12-04-2014 Jennifer Bates
Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research
(CIQR -- "seeker": http://www.duq.edu/ciqr/)
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Date: Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Location: Berger Gallery (207 College Hall), Duquesne University
Title: Hegel's 'Instinct of Reason' and Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice': What is a Relevant Aufhebung of Nature? Of Justice?
Presenter: Dr.Jennifer Ann Bates, Associate Professor of \Philosophy, Duquesne University
"O, these deliberate fools! When they do choose
They have the wisdom by their wit to lose" (2.9.79-80)
In Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the blending of proto-idealist categories like instinctive reason and mercy with natural objects creates an uneasy middle world of clever laws, imaginary justice and seeming comic resolution. Drawing on that play and Hegel (and Haverkamp, Derrida, Eagleton, Freud) I answer: what would be relevant Aufhebungen (sublations) of nature and of justice?
Part One concerns Hegel's "Instinct of Reason" in his Phenomenology of Spirit. I discuss its context in the book, and distinguish its phenomenological empiricism from reason's speculative empiricism to show why instinctive reason needs to be overcome.
Part Two concerns Shylock's bond of a pound of flesh, the caskets and rings, economic and matrimonial engagements, wit, mercy, eyes, blindness, music and other chains of signification in The Merchant of Venice.
Part Three draws on Derrida's "What is a Relevant Translation?" and Eagleton's Marxist reading of the play: I argue that all merely instinctive Aufhebungen of nature and of justice share a middle term -- unconscious coercions of the bonds of flesh. This is illustrated in the play's symbols of procreation.
Relevant sublations overcome instinctive reason by being conscious of its rational chains --its sexual, cultural and linguistic coercions, its forced assimilations, conversions and translations. Shakespeare's play and Hegel's book teach this. I question how successful we can be.
Jennifer Ann Bates is an associate professor of philosophy at Duquesne University (PhD, Toronto, 1997). She specializes in 19th century German philosophy with an emphasis on Hegel. She is the author of Hegel's Theory of Imagination (SUNY 2004), Hegel and Shakespeare on Moral Imagination (SUNY 2010), and co-editor (with Richard Wilson) of Shakespeare and Continental Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). She has published articles in the Wallace Stevens Journal, the Journal for Environmental Ethics, Criticism, Memoria di Shakespeare, andPhilosophy Compass.
All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.
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