Hegelianism and Platonism

  • John N. Findlay


I propose in this paper not so much to consider what Hegel said about Plato in that comparatively commonplace piece of work, his Lectures on the History of Philosophy, nor what he actually derived from his reading of the Phaedo, the Republic, the Parmenides, the Sophist and the Timaeus and other dialogues that he closely studied, as rather the essential affinity of his thought with Plato’s, the degree to which Platonism and Hegelianism are, in my view, the same philosophy, with differences of emphasis and elaboration which make Hegelianism, all in all, its richer and more satisfactory version. I believe it is important to stress the extent to which all really deep-going philosophical systems converge in their ultimate findings, and how a great deal that occurs in one is no more than the transposition into another key of what occurs in the other. The same terrain is being worked over, though with a different approach and other instruments of search, and the differences which are very salient for followers or for commentators, interested in developmental stages and influences, fade into insignificance. In treating Hegel in this way, I am treating him much as he treated his historical predecessors. Thus in a passage from the Science of Logic that I was teaching from recently, Hegel shows how his notion of Being-for-Self was quite differently anticipated by the Greek Atomists, by Kant in his treatment of the Transcendental Unity of Apperception, by Spinoza in his view of the relation of Substance to its Modes, by Malebranche in his view of the relation of God to his own or anyone else’s ideas, and by Leibniz in his imperfectly executed doctrine of monadic windowlessness.


Transcendental Deduction Ultimate Finding Platonic Theory Active Universality Absolute Subjectivity 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. Findlay
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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