On Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Nature’ : A Free Reflex of Spirit — part fifty two.

David Proud
64 min readJan 14, 2024

A Woman’s Life and Love — 1.

‘Since I saw him’

by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781–1838)

Since I saw him

I believe myself to be blind,

where I but cast my gaze,

I see him alone.

as in waking dreams

his image floats before me,

dipped from deepest darkness,

brighter in ascent.

All else dark and colourless

everywhere around me,

for the games of my sisters

I no longer yearn,

I would rather weep,

silently in my little chamber,

since I saw him,

I believe myself to be blind.

‘Seit ich ihn gesehen’

Seit ich ihn gesehen,

Glaub’ ich blind zu sein;

Wo ich hin nur blicke,

Seh’ ich ihn allein;

Wie im wachen Traume

Schwebt sein Bild mir vor,

Taucht aus tiefstem Dunkel,

Heller nur empor.

Sonst ist licht- und farblos

Alles um mich her,

Nach der Schwestern Spiele

Nicht begehr’ ich mehr,

Möchte lieber weinen,

Still im Kämmerlein;

Seit ich ihn gesehen,

Glaub’ ich blind zu sein.


‘Luise Pfeiffer-Nathusius’, 1846, Friedrich von Amerling

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, (1770–1831). ‘Philosophy of Nature’. Organic Physics.

Time to look at the ‘Philosophy of Nature’ in the light of some more contemporary concerns albeit there is a passage in the ‘Philosophy of Right’ that has prompted this. Feminist philosophers have been vocal in their critique of the gendered norms incorporated within the history of philosophy but have not so much extended such critical analysis to norms concerning disability, indeed in the history of Western philosophy disability has frequently functioned as a metaphor for something that is amiss, a trope whereby disability is something that has gone wrong and that has been critiqued within Disability Studies although not within the tradition of philosophy itself nor indeed within feminist philosophy. In this paper, An instance of this disability metaphor is to be found within a passage from Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’, which I will get to in a moment, in order to show that paying attention to disability and disability theory can enable identification of ableist assumptions within the tradition of philosophy and can also open up new interpretations of canonical texts. Hegel’s logic and its treatment of contingency however provide us with useful ways to situate and re-evaluate disability as part of the concept of humanity. Disability is especially useful to Hegel in particular especially in the context of his valorization of experiences of disruption and disorientation and widening our understanding of the possible ways that the philosophical tradition has conceived human beings permits us to more fruitfully draw upon its theoretical resources.

Traditionally philosophy has focussed upon the universal and phenomena that diverge from a universalized norm have in general been considered as mistakes or defects. Hence within philosophy disability, that takes many forms and therefore resists universalization, has generally been either disregarded, explicitly ruled out of consideration as aberration or monstrosity, or variously used as a thought-experiment or counter example.

Aristotle in his ‘Politics’ condoned infanticide by exposure for babies with birth defects:

‘The particular kind of bodily constitution in the parents that will be most beneficial for the offspring must be dwelt on more in detail in our discussion of the management of children1; it is sufficient to speak of it in outline now. The athlete’s habit of body is not serviceable for bodily fitness as required by a citizen, nor for health and parentage, nor yet is a habit that is too valetudinarian and unfit for labor, but the condition that lies between them. The bodily habit therefore should have been trained by exercise, but not by exercises that are violent, and not for one form of labor only, as is the athlete’s habit of body, but for the pursuits of free men. And these arrangements must be provided alike for men and women. And pregnant women also must take care of their bodies, not avoiding exercise nor adopting a low diet; this it is easy for the lawgiver to secure by ordering them to make a journey daily for the due worship of the deities whose office is the control of childbirth. As regards the mind, however, on the contrary it suits them to pass the time more indolently than as regards their bodies; for children before birth are evidently affected by the mother just as growing plants are by the earth. As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practised on it before it has developed sensation and life; for the line between lawful and unlawful abortion will be marked by the fact of having sensation and being alive. And since the beginning of the fit age for a man and for a woman, at which they are to begin their union, has been defined, let it also be decided for how long a time it is suitable for them to serve the state in the matter of producing children. For the offspring of too elderly parents, as those of too young ones, are born imperfect both in body and mind, and the children of those that have arrived at old age are weaklings. Therefore the period must be limited to correspond with the mental prime; and this in the case of most men is the age stated by some of the poets, who measure men’s age by periods of seven years, — it is about the age of fifty. Therefore persons exceeding this age by four or five years must be discharged from the duty of producing children for the community, and for the rest of their lives if they have intercourse it must be manifestly for the sake of health or for some other similar reason. As to intercourse with another woman or man, in general it must be dishonorable for them to be known to take any part in it in any circumstances whatsoever as long as they are husband and wife and bear those names, but any who may be discovered doing anything of the sort during their period of parentage’.

