Hegel after Deleuze and Guattari

I’m currently working on three separate projects, each of which will appear on this blog in the not too distant future. One will be a follow-up to the “Deleuze, Guattari and May’68” paper I posted last year; another will be an account of Hegel’s logic of the Concept; the third will be an examination of Hegel’s account of civil society and the state.  (Though I won’t necessarily post them in that order.)

In the meantime I’ve decided to post my PhD thesis, which I completed fairly recently.  Here’s the link.

The title is “Hegel after Deleuze and Guattari: Freedom in Philosophy and the State” and it is an attempt to show how some of the criticisms of Hegel offered by Deleuze and Guattari can help us to work out what Hegel’s “immanent” approach to logic and philosophy should consist in.  Deleuze and Guattari argue that Hegel reduces contingency to necessity; I argue that the Hegelian approach can only be genuinely immanent and presuppositionless if it does not reduce contingency to necessity, and that Hegelian immanence recognises that contingent events determine what becomes necessary.  If a principle is “necessary” in the Hegelian sense of the term, this does not mean that it has been proven to have been (“always already”) true or good all along, but instead it means that it has in fact become true or good (“retroactively”, to use a Deleuzian term), given the previous development of our thoughtful activity (whether this activity is the act of thinking itself, performing ethical actions, or whatever), and this development is subject to contingency.  Contingent events become necessary, but were not always already necessary, and so contingency is not reduced to necessity, for Hegel.

One could divide the thesis into three parts, so if you don’t have the time or the inclination to read the whole thesis, you might want to read just one or two of these parts, according to what interests you.  Chapter 1 could be called the first part, which is about Deleuze and Guattari’s “schizoanalytic” approach to philosophy, according to which no concepts are eternal, but are instead created in order to solve problems specific to a singular “image of thought”; the second part would be Chapters 3 to 6 (plus Chapter 2 if you like, which serves as a short preface to Chapters 3 to 7) in which Hegel’s Science of Logic is discussed (Chapter 3 covers the logic of “being”; Chapters 4 and 5 cover “essence”; Chapter 6 covers the beginning of the logic of the “Concept”); the third part is Chapter 7, which covers Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, where Hegel discusses freedom, morality and ethical life.  In addition to these three parts, there is a long-ish conclusion to the thesis after Chapter 7.

If anyone does read the thesis, or part of it, I’d be really grateful for any comments, questions or criticisms.

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