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Does God Exist?: Hegel and Things

96 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2004  

David Gray Carlson

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

This paper addresses God's existence, according to Hegel. Does God exist? For Hegel, the question does not make sense, because existence (basically the symbolic realm of language and thought - the realm of things) is inadequate to God's concept. People who ask the question, Does God exist? are in search of a proof or a ground in which to assure the questioner that God does or does not exist. Hegel argues, however, that any such ground is by definition finite. What Hegel does is to attack the question Does God exist? on the side of existence. Since existence implies finite things, any adduced ground of God is a finite thing that must waft away, like all other finite things. The paper analysis the middle chapters of essence in Hegel's monumental Science of Logic. It is the fifth nstallment of the author's attempt to explicate this neglected work with a pictographic system that illustrates every logical step Hegel makes in his master work. The middle chapters of essence analyze the nature of things and show them to be finite. The import of Hegel's analysis upon the metaphysics is that any purported ground of God - some specific proof - is itself a thing that is finite and must waft away. Only when the deck is cleared of all finite things can God (in its infinitude) be appreciated in its true notion. The paper defers, however, for a later day, Hegel's ultimate ontological proof of God which exceeds the mediocre realm of mere existence.

Keywords: God, Hegel, metaphysics

Suggested Citation

Carlson, David Gray, Does God Exist?: Hegel and Things (2003). Cardozo Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 84. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=518164 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.518164

David Gray Carlson (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

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