• tim wood
    2.7k
    I'm accepting Wallow's invitation to start a reading thread. Maybe he shouldn't have and maybe I shouldn't. We'll see how it goes.

    I'm using Hegel Text and Commentary, by and trans. (both) Walter Kaufman, 3rd ed., 1986. ISBN 0-268-01069-2. This small book is all about Hegel's preface to his Phenomenology, including translation and running commentary on facing pages. About 120 pages total, the preface itself being about 50 pages.

    The idea is that prefaces are the author's attempt to tell the reader what's coming at him or her. Certainly with Kant and Heidegger - and with Hegel - each condenses much in their prefaces to their major works. Indeed, a close reading of the preface can stand as a survey of the whole. That's the idea.

    This is a difficult read. I intend to proceed through it paragraph-by-paragraph, no doubt grouping some together. And there will be rules! Please see the next post.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Rules for Reading Hegel's preface to Phenomenology.

    I'll proceed paragraph-by-paragraph. The preface itself appears to have an internal numbering system. I hope, then, to be able to number the paragraphs in a way that will make it not-too-difficult for someone with their own text to "come alongside." And as well for participants to reference their own posts to the text.

    To understand any book or text requires first that it be read - and understood. That's the task of this thread, and that is the only task of this thread! Opinions and arguments are not welcome! Exception: given a reading, if someone can add light or improve on - or correct - the explication given, then they're very welcome. Or if anyone wants to add their own parallel "reading," also welcome.

    With luck, 50-odd pages, maybe the thing can be done in under 50 - 100 posts!
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    Opinions and arguments are not welcome!tim wood

    Get lost with that. That's not philosophy.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Get lost with that. That's not philosophy.Terrapin Station

    Nice contribution to understanding. Did you not read the post? This thread is not about philosophy; it is about reading and understanding a text - propaedeutic to critical philosphy (you can look that up!). Once that's done you can philosophize all you want. If done before reading and understanding, on the other hand, your efforts are just nonsense. If you just want to jerk-off, go do it somewhere else. There's no easy road here. So why don't you stay off it.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Apologies for Terrapin's irruption. The goal here is both to understand and contribute to understanding - a team effort.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Hegel: [I,1]
    #1
    Hegel offers an account of what prefaces are usually about; e.g., perhaps a survey of the history of the subject, and some reviews of differing approaches, with commentary, etc. But he disqualifies philosophy-as-subject from that kind of regular and usual approach.

    #2, #3
    Why disqualify? He says, "Philosophy deals essentially with the general in which the particular is subsumed." The point being that the general is just an aggregation of knowledge and thus has "no right to the name of science." But: rather, "we must also exert ourselves to master the particulars, the detail"; the general being, generally, "historical and void of concepts." And in a twist, he asserts that such a general introductory discussion on the one hand would seem to aim at truth while at the same time demonstrating that this exact manner of approach "is incapable of grasping the truth."

    So far, a warning to readers to fasten their seat-belts.

    #4
    Most folks, he argues, look for truth or falsity, seeking to be told which is right and which is wrong, an essentially static and rigid framework. Such understanding "does not comprehend the difference of the philosophical systems in terms of the progressive development of the truth, but sees only the contradiction in this difference."

    Kaufman calls this "one of the most interesting and fateful paragraphs in Hegel's writing," with no parallels in "Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, in Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, or in Kant."

    Hegel follows with this: "The bud disappears as the blossom bursts forth, and one could say that the former is refuted by the latter. In the same way the fruit declares the blossom to be a false existence of the plant, and the fruit supplants the blossom as the truth of the plant. These forms do not only differ, but also displace each other because they are incompatible. [They are], however,... elements of an organic unity in which they not only do not conflict, but in which one is as necessary as the other; and it is only this equal necessity that constitute the lie of the whole."

    #5
    From ἄγον to synthesis. Hegel notes that most folks are baffled outside of a non-organic, binary system of right and wrong, and further, that such "a consciousness" can neither (easily) break free from nor remain free from its "one-sidedness," to recognize that "contention and mutual opposition" obscures the relationship of "elements which are necessary to each other."

    Through five paragraphs Hegel has rhetorically cut out a space for his argument, warned that it is out-of-the-ordinary, and in the metaphor of bud-blossom-fruit, apparently established a new philosophy.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k
    This thread is not about philosophy; it is about reading and understanding a text -tim wood

    Yeah, a philosophy text.
  • Marty
    163
    Why not the entire book?
  • Fooloso4
    811
    [Deleted. Not the book tim wood is using and not one of the better translations of Hegel]

    I will join in.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    I think that's Phenomenology of Mind - different book. But that's not to say the two prefaces won't compliment each other!
  • Fooloso4
    811
    I think that's Phenomenology of Mind - different book. But that's not to say the two prefaces won't compliment each other!tim wood

    The German title is "Phänomenologie des Geistes". Geistes is translated as either Spirit or Mind. Same book. The link I provided is not the Kaufmann translation. It is Baille's.

