Hegel on the Origin of Social Hierarchy – Phenomenology of Spirit to Philosophy of Right

When:14 Mar 2017, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Red Centre, room 4034
Who:Remo Bodei (UCLA)
Remo Bodei

Philosophy Seminar


In the Berlin period Hegel considered the western world and philosophy destined to be entering a phase of decline. Some irreconcilable contradictions drive philosophy, the owl of Minerva that spreads its wings with the falling of dusk, to carefully watch and examine this difficult epoch, and to push the “mole” of history to dig underground. The owl sees but does not; the mole does, but sees not. Whereas in the previous years he had believed that a new world was about to emerge, the Berlin Hegel felt himself placed in a time when the prospects for the future appeared dark, both for political and philosophical reasons.

The role of philosophy now consisted of carefully watching the contradictions of reality – which are mainly economic and political – in order to accelerate the end of that world and culture fated to decline, leaving to the mole the task of creating a new world, interpreted by new philosophies, about which at the moment we cannot say anything. The system, the “circle of circles” of the Berlin system, is, in fact, a continuous process of “enrichment”, analogous – according to Hegel – to the “circulating richness” in the economic field, which constantly increases its mass in proportion to its previous size, engulfing the concrete, through contradictions, and turning it into its “abbreviation”: money. The world has again accelerated its unconscious movement, forcing philosophy to bring its ‘enlightenment’ in the twilight over which the “hidden spirit, beating at the doors of the present” looms. The work of deciphering Wirklichkeit, the effectual reality, through thought cannot come to an end.

About Remo Bodei

Remo Bodei is professor emeritus at the University of Pisa, and has taught for many years at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, at the UCLA, and at several European Universities. He studied in Pisa, Tübingen, Freiburg, Heidelberg and Bochum, with teachers such as Ernst Bloch, Eugen Fink, Karl Löwith and Dieter Henrich. His work has concentrated on classical German philosophy, political philosophy, and many other themes, and his numerous books have been translated into fifteen languages.

Professor Bodei’s talk at UNSW Sydney is organized in cooperation with the Philosophy Research Initiative at Western Sydney University, and the Australian Hegel-Society.

Please note also Professor Bodei’s talk at the State Library of NSW on March 15:


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