1st Edition

Overcoming Foundations Studies in Systematic Philosophy

By Richard Winfield Copyright 1989
    322 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1989, Overcoming Foundations offers a challenge to both postmodernism and traditional doctrines of knowledge and value by undertaking a systematic philosophy without foundations. United by a concern for overcoming foundations without overcoming philosophy, the essays in this book discuss a wide range of issues in epistemology and ethics, incorporating analysis of major thinkers of the past and present and drawing critically on Hegel’s argument. The book unveils the dogmatic assumption of the futility of philosophy’s traditional quests for universal truth and ethics and lays out the strategy for achieving autonomy of reason and valid norms of conduct without foundational appeals.

    After examining how a critique of foundations can be executed without making new foundational claims, Winfield considers how philosophy must operate in order to think truth without given conceptual schemes and to achieve rational autonomy. Finally, the author explores the implications of a reason free of foundations for the history of philosophy and the debates embroiling contemporary thought. The essays outline an independent theory of justice, rethinking morality, and the structures of civil society and democratic government. Overcoming Foundations advances a much ignored philosophical alternative, a systematic contribution to epistemology, ethics, and social and political philosophy.

    Introduction Part I: Beyond Foundations to Systematic Philosophy 1. The Route to Foundation- Free Systematic Philosophy 2. Dialectical Logic and the Conception of Truth 3. Conceiving Something without any Conceptual Scheme 4. Logic, Language, and the Autonomy of Reason: Reflections on the Place of Hegel's Analysis of Thinking 5. The Apotheosis of Inter Subjectivity 6. Hegel Versus the New Orthodoxy 7. Can Philosophy have a Rational History? Part II: The Foundation-Free Ethics of Freedom 8. The Limits of Morality 9. Capital, Civil Society, and the Deformation of Politics 10. The Reason for Democracy 11. The Logic of the State 12. The Theory and Practice of the History of Freedom: The Right of History in Hegel's Philosophy of Right Notes Index


    Richard Dien Winfield is an American Philosopher and Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia. He has been President of the Society for Systematic Philosophy, the Hegel Society of America, and the Metaphysical Society of America.

    “This is a fine collection of essays that presents an original and important point of view. There are few philosophers today who get inside the logic of Hegel’s philosophy as well as Winfield and who are able to relate Hegel’s arguments to both analytic and Continental philosophy… he… develops Hegelian arguments of his own and engages in active philosophical debate with an impressively wide range of other philosophical positions in order to prove the importance of Hegel’s point of view… Winfield shows that Hegel’s philosophy is very much alive today and can offer telling criticisms of analytic philosophy, pragmatism and hermeneutics, as well as liberal and Marxist political theory. Anyone interested in the problems of holism, relativism, and anti-foundationalism in contemporary philosophy will find these essays extremely valuable and challenging.”

    -          Stephen Houlgate, De Paul University