CfA: “Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality” (Heidelberg, 23-25 March, 2022)

We are glad to give notice that the Call for Papers for the Conference of the International Network Hegel’s Relevance is now open. The event, entitled Hegel’s Philosophy of Reality, will take place at Heidelberg University (Department of Philosophy, International Academic Forum) on March 23rd-25th, 2022.

The deadline for abstracts submission (max 500 words) is September 30th, 2021.

Email address for abstract submissions:

Organizer of the conference is Ermylos Plevrakis.

Below you can find the general presentation of the event, the list of the confirmed speakers, as well as the terms of submission.


Rationale of the Conference

If philosophy is not to be a self-indulgent occupation with mere thoughts, it has to deal with reality. According to an opinion established far beyond the philosophical discipline, reality forms in its diversity the actual Object, the scope of application and the touchstone of philosophy. In this respect, it would not seem odd to articulate a ‘philosophy of reality’ – on the contrary: the philosophy of reality always hits the nerve of philosophy in general and its success is crucial for the meaning and credibility of philosophising.

This could not have been otherwise in the case of perhaps the most detailed systematic philosopher of modern times, G. W. F. Hegel. Already in the introduction to the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, Hegel speaks of the necessity of “accord (of philosophy) with actuality and experience”. He then meticulously sets out numerous concepts that are closely related to reality: Being, existence, world, reality, objectivity, nature, spirit – to name just a few. But unlike those terms, Hegel does not devote a separate chapter to reality and, although much attention was paid to Hegel’s so-called Realphilosophie, the mature Hegel himself did not use this designation at all. To all appearances, a specifically formulated philosophy of reality does not appear in Hegel’s work. At the same time, the speculative philosophy is full of key passages that philosophically praise Idea, Ideality and Idealism. As it is well known, according to Hegel, not only his philosophy but “every philosophy” in general has idealism “as its principle”. So does Hegel’s philosophy, despite its exhaustiveness, ultimately systematically ignore reality?

If we look at the history of the reception of Hegel’s philosophy, the label ‘absolute idealism’ seems to have always been accepted as incontestable, regardless of what one thinks of it in terms of content and system. Since the 80’s of the last century there has even been a firm reliance on ‘idealism’ in contrast to the concept of reality, and Hegelian philosophy is once again experiencing a renaissance in large parts of the world, this time precisely because it is idealism. Realism, on the other hand, has been increasingly mentioned in this context only in the last few years. But even then, one seems to be prompted to do so rather by other philosophical discourses, so that the genuinely Hegelian conceptual development is only relevant to a limited extent, and finally it remains ambiguous whether the introduction of ‘realism’ into the Hegelian scholarship is a paradigm shift or merely a question of nomenclature. The careful reconstruction of Hegel’s philosophy of reality, and thus its in-depth evaluation in the context of other philosophies and sciences, is still pending. Such a reconstruction would face the double task of problematising individual realities, such as the reality of being, actuality, objectivity, nature and spirit, each according to their reality (in the Hegelian sense of the word to be elaborated) and then bringing them together into a systematic unity.

The conference addresses the question of reality in relation to the entire scope of Hegel’s mature philosophy and attempts to bring to light the peculiarity and systematic connection of the central determinations of reality. The aim is to make an important contribution to contemporary, not only Hegel-specific philosophical research into reality by carefully working through a neglected aspect of Hegel’s speculative philosophy.

We invite postdocs working on this field to submit an abstract. Possible topics include:

  • What is the reality of the determinations of the Science of Logic, of the so-called Realphilosophie and of the sheer empirical determinations?
  • Is there a single determination of reality in Hegel’s work? How is it or how are the various determinations of reality to be conceived in relation to their supposed other, i.e. ideality?
  • How do the determinations of reality in speculative philosophy relate to the empirical sciences and empirical reality in epistemological and ontological terms?
  • On what – if at all – is the legitimacy of Hegel’s so-called Realphilosophie, especially the philosophy of nature, still based today?
  • What is the reality of freedom and spirit, artwork and art, God and religion, absolute idea and philosophy?
  • How should we make sense of such realities in the world history that appear to contradict rationality?
  • How should we deal with post-factual positions, fictitious or supposedly parallel realities in the sense of Hegel’s speculative philosophy?


Confirmed speakers

Elena Ficara (Paderborn), Dietmar Heidemann (Luxemburg), Luca Illetterati (Padova), Jean-François Kervégan (Paris), Anton Friedrich Koch (Heidelberg), Christian Krijnen (Amsterdam), Christian Martin (Munich/Heidelberg), Tereza Matějčková (Prag), Ermylos Plevrakis (Heidelberg), Alberto Siani (Pisa), Klaus Vieweg (Jena), Benno Zabel (Bonn)


Terms of submission

Deadline for submissions: September 30, 2021

Email address for abstract submissions (max. 500 words):

Notification of acceptance: October 31, 2021

Length of the talk: 30 Minutes, 15 Minutes discussion

Conference Languages: German, English

The abstract should not contain any indication of authorship. However, the submission email should include name, title of the presentation, Email address as well as a short CV.

A volume in Critical Studies in German Idealism (BRILL: Leiden/Boston) based on the papers presented at the conference is under consideration.


For more information please visit the website of the event or write to


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