    Could you tell me the first few words of the translation you are using?

    Here is another online translation, by Miller: http://www.faculty.umb.edu/gary_zabel/Courses/Marxist_Philosophy/Hegel_and_Feuerbach_files/Hegel-Phenomenology-of-Spirit.pdf

    And another by Pickard: https://libcom.org/files/Georg%20Wilhelm%20Friedrich%20Hegel%20-%20The%20Phenomenology%20of%20Spirit%20(Terry%20Pinkard%20Translation).pdf

    Couldn't find an online copy of Kaufmann.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Could you tell me the first few words of the translation you are using?Fooloso4

    Yes. "In the preface of a book it is customary to explain the author's aim, the reasons why he wrote the book, and what he takes to be its relationship to other treatments, earlier or contemporary, of the same subect."

    Also, the quoted sections above are in the first few paragraphs (of Kaufman).
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Here is another online translation, by Miller:Fooloso4

    A quick look at Miller shows it a companion piece to Kaufman. Almost difficult to see how they differ. And both, to my eye, easier than Baille's.
  • Fooloso4
    811


    Same work by Hegel. Pinkard:

    1. In the preface to a philosophical work, it is customary for the author to give an explanation ...

    Miller:

    I. It is customary to preface a work With an explanation of the author's aim ...
  • Fooloso4
    811


    I deleted the Baille link. The Pinkard copies and pastes cleanly, the Miller misreads some letters.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Good to go, and I already learned something: same book, two titles. Be my guest if you want to proceed yourself. Maybe we'll have a problem on counting paragraphs, but I think we'll manage. My "philosophy" here is that no matter how good my vision is, there is always a blind spot - in my case sometimes large. And two or more is good for triangulation on meaning.
  • Wallows
    8.5k
    Quite interested, thanks Tim!
  • Fooloso4
    811
    My "philosophy" here is that no matter how good my vision is, there is always a blind spot ...tim wood

    But not Hegel's philosophy! According to him of course.
  • Valentinus
    467

    Is that remark purely about the link?
    Or do you object to using Miller's translation?
  • Banno
    5.6k
    Neat bud-flower-fruit metaphor. The numbering sequence escapes me. In Miller it is in paragraph 2.
  • Fooloso4
    811
    Is that remark purely about the link?
    Or do you object to using Miller's translation?
    Valentinus

    It was about the Baille translation. I deleted the link.

    I think the Miller is still widely used. It was what we used in the last class I took, but that was 20 years ago. The problem is not with the translation but with what happens when you copy and paste from it. Some letters do not copy correctly and have to be fixed.

    I am going to start by using both Miller and Pinkard to see if there is much of a difference.
  • Valentinus
    467

    Thanks.
    I have the printed Miller version and if I quote from it, I will type it in as such.
    This reading project is interesting.
  • tim wood
    2.7k
    Kaufman [I,1] paragraph #6

    Starting with, "The demand for such explanations or confessions and the satisfaction of this demand are easily mistaken for a concern with what is essential." Hegel is setting up his straw men. What could be better, he asks, then to use the aims and results of a work of philosophy as evaluative criteria. But he claims that while this may be the beginning of knowledge, it ought not to be "mistaken for knowledge itself," the mistake becoming "a device for by-passing the real subject matter, while combining the semblance of seriousness and exertion with a dispensation from both."

    #7

    #7 is short enough to reproduce, nor is it condensable. "For the subject matter is not exhausted by any aim, but only by the way in which things are worked out in detail; nor is the result the actual whole but only the result together with its becoming. The aim, taken by itself, is a lifeless generality; the tendency is a mere drift which still lacks actuality; and the naked result is the corpse which has left the tendency behind."

    And just here we - I - start to recognize some problems. First, it's not entirely to the point to just reproduce Hegel's text. Second, it's not easy to "boil down" or condense. And third, Hegel is clearly making a rhetorical appeal - so far - and that's not easy to either neglect or include.

    #8

    Here Hegel distinguishes between criticism, which he holds to be both always outside the subject matter and concerned with "difference," and ultimately self-concerned, and devotion to the subject matter itself.

    #9

    To judge is easy, to grasp more difficult, and most difficult is to combine judgment and grasp to give an account. That is, to critically rethink, to the end of understanding both the thing itself and its dynamic function as both an effect and a cause.

    #10

    Hegel talks about education. From immediacy to a grasp of general principles to the idea of the subject matter, to soon enough give way to "the experience of the subject matter itself. And when... the Concept itself descends into the depth of the subject matter, then... knowledge and judgment will always retain a proper place in discussion."

    #11

    #11 is a bit of a bear. Anyone want to try it? It starts, "The element of truth is the Concept, and its true form the scientific system."
  • Amity
    414
    I am going to start by using both Miller and Pinkard to see if there is much of a difference.Fooloso4

    Thanks for the links, Fooloso4. This morning, I downloaded both. Ater a quick look decided to go with Pinkard. It seems easier to read.
    The Preface itself starts on p50 of the 539 page download.

