Working together

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Our mutual goal is not to just reproduce our own understanding of Hegel but to mutually come to new height. (In any case, the task is not just to reproduce a great thinker, be it philosopher, scientist, artist etc, but to reproduce his creative mind, so that we understand him from within so that we are able to work creative in his spirit in our current time), just like he did in his time). Contents

Preface

The following is taken from a message to the Hegel.net mailinglists but it also applies to this wiki.

About the Hegel.net mailing lists (and Wikis)

Also, the precondition for writing (at least: extensively) on the Hegel.net list (questions, book reviews, conference calls etc are of course always welcome, as long as they relate to Hegel) is that the writers share our common vision and goals from the Hegel Mission statement (Which of course is in itself not set in stone but subject to further enhancement).

In case you do not want to subscribe to our mission statement, but just want to know something of Hegel, or just discuss one particular aspect of Hegel's philosophy briefly, that is perfectly OK and even one of the reasons why we have created the Hegel-intro list.

a word to those, who do not share our goals

However, when you basicaly want to promote your alternatives to Hegelianism or talk about how much better than Hegel other philosophers are or talk about other topics than the ones we are concerned here, you are probably on the wrong party (in case e.g. you want to convert people to islam, you also do not go into the next christan church assembly - or vice versa - and start praying there, or at least you better don't try more then once or twice, I hope you get the idea).

Don't get me wrong, Hegel's method is one that includes scepticism and self critique as its second moment, this is one of the aspects that constitue its advantage over other methods, so it is in principle OK to question things and to bring in fresh air, new thoughts etc.

However, the basic rule of thumb, just like in ordinary life, is: ask yourself, how you can contribute to the common goal of this place, as described in the Mission statement and this document. If you come to the conclusion that not only you can't but that you even deeply disagree, this is probably the wrong place for you to particpate long term - otherwise, both you and us may have an unnecessary displeasent experience.

(In a perfect world, we would devote enough energy into discussing all arguments in and out, but in the real world, where resources are limited, experiences show that discussion with people who have a very different background and neither share the same goals/aims, nor share the same values / axioms / methology is too much of a vaste of energy, when one compares the effort needed and the usual result).

How to deal with different interpretations of Hegel

It is obvious that there exist many different, even contradicting interpretations of Hegel (some reasons why this is so, can be found in the last section of our Hegel FAQ, at http://hegel.net/en/faq.htm#X.1 as well as in the book on Hegel myths, see the foreword at http://hegel.net/en/stewart1996.htm )

The way how we want to overcome this problem at Hegel.net and its lists is mentioned in our mission statement under topic 4. You can read it online (and even edit and discuss it) here:

  • Hegel.net_Mission_Statement#How_to_Read_Hegel_together:_a_communal_discipline

For the particpants of this lists, this means that we help each other to understand Hegel.

It means first that we keep this list a friendly place, where we talk respectfully of each others (no "idiot" etc, please) and that we avoid avoid ad hominem argumentation (just as any netiquette, scientific common sense etc do teach anyway).

It also means that we have here an open space, where we can exchange different interpretations.

Of course, the aim is not just to have many different opinions, but to aim thru their exchange to reach mutually to a higher synthesis, which includes both the critique of deficit aspects of given statements (beginning from misrepresentations of facts, which should be easily be proved, up to implicit criticism - see what Hegel writes about this in his Science of Logic, when he speaks about Spinoza in the beginning of his discussion of the Concept) up to the understanding of the rational in every argument (finding this often means hard work, but is also needed for successfully working together on a common goal).

In any case, the task of any participant to judge the statements made has to be done all the time, in school, in university, when reading books, watching tv, browsing the internet and reading this list.

It should be done based on own critical thinking and by comparing the facts, based on the content presented.

How to deal with people you think are really bad?

Patronizing the particpants won't help, as it only takes the judgment needed another step further: so one would needs to judge about those who judge others. And if they in turn are criticized, one again needs to judge their critiques etc.

So it basically just burns down to the question to always follow the arguments with a critical, but open mind, and judge by the arguments given.

So this also means that when you criticize someone, do it on the base of the arguments, show that the arguments have an *implicit* error and demonstrate how your arguments are superior.

On your responsibility to make this list a better place

Also, the quality of this list lives from the quality of the mails mailed by the participants. So in case you think that the list lacks of quality or some mails lack of such quality, *please* be the one to help improve them, by sending better mails, by raising the level of discourse.

and mutualy help us to enhance our views in a socratic dialogue

To do this task (of being a great moderator in this sense) right needs an enormous talent: one would need a gift of philosophical pedagogic that one can forest the own thinking of other people, in a socratic dialogue, by listening closely to what they have to say, with a true interest for developing the ideas from their talks (most important those that oneself and/or they themselves do not know about completely yet) but OTOH also showing dialectically the self contradictions in that what the other says.

Thereby finding out the deeper rational in the talk of the other (what may be not obvious to oneself and/or the other)and the limits to be overcome and so coming together to a new level.

So this means a lot of talent and patience and dialectial skill to do it right.

You are all called to train you to help each other this way, it is a mutual service, no one way road.

But a socratic dialogue building upon Hegel of course

OTOH, this list is not just a philosophical list but a philosophical list devoted to Hegel.

This means that we do not start at point zero but that we, in the process of (c) try to build upon the achievements of Hegel as the so far highest peak of philosophy by trying to reproduce his achievements and thereby learning from him and trying to reproduce his creative mind (what also includes to make us familiar with the philosophy and science up to his time as well as to reproduce his encyclopedic knowledge also for our own time, see the Hegel.net mission statement).

This also includes to sort out misconceptions of Hegel (like for example mentioned in our Hegel FAQ at http://hegel.net/en/faq.htm ) and to seek for a systematic approach to philosophy.

remember that the list can only be a suplement to studies, not a substitute

One should be well aware that a mailing list over the internet has only very limited possibilities to explain such a giant and complex philosophical systematicall philosophy.

So the participants should be aware that the major work is not in the list, but by reading Hegel's works themselves (and not only one or two, but the major works, including especially the complete encyclopedia) as well as secondary literature (which is often misleading, but especially in the last few years we have seen significant advances here, but you need to cross check these literature with the Hegel text as well as with your own critical thinking)

And the lists should also be accompanied with classes on Hegel, in case you are not a t a school or university, you could set up such classes with your friends.

The ideal role of these Hegel mailing lists is as a device to coordinate such common Hegel study activities and exchange questions and result which appeared in such study groups.

(btw, I am prepared to visit such groups at least in the major cities of Europe to help to get them started, as well as giving phone and web support for such groups in Europe).

Please also use the Hegel Wiki

Also, it is very important for a mutual advance, that we not limit ourselves to this mailing lists.

We have a wiki at http://wiki.hegel.net and I intensively ask all of you to participate in this wiki so that we are able to preserve our findings form the lists and from reading and studying activities outside this list and share them with others and raise the level of understanding.

This will also make these list more effective.

When the wiki is well in use, we will copy content of it to the static Hegel.net site and also produce an electronic journal out of its best conten