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41093Re: Reading List

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    Apr 11, 2007
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      Well, I have to admit that I am more of a right-winger than a left
      one. But, don't get me wrong. About the believer thing, for me, the
      belief is more the cart, than it is the horse. I am comfortable with
      my belief being my conclusion, and a hypothetical, even a
      speculative, conclusion, at that, not a presupposition. I am open to
      the possibility that, in my spirituality, my transcendentalism, I
      might ultimately be misguided, or even gulity of wishful thinking.

      I really did not know what to expect from Hegel when I started
      reading him some months back. He has inspired and challenged me in a
      lot of different areas, and he has caused me to step back and to
      reassess my own thoughts on matters like Sprit, divinity, and God.

      The thing about the stages of the Hegelian dialectic, as far as I
      understand it, is that each stage is essential, and cannot be
      dispensed with. Yes, philosophy is the pinnacle, as far as the
      consciousness of the Absolute is concerned, for Hegel. But the
      movement, beginning in art, and going through religion, to get to the
      philosophical, is a necessary dialectic, and each stage is an
      essential moment of the whole process. The thing is that we cannot
      skip any one of these stages on our way to the philosophical
      comprehension of the Absolute. If we try to leap to the highest
      synthesis, philosophy, without going through the preceeding stages of
      art, and religion, our comprehension will end up being one-sided, and
      therefore, distorted. At least, this is what Hegel says about it.

      I do not see how Hegel's system can be read as anything other than a
      philosophy of Spirit, with the theological assertions that such a
      reading would necessarily involve. I am baffled, therefore, by the so-
      called left wing interpretations of Hegel that, as far as I
      understand them, pretty much try to secularize him.

      However, I can understand how such a left wing interpretation can
      really be its own position, more or less independently of Hegel. One
      could always say, I guess, that Hegel was somewhat right, but that he
      went too far, and he leaped, and he shouldn't have. One could say
      that going beyond secularism, and humanism, flat out, don't make no
      sense. Now, that might not be a valid interpretation of what Hegel
      said. But, it might be true, whether it is Hegelian or not. I really
      don't thnk so. I take the opposite point of view. I say, stopping at
      secularism and humanism, without doing the leap, that is what don't
      make no sense. Why? Because we are natural born leapers (no, not
      leppers!). That's why.

      I think it is grotesque to hold up Hegel as a philosopher who would
      be a defense for what we know as fundamentalism. Hegel, it seems to
      me, is too rich to be so neatly pigeonholed. To my mind, Hegel is
      definitely a mystical thinker. He is not an orthodox Christian
      theologian. However, Hegel's system has, it seems to me, important
      theological implications that cannot be easily discounted.

      No doubt, I am going to have to revisit Hegel at some later date,
      better sooner, than later. I feel like I have, so far, probably
      missed more than I got. The "Science of Logic" was so massive, so
      complicated, so densely packed, that I am sure I missed whole
      chapters there. Nevertheless, I think I am getting enough from my
      first reading of Hegel's major works to make my further reading,
      ahead, more interesting, and also more fruitful. I look forward, over
      the next six to twelve months, to reading Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard,
      Nietzsche, and James. Later on, when I finally get there, whenever
      that will be, Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. It will be interesting
      to look back at Hegel, shoulder to shoulder with some of these
      philosophers, and then, later on, when I can revisit Hegel, I think a
      lot more will be clear to me by then.

      One of the things I would be interested in talking about, and getting
      some more insight into, here, is Hegel's relation to existentialism.
      What aspects of Hegel's thought inspired, either positively or
      negatively, the development of existentialism?

      Well, here I am, a forty nine year old technician, a kind of pseudo-
      computer geek, really, who works the night shift for a phone company.
      In my spare time, I read philosophy and history. I ask myself, when I
      look at how crazy this world, my world, has gotten, is, how did we
      get into this mess? I know how I got into it. I happened to be born
      into it, in 1958.

      The answer about the whole mess, is kind of like detective work. It
      involves some history. It also involves some history of ideas too.

      My reading, my little detective thing, my curiosity about the mess
      and how it happened, has brought a few general topics into some focus
      for me: science, technology (and the militarism that technology makes
      possible), the Enlightenment, Romanticism, transcendentalism (mainly
      Kant, and Hegel, and that whole gang of idealists), and
      existentialism.

      The way I see it, these are just the broad strokes of the brush as
      far as the history of ideas goes, the main things that have
      contributed to a changed world and a pretty uncertain future, for me,
      and for a whole bunch of us.

      So, I guess, this is the real reason why I am here, on this list, and
      on some others, and this is the real reason why I have been reading
      all of those books, not just philosophy ones, but more general ones
      that paint those broad strokes of the brush for me. I am just trying
      to figure out this crazy, mixed up, topsy turvy, technologized, life
      in the fast lane, weird world, that I happened to be born into almost
      fifty years ago before the Alzheimer's gets me.

      I need to know: Should I leap? or should I just stay put?

