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Thread: German Idealism

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    Re: German Idealism

    Quote Originally Posted by overture
    Hegel was the biggest Idiot in philosophy apart from Sartre.
    How much of his work have you actually read?

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    Re: German Idealism

    Quote Originally Posted by Siegfried
    How much of his work have you actually read?
    I'm convinced that one cannot understand most of Hegel's work, in particular not his Phenomenology, if one reads it another language but German (or Dutch, maybe). The reason is that his system is uniquely based on the etymological comprehension of terms beyond their defined meaning, and these two aspects then intertwine to a holistic third dimension.

    For example, Wirklichkeit is not reality. It is also not actuality. You have to comprehend the root meaning of wirken which is again not to act or to realize. And it's also not to function or any other English term you can find. If one considers the common root, it would be to work but there is no English term to express the abstract concept Wirklichkeit (werkelijkheid). If one translated it as worklyhood, only then people could begin to understand.

    It's so complex, that one also does not understand much without a really good teacher and taskmaster, of which there are very few.

    I think Hegel was the most important philosopher since Plato. Where other philosophers before Plato painted pictures, Plato began to sculpture. And only Hegel, more than 2,000 years later, succeeded to make the sculptures all dance.
    .

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    Re: German Idealism

    Is there any secondary literature you would particularly recommend?

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    Re: German Idealism

    “Schopenhauer” called Hegel’s corpus a “nothing but a monstrous amplification of the basic ontological position” and I tend to agree.

    I admit I have not received Hegel’s work in its native language and if that is responsible for some misunderstanding of him on my part I regret it. Alas, there is nothing I can do about that.

    But seriously, God unfolding himself through history on earth, the state as a divine agency? I don’t think so.

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    Re: German Idealism

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryggvi
    I'm convinced that one cannot understand most of Hegel's work, in particular not his Phenomenology, if one reads it another language but German (or Dutch, maybe).
    I don't agree, but I think it's really, really difficult especially in English. With work, it's possible as long as one is able to learn some German along the way. It also helps to know French and read a lot of the secondary literature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryggvi
    I think Hegel was the most important philosopher since Plato. Where other philosophers before Plato painted pictures, Plato began to sculpture. And only Hegel, more than 2,000 years later, succeeded to make the sculptures all dance.
    Without a doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by overture
    But seriously, God unfolding himself through history on earth, the state as a divine agency? I don’t think so.
    Then think again. The first claim is much easier to grasp and accept; but both are, as Thorburn pointed out, nearly impossible to understand in translation.

    For starters, it's not "God" at all, but Geist, a complex concept that encompasses "God" and "humanity" in a not-identity of Spirit, whose iteratively negated experience of itself through Consciousness - both as an Other and as Itself - results in a progressive awareness of the Truth of itself, and of its own genuine reality.

    This stuff isn't easy, but it's eminently worth the effort.

    By the way, I've read Schopenhauer and have discovered many insights in his writings as well, and I consider both Hegel and Schopenhauer legitimate successors to Kant. It's worth remembering that Schopenhauer was, however, less than objective when it came to Hegel - he coveted Hegel's popularity and resented his own relative obscurity to the point that it virtually consumed him.

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    Re: German Idealism

    Yeah, well that was actually my understanding of it, God as in ‘geist’, as in freigeist or Zeitgeist, one doesn’t read philosophy without learning at least some German. Even respecting Hegel’s rather intricate refashioning of “God”, he did mean it as "God" all the same, whom he said existed as mind/geist or “ reason in action’, revealing himself dialectically through History. It may be allowed for Hegel that he had to be rather cautious in his times when talking about God, and that the inclusion of ‘God’ in his philosophy at all may have just been a way to avoid offending the church. However, I am not disposed to believing that anything is revealing itself through history, or that history is directional in any ultimate sense.

    I find in Hegel an excellent exposition of the fragile nature of self consciousness, and also a lot of the Nietzschean ideas about slave morality and philosophy as a symptom of decay (teaching men to question their desires) found their origin in Hegel. This system as a whole I'd love to just throw in the Garbage. It was after all Hegels immoderate state worship that inspired Marx.

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    Re: German Idealism

    Quote Originally Posted by overture
    This system as a whole I'd love to just throw in the Garbage. It was after all Hegels immoderate state worship that inspired Marx.
    Many things inspired Marx, not only Hegel. Though I don't accept the use Marx made of Hegel as being even remotely consistent with Hegel's intentions, I have to admit that Marx had a few insights of his own. His analysis of capital has, I think, never been surpassed.

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    Re: German Idealism

    Marx began his career as a 'Young Hegelian', of the left wing bent. From there he basically just substited 'matter' for Hegels mind/geist.

    Marx undoubtedly exposed all the flaws and paradoxes of capitalism but was that really so hard? Other thinkers did too only their reflections did not amount to a neat Hegelian system ready to be put into revolution. I'd much rather hear why capitalism stinks from Heidegger.

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    The great German philosophers like Arthur Schopenhauer opened the way to the Enlightenment.

    Humanity as he saw it was a fragile and greedy bastard that was subject to desire (and weakness) aka the Will. He found harmony in Buddhism which is all about moderation and does not recognize a god as center of all things.

    Friedrich Nietzsche, his desciple was the next best thing that envisaged the the freedom of humanity from guilt, self denial etc... hail the ubermensch as an individual ...... But at the same time don't walk on other folk either....keep the ego and ID under control. Let's have some humanity and common sense as Thomas Paine the great Republican advocated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siegfried View Post
    How much of his work have you actually read?
    Hegel was not an idiot in the least. My friend you need to look more closely at his work before you start analyzing it. A lot of it has profound depth and insightful meaning imparted in it. Were some of the things he said monstrous and insane? You could say that he made fallacious assertions. But that is not what Hegel is about he was really just great at being able to collect a comprehensive history of philosophy and compile and condense it into his own works.

    In a sense he is not as original as being perceive but his approach to philosophy is a turning point in philosophy. He also does a decent job at taking on the seemingly infallible wall of Kant's critiques. I mean the guy had the Left and Right Hegelian movements named after him he certainly was truly one of the most brilliant thinkers ever.

    I do though agree with Kierkegaard when he says that if Hegel's system of philosophy had just been a thought experiment instead of being claimed as absolute truth then Hegel would truly have been one of the greatest philosophers ever. I think the turn off with Hegel is his obscurity and sometimes his inability to get the point across succinctly and clearly.

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