Hugo Havranek

Hugo Havranek

Doctoral Fellow

Period at the center: May - August 2022

Research Project: Atemporal Dynamism in Hegel's Philosophy of Life



I have studied Philosophy at Cambridge (BA); Munich (MA); and now Yale (PhD Candidate). I am primarily interested in seeing how and whether the methodology typical of analytic philosophy can be applied to texts that are not stereotypically analytic. I am interested in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Classical Chinese Philosophy, and German Idealism.

Research Project

Atemporal Dynamism in Hegel's Philosophy of Life

My project focuses on two key topics. The first key topic is Hegel’s account of our knowledge of the natural world. In this account, Hegel responds to recent modern challenges to such knowledge: Hume’s challenge, that we cannot know forces and laws; and Kant’s challenge, that we cannot know living beings. The second key topic is Hegel’s ‘atemporal dynamism’. This is the peculiar feature of his philosophy whereby he talks about his system moving, transitioning, or developing. But this movement, transitioning, or developing, is outside of time. These two key topics are brought together in my main thesis: Hegel argues that we can know the natural world only if we can conceptualize atemporal dynamism.

While in Potsdam, I am working on the final chapter of this project. I look at Hegel’s treatment of ‘Life’ in the ‘Self-consciousness’ chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit. I show how Hegel’s account of life is supposed to tackle the Kantian antinomy of teleological judgment—that we cannot come to know living beings, because they are paradoxically self-causing entities. I then show how Hegel thinks that this antinomy can be resolved if we understand life to be structured using atemporal dynamism.