This book provides a new interpretation of Hegel's philosophy, arguing that his theory of reason and thinking revolve around the concept of organic life. Through a detailed analysis of Hegel's philosophy and Kant's influence, Karen Ng shows that Hegel's unique contribution is that cognitive capacities are indexed to species capacities, where embodiment and the relation to the environment are central in processes of mind.
In this paper, I explore and defend ideology critique as a method that is descended from the project of the critique of reason. Specifically, I interpret ideology critique as operating through what critical theory calls the dialectics of immanence and transcendence. Turning to Hegel and Marx, I further argue that the dialectics of immanence and transcendence must be more concretely understood as the dialectics of life and self-consciousness. Understanding the relation between life and self-consciousness is crucial for ideology critique because (...) what ideologies distort is the relation between self-consciousness and life, a relation that is fundamental to the actualization of human freedom. I argue that ideologies are social pathologies, or wrong ways of living. I analyze two concepts that illuminate the method of ideology critique in particular: Hegel’s “Idea,” and Marx’s Gattungswesen (species-being). These two concepts provide the normative basis for reconsidering ideology critique in light of a non-reductive critical naturalism. (shrink)
This paper develops an approach to humanist social critique that combines insights from Marx and Fanon. I argue that the concept of the human operative in humanist social critique should be understood both as the normative background against which questions of human flourishing and dehumanization can come into view, and as the evolving demand for universal human emancipation. Far from being abstract, essentialist, or ahistorical, Marx and Fanon show that humanist social critique operates through a dialectic between particular, socially and (...) historically situated forms of oppression and struggle, and the universal species-context of the human life-form in which particular forms of suffering and injustice can come into view as instances of dehumanization. In developing this approach to humanist social critique, I defend humanism against three prominent objections: the charge of speciesism, the charge of essentialism, and the recent charge from Kate Manne who argues that humanism underdescribes relations of social antagonism and that recognition of humanity is compatible with inhumane treatment. In addition to considering the necessary relation between the particular and the universal, I also consider the relation between the psychological and social/political, arguing against the recent approach to the problem of dehumanization in the work of David Livingstone Smith. (shrink)
This paper aims to understand Hegel’s claim in the introduction to his Philosophy of Mind that mind is an actualization of the Idea and argues that this claim provides us with a novel and defensible way of understanding Hegel’s naturalism. I suggest that Hegel’s approach to naturalism should be understood as ‘formal’, and argue that Hegel’s Logic, particularly the section on the ‘Idea’, provides us with a method for this approach. In the first part of the paper, I present an (...) interpretation of Hegel’s method in which life plays a central role. In the second part of the paper, I develop Hegel’s method by providing a reading of Hegel’s Subjective Spirit, focusing on the sections ‘Anthropology’ and ‘Phenomenology’ in particular, arguing that they display the dialectic between life and cognition outlined by Hegel’s Idea. (shrink)
This paper defends Hegel’s positive contribution in the Subjective Logic and argues that it can be understood as presenting a compelling account of the space of reasons as a form of second nature. Taking Hegel’s praise of Kant’s conception of internal purposiveness and its connection to what he calls the Idea as a point of departure, I argue that Hegel’s theory of the Idea that concludes theLogicmust be understood in direct reference to Kant’s argument in the thirdCritiquethat purposiveness defines the (...) space of judgement’s power. I take up two arguments that help to understand Hegel’s appropriation and transformation of Kant’s purposiveness thesis: first, Hegel’s contention that internal purposiveness must have primacy over external purposiveness when considered in relation to judgement; and second, Hegel’s presentation of a logical concept of life as the immediate form of the Idea. (shrink)
Against the standard interpretation that Hegel's idealism, in particular speculative logic, should be understood as an extension of Kant's transcendental idealism, I argue that Hegel's Logic should be understood as a logic of actuality (Wirklichkeit). Rather than seeking to determine the necessary and merely formal conditions and categories for the knowledge of any possible object, speculative logic is the immanent and active process of determining the truth of actual objects and actuality itself. Through a discussion of the status of the (...) transition between the Phenomenology and the Logic, as well as a detailed reading of Hegel’s treatment of the modal categories in the Doctrine of Essence, I seek to show how speculative logic offers a way to think the unity of a thing and its conditions without reverting to pre-critical metaphysics. By breaking down the traditional distinctions between actuality, possibility, necessity, and contingency, as well as demonstrating the necessity of contingency in the activity of thinking, I suggest that Hegel provides us with the categories necessary for a new understanding of the relation between thought and reality beyond the Kantian frame. (shrink)
Since 2003, no less than four biographies have been published on the life and works of Theodor W. Adorno. With the exception of David Jenemann's Adorno in America, which was published in English in 2007, the other three, Lorenz Jäger's Adorno: A Political Biography, Stefan Müller-Doohm's Adorno: A Biography, and Detlev Claussen's Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius, were all published in their original German in 2003 on the centenary of Adorno's birth. Claussen's is the last to be translated into (...) English, and if Jäger's is the most critical of Adorno the man as well as his philosophy, Müller-Doohm's the…. (shrink)