Advertisement

Senses and Sensations: On Hegel’s Later Account of Perceptual Experience

  • Luca CortiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in German Idealism book series (SIGI, volume 20)

Abstract

In recent decades Hegel has been the subject of a revival of interest by a number of scholars in the Anglophone philosophical world who claim that he can provide us with conceptual resources for answering particular problems concerning the philosophy of mind, the nature of our conceptual activity, and the character of knowledge. One of these problems concerns the nature of perceptual experience, and it is the core of a controversy called “the debate over non-conceptual content”.

In my paper I will focus on Hegel’s later picture of perceptual experience, by taking into account his Philosophy of Subjective Spirit. Most scholars who have addressed it in the last decades seem to agree precisely on a reading of Hegel as sharing many important views with the non-conceptualists. Such readings seem to challenge the standard McDowellian picture of Hegel.

I will look at what has come to be seen as the basic non-conceptual component in Hegel’s theory of mental activity, namely sensation (Empfindung). Contrary to some contemporary interpretation, from my point of view Hegel’s texts on Empfindung must not be taken primarily as theorizing a non-conceptual component that has to be “processed” by some further activities in order to acquire intentional and conceptual content. By showing the difficulties inherent to this way of reading Hegel’s Anthropology, I will make room a different approach to Hegel’s text. This will result in a different picture of Hegel’s theory of perceptual experience, which will be closer to McDowell’s than what has been considered until now.

