Study day (June 15th, 2016): Hegel’s philosophy of society and religion

with Paul Cobben (Tilburg) / Arthur Kok (Tilburg) / Stefan Bird-Pollan (Kentucky)

In the course of the research seminar on Hegel’s Science of Logic Paul Cobben, Stefan Bird-Pollan and Arthur Kok provided an insight into Hegel’s philosophy of society and religion for the seminar participants as well as the graduating and doctoral students of the department.

Arthur Kok (University of Tilburg) gave a speech on “Hegel’s Concept of Religion and the Question of a Multi-cultural Society”. In his lecture he presented the attempt to confront Hegel and Rawls. The systematic development of morality, religion and philosophy as it can be found in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit was identified as a missing aspect in Rawls’ theory. One of the crucial aspects was the analogy between the relativization of one’s own doctrine as a step towards reason in Rawls and the role of religion as an indispensable mediating step in the development of the Notion (Begriff) in Hegel.

In his speech “Thinking Through the Negative. Adorno’s Reading of Hegel” Stefan Bird-Pollan (University of Kentucky) dealt with Adorno’s reception and critique of Hegel. According to his lecture, Adorno’s critique of Hegel refers to an overemphasis on the subject as opposed to the object, whereas Adorno does not consider the subject to take precedence over the object, but rather thinks both sides as co-constitutive elements which should be understood as historically grown factors. Recognizing the historical dimension of Hegel’s thinking, there is still a “pathological thinking of identity” at work in Hegel, which does not appreciate enough the role of non-identity (das Nicht-Identische), the aspect of knowledge which always remains negative.

Paul Cobben (University of Tilburg) talked about “The Importance of Religion in Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right from the Perspective of the Phenomenology of Spirit”. In his lecture he asked, which role religion plays for the realization of freedom in Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Cobben developed numerous analogies between the steps of realization of Self-Consciousness in the Phenomenology of Spirit and in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Finally, according to Cobben an analogous reading can be derived from the development of, first, Religion in the Form of Art, then Revealed Religion and, finally, Absolute Knowledge in the Phenomenology of Spirit for the understanding of the development of the family, subsequently the system of needs and, finally, the state in the Philosophy of Right.