Hegel’s Concept of Experience

Heidegger, Martin, Hegel’s Concept of Experience. New York, 1970.



2. If concern about falling into error makes one in the meanwhile distrustful of science, which takes up its work and actually knows without any such hesitations, then one should not overlook the possibility of reversing this procedure by placing distrust in this very distrust and becoming concerned about another question. Is not this fear of erring already the error itself? As a matter of fact, this fear presupposes something, indeed a great deal, as truth; its hesitations and inferences are based on an assumption whose claim to truth is yet to be examined. To be more specific, it presupposes notions about knowledge as an instrument and a medium, and also the notion that there is a difference between ourselves and this knowledge; but above all, it presupposes that the absolute stands on one side and that knowledge, though it is on the other side, for itself and separated from the absolute, is nevertheless something real. Hence it assumes that knowledge may be true despite its presupposition that knowledge is outside the absolute and therewith outside the truth as well. By taking this position, what calls itself the fear of error reveals itself as a fear of the truth.


The second section touches upon the core of the criticism to which science has, to this day, subjected every philosophical critique of the knowledge. Hegel no longer uses the term “philosophy” in any of the sections that follow. He speaks of science. For modern philosophy has meanwhile fully attained its nature by taking complete possession of the terra firma on which it was the first to set foot. That land is the self-certainty of mental representation in respect of itself and of what it represents. To take complete possession of this land means to know the self-certainty of self-consciousness in its unconditional nature, and to be in this knowledge qua knowledge generally. Philosophy now is unconditional knowledge within the knowledge of self-certainty. Philosophy has made itself completely at home within knowledge as such…