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Does the world take a particular form regardless of how we view it? If so, do we possess such knowledge so as to ascertain the form the world has assumed? Most philosophers have attempted to answer this questions but Hegel stands out in affirming a theoretical stand on this concept. He upholds the concept of subjectivism as opposed to skepticism.
According to his school of thought, for one to understand the form that has been assumed by the world, certain cognitive structures and characteristics need to be considered. His interpretation of the world focuses on the ‘idealist form’. He approaches the fundamental aspect of knowledge by grasping the reality of existence as it is and not by merely applying the notion of ‘formalism’ as proposed by Kant.
He views this notion as being ‘empty’. His criticism towards Kant’s philosophy is therefore evident in this argument. He contends that Kant’s philosophy gives a simple intuition in an attempt to describe the correlation between nature and society. Hegel asserts that his concept of idealism requires a subject to assume an identity of both thought and being in order to acquire an understanding of the world. This reasoning capacity possessed by the subject creates an innate knowledge that is known as ‘absolute idealism’.
He also asserts that to achieve reason and knowledge, it is imperative to connect both the theoretical and practical aspects of understanding. It is not in doubt that most philosophers fail to understand Hegel’s philosophy of idealism. This paper will therefore bring to fore the premises upon which Hegel’s philosophy need to be upheld based on his Phenomenology of mind argument.
The Objectivity In Upholding Hegel’s Philosophy
In his Phenomenology of mind, Hegel brings out the connection between infinite and finite. He further uses this connection to explain his concept of logical science. It is in this school of thought that an understanding defining both nature and spirit is culminated through what Hegel calls human reason.
This is what Hegel refers to as the ‘philosophy of right’. Hegel goes ahead to create an interrelationship between the subjects through a mutual recognition. This concept seeks to verify the quest for human reason in a bid to understand their subjective existence within an object. Further, according to his school of thought, he takes a different approach from his predecessors by emphasizing the need to understand the notions of reality and practicability.
The philosophy of Hegel brings to fore three basic themes purporting that all subjects exist through ‘reason’ and that all cohorts are as a result of ‘thought’. The first theme is idealism. According to Hegel, the purpose of integrating the philosophical query and knowledge is to generate an idea.
His argument creates an implication that various concepts and phenomena need to be explained and that explanation is given in form of science. He therefore equates philosophy to science. In his justification, he elucidates the importance of creating a valuable hierarchy of things that justifies the origin of every object and subject. It is this argument that brings to fore the concept of teleological explanation that develops the idealism approach.
The second theme that is imminent in this philosophy is identity. According to Hegel, any living thing is as a result of live spirit. The realism in an object or subject is attributed to the growth of spirit or thought hence creating an identity.
Hegel’s philosophy of identity should however be distinguished from Schelling’s philosophy. This is because, the philosophical concept to define identity adopted by Hegel is more complex and better articulated than that of Schelling.
The last theme is the concept of identity of being on the one hand, and thought in the teleological growth on the other. This school of thought argues that if the object based on the progression of thought and philosophy is characterized by this progression, then it can be inferred that philosophy is the scientific principle in the development of reason. It can also be taken as the theory of development or cognition of spirit.
Based on the above main theories apparent in Hegel’s school of thought, he distinguishes himself from his other predecessors. First, his philosophical approach premise itself on the idealism of spirit. Secondly, he articulates more on the philosophy of identity than any of his predecessor. Third, he adopts an optimistic approach towards his concept of teleological development and lastly, he expounds on a more elaborative definition on the concept of reason.
Hegel also shifts from the formalism concept adopted by Kant and seeks to answer the question of philosophy by adopting a more concrete concept. He criticizes Kant’s approach as being merely simple and too formal hence referring to it as ‘empty’. His concrete concept brings identity into cognition hence acting as a solid premise to explain the process of being.
The process is what Hegel calls dialect and it more or less focuses on three main stages of being. The being in the first stage acquires instant identity which transforms into the second stage of self-alienation and finally the amalgamation of coherent totality.
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Response to Hegel’s Argument
It is not in doubt that Hegel’s argument has created a spark in the philosophical field. This is due to his take on the idea of idealism and his attempt to delineate himself from the transcendental idealism proposed by Kant. It should be noted that the definition of transcendental idealism is not precise and its significance has elucidated a number of differing opinions. It is for this reason that Hegel views himself as the ‘absolute idealist’.
It is arguable that the interpretation of his approach result to Hegel being deemed as a realist. This is attributed to the fact that his argument assumes an objective nature that distinguishes it from other works. It is for this reason that the concept of idealism by Hegel deserves a unique applause through his logical and flawless argument that is subjugated by basic idealistic philosophy. Hegel has taken to modify the philosophies proposed by Kant to bring to fore an intelligent approach towards the concept of idealism.
It is not in doubt that Hegel seeks to detach himself from Kant’s philosophy of idealism. Although he acknowledges Kant as one of the most significant German philosopher, he declines to acclaim his impetus works towards idealism. According to him, Kant’s idea of idealism adopts a ‘finite’ nature hence lacking a clear passage that leads to ‘absolute’ idealism. He therefore terms Kant’s formalism approach as being empty and meaningless.
