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The Representation of an Action: Tragedy between Kant and Hegel

Cooper, A; (2017) The Representation of an Action: Tragedy between Kant and Hegel. European Journal of Philosophy , 25 (3) pp. 573-594. 10.1111/ejop.12166. Green open access

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Abstract

Hegel's theory of tragedy has polarized critics. In the past, many philosophers have claimed that Hegel's theory of tragedy removes Kant's critical insights and returns to pre-critical metaphysics. More recently, several have argued that Hegel does not break faith with tragic experience but allows philosophy to be transformed by tragedy. In this paper I examine the strength of this revised position. First I show that it identifies Hegel's insightful critique of Kant's theoretical assumptions. Yet I then argue that it fails to note the practical importance of Kant's separation of knowledge and aesthetics. I propose an alternative approach to tragedy that builds from the revised view and yet maintains the autonomy of aesthetics. Tragedy represents an action, a set of events that are internally unified and yet cannot be reduced to theory. This is to say that tragedy confronts us with an aesthetic sphere of making and doing that, while constrained, is incessantly open and free.

Type: Article
Title: The Representation of an Action: Tragedy between Kant and Hegel
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12166
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/ejop.12166
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572920
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