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Nature and the Dialectic of Nature in Hegel's Objective Idealism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2015

Dieter Wandschneider*
Affiliation:
Philosophisches Institut, Aachen
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Extract

When the Ideal is understood as ontologically fundamental within the framework of an idealistic system, and the Real, on the other hand, as derived, then the first and foremost task of a philosophy of this kind is to prove the claimed fundamentally of the Ideal. This is immediately followed by the further demand to also substantiate on this basis the existence of the Real and particularly of natural being. These tasks have been understood and attempts made to solve them in very different ways in German Idealism - about which I cannot go into more detail here. Let me say this much: that Fichte and Schelling, it appears to me, already fail at the first task, ie. neither Fichte nor Schelling really succeeds in substantiating their pretended ideal as an absolute principle of philosophy. Fichte believes he has such a principle in the direct evidence of the self. However, as this is of little use for the foundation of a generally binding philosophy because of its ultimately private character, Fichte already replaces it with the principle of the absolute self already in his first Wissenschaftlehre of 1794. As a construction detached from the concrete self, this of course lacks that original direct certainty from which Fichte started in the first place, in other words: because the construction of an absolute self can no longer refer to direct evidence, it must be substantiated separately, something which Fichte, I believe, nonetheless fails to do. The same criticism can, in my view, be made of Schelling, who ingeniously substitutes constructions for arguments. His early intuition of an absolute identity which simultaneously underlies spirit and nature, remains just as thetic and unproven as that eternal subject on which he based the representation of his system in, for example, the Munich lectures of 1827.

Type
Hegel's Metaphysics of Nature
Copyright
Copyright © The Hegel Society of Great Britain 1992

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References

1 Cf J G Fichte, Werke, Gesamtausgabe der Bayrischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, ed R Lauth and H Jacob, Stuttgart 1965. Vol I, 2; eg. p 388 f, 395 f, 399, 404 f, 409 f (or: Fichtes Werke, ed I E Fichte, 1834-1846, Vol 1, eg. p 251, 260, 264, 271, 277).

2 Hegel, , Werke, ed Glockner, Hermann, Stuttgart 1955 ffGoogle Scholar (or SW = Hegel, , Suhrkamp-Werkaiisgahe, ed Moldenhauer, Eva und Michel, Karl Markus, Frankfurt a.M. 1969 ffGoogle Scholar), cf eg. Vo. 5, p 351 f (SW 6.572), Vol 8, § 237 and add (SW 8 § 237 and add), vol 8, § 242 f (SWS § 242 f); “add” indicates the “addenda”. All Hegel citations without the original italics.

3 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 4, p 58 Google Scholar (SW 5.56).

4 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p. 5 Google Scholar (SW 6.245).

5 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 25 Google Scholar (SW 6.264).

6 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 328 Google Scholar (SW 6.549).

7 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 352 Google Scholar (SW 6.572).

8 Hegel, , Werke. Vol 5, p 348 Google Scholar (SW 6.569).

9 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 351 fGoogle Scholar (SW6.572).

10 Hegel, , Werke, all Vol 5, p 350 Google Scholar (SW 6.570); cf also p 351 (SW 6.571).

11 Cf eg. Apel, K-O, Transformation der Philosphie, Vol 2, Frankfurt a.M. 1973 Google Scholar; Kuhlmann, W, Reflexive Letztbegründung, Freiburg, Munich 1985 Google Scholar; Wandschneider, D, “Die Absolutheit des Logischen und das Sein der Natur”, in Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, Vol 39 (1985), p 331351 Google Scholar; Hösle, V, Die Krise der Gegenwart und die Verantwortung der Philosophie, Munich 1990 Google Scholar.

12 Cf D Wandschneider, “Die Absolutheit des Logischen …”, loc cit p 333 f.

13 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 352 Google Scholar (SW 6.573).

14 Thus Braun, H, “Zur Interpretation der Hegeischen Wendung: frei entlassen” in: Hegel, , L'esprit objectif, l'unité de l'histoire, Lille 1970 Google Scholar; taken up again in Falkenburg, B, Die Form der Materie. Frankfurt a.M. 1987, p 132, 141 ffGoogle Scholar.

15 D Wandschneider, “Die Absolutheit des Logischen…”, loc cit; furthermore D Wandschneider, “Das Problem der Entäußerung der Idee zur Natur bei Hegel”, in Hegel-Jahrbuch 1990, p 25-33.

