Method in Hegel’s Dialectic-Speculative Logic

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


This chapter addresses the specific novelty of Hegel’s dialectic-speculative logic in relation to traditional general logic and to Kant’s transcendental logic. As Hegel maintains, such novelty consists in the “scientific method” with which the logical categories and ontological forms of the tradition are taken up and conceived anew. At stake in the “method” is what Hegel calls Behandlung and Darstellung—the treatment and presentation—of logical determinations. This chapter addresses the issue of “method” in Hegel’s logic as that on which hinges the continuity as well as the discontinuity between the logical tradition and Hegel’s reworking of the discipline. It pursues this aim by first bringing to the fore the historical and systematic connection that links Hegel’s dialectic-speculative logic both to traditional formal or general logic and metaphysics and to Kant’s transcendental logic and critique of dogmatic metaphysics. It then turns to some passages in which Hegel thematically addresses the issue of method in his logic. This framework allows me to shed light on the longstanding question of the status of “dialectic” in Hegel’s philosophy: what is the connection between dialectic and method? In what sense is dialectic a method or even the method of (logical) thinking; and in what sense is it not? Both propositions, it is maintained, may actually be true provided that a fundamental clarification is offered of the new meaning that the “method” assumes in Hegel’s logic. Thus, reciprocally, one should also ask in what sense and to what extent the scientific method that Hegel thematizes and also uses in the logic is “dialectical” and in what sense it is (additionally) “speculative.” Indeed, in both regards, Hegel’s position can be usefully understood on the background of his appraisal of traditional formal logic and Kant’s transcendental logic.


Formal logic Transcendental logic Method Dialectic Speculative Form Content System 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNYNew York CityUSA

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