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Title:  Thoughts, Deeds, Words and World: Hegel’s Idealist Response to the Linguistic “Metacritical Invasion” Author: Paul Redding Series: New Studies in Idealism Imprint: Noesis Press 168 pp. soft cover USD 22.00 ISBN 978-1-934542-42-2 March 30, 2014 The Davies Group, Publishers In Thoughts, Deed, Words and World, Paul Redding examines key features of Hegel’s philosophy as giving expression to a response—both idealist and systematic—to the so-called “metacritical” attack on Kant’s revolutionary form of idealism. This metacritical attack, which appeared in the late 18th century in different forms in works by J. G. Hamann and his follower J. G. von Herder, was based on the thesis that language was, in Hamann’s words, “the only, first, and last organon and criterion of reason, with no credentials but tradition and usage”. This style of thesis, stressing the dependency of thought on the conventions of language, has been echoed in more recent times by similarly conceived attacks on systematic philosophy. Redding argues that even before the appearance of Herder’s influential Metacritique of 1799, a group of thinkers gathered around Johann Gottlieb Fichte in Jena, and, like him, supportive of the spirit of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, had been exploring linguistically conceived variants of Kant’s idealism. Such attempts had been prompted by the problems that came to be perceived within the first attempt to systematize Kant’s conception of mental representation—the “Elementary Philosophy” of Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Fichte’s predecessor at Jena. While accepting some form of the language-dependency thesis, these attempts were nevertheless opposed to the more reductive and positivistic dimensions of the metacritiques. They testify to the sophisticated range of reflection on the nature of language and its relation to thought that provided resources on which Hegel could draw during the following decades. Features of both Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and his Science of Logic, are shown to embody a sophisticated version of the linguistic dependency thesis in which thought, while needing linguistic expression to achieve determinate form, nevertheless possesses a logical form that is irreducible to the grammar of its expression. Aspects of Hegel’s complex critical appropriation of Fichte’s conception of intersubjective “recognition” are extended to the role given to language in the recognitive process by both Fichte and his follower, A. F. Bernhardi. These aspects of Hegel’s philosophy give weight to the suggestion, made in a review of Hamann’s work written towards the end of his life, that Hegel conceived of his own Science of Logic as an attempt to give conceptual expression to the linguistic-dependency thesis that Hamann himself had only been able to present in an analogical form. Contents Preface Introduction      Chapter 1: Issues of Language and Representation in the Context of Kant’s Critical Philosophy 1.1  Kantian Problems of Representation 1.2. Reinhold and the post-Reinholdian turn in German Idealism 1.3  Fichte’s response to Aenesidemus’ critique of Reinhold 1.4  Fichte on language 1.5  Two Post-Fichtean Extensions of the Linguistic  Turn: Hardenberg and Bernhardi Chapter 2: Hegel’s Unfurling of Hamann’s Clenched Fist 2.1 Hegel’s Project of a Phenomenology of Spirit 2.2 The implicit master–slave language game of the Phenomenology ’s Ch 4. 2.3  The Logical Form of Perceptual Judgments in Science of Logic 2.4  Hegel on Aristotelian and Stoic conceptions of Logical Structure Chapter 3. Hegel’s Logic as Work on Words. 3.1  Reflection as Work on Language 3.2  The Grammatical and Logical Forms of Judgment 3.3  Sätze  and Urteilen 3.4  Reversing Subject and Predicates of Expressed Judgments 3.5  Hegel on the Role of Leibniz and Ploucquet in the History of Logic Primary Texts, and Abbreviations Used Notes Bibliography About the author Paul Redding is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He is a prominent figure in the recent reinterpretation and reevaluation of the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel, and the author of Hegel’s Hermeneutics (Cornell UP, 1996), The Logic of Affect (Cornell UP, 1999), Analytic Philosophy and the Return of Hegelian Thought (Cambridge UP, 2007), and Continental Idealism: Leibniz to Nietzsche (Routledge, 2009). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a past president of the Australasian Association of Philosophy.
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