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Por • 20 ene, 2020 • Sección: Filosofía

Olivia L. Fraser

In 1812,the Nuremberg profesor of mathematics, J.W.A.Pfaff, exchanged a series of letters with Hegel on the subject of the recently published Wissenschaft der  Logik. From what we can gather from Pfaff’s remaining letters – Hegel’s replies being lost – the exchange hinged on a series of deadlocks in the relation between speculative and mathematical thought.What Pfaff asks Hegel – repeatedly, it seems, and without satisfaction – is how one proceeds in speculative logic, how one step succeeds another, given that every-thing must proceed from an utterly empty beginning, rejecting every appeal to laws or axioms. As Pfaff sees it, however, the axiomaticity Hegel rejects at the out set takes its revenge by obscurely and inexplicitly infecting every step of the logic with arbitrariness: hidden postulates blindly absorbed from the medium of language in which the speculative logician swims (and which, if made explicit, can be justified only in a retroactive and circular fashion, as Pfaff observes).


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