Modern Theology And The Dialectic Of God, Part 2 (Kelly Maeshiro)

The following is the second of a four-part series. The first can be found here.

Kantian idealism for Hegel represents the “shape” of Spirit corresponding to what he calls “Understanding,” which, to Hegel’s mind, Kant does not get beyond, and in which he ultimately remains stuck. Here we should be clear that Hegel did not reject Kant’s contribution to philosophy, even if it remained at the level of Understanding. Because the Understanding represented a higher and more developed form of Spirit than both Sense-Certainty and Perception, Hegel saw Understanding as a necessary part of the development of Spirit, and credited Kant on this account, appreciating and to a large extent affirming Kant’s criticism of traditional speculative metaphysics.

For Hegel, “It was one of Kant’s great merits,” Beiser tells us, “to have subjected the old metaphysics to criticism. He agreed entirely with Kant that one of the chief failures of past metaphysics was its dogmatism, i.e., its failure to investigate the powers and limits of reason.” As a result, “Hegel fully endorsed the demands of Kantian criticism, insisting that ‘any future metaphysics that comes forward as a science alone’ would first have to pass the test of criticism.”[1] Hegel for his part therefore appreciated Kant’s criticism of the “old metaphysics” as a necessary development in Spirit; the problem from Hegel’s point of view was simply that Kant never got past this rather limited point of view, corresponding to the Understanding.

The problem of the Understanding which Kantian idealism represented was, as we have already seen, that it was self-defeating, and negated, on its own terms, the possibility of knowledge. The metaphysical dualism of Kantian idealism made it all but impossible to account for the possibility of knowledge through the interaction of subject and object. “The possibility of knowledge required some correspondence between the realms of the intellectual and the empirical, the subject and the objective; but Kant had postulated such a sharp dualism between these realms that any correspondence between them became unintelligible.”  From this point of view, absolute idealism, a metaphysical identity of subject and object, not metaphysical dualism of the Kantian sort, was the necessary precondition of knowledge. Hegel therefore considered “his metaphysics not only as a possibility but as a necessity of the critical philosophy itself.”[2]

From Hegel’s point of view, Kant’s failures were ultimately methodological. Kant did not get past Understanding because he hypostatized its laws and extended them to Reason. The underlying reason for this mistake on Kant’s part was his methodological formalism. Hegel complained that “the method of Kantian criticism is external, presupposing the truth of some standard of criticism that does not derive from the concepts themselves. Against Kant, Hegel insisted that the criticism of knowledge must be internal, so that the subject matter is evaluated according to its own inherent standards and goals.”[3]

To apply external principles to consciousness the way that Hegel supposed Kant did is to ignore the movement of consciousness which is derived from its own inner necessity, and to pigeonhole Spirit in a lifeless formalism. As Hegel writes, “What results from this method of labelling all that is in heaven and earth with the few determinations of the general schema, and pigeonholing everything in this way, is nothing less than a ‘report clear as noonday’ on the universe as an organism, viz. a synoptic table like a skeleton with scraps of paper stuck all over it, or like the rows of closed and labelled boxes in a grocer’s stall.”[4]

Contrasting his own dialectical method to Kant’s formalism, he goes on to elaborate: “Instead of entering into the immanent content of the thing, [the formal Understanding] is forever surveying the whole and standing above the particular existence of which it is speaking, i.e. it does not see it at all. Scientific cognition, on the contrary, demands surrender to the life of the object, or, what amounts to the same thing, confronting and expressing its inner necessity.”[5]

In place of Kant’s methodological formalism, which applied an a priori standard of truth to its object, proceeding from rather than arriving at a method, Hegel applied a dialectical method, according to which the “standards, rules, and guidelines appropriate to a subject matter should be the result, not the starting point, of the investigation.”[6] Unlike methodological formalism, dialectical criticism grasps the inner forms of Spirit as they appear to consciousness.[7] It sinks itself in the content, “letting it move spontaneously of its own nature, by the self as its own self, and then [contemplates] this movement.”[8]

