Through reference to Karl Löwith's reading of time in Hegel as fundamentally inspired by the temporality of Aristotle, the paper shows how the absolute "now" is thoroughly informed by historical time. Hegel's preferred tense is that of the Perfekt, the present perfect, where the present "now" is always also what it has been. Hegel thus reconciles Greek and Christian forms of temporality, the distinction that Löwith reads as unreconciled and tragic in Hegel's "young" followers: Feuerbach, Stirner, Bauer, Marx and Nietzsche. (...) Nonetheless, the Left Hegelian heritage is right in comprehending Hegelian time as fundamentally past-oriented. Their own stunted philosophical endeavors are aimed at the future. (shrink)
Here, I consider three issues in Jon Stewart’s Hegel’s Interpretation of the Religions of the World chapter on Hegel’s treatment of Chinese religions in the Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion. First, I show how Stewart’s compilation of multiple courses into one unified entity hides the substantial promotion of its status in the 1831 lectures. Second, I contend that rather than identifying Hegel’s Chinese religion with the ancient Zhou practices as Stewart does, Hegel sees it as referring to state Ruism (...) up to and including Hegel’s time. Finally, I posit that the main challenge is distinguishing Hegel’s method of philosophical history from other forms of history and the consequences this has for evaluating the determinate religions. In the process, I argue for a broad dialectical interpretation over one committed to each step in Hegel’s treatment of these religions. (shrink)
The existential approach to the philosophy of history focuses on the question of the meaning of history for human life. Do human beings have any agency within history? Do we create history, or are we created by it? How are we to bear the smallness of our own lives within the grand sweep of human events? How do we handle the duality of being both historical persons and biological entities, an animal species both like no other animal, because essentially cultural (...) and, therefore, essentially historical, but in so many ways also just like any other animal? Then there’s the problem of how historicity can lead to relativism in ethics; do our values and moral sentiments have any objectivity or universality at all, any validity, or are they themselves just historical phenomena, like any other, totally prone to historicity? By briefly surveying the philosophy of history in three central figures, (Hegel, Nietzsche, and Foucault), and looking over the main narrative structures used, we can touch on several of the major themes and see how they inform us about today’s world events. (shrink)
This article discusses anglophone readings of G. W. F. Hegel against the backdrop of German-language scholarship. The article starts by differentiating types of metaphysics (I). Following a taxonomy introduced by Paul Redding, I then discuss Charles Taylor’s Christian-mystical (II), the so-called »non-metaphysical« (III) and the »revised metaphysical« reading (IV). Terry Pinkard’s work serves as an example of (III) and Stephen Houlgate’s as an example of (IV). I highlight problematic aspects of each reading that concern: the meaning of »reason in the (...) world« (II), the anti-relativist clout of Hegel’s philosophy (III) and the difference between the development of logical concepts and the empirical origin of the world and human thinking (IV). The text ends (V) by pointing to the social implications of each type of reading. (shrink)
Beginning with a survey of the shortcoming of theories of organology/media-as-externalization of mind/body—a philosophical-anthropological tradition that stretches from Plato through Ernst Kapp and finds its contemporary proponent in Bernard Stiegler—I propose that the phenomenological treatment of media as an outpouching and extension of mind qua intentionality is not sufficient to counter the ̳black-box‘ mystification of today‘s deep learning‘s algorithms. Focusing on a close study of Simondon‘s On the Existence of Technical Objectsand Individuation, I argue that the process-philosophical work of Gilbert (...) Simondon, with its critique of Norbert Wiener‘s first-order cybernetics, offers a precursor to the conception of second-order cybernetics (as endorsed byFrancisco Varela, Humberto Maturana, and Ricardo B. Uribe) and, specifically, its autopoietic treatment of information. It has been argued by those such as Frank Pasquale that neuro-inferential deep learning systems premised on predictive patterning, suchas AlphaGo Zero, have a veiled logic and, thus, are ̳black boxes‘. In detailing a philosophical-historical approach to demystify predictive patterning/processing and the logic of such deep learning algorithms, this paper attempts to shine a light on such systems and their inner workingsàla Simondon. (shrink)
