
      > unexpected. This unexpected truth is Hegelian truth.
      >

      Hegel's truth is most expected. He writes in the preliminary chapter of
      the Science of Logic "With What must Science Beging?":

      "But because it is the result which appears as the absolute ground, this
      progress in knowing is not something provisional, or problematical and
      hypothetical; it must be determined by the nature of the subject matter
      itself and its content." (translated by A.V. Miller)

      This statement is as well true for the PhdG which is also science.

      So, your concept of Socratic "ignorance" is not a good guide for
      following Hegel's movement of the concept. Much better for this is
      Hegel's use of Skeptic thinking which he transforms from an abstract and
      universal negative principle into the concreteness of the determined
      negation.

      You can reply that "unexpected" is not to confound with "something
      provisional, or problematical and hypothetical". But in this case for me
      "unexpected" is without any meaning.

      Regards,
      Beat Greuter

      > I see a similar thing happening in Plato's dialogues. So ignorance plays a
      > role similar to the negative in Hegel's thought.
      >
      > Regards, Alan
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On
      > Behalf Of
      > Robert Wallace
      > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:34 AM
      > To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: [hegel] Plato and concrete universal?
      >
      > Hi Alan,
      >
      > I'd be interested to hear how you connect Plato and the Socratic claim
      > about knowledge of ignorance to the idea of a concrete universal.
      >
      > best, Bob
      >
      > On Apr 28, 2010, at 4:49 PM, Alan Ponikvar wrote:
      >
      > > Hi Kang,
      > >
      > > I agree. In fact, I believe that Hegel and Plato are the only two
      > > philosophers who work with a concrete universal as the basic thought
      > > of
      > > their philosophies. Some may find this claim odd. The reason why I
      > > believe
      > > that Plato works with a concrete universal has to do with how I read
      > > the
      > > Socratic claim that all he knows is that he is ignorant. I do not
      > > read this
      > > skeptically. Nor do I read Hegel's Phenomenology as a skeptical work.
      > >
      > > Regards, Alan
      > >
      > > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
      > > Of
      > > kchen28
      > > Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 2:19 PM
      > > To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > Subject: [hegel] Re: Heidegger on Hegel (1)
      > >
      > >
      > > Bob: Do you think Kant and Hegel had a better understanding of Plato
      > > than
      > > Heidegger? I don't think Heidegger's influence can be simply reduced
      > > to the
      > > context in which Heidegger's students found themselves--though that is
      > > surely important. Did students of Kant and Hegel become first-rate
      > > scholars
      > > of anyone other than Kant or Hegel (if them)? It seems that Kant and
      > > Hegel
      > > could only produce Kantians and Hegelians (whether neo- or otherwise),
      > > whereas, in addition to "Heideggerian" students of Heidegger, there
      > > are
      > > people like Jacob Klein, Leo Strauss, Karl Lowith, and so on, who are
      > > definitely not Heideggerians. The only other person I can think of
      > > with a
      > > similar impact as a teacher would be Socrates. I think you belittle
      > > Heidegger's intellect by suggesting that his effect upon his
      > > students was
      > > due merely to "charisma."
      > >
      > > Alan: Is Hegel's reading of Plato any less tendentious than
      > > Heideggger's? Is
      > > Hegel less guilty than Heidegger of "imposing in his reading his
      > > understanding of western metaphysics"?
      > >
      > > Best,
      > > Kang
      > >
      > > --- In hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com> , Robert
      > > Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Hi Alan,
      > > >
      > > > Thanks for expanding on your view of H vs. H. Very interesting! I
      > > > certainly agree that Hegel's view of "being" is more fruitful.
      > > >
      > > > As for breaking into Heidegger's "black box": I think that if his
      > > > students had had a better grasp of Plato, Kant and Hegel, they would
      > > > have felt no such temptation. I tried to suggest why (historically)
      > > > they and their contemporaries lacked such a grasp.
      > > >
      > > > Best, Bob
      > > >
      > > > On Apr 26, 2010, at 2:29 PM, Alan Ponikvar wrote:
      > > >
      > > > > Hi Bob,
      > > > >
      > > > > I remember during my graduate school days how some of my fellow
      > > > > students
      > > > > were trying to unlock the secret of how certain professors came to
      > > > > their
      > > > > startling insights. These students could see the results but
      > > wanted
      > > > > some
      > > > > access to the source of these insights. They wanted to break into
      > > > > the black
      > > > > box. This always seemed to me to be a futile endeavor. Heidegger
