Hegel's Critique of Pure Mechanism and the Philosophical Appeal of the Logic Project
I undertake here the challenges of clarifying and defending Hegel’s mechanism argument, and showing how it throws some much-needed light on the nature and philosophical appeal of the Logic project. I will argue that the key to all this is Hegel’s focus on a philosophical problem concerning explanation itself. Unfortunately, this problem can easily be obscured from us by contemporary tastes and assumptions. In particular, where Hegel discusses mechanism and teleology, we must not read him as if he meant to distinguish and examine something like two distinct but compatible ways of describing or classifying the world so as to address our different pragmatic or subjective interests. This reading would seriously constrain our understanding of Hegel’s complaint about mechanism: the point would have to be that mechanism inaccurately, incompletely, or unhelpfully describes the world. Such a complaint would have to draw upon premises about the actual world and its contents, and it is hard to see how these could be compelling except as empirical claims.
© 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Kreines, James. "Hegel's Critique of Pure Mechanism and the Philosophical Appeal of the Logic Project." European Journal of Philosophy 12.1 (2004): 38–74.