As Hegel writes, “not only is a contribution by us superfluous, since Notion and object, the criterion and what is to be tested, are present in consciousness itself, but we are also spared the trouble of comparing the two and really testing them, so that, since what consciousness examines is its own self, all that is left for us to do is simply to look on.”[9] At best, the philosopher can refute consciousness by pointing out the manner in which it is inconsistent with itself. The refutation of consciousness “is derived and developed from the principle itself, not accomplished by counter-assertions and random thought from outside. The refutation would, therefore, properly consist in the further development of the principle …”[10]

In criticizing Kant’s methodological formalism, Hegel had committed himself to a dialectical procedure, which required him to show how Absolute idealism is derived and developed from Kantian (transcendental) idealism itself. He has to show the manner in which the standpoint of Reason properly develops out of the standpoint of Understanding itself. In the dialectic of the Understanding, then, Hegel shows how the standpoint of Understanding, represented by Kantian idealism, gives rise to its own internal contradictions: both separating and uniting subject and object: “The dialectic arises from an inevitable contradiction in the procedures of the understanding.

The understanding contradicts itself because it both separates things, as if they were completely independent of one another, and connects them, as if neither could exist apart from the other. It separates things when it analyzes them into their parts, each of which is given a self-sufficient status; and it connects them according to the principle of sufficient reason, showing how each event has a cause, or how each part inheres in a still smaller part, and so on ad infinitum.”[11] In the case of Kantian idealism, the contradiction between separation and unity becomes especially apparent in the ambiguity with which subject and object are related. The ambiguity is aptly noted by Beiser, who suggests that the challenge facing Kantian idealism “is that there must be and cannot be such an identity of identity and non-identity” of subject and object.

“According to idealist principles, there must be such an identity because subject-object identity is the first principle of all knowledge, even the awareness of an apparently distinct object in experience; but there also cannot be such an identity because the principle of subject-object identity contradicts the subject-object dualism of experience.”[12] As we have already observed, Kantian idealism on the one hand presupposes subject-object identity as a necessary condition of possible experience. On the other hand, it posits an unbridgeable metaphysical gap between subject and object. The relation between subject and object, between thought and being, phenomenal and noumenal realms, is therefore in a rather ambiguous and indeterminate situation.

Knowledge is caught in a kind of awkward limbo somewhere in between the phenomenal realm’s dependence on the noumenal realm, and its independence, its total separation, from it. “The only way to resolve the contradiction,” Beiser writes, “is to reinterpret the independent or self-sufficient term as the whole of which all connected or dependent terms are only parts. The mistake of the understanding arose in giving self-sufficient status to a part of the whole; it rectifies its error and resolves its contradiction when it ascends to the standpoint of the whole itself,” which is, in the final analysis, nothing other than the standpoint of absolute idealism itself.

Beiser is thus right to regard the dialectic presented in the Phenomenology as a “transcendental deduction of metaphysics.” As he writes, “just as Kant argues in the Transcendental Deduction of the first Critique that the categories are a necessary condition of possible experience, so Hegel contends in the Phenomenology that the ideas of metaphysics are a necessary condition of actual experience.”[13] Kant’s and Hegel’s transcendental deductions both correspond to definite developments of Spirit. Kant’s transcendental deduction showed the Understanding to be the necessary condition of Perception, and Hegel’s, moving beyond this, showed Reason to be the necessary condition of the Understanding.

The Absolute, or the identity of subject and object, is presupposed in the same way that any higher form of consciousness is presupposed in any lower form of consciousness. Absolute knowing is presupposed in the act of knowing just as Understanding is presupposed in Sense-Certainty, or Self-Consciousness is presupposed in Consciousness. In this dialectic the higher forms of consciousness do not eliminate or even replace the lower forms of consciousness so much as they complete them, are necessarily presupposed by them.

For Hegel it is not as if we are for instance self-conscious rather than or instead of  simply conscious, but rather that even being conscious always already implies some degree of self-consciousness, that self-consciousness is implied in every simple consciousness. In a similar way, the Absolute, the identity of subject and object, of thought and being, is always implied in the form of Understanding which Kantian idealism represents. The crucial point we must bear in mind here is that “the ascent to the whole comes from within the understanding itself,” (my emphasis)[14] and is not derived from without. Adhering to his own dialectical premises, Hegel does not exogenously impose the principle of Reason, which grasps objects as parts of larger wholes, but develops it out of the principle of the Understanding itself. He shows the manner in which the contradictions of Understanding are self-generated, and self-resolved.

