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Hegel's Idealism: Prospects

  • Robert B. Pippin


First of all, I am very grateful to both commentators for the attention they have devoted to Hegel's Idealism; I am heartened by the kind words and humbled by the magnitude of the problems introduced by their criticisms. These criticisms both rightly refer to what is the heart of my interpretation, the Kant-Hegel relation, and, interestingly enough, raise objections from roughly opposite directions. Professor Pinkard, in effect, charges that I have made too much of that relation and thereby confused transcendental and speculative concerns. He argues here, as he does at greater length in his recent book (Hegel's Dialectic: The Explanation of Possibility), that the philosophically valuable core of Hegel is a ‘category theory’ limited to an ‘explanation’ of the conceptual ‘possibility’ of various judgments, practices, institutions, etc. Professor Harris charges, on the other hand (and with some irony), that I have made too little of the Kant-Hegel relation, or have construed it too narrowly, that the interpretation of Hegel's idealism which I provide thus either unfairly neglects, or does not have the resources to deal with, Hegel's full theory of the ‘whole’, or of Absolute Spirit, his account of the modern community's reconciliation with itself in time. I am thus alleged to have provided an interpretation that is at once too ambitious, and not ambitious enough, and I hope that such responses, at least for the Aristotelians in the audience, count as prima facie evidence that I must have said just the right thing.

My claim in Hegel's Idealism is that the well-known Hegel Renaissance, in post-war Western Europe especially, has still failed to produce a contemporary reconstruction of Hegel's fundamental position, his ‘identity theory’, his identifying the ‘self-actualization’ of the Notion with ‘actuality’, or his theory of the reality of the Absolute Idea.


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Hegel Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2051-5367
  • EISSN: 2051-5375
  • URL: /core/journals/hegel-bulletin
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