Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Klassische Deutsche Philosophie

Workshop: Hegel on Actuality and Overcoming Spinoza

  • Wann 08.06.2019 von 13:00 bis 18:00
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Workshop: Hegel on Actuality and Overcoming Spinoza 

Organizers: Brady Bowman and James Kreines


June 8, 13:00-18:00, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Registration all allow access to all materials for participants; please write to:


The “Actuality” section of Hegel’s Science of Logic defends his original conception of modality, and provides the final argument for the transition to his own idealist metaphysics in the final book of the Logic. Hegel takes all this to require what he calls “the one and only true refutation of Spinozism” (SL 512/GW 12.15), in the central chapter of “Actuality” (SL 477–88), which is flanked on either side by critical expositions of the concept of the absolute (ch. 1, SL 466–76) and of the categories of substance, causation, and reciprocal action (ch. 3, SL 489–505). 


This compact, 40-page section of the Science of Logic is important in at least three respects. Historically, the “refutation of Spinozism” had been a guiding aim of German philosophers since Leibniz and Wolff, and the German Idealist movement pursued it with renewed vigor, placing it at the very heart of their project. This section of the Logic may thus be said to be the measure of Hegel’s contribution to achieving that core ambition. In the context of Hegel’s own system, these three chapters furthermore serve to elucidate key concepts: the absolute; actuality and absolute necessity; substance and substantiality. Finally, with a view to systematic problems from modern and contemporary philosophy, the section represents Hegel’s only detailed and sustained exposition of conception of modality.


The seminar-style workshop invites participants to share in collaborative interpretation and discussion of this important Hegelian text. We will kick off the meeting by considering the relevant passages from Spinoza’s Ethics, and then turn to Hegel’s Science of Logic.



13:00-14:00: Spinoza and some background texts 

14:15-15:15: Erstes Kapitel: Das Absolute

     Coffee break

15:45-16:45: Zweites Kapitel: Die Wirklichkeit

17:00-18:00: Drittes Kapitel: Das absolute Verhältnis