Hegel Update 4: Necessity

Most of the way through the Preface; I’ll take a cleansing breath and read some Mike Flynn before plunging into the body of Phenomenology of Spirit. Up to this point, the whole enterprise seems to swing on one thing: Hegel’s insistence that certain things, steps, resting places (can’t call them conclusions, really) are necessary. That, using his approach (not that he’d ever call what he’s doing an ‘approach’) we are compelled by necessity to certain, um, states. He in no way has shown how this works, yet, but it is the promise made in the Preface.

Now, in classical logic, you’re not compelled to believe anything is, in itself, necessary, in the sense that no premise is provable – they’re premises. The most you can do, what I think Aristotle and Thomas do, is to show that the denial of certain premises leads to unreason – that if, for example, I don’t assert that there is an objective universe of which I am a part and of which I have perceptions, there’s just not a lot to talk about. To put it the other way around, if I try to hold forth solipsism, or Kantian crypto-solipsism, there’s no one to *tell* about it – right? So, once you decide to read and write books, once you start expounding your ideas to people, once you carefully describe the least thing in the physical world, the game is up – you have conceded the Aristotelian premises. The good news: from those premises, you can logically build a philosophy.

Logical necessity come in with valid inferences. Again, you’ve granted certain premises (the Law of Non-contradiction being foremost). To sum up: once you’ve owned up to living in the real world and accepted sense and rejected nonsense, then you are compelled, sometimes, by necessity to conclude certain things. And that’s where all the action and fun is!

So, here’s Hegel, rejecting both the Law of Non-contradiction and, ultimately, the concept of an objective world ontologically distinct from the individual mind. Now what? Well, we don’t know yet, but the promise is that Hegel will show us how certain things – moments, movements, states reached through aufheben – are not just pretty just-so stories, but are necessary.

I’m looking forward to the bumpy ride.


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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