Spinoza, Hegel, Affirmation, and Negation

Spinoza pointed out that all affirmation involves negation (to claim a thing “is” something, is to simultaneously claim that it “is not” many other things). Hegel added the converse; all negation involves affirmation (to claim a thing “is not” something is to claim it is the inverse of that negation).

To this, I add: Spinoza’s assertion and Hegel’s assertion together suggest a new level of interdependence.  Determining or defining anything involves negations and affirmations that are interdependent with one another.   What I am and what I am not are interdependent.  What each thing is and is not are interdependent.  All knowledge claims involve interdependent affirmations and negations.

In Hegel, this interdependence is expressed in another interesting way: through the dialectical process. Ultimately, positions are articulated through/in response to contrary positions. Dialogue and progress in philosophy proceed through this negotiating of interdependent affirmations and negations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s