Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Thoughts has a problem with SIICGs, and known unknowns that everyone knows.
[T]here is broad base of knowledge that almost all well-rounded, highly educated share in common. There is also specific area knowledge that is known almost exclusively by people with a PhD in the relevant field of study. In the middle is the grey area, the knowledge that even if you don’t know, you know that it is something that you should probably expect to know if you hang around scholars, intellectuals, and intellectually curious generalists (let’s call them SIICGs, for short).

Take, for example, David Bentley Hart’s recent article in First Things on Heidegger’s philosophy as a meditation on the mystery of being. Even if you do not know much about the German philosopher, you recognize that as an SIICG you should be familiar with Heidegger and, duly chastised, you tell yourself that you’ll finally get around to reading Philosophy of Right (even though, let’s be honest, you probably won’t).

This is a prime example of knowing that you should really know about someone that other people already know. I know enough to know that I should know about Heidegger—even if I don’t. But there are times when the issue is not so opaque.

And that brings me to my Žižek problem.
Philosophy of Right? Come on, no one reads Hegel, except Slavoj.
My PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT sits gathering dust after leafing through it and reading here and there. Somewhere I read, "Hegel for morals. Kant for ontology."

The best reason to know about MH when reading Hart is to understand that Hart (among dozens of others) does not understand the difference between MH's beyng and Plato's Being, IMHO.
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