the month belongs to Hegel

HegelI’m currently reading Stephen Houlgate’s An Introduction to Hegel: Freedom, Truth and History. I have to keep reminding myself that reading about Hegel is time well spent, even if it what I read is suspicious. I should, in all likelihood, be trying to read him in German but I decided to give myself a break and read something in English. And although this is an “Introduction” Houlgate goes in depth on the important aspects of Hegel’s philosophy. Houlgate writes like the devote Hegelian he is (a quick peek at his faculty page at the University of Warwick shows his obsession). Hegel is undoubtedly an important figure in German philosophy and I would be mocked if I didn’t sharpen my knowledge of Hegel while here in Heidelberg. Knowledge of his works will also prove to be useful in understanding my new philosophical love interest, Karl Löwith.Löwith

It just so happens that Hegel’s phenomenological heir, Husserl, was once a teacher of Löwith’s. Husserl was also close friends with Heidegger (but not vice versa) and Heidegger was also a teacher and friend of Löwith’s (before WWII got in the way). It gets tricky trying to remember which philosopher had a crush on which philosophy or which school of philosophy so and so belonged to. The dot connecting can be fun, sometimes unexpected and sometimes the topic of a paper.

sisyphus.jpgOne such fruit, that came from reading this introduction, was a link between Hegel’s master/slave dichotomy and Albert Camus’ “solution” in his Myth of Sisyphus. I’m leaving this ambiguous because it might be fun to actually write a paper on it one day. I’m expecting (and somewhat oddly hoping) that any influences on Camus’ work from Hegelian philosophy will be influences sifted through the mind of Karl Marx. See how all of these philosophers play on the same playground and use the same toys? Maybe that is why I like Löwith so much – because he shows how philosophers and ideas are indebted to each other (at least those in the 19th century).

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