- ‘Politics’

Plato appears to endorse this for certain regimes in the ‘Republic’:

‘And on the young men, surely, who excel in war and other pursuits we must bestow honors and prizes, and, in particular, the opportunity of more frequent intercourse with the women, which will at the same time be a plausible pretext for having them beget as many of the children as possible’. ‘Right’. ‘And the children thus born will be taken over by the officials appointed for this, men or women or both, since, I take it, the official posts too are common to women and men. The offspring of the good, I suppose, they will take to the pen or créche, to certain nurses who live apart in a quarter of the city, but the offspring of the inferior, and any of those of the other sort who are born defective, they will properly dispose of in secret, so that no one will know what has become of them’. ‘That is the condition’, he said, ‘of preserving the purity of the guardians’ breed’. ‘They will also supervise the nursing of the children, conducting the mothers to the pen when their breasts are full, but employing every device.

- Republic’

[‘properly dispose of in secret’: opinions differ whether this is euphemism for exposure].

Licia Carlson, (1970 -), provides a brief list of the instances of intellectual disability in the history of philosophy while Georgina Kleege, (1956), analyses the use of the hypothetical blind man in early modern philosophy. She provides a survey of the history of the figure of the man born blind or what she refers to as the hypothetical blind man in the theories of such thinkers as René Descartes, (1596–1650), John Locke, (1632–1704), and Denis Diderot, (1713–1784), and these representations depend upon an over-determined, one-to-one analogy between the eyes of the sighted man and the hands of the blind man and if the sighted theorists are assumed to be all eyes, the hypothetical blind man is all hands. The first engagement with blindness in modern philosophy, Descartes’work ‘On Optics’ (1637) makes use of a hypothetical blind man walking with a stick. Descartes makes the analogy between hands and eyes such that the blind are conceived as ‘seeing with their hands’. Descartes’ initial analogy therefore elegantly cements an influential conceptualization of blindness for several centuries initiating a philosophical relation between blindness, vision and touch.

In fact, disability has often functioned in the history of philosophy as a metaphor for something that has gone amiss and the metaphor and the assumption underlying it according to which disability must be something bad has been subjected to critique within Disability Studies. ‘Why do we think disability must be bad?’ asks Anita Silvers, (1940–2019). Rosemarie Garland-Thomson suggests we view disabled bodies ‘as extraordinary rather than abnormal’. Tobin Siebers has addressed the best ways to advocate for disability justice, a theory of complex embodiment that moves beyond the social model, or the pervasive ideology of ability in our society today.

And yet all such critiques have not affected the treatment of this metaphor within history of philosophy scholarship and albeit feminist philosophical analysis of the exclusionary norms implied by the canon has focused almost entirely on the use of gender it is critical that the scope and focus of this analysis be extended. One instance of this disability metaphor is to be found within a passage from Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right’ which can be used to demonstrate that a closer analysis of disability within the history of philosophy can work to open up fruitful interpretations of philosophical texts, and while Hegel’s influence upon social theory in general and feminist theory in particular has been pervasive he is frequently treated with suspicion, nonetheless he provides a rich set of theoretical resources with which to combat universalist and dogmatic pronouncements of fixed human nature, resources that is to say that call for a broadening in our understanding of what human beings can be.

Gender and disability. There has been a considerable amount of feminist scholarship on Hegel, re-reading him in order to advance their own feminist ends and find precursors to strains of feminist thought in this work for as Charlotte Witt observes, it can work ‘as confirmation that a feminist perspective or problem is securely rooted in our philosophical culture’. Equally, re-reading the history of philosophy in general to find precursors to strains of disability theory assist in reinforcing and confirming these strains within philosophy, as a matter of fact incorporating disability into the new re-readings of the tradition that feminist philosophers have undertaken would serve to enhance our understanding of how the structure of normalization affects multiple aspects of identity.


