The Contradiction Choice
The First Case on How We Must Choose What It Means That We Must Experience “The True as Rational”
As noted in “The Absolute Choice,” ‘when we consider what statement had the most deleterious effect on the propagation of [Hegel’s] philosophy,’ Dr. McGowan think it’s clear:¹
‘What is rational is actual;
and what is actual is rational.’²
Dr. McGowan discusses the term “Vernunft,” which means “reason,” alongside “Wirklichkeit,” which means “actuality,” and claims that the radicalness of the famous phase doesn’t rest in the term “actual,” but instead in the term “rational,” which Dr. McGowan stresses is ‘the ability to think and internalize contradiction. Reason is the highest form of thought, the point at which thought accomplishes what mere being cannot.’³ There is no such thing as “contradiction,” which is to say it is a “pure thought” (as discussed in “Hegel and the Ontological Implications of ‘Pure Thought’ About What’s Not There” by O.G. Rose), and thus there can be no “contradiction” in “being,” which means that for reason to consider “contradiction” is for reason to consider what it alone can consider.⁴
But do we ever actually think “contradiction?” It’s arguably that we never think “a square circle,” only think we do, and this is a fair point. However, even if it was the case that there were some “contradictions” I couldn’t think, it wouldn’t follow that I couldn’t think any “contradictions,” no more than the fact I can be mistaken proves that I am always wrong. There are “wrong contradictions,” we could say, as there are “wrong answers.” Even if I couldn’t think of “a circle square,” it is possible for me to mistake a cat as a groundhog, which would be for me to think that a thing was what it wasn’t’ (A = B) — a contradiction. Furthermore, we can always try to think a “contradiction,” which even if we don’t succeed at, the very fact we can try is evidence that our thinking is not bound by materiality and/or immediacy. Also, I can imagine the sides of a square curving in and “approaching” a square circle, which is to say I can “approach contradiction,” which would be a “movement away” from materiality. What kind of being must I be to be capable of thinking which can “move” this way? That is the question Hegel leaves us to consider.
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I can study a car, which seems to tell me in its very facticity that “it is for transportation,” and think to myself, “I could sleep there.” In this way, I could think of a car as both a “thing for transportation” and “a bed,” and yet the possibility of a using a car for a bed is not readily “given to me” by the facticity and structure of the vehicle. I can also think, “That car has changed,” when the car I’m driving now isn’t the same as it was five minutes ago (let alone five years ago). Hegel and Dr. McGowan stress the connection between “contradiction” and “becoming,” noting also “paradox,” which is to say that arguably the main way we “think contradiction” is to think of things as “solid” and “what we experience them as,” when things are rather constant “processes” and beyond our experience. Things are not what we take them to be, and yet we are able to “take them” that way all the same.
As discussed in “On ‘A Is A’ ” by O.G. Rose, my thoughts are an A/A, and the world is an A/A, and A/B arises between my thoughts and the world, which I must always be bringing together into an encounter to effectively function. Thus, to “be uniquely human,” I must always be participating in and “becoming like” an A/B, which is a contradiction, but not a contradiction that leads to an effacement. No, this contradiction forces me to “negate” my impression of what things are and “sublate” them into what the things are “becoming” and “unveiling” (in their “suchness”). The Hegelian “contradiction” is not the same as a “logical contradiction” or mere mistake, such as “2 = 5.” The phrase “2 = 5” cannot negate/sublate, while Iago’s ‘I am not what I am’ changes a story.
When I say we can “think contradiction,” I would not mean to say that we can “think 2 = 5,” per se, but to instead say we can “think that things are not what we experience them as” (“things are not what they are”). Yes, we can experience change, but we can also think beyond the change we are always experiencing, which means we can think beyond “the horizon” of our immediacy. It is possible for me to make mistakes, to fall into irony, to act paradoxically, all of which suggests the possibility of humans to live and think beyond A/A. Realizing this, we find ourselves with a choice.
To think “solidifies” things into “beings,” whereas “contradiction” doesn’t “close things off” from change. We can associate “analytical thinking” with “being” (A/A) and “contradiction” with “becoming,” and hence why Hegel employs us to organize “reason” around “contradiction” (A/B). Now, this doesn’t mean “analytical thinking” and “being” are bad (in fact, they are necessary and unavoidable), only that we tend to “overfit” A/A (as expanded on in “Alterology and ‘A Is A’ ”). If we literally experienced everything as “processes” and constant “becomings,” we would struggle to function, and yet things are “becomings.” Hegel understood this, and Hegel saw how “contradiction’ was the way thought “glimpsed beyond” its need to take in the world as “beings.”
