Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Realm of Shadows

I have been working through Hegel's science of logic of late, and in the process I came across a nice enigmatic quote I thought I would share.

"The system of logic is the realm of shadows, the world of simple essentilialities, freed of all sensuous concretion. To study this science, to dwell and to labor in this realm of shadows, is the absolute culture and discipline of consciousness. Its task is one which is remote from the intuititions and the goals of the senses, remote from feelings and from the world of merely fancied representation."

5 comments:

Matthew Guertin said...

Not immediately pertinent -- but it's Hegel, so maybe anything can be made pertinent -- I had a Scotist prof who told of a scholar he knew who, all his life, wrote against Scotus. But then, that scholar started comparing/contrasting Hegel and Aquinas and got spooked: Aquinas, he found/thought he found, led to Hegel. So what did that Scholar do? He converted to Scotism on his deathbed. (No, I don't know who the scholar is; I should have asked.)

Garrett said...

Well, it is an interesting story. It does illustrate the dangers of the 'led to' approach to philosophy. I don't think Aquinas would grant a pure concept of being, for example, unlike Hegel and Scotus, though this is famously debated in later Thomism.

Matthew said...

Could you elaborate on how that illustrates the dangers of the 'led to' approach to philosophy?

Wait, what do you mean you think he (Thomas) wouldn't grant a pure concept of being? I guess I don't know what else a concept of being could be...

Garrett said...

because it is still the villain approach to philosophy, not a philosophical approach. He abandons Aquinas because he thinks Aquinas makes certain claims that could be developed logically in a certain way, that 'lead to' Hegel's position, that he already thinks is bad. So he drops Aquinas because Aquinas is aligned with Hegel and adopts Scotus. Maybe I am reading into your description, but that is what the 'leads to' is, basically, narrative.

I am not sure what Aquinas thinks. i don't think i have seen him talk about 'pure being' save in De veritate. Thomists normally won't grant that there is a concept of being distinct from the concept of God or distinct from the concept of created being. I think maybe Suarez does, and Cajetan maybe, I can't remember. But contemporary Thomists won't admit this. Henry of Ghent goes this route too, there is just the two kinds of being, no third kind possible, save by error of the intellect.

Matthew said...

To the first, aha, ok, yes, that is what happened.

To the second, I can't remember Aquinas speaking of pure being, either. It doesn't sound like something he'd say. It just seems to me weird to talk of a "non-pure" concept of being, but I guess that's right, insofar as , for Aquinas, the concept of being is either abstracted from/regards primarily created beings. (If you go the route of the-first-principles-are-infused, then, I guess, things could get interesting.)