Importance of Hegel?

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Shostakovich phil
 
Reply Fri 2 Oct, 2009 09:50 pm
@rhinogrey,
I haven't had a chance to add to this thread since I posted it. Interesting enough comments. When I read any philosopher I take them with a heavy dose of skepticism. I take what I can get and leave the rest. Hegel's only of interest to me because he denies the existence of 'nothing' at the ultimate beginning of the universe. He equates 'nothing' with a 'something' that gives rise to the universe. Kant would ask Hegel: 'That's all nice and fine. But how do you get from your supposed beginning to the complexity that now exists?' To answer this question Kant would demand a pure understanding, not derived from experience, and that is universally and objectively valid, but nowhere in all the works attributed to Hegel, can we find any such pure, a priori understanding. It all amounts to futile rhetoric. The only exception is with Hegel's suggestion of a beginning that does not amount to a total annhilation of being. In his 'Science of Logic' Hegel equates his beginning not with nothing, but with 'being.' It is a beginning wherein 'being' flies from and transcends its 'not being.' But where is the a priori proof? Where is there a critical definition of Hegel's beginning that would agree with Kant's critical demands ... as voiced in his critical philosophy? This is not so much where Hegel is relevant, but where Kant is relevant. Further: Big bang cosmology seems to favour Hegel here, for what is a 'singularity' but a 'not being' that is yet a 'something' that expands and becomes something other than a 'not being?' I could go on here, but I'll stop at this. Singularities give me migrane headaches. Need an aspirin bad now.
 
mickalos
 
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 09:47 am
@Labyrinth,
A lot of what Hegel writes is nonsense, so being unable to understand it is something that ought to be encouraged. By nonsense I don't mean to say that what he writes is false, I mean it has no truth value whatsoever, because his statements are meaningless. He refuses to abide to the laws of grammar and syntax that govern the use of our language and thus we get statements such as, "Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same.", or my personal favourite, "Sound is the change in the specific condition of segregation of the material parts, and in the negation of this condition; -- merely an abstract or an ideal ideality, as it were, of that specification." They seem profound, perhaps, but on close inspection (or not so close as the case may be) they are revealed to be meaningless.

Schopenhueur said that there is more to be learned from every page of Hume than the complete philosophical works of Hegel, and I'm inclined to agree. I don't see the use of Hegel in anybody's philosophical repertoire, and unless you really want to continue with it, I wouldn't bother.
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 01:27 pm
@Labyrinth,
message deleted message deleted
 
Victor Eremita
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 04:40 pm
@Labyrinth,
Labyrinth;78920 wrote:
Well, it is getting better. :Glasses:

I just read his Master/bondsman & Stoicism/Scepticism chapters tonight, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. Guess I spoke too soon...


That's good, have you been reading other chapters since?

Don't mind what others say about Hegel, if you find something valuable in Hegel, that's great.
 
Shostakovich phil
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:22 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Hegel has a following and I think it is a significant one. A forum I joined about 15 years ago was one dedicated to Hegel, and I remember one Hegelian who was adamant in his insistence that Hegel gave the complete answer to Kant, which I hotly debated, and still do. In fact, Hegel only stepped up the the starting line. When the gun went off he put one foot in front of the other and tripped over his shoelace, which he forgot to tie.
 
Labyrinth
 
Reply Mon 5 Oct, 2009 06:50 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita;95282 wrote:
That's good, have you been reading other chapters since?

Don't mind what others say about Hegel, if you find something valuable in Hegel, that's great.


Yes, I had finished Phenomenology which was very tough. I went on to read Philosophy of History and his aesthetics lectures. My understanding of the material is poor, but I enjoyed the little I could scrape from his readings.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 07:10 pm
@Labyrinth,
Hegel is great. But then I usually read about him. Kojeve's book is one of the best philosophical books I've ever laid hands on.
I read mavericks like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer first. But Hegel offers something they don't. His dialectic, for instance, and (related) his historicism.

Hegel tells the story of God Waking Up, and this God is Man. Hegel presents an immanent theology. Contrast Hegel's edifice with Nietzsche's (half-ironic) edifice.

The Will-to-Power is a rather lazy transformation of the Will-to-Live. And yet Nietzsche is so valuable as an entry to philosophy as something relevant to life.

Nietzsche and Schopenhauer appeal especially to youthful angst -- note that both of them were bachelors. N and S both moved away from the dialectic (one could argue) toward the direction of naked myth. Nietzsche more and more relied on mythological references to describe himself.
This is fine, of course, and philosophy is indeed the White Mythology (I prefer "Transparent Mythology"), but Hegel stayed the course and did more work with Concept. He kept his myth more transparent (invisible, implicit) and therefore more truly philosophical.
For Hegel the Truth was the Whole. "All is One and One is All."
Hegel turned this sublime mystical intuition into a grand conceptual nexus which is in some ways obsolete but in others still morning-dew fresh.