“Little Magic Glasses”

I wish I had a pair of little magic glasses

That I could see the future just by lookin’ through

Then I could know what road tomorrow’s gonna take me down

And I could see if I’ll be walkin’ down that road with you

I would keep my little magic glasses hidden

I would let nobody else see what I see

And everyone would want to know how I can know what lies ahead

And they’ll wonder when I say tomorrow I see you with me

But if I see into the future that I’m on the road alone

And where the way was sunny, now there’s only rain

I’ll put them in a box and seal it with a lock

And I’ll never take my little magic glasses out again

I will put them in a box and seal it with a lock

And I’ll never take my little magic glasses out again

And I’ll never take my little magic glasses out again

Johnny Cash: ‘Little Magic Glasses’:


As Rosemarie Garland-Thomson noted, ‘considering disability shifts the conceptual framework to strengthen our understanding of how these multiple systems intertwine, redefine, and mutually constitute one another’. Hegel is an especially fruitful philosophical resource in this respect for he both challenges traditional dichotomies and re-inscribes them presenting a wealth of analysis for a feminist philosophy of disability. In order to do so, I shall first discuss the existing feminist work on Hegel; then, through a consideration of the ways in which how disability functions within his system, I shall turn to show how this feminist work would be improved and deepened if it were to incorporate philosophical analyses of disability.

Feminist criticisms of Hegel are usually focused on his explicit comments about women in particular in his discussions of the family and the role of Antigone. For Hegel, men and women are functionally complementary with men in a dominant role. Women are consigned to the home, to the family and because they do not leave the household, women seem to be denied the progression and development of their ethical self-consciousness. Seyla Benhabib points out that there were intellectual women such as Caroline Schlegel Schelling around Hegel that he could have regarded as counter-examples to his claims about women’s diminished abilities, albeit he recoiled from their nonconformity according to Benhabib. Other feminists criticize the hostility that they see implied by Hegel’s remarks in the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’ according to which our recognition of the Other is an encounter shaped by hostility. Linda Alcoff, for instance, criticizes Hegel’s insistence that the Other must be ‘overcome’.

And yet with respect to Hegel’s explicit statements about women other scholars contend that Hegel is more or less the product of his time and that the overall gist of his philosophy can accommodate a different role for women albeit doing so correctly would involve a fair amount of reconstruction nonetheless some feminist philosophers contend that Hegel can be updated in this way. For instance, Heidi Ravven contends that Hegel’s restriction of women to the family sphere is the result of ‘sentimentality and/or prejudice’, however, ‘at a more basic level, nothing in the Hegelian philosophic approach would seem to necessitate this extraordinary lapse in the empathic understanding of women’. In addition she contends that if Hegel’s idea of freedom were developed further it could accommodate a much more progressive version of society, while still retaining its particular insights about the role of the family. And furthermore Hegel scholars can point out that the hostile encounter of the Other in the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’ is not Hegel’s final word on recognition albeit in that context Hegel portrayed the encounter as a deficient form of recognition he provided other accounts of recognition elsewhere. Robert Williams has made a case for understanding Hegel’s view of recognition as not solely being about overcoming the Other.

‘Portrait of Mrs. Antoine-Julien Meffre-Rouzan’, 1839, Jean Joseph Vaudechamp

Some feminist philosophers having worked through the details and implications of the system as a whole have raised concerns, for instance Alison Stone contends that gendered opposition within Hegel’s philosophy is not simply confined to his discussion of the family but rather gendered opposition is deeply embedded in Hegel’s system, in his very understanding of nature, and the relationship of concept and matter:

