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The Problem of Higher Knowledge in Hegel's Philosophy*

  • Terje Sparby (a1)

Abstract

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

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Footnotes

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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.

Footnotes

References

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Allison, H. (2004), Kant's Transcendental Idealism. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Beiser, F. C. (2005), Hegel. New York: Routledge.
Förster, E. (2002), ‘Die Bedeutung von §§76, 77 der Kritik der Urteilskraft für die Entwicklung der nachkantischen Philosophie’, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung 56(2), 177n10.
Förster, E. (2012), Die 25 Jahre der Philosophie. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann.
Fulda, (2004), ‘Hegels Logik der Idee und ihre epistemologische Bedeutung’, in C. Halbig, M. Quante, L. Siep (eds.), Hegels Erbe. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Gabriel, M. (2011), Transcendental ontology. Essays in German idealism. New York: Continuum.
Hegel, G. W. F. (1991), The Encyclopedia Logic. Indianapolis: Hackett.
Houlgate, S. (2007), German Idealism. Contemporary Perspectives. London: Routledge.
Houlgate, S. (ed.) (1998), Hegel and the Philosophy of Nature, Albany: State Univesity of New York Press.
Kreines, J. (2007), ‘Between the Bounds of Experience and Divine Intuition: Kant's Epistemic Limits and Hegel's Ambitions’, Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50(3), 307f.
Kreines, J. (2008), ‘Metaphysics without Pre-Critical Monism: Hegel on Lower-Level Natural Kinds and the Structure of Reality’, Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 57/58, 5.
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Longuenesse, B. (2000), ‘Point of view of man or knowledge of god’, in S. Sedgwick (ed.), The Reception of Kant's Critical Philosophy. Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Schäfer, R. (2001), Die Dialektik und ihre besondere Formen in Hegels Logik. Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag.
Sedgwick, S. (2012), Hegel's Critique of Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Songsuk Hahn, S. (2007), Contradiction in Motion: Hegel's Organic Concept of Life and Value. Othaca: Cornell University Press.
Westphal, K. (2003), Hegel's Epistemology. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.
Wildenauer, M. (2004), Epistemologie des freien Denkens. Die logische Idee in Hegels Philosophie des endlichen Geistes. Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag.
Wolfgang, J. (2009), Die dreifache Vollendung des Deutschen Idealismus. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

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