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owl of Minerva

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophical method, philosophy of history Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom, and her companion the owl was traditionally regarded as being wise. In his preface to the Philosophy of Right , Hegel used the owl of Minerva, which flies only at dusk, as a metaphor for the nature of philosophy. It implies that philosophy is essentially retrospective and can provide understanding of a stage of reality only after it has occurred. This claim challenges the view that we have a universal capacity to know, independent of our context as subjects of knowledge. “When philosophy paints its grey in grey, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy's grey in grey it cannot be rejuvenated but only under-stood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only within the falling of the dusk.” Hegel, Philosophy of Right ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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