Justin Evans's Reviews > Between Kant and Hegel: Lectures on German Idealism

Between Kant and Hegel by Dieter Henrich
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's review
Oct 26, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy
Read in October, 2009

If you're looking for an introduction to german idealism, you can't go wrong. Of course, that's not the largest audience of all time. Anyway.

This book is focused on the structure of the arguments between the philosophers of the period, particularly with regard to their systems. There's not much on ethics or politics and so on. This actually clears things up though: you can find out *why* Kant says what he says in the second and third critiques, why Fichte tries what he tries in his ethical works.
Henrich's best when dealing with the early critics of Kant (Jacobi and Reinhold in particular) and Fichte. He states clearly and precisely the problems they found in Kant, the problems they failed to solve, and their important contributions to later philosophy. The early chapters on Kant were a little more confusing, I thought, although that's maybe because I knew a little more about Kant than Fichte. The last chapters on Hegel were very puzzling. Henrich focuses on 'negation' in Hegel, and seems to read him as much more of a metaphysician than a lot of recent commentary. He blames Hegel for not picking up on Fichte's 'original insight', the idea that mind is what it is insofar as it is essentially reflexive. But I thought that was Hegel's whole point. Henrich knows more than I do, I know that, but I have to disagree here. Still, if you're interested in this period of philosophy, it doesn't get any better.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by James (new)

James You just made me more hesitant about this book. But I suppose if he sheds light on Fichte then it's still worth it. Thanks.

Justin Evans Yes, well worth it for that--you could easily skip/ignore the Hegel chapters, too. Thinking back, I was a bit optimistic that this is an 'introduction' though. I'm not sure anyone would understand it without knowing about Kant and Hegel, at least. So you're the perfect audience.

message 3: by James (new)

James Thanks Justin. I was thinking this would be a good book to read before attempting Hegel's Difference. Fichte and Schelling are still rather nebulous to me. So hopefully this book can fill in some gaps. Then again perhaps I need to just read their works as well.

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