“Second Nature”: Place and Significance of the Objective Spirit in Hegel’s Encyclopedia

The Owl of Minerva 27 (1):51-66 (1995)
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Since the truth is only the whole, no statement or discipline can be true unless we understand how it relates to all other statements and disciplines within one encyclopedic knowledge. This theorem also applies to the perspective from which the exposition of the whole truth can be approached. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, for example, in a sense gathers the entire truth, but its perspective is the specific phenomenological one of experience and Bildung. All partial perspectives taken together, however, understood in the necessity of their unity, form the one and overall perspective—which no longer is a perspective—that constitutes the truth of the truth beyond which nothing exists or can be known. This one and total Idea can be known by us, finite intelligences, only in the unfolding and time-consuming form of a discursive system. It knows itself in the eternity of its self-differentiating and self-temporalizing identity with itself.



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