    Neat bud-flower-fruit metaphor. The numbering sequence escapes me. In Miller it is in paragraph 2.Banno

    Yes. That is a beautiful quote. Still trying to work out its meaning and better understand it in philosophical context. In Pinkard, it is found in the numbered paragraph 2. Will spend some time on this.

    To understand any book or text requires first that it be read - and understood. That's the task of this thread, and that is the only task of this threadtim wood

    With luck, 50-odd pages, maybe the thing can be done in under 50 - 100 posts!tim wood

    I appreciate your aims here and taking on a difficult job. However, the reading group is just starting to assemble. Why the rush through ? It seems such a beautiful and worthwhile piece of writing to be savoured as a read.
    Never thought I could be attracted to Hegel, but there ya' go.

    Anyway, carry on as you decide. It will still be here, if and when, I catch up.
    Best wishes.
  • Wayfarer
    7.7k
    I would be interested to know if it is 'geist' that is translated as 'spirit', and also if the 'science' that Hegel is referring to, could be understood as the German term Geisteswissenschaften, usually translated as 'sciences of the spirit' (a set of human sciences such as philosophy, history, philology, musicology, linguistics, theater studies, literary studies, media studies, and sometimes even theology and jurisprudence, that are traditional in German universities.)

    I was struck by this phrase in #6:

    If, namely, the True exists only in what, or better as what, is sometimes called intuition, sometimes immediate knowledge of the Absolute, religion or being - not at the centre of divine love but the being of the divine love itself - then what is required in the exposition of philosophy is, from this viewpoint, rather the opposite of the form of the Notion. For the Absolute is not supposed to be comprehended, it is to be felt and intuited; not the Notion of the Absolute, but the feeling and intuition of it, must govern what is said, and must be expressed by it.

    The bolded sentence seems obviously mystical to me; it seems suggestive of Eckhardt.
  • Forgottenticket
    155
    Yeah, a philosophy text.Terrapin Station

    It probably would be better if forums like this supported nested comments. Then people could interact with your crits freely without letting it interrupt the reading. That's one of the big reasons why reddit has succeeded in replacing the classic forum because nested discussions are almost impossible to hijack.

    Anyway, I would be interested in a reading group for the complete Hegel book provided we can decide on a free pdf/html translation online. This doesn't seem to be the case with OP.
  • Terrapin Station
    10.4k


    Yeah, although I wouldn't say that regularly asking oneself, "Is this correct? Why is the author claiming this? Is it well-supported? Is the author clearly communicating their ideas?" etc. is "hijacking" any sort of philosophy interaction--it's what we should be doing.
  • Amity
    414
    Another example of Structured reading:

    https://hegelreadinggroup.wordpress.com/phenomenology-of-spirit-2014/

    The Phenomenology of spirit (1807) is the first book Hegel published, and certainly one of his most famous and debated work.

    This year we will read the Preface. Written by Hegel after the whole work was completed, the Preface represents one of the most beautiful and major text  in the history of philosophy. Here Hegel defines his philosphical method and polemically debates with the main previous figures (Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Fichte and Schelling beside others).
     
    https://hegelreadinggroup.wordpress.com/calendar-2014/

    The Phenomenology of Spirit, The Preface

    Week 1     (21 October)                    §§ 1-3

    Week 2     (3 November)                  §§ 4-10

    Week 3     (17 November)                §§ 11-16

    Week 4     (1 December)                  §§ 17-21

    Week 5     (15 December)                §§ 22-29

    Week 6     (12 January)                    §§ 30-39

    Week 7     (26 January)                    §§ 40-51

    Week 8     (9 February)                    §§ 52-62

    Week 8     (12 February)                   §§ 63-72

    As Tim said above:
    'The goal here is both to understand and contribute to understanding - a team effort.'

    So,Tim and team, any thoughts on separating paras along these lines ?
    And time frame ? Too long ?
  • Fooloso4
    811


    Tim, could you take a look at one of the translations I linked to and see if you can find some common numbering? The two I linked use the same numbering system.

    Added: What you have as the beginning of #6 is the beginning of #3:

    3. Those who demand both such explanations and their satisfactions may well look as if they are really in pursuit of what is essential. (Pinkard)

    3. Demanding and Supplying these [superficial] explanations passes readily enough as a concern with what is essential. (Miller)
  • Amity
    414
    3. Those who demand both such explanations and their satisfactions may well look as if they are really in pursuit of what is essential. (Pinkard)

    3. Demanding and Supplying these [superficial] explanations passes readily enough as a concern with what is essential. (Miller)
    Fooloso4

    Thanks for the direct comparison. Confirmed my choice of Pinkard as a more natural read. For me.
    I don't think it matters which online book is used. The great thing is that they are free and readily accessible to all.
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