Naturally, thinking considers the world “rightly ordered” when things are presented as “beings,” which means thinking in a way associates “rightness” with a mistake. This is a necessary mistake, yes, but it’s one Hegel would have us negate so that we could be sublated. But what are we sublated into? Contradiction and “becoming,” schemas which thought “naturally” associates with error. For Hegel, thought goes through a time “in the error” of being (A/A) so that it can be ready to “negate” itself into “the apparent error” of becoming (A/B). This won’t be easy though, for thought has associated “being” with “rightness” for so long, but this change is necessary if the “collective consciousness” of humanity isn’t to fall into effacement (a failure “The Meaning Crisis” suggests we are suffering).
There must be “being” to “be-come,” but our tendency is to keep “being as being” (A/A), which is an effacement. We need to negate “being” into a sublation of “becoming” (which also means that all “negations of abstraction into concretion” will require constant re-constitution so that “be-coming” is maintained), and for Hegel that is what occurs when reason encounters contradiction, that great ‘impossibility within the field of possible experience.’⁵ For us, all that is possible “in experience” is “being” (A/A), which means that we must “think beyond experience” to grasp “becoming” (A/B), and Hegel singles out “the thought of contradiction” as necessarily a thought beyond experience, suggesting reason should center on contradiction to escape the effacement of “being.”
Experience and “given actuality” must lead us to conclude “A = A” and/or that “thinking according to being is best,” which Hegel notes is a giant trap: we are organized by thinking to “rationally” lead ourselves into effacement. This point warrants stressing: reason which is only organized by experience will rationally end up “effaced” (and so arguably isn’t even “reason” at all). Experience is the realm of “being,” and so rationality will rationally operate according to “being” (A/A) if experience is all there is, or if ultimately everything (“that matters”) “can be experienced.” Dr. McGowan tells us that ‘[a]ctuality is what thought determines as significant in external reality,’ and so if we decide that “contradiction matters,” then “contradiction” becomes part of “actuality” and what reason expresses.⁶ But if we instead decide that “contradiction” is foolishness and doesn’t matter, then “non-contradiction” is all that constitutes “actuality” and thus what reason expresses. Thus, our choice regarding the importance of “contradiction” is massive in determining the nature of “actuality.” (Please note I have not capitalized “reason” in this paper, though Hegel may have wanted otherwise.)
To put it another way, we choose if “actuality is becoming” (A/B) or if “actuality is being” (A/A), and for Hegel it is our very ability to “think contradiction” that suggests we should choose “becoming” and/or “contradiction.” While Kant separates “reason” and “understanding” to remove contradiction, Hegel embraces the reality that ‘reason […] leads to contradiction,’ and Hegel takes this as evidence that reason should realize “contradiction,” not that reason is fundamentally distinct from Kant’s “understanding.”⁷ For Hegel, it’s good that ‘[r]eason tries to think beyond the limits of possible experience and thereby falls into contradiction,’ for this is when reason encounters the reality that “what we can experience” is not all that exists, which is to say contradiction is when reason realizes that “the true isn’t the rational” after years if not decades of experiencing “the true as the rational.”⁸ It’s another topic, but I will discuss in O.G. Rose the difference between “thinking here” and “thinking there,” and I see all “thinking there” (as in memory and imagination) as evidence of A/B and “becoming,” though no doubt Hegel is right that contradiction is uniquely vivid and clear in making the case that humans are not bound to only “thinking experience” (and/or “thinking here”).