In one sense, Hegel simply dispenses with the noumenal realm. But it might be more appropriate at this point to say that he doesn’t so much eliminate either the noumenal or phenomenal realm as he synthesizes them, showing them both to be part of an indivisible whole. “Hegel saw that Kant’s dualism [was] part of the problem rather than the solution. The proper solution is not to divide but to unite the noumenal and the phenomenal, unconditioned and conditions, by showing how both form necessary parts of a single indivisible whole.”[15]

Having dispensed with the noumenal realm as something distinct from phenomenal reality, Hegel has to account for the manner in which experience shows that phenomenal appearances are distinct from noumenal objects. Kant’s relation between the noumenon and the phenomenon represented a certain kind of relation in which reality was metaphysically distinct from its appearances. Having dispensed with the noumenal realm as a distinct sphere from the phenomenal realm, Hegel has to account for the difference between reality and appearance within the phenomenal realm. The phenomenology of spirit “has only phenomenal knowledge for its object,” Hegel writes. “Since our object is phenomenal knowledge … if we inquire into the truth of knowledge, it seems that we are asking what knowledge is in itself. Yet in this inquiry knowledge is our object, something that exists for us.”[16]

The distinction between appearance and reality is preserved, but the noumenon, the unknowable whose very structure did not permit knowledge, has been dispensed with. To Kantian idealism, Findlay writes, “Hegel opposes the view that the distinction between what things in themselves are, and what things only are for consciousness or knowledge, must itself be a distinction drawn within consciousness, that the former can be only the corrected view of an object, while the latter is merely a view formerly entertained but now abandoned as incorrect. The progress of knowledge will then consist in the constant demotion of what appeared to be the absolute truth about the object to what now appears to be only the way that the object appeared to consciousness, a new appearance of absolute truth taking the former’s place.”[17] 

In a sense, Hegel, in order to work out an epistemological model without appeal to the noumenal, flattens out Kant’s vertical epistemological dualism into a horizontal dialectics which finds its consummation in absolute idealism. He replaces Kant’s vertical phenomenon-noumenon relation into a horizontal Notion-object relation: “If we designate knowledge as the Notion, but the essence or the True as what exists, or the object,” as Kant had done, “then the examination consists in seeing whether the Notion corresponds to the object. But if we call the essence or in-itself of the object the Notion, and on the other hand understand by the object the Notion itself as object, viz., as it exists for an other, then the examination consists in seeing whether the object corresponds to its notion.”[18]

Kant designated the noumenal in-itself as the object and the phenomenal knowledge of it as the Notion of this object, but Hegel, having dispensed with the noumenal, sees what Kant had formerly designated as the object-in-itself as the phenomenal Notion, and what Kant had formerly designated as the Notion as the object, the object for an other. In Hegel’s system, both the Notion and the Object correspond to what Kant would have designated as phenomenal entities in his system, but they are distinguished now by their correlative status, the object, playing a role functionally similar to Kant’s phenomenal Notion, being an object for another, the Notion, playing a role functionally similar to Kant’s noumenal object, being an object in-itself.

All of these relations, Hegel hastens to emphasize, refer to what Kant would have designated as phenomena. The “essential point to bear in mind throughout the whole investigation,” Hegel cautions, “is that these two moments, ‘Notion’ and ‘object,’ ‘being-for-another’ and ‘being-in-itself,’ both fall within that knowledge which we are investigating,” which Hegel explicitly designates as “phenomenal knowledge” two paragraphs prior.[19] Kant’s distinction between reality and appearance, then, is preserved but transformed, and the point for consciousness is to see whether, within the realm of phenomenal knowledge, object corresponds to its Notion.

