In Defense of Reason After Hegel

In Defense of Reason After Hegel

Why We Are So Wise

By Richard Dien Winfield

In Defense of Reason After Hegel undermines the assault on truth pervading public life and the academy, showing how we can think objectively about reason, nature, right, and beauty.

Hardback, 232 Pages


March 2022

£80.00, $125.00

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About This Book

In Defense of Reason After Hegel builds upon and enlists the arguments of Hegel to refute the disempowerment of reason perpetrated by the peddlers of misinformation in public life and by analytic philosophy and postmodernism in the academy. Undermining their assaults on truth, In Defense of Reason After Hegel shows how the fundamental character of nature and of mind allow reason to be autonomous and allow us to enact a reality of freedom in accord with right and freely create works of fine art. The book examines how life and language provide the means for reason to be autonomous and how the autonomy of thought precludes natural evolution or bioengineering from enhancing our capacity for philosophical thinking. It unravels the perplexities of the logic of self-determination and to show how the will can achieve self-determination in the conventions by which agents engender the institutions of freedom. The book then unveils the limitations of the principle of contradiction, which bars the way to an understanding of how anything can be determinate and how thought and action can be free. Thereupon the paradoxes that arise in thinking time are resolved by liberating thought of the formality of the principle of contradiction. The revolutionary character of Hegel’s conception of consciousness is next explored to make intelligible how animals and young children can be conscious and self-conscious, as well as how philosophical thought can overcome the epistemological limitations of the opposition of consciousness. On this basis, the book draws upon Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind to show how language can originate and be an appropriate vehicle of autonomous reason. The book examines the structure of the institutions of freedom that talking animals can enact. It highlights the philosophical underpinnings of the fundamental shortcomings in the American constitution and American society and draws lessons from the author’s recent campaign to shed light on how the philosophy of right can be a guide to social reform. It also examines how the autonomy of fine art can be realized in sculpture, contrary to claims made by Hegel that would tie this individual art to the classical style.


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Author Information

Richard Dien Winfield is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of 21 other books on philosophy and one book on political policy.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Why We Are So Wise: Hegelian Reflections on whether Reason Can Be Enhanced; 2. Self-Determination in Logic and Reality; 3. Hegel’s Overcoming of the Overcoming of Metaphysics; 4. On Contradiction: Hegel versus Aristotle, Sextus Empiricus, and Kant; 5. Overcoming Actuality: How Hegel Frees Us from the Prison of Modality; 6. Time and Reason; 7. Hegel and the Problem of Consciousness; 8. Hegel and the Origin of Language; 9. The Logic of Right; 10. A Dream Deferred: From the US Constitution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 11. World Spirit on the Campaign Trail in Georgia: Can the Philosophy of Right Be a Guide to Social Reform?; 12. The Classical Nude and the Limits of Sculpture; Bibliography; Index.


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