Hegel's Transcendental Induction by Peter Simpson

By Peter Simpson

Hegel's Transcendental Induction demanding situations the orthodox account of Hegelian phenomenology as a hyper-rationalism.

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In the crisis that follows the complete experience of the positing of the law as universal difference, the understanding consciousness is driven to see itself as the necessary unity of experiencing and to view its experiencing as a selfdifferentiating totality. With the empty truth of the understanding's explanation that force must appear just like this, the project of making sense of the elements of perception has collapsed into tautology. The understanding at this point has to see that it has, on one level, advanced no further than saying that things and properties, or unities and differences, must be unified.

Indeed, the disparity between the necessity it reflects in its behavior and the necessity it attaches to things is the basis for the experienced collapse of perception. The unity it must have is posited as the immediate unity of sensible or perceptible details. 61 Let me turn to the experience of perceiving consciousness and to its posited unity to develop the crisis in perception. There are two consequences that follow from this positing. The first is that it must posit many other properties, each of which is like the firstmediated by the unity that preserves and makes them all accessible.

What it doesn't see, but we have already seen, is that regardless of its success rate, its project is at best contingent, and at worst self-defeating; the many cannot of themselves be perceived as the kind of one they have to be. In the experience of perceiving that we observe, it is precisely the frustration of trying to hold fast to the one that brings out the specific commitments (to the many elements of its experiential context and to this context as the unity that can accommodate something like a principle of exclusion) on which it is founded and with which it will be able to develop into the more comprehensive cognitive stance called understanding.

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