References

  1. Allison, Henry. 1997. We Can Act Only Under the Idea of Freedom. Proceedings and Addresses of the APA 71 (2): 39–50.Google Scholar
  2. Bauer, Nathan. 2012. A Peculiar Intuition: Kant’s Conceptualist Account of Perception. Inquiry 55 (3): 215–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauer, Christoph. 2016. Editorischer Nachricht. In Vorlesungen über die Philosophie des subjektiven Geistes, vol. 3, Anhang, ed. C. Bauer. Hamburg: Meiner.Google Scholar
  4. Bermúdez, José Luis, and A. Cahen. 2012. Nonconceptual Mental Content. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edn), ed. Edward N. Zalta. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2012/entries/content-nonconceptual/.
  5. Berthold-Bond, Daniel. 1992. Intentionality and Madness in Hegel’s Psychology of Action. International Philosophical Quarterly 32 (4): 427–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 1995. Hegel’s Theory of Madness. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bird, Graham. 1996. McDowell’s Kant: “Mind and World.”. Philosophy 71 (276): 219–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourgeois, Bernard. 1994. Les deux âmes: de la nature à l’esprit. In De saint Thomas à Hegel, ed. J.L. Vieillard-Baron, 117–151. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  9. Boyle, Matt. 2016. Additive theories of rationality. A Critique. European Journal of Philosophy 24 (2): 1–29.Google Scholar
  10. Brandom, Robert. 2002. Tales of the Mighty Dead. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2009. Reason in Philosophy: Animating Ideas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brewer, Bill. 2005. Perceptual Experience has Conceptual Content. In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, ed. M. Steup and E. Sosa, 217–230. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Brinkmann, K. 1998. The Natural and the Supernatural in Human Nature. Hegel on the Soul. In Philosophies of Nature: The Human Dimension, ed. R.S. Cohen and A.I. Tauber, 3–18. Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Byrne, Alex. 2005. Perception and Conceptual Content. In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, ed. M. Steup and E. Sosa, 231–250. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Chiereghin, Franco. 1991. Das griechische Erbe in Hegels Anthropologie. In Psychologie und Anthropologie oder Philosophie des Geistes. Beiträge zu einer Hegel-Tagung in Marburg, ed. F. Hespe and B. Tuschling, 9–51. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.Google Scholar
  16. Christensen, Darrel E. 1968a. The Theory of Mental Derangement and the Role and Function of Subjectivity in Hegel. The Personalist 49: 433–452.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 1968b. Hegel’s Phenomenological Analysis and Freud’s Psychoanalysis. International Philosophical Quarterly 8 (3): 356–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Corti, Luca. 2014. Ritratti hegeliani. Un capitolo della filosofia americana contemporanea. Roma: Carocci.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2016a. Pensare l’esperienza. Una lettura dell’ “Antropologia“ di Hegel. Bologna: Pendragon.Google Scholar
  20. Crane, Tim, ed. 1992. The Contents of Experience, Essays on Perception. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. DeVries, Willem. 1988. Hegel’s Theory of Mental Activity. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2013. Subjective Spirit. Soul, Consciouness, Intillegence and Will. In The Bloomsbury Companion to Hegel, ed. A. de Laurentiis and J. Edwards, 133–156. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  23. Duhau, Laura. 2014. Perceptual Nonconceptualism: Disentangling the Debate Between Content and State Nonconceptualism. European Journal of Philosophy 22 (3): 358–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferrarin, Alfredo. 2001. Hegel and Aristotle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fetscher, Iring. 1970. Hegels Lehre vom Menschen; Kommentar zu den §§ 387 bis 472 der Enzyklopädie der Philosophischen Wissenschaften. Stuttgart/Bad-Cannstatt: Fromman-Holzboog.Google Scholar
  26. Forman, David. 2010. Second Nature and Spirit: Hegel on the Role of Habit in the Appearance of Perceptual Consciousness. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (4): 325–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Friedman, Michael. 2002. Exorcising the Philosophical Tradition. In ed. Smith, 25–57.Google Scholar
  28. Gabriel, Markus. 2011. Transcendental Ontology. Essays in German Idealism. London/NewYork: Continuum.Google Scholar
  29. Gendler, Tamar S., and John Hawthorne, eds. 2006. Perceptual Experience. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  30. Gomes, Anil. 2014. Kant on Perception: Naïve Realism, Non-conceptualism and the B-Deduction. The Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Halbig, Christoph. 2002. Objektives Denken Erkenntnistheorie und Philosophy of Mind in Hegels System. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.Google Scholar
  32. Hanna, Robert. 2013. Kant, Hegel and the Fate of Non-Conceptual Content. Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 34 (1): 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Heck, Richard G. 2000. Nonconceptual Content and the Space of Reasons. The Philosophical Review 109: 483–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heidemann, D., ed. 2013. Kant and Non-Conceptual Content. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Hespe, Franz, and Burkhardt Tuschling, eds. 1991. Psychologie und Anthropologie oder Philosophie des Geistes, Beiträge zu einer Hegel-Tagung in Marburg 1989. Stuttgart/Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.Google Scholar
  36. Houlgate, Stephen. 2006. Thought and Experience in Hegel and McDowell. European Journal of Philosophy 14 (2): 242–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. ———. 2016. Hegel, McDowell and Perceptual Experience: A Response to John McDowell. In Hegel’s Philosophical Psychology, ed. S. Hermann-Sinai and L. Ziglioli, 57–73. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Ikäheimo, Heikki. 2000. Self-consciousness and Intersubjectivity: A Study on Hegel’s Encyclopedia Philosophy of Subjective Spirit (1830). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä Publications in Philosophy.Google Scholar
  39. Illetterati, Luca. 1995. Natura e Ragione. Trento: Verifiche.Google Scholar
  40. Jaeschke, Walter. 2010. Hegel-Handbuch, Leben-Werk-Schule. Stuttgart-Weimar: Metzler.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Land, Thomas. 2011. Kantian Conceptualism. In Rethinking Epistemology, ed. G. Abel and J. Conant, 197–239. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  42. Laurier, David. 2004. Nonconceptual Contents vs. Nonconceptual States. Grazer Philosophische Studien 68: 23–43.Google Scholar
  43. Mills, Jon. 1996. Hegel on the Unconscious Abyss: Implications for Psychoanalysis. The Owl of Minerva 28 (1): 59–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. ———. 2000. Hegel on the Unconscious Soul. Science et Esprit 52 (3): 321–340.Google Scholar
  45. ———. 2002. The Unconscious Abyss: Hegel’s Anticipation of Psychoanalysis. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  46. Nuzzo, Angelica. 2013. Anthropology, Geist and the Soul-Body Problem. The systematic Beginning of Hegel’s Philosophy of Spirit. In Essays on Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit, ed. D. Stern, 19–36. New York: Suny Press.Google Scholar
  47. Peacocke, Christopher. 2001. Does Perception Have a Nonconceptual Content? The Journal of Philosophy 98 (5): 239–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pippin, Robert. 2002. Leaving Nature Behind: Or, Two Cheers for Subjectivism. In ed. N. Smith, 58–78.Google Scholar
  49. ———. 2005. Postscript: On McDowell’s Response to “Leaving Nature Behind.”. In The Persistence of Subjectivity: On the Kantian Aftermath, 206–220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. ———. 2007. McDowell’s Germans: Response to ‘On Pippin’s Postscript’. European Journal of Philosophy 15 (3): 411–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rameil, Udo. 1988. Der systematische Aufbau der Geisteslehre in Hegels Nürnberger Propädeutik. Hegel-Studien 23: 19–49.Google Scholar
  52. Rorty, Richard. 1998. Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sandkaulen, Birgit. 2011. Die Seele ist der existierende Begriff. Herausforderungen philosophischer Anthropologie. Hegel-Studien 45: 35–50.Google Scholar
  54. Sedgwick, Sally. 1997. McDowell’s Hegelianism. European Journal of Philosophy 5 (1): 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sellars, Wilfrid. 1992. Science and Metaphysics: Variations on Kantian Themes. Atascadero: Ridgeview.Google Scholar
  56. Severino, Giulio. 1983. Inconscio e malattia mentale in Hegel. Genova: Melangolo.Google Scholar
  57. Surber, Jere Paul O’Neill. 2013. Hegel’s Linguistic Thought in the Philosophy of Subjective Spirit: Between Kant and the ‘Metacritics’. In Essays on Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit, ed. D. Stern, 181–200. Albany: Suny Press.Google Scholar
  58. Tolley, Clinton. 2013. The Non-Conceptuality of the Content of Intuitions: A New Approach. Kantian Review 18: 107–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tuschling, Burkhard. 1994. Einleitung. Hegels Philosophie des Geistes im Wintersemester 1827/8, in VPG, ix–xxviii.Google Scholar
  60. Van der Meulen, Jan. 1963. Hegels Lehre von Leib, Seele und Geist. Hegel-Studien 2: 251–273.Google Scholar
  61. Wenzel, Christian H. 2005. Spielen nach Kant die Kategorien schon bei der Wahrnehmung eine Rolle? Peter Rohs und John McDowell. Kant-Studien 96: 407–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Winfield, Richard D. 2007. From Representation to Thought: Reflections on Hegel’s Determination of Intelligence. The Owl of Minerva 39 (1/2): 55–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. ———. 2010. Hegel and Mind. Rethinking Philosophical Psychology. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  64. ———. 2011. Hegel’s Solution to the Mind-Body Problem. In A Companion to Hegel, ed. S. Houlgate and M. Baur, 227–242. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  65. Wolff, Michael. 1991. Das Körper-Seele-Problem: Kommentar zu Hegel, Enzyklopädie (1830), § 389. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann.Google Scholar
  66. York, H. Gunther, ed. 2003. Essays on Nonconceptual Content. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mind Language Action GroupUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.International Center for Philosophy NRWUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

Personalised recommendations