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Hegel and the Tradition

Hegel and the Tradition: Essays in Honour of H.S. Harris

  • Book Info
    Hegel and the Tradition
    Book Description:

    Examines Hegel's philosophy as it bears on the meaning and relevance of tradition - historical, legal, aesthetic, religious, and philosophical.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7567-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John Russon and Michael Baur
  4. Foreword: Hume, Hegel, and Harris
    (pp. ix-2)

    Henry Harris established his reputation by writing a massive, two-volume intellectual biography of the young Hegel. For the first time, the scattered texts from Tübingen, Bern, Frankfurt, and Jena were integrated into a single pattern that traced the systematic development of Hegel’s thought. It soon became the standard reference for anyone, anywhere, who wanted to understand the relation between the youthful, idealistic tutor and the mature, established professor.

    The two volumes ofHegel’s Development – Toward the Sunlight (1770–1801)andNight Thoughts (Jena 1801–1806)–both marked the culmination of Harris’s earlier pilgrimage through Gentile and Collingwood to Hegel...

  5. Introduction: Hegel and Tradition
    (pp. 3-14)

    One of the ideas with which we are most comfortable in our everyday life is the idea that we are self-enclosed, independent beings. We strongly defend our claim to being self-possessed, insisting that ‘it’s my view, and I have a right to it,’ or ‘that’s mine,’ or ‘I’ll do what I like.’ In each case, we identify ourselves as the ‘I’ who is in charge of its own affairs, which means an ‘I’ with a unique point of view, with a unique body, and with a unique will to initiate actions. On this view, it is up to each one...

  6. Part One: Philosophy of Right

    • 1 Philosophical History and the Roman Empire
      (pp. 17-39)

      InThe Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel traces the development of consciousness from sense-certainty to absolute knowing. In his account, consciousness, in its self-transformations and development, repeats the same kinds of logical moves in each of the states it attains. So, as consciousness moves through Self-consciousness, it sets up relations with other self-consciousnesses and its environment, which it repeats in the social world of Spirit. The world of Spirit is the world in which Self-consciousness is actualized because it is there that Self-consciousness can realize itself through relations with more universal institutions and groups. For Hegel, world history itself works out...

    • 2 Locke, Fichte, and Hegel on the Right to Property
      (pp. 40-74)

      There is a tradition, beginning roughly with Locke, hitting its peak in Fichte, and perfected, and hence destroyed, in Hegel, of deriving the right to property from the fact that consciousness grasps objects in the world. It is Fichte who has the most straightforward argument – that the self, in distinguishing itself from the not-self, constitutes a boundary between itself and the world and further, by manifesting that boundarywithinthe world, establishes a kind of fence between what belongs to it in the world and what does not. The differences between Hegel and Locke and Fichte appear not in...

  7. Part Two: Art

    • 3 Hegel and Hamann: Ideas and Life
      (pp. 77-92)

      With his Aristotelian affinities and Kantian descent, Hegel thinks that philosophy is our highest task, and he would not be pleased to admit that there is any larger: ‘If, as Aristotle says, theory is the most blessed and the best among good things, those who participate in that pleasure know what they gain from it – the satisfaction of the necessity of their spiritual nature. They can hold back from making demands on others, and can content themselves with their own needs (Bedürfnisse) and the satisfactions which they obtain for them.’¹ Other passages where this end is decked out in...

    • 4 Winckelmann and Hegel on the Imitation of the Greeks
      (pp. 93-110)

      Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) is generally acknowledged to be the founder of German neoclassicism – and with good reason. It was largely under the spell of his writings that many German thinkers, including those who went on to influence Hegel, began to develop an appreciation for the ancient Greeks. Herder, for example, recalls the invigorating effect that Winckelmann’s writings had on him: ‘I read them with a feeling like that of a youth on a fine morning, like the letter of a far-distant bride, from a happy time that is past, from a happy zone.’¹ In his autobiographical work,...

    • 5 Hegel as Philosopher of the Temporal [irdischen] World: On the Dialectics of Narrative
      (pp. 111-140)

      We start out in the midst of a dark wood – Dante’s figure here is a variant on the labyrinth, the image (according to Northrop Frye) of lost direction. Canto 1 is just a prologue, however. Soon enough Dante’s poet-cum-pilgrim will find his way forward through the gates of Hell, when both quest and poem will have begun. The advance (for it is that: what mortally pains us is the memory of our aimless and shadowy beginnings) may be read as emblematic of Dante’s own poetic achievement, especially as regards narrative technique. By general consent he moved decisively beyond the...

  8. Part Three: Religion

    • 6 The Identity of the Human and the Divine in the Logic of Speculative Philosophy
      (pp. 143-161)

      Four years after Hegel’s death, Ferdinand Christian Baur called attention to the features that Hegel drew from the gnostic speculation of the second century in the construction of his philosophical system.¹ Baur argued that ‘in the entire history of philosophical and theological speculation, nothing is more related and analogous to gnosticism as the newest [Hegel’s] philosophy of religion.’² One might expect that Baur’s testimony would exert considerable influence on subsequent interpretation of Hegel, but until quite recently what Emil Fackenheim modestly names ‘the religious dimension of Hegel’s thought’³ has been played down, when not overlooked entirely. And Baur’s reading of...