And so we see the radical role of freedom in Hegel’s thought: We must choose the meaning of contradiction, which is to say we choose if “becoming” (A/B) should organize reason or “being” (A/A). This is “The Contradictory Choice,” which proves similar to “The Absolute Choice,” in that both point to the ultimate role of what I call “nonrationality.” This is because both are “free choices,” and the choices themselves must find their possibility outside rationality. Thus, there must be a source of human action that isn’t rational, a source that is rather “nonrational,” and so the world must be a place where “nonrational action” is possible. Hence, even if the “rational is the actual” in the sense that “what we find rational is what we consider significant,” it cannot be the case that everything in the universe is reducible to rationality (including ourselves). For me, this leads to a siding with who I call “The Absolute Hegel,” the Hegel more commonly associated with Phenomenology of Spirit versus “The Rational Hegel” associated (I believe wrongly) with Elements of the Philosophy of Right. “The Absolute Hegel” supports an interpretation of the universe as a place where “the true isn’t the rational,” versus “The Rationalist Hegel” associated with “the true as the rational.” For me, Hegel describes how we must experience “the truth as the rational” only to make the point that this necessity gives us reason to think that contradiction is a “glimpse” that we are not bound to what we experience. ‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth…’⁹
Before advancing to the next section, and to temporarily point to “The Absolute Choice” by O.G. Rose, we must experience life “as if” a collection of “beings” (“eternalistic”), though really life is a collection of “becomings” (“mobilistic”), and at the same time we are limited from experiencing “that we must experience life as being,” for otherwise we’d know we perceived life wrongly, and that would cause us pathology and existential anxiety “straight out the gate.” We are limited from experiencing our limit, for if we did experience it we’d likely be overwhelmed by existential anxiety, knowing we were (in a sense) self-deceiving ourselves just as soon as we were born. We simply cannot start knowing we are “limited”: we must come into this realization when we can handle it. We must start falsely believing in “being” until we move into the place where we can handle “becoming”: we must be like Dante, gradually progressing or else ending up reduced to ash like Semele.
Considering this, to allude to the end of Phenomenology of Spirit, we can understand coming into “Absolute Knowing” as a movement from “understanding the world in terms of being” to “knowing we must understand the world in terms of being, though the world is actually a collection of ‘becomings,’ which means we ourselves must be ‘becomings’ to align with the nature of the universe.” In this way, we can see Hegel’s “Phenomenological Journey” (as Dr. Last so well describes) as a gradual gaining of the ability to handle greater existential anxiety, as must accompany a movement from “the true is the rational” to “the true isn’t the rational” — a movement we will likely never think to initiate unless we take our ability to “think contradiction” seriously.
Nothing “in experience” says that we should organize rationality according to A/B, and in fact experience gives us lots of reason to think according to A/A. We are “rationally justified either way,” for there is good reason to not take contradiction seriously in the very fact that “contradiction cannot exist.” We never experience contradiction, so why should we organize reason around it? And yet Hegel claims that the very fact we can “think contradiction” is evidence that we are an ontological being capable of “thinking contradiction,” and that this alone suggests that we are not “bound to experience.” Sure, but why should that matter to us? Maybe we should “bind ourselves to experience” even if we’re not “bound to experience?” Doesn’t “the scientific method” give us strong evidence that it’s “good” to “bind ourselves” to experience? Why should we be so sure that making contradiction central to our identities and being would be positive? Science helped make the modern world, didn’t it? Science is arguably a systematizing around “being” — maybe “The Meaning Crisis” today is a result of us not being scientific enough? How can we be so sure?
And so we must choose.
Do we think “The Meaning Crisis” is a result of reason organizing around “being” or “becoming?” Is the problem that we haven’t orbited “being” enough? Or is the issue that we are failing to “negate” our current development according to “being” in favor of the sublation of “becoming” (note “being” is in “becoming”)? What do we think?
We must choose.
We have to choose if “contradiction” matters and if “everything can ultimately be experienced,” for there is indeed nothing in experience that will tell us one way or the other. We are “absolutely limited” from “experiencing without experiencing,” and yet we are not forced to interpret this “absolute limit” as proving that “only what can be experienced matters.” We choose the interpretation, and Hegel provides us a strong argument for why we should not necessarily interpret our “inability to experience without experiencing” as proof that “the actual is the experienceable, and hence reason should exclusively orbit around what can be experienced,” which would be to think that “reason increases its reasonableness as it moves from ‘what cannot be experienced’ to ‘what can be experienced’ ’ (the ontology of hard materialism). We choose if we will believe that reason is an increase in removing what cannot be experienced from our worldview, or if some things which cannot be experienced are necessary for reason to reach its highest state. Sure, perhaps 99% of things which cannot be experienced should not be considered in our worldview, but that’s different from making hard categories that establish that everything which cannot be experienced is that which should not be considered by reason. But, again, we must choose: “What does contradiction mean to us?”