      > > > > clearly had
      > > > > something like this effect on his students. It will be interesting
      > > > > to see
      > > > > how the community of Heideggerian scholars respond to Faye's
      > > attempt
      > > > > to
      > > > > debunk the whole effect that was and still is Heidegger.
      > > > >
      > > > > As for what he has to say about presence, in the book on the
      > > > > Introduction to
      > > > > the Phenomenology Heidegger wants to draw our attention to a
      > > > > distinction
      > > > > between what is present or in view and its being a presence or
      > > > > something
      > > > > viewable. As I understand him he wants to claim that this set up
      > > is
      > > > > the
      > > > > defining feature of western metaphysics. Heidegger in his
      > > philosophy
      > > > > seems
      > > > > more interested in the distinction between Being - which itself is
      > > > > never a
      > > > > presence - and the various ways beings are presented. Being then
      > > > > becomes the
      > > > > added concealed feature ignored by the tradition that
      > > mysteriously but
      > > > > necessarily is the source for what comes into view.
      > > > >
      > > > > In contrast, I see Hegel's absolute as this source and it does not
      > > > > remain
      > > > > mysterious but is itself articulated or delineated in Hegel's
      > > various
      > > > > systematic presentations. It does not so much loom behind or under
      > > > > what is
      > > > > as finds expression in what is. Thus the key distinction is not
      > > > > between what
      > > > > appears and what always remains concealed but between what for
      > > Hegel
      > > > > is
      > > > > first manifest and then subsequently made manifest. It is the
      > > > > distinction
      > > > > between being and becoming or between what is first in view and
      > > the
      > > > > subsequent emergence of a new view. The distinction for Hegel
      > > always
      > > > > comes
      > > > > down to two ways of viewing what is in view. The first view is
      > > > > immediate
      > > > > while the second view is a mediated return or recollection of the
      > > > > one-sided
      > > > > first view.
      > > > >
      > > > > Thus presence is an insufficient designation for what is viewable
      > > > > and it is
      > > > > not made whole with the reference to Being. It is made whole by
      > > > > attending to
      > > > > a distinction on the surface of things that never ceases, or is
      > > ever
      > > > > resolved, between what is in view and the recollected
      > > significance -
      > > > > the
      > > > > emergent sense - of what is in view. What Hegel and Heidegger
      > > share
      > > > > is an
      > > > > appreciation that there is an unnoticed distinction relevant to a
      > > > > proper
      > > > > account of what is. I just think that Hegel's way of drawing and
      > > > > working
      > > > > with the distinction is more honest and more helpful than
      > > > > Heidegger's way.
      > > > >
      > > > > Regards, Alan
      > > > >
      > > > > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
      > > Behalf
      > > > > Of
      > > > > Robert Wallace
      > > > > Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 2:37 PM
      > > > > To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > > > Subject: Re: [hegel] Re: Heidegger on Hegel (1)
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Hi Alan,
      > > > >
      > > > > You write:
      > > > >
      > > > > >> [Heidegger's] main misunderstanding of Hegel arises out of his
      > > > > >> insistence on
      > > > > >> imposing in his reading his understanding of western
      > > metaphysics
      > > > > as a
      > > > > >> metaphysics of presence or of what is in view. This is not
      > > Hegel's
      > > > > >> understanding of presence. For Hegel, presence is divided
      > > between
      > > > > >> what is
      > > > > >> present and what comes into presence. Hegelian truth is never
      > > in
      > > > > >> full view.
      > > > > >> Heidegger mythologies this divide - makes it mysterious and
      > > obscure
      > > > > >> - while
      > > > > >> Hegel uses this divide. Or as Schelling says: only what is
      > > divided
      > > > > >> moves.
      > > > >
      > > > > I wish I fully understood what you're saying about "presence."
      > > But I
      > > > > certainly recognize the Heideggerian procedure that you
      > > describe. In
      > > > > _Introduction to Metaphysics_ he has his pre-established notion of
      > > > > "aletheia," and condescends to Plato--to _Plato_, for God's
      > > sake!!--
      > > > > for not seeing it the way he, Heidegger, does. There's no hint
      > > of the
      > > > > thought that maybe Plato has _reasons_ for thinking of truth in
      > > the
      > > > > way that he does, and that these reasons might be worth exploring.
      > > > >
      > > > > _This_ was the "uncrowned king" by whom Hannah Arendt and so many
      > > > > other members of her generation were fascinated--from whom they
      > > hoped
      > > > > to learn how to "do philosophy." How was it possible for this
