Method of philosophy and the fate of Hegel’s philosophy: to the 250th anniversary
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020
Author: Gusseva Nina, The “Kazakhstan Philosophy Congress” Association of Philosophers, D. Serikbayev East-Kazakhstan State Technical University, Kazakhstan
Hegel's great merit in the history of philosophy and the history of
culture is in the creation of a dialectical method. In the preface to the first
edition of “The Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences”,
Hegel wrote that “a deep inner need for a rational understanding which is the
only thing that informs a man of his dignity" preserves "an
open-minded, unsubstantiated philosophical interest and a serious love for
This is the message of all subsequent philosophy. It retains its great meaning
The modern philosophy actively supports views and ideas that ground
their constructs and conclusions on the non-dialectical way of thinking. This
leads philosophy as a science to a crisis state within itself and to a negative
attitude towards it on the part of society. This situation essentially coincides
with what Hegel wrote about philosophy and science of his time.
Thus, he noted the difference between the dialectical method “from
just the external order that other sciences use, and also from the manner that
has become common in the philosophical discourse; the latter proceeds from a
scheme that is adopted in advance; with the help of this scheme, the material
under consideration is placed in parallel series in accordance with the same
external manner and even more arbitrarily than in the first method, and, by an
extremely strange misunderstanding, this scheme tends to replace the necessary
development of the concept with random and arbitrary connections”.
The science today, just like in Hegel’s time, responds more readily
to the demands of the external order, to the use of an adopted in
The dialectical method in science is in extremely low demand, and at
the same time, the positivist understanding of methodology as an array of
rational matrices, schemes suitable for use is widespread.
Philosophy outside dialectics is engaged in the search for the
empirical foundations of problems that are fixed in the immediate superficial
approximation. Orientation to the necessary development of the concept is
replaced by orientations to the postulation of random and arbitrary
connections. It is precisely such connections that are the central material for
conclusions when cognition is reduced to the empirical level as a level
supposedly strictly independent.
The fate of modern philosophy and culture fully depends on and will
be determined by the extent to which the dialectical method will become habitual
for the modern humanity. At the same time, it is not the shift in thinking as
such, but the shift in reality itself, which is mastered by mankind in the
forms of creative, transforming, conscious activity, where thinking is the
ideal form of the latter.
The materialistic justification, realization and development of
Hegel’s dialectical method can be observed in the philosophical works of K.
Marx and F. Engels. Further prospects for the development of a philosophical
and scientific world outlook are associated with the realization of dialectical
thinking and materialistic dialectics as logic, the theory of knowledge and
methodology of cognition.
The leading direction of the development of philosophy is always
connected with the study of the processes of formation and development of
human social and individual being and consciousness. This characteristic
feature in the development of philosophy characterizes its classical branch. At
the same time, the study of the functioning of the existing institutionalized
forms shows the existence in philosophy of its “ballast” part, the one that
falls out of the real processes of cultural development, the quintessence of
which is, in fact, philosophy. This “ballast” part becomes a phenomenon of
civilizational manipulations, use, etc., in which they retain their identity as
certain institutional developed knowledge, matrices, norms, schemes, etc.,
which are not subject to any forms of development, but accessible for general
use with certain consumer purposes, external to any processes of actual
development and self-development of both man and society. This situation took
place back in the times of Hegel, who wrote in connection with this:
“We saw this arbitrariness master the contents of philosophy, got
involved in the most risky adventures of thought and, for some time, impressed
honest and conscientious people, while others at that time treated it as
something. But the content of this arbitrariness was neither imposing nor
insane, more often than not it contained the well-known trivial provisions
[...]. On the other hand, we witnessed how superficiality and paucity of
thought announced itself prudent skepticism and criticism of an unassuming
mind, and saw conceit and vanity increase along with the void of ideas. Both
these directions of the spirit for a long time copied German thoroughness,
wearing down a deeper philosophical thought and resulted in such indifference
and even contempt for the science of philosophy that at the present time,
imaginary modesty also considers itself entitled to express its opinion on the
deepest philosophical issues, rejecting the possibility of its reasonable
According to Hegel, it is dialectical thinking that allows philosophy to be the
true form of rational cognition. “Understanding that dialectics constitutes the
nature of thinking itself, that as reason it must fall into the negation of
itself, into a contradiction, is one of the main aspects of logic. Thinking,
having lost hope to resolve the contradiction into which it put itself on its
own, turns to those resolutions and reassurances that the spirit has received
in its other forms. However, in this turn, thinking does not necessarily have
to fall into a misology,
which Plato came across; it should not polemically oppose itself, as is done by
the so-called immediate knowledge, stating that it is the only
form of comprehending the truth”.
