Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [hegel] Plato and concrete universal?

Expand Messages
  • Alan Ponikvar
    Hi Beat, I will avoid a point for point response as this would lead in a few more exchanges to a book length endeavor. Instead, I will focus on the issue of
    Message 1 of 85 , May 5, 2010
      Hi Beat,

      I will avoid a point for point response as this would lead in a few more
      exchanges to a book length endeavor. Instead, I will focus on the issue of
      the unexpected nature of a speculative truth. If we just stay with the
      Phenomenology the dialectic is the site of two unexpected results. First,
      the dialectic is not what is expected of the knowing of natural
      consciousness. It represents a failure of this knowing, and this is not
      expected by natural consciousness. Second, no reader coming to the
      Phenomenology for the first time would have any reason to expect that
      something more than this failure is what is being demonstrated. In fact,
      that there is a positive or speculative way of viewing the dialectic is the
      most difficult thing for the reader to get a handle on. This positive view
      of the failure of consciousness is inadvertent to what natural consciousness
      seeks to accomplish. It does not in any way follow from what precedes as the
      knowing of natural consciousness. Whatever we perceive as being necessary to
      the development of absolute knowing is perceived retrospectively. It is not
      perceived while along the way. To recollect is to reframe the nature of what
      is at issue. It is to be able to appreciate the presentation not merely as
      the experience of consciousness – an experience of failure – but as the
      self-constitution of spirit. It is this self-constitution of spirit that
      only appears retrospectively and thus is in no way an expected or
      anticipated result. So what is intended is what Hegel plays against. What is
      intended by the understanding or natural consciousness becomes a condition
      for the emergence of what is not intended by this consciousness. Moreover,
      it certainly is not anticipated by the reader who has yet to gain insight
      into speculative thinking. Both of these perspectives – of natural
      consciousness and the reader - are internal, not external, to the

      You observe: “However, to say that the "dialectical return ....... has
      nothing to do with what was intended in the act either by consciousness in
      the Phenomenology or the understanding in the Logic" is certainly wrong.
      Without this intention there would be no dialectical return at all.” This is
      just to confuse the issue. You cannot have an unexpected result if there is
      no expected result. So of course there is an intention present. It is the
      intention of the understanding or natural consciousness that is frustrated.
      This failure of intention allows for an alternative perspective. It is this
      alternative perspective that gives what is unintended. The cause of this
      confusion is in my view, your adhering to a naïve rather than speculative
      reading. By this I mean you try to force the presentation to speak with a
      single force from a single point of view whereas a speculative reading plays
      off of the failings of the conventions to reveal a second view of the
      significance of the dialectic. This view is unconventional and certainly
      attends to what is unexpected in light of these conventions.

      What Hegel shares with Socrates is the fact that truth involves a reframing
      of what is at issue. A Socratic interlocutor believes that failure is just
      failure. Socrates gives a positive twist to this failure by viewing it in
      light of the virtue of learning of one’s own ignorance. The negative becomes
      positive when what is at issue is reframed. In a like manner, natural
      consciousness does not comprehend the true import of its own achievement. It
      simply sees failure and is unable to see its success because it fails to
      appreciate or see how the dialectic might function within the frame of an
      entirely different problematic, a problematic having to do with the dual
      nature of reason and how to articulate this duality. The naïve reading sees
      reason as univocal. Thus, when it comes to its own limits and finds reason
      behaving irrationally it is at a loss. Speculative reason is able to see
      what those who hone to the conventions about reason are unable to see
      because it understands that the true issue of reason at its limits is not
      about finding some ultimate ground but is about comprehending how reason can
      be self-constituting. In short, when the problem or what is at issue changes
      so does the significance of what is in view. It is this shift of the
      problematic that is vital to comprehending what Hegel is up to. Thus the
      naïve reading of the Phenomenology stays within the problematic of the
      opposition of consciousness and the failure of natural consciousness. It is
      a reading that fails to give a convincing account of what is speculative in
      the presentation. The speculative reading reconceives the opposition as
      being between what appears and its import. This is an opposition that is not
      to be overcome. It is the opposition between the nonsense the common view
      comes to and the subsequent emergence of a new sense. The dialectic is the
      place where this opposition is exhibited as a transition between the two
      points of view. The dialectic then when properly conceived is the place of
      absolute knowing as it appears along the way to Absolute Knowledge.

      Regards, Alan

      From: hegel@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Beat
      Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 4:02 AM
      To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hegel] Plato and concrete universal?

