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PHILOSOPHICAL
LITERARY
JOURNAL
ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

Speculation and Infinite Life: Hegel and Meister Eckhart on the Critique of Finitude


Author: Dubilet Alex

About author:
Visiting Scholar, Department of Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University. Address: 301A Garland Hall, 37235 Nashville, TN, USA. E-mail: aleksey.dubilet@vanderbilt.edu.

Annotation:
The paper turns to the thought of G.W. F. Hegel and its convergence with Meister Eckhart’s thought in order to explore the possibility of a speculative and affirmative relationship between philosophy and religion. It argues that these thinkers, taken together, offer a possible way of rejecting one of the binary structures prevalent in recent continental philosophy, namely the division between an atheistic defense of philosophy and its (secular) egological subjects on one hand, and the affirmation of the primacy of transcendence and alterity (in a quasi-theological vein) on the other hand. Hegel’s and Eckhart’s works suggest that such binaries foreclose a third possibility of annihilating the subject as a way to affirm a speculative and infinite immanence. Utilizing different discursive spaces and theoretical vocabularies, Hegel and Eckhart propose to annihilate the subject as the site from which transcendence could be affirmed in the first place. Moreover, here, God no longer functions as a name against which to struggle in the name of atheism, or one to uphold for a theological critique of the secular. Rather, it becomes the name for the possibility of absolute desubjectivation, of self-emptying and annihilating the subject — processes that are no longer open to transcendence, but reveal the ungrounded immanence of life. In tracing these logics, this paper questions the dominant distribution of concepts structuring the recent turn to religion in continental philosophy, and suggests one possibility for the democratization of thought that would dislocate the imperialism of secular and atheistic discourses without elevating theology to a renewed position of power.

Keywords: Hegel; speculation; finitude; life; immanence; negative theology

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