‘Hegel’s Ontology and Theory of Historicity’ by Herbert Marcuse

This was Herbert Marcuse’s first book on Hegel, written in the early 1930s when he was under the strong influence of Martin Heidegger. It provides a still unequaled Heideggerian reading of Hegel’s thought that seeks the defining characteristics of “historicity” – what it means to say that a historical event happens. These ideas were foundational for Marcuse; they express a tradition known as “phenomenological Marxism,” subsequently represented by Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty and by some members of the Praxis group in Yugoslavia.

The book is in two parts. The first analyzes Hegel’s Logic in order to identify its ontological problematic or theory of being; by focusing on Hegel’s Early Theological Writings and the “Phenomenology of Spirit,” the second part argues that the concept of Life in its historicity was in fact the original foundation of Hegelian ontology. Clearly this is a “purer” form of philosophizing than Marcuse was to pursue after he joined the Institut fur Sozialforschung, discovered Freud, and distanced himself from Heidegger’s philosophy. But there is a definite connection between his analysis of historicity in this important early work and his later attempts to understand the underlying dynamic of contemporary history and society in such books as “One-Dimensional Man “and “Eros and Civilization.”

Table of Contents

Translator’s Introduction by Seyla Benhabib
Introduction: The Problem of Historicity as the Starting Point and Goal of This Work. The Purpose of the Present Interpretation

Part I: Interpretation of Hegel’s Logic in the Light of Its Ontological Problematic: Being as Motility
1. The Analytical and Historical Problem at the Origin of Hegel’s First Published Writings
2. The Attainment of a New Concept of Being through an Analysis of Kant’s Concept of Transcendental Synthesis
3. The Absolute Difference within Being: Equality-with-Self-in-Otherness. Being as Motility
4. Motility as Change. The Finitude of Beings
5. Finitude as Infinity. Infinity as Characteristic of Motility
6. The Emergence of a New Dimension of Being and Motility: The “Recollection” of Immediate Beings as “Essence”
7. The Motility of Essence in Its Two Dimensions. The “Ground” and the “Unity” of Beings
8. Being as Existence
9. Actuality as the Fulfillment of Being
10. A Summary Characterization of Actuality as Motility
11. The Comprehending Being (the Concept) as True Being. Substance as Subject
12. The Mode of Being of the Concept: The Individuation of Universality. Judgment and Conclusion
13. The Unfree Reality of the Concept: Objectivity
14. The Free and True Reality of the Concept: The Idea
15. Life as the Truth of Beings. The Ideas of Life and Cognition
16. The Absolute Idea
17. Overview of the Preceding and Transition to Part II

Part II: The Ontological Concept of Life in Its Historicity as the Original Foundation of Hegelian Ontology
18. Life as the Fundamental Concept of the Early Theological Writings
19. Life as the Form of “Absolute Spirit” in the Jena Logic. Life as an Ontological Concept in the Phenomenology of Spirit
20. Introduction and General Definition of the Concept of Life
21. The Immediacy of the Life Process
22. The Historicity of the Life Process: The Actualization of Self-Consciousness as Reason
23. The Historicity of the Life Process: The Actualization of Self-Consciousness in the “Doing of Each and Everyone.” The Object of “Work” and the “Thing Itself”
24. The Transformation of the Concept of Life into the Ontological Concept of Spirit
25. The Transformation of the Process of Knowing into the Process of Absolute Knowledge. The Fundamental Determinations of “History” in the Conclusion to the Phenomenology of Spirit
26. Conclusion : Hegel’s Fundamental Definition of Historicity as Presented in Dilthey’s “The Construction of the Historical World in the Human Sciences”

DOWNLOAD: (.pdf)


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: