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Hegel, the last great philosopher?


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Posted (edited)

Ever since the halcyon days of the Hellenistic Greeks, philosophy had been pretty much either a collective or a transcendental vision, whether it had been assimilated with religion or thought as an alternative, secular wisdom. In order to assert "what is" in its varied ontological & epistemological aspects, philosophy had to allude a potentially futuristic vision of how things "should be" under the sanction of concepts like consistency, intelligibility, clarity, harmony, etc.

However, the credibility of these collective, detached vision depends on writing philosophical assertions in a way that allows multiple interpretations & relevance in order to avoid its bluff being called by the events of the day. By abandoning the gifts of myth, which had generated a highly sophisticated narrative that accounted for change and conceptual paradox, philosophy acquired a new rhetorical technique: abstraction. Given its claim to describe the non-particular universals or permanent forms that underlie the changing world, the authority of philosophy has rested on this abstract and atemporal discourse. The very possibility of the objective and formalized vision of Being & of human knowledge depends on a certain relation between immutable structures and change in human experience, wherein nature is the dominant theme and change is secondary. However, this relation has been overturned since the French Revolution, once "history" stepped up to "nature" and finally overthrew it.

When that happened, when history usurped nature's role as the authoritative framework of human experience, then man began to think about his experience historically, which in turn hollowed out the traditionally atemporal categories of philosophy. :eek3:

The thinker that faced this monumental change was Hegel, who was confident that he could rescue the philosophical enterprise from this radical reorientation of human experience by recasting philosophy as the history of philosophy. No more, and no less.

It is just too bad that Hegel could not resist to present his system as true and beyond history since it incorporated the historical perspective. As long Hegel's system was true, it was the end of philosophy. Why? Only the final philosophical system was true philosophy, utterly conceived thoroughly The "eternal" is reinstalled, and history has come to an end.

Of course history didn't stop with Hegel. And we realized that Hegelianism was proved to be an utter failure as a system, if not as method. As method, by disseminating into all the sciences of man, Hegelianism confirmed and awarded the greatest intellectual catalyst to the consolidation of historical experience.

The original quest of philosophy for the eternal, used to be prestigious, now stood naked as the true root of all philosophical thought, exposed in its desolation and immaturity. Philosophy declined into an outdated fantasy of the mind, and regressed to the childhood of humanity. No matter how decisively philosophical statements form an argument, there was no way to avoid the radical question that exposed the value of the terms that composed the statements, or restoring the sheer amount of confidence in the verbal currency in which philosophy had trucked.

Bewildered by the new movement of an emerging secularized and dramatically more competent and efficient human will that was determined to control, manipulate, and modify nature, falling far behind the onrushing historical change of the human knowledge, philosophy's loaded vocabulary ended up pornographic in its over-determination. In other words, malnourished and bereft of meaning.

Given such attrition of changes of this scale, philosophy's traditionally abstract procedures failed to address themselves to anything whatever. They were no longer substantiated, neither as descriptions of existence (reality, the world, the cosmos) nor as alternative conceptions (where descriptions of existence were taken as what exists outside of the mind) that determined as the first retrenchment of the philosophical enterprise, as description of the mind. Philosophy was left with a modest capacity that fulfilled its original ambitions as the providing of formal models of understanding.

The collapse of system building in the 19th century inspired two responses:

  • emergence of ideologies, i.e., aggressively anti-philosophical systems of thought that took various forms like descriptive sciences of man (Comte, Marx, Freud and the early founders of anthropology, sociology, linguistics).
  • new mode of philosophizing that was personal or autobiographical, aphoristic, lyrical and anti-systematic: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein.

Today, the starting point of modern post-philosophical tradition of philosophizing is the realization that traditional modes of philosophical discourses are dead.

Edited by The Heretic
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Posted (edited)

You might have saved yourself the trouble and simply posted:

"Hegel: No."

Your post amounts to nothing more than that, loaded with lists of names and evaluations of these, so wild and unclear as to be nearly useless for any purpose except understanding your emotional state when confronted with these signifiers. I call them signifiers rather than philosophers, because, as you've used them, they exist only as unexplained sounds that we might think are names but could never be sure.

