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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature is best understood through its contribution to Hegel’s larger philosophical project of both articulating and actually achieving human freedom. It contributes to this project by showing that nature and natural things are themselves free, in a specific sense of freedom that Hegel critically appropriates from Kant. Hegel demonstrates this freedom of nature through the conceptual transformation of natural-scientific “representations” (laws, kinds, and other universals) into systematically ordered “concrete universals” in which the empirical content of the sciences is preserved and systematized in a way that emphasizes nature’s self-determination, rather than its alleged sheer givenness and “externality.” After a general account of, first, Hegel’s understanding of the natural sciences and their results, and, second, his transformative method, the chapter presents a detailed reconstruction of his treatment of collision, fall, and orbital motion in the Mechanics.

Keywords: Hegel, Philosophy of Nature, nature, physics, mechanics, motion, fall

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