Reading with and against Blumenberg’s The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, and following his own account of the epochal shift from the Middle Ages to modernity, this chapter takes up the genealogy and the political theology of Blumenbergian modernity so as to reanimate its relevance for contemporary theory. Beginning with the shared opposition to Gnosticism found in both Christianity and modernity, we trace the emergence of modernity as creating a “counterworld” of possibility in the face of the alienation engendered by (...) medieval nominalist ideas of God’s absolute transcendence and hiddenness. In modernity, the world becomes sovereign: the modern world positions—and reproduces—itself as a sovereign and transcendent totality of possibility that its subjects must endlessly work to actualize, thus creating new operations and legitimations of domination. We conclude by outlining a programme of thinking what is constitutively foreclosed by Blumenberg’s modernity: an immanence alien to this Christian-modern apparatus of transcendence and possibility, a life for disorder and against the world. (shrink)
For a long time, the sections of the Philosophy of Right dedicated to the relations among states have been neglected by contemporary International Relations theories. However, especially since the end of the Cold War, this discipline has finally reconsidered Hegel’s theory, in particular by stressing two aspects: the thesis of an ”end of history” implied in it; and, more generally, the primacy of the state in international politics. This paper suggests a different interpretation. It argues that, in order to really (...) understand Hegel’s theory of international relations, it is necessary to consider how it is related to the momentous changes that occurred in the wake of the French Revolution and to previous philosophical developments in the Age of Enlightenment. Indeed, the convergence of these two aspects in his own philosophy of history should suggest that, according to Hegel, by the early nineteenth century international politics had finally entered a new era in which states would still interact as the foremost actors, but would be bound nonetheless by an unprecedented awareness of their historical character. (shrink)
With Hegel’s metaphysics attracting renewed attention, it is time to address a long-standing criticism: Scholars from Marx to Popper and Habermas have worried that Hegel’s metaphysics has anti-individualist and authoritarian implications, which are particularly pronounced in his Philosophy of History, since Hegel identifies historical progress with reason imposing itself on individuals. Rather than proposing an alternative non-metaphysical conception of reason, as Pippin or Brandom have done, this article argues that critics are broadly right in their metaphysical reading of Hegel’s central (...) concepts. However, they are mistaken about what Hegel’s approach entails, when one examines the specific types of states discussed by the philosopher in his Philosophy of History. Even on a traditional metaphysical reading, Hegel is not only non-authoritarian; he also makes a powerful argument concerning freedom, whereupon the freest society involves collective oversight and the shaping of social structures so as to ensure that they benefit everybody. (shrink)
I read Rorty’s Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity as an attempt to reconcile two, seemingly conflicting, sources of authority and obligation. Some believe that persons are obligated by reason or God to promote just institutions. While others locate authority and obligation solely in the self. Rorty tells us that we need not choose between these sources of normativity, but can see each as applicable to two, non-conflicting parts of our lives. I contend that Rorty’s solution rests on a misunderstanding of the (...) upshots of contingency and of the conditions of personhood. I argue that Hegel provides a more compelling resolution of the tension between public obligation and private autonomy. (shrink)
Seyla Benhabib has presented us with the first English translation of a work of Marcuse which was published originally in 1932 as Hegels Ontologie und die Grundlegung einer Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit, and was reissued in 1968 by Klostermann in an unrevised edition under the abbreviated title, Hegels Ontologie und die Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit. Benhabib’s fluent and readable translation begins with a thoughtful and informative introduction and ends with a glossary which explains not only key terms, but also the relations between (...) them upon which Marcuse draws. For example, sich verhalten receives the following explanation on p. 342. (shrink)
At the center of Catherine's Malabou's study of Hegel is a defense of Hegel's relation to time and the future. While many readers, following Kojève, have taken Hegel to be announcing the end of history, Malabou finds a more supple impulse, open to the new, the unexpected. She takes as her guiding thread the concept of “plasticity,” and shows how Hegel's dialectic—introducing the sculptor's art into philosophy—is motivated by the desire for transformation. Malabou is a canny and faithful reader, and (...) allows her classic “maître” to speak, if not against his own grain, at least against a tradition too attached to closure and system. Malabou's Hegel is a “plastic” thinker, not a nostalgic metaphysician. (shrink)
This classic introduction to one of the most influential modern thinkers, G.W.F. Hegel has been made even more comprehensive through the addition of four new chapters. New edition of a classic introduction to Hegel. Enables students to engage with many aspects of Hegel’s philosophy. Covers the whole range of Hegel’s mature thought. Relates Hegel’s ideas to other thinkers, such as Luther, Descartes and Kant. Offers a distinctive and challenging interpretation of Hegel’s work.
