Between Kant and Hegel: Alexandre Kojève and the End of Law

Law, Theology & Culture & The End of Law Seminar 1/6, 16:00: Between Kant and Hegel: Alexandre Kojève and the End of Law.

We are happy to announce the second Law, Theology and Culture lecture (organized together with the project End of Law) on Tuesday 1st of June 16.00 to 18.00.

Our guest is Jeff Love, Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University and translator from German, Russian, and Portuguese.

Alexandre Kojève is best known for the influential lectures he gave on Hegel to an enthralled audience of French intellectuals including Raymond Aron, Henry Corbin, Jacques Lacan, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Aside from these lectures, published in 1947 as Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Kojéve published relatively little before his death in 1968. Yet, he left over 26 boxes of unpublished material on a variety of topics, from quantum physics and the continuum hypothesis to a major treatise on law called Outline of a Phenomenology of Right (Esquisse d’une phénoménologie du droit). Kojève wrote this treatise (586 pages in the French book edition) in 1943 while living in Vichy France. He expounds in it a comprehensive theory of justice and the universal homogeneous state that promises to usher in the end of history and perhaps of law itself. In my talk, I shall examine some of the central legal features of Kojève’s  universal and homogeneous state and consider whether Kojève actually affirms that history can be brought to an end through a final legal regime or not. In this respect, Kojève reprises his end of history thesis from the Hegel lectures as well as putting it in question, opposing Hegelian finality to what Kojeve terms Kantian “skepticism” about final ends. 

Jeff Love is Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University. He is the author of The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojève (Columbia University Press, 2018), Tolstoy: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2008), and The Overcoming of History in War and Peace (Brill, 2004). He has also published a translation of Alexandre Kojève’s Atheism (Columbia University Press, 2018), an annotated translation (with Johannes Schmidt) of F.W. J. Schelling’s Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (State University of New York Press, 2006), and recently a translation of António Lobo Antunes’s novel Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water (Yale University Press, 2019).

Time: Jun 1, 2021 16:00 Stockholm

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