Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Bit of Hegel-Related Humor

It's not that frequent that one finds some decently witty humor poking fun at Hegel -- I suppose that would be something I could do a search for, when I find some spare time.  But here's one bit I came across today, from Slate Star Codex -- it's not exclusively Hegel, of course, but then again, I think he'd have no problem sharing some space with the other philosophers whose works and thought he himself discussed.  The piece is called A Philosopher Walks Into a Coffee Shop

Here's the joke:
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel goes up to the counter and gives a tremendously long custom order in German, specifying exactly how much of each sort of syrup he wants, various espresso shots, cream in exactly the right pattern, and a bunch of toppings, all added in a specific order at a specific temperature. The barista can’t follow him, so just gives up and hands him a small plain coffee. He walks away. The people behind him in line are very impressed with his apparent expertise, and they all order the same thing Hegel got. The barista gives each of them a small plain coffee, and they all remark on how delicious it tastes and what a remarkable coffee connoisseur that Hegel is. “The Hegel” becomes a new Starbucks special and is wildly popular for the next seventy years.
There is a certain truth to it. . .  (Hegel readers will get that pun)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

First New Video Installment of the Year

This new video marks several firsts in the Half-Hour Hegel series.  It is, after all, the very first video installment that I've shot, edited, and uploaded in this new year of 2015.  I'd hoped to get moving right after the start of the year, but teaching two intensive 4-week online Ethics classes -- which started in late December, and ended only on the 16th of January -- demanded a lot of time and energy that would have otherwise been spent on other projects, or even on a bit of relaxation and renewal.  so, I'm just getting this first video out today.

There's another important first as well.  So far, believe it or not, we've just been examining and discussing the materials preliminary to the Phenomenology itself -- the long, quite convoluted, but exciting Preface -- and the shorter, more straightforward Introduction.  Those took between them 38 video installments to cover -- almost 20 hours of Half-Hour Hegel!  Now, we're actually moving into the content of the book, starting with the very first portion -- Consciousness -- and the first section of that -- Sense Certainty.

Stylistically, I've decided to stick with more or less the same format as I used for the earlier portions of the series -- that's been working well so far, and the less I have to focus on style, the more I can focus on content -- but with each new section, I change the introductory music, and move to a different color-scheme for the slides I incorporate into the videos (I'll stick with variations on that dark red for the rest of Consciousness).

It feels good to have gotten this far into the text -- it's been almost a year since I started this series, and there's still about another 7/8 of the text to work through, paragraph by paragraph, a bit of a daunting prospect!  But we're now actually in the work itself, getting our hands dirty mucking around in the middle of the dialectic -- it's all pretty much uphill from here, but we've got some great vistas to look forward to.  So, I'm pretty pleased to have started digging into this particular section!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In the Meantime, A Bit of Fun. . .

I'm gearing up for a new round of reading and commentary of Hegel's Phenomenology, starting a bit after the halfway point of January -- we'll be starting the section on Consciousness, with the seemingly pristine origin point of Sense-Certainty!

What has been holding me back from jumping right in is that I've been teaching three online classes that started back in December.  Two of them are intensive 4-week Ethics classes, and those are just about to finish up this week.  I've managed to stay on top of grading, so I hope that by the end of this weekend, I'll be entirely done with those two.

For the other, a 10-week World Views and Values class, I've been producing brand new content about one week ahead of my students -- 6 videos a week, 4 2000-3000 word lessons on main ideas, 3-4 handouts -- so that has been taking a lot of my time and energy away from Hegel-related matters.  But soon. . . .

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Introduction Is Finished!

Caught up in the busyness inherent in the holiday season, and trying to keep afloat while teaching three online courses, I realize that I neglected to mention here that all of the remaining videos covering the Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit were shot, edited, uploaded, and released by late December.

Even worse, I didn't post them in the video page!  Well, "worse" understood very relatively, of course, since no real Hegel-admirer is going to allow him- or herself to get very worked up about a few links not being posted here (one can always track them down, with just a bit of application, and some search savvy!).

In any case, that oversight will soon enough be remedied -- right after I publish this first short post of the New Year -- but here are those last three videos of the Introduction:
After working our way through the Preface and Introduction, we're now ready to begin the Phenomenology proper, going into the section on Consciousness, starting with Sense-Certainty.  I've already started shooting some of the first bits of video footage. . . . 

Let's see just how far we can proceed into the labyrinth of the Spirit in 2015!