Thursday, March 02, 2006

Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law.

This qlipping offers an injunction fully consistent with Qant's categorical imperative:

"[T]he first condition for resolving whether to accept or to reject the doctrines which Hegel propounds (I am constrained to make explicit what I should have preferred to leave to be understood) is to read his books: and to put an end to the spectacle, half comical and half disgusting, of the accusation and the abuse of a philosopher by critics who do not know him, and who wage a foolish war with a ridiculous puppet created by their own imaginations, under the ignoble sway of traditional prejudice and intellectual laziness."

- Benedetto Croce, What Is Living And What Is Dead Of The Philosophy Of Hegel


  1. warszawa4:41 PM

    Yes, but. What's the point? Is it a priority, in March 2006, to do justice to Hegel? If so, why?

  2. warszawa6:57 AM

    I apologise for that churlish last comment, which was written late at night after too much work (on an environmental text) and too much news.

  3. " which was written late at night after too much work"

    undoutedly not unlike the mood in which Croce wrote his comment...

    I think you've made the point though - there is no earthly reason to worry about doing justice to Hegel. If on the other hand Hegel can be of use to us, lovely. I feel Hegel has long since done all the good Hegel could do, and far far more damage - or maybe, is just evidence of damage done by men in other professions - but if someone else grasps our world, or herself, better from reading Hegel, that's terrific.

  4. The Kant reference, other than being a very obscure or private joke, was also meant as an obscure implication that it's not Hegel but the injunction to actually read and engage with a subject (rather than to simply have an opinion on a subject because it is de rigeur to have an opinion on that subject) that is important. That's what I found compelling in the quote.

    My own first impulse on finding the quote was to say that this was more importantly the case with Marx, and still more so with reading the shape of the present conjuncture - in the sense of ideology critique and also in the sense of articulating the contents of oppositional activities.

    I am not in any way invested in Hegel per se, or, for that matter, in the rejections of Hegel. Put another way, the point is not to do justice to Hegel but to do justice to our own needs to do justice to the injustices in the world and the attempts and rectifying them, about which is insufficient and insulting to merely opine abstractly and without thoroughgoing engagement.

    I hope that clarifies.

  5. Yes, clear! Good point. Talking Out Of Arse is a plague!

    "about which is insufficient and insulting to merely opine abstractly and without thoroughgoing engagement."

    Too true. (Some lovely irony here as Hegel was not infrequently guilty of this himself)....

  6. Agreed. Looking over the post again I can see how the reference wasn't clear. I in no way meant to say anything like "what the movement needs to today is to stridently return to dialectics." Or to stridently reject, for that matter. I find the philosophy-politics connection to be tenuous at best, though it's one I don't want to entirely give up on. What the movement needs today is more movement, and some honest conversations about how to start that, instead of any kind of posturing. Of course, my own posturing against opining and opining against posturing is not excepted from criticism.

  7. ---TV BOYCOTT!!!!------

    for a start? Can we? Shall we?

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. As individual lifestyle or as mass action? We certainly can. I already do the former. I'm game. What's the five year plan?