Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Thoughts Arising from Hegel's Philosophy of Nature

Thoughts Arising from Hegel's Philosophy of Nature

Ratings: (0)|Views: 73 |Likes:
Published by stephen theron
An article of Derrida's stimulated me here, "Speech and Language" in Hegel, the idea of light as the first "ideality" in nature, the superiority of sound over sight as not "braking" the dialectic (an implicit philosophy of music here).......
An article of Derrida's stimulated me here, "Speech and Language" in Hegel, the idea of light as the first "ideality" in nature, the superiority of sound over sight as not "braking" the dialectic (an implicit philosophy of music here).......

More info:

Published by: stephen theron on Apr 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/11/2014

pdf

text

original

 
NATURE, PHILOSOPHY AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF NATUREThoughts Occasioned by Hegel's Philosophy of Nature
1
 Nature has presented itself as the idea in the form of otherness.So Hegel's text here begins. Otherness, one must note, is a specified notion from the
 Logic
,which forms the first part of the
 Encyclopaedia
. There is thus direct continuity. All the sameMcTaggart, great admirer of Hegel's system of logic, could exclaim of his nature philosophy,"What rot it is!"
2
Since in nature the idea is as the negative of itself or is external to itself nature isnot merely external in relation to this idea, but the externality constitutes thedetermination in which nature as nature exists.Here, in 192, and in the next three paragraphs we are given the "preliminary concepts". It isthe reverse of empiricism and, some have said, absurd. They, however, miss Hegel's implicit project, viz. to give the divine viewpoint on things. This is the objective and true viewpoint, by definition, and hence mandatory in philosophy, he considers. It is even thus mandatory if there be no God since, it is shown, Mind cannot be thought as other than absolute. This principle is more basic than its corollary, viz. that Mind
is
absolute. For this "is", andexistence in general, are finite categories of the dialectic in process, as thought is not. Spirit,that is, Mind, is found to be the dialectic's absolute end and termination. As such it is uniquelyabsolute, is "The Concept", as in an older philosophy God is his own act and so not a being atall.The Concept. The Idea, giving in Nature "the negative of itself". This, in Hegel's philosophy,corresponds to
ex nihilo
creation in religion and is thus, in Aristotle's sense, a theology. Self-negation followed by reintegration or 
 Aufhebung 
is a version of the Patristic-Thomistic
exitus
and
reditus
, determinative now of the whole system, i.e.
the
system which philosophy as awhole historically constitutes. This is the only system Hegel was interested in, though of course he makes no claim to have given final or perfect expression to it. Thus it is not asystem as imposed but a view of the whole development of thought. This includes a view of history both sacred and profane as having its own inner, unshakeable necessity called, inreligion, divine providence.
3
If the Idea is "external in itself" (this
defines
nature) it has yet been already established in the
logic
that "the outside is the inside" and
vice versa
. "I came out from my Father and I go tomy Father". Hegel the theology student will have known and meditated life-long on this andother Johannine texts. The
moment 
of nature is necessary in the economy of the Absolute.
1
In particular by the "Preliminary" to Part II ("Philosophy of Nature") of Hegel's
 Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences
(ed. Behler, Heidelberg 1817, as at http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/he…
 
, translated Steven A. Taubeneck), paragraphs 192 to 196.
2
So Peter Geach reports in his study of McTaggart,
Truth, Love and Immortality
, Hutchinson, London 1979.One might think from this text that that is all McTaggart ever had to say about the middle part of Hegel's system.Perusal of his Hegelian writings
 
should correct that impression, however 
.
3
See §193, end.
 
