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Hegel’s Logic argues in a manner that is supposed to support a systematic philosophy. But it is difficult to explain how such a systematic argument is supposed to work. For answers, I look to the key transition from the Doctrine of Essence to the Doctrine of the Concept. Here we find discussions of both Spinozist and Kantian systems of philosophy: both are supposed to be helpful, and yet also to be lacking in instructive ways. So the initial hope is that these comparisons can help us to understand Hegel’s own systematic argument, and what it means to transition from an objective to a ‘Subjective Logic’. But the comparisons bring additional difficulties. First, to defend a comprehensive system involves refuting rivals, and the discussion of Spinoza demonstrates that refutation is difficult. Second, it is hard to see how any argument for Hegel’s system could be akin to those in Spinoza and Kant given the extent of the differences between them. I argue that the best way to deal with these difficulties is to explain the systematic argument of the Logic as modelled on the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant’s first Critique.
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