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Every stage of the Phenomenology is filled with obscure allusions to other texts—both philosophical texts and literary texts. Lauer thinks we should be slow in concluding just which texts Hegel has in mind. He suggests that Hegel may not have been sure himself or that he wanted to refer to an amalgam of positions.[i] Pippin (118) suggests that Hegel refrains from giving us specific references because he wants to sketch the position he is criticizing in as abstract a way as possible—so as to include all partisans of such a position. These points are well taken. Hegel’s allusions are like those found in a novel. They are not specific, precise, and limited. They are general, open, even symbolic—as if they were trying to refer to as much as possible.

Nevertheless, I will spend considerable effort trying to identify at least some of the texts that Hegel is alluding to. One of the reasons for this is that Hegel alludes to Kant in many more cases than has been recognized; and if we notice this it will change—it will clarify and improve—our understanding of Hegel. I intend to pay a great deal of attention to Hegel’s reliance on Kant. I do not mean to imply by this that Hegel was not significantly influenced by other philosophers—Fichte, Schelling, Aristotle, Spinoza, Rousseau, and others. He certainly was. Nor do I want to suggest that Hegel is alluding only, or even primarily, to Kant, and not to other philosophers. And I certainly do not want to suggest that by establishing a connection to Kant we will be able to explain everything that is going on in the Phenomenology. I only want to suggest that we can learn something important by seeing connections to Kant.

Chapter of

Hegel and the Other: A Study of the Phenomenology of Spirit


Published in Hegel and the Other: A Study of the Phenomenology of Spirit. State University of New York Press, 2005. Available at

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