Using Blanchot’s Heideggerian conception of “negativity,” this paper argues that the Hegelian conception of desire is defined by its pursuit of comprehension of the concept, but, because of the operation of negativity, the comprehension of the concept perpetually reproduces the desire for further comprehension. Desiring self-consciousness thus perpetually recreates its own opacity to itself, and the pursuit of the object of desire destroys its own fulfilment. The Greek mythical figure of Orpheus, whose gaze destroys the beloved for whom he longs, (...) is used to illustrate self-consciousness desire for identity. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show how concern with agency, expressed in the idea that history is the doing of agents, shapes both Kant’s and Hegel’s conceptions of history and, by extension, the roles they accord philosophical historiography.
Hegel’s contextualization of ethics in history has often been understood as implying the possibility of “world-historical” justifications for unethical actions. Critics have seen this as a category mistake that violates the authority of the ethical sphere; defenders have argued that it represents one of Hegel’s most revolutionary insights, the idea that customary morality should not stand in the way of human liberation. In this essay, I argue that both of these reactions are based on failure to properly distinguish between rational (...) justification and contextual justification. Properly understood, Hegel’s practical philosophy is restricted to the former task; the authority to determine whether norms are binding in any given circumstance is retained by context-sensitive ethical judgment. (shrink)
This review explores a recent trend in commentary on Hegel’s philosophy of history which owes much of its interpretive substance to the aesthetic modernism of the Frankfurt School. This modernist trend emphasizes the interplay of form and content, material conditions of rationality, and the temporal disjunction between experiencing and cognizing history. In so doing, it produces a deeply political, psychoanalytic, and musical reading of Hegel.
In addressing the immensity of Hegel’s system, books of brief essays by different authors often seem at once helpful and hopeless. Helpful because that immensity is often daunting and we must find ourselves inclined to localize, to seek particular points of contact from which we might begin fruitfully to engage with the system and find our way into it. Hopeless because Hegel himself seems to warn us against such an endeavor; for there is, he tells us, no “royal road to (...) science.” To grasp Spirit we must grasp its entire movement, and to know any part we must know the whole which is the immanent movement of those parts. The only place to begin is at the beginning and it is a long road. (shrink)
Brown and Hodgson present a new English edition of Hegel's 1822-3 lectures on the philosophy of world history. Here he sets out his vision of the development of reason, spirit, and culture in human history, as it advances inexorably towards the establishment of a political state of free, fully self-conscious individuals and just institutions.
“To him who looks at the world rationally, the world looks rational in return. The relation is mutual.” This emblematic sentence illustrates Hegel's philosophy of history as a hermeneutics of history which, opposed to the apriorism explicitly rejected, searches for its “empirical” verification in trying to “accurately apprehend” history. The much-celebrated “end of history” is not so much an empirical assertion about historical reality as a methodological requirement for an interpretative strategy founded upon the logical category of “true” or “genuine (...) infinity”. (shrink)
This paper consists of an introduction to the life and work of Iring Fetscher by the interviewer, followed by a conversation with Fetscher, and notes. In the interview, Fetscher discusses his relationship to Marxism, Hegelianism, Lukács, and the Frankfurt School, as well as his critique of Althusser. The contribution of Fetscher, an extremely well-known German specialist on Soviet and Marxist thought, is here discussed in greater detail than anywhere else to date in the English-language scholarly literature.
