Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Leah McClimans


According to Hegel, there are no intrinsic limitations on the extent of human knowledge and reason, and one of the prerequisites of overcoming their relative limits is a logic that is capable of grasping the intrinsic contradictions in things. Hegel claims that his Logic shows that these contradictions are immanently necessary. By means of a close reexamination of Hegel’s own texts, I defend this claim against two of his most prominent nineteenth century critics, Schelling and Trendelenburg, who hope to undermine Hegelian rationalism and defend the more modest Kantian outlook. I also show that a school of interpretation that I call intuitionism fails in its attempt to defend Hegelian necessity.

In Part 1, I address Schelling’s claim that Hegel’s Logic cannot be necessary because it relies on presuppositions. I also show that the intuitionist interpretation of Hegelian necessity is both self-defeating and textually inaccurate. Contrary to Schelling and the intuitionists, I argue that Hegelian necessity must be grasped as logical necessity in accordance with the principle of non-contradiction, but that the application of this principle produces other principles, the principle of contradiction and the principle of the unity of opposites, which express its intrinsically limited scope.

In Part 2, I address Trendelenburg’s claim that Hegel’s Logic cannot be necessary because, as himself Hegel insists, it relies on a posteriori knowledge. The intuitionist Houlgate, like many other Hegel interpreters, attempts to defend the Logic against the intellectual descendants of Trendelenburg’s criticism by reducing Hegel’s absolute idealism to Kantian subjective idealism. I refute this interpretation and show that, according to Hegel, Kant’s subjective idealism is grounded in a prejudice against contradiction, a prejudice that Trendelenburg shares and on which his criticism of Hegelian necessity is based.


© 2019, Rosa Turrisi Fuller

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