Logic and Ontology in Hegel's Theory of Predication

European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):1259-1280 (2015)
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Abstract
In this paper I sketch some arguments that underlie Hegel's chapter on judgment, and I attempt to place them within a broad tradition in the history of logic. Focusing on his analysis of simple predicative assertions or ‘positive judgments’, I first argue that Hegel supplies an instructive alternative to the classical technique of existential quantification. The main advantage of his theory lies in his treatment of the ontological implications of judgments, implications that are inadequately captured by quantification. The second concern of this paper is the manner in which Hegel makes logic not only dependent on ontology generally, but also variant in regard to domains of objects. In other words, he offers a domain-specific logical theory, according to which the form of judgment or inference is specific to the subject of judgment. My third concern lies with the metaphilosophical consequences of this theory, and this includes some more familiar Hegelian themes. It is well known that Hegel frequently questioned the adequacy of the sentential form for expressing higher order truths. My reading of his theory of predication explains and contextualizes this tendency by demystifying notions like the so-called speculative proposition.
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2015
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Archival date: 2015-03-18
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