      Hb3g

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      >
      > You're right about the richness of those texts. Bon appetite!
      >
      > I would remind you, though, of the severe split between so-called
      > right-wing and left-wing Hegelianism. I am very much in the latter
      > category, if I am an "Hegelian", at all. But there are many who
      take
      > Hegel as positive on the God question. They are usually believers
      > themselves, which I am certainly not.
      >
      > While it is true that Hegel, probably for reasons of propriety, is
      a
      > bit vague on his position on that in the later works, in his
      brasher
      > youthful days, he is absolutely clear on his contempt for the
      actual
      > belief in Jesus as a God. I can refer you to the text of Early
      > Theological Writings readily available at Amazon.com. Religion, for
      > Hegel, is a 'step' that he sees humanity must wade through before
      > attaining philosophy. Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity is still
      one
      > of the best "applied Hegel" texts on the subject, and a great book.
      >
      > But, being a member of a few Hegel associations, I can tell you
      that
      > there is a growing rabid element in those circles between born-
      again
      > creationist-types and those not, and it gets very divisive. As I
      said
      > earlier -- a contagion!
      >
      > Wil
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: hb3g@...
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 2:44 AM
      > Subject: [existlist] Reading List
      >
      > Here is one I am really looking forward to reading:
      > "Philosophy of
      > Being: A Reconstructive Essay in Metaphysics," by Oliva Blanchette
      of
      > Boston College. The book came out through Catholic University Press
      > in 2003. I had to wait a couple of months and have only been able
      to
      > browse the beginning pages so far.
      >
      > Blanchette maintains that metaphysics is in need of a complete
      > reconstruction, and then, he proceeds to attempt at least the
      > beginnings of such a reconstruction in this interesting looking
      book.
      > He spends quite a bit of time discussing, and critiquing Hegel's
      > attempted reconsgruction of metaphysics and Heidegger's
      > deconstruction of metaphysics.
      >
      > Blanchette is a theologian. So, if you take this one on, be
      prepared
      > for a sympathetic treatment of the supernatural. This is the topic
      > with which he finishes this book.
      >
      > Hegel has had my complete attention since the beginning of
      December.
      > I read the "Phenomenology" early last fall, then, beginning in
      > December, took on his "Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences,"
      > the "Science of Logic," the lectures on the philosophy of history,
      > and the "Philosophy of Right."
      >
      > I am finishing up the first of two volumes, about twelve hundred
      > pages, of Hegel's lectures on aesthetics, right now, and have,
      ahead
      > of me, over the next two or three months, the lectures on religion
      > and on the history of philosophy.
      >
      > The "Science of Logic" was a very difficult read, but, profoundly
      > insightful gthroughout those passages that were more easily
      > accessible to me. A brand new commentary, just released in March,
      > written by David Gray Carlson, a philosopher of jurisprudence,
      > mainly, looks to be about the best commentary on the "Science of
      > Logic," so far. I now have it, and, looking it over, it is very
      > thorough, much more thorough than any previous commentary with
      which
      > I am familiar. Hyppolite's "Logic and Existence," it seems, just
      > skims the surface, and McTaggart's well known commentary on
      > the "Science of Logic" is, to me, practically useless, and,
      entirely
      > too brief to do justice to Hegel's work.
      >
      > Another good general commentary, "Hegel and Aristotle," written by
      > Alfredo Ferrarin, and published in 2001, does a pretty good job of
      > showing Hegel's foundation in Aristotelian metaphysics. Hegel is
      > often interpreted as an extension of, and amplification of, ideas
      > that originated, mainly with Kant, but also Fichte. Ferrarin
      argues,
      > however, that it makes much more sense to interpret Hegel as an
      > Aristotelian.
      >
      > I think this is fundamentally correct. It certainly fits with the
      > content and style of Hegel's writing in his "Philosophy of Nature."
      > The sheer scope, and the detail, in Hegel's knowledge of the
      science
      > of his time, is truly impressive. He had studied Newton for
      decades.
      > His commentaries on Kepler's "Harmony of the World" and
      > Euclid's "Elements" are like nothing I have seen, yet, in twentieth
      > century commentaries on these classics.
      >
      > Hegel is often assessed in terms of what followed him --
      > existentialism, historicism, the various revolts against idealism.
      > But, I think it is important to place Hegel in terms of what
      preceded
      > him, and most deeply influenced him -- Aristotle, Plotinus,
      hermetic
      > philosophy, and the philosophy of nature.
      >
      > Hegel is a good old fashioned metaphysician, deeply sympathetic
      > toward theology, and the long speculative tradition in metaphysics
      > and theology, in which he was so thoroughly schooled. Yes, he knew
      > his Kant, and he knew his Fichte, and many other close
      > contemporaries, like Schelling, Schiller, Jacobi, and Holderlin.
      But,
      > Hegel knew his ancient philosophy, especially Aristotle, better
      than
      > he knew his own contemporaries, and, I daresay, better that those
      > contemporaries knew Aristotle.
      >
      > Hb3g
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > I appreciate the discussion, even if I don't have nearly enough
      > time to look at my own sources
      > > for much of this. I spent the last two months reading Levinas and
      > Habermas, so my brain is
      > > not up to untangling anything Heidegger, Sartre, or even Derrida
      > (especially Derrida) wrote
      > > and/or said.
      > >
      > > I can only think of one minor point: Nietzsche is the closest to
      my
      > own views, which should
      > > probably worry me. I know his philology was often weak, with more
      > appeal to the masses
      > > than academics, but the core of his thought appeals more to me
      each
      > year.
      > >
      > > Any time a book is mentioned (thank Wil) I try to add it to my
      > Amazon Wish List. I'm still
      > > getting books that probably won't be digested until next year at
      > this rate. I've been putting
      > > the titles in my database, at least.
      > >
      > > - CSW
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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