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Absoluter Idealismus und zeitgenössische Philosophie - Absolute Idealism and Contemporary Philosophy

Bedeutung und Aktualität von Hegels Denken - Meaning and Up-to-dateness of Hegel’s Thought


Giacomo Rinaldi

Die Entwicklung der zeitgenössischen Philosophie ist durch Hegels Denken entscheidend beeinflusst worden. Die Gründe für seine andauernde Aktualität aber sind selten verstanden worden. Im Gegensatz zu vielen Hegel-Interpreten wird hier der «absolute Idealismus» als das Wesen der Philosophie Hegels erkannt. Die «dialektische Methode» und das «System» bilden eine untrennbare Einheit. Auf dieser Grundlage erfolgt in einer streng theoretisch-systematischen Perspektive eine konsistente Auslegung von Hegels «Philosophie des unendlichen Selbstbewusstseins». Einen besonderen Schwerpunkt legt die Arbeit auf die Auseinandersetzung mit dem gegenwärtigen amerikanischen Hegelianismus. Übereinstimmung besteht mit E.E. Harris und R.D. Winfield, während R.B. Brandom entschieden kritisiert wird.
Contemporary philosophy’s development has been decisively influenced by Hegel’s thought, yet only rarely have the grounds for its everlasting up-to-dateness been understood. Contrary to many Hegel-interpreters, «Absolute Idealism» is here regarded as the core of Hegel’s philosophy. The «dialectical method» and the «system» constitute an inseparable unity. On this basis a consistent interpretation of Hegel’s «philosophy of infinite self-consciousness» is outlined. Attention is focused especially on the discussion of contemporary American Hegelianism, largely agreeing with E. E. Harris and R. D. Winfield, while sharply criticizing R. B. Brandom.


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I. A FEW CRITICAL REMARKS ON CROCE’S HISTORICISM § 1. Italian Neo-Idealism and the Philosophy of Benedetto Croce The philosophic, historical, and literary Italian culture of the first half of the 20th century was largely dominated by a trend of thought that can be correctly called “Neo-idealist”, the most prominent exponents of which were Giovanni Gentile1 and Benedetto Croce. The latter’s very broad scientific activity (his opera omnia exceeds seventy-four volumes) moved, and attained its highest and most durable achievements, in the ambit of the theory and history of Italian and European lit- erature, of civil historiography, and of social and political theory. I cannot here attempt even a very sketchy explanation, interpretation, and evaluation of the undoubtedly remarkable contribution which Croce’s scientific work was able to offer to the development of European culture2. I shall confine my critical interest only to the philosophical theories stricto sensu elaborated by Croce in the course of his wider historiographic activities. They stem, indeed, among other matters, from a personal reading, interpretation, and criticism of Hegel’s Absolute Ideal- ism; and he proposed them to contemporary scholars as the extreme and most mature stage of modern thought’s whole development. Thus, should they turn out to be generally tenable, any attempt today to vindicate Hegel’s thought as fully up-to-date and valid (at least with respect to its deepest logico-metaphysi- cal and methodologico-dialectical “substance”) could not but appear to be openly anachronistic. Whence, then, the inescapable need for a careful critical examination of their content, meaning, and...

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