Hegel's Naturalism

Hegel's Naturalism : Mind, Nature, and the Final Ends of Life

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Terry Pinkard draws on Hegel's central works as well as his lectures on aesthetics, the history of philosophy, and the philosophy of history in this deeply informed and original exploration of Hegel's naturalism. As Pinkard explains, Hegel's version of naturalism was in fact drawn from Aristotelian naturalism: Hegel fused Aristotle's conception of nature with his insistence that the origin and development of philosophy has empirical physics as its presupposition. As
a result, Hegel found that, although modern nature must be understood as a whole to be non-purposive, there is nonetheless a place for Aristotelian purposiveness within such nature. Such a naturalism provides the framework for explaining how we are both natural organisms and also practically minded
(self-determining, rationally responsive, reason-giving) beings. In arguing for this point, Hegel shows that the kind of self-division which is characteristic of human agency also provides human agents with an updated version of an Aristotelian final end of life.
Pinkard treats this conception of the final end of "being at one with oneself" in two parts. The first part focuses on Hegel's account of agency in naturalist terms and how it is that agency requires such a self-division, while the second part explores how Hegel thinks a historical narration is essential for understanding what this kind of self-division has come to require of itself. In making his case, Hegel argues that both the antinomies of philosophical thought and the essential
fragmentation of modern life are all not to be understood as overcome in a higher order unity in the "State." On the contrary, Hegel demonstrates that modern institutions do not resolve such tensions any more than a comprehensive philosophical account can resolve them theoretically. The job of modern practices
and institutions (and at a reflective level the task of modern philosophy) is to help us understand and live with precisely the unresolvability of these oppositions. Therefore, Pinkard explains, Hegel is not the totality theorist he has been taken to be, nor is he an "identity thinker," a la Adorno. He is an anti-totality thinker.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 228 pages
  • 157 x 234 x 15mm | 358g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199330077
  • 9780199330072
  • 524,252

Table of contents

Preface ; Introduction ; Part One ; Chapter 1: Disenchanted Aristotelian Naturalism ; A: Hegel's Aristotelian Turn ; 1: Animal Life ; 2: The Inwardness of Animal Life ; B: From Animal Subjectivity to Human Subjectivity ; C: Animal Life and the Will ; Chapter 2: Self-Consciousness in the Natural World ; A: Animal and Human Awareness ; B: Consciousness of the World ; C. Self-Consciousness ; 1: Being at Odds with Oneself in Desire ; 2: The Attempt at Being at One with Oneself as Mastery Over Others ; 3. Masters, Slaves and Freedom ; 4: The Truth of Mastery and Servitude ; 5: Objectivity, Intuition and Representation ; Part Two ; Chapter 3: The Self-Sufficient Good ; A: Actualized Agency: The Sublation of Happiness ; B: The Actually Free Will ; C: The Impossibility of Autonomy and the "Idea" of Freedom ; D. Being at One with Oneself as a Self-Sufficient Final End ; Chapter 4: Inner Lives and Public Orientation ; A. Failure in Forms of Life ; B. The Phenomenology of a Form of Life ; C. Greek Tensions, Greek Harmony ; D: Empire and the Inner Life ; Chapter Five: Public reasons, Private Reasons ; A. Enlightenment and Individualism ; B: Morality and Private Reasons ; C. Ethical Life and Public Reasons ; Chapter Six: The Inhabitable Alienation of Modern Life ; A: Alienation as Uninhabitability ; 1: Diderot's Dilemma ; 2: Civil Society and the Balance of Interests ; 3: Making the Sale and Getting at the Truth ; B: Power: the Limits of Morality in Politics ; 1. Bureaucratic Democracy? ; 2: The Nation State? ; Chapter Seven: Conclusion: Hegel as a Post-Hegelian ; A. Self-Comprehension ; 1: Hegelian Amphibians ; 2: Second Nature and Wholeness ; B: Final Ends?
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Review quote

Pinkard's book develops a powerful, attractive reading of Hegel's conception of spirit. While offering a wealth of insights and novel perspectives on concrete details from different parts of Hegelas system, it manages at the same time to make emerge a convincing overall picture of spirit as an open-ended, continuously struggling activity aiming at the final end of being at one with itself against all odds. * Julia Peters, Mind * In 2003-2004, Terry Pinkard, a leading scholar on Hegel, received the Humboldt prize for lifetime achievement. His current work, Hegels Naturalism: Mind, Nature, and the Final Ends of Life (2012), attempts an overview of Hegels thought under the aegis of Naturalism. It is written in a very clear fashion, with the notes allowing Hegel to speak for himself in lengthy quotations and sending the reader to the wide literature on Hegel. * Robert E. Wood, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly * original and very clear * Robert Pippin, Times Literary Supplement *
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About Terry P. Pinkard

Terry Pinkard is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University; author of German Philosophy 1760-1860: The Legacy of Idealism, Hegel: A Biography and Hegel's Phenomenology: The Sociality of Reason; and editor of Heinrich Heine on the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany.
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