The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, and Dialectic

The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, and Dialectic

The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, and Dialectic

The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, and Dialectic


This book is one of the most important recent books on Hegel, a philosopher who has had a crucial impact on the shape of continental philosophy. Published here in English for the first time, it includes a substantial preface by Jacques Derrida in which he explores the themes and conclusions of Malabou's book. The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic restores Hegel's rich and complex concepts of time and temporality to contemporary philosophy. It examines his concept of time, relating it to perennial topics in philosophy such as substance, accident and the identity of the subject. Catherine Malabou's also contrasts her account of Hegelian temporality with the interpretation given by Heidegger in Being and Time , arguing that it is the concept of 'plasticity' that best describes Hegel's theory of temporality. The future is understood not simply as a moment in time, but as something malleable and constantly open to change through our interpretation.The book also develops Hegel's preoccupation with the history of Greek thought and Christianity and explores the role of theology in his thought.Essential reading for those interested in Hegel and contemporary continental philosophy, The Future of Hegel is also fascinating to those interested in the ideas of Heidegger and Derrida.


The title, The Future of Hegel, can be read as an affirmation, as if anticipating a positive response to the question: Does Hegel have a future? At the end of the twentieth century, this question must inevitably be asked. While philosophy, willingly celebrating the greatness of Hegel, acknowledges how much it is in his debt, speculative idealism has been suspected of totalization, and even of having totalitarian designs. If it has not been entirely repudiated, it has at the very least been kept at a distance. It is impossible to consider Hegel's future today as something already guaranteed, established and recognized. This future itself is still to come. It remains to be demonstrated and discovered. Such a demonstration is what the present work intends to provide.

By 'future of Hegel', one must understand first of all the future of his philosophy. 'Future' (avenir), in the ordinary sense of the word, means the time to come (futur), what lies ahead. Etymology confirms this connection: the future (l'a-venir) means that which is to come (ad-vient). But it denotes also that which is capable of lasting: to 'have a future'is to have the right to posterity. Now, and this is the fundamental problem, does the philosophy of Hegel have legitimate descendants? How can it still hold out a promise? How can it continue to play a leading role in our time, when history has shown it to be an enterprise that brings time to an end?

Time: everything began with time. and it is on the account of time that the divorce between Hegel and contemporary philosophy was decreed. the famous conclusion to the Phenomenology of Spirit signed the death sentence, so to speak, of Hegelianism:

Time is the concept itself that is there and which presents itself to consciousness as empty intuition; for this reason Spirit necessarily appears in time, and it appears in time just as long as it has not

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