Thursday, June 26, 2008

QOTD: Hegel's Got You

(((Judith Butler; the inescapable logic of the dialectic; freedom is irrelevant [isn't that *almost* a great Hegel pun?]; resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.)))

Noticed this today in Michael Hardt's book on Deleuze.
References to a "break" with Hegel are almost always impossible, if only because Hegel has made the very notion of "breaking with" into the central tenet of his dialectic.
-- Judith Butler, Subjects of Desire p. 184
Why say "almost"? Hegel will always be tapping you on the shoulder. Indeed one wonders if there's anyway to avoid Hegel even if you make a point of never talking about him and never using any of his vocabulary. The thing is that that would be taken, with some justification, as a marker that you really aren't reckoning with arguably the most important philosopher in Western history.

PKD might compare the dialectic to a Chinese finger-trap -- the harder you try to get out, the more stuck you get. It might be better to avoid Hegel altogether, except that that would be dumb, not because you would look dumb, but because it would be like trying to do quantum mechanics while ignoring Heisenberg.

So, what is to be done with/about Hegel? Isn't that the most basic question in contemporary philosophy? Or am I making too much of it?

1 comment:

Simon said...

My father–in–law says much the same about Kant.