lord bondsman

illiquidmarkets-deactivated2015  asked:

Do you have any hegel learning tips or tricks?

1, Try to not to cut up his texts into neat little Synthesis, Anti-thesis, and Synthesis triads. 

2. Hegel was an avid reader of writers like Hamann and Diderot. He was well aware of irony and indirect communication, and uses them throughout his works. This can be easy to miss if one takes his reputation as a stolid, prosaic Prussian at face value.

3. It is common to reduce Hegel’s thought to the Right-Hegelian and Left-Hegelian tendencies that followed after him. Hegel himself was not an arch-conservative, let alone a closeted revolutionary, but a very peculiar sort of reform minded statist who appreciated both the value and inevitability of the French Revolution, but believed that it was equally neccessary and inevitable that its abstract maxims take the form of concrete institutions that corresponded to the historical needs of the various existing nations. His thought was both an ambivalent, retrospective summing up of a finished cycle of upheaval and a strategic retreat in the face of the Restoration. Removing his works from their historical situation and interpreting them, appreciatively or critically, as intending to be the laying out of a straight forward and completed science of politics is thus a grave misunderstanding.

4. Do not come to Hegel assuming that what he says corresponds to the uses made of him by French Existentialists and Fanon. In particular, they exaggerate and decontexualize the role of the master-slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit–probably because Kojeve did, who they cribbed much of their readings of Hegel from. The very presentation of that dialectic as a struggle between ‘master’ and ‘slave’ is misleading-a more accurate translation of the German is ‘lord’ and ‘bondsman.’ The specifically anti-feudal character of Hegel’s critique (highly revolutionary in the context of 1807 as ancien regime throughout Europe violently combated the spread of the ideals of liberty,equality,and fraternity) is missed if this is forgotten.

That’s all that comes immediately to mind.