Hegel's Transcendental Induction by Peter Simpson

By Peter Simpson

Hegel's Transcendental Induction demanding situations the orthodox account of Hegelian phenomenology as a hyper-rationalism.

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The significance of the move out of perception is that thought has identified the terms that were experienced as repeatedly confronting and undermining each other: the independent unity the thing was supposed to hold and the determinate multiplicity of properties by means of which it won that independence, by distinguishing itself from other things. However, for perception the latter contradicted the posited independence by subjecting it to a comparative or relative self-identity achieved by means of the properties that belonged to it and to no other; for the understanding these terms must somehow belong together to be aspects of the same entity.

The unity having again dissolved, consciousness now takes responsibility for it by turning one property against another, by acting, in other words, as the moment of negation. It sets properties apart insofar as each is not the other, thereby overcoming the threat of dissolution. The thing is now a housing fashioned by the perceiving individual and not the object of perception at all. 65 In the back and forth of oneness and its dissolution, between the perceiver and what it takes to be its object, the thing has been explicitly assigned the two (still implicitly contradictory) ways of being that we anticipated above: it is the indeterminate medium in which the many properties find their independence and the one which is supposed to be both determinate and determining.

59 Notice I am not claiming that it knows itself to be inductive or has practiced some kind of experiment with sensuous certainty. Rather, what we saw in experiencing sensuous certainty was that in its simplest terms experiencing demanded a manifold unity of possible experiences in order to have determinate content in any act of conscious life. That demand is reflected as having been met by perception, thus in perception we find the expression of what is for us the first lesson of experiencing; we see, in other words, where the necessity of perceiving things lies.

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