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Hegel’s Realm of Shadows

Logic as Metaphysics in “The Science of Logic”

Hegel frequently claimed that the heart of his entire system was a book widely regarded as among the most difficult in the history of philosophy, The Science of Logic . This is the book that presents his metaphysics, an enterprise that he insists can only be properly understood as a “logic,” or a “science of pure thinking.” Since he also wrote that the proper object of any such logic is pure thinking itself, it has always been unclear in just what sense such a science could be a “metaphysics.”

Robert B. Pippin offers here a bold, original interpretation of Hegel’s claim that only now, after Kant’s critical breakthrough in philosophy, can we understand how logic can be a metaphysics. Pippin addresses Hegel’s deep, constant reliance on Aristotle’s conception of metaphysics, the difference between Hegel’s project and modern rationalist metaphysics, and the links between the “logic as metaphysics” claim and modern developments in the philosophy of logic. Pippin goes on to explore many other facets of Hegel’s thought, including the significance for a philosophical logic of the self-conscious character of thought, the dynamism of reason in Kant and Hegel, life as a logical category, and what Hegel might mean by the unity of the idea of the true and the idea of the good in the “Absolute Idea.” The culmination of Pippin’s work on Hegel and German idealism, this is a book that no Hegel scholar or historian of philosophy will want to miss.

Author Information

Robert B. Pippinis the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many books on philosophy, literature, art, and film.


“This wonderfully clear and exciting book of philosophy is the best book ever written on Hegel’s Logic in any language I know.”
— Terry Pinkard, Georgetown University

“In this fascinating reading of Hegel’s The Science ofLogic, Robert Pippin gives us much to ponder—not least how it might be possible to see Hegel’s position as a fusion of Kantian idealism and Aristotelian metaphysics. Pippin’s defense of this view displays all the dialectical skills of the master himself, and will bring fresh life to the debates concerning how this text is to be read.”
— Robert Stern, The University of Sheffield

Hegel’s Realm of Shadows makes an impressive original contribution by showing that Hegel’s philosophy is a systematically lively alternative to the approaches of Kant, Fichte, Frege or Wittgenstein. By addressing how The Science of Logic establishes the autonomy of thought and showing that freedom shapes everything in Hegel’s philosophy, Pippin impressively demonstrates the actuality and vitality of Hegel’s philosophy.”
— Michael Quante, University of Münster

“To his numerous and enormously influential studies of important aspects of Hegel’s philosophy, Pippin adds another work that is bound to shape our understanding of what for Hegel forms the heart of his philosophy, namely, the Logic. It brilliantly illustrates Pippin’s extraordinary Hegel scholarship. It is also remarkably readable and so will be of interest not only to philosophers and philosophy students, but to a wider audience as well.”
— Rolf-Peter Horstmann, Humboldt University of Berlin

“With Hegel’s Realm of Shadows the analytic, American interpretation of Hegel has come full circle. . . . There is no doubt that Pippin’s interpretation is a feat in both Hegel and Kant scholarship.”
— British Journal for the History of Philosophy

Audience: Professional and scholarly;