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5 - Hegel’s Logic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2009

Frederick C. Beiser
Affiliation:
Indiana University
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Summary

Hegel's Science of Logic does not enjoy the best of reputations. It is invariably criticized for being obscure and impenetrable, or it is simply ignored altogether, as if it had never been written in the first place. Allen Wood speaks for many who have read some of Hegel's dense and difficult text when he maintains that the philosophical paradoxes explored in it are frequently based on “shallow sophistries” and that the resolution to such paradoxes supplied by Hegel's system is often “artificial and unilluminating”. With even friends of Hegel, such as Wood, dismissing the Logic in this way, it is hardly surprising that (as Wood notes) “Hegel's system of dialectical logic has never won acceptance outside an isolated and dwindling tradition of incorrigible enthusiasts”.

In the eyes of such enthusiasts, however - who include, for example, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Dieter Henrich, Jean Hyppolite, and John Burbidge - Hegel's Logic is by no means shallow or sophistical, but is one of the most subtle and profound works of philosophy ever produced. My aim in this chapter is to shed light on the distinctive purpose and method of Hegelian logic in the hope of enabling many more readers than hitherto to discover that subtlety and profundity for themselves.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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