      It seems that the list has become a little quiet. So, for cheering up I
      should like to upload my answer to Alan.

      Alan Ponikvar writes:

      > 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?

      I want to be clear: for me the question of expected or unexpected refers
      in both cases to the inner perspective of the movement of the concept
      and is not a question of prior to science or within science. If you,
      however, take the question like that and do relate expected with prior
      to science an unexpected with within science I certainly do not agree
      with this and wonder if unexpected does not exactly imply a perspective
      from outside Hegel's philosophy: At least sometime the unexpected has to
      become something even though it may be only an interim result - how is
      it put? But if you take it as only a learning process which can be shown
      with help of any arbitrary subject matter then my quotation shows
      clearly that this is not supported by Hegel's text.

      > 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.

      You say always the same: Others have a naive view of Hegel's philosophy,
      you have a speculative one. Please, be aware, I have a speculative view.

      I think, for all on this Hegel list it is clear that 'Sache' (subject
      matter) means both, what is as well as the import or significance of
      what is. Both belong together, not only in Hegel's philosophy. But for
      me it does not help much to characterize this relation as an unexpected one.

      > 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.

      Does this mean that you do not derive your Hegel interpretation from
      Hegel's text until you have found "what truly is at issue" in Hegel's
      philosophy? If so, this reminds me of Hegel's statement at the beginning
      of the Introduction of the PhdG:

      "It is natural to suppose that, before philosophy enters upon its
      subject proper-namely, the actual knowledge of what trulv is-it is
      necessary to come first to an understanding concerning knowledge, which
      is looked upon as the instrument by which to take possession of the
      Absolute, or as the means through which to get a sight of it."
      (translated by J. B. Baillie)

      > I think for the most
      > part the issues raised are for a naïve reader still in need of Hegel's
      > ladder.

      What the hell does this mean again? You as a specultive reader are no
      longer in need of Hegel's philosophy? If so, I congratulate you for
      having reached this position which so many other great philosophers
      reached after they have revoked their Hegel scholarship. I have not yet
      reached this position and, I fear, will never reach it.

      > For me, the sign of this is the focus on skeptical issues.
      > Speculative thinking does not do combat with the skeptic.

      Of course not, it integrates skeptical thinking as Hegel says again and

      > 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.

      Hegel shows the development of the APPEARING consciousness or knowledge.
      This development is absolutely necessary for reaching the 'consiousness'
      of pure knowledge. The NATURAL consciousness involved in this
      development is not a knowledge of ignorance but a necessary one-sided
      moment of this process of appearing knowledge in which it becomes
      skeptical about its preliminary stated presuppositions and principles
      through the course of argumentation and questioning and - as a
      consequence of this questioning - is lifted BY THE PHILOSOPHER (Hegel)
      on the following stage (perspective) of knowledge BEHIND ITS BACK. This
      poor natural consiounsess as such is not even aware of what happened
      with it being lifted on annother stage (perspective) - so it can neither
      expect nor not expect something - because afterwards there is a new
      beginning of the appearing knowledge on a new stage (perspective) of
      consiousness. If NATURAL conciousness is taken independently of this
      process of APPEARING knowledge or only in a more or less accidently way
      of questioning (as in the Socratic manner) it may be ignorance but this
      is not Hegel's way of thinking.

      > 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.

      You again do characterize dialectical return essentially as unexpected
      what in my opinion is not in accordance with the essence of Hegel's
      philosophy. On the other side, with your last sentence you seem to say
      something similar as I have written above about the process of appearing
      knowledge. However, to say that the "dialectical return ....... has
      nothing to do with what was intended in the act either by consciousness
      in the Phenomenology or the understanding in the Logic" is certainly
      wrong. Without this intention there would be no dialectical return at
      all. Dialectical return for Hegel is not something above or beyond
      common sense but something which reveals its one-sidedness - that
      nevertheless is necessary in the process of knowledge - and moves it to
      an opposite one-sidedness which indicates a new beginning, not
      unexpected but most expected through the process of the appearing
      knowledge (PhdG) or later the process of pure knowledge (Logic). With
      Hegel there is no esotericism which despises the common sense and the

      > 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

      Unfortunately, I am also still at a loss as to how to make sense of this
      unexpected truth.

      Beat Greuter

      > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On
      > Behalf Of Beat
      > Greuter
      > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 2:29 PM
      > To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.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
      > __,_.,___

      [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"....


        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.


        Disfruta de Messenger y Hotmail en tu BlackBerry �Hazlo ya!

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.