Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's Philosophy (NDPR Review with Highlights)

I just picked this up on amazon: Petrified Intelligence: Nature in Hegel's Philosophy, by Allison Stone.  The full NDPR is HERE, and I'll copy some highlights below.  All in all, the review (rightly) points out that this book is "a compelling reconstruction of Hegel as a metaphysician of nature."  Compared to Pinkard's Hegel's Naturalism one ought to prefer Stone's book.

"Stone ties this fashionable line of criticism to an very unfashionable reading of Hegel. Not only does she see him as a metaphysician with a strictly rationalist, a priori theory of nature, but she argues that this reading is essential for articulating his ecological concerns. Hegel approaches the study of nature a priori, by first deducing the order and structure of natural forms given the internal, dialectical logic of the concept [Begriff]. Once this logical grid is in place, Hegel then turns to the empirical sciences to see how well they mesh with his deductive system."

"Stone believes that Hegel's a priori metaphysical approach has two advantages that give it enduring relevance, two things to offer that contemporary science does not. First, she argues that Hegel's procedure is uniquely able to capture our pre-scientific experience of nature; and second she shows that Hegel captures a sense of nature's intrinsic value in a way that our current scientific paradigm does not."

"[O]ur senses must have some privileged proximity to what is occurring in nature, because they themselves are natural...She writes: "because we have emerged from nature, the system of our senses arises as a recapitulation of preexisting patterns that objectively structure various natural forms" (p. 131). Thus, there must be something correct about our sensuous grasp of nature..."

The review fits hand in hand with a Zizek talk I once saw, "The Reflection of Life in Hege" (see video HERE).  Close to the ideas of biophilosopher Lynn Margulis (HERE).