Hegel opens the first book of his Science of Logic with the statement of a problem: “The beginning of philosophy must be either something mediated or something immediate, and it is easy to show that it can be neither the one nor the other, so either way of beginning finds its rebuttal.” Despite its significant placement, exactly what Hegel means in his expression of this problem and exactly what his solution to it is, remain unclear.
In this book, Robb Dunphy provides a detailed engagement with Hegel’s “problem of beginning”, locating it within Hegel’s account of significant approaches to the topic of beginning in the history of Western philosophy, as well as making an extended case for the influence of Pyrrhonian Scepticism on the beginning of Hegel’s Logic. Dunphy’s discussion of the various putative solutions that Hegel might be thought to put forward contributes to debates concerning Hegel’s views on the methodology of logic, the relation between his Logic and his Phenomenology of Spirit, and differences between his Encyclopaedia presentation of logic and that of his greater Science of Logic.
Hegel and the Problem of Beginning also functions as a critical commentary on Hegel’s essay, “With what must the beginning of the science be made?” which should be of interest to both researchers and students working on the opening of Hegel’s Logic.
Robb Dunphy is an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. He has previously held research fellowships at the Goethe University Frankfurt, University College Dublin, and the University of Hamburg, and has taught philosophy at Northeastern University London, the University of Winchester, and the University of Sussex. His primary research interests are in the theoretical philosophy of Kant and the German Idealists and in the history of scepticism. He is the co-editor of Metaphysics as a Science in Classical German Philosophy and has published research articles in journals including Apeiron, The Review of Metaphysics, the Hegel Bulletin, and Logos and Episteme.
Introduction: With What Must the Beginning of the Science be Made?
0.1 Hegel’s Logic and its Beginning
0.2 Hegel and Pyrrhonian Scepticism
0.3 A Brief Précis of “With what must the beginning of the science be made?”
Chapter 1: Hegel and Pyrrhonian Scepticism
1.1 Sextus’ Account of Pyrrhonism
1.2 Hegel and Pyrrhonism
Chapter 2: A Short History of the Problem of Beginning
2.1 The Objective and the Subjective Beginning
2.2 The Methodological Beginning
2.3 The Modern Problem of Beginning
2.4 Hegel on First Principles and the Beginning
Chapter 3: The Problem of Beginning
3.1 The Problem of Beginning: Preliminary Investigation
3.2 The Problem of Beginning as an Agrippan Problem
3.3 The Solution to the Problem of Beginning
3.4 Alternatives Criticised, Objections Anticipated
Chapter 4: Mediation I: Phenomenology
4.1 The Phenomenology and the Beginning of the Logic
4.2 Some Problems
Chapter 5: Mediation II: Completed Scepticism
5.1 A Third Solution?
5.2 Completed Scepticism
Written with exemplary clarity, Robb Dunphy's book provides a useful critical commentary on Hegel's essay, "With what must the beginning of the science be made?", that opens the Science of Logic. It also contributes greatly to our understanding of Hegel's engagement with Pyrrhonian scepticism.
Robb Dunphy's book presents a compelling account of the role that Pyrrhonian scepticism plays in Hegel’s philosophy and particularly in Hegel’s thinking at the beginning of Logic. Dunphy argues that the oppositional structure of thought emphasized by skepticism makes the problem of how to start thinking philosophy particularly pressing. Dunphy presents a compelling analysis of how Hegel addresses the problem both as it relates to the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Science of Logic.
In this outstanding new monograph, Robb Dunphy explores one of the most important problematics of Hegel's work, the question of how to begin the dialectical journey of the Science of Logic. Dunphy's book offers a comprehensive textual guide to the complex insights of Hegel's presuppositionless starting point, appropriate for new readers of Hegel as well as advanced scholars.