Guest lecture „The logic of language: Hölderlin and Hegel“ , June 28th, 2017 and Workshop on the 29. Juni 2017

On June 28th and 29th, 2017, a guest lecture as well as a workshop by Johann Kreuzer, Professor for History of Philosophy at the University of Oldenburg, took place at the department of Fundamental Theology, which was organized in cooperation with the research platform Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society. The title of the talk was called “Die Logik der Sprache: Hölderlin und Hegel” (The Logic of Language: Hölderlin and Hegel). In order to understand the specificity of the act of the finding of language in Hölderlin’s poetry, Kreuzer presented the common starting point of Hegel’s and Hölderlin’s thought as rooted in language and showed ensuing shifts in the conceptions of both thinkers.
Hölderlin’s work plunged into a crisis at the end of the 1790s when his so-called Empedocles project fails, a play on Empedocles as a political reformer who presides over the avant-garde. Initially he worked out his crisis in theoretical writings (Das untergehende Vaterland …, Wenn der Dichter einmal des Geistes mächtig ist …). In them Hölderlin most notably developed a theory of historical transitions. Unlike his earlier work on Empedocles in this context language does not appear as an instrument of a political avant-garde, but reveals itself in acts of finding language more and more as an attempt at expressing what eludes. Where this succeeds, poetry occurs. As Kreuzer interprets Hölderlin, this is an attempt at expressing the reality of language itself through language. Hölderlin’s great songs that came about after 1800 seem to be an expression of that.