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The Ethics of AuthorshipCommunication, Seduction, and Death in Hegel and Kierkegaard$
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Daniel Berthold

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233946

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823233946.001.0001

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7. Passing Over: The Death of the Author in Hegel

7. Passing Over: The Death of the Author in Hegel

(p.158) 7. Passing Over: The Death of the Author in Hegel
The Ethics of Authorship

Daniel Berthold

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that Hegel's death as an author is at once less obvious and yet in important ways more complete than Kierkegaard's. It supplements Kierkegaard's critique of the Hegelian philosophy as the paradigmatic expression of a philosophy whose author seeks immortality—never to die—with those of a variety of “postmodern” critiques, from critical theory and deconstruction to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and Foucauldian “archaeology.” A frequent criticism of these (mainly) French commentators is that Hegel's invocation of “absolute knowledge” establishes him in a position of authorial arrogance, of God-like authority, leaving the reader in a position of subservience to the sage's perfect wisdom. It is argued that this sort of criticism is profoundly ironic, since Hegel's construction of the role of the sage possessing absolute knowledge is in fact an elaborate mask covering over a radical project of disappearance of the author by which it becomes the reader who is left to author the text.

Keywords:   G. W. F. Hegel, death, authorship, Hegelian philosophy, absolute knowledge

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