The Owl of Minerva

Volume 39, Issue 1/2, Fall/Spring 2007/2008

Robb Edward Eason
Pages 87-93

Commentary on Richard Dien Winfield’s From Representation to Thought
Reflections on Hegel’s Determination of Intelligence

Winfield’s explication of Hegel’s theory of mind, especially Hegel’s theory of intelligence, is, he suggests, important for solving three problems that continue to haunt contemporary work in the philosophy of mind and epistemology: 1) A problem concerning the acquisition of language and its place in an account of consciousness, 2) A problem concerning the objectivity of representations, and 3) A problem concerning the grounds of knowing. I think Winfield is correct in identifying all three problems as having their source in Kantian philosophy. I examine these three problems more carefully through a critical lens aimed at recent work by John McDowell and Robert Brandom. Both philosophers claim certain Hegelian influences. I argue that, in crucial ways, both Brandom and McDowell have each inherited the problems Hegel sought to solve and that are so clearly articulated in Winfield’s essay.