Now, I agree with Dr. McGowan that Hegel errs on the side “choosing contradiction,” which means Hegel aims to view humanity as having some sources of “nonrationality” in what makes us human; thus, Hegel would have us “choose becoming,” but it’s still the case our “given experience” says to us that we can choose either way (for why should we assume Hegel is right against all of “given experience?”). ‘Finite things are contradictory insofar as they both are identical to themselves and are not,’ according to Hegel. ‘Their identity includes otherness.’¹⁰ Things change through time, and what a thing “is” is not what it will be five minutes from now: change is all. If I ask, “Who am I?” I will only have material to answer this question based on experiences from my past, experiences which will no longer constitute me. This is ironic and contradictory, and yet it is this contradiction that I must use to gain understanding about myself. And, even more contradictory, this “mistake” works: I indeed gain a useful and meaningful understanding about myself in using past experiences which no longer apply. No, I cannot be “reduced” to my past, so we can go too far here, but it’s also false to think that my past has nothing to do with who I now am. Dr. McGowan sums up the problem well: ‘identity depends on the process that undermines it.’¹¹
Dr. McGowan offers many explanations for what Hegel means by “contradiction” and why indeed Hegel offers us a “Contradictory Revolution,” and I will let readers turn to Dr. McGowan’s book for the full case. Ultimately, the point is that we face a choice. If we wanted, we could scoff and note that things don’t change “that much” through time, and though they aren’t “technically” the same, they “practically” are, and so there’s simply “not enough reason” to make contradiction central to our thinking. And thus, we could give ourselves grounds to dismiss the notion that reason should integrate itself with “contradiction,” which I would note is for reason to “integrate with lack,” a topic expanded on throughout O.G. Rose, precisely because “contradiction” is “lacking” from experience. Now, I would have to say a lot more to make this connection, but both “contradiction” and “lack” are orientations to A/B, and A/B is how we avoid the “effacement drive” of A/A — a language expressed and explored constantly throughout The True Isn’t the Rational.
Anyway, we decide if “contradiction” matters, and if we decide it does, then “actuality” will be restructured. Suddenly and at all at once, “actuality = becoming” (A/B) versus “actuality = being” (A/A), and thus rationality will be reorganized accordingly. Hegel sees “the true as the rational” as “an effacement drive” and strongly pushes us to see that “the true isn’t the rational,” precisely so that we can undergo negation/sublation. But we decide if we agree with Hegel, and we have plenty of room to disagree with him precisely because contradiction cannot be experienced. To decide “experience isn’t everything” goes against what we experience; after all, everything we experience as “concrete” and “consequential” is “solid” and in the world for other people to see and experience. Nobody but me experiences my thoughts, and humans can be wrong, so why should I think that my ability to “think contradiction” matters at all? There’s plenty of observable reason to think otherwise. Indeed, there is: the choice is ours (“Buridan’s Donkey”).
But don’t we experience contradiction in our heads? Is it accurate to say that contradiction isn’t experienced? By “experience,” I mean “sense-able,” something that can be “taken in” through sight, smell, sound, etc. Yes, thoughts are “mentally experiential,” but that’s not what I mean, and it’s not the case that “all experience is the same.” I do not experience the cup I am sipping right now the same way I experience the idea of sipping coffee, and indeed the tangible coffee I taste seems “more actual” than the idea of coffee, and so it is completely understandable why we could so naturally and readily associate “the actual with the rational.” Indeed, it seems kind of crazy to ground and erect rationality on and relative to “ideas,” seeing as ideas are so airy, abstract, and intangible. And indeed, Hegel would not encourage us to “think about coffee” versus drink an actual cup: Hegel is not arguing that ideas are “more real” than actualities. No, the problem is that we don’t “actually experience actuality,” funny enough: real things “change through time,” and yet we treat cups as if they “are cups.” The problem isn’t that we think about physical entities: the problem is that we think about physical entities “as if” they are “beings” versus “becomings.” The Physical world is all “processes”: the Physical world is not full of “beings,” and yet our minds interpret “Physical entities as solid ‘beings.’ ” The problem is not with Physics, but with how we understand Physics, and it is for the sake of upsetting our “understanding of the Physical world” that Hegel would have us think and meditate on “contradiction.” For Hegel, “contradiction” will make us more concrete.
