Beyond Hegel and Dialectic

Speculation, Cult, and Comedy

By William Desmond

Subjects: Continental Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies
Paperback : 9780791411049, 365 pages, July 1992
Hardcover : 9780791411032, 365 pages, July 1992

Table of contents



1. Speculation and Historicism: Between Hegel and Eternity

Speculative Mind and the Middle: Between Time and Its Other
Speculation after Hegel: Modern and Postmodern Historicism
Radical and Moderate Historicism
Historicism and the Instrumentalization of Speculative Mind
Heideggerian Historicism and Speculative Philosophy
Speculative Timeliness: Untimely Thought
Speculative Logic and World-History
World-History and the Logic of Dialectical Self-mediation
The Dialectical Reduction of the Double Vision

2. Speculation and Cult: On Hegel's Strange Saying: Philosophy is God-service

Philosophy, Cult, and the Instrumentalization of Mind
Philosophy and Cult: The Return of the Repressed?
Cult and Community: The Manifested Otherness of the Sacred
The God-service of the Unhappy Consciousness
The Return of the Double
Philosophical Cult and the Idolatries of Thought
The Double in Philosophy: Against Making an Idol of Self-thinking Thought
Is Hegelian God-service an Absolution? - On Speculative Abandon and Release

3. Speculation and Representation: The Masks of Philosophy and Its Religious Double

Speculation and Representation
Representation and Religious Doubleness
Religion and Philosophy: A Double in Discordant Mutuality?
Philosophy and Religion: The Convergence of the Double?
Why Could Kierkegaard not Forgive Hegel? - Discordant Mutuality and the Masks of Philosophy
Hegel and the Double Mediation of Representation
The Left Hegelian Reduction of the Religious Double
Can Religion Deal with Its Own Double?
Representation and the Thought of the Unrepresentable

4. Dialectic and Evil: On the Idiocy of the Monstrous

Speculation and Evil
Three Strains of Evil: Existential, Logicist, World-Historicist
Evil and Onto-Logical Necessity
Representation and the Fall
Evil, Inwardness, and the World-Historical Teleology
World-History and the Idiocy of Evil
Radical Evil
The Idiocy of the Monstrous
Meontological Perplexity and Evil: A Negative Other than Negativity

5. Comedy and the Failure of Logos: On Dialectic, Deconstruction, and the Mockery of Philosophy

Philosophy and the Mockery of Logos
Deconstruction and the Mockery of Philosophy
Deconstruction and Laughing at Hegel's Failure
On the Debunking of the Philosophical Tradition: Who Laughs Last?
Logos and the Comedy of Failure
The Phenomenology and the Logic: Masks of Philosophical Comedy?
Dialectic and Deconstruction as Masks of the Comic
What Breaks Through [in] the Mask of Comedy?

6. Can Philosophy Laugh at Itself? On Hegel and Aristophanes--With a Bow to Plato

Between the Professor and the Comic Poet
Hegel and the Comic Acme: Between the Aristophanic and Socratic End of Antiquity
Who Laughs Last?--Between Hegelian Self-Certainty and Plato's Silence



This book is a defense of speculative philosophy in the wake of Hegel. In a number of wide-ranging, meditative essays, Desmond deals with the criticism of speculative thought in post-Hegelian thinking. He covers the interpretation of Hegelian speculation in terms of the metataxological notion of being and the concept of philosophy that Desmond has developed in two previous works, Philosophy and Its Others, and Desire, Dialectic and Otherness. Though Hegel is Desmond's primary interlocuter, there are references to Aristophanes, Socrates, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida. Desmond is concerned with the limits of philosophy. The themes of the essays include speculation and historicism, speculation and cult, speculation and representation, evil and dialectic, logos and the comedy of failure.

William Desmond is Professor in the Philosophy Department at Loyola College. He is the author of Art and the Absolute: A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics; Philosophy and Its Others: Ways of Being and Mind, and editor of Hegel and His Critics, all published by SUNY Press; and the author of Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness.


"I find the book utterly fascinating to read. It is fresh and challenging. " — Merold Westphal

"It is highly original and well written. It is free of all Hegelian, Scholastic jargon and as a result the reader is drawn into the narrative and thinks along with the author. It takes a fresh look at Hegel. " — Donald Verene