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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Hegel-Studien
Volume (Issue) 51
Page(s) 121 - 162
Title of proceedings Hegel-Studien


In the “Preface” to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel conceives ‘speculative exposition’ as the mode of treatment particular to philosophy and as the only mode adequate to its real subject, the true as a whole. Nevertheless, it has rarely been noticed that Hegel uses the terms ‘spekulative Darstellung’ and thereby makes a connection with Kant’s analysis of the ‘Darstellung’ of concepts in mathematics. The present article demonstrates that Hegel builds on the basic traits of Kant’s analysis and discusses how he expands the concept of ‘Darstellung’. He subjects mathematical proof and its truth to criticism and disputes the philosophical premises of Kant’s understanding of it. In contrast to geometrical construction resulting from the acts of the geometrician, Hegel wants ‘spekulative Darstellung’ to be understood as grasping the real structure of an empirical process. He therefore transforms ‘Darstellung’ in view of his speculative thesis of the reality of the concept. The development of the chemical practice around 1800 and its new conception of the production (Darstellung) of a substance plays a paradigmatic role in this transformation, as the article proves by drawing on Hegel’s drafts on natural philosophy from his Jena period.