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I Speak, Therefore I am: Hegel on Descartes

From the book 14/2016 Der deutsche Idealismus und die Rationalisten / German Idealism and the Rationalists

  • John McCumber


Hegel’s discussion of Descartes in the Lectures on the History of Philosophy is relatively clear, but harbors a central mystery. Much of the mystery is structured around criticisms Hegel makes of Descartes’ procedure, the most basic of which is that for Descartes, thought is somehow “fixed.” What, then, can it mean for thought to be “unfixed?” To answer this question I first show how it arises from Hegel’s treatment of Descartes. Then I discuss two core Hegelian doctrines that can answer it: those of the linguistic nature of philosophy and of the temporal nature of language.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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