Kant, Hegel, Sellars: The Structure of Knowledge
This paper examines the refutation of skepticism elaborated by G. W. F. Hegel in the introduction to his Phenomenology of Spirit. This refutation is motivated by what Hegel sees as a funda-mental incoherence in modern philosophy initiated by Descartes and culminates in the ‘subjectiv-ist’ conclusions reached by Kant. More specifically, the incoherence concerns the inability to cate-gorically represent the thing-in-itself. He approaches the problem by articulating Kant’s original unity of apperception as a kind of transcendental comparison of knowledge and being. This, along with a Fichtean elaboration, allows him to frame the distinction of phenomena and reality as a distinction internal to consciousness itself. The thing-in-itself is realized as not some detached, external reality, but a point of orientation, a functional role, against which consciousness of this being is brought into relief. By positing a theoretically inaccessible standard for what counts as knowledge, skepticism is revealed as misunderstanding the very nature of knowing.
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