On Reading Hegel

In the beginning, one is never quite sure whether one is being conned.

I have thrown Hegel across rooms more often than any other author.

No other author have I had to hide from myself as often.

Stream-of-consciousness philosophy.  Almost impenetrable in an analytical age.  Just when you think you have found something to grasp on to …

A painful, mind-bending slippery slope that folds in on itself.


But then, with time …

… the light.  Perhaps.


How many people truly understand Hegel?

Lecture Course in Hegel’s Science of Logic by Richard Dien Winfield: http://archive.org/details/LectureCourseInHegelsScienceOfLogic-RichardDienWinfield

2 Responses to “On Reading Hegel”

  1. Patrick says:

    I would tend to agree with you regarding Hegel. There are so many goddamned readings of his body of work, which lend themselves to a wide range of concrete positions–anti-realist constructivism; conceptual realist; monistic idealism– that one wonders where in the f*** the “real” Hegel is in all of this, and even whether he was ever there to begin with.

    1. Jelte says:

      Yes! And it’s not like reading him in the original German is of much help. Kaufmann writes somewhere that Hegel was looking to imitate Kant’s (i.e. obscure/pedantic) writing style. But then, I’m not sure whether I trust much of what Kaufmann writes about Hegel, as he openly professes to dislike Hegel’s philosophy. I have trouble imagining *anyone* getting deeply to grips with Hegel’s philosophy while disliking it.

      There’s also the possibility that it’s inherently challenging to bring across Hegel’s philosophical system in a well-structured way. That might be because his system is – in Bertrand Russell’s words – put forward by a philosopher who, “From his early interest in mysticism […] retained a belief in the unreality of separateness.”

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