Philosophical criticism explicates the implicit presuppositions of consciousness in its own self-doubt, which, Hegel writes, “is the conscious insight into the untruth of phenomenal knowledge, for which the supreme reality is what is in truth only the unrealized Notion.”[20] It is in this way that Hegel flattens Kant’s metaphysically dualistic relation between phenomenon and noumenon into a dialectical relation between object and its Notion. Where Kant had postulated external standards of knowledge for consciousness to compare reality and existence, Hegel explicates the implicit standards internal to consciousness itself: “Consciousness provides its own criterion from within itself, so that the investigation becomes a comparison of consciousness with itself; for the distinction” between object and its Notion “falls within it.”[21] (As we have already seen, it was Kant’s failure to recognize this that prevented him, from Hegel’s point of view, from moving beyond Understanding).

As Hegel goes on to elaborate, “consciousness is, on the one hand, consciousness of the object, and on the other, consciousness of itself; consciousness of what for it is the True, and consciousness of its knowledge of the truth … the distinction between the in-itself and knowledge is already present in the very fact that consciousness knows an object at all. Something is for it the in-itself; and knowledge, or the being of the object for consciousness, is, for it, another moment.”[22] What consciousness takes to be true, the object-for-consciousness, turns out not to correspond to the object-in-itself, and consciousness assumes the point of view of the latter, which then becomes another object-for-consciousness, and it in turns out not to correspond to the object-in-itself, or its own Notion, and so on. “Hence it comes to pass for consciousness that what it previously took to be the in-itself is not an in-itself, or that it was only an in-itself for consciousness.”[23]  A

s Hegel puts it somewhat more eloquently elsewhere, “The bud disappears in the bursting-forth of the blossom, and one might say that the former is refuted by the latter; similarly, when the fruit appears, the blossom is shown up in its turn as a false manifestation of the plant, and the fruit now emerges as the truth of it instead.”[24]  But here it is absolutely crucial to recognize that the negation of an earlier moment of consciousness is developed out of the logical necessity (i.e., the concept) of the object itself.

Therefore, as Hegel insists, “in every case the result of an untrue mode of knowledge must not be allowed to run away into an empty nothing, but must necessarily be grasped as the nothing [i.e., the negation] of that from which it results — a result which contains what is true in the preceding knowledge,” not least because, as we have already seen, consciousness develops out of self-criticism according to principles derived from itself, such that every subsequent moment or shape of consciousness is a logical development of an earlier one.[25] Hegel’s organic metaphor of the bud, blossom, plant, and fruit is apt: each is the negation of the former, but also the organic development of it, the truth of it.

Consciousness thus assumes a dynamic aspect as its own self-interrogation leads it from one “moment,” in which a given object is taken to be the in-itself, to another, in which another given object is taken to be the in-itself, and so on. Thus, Hegel says, “Truth is its own self-movement.”[26] In order to describe the general nature of this movement (which Hegel can only do a posteriori, because consciousness criticizes itself according to its own principles and the role of the philosopher is to observe this), Hegel reconfigures Fichte’s self-positing Ego. “The movement of a being that immediately is,” Hegel writes, “consists partly in becoming an other than itself, and thus becoming its own immanent content; partly in taking back into itself this unfolding [of its content] of this existence of it.”[27]

One moment of consciousness is at first seen by consciousness to be in a wholly negative relation to another moment, and is posted therefore as its negation, or its other. But because the subsequent moment, which is at first seen as the other to consciousness, is nothing other than the logical development of the previous moment of consciousness, according to its own principles, because the other is nothing but the negation “of that from which it results — a result which contains what was true in the preceding knowledge,” what was taken to be the other to consciousness in fact turns out to be consciousness itself in a more developed form, a more developed consciousness which is simply not aware of itself as this higher form. The various moments or shapes of consciousness, then, represents the Notion in greater or lesser degrees of self-consciousness, i.e., the Notion which is conscious of itself as the Notion of itself. Here it may be helpful to recall Hegel’s suggestion that the “supreme reality” of phenomenal knowledge is “in truth only the unrealized Notion.”

