Wissenschaft der Logik I & II

The gist

I’ve just picked up Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik, vols. I and II, following Roger Scruton’s recommendation for it as an entry point into Hegel’s thought. There are about 900 pages in all—in the bookshop, having dipped into various parts of the the two books, I figured on covering three pages a day for a year.

The detail

Reading Hegel in German

At home now, and having read a few pages of Hegel’s introduction to the first edition, it’s clear that, although I seem able to mostly handle the German without recourse to a dictionary, the sentences, intriguing as they are, are, featuring multiple subordinate clauses and with solitary verbs manifest amongst commas, tricky to untangle. Haha! This is the delight of what the German syntax affords—I’ve developed an admiration and fondness for it, but need to do adopt a specific strategy that covers both language and content issues here.

Revised strategy

  1. Read, with minimal hesitation, but aiming for fairly full comprehension, until a suitable break suggests itself—typically this will come from a change in tack of thought being expressed; three pages seems overly ambitious to begin with, maybe three paragraphs would be more practical.
  2. In German, write a brief synopsis of my initial understanding of what has just been read—just giving a broad gist of the content covered; a few sentences at most. This commitment to writing will begin to raise awareness of key parts of the passage that I am fuzzy on, making a useful transition to the following stage, but also helping to engage with the concepts involved.
  3. Re-read the passage more carefully, seeking a fuller meaning, identifying lexical issues that are a source of uncertainty.
  4. Address the lexical issues, working carefully through the passage.
  5. Re-read the passage again—any linguistic fog should be clearing now…what remains lies within the content itself.
  6. Adjust the synopsis sentences and capture any questions that have surfaced regarding the content.
  7. Use the outcome of 6. as a basis for simple blogposts here.
  8. Identify any useful language patterns for subsequent follow up.
  9. Repeat the process.

At suitable points, and at any time:

  • take time for a creative response to Hegel’s thought;
  • identify and exploit more in-depth (German) writing opportunities;
  • address language patterns;
  • review and select choice lexical items for use in other areas of life.

Closing remarks

I’m looking forward to engaging with Hegel. It seems like it’s been on the cards for a while. I like the freedom I’m beginning to move into, reading German books according to interest, rather than being restricted by limited lexico-grammtical range.

Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik, vols. I and II—maybe a couple of years will see me through…given life and all the other interests that call. Maybe it’ll go faster though. Mal sehen.


Connecting with God

The Spiritual Senses, CUP

The Spiritual Senses, CUP

The Spiritual Senses (CUP Dec 2011), edited by Paul L. Gavrilyuk & Sarah Coakley, concerns itself with those scriptures in the bible where it a person apparently has direct contact with God through one of the five senses. You may have encountered this type of thing in worship songs but not got beyond wondering and then left it behind, unresolved. Well, just checking through the sample excerpt pdf, this looks like an interesting read, and one that could leave you theologically empowered.

Anybody feeling excluded for reasons of faith? Well, if you’re into philosophy of any sort, then I’m guessing this could be an intriguing way of getting a sideways look into how God and wo/man communicate.

Maybe it’s a bit of a punt for the price, and I have no experience of Paul L. Gavrilyuk other than checking out his details online. However, that Sarah Coakley is involved in the editorship promises good things. Her chapter in God’s Advocates makes systematic theology or rather, théologie totale, sound like a fertile area of research and relevant application. Also, it makes me keen to read the opening volume of her forthcoming systematic theology from CUP, God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’:

Sarah Coakley invites the reader to re-conceive the relation of sexual desire and the desire for God and – through the lens of prayer practice – to chart the intrinsic connection of this relation to a theology of the Trinity …

Anyway, check out the front matter of The Spiritual Senses pdf, or flick through the index pdf. Actually, now that I’ve come to take a second look I might just be able to wangle a copy for research purposes for an upcoming city project. It might even lead to re-naming this blog.


I’d like to read more about him. Sounds a bit off the wall but still. Perhaps in German?!

Things and Properties

Chapter 8 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts

Found myself tending towards the nominalist view. I don’t think I’d have anything against spending some time looking into this whole thing. What makes it of more interest is Scruton’s comment of nominalism in the wrong hands giving rise to works like Foucault, deconstruction and feminism. Goodman’s work sounds interesting, but the short extract I read kind of put me off.


Descriptions and Logical Form

Chapter 7 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts

Those logical symbols and, well, what are they, logic statements? They kind of do my head in a bit, but, perhpas only because I have no grounding in it. This ‘the ‘thing of Russell’s had a wide impact on philosophy, but interesting is the way that he apparently misunderstood other people’s work, e.g. Frege and Meinong.

I’m not overly keen to invest loads of time here, maybe the history of the whole thing would be sufficient.


Sense and Reference

Chapter 6 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts

This chapter starts using logical symbols which I’m wary of. This though with the introduction to Frege, whose work, for some reason, I feel like spending some time reading. Even, or perhaps especially, the mathematical stuff. Bizarre.

Sounds like Frege’s work on language needs careful reading in order to grasp his intentions. Russell apparently missed it, and others too.



The Private Language Argument

Chapter 5 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts

A shift from epistemology to anthropology, through Kant, Hegel and later Wittgenstein.

The thing about different language games having different rules is interesting, and various comments about Wittgenstein’s writing style make it also seem attractive to read some of his work.


Self, Mind and Body

Chapter 4 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts

Seems like it’d be a good theme to read into and interesting enough.


The following texts to inspect how the authors introduce their coverage of mind & mental states. Is a mind / physical separation hinted at?

Some more -isms

Chapter 3 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy.

First thoughts:

It was only on reading this chapter that I became interested in looking into some of Berkeley’s work. Idealism seems an interesting, well, idea. Scruton suggests Vesey’s book, but I’m going to go with Dunham’s without further ado.




Chapter 2 of Roger Scruton’s Modern Philosophy. Pointers to any first thoughts I may have regarding the content. Also links to books referred to that seem interesting and that I may find time to read.

First thoughts

I’m interested to find out more about scepticism.