Gastvortrag von Thomas Oehl "Selbstbewusstsein und absoluter Geist", 22.11.2017

On November 22nd, 2017, Thomas Oehl (from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) held a lecture on „Self Consciousness and Absolute Spirit“ at the department for Fundamental Theology. Together with Arthur Kok (Tilburg / Amsterdam) Thomas Oehl will publish the anthology Objektiver und absoluter Geist nach Hegel. Kunst, Religion und Philosophie innerhalb und außerhalb von Gesellschaft und Geschichte at Brill in 2018 with the participation of Kurt Appel amongst others. Thomas Oehl presented passages of his own contribution to the anthology.

The lecture commented on Hegel's understanding of Self Consciousness in opposition to Descartes and Kant and explained the importance of the Absolute Spirit in the context of which he discussed the relation between religion and philosophy. Oehl interpreted Self Consciousness neither as res cogitans (Descartes) nor as the highest principle (Kant) but as a matter of fact (Tatsache) according to which it is impossible to think oneself as not thinking. The nucleus of Oehl's interpretation of Hegel and his subsequent train of thought was the idea that Self Consciousness is to be understood as the prehension of this matter of fact in which the practical and the theoretical dimension concur.

The lecture broke new and unusual ground, especially with regards to the determination of the relation between philosophy and religion. Based on the hypothesis that in Hegel limited subjectivity is determined by a tendency to absolutize oneself Oehl did not only sketch a proof of God's existence emanating from the concept of Self Consciousness, but he also looked for the traces of a positive philosophy in Hegel. Referring to Hegel's late Göschel-Rezension (1829) the latter was spotted in the idea that the fall from grace or the tendency to absolutize particular to limited subjectivity is the underivable condition of the philosophical penetration of Self Consciousness.