---------- Post added 11-24-2009 at 09:11 PM ----------

I put off reading Hegel because of Schopenhauer and Russell, etc.

I regret that now. Hegel is sublime.

Russell, on the other hand, is one more jackass terrified of metaphor, for metaphor demands interpretation rather than calculation.

Philosophy is a body of metaphor and sophisticated myth. Men like Russell don't understand that. They want something hard and phallic, like logic or math. They want something smaller than the human mind, a method that can be mastered.

They would like reality to be a machine, rather than something messy and continually evolving like an organism.

Russell and Frege and early Wittgenstein -- they are all daddy's boys. Whereas the Hegels and Heideggers and Nietzsches are momma's boys. You have the geometers versus the poets, and the poets are better, for philosophy is poetry (in the loose sense) for philosophy is made of concepts and concepts are born as metaphors.

The reductionist temptation is always with us.

How did a linguistic philosopher like Wittgenstein FAIL TO SEE how metaphorical and mythological human beings are? His engineering prejudices BLINDED him to organic human reality -- the reality that Hegel specializes in. And that Hegel is wrong here or there is beside the point. His method is sublime.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 02:52 pm
@Reconstructo,
To be fair, the later Wittgenstein did see how organic "reality" is. And the concept of language games strongly influenced me. I find the linguistic turn to be essential. At the same time, once the concept is grasped, analytical philosophy is boring. Most of Wittgenstein is boring. The key metaphor I took away from was "game."

2 more cents from a lover of that infinite virgin, Sophia.
 
Habek
 
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 07:14 am
@Reconstructo,
German being my mother tongue, I tried too read Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" in German and, as it has been mentioned here before, his language is very crude and you can hardly read more than 10 pages without taking a break in between.

Furthermore, I think his ideas violate the laws of logic and sometimes, there are claims that are not proven in any way. For example, he claims that mathematics is only about quantity and not about quality. After reading 300 pages, I decided to read another book because I was bored and could not find anything new or interesting in that book.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 27 Dec, 2009 09:08 pm
@mickalos,
mickalos;94897 wrote:
A lot of what Hegel writes is nonsense, so being unable to understand it is something that ought to be encouraged. By nonsense I don't mean to say that what he writes is false, I mean it has no truth value whatsoever, because his statements are meaningless. He refuses to abide to the laws of grammar and syntax that govern the use of our language and thus we get statements such as, "Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same.", or my personal favourite, "Sound is the change in the specific condition of segregation of the material parts, and in the negation of this condition; -- merely an abstract or an ideal ideality, as it were, of that specification." They seem profound, perhaps, but on close inspection (or not so close as the case may be) they are revealed to be meaningless.

Schopenhueur said that there is more to be learned from every page of Hume than the complete philosophical works of Hegel, and I'm inclined to agree. I don't see the use of Hegel in anybody's philosophical repertoire, and unless you really want to continue with it, I wouldn't bother.


I used to be suspicious of Hegel too. I heard all the rumors. But ultimately its better to understand than to not understand, at least in my book. Hegel is simply difficult. His ambitions dwarf Hume's. I like Hume, but Hegel is more exciting. I read T.Z. Levine on Hegel first, and this whet my appetite. Eventually I found out about Kojeve, who is a genius on Hegel. Kojeve gets to point, writes clearly. I also read a couple of books on the Phenomenology and 2 biographies. Then a couple of overviews.

The man is a genius. Of course some of his ideas are obsolete. But much of his work is still ahead of the usual modern mindset. We are all motivated to negate what we have not mastered. I've been there. I read Nietzsche and Schopenhauer first, and they are certainly easier and perhaps more immediately valuable. But Hegel goes where those two did not have the patience to go. I urge anyone who wants to know what Hegel is about to read Kojeve's Introductory Lectures on Hegel.
Introduction to the reading of Hegel - Google Books
 
Habek
 
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 04:46 am
@Reconstructo,
In which sense did he go "where others did not have the patience to go"?

In my opinion, Hegel's ideas violate the principle of contradiction and the only thing that makes his work interesting for most people is his writing style. He does not even understand the fundamental principles of mathematics, physics or logic.

I have also noticed that most of Hegel's followers are mystics like Karl Marx or Theodor W Adorno, who simply need some good-looking phrases like "negation of the negation" to justify their political opinions(as Karl Popper has revealed).
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2009 02:40 pm
@Shostakovich phil,
Shostakovich;94851 wrote:
... He equates 'nothing' with a 'something' that gives rise to the universe. ...



