14-16 April, 2017
University Club123 University PlaceUniversity of Pittsburgh
'Spinoza and Kant at the Transition to the Begriffslogik: Arguing for and against Systems of Philosophy'
'Life and the Space of Reasons: On Hegel’s Subjective Logic'
This paper defends Hegel’s positive contribution in the Subjective Logic and argues that it can be understood as presenting a compelling account of the space of reasons as a form of second nature. Taking Hegel’s praise of Kant’s conception of internal purposiveness and its connection to what he calls the Idea as a point of departure, I argue that Hegel’s theory of the Idea that concludes the Science of Logic must be understood in direct reference to Kant’s argument in the third Critique that the principle of purposiveness defines the space of judgment’s power. I take up two central arguments from the Subjective Logic that help to understand Hegel’s appropriation and transformation of Kant’s purposiveness thesis. The first is Hegel’s contention that internal purposiveness (exhibited in the form and activity of organic life) must have primacy over external purposiveness (exhibited by the designer/artifact model) when considered in relation to judgment. The second is Hegel’s presentation of a logical concept of life as the immediate form of the Idea. In this context, I develop two lines of argument in particular: first, that what Hegel calls “the original judgment of life (das ursprüngliche Urteil des Lebens)” establishes life as the ground and first actuality of judgment; and second, that the logical concept of life establishes a set of form-constraints for the actualization of self-conscious cognition and its acts of judgment.
'Hegel on Life as a Logical Concept'
The question at issue is the status of the difference between living and nonliving beings, an issue that gained in importance in the late eighteenth century when Kant, in his Critique of Judgment (1790), in effect admitted that his earlier critical philosophy had not “grounded” such a distinction as a pure or categorical distinction, knowable as such a priori, and that this omission was unacceptable. But for Hegel, in his Science of Logic (1812-1816), Kant’s attempt to argue for some sort of “objective” status to the distinction, and so to teleological judgments, failed. Hegel’s analysis of this failure and his own attempt to justify the non-empirical and objective status of the distinction are the topics discussed in this paper.
'Hegel’s treatment of predication considered in the light of a logic for the actual world'
For many recent readers of Hegel, Wilfrid Sellars’s 1956 London lectures on the “Myth of the Given” have signaled an important rapprochement between Hegelian and analytic traditions in philosophy. Here I want to explore the ideas of another philosopher, also active in London in the 1950s, who consciously pursued such a goal: John N. Findlay. The ideas that Findlay brought to Hegel—sometimes converging with, sometimes diverging from those of Sellars—had been informed by his earlier study of the Austrian philosopher Alexius Meinong, and transformations of Meinong’s ideas by his student, the logician Ernst Mally.
These ideas that Findlay found Hegel-friendly are ones that have had a particular bearing on more recent analytic modal metaphysics, especially via the work of Findlay’s own former student, Arthur Prior. Given this, we might not be surprised at the similarities between the type of actualist interpretation of modal logic that Prior offered in opposition to David Lewis’s variant on Leibnizian possibilism, and Hegel’s approach to the category of “Actuality” [Wirklichkeit] at the end of the Objective Logic of The Science of Logic. But the similarities, I suggest, do not end there, as elements of Hegel treatment of predication in the Subjective Logic parallel similar elements found in the work of Mally and, more recently, “modal actualists” such as Prior and Stalnaker. In this paper I explore some puzzling features of Hegel’s treatment of predication in the Subjective Logic from the point of view of the need for a logic for thought about the modally complex actual world, as Hegel conceived it.
'The Subject of Thinking in the Absolute Idea'
'Pluralism without Externality, History without Time'
In this paper I consider the issue of Hegel’s stance on what Adrian Moore has called ‘absolute representations.’ In Moore’s sense of that term, an absolute representation is one that does not depend on any particular point of view, and can be simply added to any other representation directly, without first having to state the point of view from which the second representation obtains. One fundamental problem in understanding the import of Hegel’s Logic as a whole is to understand the relation between perspective and absoluteness in the method that goes by the name ‘the absolute idea.’ In the first section I argue for the claim that perspective is maintained, even in the absolute idea, which generates the task of understanding the nature of that perspective and its compatibility with absoluteness. In the second section I attempt to accomplish this task by characterizing that perspectival character in reciprocal and dynamic terms, so that absoluteness takes the form of a structured round of perspectives rather than a relation “once and for all” to reality. But this then generates the problem of understanding how a round or movement could have a place in Hegel’s famously atemporal logic, which I briefly discuss in the third section. Then, in the fourth section, I attempt to interpret this atemporal dynamic by means of Reinhart Koselleck’s conception of Zeitschichten or temporal layers, and contrast this view with the Kantian interpretation of logical categories advanced by Sebastian Rödl. It turns out that Hegelian logical concepts have an essentially historical reference instead of an essentially temporal reference, and I conclude with some brief remarks as to the significance of this difference.