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Table of Contents
                            Cover
Hegel and the Metaphysics of Absolute Negativity
Series
Title
Copyright
Contents
Acknowledgments
A note on citations and translations
Abbreviations
Introduction: “A completely altered view of logic"
	0.1. Hegel’s metaphysical project
	0.2. The argument of this book
		0.2.1. Absolute negativity as the essence of the Hegelian Concept
		0.2.2. The critique of finite cognition
		0.2.3 Kant and Spinoza: the metaphysics of intentionality meets the metaphysics of substance
		0.2.4. Absolute negativity and the history of logic
1 The Hegelian Concept, absolute negativity, and the transformation of philosophical critique
	1.1. Introduction
	1.2. Kant’s and Jacobi’s challenge to rationalism and Hegel’s response
	1.3. The Hegelian Concept and the transformation of the categorial structure of intelligibility
		1.3.1 The science of logic as a critique of categorial thought
		1.3.2 Horstmann’s analysis of the Hegelian Concept as a relation of relations
		1.3.3 The role of the Hegelian Concept in constructing a positively determinate absolute
	1.4. The logic of absolute negativity and the transformation of the demonstrative ideal
		1.4.1 Jacobi’s critique of “Spinozism” and its legacy in Fichte and Hegel
		1.4.2 Henrich’s analysis of autonomous negation and its identity with the Concept
		1.4.3 Hegelian terminology as representing modes of negativity
		1.4.4 The refutation of Spinozism and the critical self-consciousness of finite cognition
		1.4.5 The origin of finite cognition and Hegel’s transformation of the concept of critique
2 Hegel’s complex relationship to “pre-Kantian” metaphysics
	2.1. Introduction
	2.2. The legacy of Christian Wolff
	2.3. Hegel’s conception of the metaphysics of the understanding and its Kantian background
		2.3.1 Kant on reason and the understanding: a brief review
		2.3.2 The metaphysics of the understanding and the categorial view of reality
	2.4. The metaphysical origin and structure of the understanding
	2.5. Hegel’s critique of the metaphysics of the understanding
	2.6. The aporiae of pre-Kantian metaphysics and their re-emergence in Kant and Jacobi
	2.7. Kant and Jacobi between the finite metaphysics of the understanding and the speculative metaphysics of reason
3 Hegelian skepticism and the idealism of the finite
	3.1. Introduction
	3.2. The post-Kantian preconceptions of Hegel’s Kant reception
	3.3. Hegel’s rejection of Kantian subjectivism
	3.4. Hegel’s rejection of transcendental idealism: the realist dimension
	3.5. Hegel on the non-being of the finite: objective idealism and the limits of McDowell’s realist interpretation
	3.6. Kant’s monism of mere appearances: transcendental idealism versus Spinozism
	3.7. “Truth” versus “correctness”: is there adequate ground for true determinate judgments about finite objects?
	3.8. Hegel’s unmitigated skepticism regarding the finite thought-determinations and the shortcomings of Kant’s critique of meta
	3.9. “The critical philosophy is an imperfect form of skepticism”
4 Skeptical implications for the foundations of natural science
	4.1. Introduction
	4.2. Relation-to-other, relation-to-self, self-externality: the terms of Hegel’s critique of empirical science
	4.3. The limitations of empirical science and the real nomological underdetermination of nature
	4.4. Hegel’s critical analysis of the notion of “laws of nature”
	4.5. Natural science as a stage within the life of the Concept
5 The methodology of finite cognition and the ideal of mathematical rigor
	5.1. Introduction
	5.2. Jacobi’s critique of rationalism and the methodological ideal of the mos geometricus
	5.3. Hegel’s appropriation of Jacobi’s critique: a problem and its solution
	5.4. Hegel on the rigor of Euclidean geometry
	5.5. The deductive order of Euclidean geometry and the place of real definitions
	5.6. Geometry as a form of the rational existence of the idea
	5.7. Preliminary result of this discussion: geometrical cognition, speculative cognition, and the structure of the Hegelian concept
	5.8. Hegel’s critique of the geometric method
6 Die Sache selbst: Absolute negativity and Hegel’s speculative logic content
	6.1. Introduction
	6.2. The traditional concepts of formal and objective reality and their usefulness for analyzing Hegel’s talk of substance and subject
	6.3. Kant, the structure of apperception, and the problematic relation of the sensible manifold to objective reality
	6.4. The sensible manifold and the concept of truth as correspondence
	6.5. Hegel’s hypothesis: the extra-mental reality of Conceptual structure
	6.6. Hegel versus Spinoza and Kant: towards a more satisfying model of determinate substance and determinate consciousness
	6.7. Self-determination and the absolutely negative spontaneity of the Concept
	6.8. Hegel, Schellingian Naturphilosophie, and the solution to the problem of the sensible manifold
	6.9. Hegel’s speculative logic of content: from appearance to reality, and back again
7 Absolute negation and the history of logic
	7.1. “The true is the whole”
	7.2. Hegel’s place in the history of thought on negation
	7.3. Autonomous negation and classical logic
	7.4. Conclusion: absolute negativity and Hegel’s “completely altered view of logic”
Works cited
	Primary sources: classical German philosophy
	Secondary literature and other primary sources
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 1