16 Eg. Hegel, , Werke, Vol 4, p 127 fGoogle Scholar (SW 5.121), Vol 4, p 634 (SW 6.159), Vol 19, p 374 f (SW 20.164); Spinoza reference in Hösle, V, Hegels System. Hamburg 1987, Vol 1, p 195 Google Scholar.

17 Cf on this point also Hegel's formulation: “Because it is in itself totality, the individual circle therefore also breaks through the limit of its element and establishes a further sphere; the whole therefore appears as a circle of circles, each of which is a necessary moment, so that that system of their characteristic elements makes up the whole idea, which equally appears in each individual one” ( Hegel, , Werke, Vol 8, p 61 Google Scholar (SW 8.60)).

18 D Wandschneider, “Das Problem der Entäußerung…”, loc cit, p 29.

19 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 31 Google Scholar add (SW 9.10 add).

20 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 48 Google Scholar add. (W9.23 add).

21 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 50 Google Scholar add (SW 9.25 add).

22 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 49 Google Scholar (SW 9.24).

23 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 54 Google Scholar (SW 9.28).

24 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 720 Google Scholar add (SW 9.538 add.); cf also Vol 9, p 65 add (SW 9.37 add), Vol 10, p 54 f add (SW 10.45 add).

25 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 10, p 29 Google Scholar add (SW 10.24 add).

26 Hegel, , Werke, all Vol 9, p 58 Google Scholar (SW 9.31 ).

27 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 58 Google Scholar (W9.31).

28 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 59 Google Scholar add (SW 9.32 add); cf p 67 add (SW 9.38 add).

29 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 466 Google Scholar, add (SW9349 add); cf p 59 f add (SW 9.32 add).

30 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 59 Google Scholar (SW 9.31 ); cf also Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 69 Google Scholar add (SW 9.40 add).

31 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 65 Google Scholar (SW9.37 add).

32 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 10, p 28 fGoogle Scholar add (SW 10.24 add), p 36 f add (SW 10.30 add).

33 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 66 Google Scholar add (SW 9.37 add), p 59 (SW 9.31 ).

34 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 71 Google Scholar (SW 9.41 ).

35 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 74 Google Scholar (SW9.44).

36 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 74 Google Scholar (SW 9.44).

37 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 74 Google Scholar (SW9.45).

38 Wandschneider, D, “Dialektik als antinomische Logik”, in: Hegel-Jahrbuch 1991, p 227242 Google Scholar.

39 Concepts enclosed in the angles ‹…› are intended to indicate in the following that it is a question of the categories themselves, ie. their lexical content, not what is categorized by them. ‹Space›, eg. stands for the meaning “space”, not for space as an entity.

40 It should be noted that “separateness” (“das Außereinandersein”) - and by analogy “pointness” - is not a separate being among other separate beings here, but the abstract noun “separateness” which as such has singular character; it is hence like “redness” or “red colour” in comparison to the plurality of red things.

41 “Separateness” and “outsideness” are always used synonymously here. The expression “separateness” is thus actually already sufficient, but linguistically possibly misleading with reference to the point: as if the point were separate “in itself”.

42 Cf Wandschneider, D, “Das Antinomienproblem und seine pragmatische Dimension”, in PRAGMATIK, ed Stachowiak, H, Hamburg 1986 ff, Vol 4 Google Scholar.

43 Cf D Wandschneider, “Das Antinomienproblem…”, loc cit.

44 Eg. Hegel, , Werke, Vol 5, p 99 fGoogle Scholar (SW 5.94).

45 For a more detailed discussion on this point D Wandschneider, “Dialektik als antinomische Logik…”, loc cit.

46 Cf on this point V.Hösle, Hegels System, loc cit p 72 ff, 100 f.

47 On this point Wandschneider, D and Hösle, V, “Die Entäußerung der Idee zur Natur und ihre zeitliche Entfaltung als Geist”, in Hegel-Studien, Vol 18 (1983), p 173199 Google Scholar.

