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owl of Minerva


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A traditional symbol of wisdom, most famously invoked in Hegel's remark at the end of the Preface to the Philosophy of Right: ‘when philosophy paints its grey in grey, then has a shape of life grown old. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the coming of the dusk.’ Hegel means that the kinds of self-conscious reflection making up philosophy can occur only when a way of life is sufficiently mature to be already passing, but the doctrine neglects the fact that selfconsciousness and reflection co-exist with activity. For example, an active social and political movement will co-exist with reflection on the categories within which it frames its position.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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