Hegel on Knowledge

Reading “The Phenomenology of the Spirit” by Hegel. Find it fascinating. While, I have myself often taken an intellectual position of not trusting what I do know, or what I can know. I have been wary of error. Hegel points out beautifully, that this lack of trust itself cannot be trusted. It presupposes quite a bit, among them that Knowledge is distinct from us as well as from what Hegel calls the Absolute – which is true. (In the excerpt below, ‘Science’ refers to Philosophy and not the scientific method Science.)

Meanwhile, if the fear of falling into error introduces an element of distrust into science, which without any scruples of that sort goes to work and actually does know, it is not easy to understand why, conversely, a distrust should not be placed in this very distrust, and why we should not take care lest the fear of error is not just the initial error. As a matter of fact, this presupposes something, indeed a great deal, as truth, and supports its scruples and consequences on what should itself be examined beforehand to see whether it is truth. It starts with ideas of knowledge as an instrument, and as a medium; and presupposes a distinction of ourselves from this knowledge.

He goes on to say – what I think have been stunning lines for me.

More especially it takes for granted that the Absolute stands on one side, and that knowledge on the other side, by itself and cut off from the Absolute, is still something real; in other words, that knowledge, which, by being outside the Absolute, is certainly also outside truth, is nevertheless true – a position which, while calling itself fear of error, makes itself known rather as fear of the truth.

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