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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 30, Issue 1, 2018

Brandon L. Morgan
Pages 59-78

Love as the Logic of Reconciliation in Hegel

This essay explores the significance of Hegel’s considerations of love for his later dialectical philosophy in order to bring to attention love’s continued import as a category of logical and theological unity and reconciliation. A lingering question for Hegel scholarship is why he seemingly drops the unifying notion of love in his more developed dialectical philosophy, choosing instead to expound a philosophy of the concept that solely grants to reason the task of dialectical recovery. On my reading, this interpretation suffers from a failure to imagine Hegel’s early writings on love as contributing to the working out of his later dialectical logic and philosophy of spirit, specifically in terms of the unifying and reconciling principle of Vernunft (reason) in contrast to Verstand (understanding). Furthermore, Hegel’s substantial appeals to love in the later Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion show love's continued significance for him, not only as a logical but a theological principle of unity between finite and infinite spirit, a unity lost on the understanding alone. Reading Hegel’s Vernunft as a form of rationally reconciling love, therefore, shows a continuity in Hegel’s thinking that brings to bear Hegel’s later philosophical developments of reason and spirit on his philosophical theology.

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