Half Hour Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit (Reason, Observation of Nature sec. 270-271)
In this 109th video in the new series on G.W.F. Hegel’s great early work, the Phenomenology of Spirit, we continue our study of a new major section of the work, “Reason,” discussing the sub-section, “Observing Reason”. I read and comment on paragraphs 270 and 271 of the text here.
In these two paragraphs, Hegel now critiques the conception of law as applied to organisms, articulated in terms of Sensibility, Irritability, and Reproduction. While Reason may claim to impose laws upon the organic beings it observes, the phenomenologist must inquire whether these really are laws in any real sense. As it will turn out, the answer is no.
The crux of the issue for Hegel is the attempt to formulate these laws in terms on quantitative relationships and measurements. Are these three functions actually being measured and then related to each other in any true sense? Hegel’s criticism is that what really ends up occurring is a tautology, which contributes no new reliable knowledge to Reason, but just a momentary show of that.
In this video series, I will be working through the entire Phenomenology, paragraph by paragraph – for each one, first reading the paragraph, and then commenting on what Hegel is doing, referencing, discussing, etc. in that paragraph.