Volume 23, Issue 1, Fall 2018
On Hegel’s Sublation of Pyrrhonism
In his 1802 article for the Critical Journal of Philosophy, “Relationship of Skepticism to Philosophy,” Hegel attempts to articulate a form of skepticism that is “at one with every true philosophy.” Focusing on the priority that Hegel gives to ancient skepticism over its modern counterpart, Michael Forster and other commentators suggest that it is Pyrrhonism that Hegel views as one with philosophy. Since Hegel calls attention to the persistence of dogmatism even in the work of Sextus Empiricus, however, I argue that it is only a sublated form of Pyrrhonism, what in the Phenomenology of Spirit he calls “self-completing skepticism,” that Hegel takes to be part of genuine philosophical cognition. In this way, I hope to show that the insight that motivates Hegel’s engagement with skepticism in the 1802 essay comes to inform the philosophical itinerary of the Phenomenology of Spirit.