Topics: Ethics, Tragedy, Oedipus Pages: 27 (10754 words) Published: January 15, 2013
Hegel’s Dialectic
The present study requires familiarity with Hegel’s dialectic view which for a while dominated European philosophy and whose effect presides to the present day. As M.H. Abrams in Natural Supernaturalism defines Hegel’s dialectic by maintaining that Hegel’s thought has been constantly associated with motion: “The elemental units of his system, the concepts [Begriffe],” are themselves “self-movement, circles … spiritual entities… . The concept is the object’s own self which presents itself as its becoming… that moves itself and takes its determinations back into itself, and passes over into its own complement, or antithesis” (174). Hegel maintains that in science the “Concept” develops itself out of itself and is only an immanent progression and production of its own determinations; Hegel calls this moving principle of the “Concept” dialectic. He then applies the same dialectic—of immanent movement and self-induced passage of each element into its own contraries which press for reconciliation or synthesis—to the phenomenal world of objects, of people, and of institutions, just as he does to the systematic thinking of the philosopher: Wherever there is movement, wherever there is life, wherever anything is carried into effect in the actual world, there dialectic is at work… . Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of Dialectic… by which the finite, as implicitly other than what it is, is forced beyond its own immediate or natural being to turn suddenly into its opposite. (175) Then Hegel asserts that “the totality of the movement of the component concepts is philosophy, or ‘science’; and truth in this energetic and integral philosophic system does not inhere in any propositions served from the whole (for by severance they are at once rendered ‘dead and positive’) but in the entirety of the dynamic process itself: ‘this whole movement constitutes the positive and its truth’” (175). To avoid misunderstanding of Hegelian dialectic concept, Abrams quotes Hegel’s own famous oxymoronic statement: “The truth is thus the bacchanalian whirl in which no member is not drunken; and because each, as soon as it detaches itself, dissolves immediately—the whirl is just as much transparent and simple repose” (175). To define the nature of their system and to prove its superiority over other alternative philosophy, both Schelling and Hegel make persistent reference to ‘life’ as against ‘death’. In Hegel’s exposition, the recurrent metaphors are biological in order to establish this thought that his metaphysical system is actually systematic. Thus, to illustrate this systematic metaphysical system, he presents an objective example of a living organism in which “the parts are in ceaseless self-generated motion, die when severed from their organic milieu, and constitute a whole which, by an imminent energy, evolves toward its own completed form” (175). Abrams quotes Hegel who holds that ‘the idea` resembles a flower which consists of a unity of leaves, of form, of color and of smell and is just as living and growing as a flower. Accordingly, “The Tree” has a compulsive tendency to develop. Thus, concrete in itself and developing, the idea is an organic system. And within this biological perspective, the dynamic principle—“that of the creative power of contraries which are antithetic yet complementary, exhibit a tension of opposition and attraction” and in their unity, they generate a new existence. To clarify the point, one has to resort to Hegel’s own examples. For instance, in his early manuscript on love as the principle which overcomes oppositions, he advances a more complicated comparison which exploits the conceptual possibilities in the phenomenon that bisexual union between human lovers generates a mono-sexual child, who then repeats his parents’ function in the continuous chain of union and procreation: Everything which gives the newly begotten child a manifold life and a specific...
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