Do You Speak Hegelese?


There is of course no way around the main problem when it comes to reading Hegel (and, having done perhaps too much of such reading in the past few weeks, I can personally attest to this experience once again, despite not being a complete novice when it comes to GWF-to-the-H) = understanding Hegelese.

Ca. 1886 (James Russell Lowell):

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Hegelese is the language of Hegelian concepts, Hegelian way of putting things. But if it is indeed a language, the question is whether Hegel intentionally created it (the language of concepts as a particular combination of already available words into turgid and often incomprehensible sentences), and if he did, then is it possible to translate it into any other conceptual language or must we simple learn it and use it to the best of our ability?

Many people (including all of the commentators of Hegel) claim to understand it. Some, like Zizek, claim to be able to speak it (or, at the very least, to tell us what it would be “in Hegelese”). But if it is indeed a particular choice made my Hegel, then the obvious conclusion can be reached: he could have and should have said all the things he said in a simpler more accessible language, so that we can all understand what he was trying to say much better.

3 thoughts on “Do You Speak Hegelese?

  1. Though I think Hegel is one of the greatest philosophers of all time, in fact, I think he more or less had the final word on everything and philosophers should have shut up after him, which they didn’t, making all post-hegelian philosophy a tedious exercise in narcissism – I sympathize strongly with J.S. Mill’s take on Hegel, who said that he depraves the mind and he was in a position to know, since he experienced it firsthand.

    • I wouldn’t say Hegel had the final word on everything, but I do think there is a lot of bullshit that followed that could have learned from Hegel and maybe didn’t produce as much nonsense. But then again where would philosophers be if they learned from previous philosophers?

  2. Pingback: Değişim Mevhumuna İlişkin Bazı Aşkınsal Ahkâmlar | Senselogi©

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