Tag 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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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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How to Begin (Notes on the Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology)

It’s no use starting with the assumption that thought and being are identical. For one thing, no one will know what you’re talking about. Hegel started by looking at the philosophical thinking of his day and showing how it was … Continue reading

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Hegel’s Democratic Spirit

The Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit is a good place to begin with Hegel. The key question he’s asking in these pages is: What is philosophy? And his answer tells us a lot about what kind of philosopher he … Continue reading

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Spengler’s Logic of History

Oswald Spengler tells us that he’s trying something new, a kind of historical study that he calls “predetermining history”: he’s going to use an historian’s methods in order to tell us something of what is going to happen. History is … Continue reading

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Know Thyself

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Know Thyself” seems to offer up two possible interpretations, and I wonder whether Coleridge believed self-knowledge was possible or not. The poet asks “Say, canst thou make thyself?” and urges his reader to “Learn first that … Continue reading

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