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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 10, 1984

Gary J. Percesepe
Pages 393-439
DOI: 10.5840/pra19841012

Telos in Hegel’s Differenz des Ficthe’schen und Schelling’schen Systems der Philosophie

The Differenzschrift is Hegel’s first distinctively philosophical work. Traditionally, the chief significance of the work has been said to be its announcement of the breach between Fichte and Schelling. The purpose of the present paper is to move from this proximate perspective to a systematic-teleological perspective. From the latter perspective we can see that it is in the Differenzschrift that Hegel not only criticizes and comprehends the work of his immediate predecessors but also constructs the conceptual-hermeneutic frame which makes his critique possible. Essentially Hegel argues that philosophy-as-science advances by means of text and commentary, but its advance is not continuous. Its history is characterized by violent, epoch-making leaps, which must be viewed as necessary organic constituents of telic progress. The impulse or force behind this telic advance is the concrete historical situation, in Hegel’s words, “the need of the times.”

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