Study Guide

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - Science Club Wannabes

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Science Club Wannabes

Maybe it's the glare from the light of reason that blinds them. Or maybe they spend too many hours pondering what it means to actually know something. But some philosophers fancy themselves scientists.

Hegel definitely aspired to scientist-hood. He even jotted down a line or two in the Science of Logic and Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences that secured his place in this clique. To be clear, Hegel and his fellow wannabes weren't trying to do science, per se. They just really, really dig calling their work, and the systems they create, "sciences."


Ancient philosophers were particularly prone to playing the mad scientist. Heraclitus was especially into fire. Burning rings of fire. Considering it the most basic element on earth, he argued that fire actually comprised part of our souls.

Fire was the good part, water the not-so-good. He's also cited for saying you can't step in the same river twice. Deep stuff.

Michel Foucault

The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences sheds some light on psychology and sociology by arguing that different time periods ("epistemes") set different norms. The work really psyched people out, leading them to question all of the underlying assumptions that are developed in a given age.

The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception is still not hard science, but it gives an account of the health industry from the 18th to the 19th century. That counts for something, right?

Martin Heidegger

You'd think a clique of science club castoffs would be a safe haven. But nothing's safe when you add Marty Heidegger to the mix. He notoriously denounced Hegel's work, and is known to glower in the lunchroom. In any case, he's the only one of our pseudo-scientists to get a nod from the tech world for the implications his philosophy has on artificial intelligence.

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