The Self-Exhibition of Reason: Hegel on Intuition and Logical Form
Though Hegel is famous for having been the philosopher of rational thinking par excellence, the precise parameters of Hegel’s monistic theory of mind remain poorly understood. My dissertation offers a new interpretation of the relationship between intuitions and concepts in Hegel’s mature philosophy that foregrounds the importance of sense-affection and the sensible world to Hegel’s larger theoretical project. I argue that one of the central aims of Hegel’s work is to describe a theory of truth centered on the premise that only self-referential concepts (concepts like the first person indexical “I”) are truth apt. In so doing, I provide a new argument for why Hegel is best understood as a post-Kantian thinker whose main philosophical concern is the philosophy of mind: on my reading, Hegel’s complex account of truth can only be made sense of when viewed as a response to Kant’s theory of perception.
Papers in Preparation (drafts available upon request):
“Boredom as a Propositional Attitude: Reading Alberto Moravia with Hegel”— In this paper I argue that Hegel has a complex and overlooked philosophical psychology that supplements his idealist logic. In Hegel’s psychology, as a consequence of his social and historical theory of rationality, the mental states of finite rational agents index the relationship between political norms and political states of affairs. Works of art, in turn, can make this subjective experience objectively available. I draw on Alberto Moravia’s 1960 novel Boredom, which explores the affective situation of characters living in post-Fascist Italy, in order to examine this complex model in action. I use Moravia’s text to develop a broadly Hegelian account of the way in which subjective psychological states result from and bear on objective facts about the world. I conclude that Moravia’s “boredom” describes a paradigmatically Hegelian structure of mental intentionality, a propositional attitude, that reflects the social, political, and economic circumstances in which judging subjects are embedded.
“Logical Content and the Exhibition of Conceptual Reality in Hegel’s Science of Logic”— Hegel famously rejects Kant’s claim from the Critique of Pure Reason that space and time, the Kantian forms of intuition, provide content for synthetic a priori judgments. Hegel argues instead that a priori concepts give themselves content. The mechanism by which this content is provided is poorly understood and remains a point of deep contention in the literature. Two potential sources have been defended most frequently: intellectual intuition and intuitive intellection. Here, I reject both of these and argue for a novel third option, symbolic intuition, by drawing on resources in Kant’s Critique of Judgment.
“It’s Just Your Imagination: Hegel on the Epistemic Status of Empirical Objects”— This paper considers the role of the imagination in Hegel’s theory of perception. I argue that, by rejecting a representationalist theory of knowledge, Hegel successfully motivates and defends the view that empirical objects are imaginary without falling prey to external world skepticism. I demonstrate how Hegel reforms Kant’s theory of imagination in order to offer an idealist theory of empirical object perception that reaches beyond mere appearances.