And if the various intermediate phases of consciousness represent only partial self-consciousness on the part of the Notion, then the Notion which is fully self-conscious of itself as the Notion is the Absolute, to which argument Hegel devotes his Phenomenology. The various phases of consciousness which Hegel traces in the course of the Phenomenology (Sense-Certainty, Perception, Understanding, Reason, Self-Consciousness, etc.), then, represent different degrees of the self-consciousness of the Absolute, different levels of awareness of the Absolute of itself as the Absolute. “The series of configurations which consciousness goes through along this road is, in reality, the detailed history of the education of consciousness itself to the standpoint of Science,” which is itself nothing other than Spirit (consciousness) which “knows itself as Spirit,” knowledge of the Absolute, which is in fact nothing other than the full self-consciousness of the Absolute of itself as the Absolute.[28] Unlike Schelling, Hegel felt that the Absolute needed to be demonstrated; it is not the starting point of philosophy, but its result: “It is only after his investigation that the philosopher understands that his object has been all along the absolute …”[29]

It is one thing to demonstrate the validity of Absolute idealism through a transcendental deduction of the sort that Hegel achieved. It is another thing altogether to grasp its meaning. Hegel may have shown through the argument of the Phenomenology that the Absolute is implied in any act of knowing, however simple, that each of the various stages of consciousness represent greater or lesser degrees of self-consciousness on the part of the Absolute of itself as the Absolute, but what it means for the Absolute to be implied in every act of knowing, or what it means for the identity of subject and object to be a necessary condition for the possibility of experience, or what it means for knowledge on the part of the subject to be nothing other than the self-knowledge of the Absolute — all of this remains to be answered.

The problems are particularly difficult for modern interpreters because they seem to point to a kind of quasi-animistic conception of the Absolute as something with a kind of conscious will and intention of its own — in short, because they interpret the Absolute in narrowly subjective terms. As Dorrien explains, Absolute idealism “is not about the self-knowledge of a finite subject. It is about the self-knowledge of the absolute within a finite subject. Instead of trapping subject-object identity inside the circle of its own representations, Schelling and Hegel lifted subject-identity outside this circle by equating the self-knowledge of a knowing subject with the self-knowledge of the absolute … My knowledge is not merely something that I know from my own consciousness. It is knowledge of the absolute through the object itself.”[30]

But the Absolute, however, is not some kind mystical being with a will and consciousness of its own, at least not any will or consciousness apart from the finite subjects in which it realizes itself. For Hegel, to assert the identity of thought and being, is, following Schelling, to see both thought and being as different attributes of the same substance, but sharing the same essential structure. Following after Spinoza and Schelling, Hegel’s Absolute idealism posited that “the subjective and the objective, the intellectual and the empirical, the ideal and the real — however one formulates the opposition — are not distinct substances but simply different aspects, properties or attributes of one and the same substance” — the Absolute which includes the identity of subject and object.[31]

Schelling and Hegel deduced the identity of subject and object as a necessary condition of possible experience. Following Fichte, they understood that there was only one possibility which could meet this condition, viz., self-consciousness, since it is only in self-consciousness that the knowing subject and the known object are one and the same, with the Absolute as the subject of subject-object identity, as the self of this self-consciousness.[32] On this basis, the assertion that knowledge is the self-consciousness of the Absolute is to say that thought and being, subject and object, being merely different attributes of the same substance, share the same fundamental structure: thought inheres in matter. The Absolute is itself “neither subjective nor objective because it is the form or structure that inheres equally in both.”[33]

To suggest that thought inheres in or is immanent in matter is not to suggest a kind of quasi-animism or spirit monism. Hegel’s monism is closer to Aristotelian than Platonic idealism: the thought that inheres in matter governs it by a logical necessity inherent in the structure of matter itself, presupposing no self-conscious agent: “The purpose that governs the world is only its inherent form or structure,” Beiser writes, “and it does not necessarily imply the intention of some agent.”[34] As Hegel himself clarifies, drawing on an ancient saying to which he often takes recourse: “The signification thus attached to thought and its characteristic forms may be illustrated by the ancient saying that ‘nous governs the world,’ or by our own phrase that ‘Reason is in the world’: which means that Reason is the soul of the world it inhabits, its immanent principle, its most proper and inward nature, its universal.”[35]

