Sunday, January 07, 2007
Thanks, Google! You bring me closer to Hegel.
I'm reading Paul Redding's Hegel's Hermeneutics, which if you're interested in Hegel and hermeneutics, is fantastic. It's also good since it's one of the few recent works in English that attempts to really show how Hegel's social and political thought is, in fact, grounded in the Logic.
Now, I know lots of words, but my brain kind of stuck on this:
In reading these sections we must keep in mind what we have learned about recognition throughout the Phenomenology. At key points in the text, consciousness has undergone a form of anagnorisis in a way that has turned it and the action around. I have suggested that, as in the theater, we can follow the experience of consciousness because we can recognitively put ourselves in the various points of view it assumes in its history. Surely then we must also be able to recognize something of ourselves in consciousness's own experiences of recollective anagnorisis? Might it be that there is something of this complex movement going on at the level of absolute knowing and that the review of the whole drama constitutes our anagnorisis?(p. 134, my emphases).
Yes, this is the type of writing people engage in when writing about Hegel. It's an acquired taste. I'm not totally sure that 'recognitively' is a word. But 'anagnorisis' seems to be, at least judging from how much Redding uses it. After failing to find it in my Oxford Reference Dictionary, I figured that the smart thing to do would be to consult the index. (I'm slow like that). Sure enough, on p. 80, Redding writes, "for consciousness, the problems within which it entangles itself form the occasion for a type of anagnorisis, the self-recognition opened up to the hero by the reversal of their fortune."
That's kind of helpful, but I wanted more -- especially since it sounds Greekish and I'm, alas, not as up on my Greek dramatic theory as I should be (just vague memories from my first year undergrad course in Western Lit and Julian Patrick's excellent lectures at Victoria College. Ah, Northrop Frye Hall. Such a box you were.)
Google to the rescue! Google, please define: anagnorisis for me, will you? There's a dear.
Definitions of anagnorisis on the Web:
* the protagonist’s recognition of his/her peripeteia.
* (GK 'recognition') A term used by Aristotle in Poetics to describe the moment of recognition (of truth) when ignorance gives way to knowledge. According to Aristotle, the ideal moment of anagnorisis coincides with peripeteia, or reversal of fortune. The classic example is in Oedipus Rex when Oedipus discovers he has himself killed Laius.
* "Recognition," in Greek. Aristotle claimed that every fine tragedy has a recognition scene, in which the protagonist discovers either some fact unknown to her or him or some moral flaw in her or his character. Scholars disagree as to which of these precise meanings Aristotle had in mind. See also hamartia.
* "recognition": one of the two requirements, as given by Aristotle in the Poetics for a "complex plot."
* Anagnorisis originally meant recognition, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for, what he or she represented; it was the hero's suddenly becoming aware of a real situation and therefore the realisation of things as they stood; and finally it was a perception that resulted in an insight the hero had into his relationship with often anatagonistic characters within Aristotelian tragedy
Ah, Aristotle. I should have known you were behind this!
Back to my reading. This has been a glimpse into the strange world of... working on my dissertation! [cue spooky yet dramatic music]
jane 7:21 PM [+]