AW: Re: AW: [hegel] Brief Synopsis of PhdG Preface 1-22
- ----Ursprüngliche Nachricht----
Datum: 03.01.2011 01:16
Betreff: Re: AW: [hegel] Brief Synopsis of PhdG Preface 1-22
I'm sending you my complete analysis of this
difficult paragraph 22 which obviously offers a transcendence of both the mechanistic and romantic aspect of
nature. Am I on the right track here?
For me the second sentence in para 22 is not quite clear: "The
exaltation of so-called nature at the expense of thought misconceived, and more especially the rejection of external
purposiveness, have brought the idea of purpose in general into disrepute." Therefore I offered two possible
interpretation of the concept of nature referred to in this sentence and also what "micsonceived thinking" could mean
in this connection. The romantic view on nature - its exaltation above the concept - was certainly a reaction on the
mechanical view on nature of the arising natural sciences, and Hegel wanted to save the rational view on nature without
accepting the mechanical view. For this he had to emphasize thought as purposive rationality which however is not
merely an external purposiveness (as for the mechanical view) but an inner moment of all rationality. This he could
find in Aristotle's view on nature and ethics. For Hegel the Concept alone does express the purposive rationality.
Therefore he writes later in this para: "... in other words, the actual is the same as its Concept only because the
immediate, as purpose, contains the self or pure actuality within itself." The moment of the identity of the concept -
the immediate or PURE actuality - is not separated from its other, from its EXTERNAL actualization. Their assimilation
or mediation process Hegel calls dialectic.
In Hegel’s time of science the idea of
self-moving purpose or a rational cosmos was becoming academic. Reason is intrinsically purposive. This is not, for
Hegel a presupposition. Rather, it is an ongoing rational principle which dialectically proves its point of
purposiveness by its very rational development. Hegel wishes to revert back to the Aristotelian sense of the self
moving Subject. He translates this self moving ‘existence for itself’ as pure negativity, putting a beginning on
purpose. In the ‘concrete actuality’ of what is real, is rational movement. The Self comes into play as ‘self-
referring and self-relating, identity and simplicity.’ Self-consciousness takes over and so too does reflective
thinking. Existence then stands to itself as a self-inflicted sense of purposiveness. Thus the purpose of all this
rational thinking develops its own actuality and its own concreteness. The self reigns supreme in its own
development. All of this then is enveloped by the Hegelian rational developing forms which are not foundational. I,
with my own rational thinking grasp the actuality of ‘telos’ or ‘purpose’ of my thoughts. My existence then is always
on the line in terms of this kind of structural thinking.
--- On Fri, 12/31/10, greuterb@... <greuterb@bluewin.
From: greuterb@... <greuterb@...>
Subject: AW: [hegel] Brief Synopsis of PhdG Preface 1-22
Date: Friday, December 31, 2010, 4:58 PM
Datum: 29.12.2010 01:26
Betreff: [hegel] Brief Synopsis of
PhdG Preface 1-22
(Highlights) First 22 Paragraphs
of reality as structured by
consciousness must lead to universal concepts of this reality, and thus enhance the reality
of the universe.
Hegel offers the `progressive evolution of truth' in his diversity in a philosophical system.
The progression of
evolutionary truths are not just contradictions, but must contain a ceaseless activity of truth with
We must continue the process of philosophical thinking. Philosophical systems die on the vine. We
need a complete
process to arrive at any substantial conclusion.
We are bombarded with the individual moments of
and it is these moments which give us meaningful experience. Hegel seeks a point of movement with these
thoughts of our individual experiences. Hegel seeks cognition of `actual life.'
We have to raise
philosophy to the
level of a scientific system and this is the systematic development of truth. The method in which we
know things must
become a science. . Only within the development of this System can we grasp `the true shape of
finds the means or instrument of its existence in notions' means that these conceptually
developed notions are
cognitive forms of truth; that is, they are logical and empirical developing forms of truth.