      > > guy to
      > > > > make such an impact on highly intelligent people? I can think of
      > > only
      > > > > two possible reasons. (1) Charisma. Heidegger was apparently one
      > > of
      > > > > those people who have so much confidence in themselves and their
      > > way
      > > > > of seeing things, or who learn somehow to project such confidence,
      > > > > that other people are literally fascinated, like the snake by the
      > > > > snake-charmer. His style suggests, to me, that kind of intensity
      > > and
      > > > > portentousness. But this wouldn't be sufficient without (2) the
      > > > > shambles that neo-Kantianism, the previously most influential
      > > school
      > > > > of German philosophy, had become. Natorp and Cassirer had indeed
      > > > > reestablished contact with the Platonic roots of Kantian
      > > thinking, but
      > > > > that contact was, for lack of a better word, formalistic. They
      > > weren't
      > > > > able to convey how personally Plato addresses his readers--how he
      > > > > speaks to our "Dasein," our experience of life (and death). And so
      > > > > Heidegger was able to occupy the "high ground" of the one who
      > > > > (apparently) speaks to those issues.
      > > > >
      > > > > I must admit, the story infuriates me. I have experienced at close
      > > > > range the damage that these charismatic figures can do. I have to
      > > > > remind myself, over and over, that the truth doesn't rely on any
      > > > > particular generation or even species to identify it. It's always
      > > > > there, regardless of our pretenses, our traumas, our persistent
      > > > > unfreedom.
      > > > >
      > > > > Best, Bob
      > > > >
      > > > > On Apr 25, 2010, at 8:21 PM, Alan Ponikvar wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > > Hi John,
      > > > > >
      > > > > > It might be useful to see if time might solve our problem
      > > about the
      > > > > > distinction between phenomenology and logic (and beyond). But
      > > to say
      > > > > > that
      > > > > > "time is certainly a determining factor in the first and plays
      > > > > > little or no
      > > > > > role in the second" is vague. What does it mean to say time is a
      > > > > > determining
      > > > > > factor? Recollection is an act that one might take to be
      > > 'grounded'
      > > > > > in time.
      > > > > > But recollection is not merely phenomenal. Recollection is at
      > > work
      > > > > > in the
      > > > > > Phenomenology and the System. So does that make both temporal?
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I have been reading through Heidegger's commentary on the
      > > > > > Introduction to
      > > > > > the Phenomenology. I have also read into his more general
      > > commentary
      > > > > > on the
      > > > > > Phenomenology. In my view, what he has to say is not worthy of a
      > > > > great
      > > > > > philosopher. He just cannot get over the fact that his
      > > distinction
      > > > > > between
      > > > > > Being and beings might be a poor rendition of what Hegel has
      > > already
      > > > > > explored. I also notice that he gets obscure when he doesn't
      > > really
      > > > > > know
      > > > > > what he is talking about. He bounces back and forth between a
      > > > > > reading guided
      > > > > > by his own philosophy and the conventions of the
      > > understanding. When
      > > > > > he
      > > > > > notices that the latter will not do he tends to rely on the
      > > former
      > > > > > to bail
      > > > > > him out. He main misunderstanding of Hegel arises out of his
      > > > > > insistence on
      > > > > > imposing in his reading his understanding of western metaphysics
      > > > > as a
      > > > > > metaphysics of presence or of what is in view. This is not
      > > Hegel's
      > > > > > understanding of presence. For Hegel, presence is divided
      > > between
      > > > > > what is
      > > > > > present and what comes into presence. Hegelian truth is never in
      > > > > > full view.
      > > > > > Heidegger mythologies this divide - makes it mysterious and
      > > obscure
      > > > > > - while
      > > > > > Hegel uses this divide. Or as Schelling says: only what is
      > > divided
      > > > > > moves.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Regards, Alan
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Robert Wallace
      > > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (The God Within Us)
      > > > > email: bob@... <mailto:bob%40robertmwallace.com>
      > > > > phone: 414-617-3914
      > > > >
      > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > >
      > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > Robert Wallace
      > > > website: www.robertmwallace.com (The God Within Us)
      > > > email: bob@...
      > > > phone: 414-617-3914
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > Robert Wallace
      > website: www.robertmwallace.com (The God Within Us)
      > email: bob@... <mailto:bob%40robertmwallace.com>
      <mailto:bob%40robertmwallace.com>
      > phone: 414-617-3914
      >

