Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

Sein Und Geist. Heidegger's Confrontation with Hegel's Phenomenology

Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

Sein Und Geist. Heidegger's Confrontation with Hegel's Phenomenology

Article excerpt

The genuine refutation must penetrate the opponent's stronghold and meet him on his own ground; no advantage is gained by attacking him somewhere else and defeating him where he is not.

Hegel, Science of Logic

After a certain period of neglect, philosophical interest in the Hegel-Heidegger relationship has recently intensified in the English-speaking world. (1) While some studies adopt a distinctly Heideggerian perspective concerning Heidegger's critique of Hegel, (2) others launch a Hegelian defence of Hegel against Heidegger's interpretation, seeking to show that Heidegger has simply gone wrong in basic points of Hegel interpretation. (3) Others again adopt a more agnostic view of the veracity of Heidegger's reading of Hegel. (4) While all these approaches have merit, I wish to offer a more 'dialogical' approach to the Hegel-Heidegger relationship. Indeed, both Hegel and Heidegger advocated such an approach to the practice of 'originary' philosophical thinking. In the Science of Logic, Hegel remarks on the immanent critique that moves beyond mere external refutation in order to confront the problem at issue from within an opposing philosophical standpoint (SL 581). (5) Heidegger, for his part, observes that if a genuine dialogue with Hegel is to occur, 'we are required to be "kindred"' with him in the sense of being 'committed to the first and last necessities of philosophical inquiry arising from the matter [Sache]' (GA 32 31). (6) This paper shall therefore attempt to pursue the 'thinking dialogue' between Hegel and Heidegger, a dialogue centred on Heidegger's 'confrontation' [Auseinandersetzung] with Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. (7) In particular, I consider Heidegger's critique of Hegel on the relationship between time and Spirit; Heidegger's interpretation of the Phenomenology of Spirit as exemplifying the Cartesian-Fichtean metaphysics of the subject, examining in particular the question of the phenomenological 'we' in Heidegger's reading; and Heidegger's later reflections on Hegel's Phenomenology as articulating the modern metaphysics of 'subjectity' [Subjektitat] that culminates in modern technics. I shall argue that Heidegger forgets those aspects of Hegel's philosophy that make him our philosophical contemporary: Hegel's thinking of intersubjectivity and recognition, his thinking of the historicity of the experience of spirit, and his attempt to sublate modern subject-metaphysics which is also a critique of modernity. The point of this dialogue is to begin a recovery or retrieval of Hegel from Heidegger's critical deconstruction, and to thereby suggest that the future of Hegel--to use Catherine Malabou's resonant phrase-remains for us something still to-come.

I. HEIDEGGER'S CRITICISM OF HEGEL ON TIME AND SPIRIT

It is significant that Hegel is one of the few figures in Being and Time (along with Descartes and Kant) singled out for an explicit critique. (8) In this sense, we could regard Heidegger's brief analysis of Hegel's conception of the relation between time and spirit as a contribution to the task of a 'de-struction' [Des-struktion] of the history of ontology. (9) Temporality as such, according to Heidegger, has remained unthought or at least distorted and misunderstood within the history of metaphysics, with the sole exception of Kant (BT 20). However, because Kant neglects to pose the fundamental question of Being, and lacks 'a preliminary ontological analytic of the subjectivity of the subject, he was unable to gain proper access to the ontological significance of the problem of temporality (BT 21). Heidegger traces Kant's difficulties back to an appropriation of the Cartesian cogito without a 'fundamental ontology' of Da-sein, and an assumed conception of time centred on the presence of the present. This 'metaphysical' understanding of time is based upon the assumption that the definitive dimension of temporal experience is provided by the familiar perception of the presence of beings encountered in the present. …

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