Levels of Reality or Development? Hegel’s Realphilosophie and Philosophy of the Sciences

Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in German Idealism book series (PHGI)


Hegel’s Realphilosophie is a philosophy of the sciences, concerning the appropriate and comprehensive understanding of specific things, principles and issues which are the objects of the individual sciences. His Realphilosophie aims to determine comprehensively a set of relations amongst the special sciences. The results of contemporaneous research are his point of departure and also as his negative criterion of truth. Hegel’s non-reductionist conception of science serves his interdisciplinary philosophy, to coordinate and integrate the mutually irreducible domains of experience and of the special sciences. Hegel reconstructs the sprouts of the scala naturae, not as a consequence of the chronological development of nature, but instead as forms of expression of a system of categories which presents the order of nature as a system of levels or stages of reality. According to Hegel, the various sciences are self-sufficient regarding their own theory construction; yet each scientific theory contains in its principles specific basic principles which are fundamental to the rest of the theory, because they inform us about the significance of the basic concepts of this theory, and about the existence of the objects within that theory’s domain. These basic principles are the object of Hegel’s philosophical Encyclopedia of the real (natural, social, historical) sciences.


Natural sciences Social sciences Philosophy of science Encyclopedia Philosophy of nature Moral sciences Reductionism Anti-reductionism Aristotle Kant Galileo Newton Euclid Marx Engels 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

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