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Hegel’s Conception of the Study of Human Nature

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Part of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures book series

Abstract

It is easy to understand why Hegel’s philosophy should be little studied by English-speaking philosophers today. Those who at the beginning of the twentieth century initiated the movement we are now caught up in presented their earliest philosophical arguments as criticisms of the prevailing Anglo-Hegelian views. It may now be thought illiberal to take much interest in this perhaps excusably slaughtered royal family, and positively reactionary to hanker after the foreign dynasty from which it sometimes claimed descent. Hegel was a systematic philosopher with a scope hardly to be found today, and men who, as we say, wish to keep up with their subject may well be daunted at the idea of having to understand a way of looking at philosophy which they suspect would not repay them for their trouble anyway. Furthermore, since Hegel wrote, formal logic has advanced in ways he could not have foreseen, and has, it seems to many, destroyed the whole basis of his dialectical method. At the same time, the creation of a science of sociology, it is supposed, has rendered obsolete the philosophy of history for which Hegel was at one time admired. In countries where there are Marxist intellectuals, Hegel does get discussed as the inadvertent forerunner of historical and dialectical materialism.

Keywords

Human Nature Dialectical Materialism Empirical Psychology Observational Science Philosophical Faculty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Phenomenology of Mind, German ed., Lasson (1928) p. 224; English ed., Baillie (1931) pp. 332–3.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Review of G. E. Schulze’s Kritik der theoretischen Philosophie (1801) entitled ‘Verhältniss des Skeptizismus zur Philosophie’. Hegel, Gesammelte Werke (Hamburg, 1968) iv 237. See also p. 200.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    A Lichtenberg, Aasgewählte Werke (Reclam, 1879) pp. 360–1.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Ausgewählte Schriften (Reclam) p. 121. It seems likely that Wittgenstein read these and similar passages from Lichtenberg and was influenced by them in his views on mental states and their expression. Franz H. Mautner seems to think so in his Lichtenberg (Berlin, 1968). Professor von Wright, in ‘Georg Christoph Lichtenberg als Philosoph’ (Theoria, 1942), considers that Lichtenberg’s view that philosophy is ‘rectification of speech-usage’ is a forerunner of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, but that any influence of Lichtenberg on Wittgenstein ‘seems to be excluded’, in spite of the ‘strange congeniality’ of their views. In the lectures by Wittgenstein reported in Mind (1954–5) by G. E. Moore, Wittgenstein quotes Lichtenberg’s remark that ‘I think’ might be replaced by ‘it thinks’ (Mind (1955) pp. 13–14).Google Scholar

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© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1971

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