Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dundee, Dragons and Hegelianism

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the ‘Real Objects or Material Subjects’ Conference at Dundee, a victim of what myself and a colleague jokingly call academic and domestic realism. It seems to have been a particularly good conference, though, and I have been enjoying some of the reflections of the attendees, particularly here, here, here and here (and becoming increasingly nuanced here and here). I suspect I would have been playing catch up and join the philosophical dots for much of the time, like many HE academics in the UK today there seems to be little time for actual reading and research and we frequently feel a little distanced from some of the materials. I remember just smiling and nodding at one of my professors when he advised me to do as much reading as I could while I was a postgraduate, because, he explained, there would be little time for it if I got a job as a lecturer - how right he was!

Anyway, Hegel seems to have loomed large at the conference and it is a long time since I read any. Even when I was an undergraduate it tended to be the young Hegelians who I was reading, most notably Feuerbach and Marx, rather than the man himself. One of few notable phrases I could remember about Hegel was that of the Prussian King Frederick William IV when he courted Schelling to ‘battle the dragon seed of Hegelian pantheism’. It has always stuck with me because of an ongoing interest in pantheism. But I include it today (a) because the dragon seed of Hegelianism is clearly still strong (Zizek perhaps being its leading exponent and incarnation) and (b) self-referentially, because it links so nicely with my previous post.

Come to the Dungeons of Dundee and fight the Dragon seed of Hegelianism, with that kind of advertising I would have been there in a shot.

No comments: