This chapter assesses Hegel’s insistence on the unity of the theoretical and the practical in the notion of the absolute idea. This insistence indicates the relation between determinacy and normative authority central to Hegel’s theory of intelligibility. It also shows that the absolute idea as method thematizes the work of dialectics and hence negativity central to Hegel’s understanding of the relation between ideality and reality. The chapter thereby draws important implications of negativity for the theory of normative authority offered under the banner of the absolute idea. Determinacy is precarious, since it depends on historically specific practices that maintain or debunk modes of intelligibility. But it is also ambivalent, since any normative distinction contains within itself both positive and negative valences thereby producing coextensive positive and negative effects even when enjoying normative authority.
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