Hegel's critique of modern presupposition and Plato's aporetic moment

Saad, George (2020) Hegel's critique of modern presupposition and Plato's aporetic moment. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the implications of Hegel’s remark in §31 of Encyclopedia Logic that the Greeks thought freely while moderns are bound to presuppositions. Plato is today generally regarded as the originator of the a priori, yet Hegel’s reading of Plato exempts him from what he sees as a distinctly modern tendency towards presupposition. Hegel sees Platonic presuppositions as self-mediating and ultimately self-canceling in the flow of thought. Modern philosophy, by contrast, aims to establish an unshakable first principle external to and exempt from thoughtful reflection. This radical disjunction between Greek and modern philosophy can be best seen in Plato’s aporetic moment. Plato opted to allow the bewilderment of aporia at the same crucial juncture of thought where we moderns buttress our challenged definitions upon an a priori presupposition. This aporetic moment arises when thought, still stuck in its first moment of abstraction, realizes that it cannot rigorously define crucial philosophical concepts. In the aporia Plato exposes the pretensions of those who believe that the good can be defined. Hegel likewise critiques the overreach of the modern understanding (Verstand) in attempting to directly predicate the highest philosophical concepts. This thesis draws out each thinker’s descriptions of the circumstances and presuppositions surrounding the aporetic moment and closely correlates them, ultimately showing why Hegel regarded Greek thought as so radically misunderstood by his contemporaries. Looking at the movement of his thought and not its static conclusions, Hegel reads Plato as a dialectical antidote to the hubris of recurring modern sophistry.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14582
Item ID: 14582
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-74).
Keywords: aporia, Hegel, Plato, ancient philosophy, German idealism
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: October 2020
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831; Plato; A priori; Aporia.

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