And if that is what post-philosophical philosophy amounts to, I'd prefer any alternative to that--especially if it is pornographic. :smack:

I'd also like to take issue with your scientism, when you say that science overwhelmed philosophy as a method of truth. Nothing could be further from the truth; science itself should properly be understood as a branch and school of philosophy.

The idea that this is impossible, (partly) since there is no "metanarrative" to unite the discourses of the various sciences, is fallacious. This is because the sciences are a distinct sort of philosophy that does not make the same sorts of claims that the previous philosophies did. It is instrumental and pragmatic; the previous philosophies were, on the contrary, theoretical and metaphysical. As a result, there needs to be no metanarrative; in fact, science depends precisely on the absence of a metanarrative; this absence of metanarrative in the traditional philosophy is itself is the metanarrative of the new philosophy. This metanarrative entails a politics, an ethics, and so forth, that systematically, and in practice, tie together all of the sciences (and the practices that they entail) into a overarching and total structure that we call modernity.

For Aristotle, a set of overarching concepts were systematically worked out and theoretically deployed to produce all of the individual sciences within the Aristotelian corpus; whereas, for modernity, it is the opposite: all of the individual sciences are worked out individually and practically deployed to produce the overarching principle of modern life. But even the development of this principle seems to have a telos, if we look at things from the point of view of French Revolution as origin. Modernity is a uniform state toward which all modernizing societies move. This would perhaps, even, call into question the notion that it is the individual sciences that, when cumulated, develop the principle of life--rather than some other principle cumulating in the changes in the individual sciences. In this sense, there may be 0 difference between philosophy and the sciences in terms of way of developing. This is particularly true in the Hegelian sense of philosophy, which sees philosophy as a collective and historic endeavor.

This actually goes back to our previous discussion, where, although you denied systematicity, in your very denunciation, I gleaned a latent pristine philosophical structure that typifies the contemporary, instrumentalist and amoral new philosophy. Nihilism isn't mere absence; this apparent absence creates a new system that pretends it is not a system.

Edited by ephelotes
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Posted (edited)

You might have saved yourself a lot of trouble and posted a few counter-examples to my OP (although that would prove to be a futile exercise, for after Hegel, you have to settle for diseased caricatures like Carnap's Afbau or parodies like Derrida's inverted Hegelianism, or the coprophilic narcissism of phenomenology). By doing so you'd prove my argument. :lol:

Your post amounts to nothing more than that, loaded with lists of names and evaluations of these, so wild and unclear as to be nearly useless for any purpose except understanding your emotional state when confronted with these signifiers.

You got only one thing right in your canned spiel against postmodernism - a broad swipe that completely misses the point, I might add, with an airball - in the hope that commands something of its former prestige, that philosophy can undertake in order to give evidence of its good faith (although the existing ranges of its conceptual tools can no longer carry meaning in themselves) by being re-certified through the passion of the thinker.

Indeed, philosophy in the post-systematic age is understood as the personal task of the thinker where thought becomes "thinking" and "thinking" - via a slippery slope - is reinscribed as irrelevant unless its an extreme act, a risk. Thus, thinking becomes confessional and exorcistic, i.e., an archive of the most personal intensification of thinking.

Indeed at bottom Cartesian, where existence is defined as thinking, but it's not merely any sort of cogitation - more of a certain sort of difficult thinking. Thought & existence are neither brute facts, logical givens, but paradoxical and unstable situations.

An example: no matter how much we desire to fix the irregularities in the natural harmony of man due to consciousness, this cannot be undertaken by a surrender of consciousness. We have passed the point of no return, thus we must go to the end of thought, where hopefully on the other side, in utter self-lucidity we can recover grace & innocence.

Whether one choose self-consciously futile longing for a barbaric culture or affirmative nostalgia for "neolithic consciousness," philosophy is tortured thought -- thought that devours itself and stays intact, thriving even, despite these repeated acts of self-cannibalism. The thinker plays both roles on the tragic play of thought, both the protagonist and antagonist, both the suffering Prometheus and the merciless eagle that tears out the regenerating liver.

Edited by The Heretic
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Posted

:ephelotes: vs. :heretic:

:deal:

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