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BOOK REVIEWS 3~9 penetrating the original texts, but normally Gusdorf is a fair and reliable reporter of French and German materials. All in all, the book is not a balanced survey, but it has a certain utility as an expansive general presentation of romantic epistemology that calls sympathetic attention to many unfamiliar and worthwhile authors. The organization (mainly by countries in the first part, by themes in the second) does not make it easy to trace connections; the detailed table of contents provides some help with orientation, but an index would double the value of the book as a work of reference. MARSHALL BROWN Universityof Colorado Tom Rockmore. Hegel's CircularEpistemology.Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Pp. xv + 2o2. $2~.5o. This is one of the books about which one would like to ask why they were not written earlier. The concept of circularity is quite essential in Hegel's epistemology and the metaphor of the circle is frequently used, but it is mostly only occasionally mentioned in the philosophical commentaries. Philosophers were not specially interested in this subject , neither the historians nor the systematic types under them. But history changes with the transformation or development of the perspective. In the postpositivistic era the foundationalist theory of science has become more and more doubtful. Knowledge, whether in prescientific, everyday life or in professional specialized forms of science, is always more or less a system. Systematicity as such seems to be the criterium of truth; its grades coincide with the grades of probability. But in partial or total systems, in the regional or the more comprehensive "totalities of belief" everything coheres with everything . Nothing is only a principle, from which other items are deduced: nothing is only a foundation or a fundamental layer, on which the rest is constructed. That means that every idea or concept plays the role of starting point and of endpoint of the thought process. In this antifoundationalism circularity is, of course, not a vice but an essential characteristic of the logic of science. Theorems and concepts are connected with each other in a chain or ring; their truth value depends upon the number of relations which lead from them to everything else and from everything else to them. Looking back to our philosophical prehistory we discover that there is nothing new under the sun. The logic of circularity was accepted and explicitly acknowledged by many forerunners, from Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, and Carneades in Greece until Nietzsche in the nineteenth century, and Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer, the representatives of the hermeneutic movement in the twentieth century. Aristotle was the great exception. The illusion of one way traffic in the growth of knowledge and of the rectilinearity of our thoughts originates in his logical work. Rockmore gives an excellent exposition of German idealism under this aspect. After reconstructing the complex historical context in which Hegel's theory took form, he studies in detail its initial formulation in the Differenzschrift. He shows, as a real expert in this field of research, how Kant, Reinhold, Maimon, Schultze, and Fichte all contributed, in a network of interactions, to the position of the young Hegel. In this 33 ~ JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 26:2 APRIL ~988 period "by a wave of the conceptual magic wand, as it were, circularity, which until that time had been regarded as an epistemological liability, was transformed into a necessary ingredient for the solution of the problem of knowledge" (97). The Differenzschrift may be described as a Fichtean-inspired critique of the foundatioualist approach to knowledge. "We see at once that Hegel holds that each part of a science, including its beginning point, implies the fully constituted science in terms of which it is justified, but which is fully justified only when it is fully completed" (26). Three chapters (4-6) examine the theme in Hegel's mature thought in both systematic and historic perspectives . Although the author discusses the relevant places from other works as well, he concentrates his analytical research mainly on the introduction and other parts of the Encylopediaof the Philosophical Sciences, because this work contains the most extensive consideration of the doctrine as an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 329-330
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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