The philosophical concepts of “nature” and “world” have overlapped one another in a myriad of ways throughout the history of Western philosophy. Nevertheless, modernity has constructed a decisive philosophical dichotomy between the domain of nature and the domain of the human world as a response to the revolutions of the natural sciences in the seventeenth century. In Hegel and Heidegger on Nature and World, Raoni Padui investigates the responses to this distinction between nature and world in the works of Hegel and Heidegger. Both philosophers attempt to heal the wounds of modernity and to reconcile the human historical world to the domain of nature, and both refuse to accept the dichotomy between nature and world, seeking to offer a way in which humans can inhabit a meaningful world without being alienated from the nature that conditions it. However, the difference in their modes of reconciliation illustrates the options opened up by modern philosophy: either a Hegelian path of self-determination that traces our historical emancipation from the natural domain, or a Heideggerian rethinking of nature that seeks a renewed proximity to the domain of things.
Raoni Padui is tutor at St. John's College, Santa Fe.
Introduction: Our Amphibian Condition
Historical Interlude 1: The Modern Dichotomy between Nature and World
Chapter 1: Hegel on the Reconciliation of Nature and Spirit
Historical Interlude 2: The Modern Dichotomy Transformed and Repeated
Chapter 2: Heidegger on World and Nature: The Withdrawal of Being
Chapter 3: Hegel or Heidegger
Conclusion: The Step Back from the Step Back
Philosophy once aspired to understand the whole of existence, but the development of modern science has saddled it with seemingly impossible task of integrating an increasingly disenchanted realm of nature with the world of human meaning. In this book, Raoni Padui offers an elegant, historically rich assessment of the power, and the limitations, of the two greatest attempts to overcome the divide between nature and world without reducing one to the other—Hegel’s systematic reconciliation of nature and spirit, and Heidegger’s overcoming of metaphysics.
In this insightful and provocative book, a true historian of Western philosophy asks: Is philosophy—that is, life-guiding knowledge—still possible today? Raoni Padui’s Hegel and Heidegger on Nature and World synoptically situates the competing projects of the most ambitious modern philosopher and the most influential critic of modernity. Should we side with Hegel’s Promethean faith in an overarching philosophical reconciliation of natural fact and existential meaning, or with Heidegger’s Orphic descriptions of an inexhaustible phenomenological richness that overflows and so escapes every all-encompassing ontotheological system? Seeking to sublate this dichotomy, Padui critiques both Hegel and Heidegger and offers a more balanced vision that would preserve our best scientific insights without abandoning Western philosophy’s defining quest for a meaningful life.
8/21/23, VoegelinView: This article discusses how Hegel and Heidegger confronted the crisis of dualism and how Padui’s book highlights their recovery of Greek philosophy.