Monday, August 17, 2015

Erich Przywara's Analogy and G.W.F. Hegel's Dialectics

Dialectic Destruction is Creation, by Dennis Jones
[I]n the most general sense of an 'ordering order', ana(-logia) agrees not only with its stem, logos, but also with the dia(-logon) (in "dialectic"). For all of their differences, what analogia and dialogia have in common is that they indicate a kind of 'measured consideration', which is to say, an order that is realized in this very act of consideration, judgment, etc.; in short, our 'ordering order'.
- Erich Przywara, Analogia Entis, Sect. 2, §5 Logos, Logic, Dialectic, Analogy, Betz and Hart trans., p.192
In "Logos, Logic, Dialectic, Analogy" of Analogia Entis (Sect. 2, §5), Przywara defines analogy, in the most general terms, as a self-disclosing 'intentional ordering' of being according to a fundamental logos. In the excerpt above, he describes how analogy shares with dialectic the logos that is a 'measured consideration' and 'ordering ordering', and distinguishes two modes of the meaning of logos that resonate with the problem of language in Plato's Cratylus, in which the meaning is prior to or present within the word itself: first, the logos as object that comprehends itself as a concept, which Przywara identifies with Hegel's logic of being; and second, the logos as concept, in which the logos apprehends itself as a concept, which he identifies as the "other side of Hegel's thought" (i.e. logic of essence) and Husserl's 'transcendental subjectivity'. Przywara describes how these two modes of logos as object-to-concept and concept-to-object "form a kind of tension-filled limit-circle."

Przywara first hypothetically opposes this 'pure logic', in which the antithesis of being and essence are resolved, to Platonic dialectic, in which, he suggests, there remains a supreme antithesis of unresolved contrary opposites, and we know only that we do not know. Then he describes how this hypothetical opposition of pure antitheses may necessarily be resolved when "the interval in between possibilities betokens that a solution is completely guaranteed upon the path of thinking" in which, for Aristotle as for Hegel, "all knowledge of antitheses aims to order the antitheses... [is] the most compelling of logical proofs." Yet Przywara concludes by suggesting how the Aristotelian-Hegelian 'syllogistic dialectic' relapses back into an 'unconditional unity' with the Platonic dialectic, once the dialectic discloses and pivots around simple logical identity.

Przywara proposes analogy as the self-transcending of the relapsing unconditional unity on the model of Augustine's "self-revelation of the mind's movement" and "sheer mystical fusion with truth": where logic is a "self-deluding escape into the region of the divine"; dialectic is "caught in a delirium, reeling irredeemably between a defiant self-recusing (into its own night of antitheses) and a passionate desire for fusion (understood not as a desire for self-submission, but as a desire for self-mastery)." Przywara triumphantly describes analogy as the sublation (aufhebung) of the "antithesis between logic and dialectic" in a way that is neither Hegel's 'logical dialectic' nor Heidegger's 'dialectical logic', but some kind of 'creaturely logic' and 'creaturely metaphysics' that "yields to humble self-discrimination, and passionate desire for fusion to loving self-surrender" and the "self-ordering within a being-ordered."

Przywara proposed transcendence and sublation of the 'limit circle' Hegelian dialectics requires the relapsing unconditional unity-of-opposites of Platonic aporetic and Aristotelian syllogistic logic to be no more than the 'expanding refinement' of contradictions in unconditional unity around identity. This reading of Hegelian dialectics as negative dialectics follows Schelling's early criticisms of 'negative philosophy' in abstractly separating the form of 'dialectic' from the content of the system; and thus reducing the form of dialectic to a purely formal interplay of antithetical and contradictory opposites revolving in a bad-infinite cycle around unconditional identity.

Hegel, to the contrary, emphatically affirms at the climax of the Science of Logic that the "absolute method does not behave as an external reflection but it takes what is determinate from its object itself, for it is itself its soul and immanent principle." (SL II 491) For Hegel, dialectics is inseparable from the system of pure forms that is constructed for-us from but operates in-itself through dialectical thinking: dialectics is for Hegel not Schelling's form of 'negative philosophy' separable from the positive content of the system; nor even Przywara bad-infinite 'limit circle' of antitheses-in-identity; but the self-transcending unfolding opposition and the self-ordering enfolding synthetic forms of thought.

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