My aim in this paper is to make a fairly close study of the conceptual structure of Hegel’s Physik, the second, most difficult section of his Naturphilosophie.1 I do so for two reasons. The first is part of the general effort to plumb the nature of the Dialectic, as Hegel conceived it, the method of steady advance from one thought-determination to another, the latter being regarded as a more adequate vehicle of interpretation and understanding than the former, since it incorporates the thought-content of the former yet adds to this comments and criticisms which make it part of a more completely understood and self-consistent whole than it would be formerly. For Hegel, the Truth is the Whole, and we only achieve it by a process in which the one-sided partiality of our notions is overcome by seeing them in a context which includes other, perhaps even superficially incompatible, notions. This unique thought-method has been extensively studied in the case of the Phenomenology of Spirit and the two versions of the Logic: it has also been studied in the Philosophy of History, the History of Philosophy, the Philosophy of Religion and other concrete forms of the Philosophy of Spirit. But no careful study of the Dialectic in the Philosophy of Nature has been recently attempted, possibly owing to fear aroused by the wealth of scientific difficulty in that work.
KeywordsLogical Ideal Philosophical Interpretation Opposed Moment Hegelian Philosophy Good Physical Theory
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- 1.The quotations from Hegel’s Naturphilosophie in this paper are from A. V. Miller’s recent translation (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1970).Google Scholar