Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique

By William F. Bristow | Go to book overview

3
The Rejection of Kantian Critique:
Philosophy, Skepticism, and the Recovery
of the Ancient Idea

3.1 HEGEL'S EPISTEMOLOGY IN THE SHADOW
OF SCHELLING

According to Hegel's objection against Kant's project of philosophical cri– tique, as interpreted in Chapter 2, that project, though it consists explicitly in questioning the possibility of metaphysics in a free and open inquiry, in effect implicitly precludes the possibility of knowledge of the absolute and, further, confines us in our knowing to a realm of mere appearances. This objection leads Hegel initially simply to reject the project of Kantian critique. Hegel's rejection of the critical project is indicated in several statements from his early Jena writings. The main task of this chapter is to elaborate Hegel's concep– tion of epistemological procedure and philosophical knowledge in this period, insofar as these conceptions can be teased out of his early publications. I focus mostly in this chapter on Hegel's article entitled ‘Relation of Skepticism to Philosophy: Presentation of its Various Modifications and Comparison of the Most Recent with the Ancient’, published in the Critical Journal of Philosophy.1 I focus on this article because, as the title indicates, the relation of philosophy to epistemological procedure is its main concern. A general comprehension of Hegel's conceptions of epistemology and metaphysics in his early Jena period is required in order to appreciate the account in the succeeding two chapters according to which Hegel's coming to recognize the validity of the epistemolo– gical demand of Kantian critique, as against his earlier rejection of it, makes the specific project and procedure of the Phenomenology of Spirit necessary for him.

1 I indicate this work with the abbreviation ‘VSP’, and provide page references within the body of the text. Please see the ‘Abbreviations’ for information regarding how I cite the texts of Kant and Hegel.

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