This method of seeking
truth differs from the presuppositions of Hegel's day and the dogmas of the day.
therefore decidedly to
be rejuvenated. Fullness of life, the immediacy of belief, and the satisfaction and security
of a reconciled reality
both within and without are all now in the tail end of Aufklärung (Enlightenment) and are
simply seeking rejuvenation,
a rebirth, and even a feeling good effect.
Experience and empirical knowledge have
overtaken all other ideology
and hence the search for more meaningful beliefs .Hegel, of course will offer his PhdG.
Now (in this early nineteenth
century) the natural sciences have burst on to the scene and the sensate or power of
empiricism have taken hold.
Philosophy is a dynamic living spirit. This human spirit must look to Hegel's kind of
science and overcome simple
edification. Hegel's theme is the avoidance of mere edification, that is, simple
instruction, improvement, even moral
The paragraph is a proclamation or invective against the
romanticism and intuitiveness of the day.
The contentment and edification which Hegel refers to is that of these anti-
scientific texts overflowing the
intellectual communities of his day.
We have the spirit of the times, the
Aufklärung (Enlightenment), along with
the old order of things, including perhaps some of the religious doctrines of
the past. There are changes in the air.
Hegel's thesis includes the idea that science is the `crowning' part of
the `spiritual world;' and the `spiritual
world' includes, as the world of Spirit (Geist) , an entire historical and
educational process subject to `revolutions
in manifold forms.'
Hegel makes no bones about pure rational thought
being the king. Consciousness needs the
discipline of the negative and of precise thinking. There is much information
from the past which consciousness must
sift through and make exoteric not esoteric.
Hegel speaks of a type of
Gordian Knot, (`the critical knot which
scientific culture at present struggles to loosen, and about which so far it is
not very clear'). It is an intractable
problem to be solved by a bold stroke. It is a `parade' of sorts between two
factions: one side shows the strength of
the empirical `wealth of its material,' and the other side `intuitive
rationality' with its corresponding divinity.
We need the full `color' representation of reality. Fichte and
Schelling merely offer `such a repetition of the
same formula,' and to boot, they prove nothing. It is old hat and
simply an empty absolute, so to speak. It is `the
shapeless repetition of one and the same idea,' over and over
again. Hegel seeks the developing concrete absolute Idea
(the full development of dialectic thinking).
knowing is the encompassing of the reality of the world by
means of dialectic thinking with the developing reality of
the mind in the process. In the correspondence of the
reality of the other (the world) with the reality of
consciousness an absolute sense of reality has been manifested,
and thus this is the way in which the concept of God is
understood; for God is the ultimate reality for Hegel. The
correspondence of the mind's thoughts with the objects of
the world is actualized by the dialectic process itself.
We can not get to the truth of things unless Substance
and Subject are conjoined, that is, put together, for a
common purpose, perhaps more. This concrete substantiality
requires both a universal and individual perspective,
again, both conjoined.
#18 The subject is a basis for
actuality. It is substance in the sense that it seeks to be
independent of all the structures developed by the sensate
mind. When we speak of substance and subject in the same
breath, Hegel means we have grasped Spirit itself (Geist).
The historical search for knowledge of the divine and
divine intelligence is discussed here. The emphasis is on
knowledge in the Hegelian sense not in a supernaturally
revealed sense etc.
This is one of Hegel's most
fundamental statements. `The truth is the whole' (Miller
translates, `the true is the whole'). It is the reflective
autonomy of self-consciousness' own development of the
whole truth. The subject (self-consciousness) in its rational
development, produces at the end of this self-developing
process, the absolute which is fully actualized.
emphasizes the self conscious method of the `ego for
itself' and the search for identities in thoughts, catching the
moments of immediacy in these identities and
negations, which is the process of simple becoming. This becoming is
Hegel's initial goal.
In Hegel's time of
science the idea of self-moving purpose or a rational cosmos was becoming
academic. Reason is intrinsically purposive.
This is not, for Hegel a presupposition. Rather, it is an ongoing
rational principle which dialectically proves its
point of purposiveness by its very rational development.
