Who’s Afraid of Subjectivity?
Session 1- Hegel
What is the thinking subject’s relation, if any, to the object of its thinking activity? Can philosophy think the object without any relation to, or dependence on, the knowing subject? This first session deals with these fundamental metaphysical problems by engaging in a close reading of Hegel. We will start with Hegel’s preliminary discussion of the relation between cognition and knowledge in the Phenomenology of Spirit in order to appreciate the subject-object relation. We will then briefly look at Hegel’s criticism with empirical knowledge in the Encyclopedia Logic, before turning to Hegel’s speculative philosophy. Finally, we will see why Hegel maintains that the distinction between idealism and realism is illusory
Session 2: Dialectics, Materialism, and Contradiction
In the second session we will turn from Hegel to Marx. Marx’s famous eleven theses on Feuerbach provides the basis for a dialectical conception of materialism that does not de-centre, or negate the role of the subject. The status of the subject in contemporary philosophy is something that is explored in Subject Lessons. We will go over the central themes and ideas laid out in the introduction, before ending with a discussion of Hegel’s concept in relation to a self-reflexive materialist philosophy that does not contradict itself, namely, materialism with the absolute idea.
Borna Radnik is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the Centre for Research
in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London.
His articles have appeared in journals including Continental Thought and
Theory, Radical Philosophy, and Crisis and Critique. He is currently completing his doctoral dissertation, the working title of which is Hegel and the Double Movement of Necessity and Freedom