Here, Hegel emphasizes that the difficulties in the development of
philosophy are precisely due to the fact that it involves rational stereotypes
leading to dead ends and misunderstandings. At the same time, the existence and
development of dialectical thinking from one historical stage to another, from
dialectics of the ancients, to the dialectics of German classical philosophy
and, further, to the materialist dialectics of Marx and F. Engels is the
example of philosophy development. This development reflects philosophy's
orientation to disclosure of the fundamental principles and laws of being, the
disclosure of essence, integrity, universality, inherent not only in being, but
also in cognition, human world-relation, social development.
Philosophy in its “nonclassical” version, as a civilizational
phenomenon, is represented by a great variety of concepts in which the choice
of their bases is done externally, then formally organized systems of
concepts are designed to reflect the interactions of these concepts with
respect to the chosen basis. The next step in such model of
“development” of philosophy is the introduction of a certain system of
statements expressed in the proclaimed concepts and dedicated to certain
institutional problems and interests of society that cause wide public
resonance and institutional support. All stages beginning with the external
choice of the bases, and the subsequent stages of the alleged creation of the
philosophical conception of the “civilized type”, are characterized by the same
process. Its essence (logic) does not depend on the specificity of a certain
Thus, for example, the external choice can result in recognition as
the basis of the supposedly “philosophical” concept of any of the visible,
institutionally known, recognized and even ordinary characteristics of the
world in which a person exists, and which fill his daily existence. Everyone,
especially professionals in the field of philosophy, is familiar with such
concepts and the grounds on which they turned out to be built. For example, we
can recall the concepts in which the phenomena known to everyone and causing
visible associations in each person appear as their grounds: life, will,
intuition, utility, phenomenon, consciousness, action, behavior, fear,
existence, knowledge, text, language, etc.
In this connection, it is appropriate to mention the following. Each
of these phenomena as the basis of a certain concept in philosophy is in
fact presented as a result of abstracting it from what characterizes the
world of a man, his life in society. At the same time, the authors of these
concepts either do not realize the abstractness of the grounds they have
chosen, or they take it for granted. In the second case, if there is an abstract
approach to the choice of the basis of the philosophical concept as a matter of
course, there is deliberate nihilism. The general palette of philosophical
knowledge with this approach to understanding the principles of philosophy is
represented by unrelated parts, like a patchwork quilt. This has its
consequences. One of such consequences is the idea of the non-objectivity of
philosophy, its meaninglessness and the need for further strengthening of the abstract
approach, in which it is required to choose from a series of abstract grounds
one thing and thereby put a point in the vast array of discrepancies
with regard to what philosophy is and what it should study.
In connection with this, today, as in Hegel’s time, there is an
actual problem, about which Hegel himself wrote: “This is the method of
abstract rational reflection: it arbitrarily embraces certain categories that
have significance only as certain stages in the development of the idea, and
then applies them in such a way that all objects under consideration; this is
done, as claimed, in order to explain these subjects, but in fact such a
reconciliation contradicts open-minded contemplation and experience”.
As a result of the impossibility of solving the problem of
incoherence of philosophical knowledge and philosophical concepts by making a
choice, a conclusion is drawn about the tragic fate of philosophy as such and
even its uselessness. The basis for such “tragic” conclusions is not an
analysis of a lack of an abstract approach as would be expected, but an
analysis of the inadequacy of the ontological status of each of the many
phenomena that appear as the bases of philosophical concepts. The substitution
of an analysis of the shortcomings of the abstract approach, of non-dialectical
thinking by inference about the inadequacy of the ontological status of each of
the identified phenomena, in its turn, leads to new developments of
absolutization and sublimation of subjectivism, striving to support its
position with methods that are beyond philosophy.
The origins of the use of non-philosophical methods and conclusions
in such cases are also known. They characterize the social state of society,
the strength of certain social institutions that are interested in using
certain mental configurations (primarily rational) and preferences for
substantiating their positions. Thus, for example, the position expressed by
Nietzsche in his philosophy of life turned out to be completely usable and
extremely popular with Hitler. Such a connection between the “civilizational”
image of philosophy and the needs of social institutions can be traced back to
each of the available philosophical concepts, oriented toward a civilizational
choice and distinguished by a rational character.
Modern world philosophy is represented by a great variety of
philosophical views, concepts and directions. The scope of its interests
includes observing and studying of various forms of human social and individual
being and consciousness, which, firstly, are formed and function within the
framework of certain civilizational processes and, secondly, which are in a
state of continuing evolution in the development of culture.
Institutional consciousness always expresses and fixes the content
and meanings of the civilizational functioning of a person in society,
in the forms of language, logic schemes or the results of the measured
processes. It differs significantly from the non-institutionalized
consciousness, which constitutes the living “fabric” of human life, which is
the base of culture and a certain world outlook.
Schematicism, rationality of institutional consciousness is
convenient for any use of its form, including not only the preservation,
transmission and replication, but also management of the institutional
consciousness. In this respect, schematicism, rationality of institutional
consciousness is also a form of world understanding present in such social and
civilizational realities as the transformed, “matrix”, ideological, etc., forms
existing in social civilization reality.
