Dialectical Goethe

CONTRADICTIO EST REGULA VERI
"Contradiction is the rule of the true."—G.W.F. Hegel
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JustinB
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class="first">Dialectical Goethe

Post by JustinB » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:09 am

I don't know if Hegel's logic was influenced by this dialectical thought of Goethe's or the other way around, but the closeness of their thinking is clear in the following quotation from the latter:
Reason has to do with becoming, understanding with what has become. The former does not bother with the question: "What use?"; the latter does not ask: "Whence?". Reason takes pleasure in development; understanding wishes to hold everything fixed so as to exploit it".
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—J.W.v. Goethe, Maximen und Reflexionen, edited by Max Hecker (1907) p. 120.

This passage, which is maxim (or reflection) #555 (below) is listed in the table of contents as being "From Wilhelm Meister's Wandering Years [2nd edition] 1829 / From Makarie's archive".

Based on the date (after publication of Hegel's Phenomenology, Logic and Encyclopedia) and the distinctly Hegelian terminology (reason, understanding, becoming, etc.) I'm going to have to say that it appears this is a case of Hegel influencing Goethe's thought ... but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. Having not read the novel, I'm not sure whether the literary device of Makarie's archive is meant to reflect Goethe's own thinking or to lampoon the philosophical thought of the day.

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