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Hegel's Science of Logic and the 'Sociality of Reason' (Georg Hegel)

Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 2007, July, 3, 2-3

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This paper is intended to examine the following question: what is the significance of Hegel's Science of Logic (1) for social thought? The straightforward inquietude provoking the question is the awareness of the noticeable divergence between the contemporary reappraisals of Hegel's thought from the standpoint of political philosophy and the recent interest on his Science of Logic. (2) Both areas of Hegelian scholarship seem to have experienced a growing development in the last two decades, but they hardly meet each other. On the one hand, Jurgen Habermas and Axel Honneth claim that some of the key notions that Hegel yielded between 1801 and 1807 (such as love, ethical life, and spirit) provide elements capable to justify the universal validity of liberal political institutions within the framework of a social notion of agency formed through relations of mutual recognition. From that perspective, they use to regard the Science of Logic as a tremendous setback into a metaphysics of consciousness which ultimately wipes out any possibility to grasp the intersubjective dimension of reason (3). On the other hand, authors like Robert Pippin and Terry Pinkard maintain that is possible to combine a reading of Hegel's thought as a support for the 'sociality of reason' (4)--understood as the position advancing the intersubjective constitution of the framework of reference from which is possible to carry on the self-reflection on the conditions of possibility of theoretical discourse, practical mastering of world, and self-description--with an interpretation of his speculative Logic as a heir of Kant's transcendental logic devoted to the systematic reconstruction of the of the basic categories at the base of such intersubjective grounding (5). I agree with the general project outlined by this latter interpretation because I think that there are good reasons to claim that Hegel championed for a social understanding of reason along all the stages of his thought. Nevertheless, as I will try to show, it is a claim that cannot be straightforwardly maintained from the pragmatic awareness of the social embedding of the social practice of asking and giving reasons, but demands us to deal with the crucial requirement opening the Logic: the engagement with presuppositionless thinking. Unless we were prone to neglect that demand as if it were an empty shell ready to be discarded in order to legitimate Hegel's Logic in a philosophical scene characterized by distrust toward ontological claims, the clarification of what means to be a presuppositionless thinking is indispensable to grasp the general structure of the Logic, and likewise to comprehend its significance for social and political thought. The importance of this explanation has been sharply perceived by Ludwig Siep, who stresses the importance of Hegel's Logic in the following terms:

Hegel's Science of Logic and the 'Sociality of Reason' (Georg Hegel)
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  • Category: Religion & Spirituality
  • Published: 01 July 2007
  • Publisher: Ashton and Rafferty
  • Print Length: 77 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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