A book from a University of Northampton academic clarifies the work of an often-dismissed philosopher and demonstrates its relevance for the contemporary world.
Senior Lecturer in International Relations & Politics, Glyn Daly, has always been fascinated with the ideas and central themes of German philosopher Hegel, who he feels is head and shoulders above others in his field.
The German idealist is the subject of Glyn’s book, Speculation: Politics, Ideology, Event.
Glyn said: “As a seriously badass philosopher, Hegel has always held a particular fascination for me.
“No one else really comes close in terms of scale, scope or sheer intellectual ambition. He is the polar opposite of today’s culture of postmodern irony and, perhaps for this very reason, has been widely misinterpreted and even dismissed.
“My main motivation in writing this book has been to clarify some of the central ideas and themes in Hegel’s thought and to show their relevance for the contemporary world.”
“The book effectively asks two basic questions: how do we reason (how do we approach contemporary problems) and how can we imagine social change? Addressing these questions, the book seeks to develop Hegel’s radical perspective of speculative thought. Engaging with such figures such as Badiou, Meillassoux, Žižek and Jameson, it elaborates the distinctness of speculative philosophy and draws its implications for new debates in areas of science, politics, economics, ideology, ethics and the event. “
Glyn added: “The book identifies a basic paradox in our age. While on the one hand the dominant (Western) milieu is one that continuously recycles its themes of individual expression, free choice and infinite possibility, on the other this milieu is organized around a deeply fatalist core: capitalist fundamentalism. Everything can be subverted and/or overcome except the basic principles of capitalism. Interfering with the spontaneous movements of capital is strictly taboo and, when markets do collapse, we should rather sacrifice ourselves through austerity measures in order to appease the Gods of finance. In similar fashion, the forces of secularization are increasingly supplemented by, and reproduced through, multiple forms of new age spirituality, Taoism, Confucianism and so on that focus on pacifying ideas about seeking happiness and contentment from within. What this amounts to is a modern form of fatalism that is stringently circumscribing the future and its contingent possibilities.”
You can buy Speculation: Politics, Ideology, Event on Amazon.