Hegel's interpretation of Sophocles' play Antigone is central to an understanding of woman's role in the Hegelian system. Hegel is fascinated by this play and uses it in both the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Right to demonstrate that familial ethical life is woman's unique responsibility. Antigone is revealed as the paradigmatic figure of womanhood and family life in both the ancient and modern worlds, although there are fundamental differences between these two worlds for Hegel. Through an immanent critique of (...) both the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Right which focuses on the role of woman as presented by Hegel in the figure of Antigone, my analysis reveals the limitations of Hegel’s dialectical theory. (shrink)
Hegel’s interpretation of Sophocles’ play Antigone is central to an understanding of woman’s role in the Hegelian system. Hegel is fascinated by this play and uses it in both the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Right to demonstrate that familial ethical life is woman’s unique responsibility. Antigone is revealed as the paradigmatic figure of womanhood and family life in both the pagan and modern worlds although there are fundamental differences between these two worlds for Hegel. In order to situate the (...) interpretation of this play within its wider context I shall begin with a brief outline of the pagan world described in the Phenomenology. I will then consider the interpretation of this play within the analysis of the modern world in the Philosophy of Right. Throughout, the focus will be on woman’s role in Hegel’s philosophy. (shrink)
Hegel introduced the Phenomenology of Mind as a work on the problem of knowledge. In the first chapter, entitled “Sense Certainty, or the This and Meaning,” he concluded that knowledge cannot consist of an immediate awareness of particulars ). The tradition discusses sense certainty in terms of this failure of immediate knowledge without, however, specifically addressing the problem of reference. Yet reference is distinct from knowledge in the sense that while there can be no knowledge of objects without reference, there (...) may be reference without knowledge. If that is the case, then the failure of immediate knowledge does not entitle us to conclude anything about the success or failure of reference. It is not surprising, then, that a few scholars have begun to examine sense certainty primarily as a thesis about reference. (shrink)
This paper examines the attempt to bring together feminist and ecological concerns in the work of Isaac Balbus and Ynestra King, two thinkers who place the problem of the domination of nature at the center of contemporary liberation struggles. Through a consideration of the abortion issue (which foregrounds the relation between nature and history, and the problem of their "reconciliation") I argue against what I call their abstract pro-nature stance.
For me, the above quotation from the Dialectic of Enlightenment speaks to the profound problem of the other in Hegel’s philosophy, particularly the problem of woman as other in his reading of Sophocles’ Antigone. It also speaks to Hegel’s underlying resistance to woman’s otherness. Many commentators attempt to erase the difficulties that beset Hegel’s philosophy regarding the problem of woman’s difference, her otherness, by conflating the conceptual presentation in the Phenomenology of Spirit of the dialectic of heterosexual difference with the (...) dialectic of the master and the slave. Philip Kain’s “Hegel, Antigone, and Women,” another effort to merge these two dialectics, suffers from the same fatal flaw that characterizes all such attempts. That is, the only way to fuse the two dialectics is to misread them both. Why it seems so necessary to so many to collapse what are clearly two distinct dialectical moments is a question of no little import. I believe the answer to this question has everything to do with a desire to make the otherness of woman disappear, a desire motivated by an “inward and mute” fear of the other. Perhaps it is this same fear that leads Hegel to divide woman into four parts, parts that when combined do not add up to a “whole.” The mere existence of woman as other is certainly a provocation. (shrink)
The first two-thirds of Stuart Swindle’s article, “Why Feminists Should Take the Phenomenology of Spirit Seriously,” amounts to little more than rhetorical misogyny: “Those poor feminists, trapped in ‘the little stories’ of the Hegelian system, unable to see for themselves that what is really important is Hegel’s ‘big story.’ Why those poor creatures, those feminists just cannot see the forest for the trees! How could they be so small-minded: trying to turn such monumental philosophy into “an activists’ handbook”! On top (...) of that, they are so haphazard in their work. Really, their lack of seriousness is just too much to bear!”. (shrink)