Why Half-Hour Hegel?
From 2012 on, viewers and subscribers to my main YouTube channel started asking me to create videos exploring and explaining the thought of the great German Idealist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel.
I did shoot two videos in one of my Introduction to Philosophy classes at Marist College, but those were at a very basic level. Essentially for students with no background in Hegel at all, they just whet the appetites of those who wanted something with a bit more substance. And since I'd shown that I could competently discuss Hegel, the requests for new video content just increased!
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit is not an easy work to discuss in any sort of summarizing manner, and I ruminated about just what sort of videos would be best to create. If I was going to do a series on Hegel's thought, I didn't want to skip over anything important -- and nearly everything turns out to be so! It seemed important to stick closely with the text, and so I decided to take on the commitment of working my way, passage by passage, though the entire work.
In February 2014, I started shooting the first of what is now the Half-Hour Hegel series. Each video tackles anywhere from one to four paragraphs or sections of the Phenomenology of Spirit. For each of those paragraphs, I first read the entire section verbatim, and then I get in front of my blackboard to provide whatever commentary I think might be helpful for the reader or student of Hegel.
This is a pretty massive undertaking. There are over 800 numbered paragraphs to this lengthy, dense text, so if I manage to discuss on average two or three paragraphs to each half-hour installment, I expect the series will run to somewhere between 300 and 350 videos, so 150 to 175 hours of footage! At present, I've published nearly 200 of them.
It will likely take several years to work through the entirety of the Phenomenology. This might seem a rather quixotic enterprise, but for me, it seemed upon reflection to be the only way I could really do full justice to Hegel's text.
So, I've created this blog and website in order to curate the Half-Hour Hegel video series as I progressively produce it. And, since it's here, I thought it might also be useful to provide some pages containing links to Hegel resources -- the idea is to create a virtual locus that will help those interested in Hegel's works and thought (perhaps also in my commentary on the Phenomenology) to make their way into one of his most important and influential texts.
This is, for me, a labor of love and admiration for a great thinker. I'm not, by the way, a Hegelian of any sort of orthodox stripe, but I do definitely think that his philosophical approach has some merits, and makes some lasting contributions to the development not only of philosophy but of human thought in general.
I'm not really sure where this entire project will eventually lead. My hope is that it spurs many people to studying, and perhaps even enjoying, Hegel's Phenomenology.
If you enjoy the videos, comment on them and share them with others. I engage in public speaking, so if you would like to suggest me as a speaker or book me for a talk, a facilitated discussion, or a workshop on Hegel's thought, I'm always game for that. If you'd like to contribute monetarily to support this enterprise, feel free to click the Patreon button on the side, or click here to see my Patreon page.