‘Paradox, Dialectic, and System: A Contemporary Reconstruction of the Hegelian Problematic’ by Howard P. Kainz

Published by Penn State University Press in 1986.

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This book undertakes a critical analysis of some central problems in Hegel scholarship. It is concerned with clarifying the theoretical underpinnings of paradox, the possible relationship of paradox to a dialectic logic, and the possibilities of systematization of dialectic and/or paradox. The author begins with a discussion of current attitudes toward paradox in mathematics, science, and logic, and then moves gradually toward a differentiation of philosophical paradox in the strict sense from literary, religious, and logic paradox. The relationship of dialect to paradox is elucidated by means of a phenomenological analysis of self-consciousness. Finally, possible approaches to the systematization of dialectic are considered. Analyzing and evaluating Hegel’s dialectical-paradoxical system in particular, Dr. Kainz also addresses the question of viable alternatives to Hegel’s approach.

While paradox is generally considered by philosophers and logicians as something to be avoided, Kainz’s study investigates the possibility that it is an important and even indispensable element of constructive thinking in philosophy as well as other disciplines. Paradox, Dialect, and System is this a contribution not only to Hegel scholarship but to philosophy itself. It will be of particular interest to this concerned with the differentiation of dialectical and nondialectical philosophical systems and with the prevalence of paradox in literature, religion, and contemporary physics.

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