‘Infamously, Hegel in his 1821 Elements of the Philosophy of Right maintains that it is an essential feature of modern European societies — and in accordance with the principles of right — that women are confined to the family, excluded from the public spheres of work and politics. ‘Woman [die Frau] . . . has her substantial vocation in the family, and her ethical disposition consists in this piety’. Feminist scholars have offered a range of interpretations of Hegel’s philosophical rationale for making these claims. … I will put forward my own reconstruction of Hegel’s reasons for confining women to the family, drawing on Frederick Neuhouser’s argument that Hegel endorses a form of political organicism. According to this organicist position, the modern state (in the sense of politically organized society as a whole) is subdivided into three functional spheres: (1) the family, embodying the principle of ‘immediate unity’ or ‘undifferentiated unity’ between its members; (2) civil society, embodying the principle of ‘difference’ between its members; and (3) the strictly political state, embodying the principle of ‘differentiated unity’. Since, in his philosophies of nature and mind, Hegel also holds that the female body is organized upon a principle of ‘immediate unity’ between the female individual and the species, especially as embodied in the child, the essential principles that organize the female body and the family correspond to one another, so that for Hegel women are preeminently suited to family life’.

- ‘Matter and Form: Hegel, Organicism, and the Difference between Women and Men’.

Since Hegel associates form or concept with the male and matter with the female, in common with most of the Western philosophical tradition, his identification of matter as the being-outside-itself of the concept means Hegel implicitly understands the female as the being-outside-itself of the male as an inverted and inferior form of the male, rather than as a sexuate identity in its own right hence Hegel’s account of the process of nature where the concept shapes matter more and more in conformity with it, amounts to a progressive mastery of the female by the male.

‘… Hegel’s interpretation of the female body as organized by a principle of self/other indistinction, and of the male body as organized by a principle of self/other difference, forms part of a broader set of symbolic equations that we can trace in the sections of his Philosophy of Nature (1817, 1827, 1830) that precede and prepare for the account that he gives in that work of the difference between the sexes (Geschlechtsdifferenz). Hegel conceives of nature as consisting of two basic elements, matter and concept, which exist in an initial opposition that is progressively overcome. Following a philosophical tradition that goes back to Plato, Hegel symbolizes matter as female and the concept as male. Moreover, since he identifies matter as the being-outside-itself of the concept, he implicitly understands the female as the being-outside-itself of the male — as an inverted and inferior form of the male, rather than as a sexuate identity in its own right. Given that Hegel symbolizes matter as female, it is unsurprising that in his account of sex difference he reciprocally identifies females as comparatively ‘material’: in his view, the lack of self/other difference characteristic of the female sex represents a form of relationship to the species that is relatively ‘material’, compared to the more ‘spiritual’ relationship to the species that distinguishes the male sex.

- ‘Matter and Form: Hegel, Organicism, and the Difference between Women and Men’.

With such an account being deeply embedded in Hegel’s thinking this suggests that it is not possible to strategically bracket gender to the side and to continue to use other aspects of his philosophy and further the character of this account also raises questions more generally about the role of contingency in Hegel, and this focus upon mastery appears as though it would be at odds with much of the tendency of Disability Studies to resist the push toward normalization. Despite her critical analysis Stone persists in thinking that feminist philosophers can employ Hegel. Elsewhere she points out the usefulness of the master/slave dialectic, of Hegel’s work on recognition, and of his dialectical logic that shows ‘how one concept, when isolated or separated from its antithesis, tends to collapse back into or become invaded by its antithesis.

‘Another aspect of Hegel’s thought that feminists have used is not a specific Hegelian concept but his dialectical logic: his way of showing how one concept, when isolated or separated from its antithesis, tends to collapse back into or become invaded by the antithesis — in a return of the repressed (as in Adorno’s and Horkheimer’s application, the more enlightenment tries to separate itself from myth the more barbaric and mythical it becomes). Irigaray uses this form of argument to theorize the psychical difficulties that individuals face under patriarchy. She argues that daughters are forced to separate themselves from their mothers and to identify with and idealize their fathers, because only by so doing can they accede to independent subjectivity; but because this kind of separation is impossibly sharp, daughters are endlessly sucked back into fusion with their mothers. Likewise she thinks that sons try to separate from their mothers but remain unconsciously locked into Oedipal desire for their mothers and reenact this in their relationships with other women but then attempt to reestablish separation through violent breaks with the feminine, and so on. Irigaray’s arguments follow a Hegelian logic: trying to separate from immediate unity reproduces it; we need instead to redefine being a subject as being related-to but distinct-from one’s maternal origin. These issues — about conceptions of subjectivity, their different impacts on men and women — may seem very abstract but they are still matters of recognition, which following Hegel we can recognize to remain politically important’.

