PhD Readings: Kant & Hegel


Well, I've begun my first set of Readings for my PhD with IDSVA. We're reading selections on aesthetics from Kant's Critique of Judgement and Hegel's introductory lectures on the subject...

Dear Gods! What have I gotten myself into? Hegel's work, there little I've read so far, is fine. There's a rather direct accessibility to his writing as if he intended people to learn from his ideas. Kant, however...

Not only is his work considered to be wildly difficult for even other philosophers to understand, this work shows signs of Kant slowly loosing his mental edge in old age. Some sentences ramble on for nearly 1/3 of an entire page! As someone who grew up in a post-Enlightenment world, his pseudo-scientific approach is very challenging. It's like being barraged with seemingly random words and phrases that the author assumes make perfect sense when strung together. People write about Kant's lectures being moving and his social skills making him incredibly popular in his home of Königsberg. I have to imagine he was either a terrible writer or that the culture in Germany was so different from today that this weird form of logic seemed commonplace to those in academics.

I have come across some wonderful summaries of his ideas that manage to distill this cacophony of concepts into summaries and principles I can actual agree and disagree with. Here's a great example from Douglas Wolk:

I have a few more days to make sense of this before my first call with my advisor at IDSVA. Hopefully reading Hegel's work, which directly responds to Kant in some places, will help clarify everything.