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Guided Readings in Philosophy
Comments on §80, The Necessity and Determinateness of Science 
5th-Jun-2010 10:08 pm
Hegel argues that the path that proceeds through the reflection and negation discussed in §79 is not just a possible one, but one whose necessity arises from the nature of consciousness. Because consciousness is intentional it already recognizes its negation in its own reflections on itself, i.e. the other side of the intentionality--the object. This recognition is just what has motivated the epistemological impulse Hegel had treated in §73-78. And precisely because consciousness is already something which goes beyond itself in this way, the 'going beyond' is not a violation of or limit to consciousness but rather the means by which it is fulfilled as what it is, i.e. the way to become in act what it is in essence. This, however, is only possible if this essence is something determinate, which is to say that the path laid out in §79-80 is a path which in fact goes somewhere and does not merely tirelessly negate each new presentation. Hegel states that in fact consciousness will discover itself to be determinate in this way, when the series of reflections constituting its self education resolves itself in a concept which no longer goes beyond itself, but rather is just what it is, and this identity of itself is recognized as the identity of it as the object of reflection.

In this same passage, Hegel takes up and dismisses three sorts of defense against this path: the skeptical refusal of thought, the intuitionist foundation upon the particular, and the Romantic method of irony. Reason, he says, insists itself against the skeptic, opposes any absoluteness of the particular, and against the ironic in fact reveals itself to be something determinate and thus not just an object of ironic negation, which in any case can do nothing but return negatively to the ego as merely an agency of that negation.
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