Random Quote: On Speculative Philosophy and Monkeys


“Speculative philosophy, in sum, defends itself against the attacks of reflective philosophy by labelling the attacks reflective, and not by arguing with them – because it would then abandon itself as speculation and surrender to reflection. On the other hand, reflective philosophers, cupidi rerum novarum [eager for new conditions – ME], see in the speculators an interesting new sort of monkey they would like to get better acquainted with. In fact, of the monkey could convince them that his system is not just another cage but what he claims it to be, the ultimate whole as known in the only sort of knowledge that deserves the name, the reflectors might in the end want to share the cage with him. But instead of trying to convince them in the style they expect from a philosopher, the monkey develops his salto mortale rhetoric which is as convincing as telling a healthy man that he must go through cancer of the brain in order to enjoy true health. So what can speculative philosophy actually do to convince reflective philosophy (as well as common sense and the general public) that it is what it claims to be?” [Walter Cerf, “Speculative Philosophy and Intellectual Intuition,” in Hegel, Faith and Knowledge, xxiii]

I’m not quite sure about the monkeys and cages in this analogy, well, he should have kept up with it instead of switching to cancers and brains, but in any case, a rather interesting position on Hegel’s early speculative attempts to encounter what he thought of as inferior reflective philosophy of Kant, Jacobi and Fichte.

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