Fragments on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Below are a few reflections after teaching a module on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit this past week. My natural inclinations draw me to Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, but every time I return to Hegel’s writing after some time apart I start to worry I’ve allowed myself to fall into a caricatured understanding of his trickster-like dialectical method. I’m reminded of…

Thinking While Naked

Here is an intriguing article in Wired magazine by Jonah Lehrer. He reflects upon the implications of an experiment attempting to gauge the cognitive significance of nakedness. It looked at how our attribution of agency to others is effected by what they wear and how attractive they are. The results: Pictures of the faces of…

Types of Explanation in Whitehead and Hegel

I’m still working my way through Hegel and Whitehead: Contemporary Perspectives on Systematic Philosophy (1986), ed. by George R. Lucas, Jr. Today I read Klaus Hartmann’s (University of Tubingen) essay, “Types of Explanation in Hegel and Whithead”. Hartmann finds both similarities and differences in their respective approaches to philosophy. Among the similarities, he notes their…

Ecology of Mind, Economy of Play, Energy of Delight

Meaning is infinite because language is indefinitely recursive, because “world” is a word, such that “word” has no world to refer to. Words refer only to themselves, except Yours, your Name, who is the Word but mustn’t know it. “Reality” is a word referring to a set of alphanumeric-audiovisual symbols inherited from an ancient alchemical cult. Sense is infinite…

The Feat of Human Flight

Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, and now Icarus is closing in on the Sun. Daedalus reverse engineered the technology of angels and made man into bird. Will our wax wings melt in the light of space, or has the fire of spirit burst free of heavier elements? With each invention, are we more upright, or…

Nature as Spirit’s Symbol

Emerson believed that Nature was emblematic of Spirit, that Her productivity and instinctuality were symbolic expressions of Its creative intelligence. If this be true, then the philosopher’s desire for a romantic partner is analgous to his or her desire for wisdom. The two are both erotic desires, though the one be for flesh and blood,…

Fragile Gaia: a gift for God?

“Truth, and beauty, and goodness, are but different faces of the same All.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson I’ve just returned from the lawn outside the postern here at Schumacher. Sean Kelly lead a discussion circle with several of us that was intended to be a space for us to reflect on how the knowledge we’d internalized…