Fichte and Hegel on the Other

By Robert R. Williams

Subjects: Metaphysics
Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies
Paperback : 9780791408582, 332 pages, March 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408575, 332 pages, March 1992

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Table of contents



Part One: Introduction

1. Introduction

The Hidden Theme of Intersubjectivity in German Idealism
Phenomenology and German Idealism
Phenomenology in German Idealism
The Problem of the Other in Contemporary Philosophy
Plan and Overview

Part Two: Fichte

2. Between Kant and Fichte

The Problematic Transcendental in Kant
Reaction to Kant: Reinhold's Quest for Certainty
Fichte and The Crisis in First Principles
First Introduction to Wissenschaftslehre
Fichte's Antifoundationalism
From Transcendental Philosophy to the Pragmatic History of Spirit
Fichte's Foundationalism?

3. Fichte on Recognition

The Status and 'Location' of the Problem of the Other
The Naturrecht in the Development of Fichte's Thought
The Concept of Right
Freedom as Intersubjective
The Other as a Summons (Aufforderung) to Freedom
Aufforderung and the Anstoß
The Ambiguity: Aufforderung as Transcendental Fact
Recognition (Anerkennung)
Critical Evaluation

Part Three: Hegel

4. The Early Hegel and Fichte

Hegel's Earliest Social Theory
Heteronomy and Domination in Hegel's Early Theological Writings
Love and Reconciliation in the Early Theological Writings
Hegel's Theory of Love
Love as Intersubjective
The Limits and Fate of Love
Hegel's Critique of Fichte
Problems in Appropriating Anerkennung
Transformation of Anerkennung
Love and Anerkennung
Anerkennung in the Mode of Conflict

5. Hegel and Phenomenology

The Phenomenological Reduction or Epoché
The Theoretical Inversion of the World of the Natural Attitude
Reduction as Reversal of the Positivist Reversal
The Abyss of Groundlessness: Philosophy without Foundations
Hegel and Husserl?
Hegel's Treatment of Skepticism
Turning the Tables
Alterity and Truth

6. Hegelian Phenomenology

The Task of the Phenomenology of Spirit
Hegel's Hermeneutical Critique of Critique
The Problem of the Criterion
Intentional Analysis of the Gestalts of Consciousness
Consciousness Tests Itself
Self-Accomplishing Skepticism: The Highway of Despair
Between Panlogism and Existential Anthropology

7. Hegel's Eidetics of Intersubjectivity

Life as a Category
Towards an Eidetics of Recognition
Overview of Hegel's Eidetics
Hegel's Eidetics: Translation and Commentary
Hegel §1
Commentary: The Doubling of Self-Consciousness
Recognition and the Problem of Relation
Hegel §§2–3
Commentary: Othering and the Other
Hegel §4
Commentary: The Sublation of Otherness and the Other
Hegel §§5–6
Commentary: Reciprocal Recognition
Hegel §7
Commentary: The Interplay of Intersubjectivity

8. The Empirics of Recognition

Towards the Life and Death Struggle
Phenomenology of Mastery
Phenomenology of Servitude
Love as a Form of Recognition

9. Recognition and Geist

The Social Dimension of Recognition
Two Levels of Recognition
Hegel's Departure from Transcendental Philosophy
The Social Context and Mediation of Reason
Spirit and the World
Recognition in its Tragic Realization
Tragic Recognition: Antigone
Tragedy in Estranged Spirit
Beyond Tragedy: Conscience and Forgiveness

10. Absolute Spirit, Recognition, and Tragedy

Anomalies in Hegel's Treatment of Religion in the Phenomenology
An Intersubjective-Social Conception of Religion
Religion as Quest for Recognition
Tragic Recognition
The Religion of Art
Hegel's Changing Assessment of Tragedy
The Revelatory Religion
Absolute Geist and Tragedy
The Death of God: Hegel's Theological Atheism
The Death of God and Tragedy
11. Recognition and Absolute Knowledge

Absolute Knowledge
Two Models
The Problem of Relating the Two Models
From Vorstellung to Begriff
Towards a Non-Foundational Absolute Knowledge
Hegel's Critique of Positivity
The Triadic Structure of Absolute Spirit
Hegel's Triadic Holism: Two Possibilities

12. Hegel and Phenomenology: Husserl, Sartre, and Levinas

Sartre's Reading of Hegel
Hegel's Breakthrough
Sartre's Criticism of Hegel
Levinas and Hegel



Robert R. Williams is Professor of German, Religious Studies, and Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


"The most impressive aspect of this book is the full-length, detailed treatment of the idealist concept of intersubjectivity, or recognition, rarely studied in detail, virtually undiscussed in English at present. Williams' treatment of this concept is careful, informed, useful, and sticks closely to the primary text with appropriate reference to the available secondary literature and the relevant discussion by later thinkers. His study will redress many misconceptions about post-Kantian idealism, particularly concerning Fichte and Hegel. In his attention to Fichte, Williams breaks with the widespread, but often unjustified tendency to approach Hegel in terms of Schelling. He further shows the emergence of a significant form of phenomenology in the thought of Fichte and Hegel. " — Tom Rockmore, Duquesne University

"The scholarship is excellent, ranging from classical secondary literature to the most recent. Moreover, the topic is extremely important. The argument for Hegel's social ontology based upon a triadic social model for absolute spirit versus the dyadic idealist model, and the foundations of this found in the center concept of 'recognition,' is very important. Williams has here successfully made a case for Hegel and has contributed to the destruction of the 'block-universe' interpretation which has so badly distorted Hegel. Williams has made sense of this triadic social model without falling into the sort of incomprehensibility traditionally experienced when other commentators in the past have attempted to speak of the model. Williams succeeds. " — Joseph C. Flay, Pennsylvania State University