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Freedom and ReflectionHegel and the Logic of Agency$
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Christopher Yeomans

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794522

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794522.001.0001

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Modality in Hegel's Logic

Modality in Hegel's Logic

(p.139) 7 Modality in Hegel's Logic
Freedom and Reflection

Christopher Yeomans

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows the way in which Hegel treats modal notions as component forms of productive expression. Two different forms of modality – relative and absolute – are carefully distinguished according to the relation that each maintains between possibility, actuality, and necessity. It is noted that in relative modality, possibility and necessity are in tension, since necessity is understood in terms of the rigidity of the trajectory of productivity, where alternate possibilities (contingency) are located in a looseness of fit between given conditions and the necessary productive process. In contrast, in absolute modality there is no looseness of fit, but contingency and necessity are made compatible in virtue of the way in which the necessary productive process actually constitutes its initial conditions in such a way that they could have been otherwise. It is thus shown that absolute possibility presents the best modal articulation of expression.

Keywords:   Modality, necessity, contingency, actuality, logic, alternate possibilities, expression

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