Thursday, July 28, 2016

Free Online Hegel Seminar Coming in August

We’ve been invited by the people over at the Partially Examined Life to partner with them in offering what they call “souped-up Not School content”.

As a first offering, I’m proposing a PEL Citizen’s reading group culminating in a free seminar I’ll provide in August, focused on the “Master-Slave Dialectic” portion of G.W.F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (i.e. Self-Consciousness, B.IV.A, paragraphs 178-196). 

 This will be reading/study group for the month of August on the Master-Slave dialectic, which will culminate in a 2-hour online discussion seminar that I’ll lead during an afternoon towards the end of August (see below about how the date will be determined).

We’ll be using a video-conferencing platform called FreeConferenceCall. This is the same platform we use for our longer (4-6 week) philosophy classes offered through ReasonIO. Participants in the reading group will be provided the link to log in and participate in the seminar.  To kick off this partnership with the PEL Not-School, I’m offering this seminar on Hegel entirely free of charge. Future monthly 2-hour seminars are going to have a modest fee (but PEL citizens will be offered a special rate).

We’re going to cap this group at 20 participants. I’m not going to specify any prerequisites for this group. Anyone interested in this topic can join. Hegel is notoriously difficult reading, but this is a short section, and I’ll be suggesting some useful resources that might make studying this rich text significantly easier.

I’m offering participation in this seminar to my YouTube subscribers, ReasonIO clients, and my social media followers – and suggesting they join up as PEL citizens – so you might see a few new faces in the group as well.

If you're a reader of this blog, you already know where you can find a copy of the Miller translation of the text - but here's the link anyway.  You also know where you can find the eight Half Hour Hegel lecture videos on the Master-Slave dialectic - but again, here's the link anyway as well.

I’ve created a short survey for those who are interested in participating in this reading group and the online seminar I’ll lead in the last week of August. I’m looking for input that will help me determine which day and time would work best, as well as other information that will be useful for me in planning additional seminars for the months ahead.  If you're interested in participating in this reading group and seminar, make sure to fill out the survey!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

First Three Videos in the Physiognomy and Phrenology Section

We've been making some decent progress in video commentary production on the next section of the Phenomenology.  Officially, it bears a rather longish title - "Observation of self-consciousness in its relation to its immediate actuality", but it is far more famous for its sub-title, "Physiognomy and Phrenology."

You might wonder why Hegel devotes so much discussion to two bodies of spurious "science" that have long been recognized in our own times as "pseudo-science".  And you might also wonder if because of those topics - even given the fact that Hegel is deeply critical of them - perhaps this section is too dated to be of any contemporary interest. . . .

Well, that would be dead wrong, and if you read through the section, I think you'll notice two things.  On the one hand, Hegel provides us with a lot of very interesting reflections about action, agency, language, individuality, freedom, and determinism - stuff that you might have read in more recent philosopher's works, but can now see being examined right there in this early 19th century text.  On the other hand, some of what Hegel has to say about what many people were unable to recognize as pseudo-sciences in his own time, and based policy and institutional decisions on, might just have some applications today. . .

In any case, here's the first three of the commentary videos for you: