The Advent of Freedom: The Presence of the Future in Hegel’s Logic

The Advent of Freedom analyzes two of the key concepts in Hegel’s articulation of a logic of freedom. These key concepts are time and possibility. His Science of Logic shows that possibility is constitutive of actuality, without ever being exhausted by actuality. The Logic and other writings present a parallel argument that Hegel himself did not see clearly: the future is constitutive of the present, without ever being exhausted by the present. The full force of Hegel’s concept of freedom depends upon combining his explicit analysis of possibility with his generally implicit analysis of time. Since Hegel claimed that time had no place in his Logic, interpreting his notion of freedom in this way requires reading Hegel’s text in a way that differs from Hegel’s own self-understanding.

This book combines two interpretive approaches. On the one hand, it engages in a detailed reading of a few selected sections of Hegelian texts. On the other hand, in the case of the Logic, it gains insights into these sections by examining their respective places within the careful and complex structuring of the work as a whole. These sections bring into play terms that have been widely used in Western philosophy, but which in Hegel’s discourse take on distinctive meanings: actuality, necessity, freedom.

The Advent of Freedom is an undertaking of philosophical interpretation. Its ultimate frame of reference, however, is Trinitarian theology. Hegel saw his philosophy in general as a philosophical exposition of the Christian Trinity. His philosophy is one grand response to the question: If we were to take the Trinity as our starting point, how would we think about reality? This volume seeks to render Hegel’s response to one aspect of that question: namely, if we were to take the Trinity as our starting point, how would we think about time and possibility?

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