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Page 149

Hegel’s unmitigated skepticism 131

is no effective defense against agrippa’s skeptical onslaught. there are,
however, two different possible responses to this state of things. either
one concedes that “the concept of knowledge proper to the under-
standing’s finite thinking is deficient and thus in need of correction,”
in which case prospects for a revised conception within the framework
of “finite thought” remain open. alternatively, one concedes that “the
concept of knowledge proper to the finite thought of the understand-
ing is deficient,” but explains this deficiency as arising from the fact
that “finite cognition itself is intrinsically aporetic and antinomial in
its very constitution.” i agree with Heidemann that “Hegel argues for
the second implication and takes up a skeptical position with regard to
the understanding’s epistemic potentials, since on his view the contra-
dictions that the tropes reveal in deductively or inferentially justified
cognition are both unavoidable and irresolvable.”60

i take this to mean that even if we are willing to grant that Hegel
succeeds in establishing a form of speculative knowledge immune to
pyrrhonian skepticism, the critical process of generating and justifying
it does not eo ipso justify the internal coherence and objective validity
of the finite forms of knowledge. for part of what sublation entails is a
transformation of the content or intension of the forms thus criticized
and sublated. therefore even the relative validity or adequacy of those
forms as moments of the concept is bound up with a substantial shift
in content, and hence what has come to be justified (sit venia verbo) is
no longer the same concept or category that was in play for the finite
understanding. though the conclusion of the Phenomenology has often
been taken to imply that Hegel pulls up his phenomenological “lad-
der” behind him, so to speak, so that it is available to be traversed in
both directions, up and down, i suggest that the more consistent view
(regardless of whether Hegel consciously held it or not) is closer to the
ladder of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus that we cast away after ascending by
it, with no way back down but also no longing to descend. granting
then for the sake of argument that Hegel’s genetic exposition of abso-
lute knowing or of the absolute idea succeeds, the resulting insight
into speculative truth does not equip us with knowledge of why we
were in fact always right in holding reality to conform to the forms of
finite cognition, but only of the way those forms were themselves more
or less distorted manifestations of the reality of the concept.

60 Heidemann, Begriff des Skeptizismus, 174–75.

Page 150

Hegelian skepticism and the idealism of the finite132

3.9. “the critical philosophy is an imperfect
form of skepticism”

this analysis leaves no room for interpretations of Hegel as striving to
vindicate, perhaps by means of some variety of transcendental argu-
ment, the necessity and objectivity of the categories that make up
the finite thought of the understanding. Hegel simply does not view
authentic, pyrrhonian-style skepticism as a problem to be overcome,
at least not in the sense that kant presumably found Humean skep-
ticism to be such a problem, or in the sense that contemporary epis-
temologists confront the problem of skepticism. By the same token,
overcoming kant’s noumenal or transcendental skepticism is not the
same thing as refuting doubts about the real objective import of the
categories. this kind of doubt, which has its source in realist intuitions
about the metaphysical difference between thought and being, is in
fact a means of shoring up the forms of finite thought as a perhaps
contingent, but nevertheless for us non-optional, indispensible con-
ceptual scheme.

