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The Problem of Higher Knowledge in Hegel's Philosophy*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2014

Terje Sparby*
Junior Visiting Scholar, Mind and Life
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There are two main aspects of the problem of higher knowledge in Hegel's philosophy. Firstly, how exactly does Hegel appropriate Kant's conception of higher knowledge in the shape of intellectual intuition and intuitive understanding? Secondly, how does Hegel envision the connection of higher knowledge to empirical reality? Recent attempts at answering these questions pull in opposite directions. According to Eckart Förster, Hegel claims knowledge of a supersensible reality, while others, such as James Kreines and Sally Sedgwick, deny this, focusing rather on Hegel's claims to knowledge of nature. I suggest an interpretation where Hegel makes a modest claim to supersensible knowledge but at the same time is unable to provide a satisfactory account of the connection of higher knowledge to empirical reality.1

Copyright © The Hegel Society of Great Britain 2014 

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This essay was written as a part of a research project on higher knowledge and the supersensible in German idealism, founded by the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung. Thanks go out to all those who commented on an earlier draft of this essay when it was presented at Tobias Rosefeldt's reserach colloquium at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, as well as two anonymous reviewers who helped me improve my case on specific points. All translations are my own unless otherwise specified.


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