Anyone who misuses words so badly is not worth reading.


Shostakovich;94851 wrote:

... It all amounts to futile rhetoric. ... Need an aspirin bad now.



Or a stiff drink.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2009 05:00 pm
@Labyrinth,
Hegel is brilliant. Curse him or write him off if you want. It's not my loss. Kojeve's book is great, not boring at all. Still difficult, but only because the thoughts are sublime.
 
Habek
 
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2009 05:26 pm
@Reconstructo,
If you read some literature about Hegel, you will notice that the main aim of his "philosophy" is to glorify the state of Prussia. He never really wanted to develop something new, like Kant or Descartes for example.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 29 Dec, 2009 05:27 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;105911 wrote:
To be fair, the later Wittgenstein did see how organic "reality" is. And the concept of language games strongly influenced me. I find the linguistic turn to be essential. At the same time, once the concept is grasped, analytical philosophy is boring. Most of Wittgenstein is boring. The key metaphor I took away from was "game."

2 more cents from a lover of that infinite virgin, Sophia.


I wonder what you think "the linguistic turn" and "linguistic philosophy" are. The term, "boring" is not a synonym of "false" or "wrong". It is a synonym of "it does not interest me", and it can be wondered why it does not interest you. The answer need not be that it is uninteresting.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 07:15 pm
@Habek,
Habek;115397 wrote:
If you read some literature about Hegel, you will notice that the main aim of his "philosophy" is to glorify the state of Prussia. He never really wanted to develop something new, like Kant or Descartes for example.


Hegel was a genius. He had his faults, sure, but the man was a genius. It strikes me as tragicomic to deny him the title of philosopher. Get a second opinion. Russell wrote about Nietzsche once and made a cartoon of him. Nietzsche is far more important than Russell, in my opinion. If a person had only read Russell they would have known nothing of Nietzsche except some hateful reductive parody.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 08:18 PM ----------

Habek;114836 wrote:

I have also noticed that most of Hegel's followers are mystics like Karl Marx or Theodor W Adorno, who simply need some good-looking phrases like "negation of the negation" to justify their political opinions(as Karl Popper has revealed).


I'm glad Karl Popper revealed that. Don't get me wrong. I like Popper. But Popper is doing something far less ambitious than Hegel.

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 08:19 PM ----------

Habek;114836 wrote:
In which sense did he go "where others did not have the patience to go"?


If you don't want to wade through Hegel, try Kojeve. It's a great book.
Introduction to the reading of Hegel - Google Books

---------- Post added 02-22-2010 at 08:20 PM ----------

Labyrinth;78920 wrote:
Well, it is getting better. :Glasses:

I just read his Master/bondsman & Stoicism/Scepticism chapters tonight, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. Guess I spoke too soon...


It's pretty exciting stuff.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2010 02:22 am
@Labyrinth,
I think Hegel was right concerning synthesis/logos/dialectic, which is to say that he explains human time, and human history, including the evolution of philosophy.....he's the icing on Kant, Aristotle, & Plato...
Quote:

I see no objection to saying that the natural World eludes conceptual understanding. Indeed, this would only mean that the existence of Nature is revealed by mathematical algorthm, for example, and not by concepts--that is by words having a meaning. Now, modern physics leads in the end to this result: one cannot speak of the physical reality without contradictions; as soon as one passes from algorthm to verbal description, one contradicts himself (particle-waves for example). Hence there would be no discourse revealing the physical or natural reality. This reality (as presented as early as Galileo) would be revealed to man only by the articulated silence of algorthm.....Now it does seem that algorthm, being nontemporal, does not reveal Life. But neither does dialectic. Therefore it may be necessary to combine Plato's conception(for the mathematical, or better, geometrical, substructure of the world) with Aristotle's (for its biological structure) and Kant's (for its physical, or better, dynamic, structure), while reserving Hegelian dialectic for Man and History..

Kojeve's Lectures. Read it & weep
 
Eelboy
 
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2016 03:59 am
@Reconstructo,
Hegel was a time-server who glorified the repressive Prussian state. He saw it as the embodiment of the 'Absolute Idea' for reasons not related to philosophy at all. Russell was a citizen of the world. He shrank from nothing & no one in his efforts to save humanity from itself.
Whatever insights Hegel may have for us are clothed in his turgid, un-grammatical & often contradictory prose style. Russell on the other hand can be read & understood by the average high school student.
Philosophy, by the way, is not poetry any more than it is logic.
 
Seetharam
 
Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2016 05:27 am
Hegel was the first major philosopher to regard history and the Philosophy of History as important. ... His system for understanding history, and the world itself, was developed from his famous dialectic teachings of thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
 
 

 
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