Hegel's pragmatics of tragedy

Idealistic Studies 36 (3):153-168 (2006)
Abstract
This paper attempts in a preliminary way to bring out the ‘pragmatics’ or ‘performativity’ in Hegel’s conception of tragedy and the tragic in the Phenomenologyof Spirit. The secondary literature has tended to focus on ethical content (the tragic) at the expense of cultic form and dramaturgical enactment (tragedy);and even with the tragic it has tended to overlook the different linguistic levels in use. I argue that the peculiar term ‘Individualität’ allows Hegel, in chapter VI, todescribe a logic of equivocal representation he sees at work in ancient ‘Sittlichkeit’ (ethical life). I argue furthermore that we seriously misrepresent Hegel’s conception of tragedy if we do not include the astonishing claims made of ‘Art-religion’ in chapter VII. Here tragedy takes on a meta-aesthetic color. Hegel sees tragedy as more than an ancient phenomenon, but as a recurring feature in attempts to represent (vorstellen) a speculative truth in sensuous form
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