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Giladi, Paul (2020) 'The Dragon Seed Project: Dismantling the Master's House with the Master's Tools?' In: Giladi, Paul, (ed.), Hegel and the Frankfurt School. London: Routledge. (Routledge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Philosophy)

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In this chapter, I challenge (i) the liberal/social democratic reading of the Doppelsatz and Sittlichkeit as the best way of making sense of Hegelianism as politically progressive, and (ii) the particularly radical kind of critical theory which questions whether Hegel’s social theory can be regarded as a genuine critical social theory. With regard to (ii) in particular, I contend such an interpretation is deeply problematic for at least two principal reasons: (a) under revolutionary critical theory, all existing institutions and current discursive formations are fundamentally bad and ideologically perverted through and through. Their rational structures are inherently pathological and are clear barriers to autonomy. What this means for the category of “critical theorist” is concerning on critical theoretic grounds: critics become reified, transformed into “natural”, hermetically sealed, fanatical cult-like group kinds. Such reification fosters eerie pressures towards homogeneous identity-conformity and a purging of supposedly impure members should those members be critical of the revolutionary notion that all existing institutions and current discursive formations are irredeemably ideological; (b) under revolutionary critical theory, the project of being at home in the world by revealing reason in the world is disastrously misunderstood as either endorsing social democracy, which renders the Hegelian project normatively impotent, or as a justification of ideological and socio-economic subjection. I argue that the Hegelian project is best understood qua a concerted effort to carefully and radically actualise the “normative surplus” in existing recognition orders and social spheres to aid the critical goals of emancipation and self-realisation. I argue that while Hegel himself favoured piece-meal liberal reformism, his discursive resources are far more critically transformative than he may well have anticipated, to the extent that they place Hegelianism between Adornian revolutionary thought and liberal reform. The “dragon seed” project of Hegelianism, then, is neither endorsing the status quo, nor espousing liberal reformism, nor is offering revolutionary theory; rather, I argue the emancipatory Hegelian project shares much in common with a radical deliberative democratic call for progressive correction as the way to dismantle the master’s house

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9781138095007
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 08:39

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