Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Hegel

The Restlessness of the Negative

2002
Author:

Jean-Luc Nancy
Translated by Steven Miller and Jason Smith

Hegel

A major philosopher gives us a new view of Hegel for our time

Jean-Luc Nancy offers a portrait of Hegel as startlingly unconventional as it is persuasive, and at the same time demonstrates its relevance to a very contemporary understanding of the political. Here Hegel appears not as the quintessential dispassionate synthesizer and totalizer, but as the inaugural thinker of the contemporary world.

The extraordinary feat of Nancy's book is providing a fresh look at Hegel. An entirely new picture of Hegel emerges from Nancy's pages, not that of the system-builder, the homogenizing and totalizing philosopher, the champion of dialectical acrobatics, the end of history philosopher, but of a thinker of our time, one whose thought concerns us, a thinker of the we, in short, of community.

Rodolphe Gasché, SUNY Buffalo

At once an introduction to Hegel and a radically new vision of his thought, this remarkable work penetrates the entirety of the Hegelian field with brevity and precision, while compromising neither rigor nor depth. One of the most original interpreters of Hegel, Jean-Luc Nancy offers a portrait as startlingly unconventional as it is persuasive, and at the same time demonstrates its relevance to a very contemporary understanding of the political. Here Hegel appears not as the quintessential dispassionate synthesizer and totalizer, but as the inaugural thinker of the contemporary world—one whose thought is inseparable from anxiety and desire, as well as the concrete, the inconclusive, the singular.

Under Nancy’s scrutiny, no facet of Hegel’s work remains untouched or unrevised: problems of aesthetics, affect, and history, as well as the implications of freedom, politics, and being-in-common. Engaging eleven judiciously chosen points essential to Hegel’s sprawling system of thought—restlessness, becoming, penetration, logic, present, manifestation, trembling, sense, desire, freedom, and "we"—Nancy develops precise arguments for their philosophical importance for us today.

Nancy’s Hegel is the thinker who foregrounds the original, irrepressible, and joyous embrace of the inevitable will to philosophize; he is the philosophical guide who negotiates between the two extremes of stupidity and madness along the path to meaning. In the face of the horror of history and despite the temptation of past-based solutions, this Hegel’s uncompromising foothold in the real makes him our contemporary, a thinker for our time.

Hegel

Jean-Luc Nancy is professor of philosophy at the University of Strasbourg. Among his many books are The Inoperative Community (1991) and The Sense of the World (1998), both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Jason Smith is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

Steven Miller is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

Hegel

The extraordinary feat of Nancy's book is providing a fresh look at Hegel. An entirely new picture of Hegel emerges from Nancy's pages, not that of the system-builder, the homogenizing and totalizing philosopher, the champion of dialectical acrobatics, the end of history philosopher, but of a thinker of our time, one whose thought concerns us, a thinker of the we, in short, of community.

Rodolphe Gasché, SUNY Buffalo

Nancy makes Hegel accessible, but he also makes him new, evoking a sense of the affirmative and open character of his thinking that is rarely acknowledged within contemporary discourse.

Judith Butler, author of Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France

In less than 100 pages, Jean-Luc Nancy provides an innovative and strikingly original interpretation of Hegel’s philosophy.

Virginia Quarterly Review

Nancy’s re-thinking of Hegel is both intriguing and plausible, and most importantly, a profoundly insightful penetration of our world, both in order to understand and describe, but most importantly to critique and improve.

Philosophy in Review