Such necessity, however, is one with the freedom which is infinity, the
 Logic
would make plain.Such externality is itself absolute or objective and not merely how nature is to be viewed "inrelation to the idea". This is the ruin and chaos of nature as it "exists". Yet this is again a finitecategory, from "the doctrine of essence", suggesting in its very etymology a going out (fromhome).In nature no existent individual, and of such it is composed, measures up to its concept, whichis or itself (even) "exists as an inward entity" (193). The individuals constitute"determinations" of the Concept
and nothing else
. Yet they
appear 
isolated from one another in "an indifferent subsistence".
Subsistentia
, we may recall, when "in a rational nature", wasthe Scholastic definition of Person, which yet in Hegel here is connected with "appearance"merely, at least as regards the things of nature. We recall the original meaning of 
 persona
as amere appearance or mask in the antique theatre. This is important as, I would argue, indicativeof an implicit transcendence of notions of individual personality in a true view of immortalityor of what is ever our true being, or idea rather, delivered from finite and temporal views,where we are "members one of another". This is not at all a
reduced 
view of immortality, nor is it novel. Thus in religion life in Christ or, by extension, in the community or "mystical body", has ever been seen as richer by far than life in one's individual self, which is saved by being lost, i.e. we go beyond it. What else is Hegel talking about? He himself says that philosophy "accomplishes" religion. What religion tends to present as arbitrariness in thedivine action finds here its
rationale
and appropriate necessity. "Before Abraham was I am."It is because the Concept exists as an
inward 
entity that nature "exhibits no freedom… butonly necessity and contingency." Nature, that is, has no truth, though it is indeed the
 given
for us. Mind, though, in ascending out of it destroys its fancied truth, as in the OntologicalArgument for God's existence. This "sovereign ingratitude of Reason" of which we read in the
 Logic
in connection with this "proof" is an Hegelian constant. Reason is the reality emergingfrom among shadows.As touching immortality, the platitude that the dead live on in our memory takes on new lifein the Hegelian philosophy. It even coincides with our intuition of immortality, adequately.For the way we live anyway is as "members one of another". We thus "beget one another".
4 
Each I is one with the we, in absolute subjectivity, and thought is prior to being. Memory hasno limits because Reason is absolute, memory the "dark pit" supporting absolute knowledge.Hence, and this is his immediate, prophet-like reaction upon his own thinking, "nature… isnot to be deified." He appears thereby even to deny that natural things are the "works of God", but he denies only that they would be this in a sense "more excellent than human actions andevents." Events are equally God's "works", we may note. Nature indeed in itself or "in theidea" (note the equivalence) "is divine". Yet "in the specific mode by which it is nature it issuspended." As St. Paul put it, it "groans and travails, waiting for redemption", and Hegel wassurely thinking of this dramatic text from
 Romans
. "As it is, the being of nature does notcorrespond to its concept."Here we have again the direct inversion of the usual correspondence theory of truth,
adaequatio mentis rebus
, leading to Hegel's concluding that "its existing actuality", i.e.nature's, which he in a sense concedes, yet "has no truth". Again we have to return to St. Paul(though also Plato) for anything similar. "The things which are seen are temporal, the thingswhich are not seen are eternal."All that is seen, therefore, is external, "temporal", less than ideal and so untruth, to beovercome. Such is nature, out of which we mentally make a harmony, gardening enshrining initself, however, the "noospherical" transformations of technology, of Reason rather, lifeyielding to the Idea it had attempted to first embody. Thus we discover the
content 
, Reason,
4
Cf. Theron, "Begotten not Made",
The Downside Review
, January 2006, pp. 1-21.
 
mind thinking itself purely, in art, in religion, in, finally, philosophy. Such thinking "means aliberation… As existing in an individual form, this liberation is called I… free Spirit…Love… Blessedness." Such is Hegelian "rationalism".
5
This nature though is nature withoutthe dust: Nature in itself in the idea is divine, but in the specific mode by which it isnature it is suspended (193).This is why "the ancients conceived of matter in general as the
non-ens
." Its "absolute essenceis the negative", Hegel says of the being of nature in general. In nature the Idea "is as thenegative of itself", i.e. it is "external to itself", not merely "in relation to this Idea", as wemight think of the first Trinitarian procession, in Hegel's view of it, but an externality proper to nature as a suspended existence. By use of this term "suspended" Hegel wishes to speak 
absolutely
of nature as "time-conditioned". For since time is
 , via
the mediation of space, thedetermination of nature as nature Hegel cannot without circularity say that
this
process istime-conditioned. Time, rather, is the sign or manifestation of suspension. "The things whichare
 seen
are temporal" or, as Plato put it, they "both are and are not".In this externality the determinations of the concept have
the appearance
of anindifferent substance and isolation in regards to each other (193, my stress).Sight, therefore, as seeming to posit substance inherently,
qua
outward sense, pretends to"brake" the
 
dialectic
6
, which is impossible, a contradiction. Hence Hegel, in his psychology(
 Philosophy of Spirit, Enc. III 
), will place hearing above sight as more in harmony(!) with the
inwardness
of the concept, which "exists as an inward entity".To the sense of individuality belongs that subjectivity which, as purely self-demonstrating subjectivity, is tone (281, 1817 text).Hegel writes this while still speaking of an animal life merely. Here we see the identity of the
whole
tripartite dialectic with an absolute subjectivity which is in fact the "I". Such universal participation is specifically and alone immortality. It is the true and abiding self, in other words, as the "individual" is not. Indeed, the individual is not, simply, so there is no loss or restriction here. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (
 Philippians
). Hegelwill have had this famous
kenosis
text, to which he often refers, in mind. The "self-emptying",the
 Aufhebung 
of individuality, in love, simply
is
(the passing over to) the exaltation to"lordship", to freedom. The "lord", unlike the "master" of the
 Phenomenology
, is free, as "allin all" having no subjects, "free among the dead".It is after all through hearing and tone that
language
is born and so Hegel will give priority tospoken language over written, as he will to alphabetic (a remembered phonology specifically)over hieroglyphic writing. Nature has "no freedom in its existence"
 just because
it is not "inward". The concept, that is tosay reality, ultimately exists, is actual, as inward (192). Inward to what, in such case? Well,here we see the finitude of spatial metaphor, such that the outside is inward, the
truth
of nature is there to be seen on the surface. Truth itself, we might more generally say, as being's
 sheen
, is the reality (the truth) of being, as inward, as
 spoken
even. That is, reality
is
self-
5
Hegel,
 Encyclopaedia, The Science of Logic
(tr. Wallace), 159, wrapping up the doctrine of essence. Regardingthe
 Logic,
paragraph numbers etc. are from the second edition of 1827, ten years after the original
 Encyclopaedia
appeared which is used here for the philosophy of nature.
6
Cf. Jacques Derrida (1971), "Speech and Writing according to Hegel", in
G.W.F. Hegel, Critical Assessments
,ed. Robert Stern, Routledge, London 1993.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->