“Authenticity” and “Warranted Belief” in Hegel’s Dialectic of Religion

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Abstract

Three recent attempts directed toward the formalization of dialectical logic by the use of a system of symbolic notations have come to my attention.1 Each of these involves the use of variables which may be instantiated by terms, and each, I think, is inadequate on this and another account to Hegel’s Logic, the Notion.2 In cognizance of this and of certain difficulties which seem to be in the way of the understanding and use of the dialectical method, I shall have a two-fold purpose in what follows. I shall propose a strategy for evaluating dialectic for its adherence to certain of Hegel’s dialectical principles which I shall then apply to his dialectic of religion. This strategy, in brief, is to develop a twofold test to be applied to a dialectical exposition of what is purported to be the case, one test to determine what I shall call its “authenticity,” its adherence to formal properties of dialectic to be specified, and the other a material test for whether what is purported is warranted for belief. In the course of doing this, I shall hope to clarify what I see to be a central problem inherent in Hegel’s criteria for Truth, and to show how the strategy proposed, in part derived from Hegel and in part at least seemingly at odds with his position, may resolve this problem, or at least make it more manageable.