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    Recently I've been trying to get my head round the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel, and I'm failing badly. It all just seems so incoherent and obscurantist.

    For example:

    "God is, as it were, the sewer into which all contradictions flow."

    “Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.”

    “Dialectics gives expression to a law which is felt in all grades of consciousness and in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of dialectic. We are aware that everything finite, instead of being inflexible, is rather changeable and transient; and this is exactly what we mean by the dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as implicitly other than it is, is forced to surrender its own immediate or natural being, and turn suddenly into its opposite.”

    “Only one man ever understood me, and he didn't understand me.”

    “The state of man's mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world as he so far views it.”

    Another thinker I'm struggling to get to grips with is Martin Heidegger, for the same reasons as above. I tried to read Being and Time and just could not understand a word of it. Other thinkers like this include Jacques Derrida and Jean Paul Sartre. I mean, when you strip away all the fancy language, what are you really left with?

    Contrast these guys with thinkers like David Hume or Aristotle who have solid, well thought out ideas written down in a coherent and logical way.
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    I don't understand what you want?
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    I always think it's worth remembering that often you are reading a work which has been translated from its original language, and inexorably this can change the nuances of the intended meaning.
    More practically, perhaps you could buy a simple introduction to philosophy book for explanations of paticular phrases? :dontknow:
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    How don't you get this? Seems simple enough to me :rolleyes: . Anyway I will put my interpretation of these into simple english for you.

    "God is, as it were, the sewer into which all contradictions flow."
    The concept of God contradicts our worldly understanding

    “Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.”
    Philosophical concepts and interpretations of the world correspond to what happens in reality and what is real

    “Dialectics gives expression to a law which is felt in all grades of consciousness and in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of dialectic. We are aware that everything finite, instead of being inflexible, is rather changeable and transient; and this is exactly what we mean by the dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as implicitly other than it is, is forced to surrender its own immediate or natural being, and turn suddenly into its opposite.”
    Everything can be viewed in more than one way and therefore all interpretations are subjective, without deep, real meaning

    “Only one man ever understood me, and he didn't understand me.”
    You have to realise that you cannot understand the ideas, interpretations and emotions of other people. When you understand this you can understand other people

    “The state of man's mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world as he so far views it.”
    First conceptions are personal and cannot be influenced

    Hope my ideas are at least vaguely correct
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    I always think it's worth remembering that often you are reading a work which has been translated from its original language, and inexorably this can change the nuances of the intended meaning.
    More practically, perhaps you could buy a simple introduction to philosophy book for explanations of paticular phrases? :dontknow:
    Very true. I remember reading beyond good and evil and having to look at the footnotes constantly as emphases etc. are lost in translation.

    Oxford classics are very good for making the reader aware of any implicit meaning in the original text :yes:
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    Recently I've been trying to get my head round the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel, and I'm failing badly. It all just seems so incoherent and obscurantist.

    For example:

    "God is, as it were, the sewer into which all contradictions flow."

    “Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.”

    “Dialectics gives expression to a law which is felt in all grades of consciousness and in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of dialectic. We are aware that everything finite, instead of being inflexible, is rather changeable and transient; and this is exactly what we mean by the dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as implicitly other than it is, is forced to surrender its own immediate or natural being, and turn suddenly into its opposite.”

    “Only one man ever understood me, and he didn't understand me.”

    “The state of man's mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world as he so far views it.”

    Another thinker I'm struggling to get to grips with is Martin Heidegger, for the same reasons as above. I tried to read Being and Time and just could not understand a word of it. Other thinkers like this include Jacques Derrida and Jean Paul Sartre. I mean, when you strip away all the fancy language, what are you really left with?

    Contrast these guys with thinkers like David Hume or Aristotle who have solid, well thought out ideas written down in a coherent and logical way.
    Well what is it about Hegel that particularly interests you?

    You have picked one of the most notoriously difficult philosophers there are to read.

    Perhaps best to start with a guide or companion to Hegel, or a commentary.

    Not so sure about reading Aristotle being easy and straightforward... many of his surviving works are lecture notes!
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    I was forced to learn Hegel...
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    I always think it's worth remembering that often you are reading a work which has been translated from its original language, and inexorably this can change the nuances of the intended meaning.
    More practically, perhaps you could buy a simple introduction to philosophy book for explanations of paticular phrases? :dontknow:
    Yeah, this is a good point, I find Sartre and Derrida so much easier in French.

    I don't really see how the quotations in the OP are too confusing though, tbh.

    EDIT: I also have to admit that Hegel made a lot more sense to be after watching I Heart Huckabees :mmm:
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    Yes, Hegel doesn't really make much sense.
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    "If I say that I am unable to jump more than 10 feet in the air, or cannot read because I am blind, or cannot understand the darker pages of Hegel, it would be eccentric to say that I am to that degree enslaved or coerced." Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty

    There you go; even one of the cleverest guys ever says that Hegel is as hard to read as it would be for a blind man to see. I'd advise you get some kind of reader or commentary to help follow as you go along.

    I'd object to what you're insinuating at the end of your post, that because it is possible to write good philosophy clearly, unclear philosophy must not be good, though.
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    Hegel wants to explain the development of human history. He thinks that the development of humanity is a reflection of the development of the weltgeist which is essentially the mind of a (pantheistic) God. But God can only come to know himself through humanity in the same way that a painter comes to know himself by painting and seeing himself in it. Another crucial idea is that the development of humanity follows a pattern which is of making its inner nature explicit.
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    Paul Strathern infact has a series of audiobooks, "_in 90 minutes". There's one on Hegel which'll give you some clarity.
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    (Original post by HappinessHappening)
    Another thinker I'm struggling to get to grips with is Martin Heidegger, for the same reasons as above. I tried to read Being and Time and just could not understand a word of it. Other thinkers like this include Jacques Derrida and Jean Paul Sartre. I mean, when you strip away all the fancy language, what are you really left with?

    Contrast these guys with thinkers like David Hume or Aristotle who have solid, well thought out ideas written down in a coherent and logical way.
    A lot of philosophers agree with you. According to one of my tutors, for instance, life's too short to read Hegel.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    A lot of philosophers agree with you. According to one of my tutors, for instance, life's too short to read Hegel.
    Brilliantly put! + Rep!
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    (Original post by danadd9)
    Paul Strathern infact has a series of audiobooks, "_in 90 minutes". There's one on Hegel which'll give you some clarity.
    ...being the operative word.
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    I find the context of Hegel's writings more interesting than what he has to say himself. Rather, it would be "nice" to be able to refer to Hegel coherently but I think there are other philosophers that hit on the points he tries to far better than he does.

    Also his critics are the authors of some of my favourite works. So, :excited: NO FANX.
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    Sartre Being and Nothingness was the hardest thing I ever read. I couldn't say for sure to what degree the difficult language is a result of translation and/or a result of philosophical tradition, it's not so helpful that there aren't many English speaking continental philosophers.
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    (Original post by Komakino)
    Sartre Being and Nothingness was the hardest thing I ever read. I couldn't say for sure to what degree the difficult language is a result of translation and/or a result of philosophical tradition, it's not so helpful that there aren't many English speaking continental philosophers.
    Try reading 'Critique of Dialectical Reason'!
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    Schopenhauer beats Hegel.

    lol.

    I think so anyway.
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    (Original post by caroline147)
    Yeah, this is a good point, I find Sartre and Derrida so much easier in French.

    I don't really see how the quotations in the OP are too confusing though, tbh.

    EDIT: I also have to admit that Hegel made a lot more sense to be after watching I Heart Huckabees :mmm:
    :no:
 
 
 
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