Philosophy of Literary Judgement in Hegel V (last part)

(I’m just back after been out of  Istanbul for a while, and have found it difficult to keep up with blogging. One thing I have been doing is correcting a conference paper for publication in proceedings. That relates to the 2012 Hegel Gesellschaft conference in Istanbul, which will be published as a yearbook in 2014, presumably by Oldenbourg Akademie Verlag, who have published previous proceedings. As publication is some way, I think it’s perfectly in order to post the paper in parts, which anyway lack the formatting, pagination, proofing and copy editing of what will be the published version. As it’s based on an oral presentation it’s simple and direct by the standards of philosophy papers. The paper is part of work on progress on Philosophy of Literary Judgement. It draws on blogging and teaching preparation, so is an example of interaction between different forms of academic communication)

Hegel’s repeated death of art, including the repeated death of tragedy, is a necessary aspect of his philosophy, since the idea of conflicting values and of the good person at odds with the order of the world, is something that Hegel wants to overcome, as he overcomes the unhappy consciousness and the beautiful soul in the Phenomenology and as he overcomes the evil of subjective morality in the Philosophy of Right. If the highest form of philosophy leaves representation behind then the representations of art cannot harmonise with philosophy at its highest. Hegel also rejects the sublime as a basic category of aesthetics because of its subjectivity, as he sees it. It has been argued by Hegel commentators that the sublime resurfaces in disguised forms in Hegel, as in the role of Phantasie (Pillow 2000). The art and literature which follows Hegel is full of the conflicts between individual and world, along with the sublime experience of pure individuality and the attempt to represent the unrepresentable. The philosophy which follows Hegel is conditioned by the impossibility of the absolute knowing discussed in the Phenomenology, or the pure being discussed in the Science of Logic.

The progress from Phenomenology of Spirit to the later texts of Hegel is often one in which tensions, and limit cases, from the earlier text are missing. The relationship of brother and sister so important to the Phenomenology, with reference to the general role of the family, and to the historical transition from the Greek and Roman worlds is missing in the Philosophy of Right and the Philosophy of History, where you would expect that issue to be explored further. Phenomenology of Spirit is driven by a tragic spirit of the gap between subjectivity and absolute knowing, in combination with a spirt of interconnectedness of points of view in an affirmation of reality as an integrated whole, roughly speaking Pascal combined with Spinoza. The tense relation between those two positions itself tends to confirm the first position, and the later work of Hegel pushes towards eliminating the first position though never completely. The combination of tragic Pascal and affirmative Spinoza, and their tragic conflict, becomes Spinozistic oneness.  A very reductive and simplified way of looking, at Hegel but one which has great interpretative value as this paper has tried to demonstrate.



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