Classical german philosophy. University of Padova research group

Online Seminar: “Hegel’s concept of Tragedy – An Inquiry into the Hegelian System” (Coimbra, 11 January 2023)

We are glad to give notice of the online seminar Hegel’s concept of Tragedy – An Inquiry into the Hegelian System, organized by the Universidade de Coimbra. The first meeting will take place on January 11th, 2023, at 14:30 (GMT).

Here the Zoom link to join the meeting.


Rachel Falkenstern (St. Francis College, New York) – Hegel on Schiller’s Late Romantic Tragic Heroines.

Fancesco Campana (Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici, Roma) – Tragedy and Irony: On Hegel and the Early German Romantics.


About the seminar:

Tragedy seems to represent, within the Hegelian System, an interesting junction between art and politics, allowing the development of different perspectives to question and investigate the evolution of the Hegelian concept of Spirit.

On the one hand, in his writings on the Aesthetics, Hegel reserves a peculiar place for tragedy, as concluding, in its artistic perfection, the sphere of the Philosophy of Art, first part of the Absolute Spirit. In addition, tragedy plays an important role in Hegel’s political reflection, as the tragedy of Antigone – which already found a special place among tragedies in the Aesthetics, as for Hegel it represents “the most magnificent and satisfying work of art of this kind” – is the focal point for the analysis of the Sittlichkeit since the Jena’s texts on Natural Law, and in the Phenomenology of Spirit, in the spiritual path towards Absolute knowledge. In this path, Antigone’s tragedy, with its political nuances, allows Hegel’s thought to be analyzed from diverse systematic standpoints, permitting an inquiry within the Objective Spirit, according to the Encyclopaedia’s Gliederung conserved in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right.

In both systematic moments, Hegel’s attention to tragedy appears to be motivated by an interest in those radically unresolvable and contradictory cases in which two forces of equal ethical value are in conflict – or, in a different perspective, in which a reconciliation between abstract universal character and concrete singularity cannot be guaranteed. Not coincidentally, at a political level the figure of Antigone has often been read, especially by feminist authors, as a rebellious and revolutionary figure, capable with her demands of blocking the symbolic and structural distinctions that enable the polis.

Situating the systematic approaches in the evolution of the System, it is pivotal to consider the temporal evolution of the concept of tragedy through the early writings in Jena until the mature Hegelian production, on one hand, and the comparison of the Hegelian standpoints with the development of the idea of tragedy in the modern and contemporary artistic productions, on the other.

Given these primary horizons, the seminar intends to analyze the fundamental character of tragedy within the Hegelian System, taking advantage of the variety of perspectives (feminist, political, artistic, psychoanalytic and deconstructivist, religious and historical) that can arise from the richness of Hegel’s contemporary receptions.

In particular, the seminar will evolve around the following topics:

The aesthetical-political category of the tragic between the Jena essay On the Scientific Ways of Treating Natural Law and the Elements of the Philosophy of Right – perspectives from within Hegel’s evolution;
Citizenship and Brotherhood in Hegel’s account of the Antigone from the Phenomenology of Spirit to the Elements of the Philosophy of Right;
The evolution of the western Family, gender roles and Hegel’s standpoint on Aristotle’s Politics, book I, along §§ 158-180 of the Elements of the Philosophy of Right;
Ancient and modern Tragedy – historical-aesthetical views from the Schlegel brothers, F. Schiller, F. Hölderlin, Schelling and Hegel;
Hegel’s aesthetic value of tragedy today, in the modern world, after the falling apart of the Greek world under the weight of its own contradictions;
Feminist contemporary readings of the Antigone and Hegel’s Tragödie im Sittlichen;
Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction, and Hegel on “Family Complexes”;
Hegel’s use of the political-religious concept of the feminine Piety (Pietät);
The Tragical and the Comical in Hegel’s interpretation of the Greek concept of Fate;
“Der Geist ist höher als die Natur“ – Hegel’s earlier views on the System’s architecture and the situation of the sexual difference between nature and ethical roles;
Tragedy as a conflict between civil institutions and religious values. An inquiry into Antigone’s relation with Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion.

For further information, please visit the website of the seminar.

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