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Hegel and the enigma of thought

Friday, 11 Aug 2017

Hegel on Dr John Dunn Hegel actually understood as thought something at first glance enigmatic, even mystical, when he spoke of it as taking place outside man and apart fromman, independently of his head, and of ‘thought as such’, of ‘pure thought’, and when he considered the object of logic to be precisely that ‘absolute’ superhuman thought. Logic in his definition must be understood even as having a content that ‘shows forth God as he is in his eternal essence before the creation of Nature and of a Finite Spirit‘.

But of course there is no such ‘thought’ as some superhuman force creating nature, and history, and man himself and his consciousness from itself somewhere in the Universe. But is Hegel’s logic then the presentation of a non-existent subject? To this question Kant, Fichte and Schelling would have answered yes. Hegel’s predecessors had in mind a logically immaculate internal thought, which was itself identified with linguistic activity.

Their logic was absolutely unself-critical on the one hand and incapable of development on the other. This was why Schelling had felt compelled to leave the hermetically sealed world of linguistic reasoning to embrace intuition, poetry and art instead.

© John Dunn.

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