The metaphysical and theological implications of Hegel’s absolute idealism were immense. For Hegel, the Absolute meant nothing other than, and was synonymous with, God. From his point of view, philosophy shared the same subject matter with theology — “God and God alone.”[36] Hegel felt that the goal of philosophy was nothing short of cognizing God, explaining that “the content of philosophy, its need and interest, is wholly in common with that of religion. The object of religion, like that of philosophy, is eternal truth, God and nothing but God and the explication of God. Philosophy is only explicating itself when it explicates religion, and when it explicates itself it is explicating religion … Thus religion and philosophy coincide in one. In fact philosophy is itself the service of God.”[37]

The metaphysical dualism upon which Kantian idealism was predicated proscribed any real knowledge of God, the latter, on these terms, falling beyond the realm of possible experience, and Kant was forced to posit God as a necessary postulate of practical reason, a necessary precondition of moral freedom.[38] Hegel was dissatisfied with this solution, quipping that Kantian idealism turned God into a mere “phantom, far removed from our consciousness.”[39] This necessarily followed from the dualistic metaphysics of Kantian idealism.

The theological implications of Hegel’s immanent metaphysics, his flattening of Kant’s metaphysical dualism into the Absolute, are not difficult to infer. It meant among other things that the life of God is realized in the phenomenal world, not in some transcendent sphere beyond and opposed to it, as traditional theology, and even to some extent Kant, had maintained. Although Kant shut the lid on traditional speculative metaphysics, of which God was the principal subject, he himself retained a concept of God which was not altogether dissimilar; it only differed in the manner in which it was posited — viz., as a necessary postulate of practical reason. Kant’s God was not qualitatively different from the God of the speculative metaphysicians he criticized; it was only posited on different grounds, postulated on the basis of faith, corresponding to practical reason, rather than on the basis of knowledge, corresponding to pure speculative reason.

Kant’s concept of God was, in short, still predicated on a problematic metaphysical dualism. When Hegel, following Schelling, demonstrated the inadequacy and self-negating nature of this dualism, he therefore radically altered the very metaphysical basis upon which the concept of God would have to be postulated. If Kant’s concept of God corresponded in some sense to the noumenal in-itself (posited only as a necessary postulate of practical reason), then its fate was similar: just as Hegel collapsed the distinction between the noumenal and the phenomenal, he collapsed the distinction between the transcendent God which corresponded to this noumenal sphere and the immanent experience of the subject corresponding to the phenomenal sphere.

Put more precisely, in collapsing and transcending the Kantian distinction between the noumenal and the phenomenal, Hegel collapsed and transcended the distance between God and humanity. Where Kant’s God was transcendental Hegel’s God was immanent, or more precisely, transcendent in its immanence. As Beiser writes, “Hegel conceives of God as immanent. God reveals or embodies itself in the finite world and it is inseparable from its embodiment in nature and history.”[40]

Hegel’s radical transformation of the Kantian conception of God was a direct result, then, of his rejection of Kant’s implicit metaphysics. For Hegel, the problem with metaphysics was “not that it attempted to know the infinite, but that it had a false interpretation of the infinite as something transcending the finite world of ordinary experience.”[41] The problem with this conception of the infinite is that, like Kantian metaphysics as a whole, it is self-negating: “If the infinite were conceived in opposition to the finite,” Hegel reasoned, “then it would be finite itself, because it would be limited by the finite.”[42]

Just as the only solution to the problem of subject-object dualism was to conceive of them as different attributes of the same substance, the only solution to this problem was to conceptualize the finite and the infinite as attributes of the same substance. This meant nothing short of conceptualizing an infinite God in the element of the finite world. Hegel’s concept of God thus “preserves the traditional definition of God as the infinite; but it negates the traditional interpretation of the infinite as a supernatural entity that exists apart from its creation.”[43]

For Hegel, Dorrien writes, “The spirit of God and the spirit of humanity — divine reason — have the same essence.” As Hegel put it: “Human reason, human spiritual consciousness or consciousness of its own essence, is reason generally, is the divine within humanity.”[44] Not only does God for Hegel therefore not exist apart from creation, but is in fact dependent on it. “Without the world, God is not God,” Hegel declared.[45] God is just as dependent on the world as the world is on God. The life of God is realized in the life of human beings, and only in it. As Redding writes, for Hegel, “the mind of God becomes actual only via its particularization in the minds of ‘his’ finite material creatures.

