Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hegel Holiday Party - Join Us And Raise A Glass!

This month, we've got a milestone to celebrate in the Half Hour Hegel project, and I'd be happy if you'd join me in an online session to do precisely that!

We've passed the 150-video mark in the series, and are very close to the half-way point of the entire Phenomenology!  There's still some material - and very cool stuff, actually - to cover in the 200+-paragraph-long Reason section, but we're almost done with that section of the work, and ready to move into the massive, rich, and fascinating Spirit portion.

I'm going to be opening up the last Google Hangout of the year tomorrow, December 23, from 2-3 PM Central Time - that's where we'll have the party (and I may well stay on for a good bit past the official end-time, depending on what we talk about).  I'll post the link to the hangout as soon as it opens on my social media - my Google+my Facebook, and my Twitter.

I'll be having a beer or two as we carry out our discussion.  Whatever it is that you'd like to drink  - beer, a cocktail, apple cider, coffee, hot chocolate. . . . -  I invite you to join us for a toast to the success of the project, and some enjoyable conversation about Hegel and philosophy!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Finishing Up with the Law Of The Heart

The section "The Law of the Heart and the Frenzy of Self-Conceit" took six videos in total to work our way through.  We're now ready to move on into the next section, "Virtue and the Way of the World".

What we find as we work through this section is that the Law of the Heart does not prove to be a reliable way for the individual person to make sense out of his or her existence through practical action. In fact, the individual ends up really making a mess out of things by following that Law - which is precisely why it ends up in its dialectical opposite, the "frenzy of self-conceit".

It is an age-old story in some respects, but one that assumes particular importance for the modern consciousness.  The person find within him or herself something that protests, that revolts against what seems like an unjust, arbitrary, and exploitative world order - one that not only bears upon a suffering humanity, but even blinds that humanity to its oppression.  So it seems that the right thing to do is to externalize this law of the heart, to substitute it for the ordering governing the world.  But how well does that work out in practice?  That's where adopting a dialectic perspective - which is what Hegel is working out - reveals some fundamental problems with this approach.

Here's the three videos wrapping up this section:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Half Hour Hegel Online Q&A Session Today

The monthly Half Hour Hegel online Q&A session will be taking place later today - from 5:00-6:00 PM Central Time.  If you've got any Hegel-related questions, or you'd just like to chat about Hegel and other matters (we often end up on tangents), come on over to our virtual space!

We'll still be using a Google Hangout for this one, and you can find the link to it - once I open the hangout - posted in multiple places.  I'll put in on my Patreon page, my Facebook page, my Google+ profile, and in my Twitter feed.

Next month, we'll be switching to a new platform, and that will enable us to provide the links ahead of time - and perhaps have a bit more reliable videoconferencing.

I should also mention that in addition to this Q&A session, were also having an online Hegel Holiday Party on the 23rd to celebrate passing the 150-video mark!  More news about that next week.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What "Pleasure in Pleasure and Necessity"?

More than once in the video commentary and in my social media postings of the videos, I remarked that, when it comes to treatments of Hedonism - moral theories that identify pleasure as The Good - the one contained in this short section, "Pleasure and Necessity" is probably one of the oddest discussions one might come across.

You don't have to take my word for that, though.  I suspect there are quite a few commentators who are not entirely happy with this portion of the work.  Jean Hyppolite - a translator and commentator I always enjoy reading - notes "Hegel's abstract language", and points out the need to "show the truly concrete meaning of this experience".  He'll tell us that "[w]hat Hegel has in mind is primarily sensuous love", but he admits "this is never made explicit".

Hyppolite also suggests that Hegel provides "a description of the hedonism of every epoch, albeit, to be sure, a refined hedonism."  I can't say I agree with that qualification myself, and although I can see why one might interpret Hegel's allusive, or even at times almost cryptic remarks about "pleasure" to refer primarily to those of sensuous love, I don't agree with according that primacy.  There's more going on in this passage, I think, when it comes to the pleasure - or pleasures - involved.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Three Videos on the Law Of The Heart

After that short section on Pleasure and Necessity (and I do have another post coming soon, discussing Hegel's treatment of hedonism in that portion of the text), we now have a longer and more complex section - The Law of the Heart and the Frenzy of Self-Conceit.

What Hegel is exploring and examining is a new shape of consciousness, one that he views as particular to modern times in the West.  In the earlier portions of this "Actualization of Self-Consciousness" part of the Reason section, Hegel narrated for us how rational self-consciousness extricated itself from what he had called the "ethical substance" - the culture and community to which the individual belongs, seemingly complete with its laws, mores, and customs, its Sitte.

Self-consciousness tried out an individualism of pleasure-seeking and found it empty.  Now it is going to look within, to its own sentiments, and find a "law of the heart", a law that calls for being externalized, actualized, in and against the social space in which that individual - and all the other ones as well - lives out its existence.  How well will that new project go?  Well, you'll have to see. . .

Here are the first three videos for this section:

Friday, December 2, 2016

A New Perk for Supporters of the Project

I've been dying to share some cool news about the Half Hour Hegel project - specifically about a new perk I've been developing for the supporters of the project - and now I can finally spill the proverbial beans!

We've created an online academy for ReasonIO (my company), using the Teachable platform.  The first class that I published is a free course on Epictetus' Enchiridion.  I just now published the second class - a course site for the Half Hour Hegel project.

This new course lists for $175, but it is FREE for all Patreon supporters of the Half Hour Hegel project.  That's right: anyone who supports the project, even at the $1-per-video level (usually $6 per month) gets full lifetime access to the course site!