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



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • stephen theron
      I agree absolutely with your general point about beauty, surely the final refutation of puritanism . St. Thomas associates the cardinal virtue of temperance
      Message 85 of 85 , May 10, 2010
        I agree absolutely with your general point about beauty, surely the final refutation of "puritanism". St. Thomas associates the cardinal virtue of temperance especially with beauty. I should think where one "transcendental" is they all are. I find K�ng�s attempt to insert history or the historical among them, in his book on Hegel, very prosaic indeed, besides being wrong-headed (or are they the same?). They, especially Being, are perfectio prefectionum.

        Hegel, i would guess, is reacting against the "beautiful souls" of the contemporary romanticism specifically, though of course he sees himself as representing the Romantic too, in art, for example and all he says about romantic art. Spirit, I suppose, is his final "category", as is "being" for Thomas, i.e. just a cut above the others it pulls in its train....

        I only said "seeming"....

        Stephen.


        To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
        From: jgbardis@...
        Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 17:26:05 +0000
        Subject: [hegel] Re: relations







        --- In hegel@yahoogroups.com, stephen theron <stephentheron@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > John,
        >
        >
        >
        > In seeming contradiction of what I wrote you yesterday I find this:
        >
        >
        >
        > In revealed or manifest religion "all is proportionate to the notion; there is no longer anything secret in God. Here, then, is the consciousness of the developed conception of Spirit, of reconciliation, not in beauty, in joyousness, but in the Spirit." Lectures on Ph.R., Vol. I, pp. 84-85 (Speirs & Sanderson, London 1895, SW 15, p.100., otherwise quoted in van Riet�s article, Philosophy Today, summer 1967, p.85. "not in beauty"!
        >
        >
        >
        > Yours, Stephen
        >
        >

        Dear Stephen,

        Well, that seems to be the end of my whole theory. Unfortunately I'm out of town this week and so can't look any thing up.

        But I believe Hegel calls Greek religion the religion of art. He devoted a good deal of time to a recreation of what he imagined Greek religion to be. Up until he was about 30 he regarded Greek religion as the absolute religion. Then some how or another he came to the conclusion that Christianity was the absolute religion. So not reconciliation in beauty and joy (the Greek religion) but reconciliation in spirit (Christianity).

        I still think you can't have truth and goodness, as Hegel does in the cognition section of the Logic, without also having beauty. Maybe Life has to do with beauty? In that case the absolute would have to do with some other transcendental--the One?

        But very likely it all makes sense if one could figure it out.

        John





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