Thanks for this summary of the first 22 paras
from the Preface of the PhdG. I think that your comment on para
22 does not fully conceive what Hegel writes there. In
the following I quote the whole para 22 in the original and the
English translation with some comments following:
"22. Das Gesagte kann auch so ausgedrückt werden, daß die Vernunft
das zweckmäßige Tun ist. Die Erhebung der
vermeinten Natur über das mißkannte Denken, und zunächst die Verbannung der
äußern Zweckmäßigkeit hat die Form des
Zwecks überhaupt in Mißkredit gebracht. Allein, wie auch Aristoteles die Natur
als das zweckmäßige Tun bestimmt, der
Zweck ist das Unmittelbare, das Ruhende, welches selbst bewegend oder Subjekt
ist. Seine abstrakte Kraft zu bewegen
ist das Für-sich-sein oder die reine Negativität. Das Resultat ist nur darum
dasselbe, was der Anfang, weil der Anfang
Zweck ist; - oder das Wirkliche ist nur darum dasselbe, was sein Begriff,
weil das Unmittelbare als Zweck das Selbst
oder die reine Wirklichkeit in ihm selbst hat. Der ausgeführte Zweck oder
das daseiende Wirkliche ist die Bewegung und
das entfaltete Werden; eben diese Unruhe aber ist das Selbst; und jener
Unmittelbarkeit und Einfachheit des Anfangs
ist es darum gleich, weil es das Resultat, das in sich Zurückgekehrte, -
das in sich Zurückgekehrte aber eben das
Selbst, und das Selbst die sich auf sich beziehende Gleichheit und Einfachheit
"22. What has been said may also
be expressed by saying that reason is purposive activity. The exaltation of so-
called nature at the expense of thought
misconceived, and more especially the rejection of external purposiveness, have
brought the idea of purpose in general
into disrepute. All the same, in the sense in which Aristotle, too,
characterizes nature as purposive activity,
purpose is the immediate, the undisturbed, the unmoved which is self-
moving; as such it is subject. Its power of
moving, taken abstractly, is its existence for itself, or pure negativity.
The result is the same as the beginning
solely because the beginning is purpose. Stated otherwise, what is actual and
concrete is the same as its inner
principle or notion simply because the immediate qua purpose contains within it the
self or pure actuality. The
realized purpose, or concrete actuality, is movement and development unfolded. But this
very unrest is the self; and
it is one and the same with that immediacy and simplicity characteristic of the beginning
just for the reason that it
is the result, and has returned upon itself-while this latter again is just the self, and
the self is self-referring
and self-relating identity and simplicity."
Regarding the history of philosophy and of
(natural) science the second
sentence in this para is interesting. Hegel writes there:
(1) "The elevation [Erhebung]
of a deficient conception of
nature above unappreciated thought ......": What does this mean? Is it the mechanical view
on nature in the modern
area (i.e. Hobbes, Descartes) against Aristotelian thinking on nature which only with Leibniz
got a renaissance ? Or
is it the Romantic view on nature which also Schelling adhered to neglecting thereby the freedom
and autonomy of
thought which Kant and Fichte had developed in their philosophies? The latter would justify
"exaltation" as the
translation of the German term "Erhebung"
(2) "...... the rejection of external purposiveness,
have brought the idea
of purpose in general into disrepute.": This would suggest that Hegel reminds us of the Romantic
view on nature in
this para. The Romantic view did despise the external purposiveness of nature which for Hegel
nevertheless is an
important moment of reason, that is, of rational activity (see also SL, Doctrine of the Concept).
But then Hegel
proceeds to "the idea of purpose in general" which for him is essential for Aristotle’s view on nature
modern mechanical view.
For Hegel both views on nature (the mechanical and the Romantic) are
inadequate. The first
explains nature only in causal relationships and neglects the self-moving of the subject. The
second has no concept of
the pure negativity of the being-for-itself (the subject) but only positive internal
purposiveness and forces which
govern nature as a whole (exaltation). So, Hegel had to go back to Aristotle, however,
now seen from the freedom of
the subjet as Kant and Fichte have shown.