Under The Sun

Tuesday, March 04, 2003



NDPR: The Other

"Freedom is the "internalization" of externality so that things remain bound, but their being bound to each other is constitutive of what they are. The bonds are now understood to be internal to the nature of things so that each is what it is only by being part of a whole. Thus, freedom is necessity comprehended, posited and surpassed (aufgehoben). Although abstractly formulated, Hegel’s conception of freedom is a social infinite: to wit, a finite thing’s internalization of its connection to its other, and its recognition that it and its other are reciprocally constitutive produces genuine, rather than spurious, infinity. Freedom is a genuine infinite which consists in remaining at home with self in its other, or expressed as a process, of coming to self in its other. Being at home with self in other is a holistic conception of freedom which is embodied in Hegel’s account of ethical life and its institutions."

--Robert Williams, revewing Will Dudley, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Philosophy: Thinking Freedom

This presages in an important way the supposedly postmodern notion of the Other as interdependent with the Self. If Hegel in fact meant this--one can never be quite sure what Hegel meant, because he said it so badly--he was rather ahead of his time.


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