David Kolb

Hegel and Heidegger on Today

The Critique of Pure Modernity: Hegel, Heidegger, and After

This book analyzes “modern” selves and institutions as based on distinguishing form from content, and then criticizes that distinction. I use ideas from Hegel and Heidegger, study the ways they both try to find a context for modern selves and institutions that cannot be described in standard modern terms. Then by confronting their differences I try to find a space for new thinking.

Heidegger and Habermas on Criticism and Totality

Habermas criticizes Heidegger for insulating totalities of meaning from possible overturning by attempts to invalidate individual claims. I first state Habermas’s criticism, then elaborate an example from Heideggerthat supports Habermas’s attack. Then I defend Heidegger by distinguishing levels of meaning in Heidegger’s “world” from Habermas’s more propositional “lifeworld.”

Authenticity with Teeth: Positing Process

It’s popular to require that changes in our social traditions and identities, or in our art and culture, be “authentic.” This criterion of “authenticity” is notoriously vague and can be dangerous. In this essay I propose a new criterion for authenticity, based on faithfulness to structural moments of the process of development rather than to some specific patrimonial content. My proposed criterion derives from Hegel, yet it is similar to the criterion proposed by a staunch anti-Hegelian, Gilles Deleuze.

Circulation and Constitution at the End of History

Hegel’s claims about the end of history seem bold and disturbingly specific. Could he really have believed that the institutional forms he discerned in the Europe of his day were the last word in society and politics? Many argue that developments since Hegel’s time have undermined any claim that the particular political and economic structures he describes are the final and necessary mediations of social unity.

Hegel and Heidegger as Critics

A careful comparison of Hegel and Heidegger’s different critiques of our modern age. (This essay later grew into my book The Critique of Pure Modernity)

The Particular Logic of Modernity

A discussion of the logical role of particular concepts in Robert Pippin’s reading Hegel as a theorist of modernity, with special reference to the question of whether modernity can be surpassed or left behind.

Tiger Stripes and Embodied Systems: Hegel on Markets and Models

This essay develops from Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature a different critique of the ideal of a global market society inhabited by purely rational economic actors. It extends this to critique the use of mathematical models in political philosophy. Along the way, it finds a parallel argument in Wittgenstein, and argues that for Hegel the fractious European Union foreshadows the future of the United States of America.

The Diamond Net: Metaphysics, Grammar, Ontologies

In the introduction to his Philosophy of Nature, Hegel speaks of metaphysics as “the entire range of the universal determinations of thought, as it were the diamond net into which everything is brought and thereby first made intelligible. Every educated consciousness has its metaphysics, an instinctive way of thinking”. Both Wittgenstein and Hegel see our many languages and forms of life as constituted by different diamond nets of categories/grammars.