Mens Divina as Lebendigkeit: Hegel's Interpretation of Metaphysics 1072b26–27

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In Metaphysics Lambda, Aristotle describes God as a simple, unchanging being whose ousia (substance) is energeia (being-at-work) and who, himself unmoved, is the source of all motion. Hegel's study of classical thought was deep and assiduous, and his Greek was superb. Hegel views the attribution of life and thinking to the divine as evidence that the momentum of Aristotle's thinking was carrying him, despite himself, beyond fixed conceptions of identity, difference, and contradiction. It is this identification of energeia with subjectivity that leads directly to what seems to be Hegel's worst blunder: his transformation of the unmoved mover into a self-positing Absolute Spirit ante litteram. To grasp what this means for him we need to set out the link between three moments in Hegel's Logic: essence, contradiction, and life, since it is Hegel's understanding of life as a manifestation of contradiction that determines what he thought Aristotle meant by attributing zoe (life) to the divine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHegel and Ancient Philosophy A Re-Examination
EditorsGlenn Alexander Magee
ISBN (Print)9780367666903
StatePublished - 2018


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