You should be very careful automatically subscribing to any philosopher's point of view, especially about other philosophers. This goes for my opinion too, of course. :) It's a very political discipline, and there is presently a huge rift between rival traditions.
The anglo-american tradition can be traced ultimately to Hume, but mostly to late nineteenth century british neokantianism, the logician Frege, Whitehead and Russell, and the Viennese school of logical positivism. It's best work (IMHO) stems from Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the top ten philosophers of all time (again, IMO).
The rival continental tradition is much more historically rooted. It can be directly traced to Kant and Hegel, with strong roots in Spinoza, Liebniz, Giambattista Vico, and Descartes. It has a very different style than the A-A tradition, mostly because philosophy is seen as cummulative and school-oriented rather than individualistic and position-oriented.
Now, I'm the first to admit that the most incompetent practitioners of the continental school are full of shit. Their fault, as I see it, is to mimic a complex tradition of terminology without comprehending its significance. Their work is easily blown to pieces and satirized. A-A philosophers often make sport of this, and I can't blame them.
But when they confuse cause and effect and assume that, because someone mimics a complicated style and turns it into nonsense that the original work is therefore also nonsense is unforgivable! What arrogance!
The worst abusers of the A-A tradition aren't groteque writers, true, so much as they are obsessed with meaningless trivia! They don't even merit parody!
"If I say 'The King of France is bald' is it true because there is no King of France or false because of it? Or vice versa?" Oh dear god. Where do you go from there?
Read the first chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit. Get a good commentary on it (I recommend Robert Solomon's or even Kojeve). Hegel has a very insightful critique into the *ontological significance* of predicate logic, which you (or your influencers) naturally confuse with Hegel "not understanding" predicate logic! I strongly suspect that whoever told you that heard it from someone else, and that that person hadn't read Hegel either. That's why the A-A tradition is a dead end.
If you go from "Critique of Pure Reason" to the "Phenomenology of Spirit" it's easy enough to follow (it helps if you are familiar with Ficte's and Schilling's critiques of Kant, which influence d Hegel greatly). I spend a semester on one, and then a semester on the other, and then did my senior thesis on Hegel and Nietzsche (267 pages).
Just because something is hard to read, complicated, and requires that one is familiar with a substantial prior body of work doesn't mean that it isn't elegant, much less moronic. That's like saying that a recursive algorithm written in Lisp is moronic because it isn't as easy to read as one written in Visual Basic!
Continental philosohpy is a strong, brilliant tradition that grapples with a whole range of questions. My favorites among its ranks are: (in no particular order) Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Bataille, Derrida, Foucault, Arendt, and Wittgenstein (who belongs as much to the continental tradition as the A-A one).
Let me draw a last analogy to programming here, because I think it gets to the heart of the matter. A-A in my mind is the equivalent of a good scripting language. Very high-level, almost never delving into the heart of the interpreter, easy to read and hard to do anything too interesting with.
The continental tradition is a lot like Lisp. Hard to read: (what (are all those (parentheses)) (doing here?)). The language is implemented in itself, is very extensible, adaptable, and is one of the oldest languages still used. Kant wrote Emacs. A work of continental philosophy is like a huge macro extension to Emacs--not undertaken lightly, but potentially very powerful, with an impact on the language itself. In fact, its a customized subset of the language.
If you want to continue this conversation, I'm amenable, but you should tell me what piece of Hegel you read, and quote from it. I'm familiar with his language, so I can translate.
For instance, you wrote:
"Reason is substance as well as infinite power, its own infinite material underlying all the natural and spiritual life; as also the infinite form, that which sets material in motion. Reason is the substance from which all things derive their being".
As Reichenback points out, THAT is not philosophy, its GOBBLY-DE-GOOCK. If all he means to say is "Everything happens for a reasonable purpose", why does he not say that?
Because that's not even close to what he's saying. THAT is an incredibly consise summary of the whole argument of the "Phenomenology" (at least, one aspect of it).
At the point where you so blithely quote out of context, "Reason" is so loaded a term that it simultaneously denotes "God the Father", one aspect of three that are the basic parts of the human mind (the other being Spirit and in some sense History), and the historical motivation for the advance of Science. In Hegel's particular use of that word. :)
All of human history is the struggle of Reason to overcome its alienation from the perception of Substance, destroying Substance (as an alien experience) and reconstituting the understanding of Substance as Science (that is, coterminous with Spirit). To say that Reason is Substance is the radical step Hegel wants his reader to make, since it is necessary to understand Science.
Is the Riechenback you speak of the same one who wrote the philosophy of quantum mechanics? If so, what's his excuse for not seeing the parallel between Hegel's argument and the argument that suggests the active role the observer plays in the definition of quantum reality? It's not far off. Hegel is in some sense arguing, along with Kant but much more thoroughly, that the mind participates actively in the formation of historical and perceptual reality.
Although often cloaked in Christian terms, when you look at the structure of his argument, it becomes obvious that Science, as Hegel expounds it, is intended as a complete replacement for culture, religion, and even politics. It's both an attitude and a body of knowledge and a social system.
Although the fundamental insights that underlay the Phenomenology are quite original and worth understanding, especially as a criticism of Kant, the conclusions Hegel draws are obviously wrong, though strangely compelling.
But don't knock it until you've tried it.
"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." Abraham Lincoln
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