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Hegel's Questionable Legacy

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image of Research in Phenomenology

This paper suggests that Hegel's legacy is precisely the questionability of any attempt to put it in question. Derrida's acknowledgment of différance's "absolute proximity" to Hegel's notion of Aufhebung is an admission of this difficulty and an insistence, nevertheless, on disestablishing Hegel's thinking. Part one reviews four Hegelian legacies, summed up in the notion of Aufhebung: a suspicion of immediacy, a presumption of the fully mediated character of reality, a decentering of subjectivity by way of recovering nature and society, and finally, an endorsement of the absolute power of negation. Part two briefly recounts how Derrida manages, nevertheless, to deconstruct Hegel's legacy. However, the paper concludes that, since deconstruction and différance also call for the humility of deferring to a non-deferral of meaning, the questionability of putting Hegelian legacy in question remains its legacy.


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