Laughing at Hegel

Merold Westphal

in Overcoming Onto-Theology

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780823221301
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235483 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Laughing at Hegel

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This chapter shows a Derrida sympathetic with Bataille's laughter at Hegel's hubris, just as Kierkegaard's Climacus thought laughter was the best refutation of the System's silliness. Like other prodigals, Derrida's Bataille points to what Hegel has left out, what he regularly refers to as Hegel's blind spot. It is in terms of an economy of expenditure without return that Bataille seeks to distinguish the sovereignty of postmodern laughter from the lordship of Hegel's phenomenological divine comedy, the key, as he sees it, to everything Hegelian. Looking at the difference between sovereignty and lordship, the chapter notes that it is eschatology as such and not just the realized eschatology of the Hegelian system that is the object of an anguished laughter. The “absolute loss of meaning” associated with death as abstract negativity is Hegel's blind spot.

Keywords: blind spot; Bataille; expenditure; sovereignty; lordship

Chapter.  8666 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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