Can Philosophy Laugh at Itself? On Hegel and Aristophanes

The Owl of Minerva 20 (2):131-149 (1989)
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Abstract

Can philosophy laugh at itself? Like Houdini I weigh myself down with chains, the harder to test my virtuosity as an escape artist. So I take the heaviest burden on myself: Hegel. If any philosopher was serious, Hegel was. But - to parody Nietzsche - here is the heaviest thought: Hegel had a sense of humor. My reader will think that already I am joking, but please do not laugh. I am deadly serious: Hegel had a sense of humor. I will proceed seriously to substantiate this audacity to the logical concept by looking at the relation of Hegel and Aristophanes. Let me dampen any suspicion of frivolity or outrage to logical respectability. So I slip back into the tone of scholarly sobriety and purr: To my best knowledge, this relation is one of the most overlooked by commentators. It is also one of the most interesting for the following reasons

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William Desmond
Villanova University

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