“Philosophia critica … imperfecta est Scepticismi forma” (gW 5:227),
Hegel states in his seventh habilitation thesis. that he should char-
acterize transcendental idealism as a form of skepticism is not sur-
prising: the gap opened between things in themselves and objective
experience as constituted by the categories is the core of kant’s nou-
menal skepticism. But in light of the foregoing, we can now also see
why Hegel describes the critical philosophy as an imperfect form of skep-
ticism. as kant himself argues, one powerful reason for distinguishing
between mere appearances and things in themselves, and for restrict-
ing determinate cognition to the former, emerges from reflection on
the antinomies of pure reason: for if the assumption of the transcen-
dental ideality of the spatio-temporal objects of cognition is necessary
and sufficient for resolving the contradictions that arise within reason
itself in its pursuit of determinate knowledge of the unconditioned,
then this fact speaks strongly, albeit indirectly, in favor of the truth of
that assumption (cf. Bxx–xxi; 534–35).

Hence the result of distinguishing between things in themselves
and appearances as comprehending only what is conditioned is to
segregate a sphere in which the categories can be employed mean-
ingfully and without contradiction from one in which they cannot
be so employed, effectively insulating them from the contradictions
that arise when the categories are taken to be ontological as well as

Page 297

Index 279

self-determination, 20, 57, 206, 211, 222,
224

self-externality, 13, 16, 134, 141–2, 150,
155, 170, 182, 187–93, 197–9,
241–2, 252, 258

sensation, 82, 110, 138–9, 140, 236,
see also sensible manifold

deduction of (in Fichte and Schelling),
228

and matter (in Schelling), 229
sense certainty, 140, 233–4
sensible manifold, 10, 21–3, 37, 88,

113–14, 149, 178, 201, 208, 211–13,
219, 227, 231, 233–5

Sextus empiricus, 130
Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper,

3rd earle of, 70
Shein, noa, 221
Sinclair, Isaak von, 103
skepticism, 14, 102–3, 126, 129–30, 133,

136–7, 140, 143, 156–7, 162, 222–3,
245

space, 11, 25, 117–18, 122, 198, 228,
231–2

and geometry, 174, 179, 197, 199
subjective character of, 112

speculative sentence, 251–4
Spinoza, Benedict de, 87, 163, 249, 257

and acosmism, 189
and asymmetricalism, 243
Hegel’s work on German edition, 71
impact on post-Kantian philosophy, 3,

45–6, 116, 217, 255
and indeterminateness of substance,

19–20, 220–1, 242
and mos geometricus, 44
and nihilism, 116–17, 227
on parallelism, 203–5, 213
on real definition, 179
on reason and cause, 45
and Science of Logic, 46–8
on truth, 247–8

Spinozism, 9, 29, 45, 47–8, 56, 87, 116,
117, 159, 217, 255

spirit, 57, 60, 80–1, 127, 168–9, 232–4
finite, 38, 84
philosophy of, 35, 108, 216

spontaneity, 37, 72–3, 102, 112–13,
139–41, 155, 208–14, 216, 223–4,
226, 228, 242

Stekeler-Weithofer, Pirmin, 235,
247

Stern, Robert, 4, 7, 15, 33, 86, 102–3,
108–9, 115, 144, 238

Strawson, Peter Frederick, 7
structuralism, 163, 187
Suarez, Francisco, 92, 202

subjectivity, 20, 218, 220, 227, 229–30,
252

finite, 46, 166, 234, 235, 256
monism of, 29, 37, 43, 56
and substantiality, 47, 234, 238

sublation, 7, 41, 56–7, 131, 167, 170, 231
dependent on absolute negation, 55

substance, see also monism
and Concept, 47
definition of (in Spinoza), 34
and formal reality, 17, 18
and subject, 18, 20, 23, 87, 201, 216,