History and System represents the first contemporary volume on Hegel's philosophy of history to be published in English. The editor notes that "with the possible exceptions of Augustine and Vico, no philosopher before Hegel had such a deep sense of the mutual penetration of history and philosophy as did Hegel. Historical reflection influenced his reading of other philosophers and philosophical reason penetrated his views of past events and eras." Reflecting the best of Hegelian scholarship, the papers here focus on the (...) sources of Hegel's philosophy of history, its internal structure and relation to other parts of his system, analyses of specific aspects of his philosophy of history, and its influence on subsequent thinkers. In its breadth and depth, the volume attests to the continued and growing importance of Hegel's thought for contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
The consciousness of sense-certainty proves itself to be dialectical. It starts out with the certainty that its object is a singular immediate being. But it is just this ‘singular immediate being’ that turns around into its opposite to become a universal – i.e. it is true not only for a single but all individual objects since everything is a ‘singular immediate being’. ‘Every individual is different’ because each has free will and is independent of others. If this is universally true (...) then it dialectically turns around to its opposite and becomes ‘everyone is the same.’ This is called “negative movement” or dialectical because each side of the individual-universal relation negates itself to become the other. Immediate consciousness is called ego. The consciousness of immediate sense-certainty is not aware that ego is related to the object which it considers as immediately being. The admission of relationship cancels immediacy because a relation is something that mediates between two things that unites them, i.e. changes them from two independent beings into a unity or oneness. This change is negation, thus the many-ness is negated to become one-ness or unity as a relation. Of course the many-ness is not destroyed in a relation, or the relationship itself could not exist as such. This is the nature of negation – it does not annihilate but sublimates; unity implies that two or more things have been united, i.e. the explicit multiplicity is sublimated (becomes implicit) in the concept of unity. The change in going from one moment to another in this movement or process is called experience (as discussed in the November 2011 issue).  Taken together these experiences of consciousness are called its history. It is not a history of the world, or the development of consciousness through historical time. It is simply the experience or change due to the movement of thought explained previously – involving the purely philosophical, logical or conceptual events. The series of these experiences is called its history. (shrink)
This paper aims to understand how we reason from historical premises to normative conclusions, tracing this question through the work of Muhammad Iqbal. On our reading, he wavers between two views of history, one a kind of natural science, and the other akin to religious interpretation. These tell different stories about the lessons we draw from history.
Para Hegel, Asia señala el comienzo de la historia universal, mientras que Europa señala su consumación y final. La América precolombina, al igual que la África negra, están para Hegel fuera de la historia universal; en cuanto a la historia de América tras su descubrimiento por los europeos, Hegel sostiene que lo que ha sucedido desde entonces en el continente americano proviene, en rigor, del “principio de Europa”. Hegel contrapone a su vez la historia de América Latina a la de (...) los actuales Estados Unidos en términos del respectivo desarrollo económico y social. Hegel atribuye la brecha de desarrollo entre las dos Américas, por un lado, a que América Latina es católica y Estados Unidos es mayoritariamente protestante, y, por el otro, a que América Latina fue “conquistada”, mientras que Estados Unidos fue “colonizado”. Sobre la base del análisis de los textos pertinentes de la obra de Hegel, se reconstruirá su teoría sobre el desigual nivel de desarrollo socio-económico de América Latina y Estados Unidos y se evaluará la plausibilidad, actualidad y eventual deficiencia de la misma. (shrink)
In the following article we explore one of the central philosophical problems of the philosophy of history: re ections on the new consciousness of historical time in the light of two lead-concepts of Modernity: secularization and experience. Regularly we use the term "philosophy of history" without realizing that a fundamental ambiguity arises in the concept of history itself. On the one hand, it indicates the story as such, as the development of processes, developments and events throughout history; on the other (...) hand , the same term is used to refer to the science that investigates by those claims and those conditions of possibility of why stories occur, how they can be completed, how they can be told and how they should be studied and why. Thus, it is necessary to consider the secularization and experience in the business of historical processes and the way we look, we report and interpret philosophically that activity, particularly in the nineteenth century. In other words, besides the study of historical problems, the philosophy of history is also presented as a discipline, with its own history and with a particular epistemological development. (shrink)