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Title: Beyond Hegel : Levinas and the persistence of skepticism
Author: Ambrose, Darren Charles
ISNI:       0000 0001 3419 3136
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2002
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The first part of our thesis will explore the nature and history of the development of Hegel’s reconciliatory self-determining philosophical science, by demonstrating how Hegel radicalises and reformulates the essence of skepticism as the principle of determinate negation. We will attempt to elucidate precisely why the persistence of external skepticism represents nothing more for Hegel than abstract dogmatism and philosophical naivety. In the second part of our thesis we will concentrate upon early 19th century post-Hegelian skeptical responses to Hegel’s speculative idealism. We will argue that Schelling, Feuerbach and Kierkegaard all attempt to disrupt what they see as the oppressive self-satisfaction of Speculative Reason by elaborating a skeptical attack upon Hegelianism in the name of the particular. Each thinker attempts to articulate a skeptical opposition to what they respectively argue to be Hegel’s illegitimate effacement of the particular within the totality of speculative reason itself. They each seek to return to an irreducible point of entry take Hegel back with them, to take him back ‘outside’ of the system of reason and return him to the particular. We will begin by analysing Schelling’s attempts to confront Hegel with the ‘Real Being’ he accuses Hegel of effacing from the very beginning through the illegitimate identity of thought and being. We will then examine Feuerbach’s attempt to deconstruct Hegel’s dialectic of sense certainty in an effort to return Hegel to the irreducible sensory quality of Being. We conclude this part with an analysis of Kierkegaard’s arguments for what he understands as the ‘paradox’ of faith. We will show that Kierkegaard’s efforts are aimed at bringing Hegel into proximity with this paradoxical faith in order to demonstrate his failure to comprehend the true nature of faith. The skeptical attacks of all three thinkers will be rigorously examined in the light of Hegel’s understanding of the relationship between skepticism and philosophy that we will have outlined in the first part of our thesis. Our aim will be to show precisely how and why they ultimately fail to articulate a radically heterogeneous skeptical position with regard to Hegel’s speculative idealism. By demonstrating the precise nature of their failure we will set the scene for our discussion of Levinas’s skeptical relation to Hegel in the third part of this thesis. It will be our contention that Levinas successfully elaborates a response to Hegel’s speculative reason that clearly continues upon the trajectory initiated by the three 19* century post-Hegelian skeptics that we have examined, and that what ultimately marks his success in articulating a genuinely heterological thought will be the extent to which he precisely avoids the failures we have identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Board
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BD Speculative Philosophy