Advanced Studies Seminar Series
Hegel's concept of Tragedy – An Inquiry into the Hegelian System
17 February 2023 | Hegel and political-religious uses of the Feminine Piety
Tragedy seems to represent, within the Hegelian System, an interesting junction between art and politics, allowing the development of different perspectives to question and investigate the evolution of the Hegelian concept of Spirit.
On the one hand, in his writings on the Aesthetics, Hegel reserves a peculiar place for tragedy, as concluding, in its artistic perfection, the sphere of the Philosophy of Art, first part of the Absolute Spirit. In addition, tragedy plays an important role in Hegel's political reflection, as the tragedy of Antigone – which already found a special place among tragedies in the Aesthetics, as for Hegel it represents “the most magnificent and satisfying work of art of this kind” – is the focal point for the analysis of the Sittlichkeit since the Jena’s texts on Natural Law, and in the Phenomenology of Spirit, in the spiritual path towards Absolute knowledge. In this path, Antigone’s tragedy, with its political nuances, allows Hegel's thought to be analyzed from diverse systematic standpoints, permitting an inquiry within the Objective Spirit, according to the Encyclopaedia’s Gliederung conserved in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right.
In both systematic moments, Hegel’s attention to tragedy appears to be motivated by an interest in those radically unresolvable and contradictory cases in which two forces of equal ethical value are in conflict – or, in a different perspective, in which a reconciliation between abstract universal character and concrete singularity cannot be guaranteed. Not coincidentally, at a political level the figure of Antigone has often been read, especially by feminist authors, as a rebellious and revolutionary figure, capable with her demands of blocking the symbolic and structural distinctions that enable the polis.
Situating the systematic approaches in the evolution of the System, it is pivotal to consider the temporal evolution of the concept of tragedy through the early writings in Jena until the mature Hegelian production, on one hand, and the comparison of the Hegelian standpoints with the development of the idea of tragedy in the modern and contemporary artistic productions, on the other.
Given these primary horizons, the seminar intends to analyze the fundamental character of tragedy within the Hegelian System, taking advantage of the variety of perspectives (feminist, political, artistic, psychoanalytic and deconstructivist, religious and historical) that can arise from the richness of Hegel’s contemporary receptions.
In particular, the seminar will evolve around the following topics:
Scientific Committee: Edmundo Balsemão Pires (CEIS20/FLUC/DFCI), Silvia Locatelli (CF/UL), Cláudio Carvalho (IF/UP), Joana Ricarte (CEIS20).
Institutional Support: CEIS20, Center of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon (CFUL), Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra; Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto – FIL/00502
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)