chapter  1
9 Pages

Parmenides and the birth of ancient idealism

G. W. F. Hegel's philosophical achievement is staggering to all who encounter it. The complexity of Hegel's philosophy supports many accounts that dispute the normative consensus, particularly as regards the philosophy of nature and the logic. Frederick Beiser argues that in Hegel, concepts such as Spirit, the Absolute and the Infinite are universals. Universals are 'first in order of explanation' while particulars are 'first in order of being'. The universal self-divides into particulars just as nature self-divides into species. The system of logic is not given merely as a form to be followed in reasoning, but rather emerges from the fabric of reality itself as it progresses or returns to the universal. In logic, therefore, as in organic Nature, the formal is always conjoint with the final. Hegel solves the problem of the duality of mind and body by making them both manifestations of the Idea itself. For the Romantics and idealists the absolute Idea has theological connotations.