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Hegel's Doppelsatz: a neutral reading

Stern, R. (2006) Hegel's Doppelsatz: a neutral reading. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 44 (2002). pp. 235-266. ISSN 1538-4586


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This paper offers a distinctive interpretation of Hegel's Doppelsatz from the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: 'What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational'. This has usually been interpreted either conservatively (as claiming that everything that is, is right or good) or progressively (that if the world were actual, it would be right or good, but that there is a distinction that can be drawn between existence and actuality). My aim in this paper is to argue against both interpretations, so that the position I offer is neutral between the two. My claim is that when Hegel identifies what is actual with what is rational in the Doppelsatz, his intention is not to offer a normative assessment of what is actual; rather, it is to suggest that genuine philosophy must be committed to reason in its methods of inquiry, if it is to properly undertake an investigation into the "spiritual universe" as well as the "natural" one. The Doppelsatz is thus a defence of philosophical rationalism, rather than a normative claim about "was ist wirklich".

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © 2006 Journal of the History of Philosophy, Inc. Reproduced with the permission of John Hopkins University Press.
Keywords: Hegel, rationalism
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Department of Philosophy (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 24 May 2006
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 03:33
Published Version: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_the_histor...
Status: Published
Publisher: John Hopkins University Press
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1217

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