Monday, March 09, 2009

Hegel is the trusted transit point

[Hegel has a highly complicated and elaborate conception of essence. Moreover, part of the difficulty in reading Hegel lies in the fact that epistemological issues are always imbricated with ontological issues. When Hegel refers to essence as “shining within itself” he is speaking in the epistemological register rather than the ontological register. That is, Hegel is referring to a new cognitive relation that has emerged with respect to entities. Rather than encounter an entity in its immediacy, we now encounter being as mediated. Thus, when I approach a being in its brute immediacy, I simply focus on its qualities or characteristics and treat it as a brute fact...
Again, Hegel’s move here seems to arise from the manner in which he imbricates the epistemological and the ontological. Hegel might very well be right in claiming that we discover the essence of entities (their ensemble of conditions) only insofar as properties of these entities become actual under determinate conditions. I would have never known that iron rusts or corrodes in response to sea air had not this property manifest itself or become actual. However, the claim that actuality is a condition for discovery or knowledge of an object’s essence and powers– that we cannot discover the powers of entities without “poking” those entities and seeing how they respond –is very different than the claim that ontologically the entity is its actuality. An entity will have the powers it has regardless of whether or not we know it and regardless of whether or not the relevant conditions are fulfilled for these powers to actualize themselves. The question of how we discover the powers of an entity is thus distinct from the question of what an entity is in its own being.
A Brief Note on Relations
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Reading Hegel: The Introductions by G.W.F. Hegel (edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra) ► 2008 Download book as PDF (Open Access)
Bringing together for the first time all of G.W.F. Hegel’s major Introductions in one place, this book ambitiously attempts to present readers with Hegel’s systematic thought through his Introductions alone. The Editors articulate to what extent, precisely, Hegel’s Introductions truly reflect his philosophic thought as a whole. Certainly each of Hegel’s Introductions can stand alone, capturing a facet of his overarching idea of truth. But compiled all together, they serve to lay out the intricate tapestry of Hegel’s thought, woven with a dialectic that progresses from one book to another, one philosophical moment to another.
Hegel’s reflections on philosophy, religion, aesthetics, history, and law—all included here—have profoundly influenced many subsequent thinkers, from post-Hegelian idealists or materialists like Karl Marx, to the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre; from the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl to Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and other post-moderns, to thinkers farther afield, like Japan’s famous Kyoto School or India’s Sri Aurobindo. This book provides the opportunity to discern how the ideas of these later thinkers may have originally germinated in Hegel’s writings, as well as to penetrate Hegel’s worldview in his own words, his grand architecture of the journey of the Spirit.]

Hegel is the trusted transit point in whichever direction one travels. [TNM]

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