Conference: “Interpreting Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit” (Heidelberg, 12-14 May 2022)

We are glad to give notice of the conference Interpreting Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Expositions and Critique of Contemporary Readings which will take place on May, 12th-14th 2022, at the University of Heidelberg, Neue Universität Grabengasse 3 – 5, Hörsaal 04, 04a.

Organizer of the conference are Ivan Boldyrev (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Sebastian Stein (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg).



Hegel himself described the Phenomenology of Spirit as an introduction to philosophical thought as such and thus also to the encyclopaedic system that summarizes his own interpretation of the categorial forms of philosophical truth. Insofar as the Science of Logic is often considered to comprise the system’s ‘first’ part, several interpreters of Hegel’s thought argue that the Phenomenology‘s deductions are supposed to prepare the thinker to the kind of presuppositionless thought that the deductions of the Logic and the system’s subsequent parts require. However, there is considerable overlap between the Phenomenology and the Encyclopaedia as far as the latter’s third part, the Philosophy of Geist, is concerned. Since Hegel remained adamant to have the Phenomenology reprinted without any changes while he seems to have attempted to ‘save’ – or ‘sublate’ – its content in his later system, one may ask what could be done about this ‘curious early work’ today. More specifically, we would like to pose the following questions:

• Against the backdrop of contemporary readings, which elements, themes, concepts or arguments of the Phenomenology remain important and worthy of development independently of or in conflict with Hegel’s later thinking?

• Why did Hegel transfer categorial truth claims from the Phenomenology‘s alleged introduction to philosophy into his account of truth as such? Does this mean that already the Phenomenology contains properly philosophical truth?

• If the Phenomenology constitutes a first, possibly rejected, attempt to write a philosophy of Geist, what did Hegel change with regard to the architecture and the content of his description of Geist‘s categories between the Phenomenology and the Encyclopaedia and why?

• Taken as competing accounts of truth, do the changes that occur between the Phenomenology and the Encyclopaedia‘s Philosophy of Geist constitute an improvement or a regress? Is Hegel closer to the truth about Geist in the Phenomenology or in the Encyclopaedia or did he miss the mark altogether?

• Given the complexities of the Phenomenology’s place in Hegel’s system of philosophy, which strategies of reading this text could be adopted in contemporary thinking?

The workshop is conceived as a development of our initial project, which resulted in the book on the contemporary readings of Hegel’s Phenomenology. Our conversation will shed new light on the strengths and weaknesses of Hegelian philosophy and contemplate its possible futures.



Thursday, 12 May

14.00 – 14.15 Welcome remarks
14.00 – 14.15 Andreas Schmidt , The reconciling Yes. On the notion of forgiveness in Hegel‘s Phenomenology of Spirit
15.30 – 15.45 Break
15.45 – 17.00 Christian Martin, Hegel on scientific cognition of nature and its limits
17.00 – 18.15 Anna Yampolskaya, “Now Is the Night”: Deixis in Hegel and Maldiney
18.30 Dinner

Friday, 13 May

9.00 – 10.15 Ivan Boldyrev, Take the Time to End: Schiller, Hegel, and the Dangers of Poetry
10.15 – 11.30 Sebastian Stein, Philosophical knowledge and knowledge thereof. The development of Hegel’s notion of philosophy from the Phenomenology to the Encyclopaedia
11.45 – 13.00 Ioannis Trisokkas, Heidegger on Hegel’s Phenomenology
13.00 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 15.45 Josh Wretzel, The Logic of the Subject Made Manifest: Hegel’s Presentation of Idealism in the Jena Phenomenology
15.45 – 17.00 Annette Sell, Heidegger’s search for the inner law of the Phenomenology of Mind
17.00 – 17.15 Break
17.15 – 18.30 Mariana Teixeira, Death struggle or mutual recognition? On the agonistic and reconciliatory readings of the master-slave dialectic
18.45 Dinner

Saturday, 14 May

9.15 – 10.30 Christian Krijnen, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit assessed from the Perspective of Speculative Idealism
10.30 – 11.45 Marina Bykova, On the Thematization of Anerkennung and Bildung in the Phenomenology and Encyclopaedia Philosophy of Spirit
11.45 – 12.00 Break
12.00 – 13.15 Sebastian Ostritsch, Hegel’s Phenomenology and the Revolution
13.15 – 14.45 Lunch
14.45 – 16.00 Johannes-Georg Schülein, What is wrong with Formalism? Hegel’s Critique and a Defense
16.00 – 17.15 Sascha Freyberg, From Hegel’s Phenomenology to the Marxist Ontology of Production
16.00 Farewell – Conference Ends


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