    • 7 The Final Name of God
      (pp. 162-175)

      Hegel’s system aims at thought’s encompassing self-relation. There are many ways of interpreting just what Hegel is trying to achieve in that self-relation and what kind of closure, if any, it demands. It is also difficult to be sure how Hegel intends that self-relation to include the myriad details of the world. In this chapter I look at two models of how that self-relation might come to grips with the detail of the history of religions. I argue that Hegel prefers the stronger of the two models, but that there are serious difficulties in implementing it.¹

      It seems clear from...

    • 8 Hegel’s Open Future
      (pp. 176-189)

      If John Marco Allegro’s thesis inThe Sacred Mushroom and the Crosswere true, would it destroy Hegel’s philosophy? This question, originally posed by H.S. Harris, is a difficult one to answer.¹ Allegro claimed, after having investigated some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that the person Jesus of Nazareth, who figures in the Gospels, did not really exist. Instead ‘Jesus’ was the code name for a hallucinogenic mushroom that generated certain kinds of ‘religious’ experiences.

      While not endorsing Allegro’s thesis, Harris says that the outcome of the debate over its truth would have no effect on Hegel’s philosophy of religion,...

    • 9 Hegel’s Encounter with the Christian Tradition, or How Theological Are Hegel’s Early Theological Writings?
      (pp. 190-211)

      I am probably not the only reader of Hegel who, attempting to penetrate the forbidding edifice of the mature system and reconstruct the animating purpose of his philosophy, has sought illumination in the apparently more accessible earlier writings. Of course it is only in our century that the so-called early theological writings, as Hermana Nohl entitled them in 1907, have become such a privileged object of ardent debate and painstaking research.¹ During the last century these writings were certainly known to the earlier students of Hegel’s development such as Rudolf Haym and Karl Rosenkranz, but it was not until Wilhelm...

    • 10 ‘Wie aus der Pistole’: Fries and Hegel on Faith and Knowledge
      (pp. 212-242)

      Much has been said about Kant’s strategy of making room for faith while subjecting its claims to the controls and limits of reason.² This reaction is understandable, for the strategy had undoubtedly been an imaginative and appealing way of harmonizing the Enlightenment’s otherwise-divided loyalties to faith and reason. And it also was to set the stage for much of the nineteenth century’s reflection on the same duality. Yet the importance of Kant’s work should not blind us to the fact that, though the outline of his strategy was already clearly visible in the first edition of theCritique of Pure...

  9. Part Four: Philosophy

    • 11 Der Unterschied zwischen ‘Differenz’ und ‘Unterschied’: A Re-evaluation of Hegel’s Differenzschrift
      (pp. 245-263)

      Among his English-speaking readers, Hegel’s intention in his essay on theDifferenz des Fichte’schen und Schelling’schen Systems der Philosophie¹ has been misconstrued as a result of the translation of the title of the essay asThe Difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s Systems of Philosophy. It was in theDifferenzschriftthat Hegel attempted to save Fichte and Schelling from the same sort of misinterpretation that much of his own work, including this early and seminal essay, has suffered at the hands of hasty commentators. In this chapter I seek to defend Hegel against such comment. I argue that, contrary to the...

    • 12 Dialectic as Counterpoint: On Philosophical Self-Measure in Plato and Hegel
      (pp. 264-285)

      The final chapter of H.S. Harris’sNight Thoughts (Jena 1801–1806)is mounted handsomely in a series of counterpoint metaphors.² Coming as they do at the end of a substantial study, their reference is primarily programmatic. Harris employs them to express what he takes to be essential to the Hegelian project viewed at the most comprehensive level of internal analysis.

      It seems to me, however, that these metaphors – especially that of the fugue – are also useful for exploring questions about the status of Hegel’s philosophy which extend beyond strictly programmatic interests. For instance, the idea of a philosophical...

    • 13 Hegel’s ‘Freedom of Self-Consciousness’ and Early Modern Epistemology
      (pp. 286-310)

      H.S. Harris once responded with an expression of amazement to a remark that I made equating solipsism and Cartesianism. He followed this up by stating that for Descartes the truth is the selfquauniversal, rather than the selfquasingular, and further insisting that I not continue to misrepresent Descartes. This turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons I learned in my graduate studies. It was coupled with another insight from Harris – namely, that the unhappy consciousness, rather than the master and slave, must form our basic model for the completed form of self-consciousness. My...

  10. Afterword: Theme and Variations: The Round of Life and the Chorale of Thought
    (pp. 311-324)

    As he came to the end of his lectures on theEncyclopaedia Logic, Hegel compared it to the religious ‘creed’ learned in an ordinary, non-philosophical life (see sec. 237, ‘Zusatz’). One learns the Credo as a verbal formula in childhood. Already it has a ‘story-meaning’ for the child: ‘God’createdeverything (just as the sunrise ‘creates’ light, let us say). Then God came down as a man (first he was like me, then like my father); and finally he went back to Heaven, where a lot of dead people, who have lived good lives, are now with him. But his...

  11. Hegel’s Works
    (pp. 325-328)
  12. Publications of H.S. Harris
    (pp. 329-346)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 347-349)