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Title: Hegel, Plotinus and Jacobi: idealism and two varieties of mysticism
Author: Tavoularis, Stylianos
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 8073
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2006
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In this thesis I investigate Hegel's idealism and Plotinus' and Jacobi' varieties of mysticism. My intention was to examine Hegel's reception of Plotinus and discover whether it is textually accurate in relation to the texts from Plotinus' Enneads. I discovered that Hegel's interpretation is not consistent with the Plotinian texts and I concluded that Hegel misinterpreted Plotinus despite his commitment in the Introduction to the Lectures on the History ofPhilosophy not to attribute to earlier philosophers what's not historically reported about their philosophies. In part this misinterpretation is explained by the fact that Hegel also committed himself in the Introduction to avoid historicism as well as one-sided critical accounts. I also discovered that Hegel had also a more specific hermeneutical intention as regards his treatment of Plotinus, which was to protect him from the charge ofbeing a mystic. Plotinus was vulnerable to this charge -as Hegel explains- because of the doctrine ofthe 'ecstasy', the alleged ineffability ofhis absolute and finally because of his representational rather than philosophical language. Hegel's defence suggests that Plotinus was not a mystic at all but rather that he should be view as anticipating Hegel's cardinal doctrine ofReason, which is in-and-for itself. My next intention was to explain Hegel's bias behind his misinterpretation ofPlotinus and I discovered that Hegel had been defending Plotinus precisely on the same core issues that he had been criticising his contemporary self-proclaimed mystic, F. H. Jacobi. Thus I provided a general account of Jacobi and then Hegel's critique of Jacobi to demonstrate the dangerous similarities between Plotinus and Jacobi. Finally I have suggested an alternative way to distinguish between Plotinus and Jacobi, which however distinguishes between two varieties of mysticism rather than idealism and mysticism as Hegel intended his distinction between Plotinus and Jacobi to be.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available