Category Archives: Philosophy

The Editor and the Escritoire

A less extraordinary mind would have been incapable of worrying so much about an old desk and would never have made the discovery. Victor Eremita, fictitious editor of Søren Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, tells the story of how he came across the … Continue reading

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Hegel, Reason, and the Unhappy Consciousness

As the sun sets in Canto II of Dante’s Inferno, the pilgrim, Dante himself, explains that he is not worthy to undertake the journey, through Hell and Purgatory, to Heaven. I lack the strength and skill, he says. The poet … Continue reading

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The “Specific Shape” of Stories (Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§678-679)

For Hegel, the limitation of religion is that it relies on “picture-thinking.” A religion is based around the interpretation of a number of stories, images, and rituals designed to show the human spirit the truth about itself and its place … Continue reading

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Conscience and the Perfection of Religion (Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§677-678)

Conscience holds the moral truth within itself. Instead of waiting for the day of judgement, conscience judges its own actions in the here and now. But conscience is fooling itself. The universal law that the moral self-consciousness holds within itself, … Continue reading

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Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§674-677: Heaven and the Underworld

In the ancient Greek conception of “the underworld,” the shades that dwell there are individual souls still, as they were in the world above. They are still cut off from the unknown, unknowable, and universal “fate” that determines the outcomes … Continue reading

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Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§673-674

“Religion” is a concept that Hegel develops throughout his Phenomenology of Spirit. Here I’m going to look at the most abstract concept of religion that Hegel provides, the most minimal notion of what a religion must be in order to … Continue reading

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The Pendulum

In Chapter 5 of his book about the philosopher Leibniz, Gilles Deleuze ponders whether he should keep working this evening, or go to a nightclub. He’s not firmly in favour of either and he seems to prefer first the one … Continue reading

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A Short Note on Reason’s Certainty

In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, having “reason” means being certain that you are “all reality”, knowing that the whole of the world can be found in your “I”. This self-certainty is well-founded in a sense: idealism is true, and the … Continue reading

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What is Philosophy?

It’s a question philosophers like to ask from time to time, never arriving at a universally satisfactory answer. If you start to read Hegel, you might arrive at the notion that philosophy is the science of Spirit coming to know … Continue reading

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Spirit is the Light of the Morning

“Its shape is in fact shapelessness, the all-embracing light of the morning.” – J.N. Findlay, Analysis of section 686 of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It’s impossible to see where light begins and ends. You can see it in the green … Continue reading

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