Is Hegel’s Theory of Sensation Committed to Metaphysics?

A Comparison Between Hegel and McDowell on Perceptual Knowledge

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Federico SanguinettiRio de Janeiro/Padua

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The main aim of this paper is to analyse Hegel’s theory of cognitive reference to the world and, in particular, Hegel’s theory of sensation (Empfindung), in order to verify whether it implies metaphysical commitments (and, if so, to what extent). I will pursue my goal by investigating the problem of sensation in Hegel’s philosophy starting from McDowell’s conception of the relation between mind and world and from his theory of perception. In my view, this strategy offers a threefold advantage that will enable us to do the following: i) persuasively interpret the Hegelian theory of sensation; ii) better understand the authenticity and the limits of McDowell’s ‘Hegelianism’; iii) place the Hegelian theory of sensation within the complex contemporary debate on the status of sensible experience.

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