Arguably Hegel’s most vivid and important triad is between “abstraction, negation, and concretion,” and I’ve argued elsewhere (say in “Phenomenological Pragmaticism”) that an idea is hardly even an idea for Hegel until it is made “concrete.” Considering this, it would be absurd to argue that Hegel is against the Physical World or “what can be sensed,” and yet that is how Hegel’s emphasis on “contradiction” can strike us. Paradoxically, Hegel would have us focus on “contradiction” so that we could become more concrete, not less, for the “concrete,” physical universal is a great collection of “becomings,” and thinking “becoming” requires us to destabilize our thoughts about “being,” and that requires contradiction, paradox, irony, and the like. Yes, we tend to associate “contradiction” with abstraction and absurdity, with that which has nothing to do with reality and shouldn’t have anything to do with reality, and indeed, there’s truth to that assessment. Unfortunately, we cannot access the universe as a “becoming,” instead understanding everything (necessarily) as “beings,” and because of that we have to “deconstruct” how we take in the universe and “naturally” understand it. To accomplish this role and to help us be more “concrete,” Hegel wants “contradiction” to become central to our thinking.
Escaping the “natural” tendency to understand the universe in terms of “being” will require us to think beyond experience (for experience is necessarily experienced as “being(s)”), and what is the one thing that must be beyond experience and something we cannot consider as possibly “ultimately just being an expression of being” (and so just in service of A = A)? Contradiction. The very existence of contradiction means that humans are “something more” than A/A and “pure beings.” This case is taken up in “Hegel and the Ontological Implications of ‘Pure Thought’ About What’s Not There” by O.G. Rose, but here it’s enough to note that contradiction must be thought beyond experience, for contradiction is not possible in reality. If it’s not possible in reality, it cannot be experienced, and thus reason must be capable of thinking beyond experience. “Becoming” is beyond experience, and “becoming” is how things unfold and exist in actuality. Thus, to think “actual actuality as becoming” (versus “false actuality as being”), we must think beyond experience. Funny enough, a thing which exists but isn’t in existence is “a contradiction”: “contradiction” is indeed “what it is.” Thus, we must think “contradiction” to think “becoming,” and Hegel suggests that we aren’t really even thinking unless we think contradiction. Reason that doesn’t ‘internalize contradiction’ is hardly reason: it is the movement of effacement (versus negation/sublation) through History.¹²
We should note that what Hegel has argued means that “hard empiricism” will fall short. We would have to chain our reason to experience, and thus be “captured” (Deleuze) both by experience and even determinism: freedom is found in interpreting “contradiction” as evidence that we are always “becoming,” and hence always moving beyond what is “given” in our immediate “horizon” of experience.¹³ Also, Hegel would have us understand that reason bound to observation will end up effacing us, because reason as such must formulate itself according to “being,” and “being” effaces. To avoid these fates, we must choose to interpret “contradiction” as something we need and should consider, and indeed this must be a choice, because nothing in experience will say that we must interpret “contradiction” one way or the other.
The fact that experience presents itself as “the case” means that experience presents itself as “the source of the truth”: we might make mistakes, but if we bind our thinking to only consider “what can be experienced,” then we would approach the truth. Experience suggests that falsity is what cannot be experienced, which is to say, “The true is the experienceable,” and critically what we can experience is what we can understand in rational terms. If we can experience it, we can apply reason to it (perhaps not instantly, but with time and practice), and that means what is “experienceable” is that which is also “reasonable.” Thus, experience presents to us “reason to think” that “the true is the rational,” which by extension means “being is rational,” seeing as everything in experience presents itself as “(a) being” versus “becoming.” Unfortunately, if Hegel is correct, that means experience presents us with “reason to think” according to “being,” which is to say experience “naturally” leads us into effacement — but even that is a consideration we have to choose to accept or not. Why should we listen to Hegel over all of experience and how it presents itself? Can’t we use our eyes?
We naturally experience the world “as if” “the true is the rational,” but faced with that reality, we then decide what it means that we can “think contradiction.” The choice is simple:
1. Decide contradiction cancels itself out and has no deeper meaning beyond being a mistake which gets in the way of realizing fully that “the true is the rational.” Contradiction then inhibits our ability to access and reach actuality.
2. Decide that contradiction means thinking is forced to consider experience as evidence that “the true is the rational” when really “the true isn’t the rational,” because rationality is bound to consider the world in terms of “being” and not in terms of “becoming” (contradiction, irony, paradox, and the like). Contradiction then increases our ability to access and reach actuality.