48 Eg. Wandschneider, D, Raum, Zeit, Relativität. Grundbestimmungen der Physik in der Perspektive der Hegeischen Naturphilosophie, Frankfurt a.M. 1982 Google Scholar; Wandschneider, D, “Anfänge des Seelischen in der Natur in der Deutung der hegelschen Naturphilosophie und in systemtheoretischer Rekonstruktion”, in Petry, M J (ed), Hegel und die Naturwissenschaften, Stuttgart 1987, p 443467 Google Scholar.

49 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 37 Google Scholar (SW 9.15); cf also p 43 ff add (SW 9.20 f add).

50 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 45 Google Scholar add (SW 9.21 add).

51 Nevertheless, something similar is mentioned by Hegel in the Logic; he speaks of physical laws as a “mathematics of nature” ( Hegel, , Werke, Vol 4, p 425 fGoogle Scholar (SW 5.406)), which, for its part, still has to be caught up on by philosophy: “an even higher proving of these laws must, however, be demanded, namely nothing other than that their quantitative aspects can be recognized from the qualities or from certain concepts…(such as time and space)” ( Hegel, , Werke, Vol 4, p 426 fGoogle Scholar (SW 5.407)).

52 Furthermore correspondingly, according to what is known as the “Noether theorem”, certain conserved quantities correspond to such invariancies (“symmetries”). Coordinated, for example, to the translation invariancies in time and space is the conservation of the total impact and the total energy. Cf, eg. Schmutzer, E, Symmetrien und Erhaltungssätze der Physik, Berlin and Oxford and Braunschweig 1972 Google Scholar.

53 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, § 264Google Scholar and add (SW 9. § 264 and add).

54 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, § 262Google Scholar and add (SW 9. § 262 and add).

55 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, § 275Google Scholar and add (SW 9. § 275 and. add), § 276 and add (SW 9. § 276 and add).

56 D Wandschneider, Raum, Zeit, Relativität…, loc cit. Chaps. 4-6; cf. also Wandschneider, D, “Relative und absolute Bewegung in der Relativitätstheorie und in der Deutung Hegels”, in: Horstmann, R-P und Petry, M J (eds), Hegels Philosophie der Natur, Stuttgart 1987 Google Scholar; Wandschneider, D, “Die Kategorien ‘Materie’ und ‘Licht’ in der Naturphilosophie Hegels”, in: Petry, M J (ed), Hegel und die Naturwissenschaften, Stuttgart 1987 Google Scholar.

57 Even more disastrous consequences follow if one takes into account the indeterminacies linked to the many body problem, or also aspects of chaos theory (if one were to consider a - naturally likewise fictive - measurement of all the antecedent conditions of the universe at a certain point in time).

58 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 63 Google Scholar (SW9.35).

59 See Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, p 63 nGoogle Scholar (SW 9.35n).

60 Hegel, , Werke, Vol 9, S 63 Google Scholar (SW 9.34).

61 Henrich, D, Hegel im Kontext, Frankfurt a.M., 2. ed 1975, p 157 ff.Google Scholar

62 Cf on this point also D Wandschneider, “Das Antinomienproblem…”, loc cit.

63 An example is what is known as an “auto-interrupter” circuit, as used, for example, in an electric bell.

64 The relations envisaged here are of “sociobiological” nature in the narrower sense, whereby sociobiology is, however, to be ascribed to ecology as the science of the interaction of natural forms within the framework of self-regulating systems.

65 Dawkins, R, Das egoistische Gen, Berlin and Heidelberg and New York 1978, p 83 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

66 Dawkins speaks metaphorically of “falcons” and “doves”, which could, however, be misleading here. (R Dawkins, loc cit, p 83 ff.)

67 Dawkins calls this an “evolutionary stable strategy” (R Dawkins, loc cit, p 83).

68 “A critical continuation of Hegel's Realphilosophie will therefore have to accord far greater space to the idea of evolution than did Hegel himself (V Hösle, Hegels System, loc cit, p 96).

69 Engels, F, Dialektik der Natur, in: Marx-Engels-Werke, (MEW), Vol 20, Berlin 1971, p 349 Google Scholar.

70 F Engels, Dialektik der Natur, loc cit, p 348.

71 F Engels, Dialektik der Natur, loc cit, p 348.

72 F Engels, Dialektik der Natur, loc cit, p, 489.

73 Cf on this point, the deliberations in V Hösle, “Sein und Subjektivität. Zur Metaphysik der ökologischen Krise”, in prima philosophia. Vol 4 (1991), p 519-541.

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