File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2000/bhaskar.0009, message 71

Subject: BHA: Hegel and Kierkegaard
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 19:17:06 +0100

Hi Gary,

Good to hear that you agree about the progressive nature of philosophical
system-building.  However, I have to say that I would question whether some
of the statements you have made about Kierkegaard in earlier posts are
compatible with this.  I would not dispute that Kierkegaard is a progressive
thinker on religious matters, but his whole method is unamenable to system
(or precision) which is why he is regarded as the founder of postmodernism.
I call him a lesser philosopher because of his unsystematic approach.
Contrast this with a philosopher like Adorno who was suspicious of system
but still laid out his ideas in a systematic manner.

On Hegel, I can't let you get away with the old chestnut that he was "an
apologist for the status quo" without some comment.  Some scholars and Hegel
experts now believe, and it was aired at the Warwick Critical Realist
conference, that Hegel avoided public criticism of the Prussian regime in
his later years because he considered this necessary in order to preserve
the continuation of philosophy in Prussia.  Is this a cop-out?  I would
direct you to the recent biography of Hegel by Terry Pinkard for an argument
that it is in fact the truth.  In the unlikely event that you are right and
Hegel did sell out in the 1820s this would not negate the massive importance
of his earlier works, particularly The Science of Logic.  I have no
hesitation in saying that if Hegel had not lived the development of humanity
would have been retarded by decades if not centuries.  Marx's Das Kapital is
methodologically based on the first hundred pages of The Science of Logic.
For me, Hegel was the greatest philosopher and thinker who has ever lived.

Warm regards,

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