CFA: International Workshop “The Persistence of Crisis within Hegel’s Speculative Reason” (Basel, 28-29 September 2023)

We are glad to give notice of the call for abstracts for the international workshop The Persistence of Crisis within Hegel’s Speculative Reason, which will find place on September 28th-29th, 2023, at the University of Basel.

The workshop is organized by Gregor Schäfer. Confirmed keynotes are Angelica Nuzzo (City University of New York), Andrew Buchwalter (University of North Florida), Félix Duque (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid).

Please find below the text of the call.


As Hegel’s prominent as well as controversial formula from the Elements of the Philosophy of Right has it, what is reasonable has to be conceived as actual—and what is actual has to be conceived as reasonable. According to an influential narrative—put forward, with different political aims, both from a left-wing and a right-wing perspective—, this configuration means the reconciliation of philosophy with the existing particular state of things. Philosophy, however, as Hegel emphatically claims as well using a striking Christian image, recognizes “the rose” only “in the cross of the present”; and where philosophy conceives what is actual as what is reasonable “a shape of life has grown old”. Hence, against the cliché of a tensionless reconciliation of speculative reason with the existing state of the present, what hereby is at stake is rather the concept of a broken, unsettled present whose structure constitutively is determined by the form of its crisis—by ruptures, contradictions, conflicts, negativity throughout: a crisis which philosophy cannot settle or stabilize—for philosophy, as the consequent reflection of speculative thinking, rather isthe very expression of this crisis. Paradoxically, Hegel’s speculative reconciliation, then, is not situated beyond crisis but rather entails the persistence of crisis as its very core.

The provocative challenge of the paradoxical figure and the critical potential of this constellation are still an important desideratum of Hegel research. It is the working thesis of the present workshop that such a predicament of crisis is inherent to Hegel’s entire system, not only to Hegel’s Realphilosophie—and hereby particularly the philosophy of spirit—but also to the internal structure of Hegel’s conception of speculative thinking and reason itself. Of particular interest hereby is the question if the crisis intrinsically connected with Hegel’s conception of speculative reason, accordingly, should be seen as Hegel’s last word or if, through this very crisis, something new—a new form of thinking, acting, and living—is prepared; and, if this was the case, how we should think of this transformation as necessarily mediated by the logic of crisis.

The workshop aims at discussing this subject matter among established and younger Hegel scholars from different perspectives. For this purpose, the present call invites (English or German) contributions that dwell on the systematic problem of the relationship between speculative reason and crisis in all parts of Hegel’s philosophy and the different historical contexts of its Hegelian and post-Hegelian receptions, and that discuss the actuality of this constellation in terms of a sound concept of modern crisis and the crisis of our own present.

• Anonymized abstracts in English or German—of around 300-500 words (as attached file)—on any aspect of this thematic issue are accepted till April 30th, 2023 to

• Applicants, additionally, should include a short CV in the body of the email.

• The contributions will be selected on the base of a peer-review process; decisions will be communicated till May 15th, 2023.

• The slots attributed to each selected presentation and the discussions will be of approximately 1 h (further details will follow after the selection process).

• A financial support for selected participants, up to a certain amount, is intended (applicants, however, meanwhile should be prepared for a funding by their institutions or other means; further details will follow after the selection process).

• A publication of the elaborated outcomes of the workshop is planned.

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