Further, his phenomenology argument plays an integral role in the field of philosophy. According to his school of thought, the concept of phenomenology is governed by a scientific exposition. He focuses on three aspects in his argument being science, consciousness and experience as the key determinate to the process of gaining an identity of being. In his argument, he insists that the three aspects should be interlinked in order to achieve a successful process.
This is interpreted to mean that in order to come up with a determinate of an object, the process needs to assume a scientific exploration. This is important for purposes of defining the experience derived from conscience in order to come up with a clear comprehension. The process therefore creates a clear understanding of ‘dialect’ concept. This argument is therefore premised on the fact that the determinate of an identity should be derived from the experiences that defines its consciousness hence resulting to a ‘consciousness object’.
It is therefore essential to argue that the approach taken by Hegel to define the concept of dialect relies solely on the assumption of phenomenology. His concept of dialect outlines the diverse stages of experience of consciousness based on different attitudes that the particular consciousness assumes on the object. The dialect therefore depends on the principle of it being defined by different consciousness.
The Theoretical Observation Of The Argument
The theoretical observation of Hegel’s argument can be viewed at various aspects. The first aspect that is brought to fore is in regards to infinity, reality and spirit. Hegel adopts the science of logic to define what he refers to as the ‘genuine notion of infinity’. He attempts to distinguish between the ‘true’ and ‘bogus’ notion of infinite.
The ‘bogus’ notion is equated to ‘finite’. According to Hegel, an attempt to distance infinite from the finite only results in limiting the notion of infinity. Hegel tests our understanding of infinite whereby what is brought to the fore is the fact that the two notions should be demarcated so as to achieve the two determinates. Hegel however errs this theoretical approach on the basis that it relies on the belief of mutual exclusion.
This may result to ‘finitising’ the infinite hence arriving at a fake notion of infinity and purging the notion of finite as its limit. The fake outset of infinity is not what he considers as the ‘infinite of reason’. While on the one hand he attempts to integrate the two notions, he calls for the two to be distinguished from each other. Consequently, in overriding Kant’s philosophy of the two world’s dichotomy, Hegel continues to put to test our understanding of the correlation between the finite and infinite.
He further contends that the two notions are dependent on each other hence being self-transcending. From this argument, an analysis can be drawn from his definition of reality and ideality based on his science of logic. His contention that ‘idealism is comprised of an ideal finite’ is interpreted to connote that the finite possess something concealed in potentiality.
Also, when he argues that the concept of philosophy is based on idealism, it is interpreted to mean that potentiality is the solution. In essence, the spirit, which is the greater infinite, is dependent upon the lesser infinite, nature. Based on the above argument, Hegel’s contention that equates the spirit to idealism is valued. In other words, nature is idealized by the spirit in so far as the self-transcending is concerned.
The other aspect that can explain the theoretical observation is in regards to definition, expression and transcendence. To understand Hegel’s argument, it is better to dwell on how most things are often defined. All definitions, it is argued, rely on the dichotomy of words. Hegel takes a different approach. In his phenomenology of spirit, he examines the concept through the notion of self-consciousness.
In his argument, he contends that humans are able to learn more about themselves based on their relationships and continues to equate self-consciousness to desire. He asserts that self-definition should be taken as a consummation of self acceptance as opposed to a restraint against each other. What Hegel contends here is that definition is based on the freedom of self-transcendence.
Significance Of The Argument
It is not in doubt that Hegel’s work has been considered difficult in comprehension. However, he still remains the most influential philosopher of all times and his works continue to be acknowledged and appreciated. One significance of the above argument is his new inception of coming up with a new way of thinking which he terms as speculative reasoning.
This helps to overcome the boundaries created by applying both the common sense and traditional reasoning in an attempt to understand the philosophical tribulations. By doing so, he brings to fore a better relationship between thought and reality. He lays down a theoretical procedure that instigates the ultra-basic concepts. Unlike other philosophers, he formulates comprehensible formulae in his concepts of inception of beings and object.
Another notable significance is his will to identify the pressure and disagreements visible in the modern philosophy. His argument tends to interpret the contradicting philosophies by terming his theory as an ‘absolute idea’. He therefore succeeds in creating absolute idealism which he derived from Kant’s transcendental idealism.
His argument has also been appreciated by the philosophers as it appreciates the history of philosophy. He does this by acknowledging that all subjects that exist in an object are defined by their past. According to him, for one to understand the character of another being, it is important to comprehend the culture to which he comes from and it is from the history of this culture that gives all the answers.
His argument has also been appreciated in both the political and social arena. He adopts the concept of idealism to define his kind of society. Although his argument does not clearly bring out his ultimate idea of freedom, it is apparent that his argument takes a different approach from the proponents of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He also brings to light the importance of every being to possess an ‘absolute mind’ in order to acquire a superior consciousness.
The Phenomenology of mind is considered to be one of the greatest works done by Hegel. His critique to Kant’s work on formalism has been put to test but it is not in dispute that he has indeed formulated his theory in a more articulate manner. His notion of creating an ‘ideal’ model is based on logical science.
His central purpose in this work is to establish a ‘determinate being’ through positive means as opposed to negation of self-consciousness. This is implied to mean that he upholds the notion of freedom to act as a justification to our fundamental beliefs in matters of equality and reason.