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20. Hegel's Proofs of the Existence of God

PETER C. HODGSON


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405170765.2011.00023.x


Extract

Hegel's treatment of what he calls “proofs of the existence of God” is found principally in the Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion (1821, 1824, 1827, 1831) and Lectures on the Proofs of the Existence of God (1829). At the same time, the topic of the proofs is closely related to the Science of Logic (1812–1813, 1816). As Hegel conceives it, the whole of logic corresponds formally to the proofs; the subtext of the logic is theo-logic, as the additions from student transcriptions of Hegel's lectures on logic and metaphysics bear witness. The first part of the logic, the “objective logic,” is concerned with the transition from being and essence to concept (or from reality to thought as an ideal ground) and comprises a form of the cosmological proof of God. The second part, the “subjective logic,” shows how the concept determines itself to objectivity, posits itself as real, and releases itself into nature and finite spirit, which is the same as the transition from the concept of God to God's existence, actuality, and activity: the ontological proof. These transitions constitute two movements of thought, from finite to infinite and infinite to finite. The finite passes over of itself into the infinite, for its being is the being of the infinite; and the infinite passes over of itself into the finite, for its drive is to objectify or actualize itself in its other and make ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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