21st century hegel


As we scome to the end of the 200th anniversary of the publication of the Phenomenology of Spirit (PhS),[1] I am reminded of a remark made a decade ago by the noted Hegel-scholar Robert Pippin. He then entertained the possibility of what a sequel to the PhS would look like were Hegel able to complete one. In his mind, the sequel would present two new chapters, which “would have to include oddly parallel accounts of both [a] the great expanding confidence and influence of modern science and technology…and [b] the coincident ever-growing pessimism that all of that, and much of anything else, matters all that much….”[2] Pippin rightly recognized the need of new “shapes of Spirit” relevant for at least a 1997 PhS. He had seen in the trajectories of these two large-scale cognitive and ethical enactments “contradictory” outcomes in which the success of (a), in fulfilling ideals that have been set for modern science and technology, comes at once with (b), with a disposition that ever loosens the normative grip their ideals are to have on us.

I myself admit that Pippin’s selections to a hypothetical sequel to the PhS and his evaluations for those selections are on point. However, I would like to make a suggestion of my own to such a sequel. With all the discussion, both critical and uncritical, on racial oppression and cultural diversity over the distant and recent past, a shape of spirit accounting for a conceptualization of these matters appears to me quite apropos.

more from Logos here.