Thus, in our consciousness of God, we somehow serve to realize his own self-consciousness, and, thereby, his own perfection.”[46] Since consciousness of the Absolute is “not about the self-knowledge of a finite subject,” but “the self-knowledge of the absolute within a finite subject,” and since the Absolute is equated with God, it follows, as Hegel writes, that “it is not the so-called human reason with its limits which knows God, but the Spirit of God in man; it is … the self-consciousness of God which knows itself in the knowing of man.”[47]

Kelly Maeshiro is a doctoral student at Union Theological Seminary. His work falls into two broad categories: practical and speculative. In his practical work, which draws heavily from political economy, especially Marxist political economy, Kelly is focused on a theological critique of capitalism as a form of religion corresponding to a definite historical form of idolatry. Drawing on Origen, Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Niebuhr. His speculative work is focused on the theoretical foundations of rational theology, incorporating elements of both philosophical theology and liberation theology, with the aim of synthesizing the valid claims of both rationalism and radicalism within a rigorous theological framework.

[1] Beiser, Hegel, p.156.

[2] Ibid., p.158.

[3] Ibid., p.157.

[4] Hegel, Preface to Phenomenology, p.31.

[5] Beiser, Hegel, p.32.

[6] Ibid., p.160.

[7] As Beiser stresses, “The dialectic if what follows from the concept of the thing. It is flatly contradictory to Hegel’s intention, therefore, to assume that the dialectic is an a priori methodology, or indeed a kind of logic, that one can apply to any subject matter. The dialectic is the very opposite: it is the inner movement of the subject matter, what evolves from it rather than what the philosopher applies to it” (Ibid.).

[8] Hegel, Preface to Phenomenology, p.36.

[9] Ibid., p.54.

[10] Ibid., p.13.

[11] Beiser, Hegel, p.164.

[12] Beiser, Hegel, p.180.

[13] Ibid., p.170.

[14] Ibid., p.164.

[15] Ibid., p.166-7.

[16] Hegel, Introduction to Phenomenology, pp.49,53.

[17] Findlay, Foreword to Hegel, Phenomenology, p.xiv.

[18] Hegel, Introduction to Phenomenology, p.53.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid., p.50.

[21] Ibid., p.53.

[22] Ibid., p.54.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Hegel, Preface to Phenomenology, p.2.

[25] Hegel, Introduction to Phenomenology, p.56.

[26] Hegel, Preface to Phenomenology, p.28.

[27] Ibid., p.32.

[28] Hegel, Introduction to Phenomenology, p.50; Preface to Phenomenology, p.14.

[29] Beiser, Hegel, p.60.

[30] Dorrien, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit, p.538.

[31] Beiser, Hegel, p.64; Beiser, “Hegel and the Problem of Metaphysics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hegel, ed. Beiser, (Cambridge University Press, 1993), p.6.

[32] Beiser, “Hegel and the Problem of Metaphysics,” p.12.

[33] Beiser, Hegel, p.69.

[34] Ibid., p.68; see also Paul Redding, “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Zalta, 22 July 2010, accessed 02 May 2015,

[35] G.W.F. Hegel, Logic (Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences), trans. William Wallace (London: Oxford University Press, 1892), p.46.

[36] On this point, Hegel was explicit, and insistent: “In his Encyclopedia he declares that the subject matter of philosophy is God and God alone. And in his lectures on the philosophy of religion he arrism that philosophy and religion share one and the same object: the absolute or God” (Beiser, Hegel, p.54).

[37] G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, one-volume edition, ed. Peter C. Hodgson, trans. R.F. Brown, P.C. Hodgson, and J.M. Stewart with the assistance of H.S. Harris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp.78-9.

[38] See Dorrien, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit, pp.48-9.

[39] Hegel, qtd. in Dorrien, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit, p.211.

[40] Beiser, Hegel, p.143.

[41] Ibid., p.55.

[42] Ibid., p.142.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Dorrien, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit, p.211.

[45] Hegel, qtd. in Beiser, Hegel, p.143.

[46] Redding, “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, op. cit.; see also, Beiser, Hegel, p.74.

[47] Quoted in Quentin Lauer, Hegel’s Concept of God (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982), p.44.

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