rejects the systematic side of Hegel in favour of a
(Romantic) open-ended dialectic, he would not make the distinction between the public
and the private in exactly the way Hegel does. For example, he regards the Phenomenology
in much the same way as I do, that is, as in some respects being more signiﬁcant as a
‘private’ text. My diﬀerence from Rorty is described below.
In some respects this is reminiscent of Kant’s idea, in the Foundation of the Metaphysics
of Morals, that we can never ﬁnally know if we act morally, as there
Melancholic dispositions and conscious unhappiness
, Negative Dialectics, 6.
74 G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1977), 10.
75 G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, trans. H.B. Nisbet
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 78–9.
76 Karl Marx, ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’, in Karl Marx: Selected Writings, ed. David
McLellan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 227.
77 Marx, ‘The Poverty of Philosophy’, 213. For an interesting account of Hegelian
thought in this regard, see Robyn Marasco, The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory
that has reoriented the historical assumption that it
has any existence or meaning outside of the social and historical contexts in which
it is deployed. Power is a force that is not harnessed but rather discursively produced in specific circumstances and through specific institutions, epistemologies,
and phenomenologies. It is considerably less repressive than it is productive, and
it is better thought of as being exercised rather than possessed. In refuting the
top-down, hierarchical approach to power that had been characteristic of liberal
’s account of ‘Lordship and Bondage’ in the Phenomenology of Mind
in these terms. In modern capitalism it is more and more possible to be in the
position of the consuming, unproductive lord and not to be in the position of
the bondsman who can develop into the genius. In modernity art can express
what is repressed by our cognitive and economic control of nature, and by our
Modern philosophy and aesthetic theory
disciplining of ourselves under the division of labour. However, the increasing
domination of our self-descriptions by the discoveries of the natural sciences
easy to distinguish
from language than he claims.
The central issue here is what deconstruction, in the wake of Heidegger, calls
the ‘metaphysics of presence’. What the term refers to is exempliﬁed in Hegel’s
account of language in the Phenomenology. Derrida has characterised what he
means by metaphysics as ‘presence’ in terms of reﬂexive ‘hearing oneself speaking’, and this idea is apparent in Hegel’s comments, in which the individual
subject hears itself speaking via the language it shares with other subjects. Hegel
describes language as
the existence of Geist. It