In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

142 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29:1 JANUARY 1991 enjoyed a wide and marked reception in eighteenth-century Germany, a reception which left its traces in terms of contemporary translations, reviews, and popularization , as well as exerting an influence on the teaching of political economy at German universities" (229). Through a biographical analysis, the third chapter confirms that Hegel had read and critically appreciated the major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment--not only political economists, but philosophers such as Hume. Chapters 4 to 6 are directed at comparing Hegel's account of the "civil society" to what had earlier been said by such major political economists as Adam Ferguson, Sir James Steuart, and Adam Smith. A reading of these final chapters cannot but lead the reader to conclude that Hegel was indeed, at least as far as his economics were concerned, an Enlightenment thinker. In establishing the close ties of Hegel to the economic liberalists of Scotland this book has opened up an international perspective on Hegel's economic theory--too many for too long have cast it aside as being contaminated by confinement within the narrow world of Hegel's Prussia. It is now no longer possible, unless this book be also ignored, simply to throw Hegelian economics into a Marxian dustbin. But since Waszek's book is now in its second edition, this reviewer knows that he is not alone in judging it to be a distinctive and valuable study. LAWRENCE S. STEPELEVICH Villanova University Wiilem A. deVries. Hegel's Theory of Mental Activity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988. Pp. xxii + 2o9. $27.95. DeVries's study is mainly in the area of Hegel's doctrine of subjective spirit, which comprises the sciences of anthropology, phenomenology, and psychology. Subjective spirit forms the first part of spirit proper in the philosopher's system of spirit of his Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences (3d ed., 183o). One can approach this text in various ways, and deVries does so as a treatment of mental activities, although Hegel intends it as more than that. DeVries, however, aims to "reconstruct Hegel's intentions .., without relying explicitly on his methodological pronouncements" (24). By this deVries means that he will not focus on the systematic role of subjective spirit in the overall system and will try to do without the Hegelian ontology and teleology as well as some of the basic vocabulary of concepts, such as the positive negativity. Can one do without all this and present Hegelian subjectivity? And can there be a Hegelian view of mental activities without a notion of subjectivity? In the anthropology, where deVries deals mainly with sensation, he raises the question of reductionism and compares Hegel's treatment with such contemporary moves as the "supervenience thesis." Antireductionism is a salient motif of Hegel's system but without the ontology it loses much of its force. For deVries each of the sciences in Hegel's system "supervenes" upon its predecessor, meaning that complexes of objects arise with properties "unanalyzable in the old vocabulary" and requiring a BOOK REVIEWS 143 new one that supervenes upon the old (43). But for Hegel the advance, let us say, from plant to animal life, is not a question merely of the necessity of a new vocabulary but a deepening of spirit. DeVries correctly notes Hegel's meaning of "awareness" as neither a quality nor a state, and offers the following illustration. If temperature could persist "in opposition to itself" at 78~ it would sense 78~ Adapted from Hegel's lectures, the illustration suggests how Hegel conceives awareness as the identity in opposition of subjectivity as self-relation. But deVries steers away from the ontology of such a relation and discusses Hegel's position in light of the recent notion of "modularity" (59). DeVries is helpful on inner and outer sensations, but in viewing feeling (Gefi~hl)merely in terms of organization of sensations (71) and omitting most of the material on the pathology of the psyche, he does not show adequately the advance in subjectivity from sensation to feeling. The development of the anthropological subjectivity culminates with the emergence, from the psyche, of the ego of consciousness: an advance termed by deVries...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 142-143
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.