Based on which of these we decide, we transform what we believe constitutes “truth” and “actuality,” and as a result so we change what constitutes “rationality” (because “truth organizes values,” as The Conflict of Mind starts by discussing). Thus, it is a choice which determines the nature of reason to us, for reason itself cannot force us to see either Choice 1 or Choice 2 as “the best choice.” We are like “Buridan’s Donkey” (one of my favorite thought experiments), caught between two equally sized piles of grain, unable to make a rational choice because the options are equally valid. The choice cannot be understood in terms of reason, which is to say reason cannot help us make the choice. After we make the choice, then reason can continue its business, reconstituted by the choice, but this can only occur after the choice. But that would mean an action has to be taken which cannot be fully grasped or understood in terms of reason, and this would suggest there is something “in” humans which is real and yet capable of “nonrational” action, thinking, and the like. And this would suggest that even if “the rational” always entailed “the actual,” we couldn’t say that everything “actual” was “rational.” Reason might be bound to only consider reasonable what it can determine actual, but this wouldn’t mean that everything actual was that which couldn’t be “nonrational” (to use a term from throughout O.G. Rose, inspired by Benjamin Fondane).
These points will be expanded on in “The Absolute Choice,” which can be considered a companion piece to this work; for now, we will close by noting that there has been a long history of rationality being associated with determinism, which is to say that realizing “what is rational” is for humans to realize what is “best to do,” and thus what they should do. Furthermore, if everything which we can “be rational about” is that which we can experience, then everything “reasonable” follows causal and scientific laws, which would suggest that “becoming rational” is gradually a process of becoming “more determined.” Hence, “rationality” and “determinism” are traditionally linked, but Hegel provides us with ways to unlink rationality from fate.
Reason for Hegel combines rationality with uncertainty and freedom, and Hegel does this by placing “contradiction” as the highest form of reason, a move that seems absurd until we realize that we are surrounded by “beings” incompletely, that the universe is actually a radical collection of “processes” and “becomings,” and yet our minds “present” the world to us as “beings.” In a sense, it’s absurd that the brain “presents us” with an experience of the universe that doesn’t align with the radical “becoming” that the universe actually “is,” and so it’s only appropriate that we must do something (seemingly) “absurd” to correct the misapprehension, that mainly being the consideration of “contradiction” as epistemologically central. This in turn makes “contradiction” ontologically central, and from that point we can begin to reorganize reason according to “the true as not the rational” (assuming that’s what we “freely choose”).
Now, even if Hegel presents us with good reason to consider “becoming” as a more accurate way to consider the universe, we still have to decide if we side with Hegel over the very way our brains structure reality toward us in terms of “being.” The choice is ours, and freedom is one of the options we can choose — not that we will necessarily want freedom, seeing as freedom is terrifying, for what kind of universe are we in if it’s a great collection of “becomings?” Furthermore, accepting “contradiction” entails a humility, which is good but hard.
‘Reason is the key to the subject’s emancipation,’ Dr. McGowan tells us, ‘but this emancipation occurs only when the subject recognizes that it is what negates it.’¹⁴ Are we willing to be “negated?” Perhaps we will be if we realize that a continual ascension to “being” will lead to “effacement,” but will we decide to believe such is the case? What have we decided that we will believe? Shall we follow the doctrines of Hegel or what is “given” by experience? How should we choose to ascribe our trust?
¹McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 57.
²Hegel, G.W.F. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Translated by H.B. Nisbet. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2008: 20.
³McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 59.
⁴For more, please see “Hegel and the Ontological Implications of ‘Pure Thought’ About What’s Not There” by O.G. Rose.
⁵McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 59.
⁶McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 59.
⁷McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 60.
⁸McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 59.
⁹Allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
¹⁰McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 64.
¹¹McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 64.
¹²McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 59.
¹³The fact rationality naturally “captures” us without considering “contradiction” points to Kafka, as discussed in The Breaking of the Day. In that book, it is argued that characters in Kafka “capture themselves” because of the very way their minds present reality to them and organize “epistemic responsibility” accordingly. For me, this notion of oppression and “totalitarianism” is more terrifying and believable than what is found in Huxley and Orwell, not that they too don’t offer terrors worth considering.
¹⁴McGowan, Todd. Emancipation After Hegel. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2021: 63.