Re: AW: Re: [hegel] Why still Hegel?
- "greuterb@..." <greuterb@...> writes:
> Your answer goes to the point. I think that the term 'implictely' is[...]
> crucial: First we assume or set an entity. At this beginning the
> concept is only in itself. But now we think about this entity, that is
> we predicate or dismantle it. With this we change the entity and
> therefore it loses its initial assumed independent absoluteness.
> Thinking about this procedure is thinking the absolute which becomes
> thereby explicit - "the very idea of an absolute" - and therefore only
> a moment. This way of philosophical thinking we can call critical
> since it is critcal not only with respect to the predication but also
> with respect to the initially assumed absolute. In my opinion our
> thinking goes always along this procedure, however, we are not
> conscious of it. Hegel's philosophy makes this procedure explicit in
> the most general form which is called the logic.
I fully agree. The quest for something which is the verwirklichung of
that very idea of an absolute comes to it's conclusion only in the
philosophy of absolute spirit -- though, compared to all the other
candidates this is something infinitely less palpable.
> At the beginning of your comment you write: "It strikes me as odd thatWell, about that: I would not in principle have so much of a problem
> so many people, whenever 'the absolute', is mentioned, seem to react
> like bigots facing the appearance of what they, in their superstition,
> believe to be the devil." Quite right! This is because Hegel was
> sometimes too euphoric about the absolute. However, it is the thinking
> of the concept itself which is euphoric. There are people who call
> this the mystical side of Hegel's philosophy. I think they are right.
with speaking of a mystical side, in this metaphorical sense. But it
seems to me that people here *actually mean it*. The difference, becomes
obvious, once "mystical" pops up in the discussion of a demarcation or
determination with regard to Hegel's philosophy. And it becomes obvious,
once "reason" is brought into the play as if it were the simple *other*
(in the sense of that category) of understanding.
Obviously, we have both experienced the euphory that comes with studying
the Logic. That Hegel himself, catering to picture-thought, used a
couple of metaphors to express that euphory and its source, is almost
unfortunate. Because it seems to mislead people to mistake those
picture-thoughts for the actual thing. The actual content is the long
hard work of thought, the dialectics of doubt and doubt of the doubt,
the arduous business of critical philosophy. Such metaphors that cater
to picture-thought (vorstellung) are fine and dandy when people "in the
know" are chatting about the feelings which -- as a side-effect --
accompany their studies. But pursuing a study of the science of logic is
not the same as simply reading the book of that name and letting your
picture-thought freely and fancyfully provide a meaning to its obscure
sentences. If there's any ambiguity -- and from what you wrote in the
past, I know that I'm preaching to the choir here -- about the role of
understanding/intellect and criticism, then those metaphors become
harmful. For this reason, I have half a mind to treat this euphory as a
One thing that I particularly like on the preface to the 1832 edtion of
the Wissenschaft der Logik is that Hegel expresses the source of that
feeling in a much more sober way. There he draws an interesting parallel
between the categories that we, as a natural logic, apply unconciously
-- "instinktartig" -- every day and everywhere, and psycholgical drives,
feelings, customs etc. that guard our actions. With regard to what we
are talking about here, I'd sum up those passages up like this: studying
the logical science is itself an experience of freedom and, and that
euphory is a feeling of freedom.
This, metaphorically speaking, "mystical side of Hegel's philosophy"
could, in the same sense and with the same justification be called its
"poetical side" or its "lyrical side". I mean it: *as a work of
philosophy* I find the WdL, its content, and even its language -- it
seems to be that I'm quite alone on this latter point -- to be of great
beauty; only when taken *as a poetical work in the actual sense* I'd
find it rather ugly and inferior to *real* poetry.
In that sense, the context of discourse does matter. If the fad here and
elsewhere were to regard Hegel's philosophy as a form of lyricism -- and
if people were answering problems what this or that expression, this or
that passage means with: "It's lyrical." -- then I'd feel obliged to
attack lyricism, although poetry is very dear to me.
In his own time, Hegel did not feel any need to be very explicit on the
demarcation line to mysticism, because nobody in his time would have
ever dreamed of accusing him of that. That kind of crazy is entirely
modern. It is rather telling, though, that he felt the need to very
carefully draw the demarcation line to skepticism.
Sorry, for my long rant ...
25 Fructidor an 217 de la Révolution
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!