The Freedom of Solar Systems

Hegel Bulletin:1-30 (forthcoming)
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This essay discusses how, for Hegel, freedom can be realized in nature in a rudimentary fashion in solar systems. This solves a problem in Kant’s account of freedom, namely, the problem that Kant only gives a negative argument for why freedom is not impossible but does not give a positive account of how freedom is real. I give a novel account of Kant’s negative argument. Then, I show how, according to Hegel, solar systems can be considered as exhibiting freedom in a rudimentary fashion. Finally, I lay out how Hegel systematically develops this point about the freedom of solar systems in the ‘Mechanism’-chapter of the Science of Logic. In doing so, he uses Kant’s negative argument in a ‘purified’ form to arrive at an account of an ‘intimate token-type relation’ between the planets in a solar system and the law that governs their motion. The essay as a whole provides a concrete example of how Hegel is an inheritor and radicalizer of Kant, both with respect to freedom’s reality and with respect to philosophical method.

Author's Profile

Mathis Koschel
University of Southern California


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