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The Problem of Nature in Hegel's Final System

Wes Furlotte

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Reconsiders Hegel’s system from the perspective of contemporary philosophy

Wes Furlotte critically evaluates Hegel’s philosophy of human freedom in terms of his often-disregarded conception of nature. In doing so, he gives us a new portrait of Hegel’s final system that is surprisingly relevant for our contemporary world, connecting it with recent work in speculative realism and new materialism.

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Introduction: The Problem of a Philosophical Rendering of Nature and Hegel’s Philosophy of the Real

Part I: ‘Gleaming leprosy in the sky’

1. The ‘Non-Whole’ of Hegelian Nature: Extrinsicality and the Problems of Sickness and Death

2. The Instability of Space-Time and the Contingency of Necessity

3. The Problem of Nature’s Spurious Infinite within the Register of Animal Life

4. Assimilation and the Problems of Sex, Violence, and Sickness unto Death

Part II: Spirit’s Birth from within the Bio-Material World

5. The Other Hegel: The Anthropology and Spirit’s Birth from within the Bio-Material World

6. Embodiment: Spirit, Material–Maternal Dependence, and the Problem of the in utero

7. The Nightmare of Reason and Regression into the Night of the World

8. Treatment as (re-)Habituation: From Psychopathology to (re-)Actualised Subjectivity

Part III: The Problem of Surplus Repressive Punishment

9. An Introduction to the Problem of Surplus Repressive Punishment

10. Abstract Right: Natural Immediacy within the Matrices of Personhood

11. Crime, the Negation of Right, and the Problem of European Colonial Consciousness

12. Surplus Repressive Punishment and Spirit’s Regressive (de-)Actualisation

Conclusion: Freedom within Two Natures, or, the Nature–Spirit Dialectic in the Final System



About the Author

Wes Furlotte is Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College and part-time Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Specialising in German idealism and 19th- and 20th-century European thought, he has published on problems in ontology, epistemology and socio-political philosophy.


With clarity and rigor, Wes Furlotte provides a fundamental and sweeping reassessment of Hegel’s intellectual itinerary as well as his mature philosophical project.  He convincingly recasts Hegelian Naturphilosophie as absolutely central to Hegel’s larger framework.  What is more, Furlotte’s depiction of the situation of human mindedness and culture within the broader expanse of natural reality renders the Hegelian Philosophy of Nature strikingly timely - a live theoretical option for the early-twenty-first century. This book makes crucial contributions to the ongoing reassessment of Hegel’s enduring significance

- Professor Adrian Johnston, University of New Mexico

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