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Skepticism in Hegel's Philosophy
Book - Dissertation
The central question of my dissertation concerns the relation between skepticism and philosophy in Hegel's thinking. Aside from arguing for the general thesis that for Hegel, skepticism in its most significant form is a structural, recurring element of philosophical reflection, I demonstrate how skepticism thus conceived is at work within Hegel's philosophical reflections. To argue for the general thesis and explain Hegel's complex idea that skepticism necessarily belongs to but does not exhaust philosophical reflection, I rely on Hegel's explicit reflections on skepticism throughout his philosophical works. Seeing what Hegel's idea about the relationship between skepticism and philosophy concretely comes to requires a shift from his reflections on skepticism to a reading of Hegel's concrete analyses that explicates the implicit but fundamental role that skepticism plays in them. By offering a "skeptical" reading of Hegel's philosophical analyses—that is, a reading of Hegel's analyses through the lens of skepticism—I clarify the precise extent to which Hegel's investigation is skeptical and the ways in which he proposes to move beyond the skeptical results of his inquiry. In sum, the paradox of the relationship between skepticism and philosophy with which my project comes to terms is that skepticism plays an essential role in philosophy, but that the role of skepticism in philosophy must also essentially be limited.