217, 221–4, 231, 234, 236, 238,
242

as subject, 47
as truth of finite things, 56

substance-kind, 144, 145
substantia phaenomenon, 103
substantiality, 103, 227, 234

determinate, 224
and formal reality, 237
and immediacy, 216
as immediacy, 217, 226
and Sachhaltigkeit, 215

sufficient reason, principle of, 28, 30–1,
44

supreme being, see God
symmetricalism, 24, 242–3,

see also negation
Szabó, Árpád, 197

tautology, 30, 145, 153–4, 160, 166, 169,
199–200, 252

taxonomy, 143, 174
theology, 4, 67

ontotheology, 203
rational, 34, 67, 77–8, 86, 93, 118

thinghood, 12, 17, 36, 74, 77, 84–6,
219–20

things-in-themselves, 5, 17, 19–21, 38,
86, 90, 111, 113–14, 123–4, 128–9,
132–3, 162, 207, 212, 229, 236,
238

Thompson, evan, 48, 193
thoroughgoing determination, principle

of, 121, 127, 156
thought and being, identity of, 205–7
thought-determinations, finite, 6, 7, 33–4,

38–42, 54, 58–61, 78, 86, 92, 109,
127, 133, 160, 173, 180, 195, 198,
218, 235

time, 90, 121, 123, 228, 231–4
ideality of, 11, 112, 128
as “truth” of space, 231

transcendental affinity, 3, 201
Trendelenburg, Friedrich Adolf, 42, 43
true, the, see truth

Page 298

Index280

truth, 6, 9–14, 29, 31, 63, 85–6, 91, 104,
130–1, 137, 140, 150, 172–3, 177,
203, 211, 214, 216, 218, 223, 237,
240

absolute, 187
and beauty, 256
“Cartesian theory of,” 207
and cognition, 64
and content, 17, 28, 35, 43, 215
as correspondence, 18, 126, 207, 210–14,

240
between the Concept and its reality,

126
definition of (in Kant), 110
versus explanatory power, 152
of finite determinate judgments, 125–8
and finite thought determinations, 82
inexpressible by form of judgment, 91
levels of, 150
of mathematical axioms, 175, 197
necessitates knowledge of the true,

240
standard of itself and of falsity, 247
as tautology, 30
as the whole, 24, 127, 216, 218, 239–41

Tschirnhaus, ehrenfried Walther von,
66, 92

unconditioned (the), 1, 16, 26, 28, 31,
44, 63–4, 76–84, 91–6, 98–103,
112, 115–17, 132–3, 165, 168, 227,
see also categories

underdetermination, 15, 103, 128, 142,
153–4, 163, 206

understanding
and absolute negativity, 234–5
as the becoming of rationality, 237
identical with the determinateness of

substance, 221
and judgment, 22, 73
in Kant, 72–5
and its legitimate demand for a

“ladder” to the speculative
standpoint, 216

logic of, 1, 9, 250
necessary genesis of, 235
and objectification, 86–7
versus reason, 72, 75–6

spontaneity of, 72
two basic conditions of, 63, 80–1, 83–6

universality, 35, 110, 143–4, 150–1, 154–5,
182

abstract, 32, 35, 90, 110, 138, 197
concrete, 138
determinate, 237

Utz, Konrad, 219

vagueness in nature, 15
Van Cleve, James, 123
Van Fraassen, Bas, 145, 163
Varela, Francisco, 193
Verstandesmetaphysik, see metaphysics of the

understanding
Vieweg, Klaus, 128
Vorstellung, see representation

Watkins, eric, 4, 119, 121, 208, 223
Weber, Max, 155
Weigel, erhard, 66
Welsch, Wolfgang, 193
Westphal, Kenneth, 114, 128, 217
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 131, 225, 243
Wolff, Christian, 65–72, 77, 87, 91–3, 107,

158, 176
alleged atheism, 159
and Aristotelianism, 67
conception of scienticity, 71, 171
definition of philosophy, 88
his systematicity renewed by Kant and

German Idealists, 71
impact on German philosophy and

culture, 62–3, 65–7
impact on logic textbooks in Germany,

68
and mathematics, 66, 69
on mos geometricus, 171
on possibilia, 87, 88
on principle of thoroughgoing

determination, 127
on real definition, 177
reception of predecessors, 66
relation to Hegel, 10–11, 62–3, 69
relation to Kant, 65

Wolff, Michael, 89
Wood, Allen, 118, 258
Wundt, Max, 65

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