Dialectical thinking manifests itself as a problem when philosophy as a phenomenon of culture finds
itself in the same line of evaluation with philosophy as a civilizational
phenomenon. Under conditions of a civilizational choice in the field of philosophical
investigation of reality, dialectical thinking appears as alien, becomes unclaimed,
incomprehensible, unduly torn from immediate situations. The positivistic ideal
of direct empirical research becomes the principle of assessing the need for
and demand in what is still called “philosophy”, meaning its “civilizational”
image. At the same time, it remains unnoticed that such research loses its most
important thing: revealing the essence, integrity, way of forming what is being
considered; it, as Hegel would say, loses its dialectics.
A continuous enthusiastic use of this method of “philosophizing”
ultimately leads to a situation in philosophy when the question of the state of
the world as a whole, of its regularities in general, becomes irrelevant.
Instead, chaos, text, language, etc. become the subject of consideration as
independent entities prompting a person his place in the world and ways of
understanding the world, understanding oneself, one’s historical, value and
cognitive landmarks. While thinking with its orientation to dialectics as logic,
to the disclosure of the laws of the development of the world and man in this
case becomes an excess phenomenon. In place of this basic orientation there
comes the fashion to reject such concepts as morality, truth, beauty, etc.,
which always formed the image of a person and a human being. The “civilized”
image of philosophy admits for example, that empirical verification is enough
to define the scientific matter of knowledge, to consider as sufficient, to
consider ugliness as a form of beauty and chaos as a manifestation of a kind of
The only way out of the impasse in modern philosophy is the return
to the bosom of dialectics.
On this path the classical tradition of philosophizing opens new possibilities
for the development of man, society, and philosophy itself. This is the way to
discover new forms of development, not decay. This is the way of raising the
human spirit and understanding its purpose. This is the way in which a person does not
equate oneself to a thing among other things within the world chaos. This is
the way to new dimensions of human life, the path of creativity and creation.
 G. W. F. Hegel, Encyclopedia of the
Philosophical Sciences, Moscow, 1974, 55.
 G.W.F. Hegel, Encyclopedia of the
Philosophical Sciences. Vol. 1, Moscow, 1974, 55.
 Hatred of science, aversion to scientific
reasoning; the term introduced by Plato and Plutarch (Greek)
 Hegel, Encyclopedia, 96.
 Here we are talking about concepts such as
the philosophy of life, intuitionism, existentialism, behaviorism,
phenomenology, hermeneutics, and so on. See also Gusseva N., “On the question
of the foundations of Western language concepts: the philosophical and
methodological aspect” in: Vestnik of Kazakh-American Free University,
Ust-Kamenogorsk (2016), 57-64; See
also A.A. Khamidov, “The Rejection of Dialectics by Science as a Problem
(Thinking about the Grounds)”, edited by Nina Gusseva, 2017, 261- 322; See also A.A. Khamidov, “Society of
Knowledge as a Problem” in: Dialectics and Problems of the Development of Science,
edited by Gusseva N., Ust-Kamenogorsk 2017, 159 -187.
 Hegel, Encyclopedia, 291.
 The social is not identical to the public.
It refers to a society in which of a person is alienated from their essence,
where the dominant characteristics are disunity and hostility of people to each
other, formal relations, and so on.
 Gusseva N., “On Specifics of Thought
Processes in the Context of Culture and Civilization Choice (Approaches,
Tendencies, Programs)”, in: Modern Problems of the Development of Civilization
and Culture. Collection of Scientific Articles, Ust-Kamenogorsk (2017), 38 - 57.
 Gusseva N., Dialectical Thinking
and the Phenomenon of Methodological Research in the Development of Science, Ust-Kamenogorsk 2017, 273.
 Abdildin Zh.M., The Logic of Creative
Thinking, edited by Gusseva N., Ust-Kamenogorsk 2017, 271, Lobastov G.V.,
“Introduction into the Logic of Dialectics” in: Dialectics and Problems of
Science Development, edited by Gusseva N., Ust-Kamenogorsk 2017, 11-23, Mareev S.N., Mareeva E.V., “On Transfer
from the Empirical to Theoretical in Scientific Cognition” in: Dialectics
and Problems of Science Development, edited by Gusseva N., Ust-Kamenogorsk
 Lobastov G.V., Philosophy in Science
and Art, edited by Gusseva N., Ust-Kamenogorsk 2016, 282.
 Gusseva N., The Man in the
Context of Being: Modern Trends, Problems and Approaches, Ust-Kamenogorsk
 Voznyak V.S., Gusseva N., The
Dialectics of Spiritual Reality: Philosophical and Methodological Research of
Reminiscence as a Point of Spiritual Perspectives, edited by Nina Gusseva,
Ust-Kamenogorsk 2016, 329.
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №12 - 2020