- ‘Matter and Form: Hegel, Organicism, and the Difference between Women and Men’.

Stone cautions that feminists have to recognise the gendered structure of his philosophy and that ‘our efforts to use and reconstruct Hegelian ideas [must] be informed by this acknowledgement. Otherwise we run the risk of inadvertently reproducing in our own thinking the very gendered schemata that we aim, as feminists, to expose and challenge’. Hegel’s philosophy can be used, but in doing so, Stone observes, ‘we need simultaneously to reconstruct and reinterpret that philosophy, or the parts of it that we are using, in a more gender-egalitarian form’. And such a reconstruction and reinterpretation of Hegel’s philosophy can be situated within a disability theory framework, a re-reading of Hegel’s system within this framework will show that his logic in particular provides a useful theoretical tool for feminists and disability theorists.

Unlike the prominent place given to discussions about women and the community in the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’ and ‘Philosophy of Right’ and about the structure of gender in the ‘Philosophy of Nature’, Hegel’s mentions of disability and impairment are scarce: references to monstrosities in the ‘Philosophy of Nature’:

‘The immediacy of the Idea of life consists of the Notion. as such failing to exist in life, submitting itself therefore to the manifold conditions and circumstances of external nature, and being able to appear in the most stunted of forms; the fruitfulness of the earth allows life to break forth everywhere, and in all kinds of ways. The animal world is perhaps even less able than the other spheres of nature to present an immanently independent and rational system of organization, to keep to the forms which would be determined by the Notion, and to proof them in the face of the imperfection and mixing of conditions, against mingling, stuntedness and intermediaries. The feebleness of the Notion in nature in general, not only subjects the formation of individuals to external accidents, which in the developed animal, and particularly in man, give rise to monstrosities, but also makes the genera themselves completely subservient to the changes of the external universal life of nature. The life of the animal shares in the vicissitudes of this universal life (cf. Remark § 392), and consequently, it merely alternates between health and disease. The milieu of external contingency contains very little that is not alien, and as it is continually subjecting animal sensibility to violence and the threat of dangers, the animal cannot escape a feeling of insecurity, anxiety and misery’.

- ‘Philosophy of Nature’

A discussion of cognitive disability or derangement in the ‘Anthropology’:

‘At the first stage we see the soul involved in the dreaming away and intimation of its concrete natural life. In order to comprehend the wonder of this soul-form, which in recent times has received universal attention, we must bear in mind that here the soul still lies in immediate, undifferentiated unity with its objectivity. The second stage is the standpoint of derangement, i.e. of the soul divided against itself, on the one hand already in control of itself, on the other hand not yet in control of itself, but held fast in an individual particularity in which it has its actuality. At the third stage finally, the soul becomes master of its natural individuality, of its bodiliness, reduces this to a subservient means, and projects out of itself as an objective world that content of its substantial totality which does not belong to its bodiliness. Reaching this goal, the soul emerges in the abstract freedom of the I and thus becomes consciousness’.

- ‘Philosophy of Mind’

A remark that ‘blind people are particularly attentive to the symbolism of the human voice’:

‘Besides colours, it is particularly sounds which produce in us a corresponding mood. This is especially true of the human voice; for this is the principal way in which a human being discloses his interior; what he is, he puts into his voice. In the melodious-sounding voice, therefore, we believe we can safely recognize the beauty of soul of the speaker, and in the harshness of his voice, a coarse feeling. In the first case, the sound evokes our sympathy, in the latter case our antipathy. Blind people are particularly attentive to the symbolism of the human voice. It is even affirmed that they claim to detect someone’s physical beauty in the melodious sound of the voice,-that they even think they hear pockmarks in faint speaking through the nose’.

- ‘Philosophy of Mind’

A reference to madness within the context of criminal guilt in the ‘Philosophy of Right’:

‘ … for the nature of man consists precisely in the fact that he is essentially something universal, not a being whose knowledge is an abstractly momentary and piecemeal affair. Just as what the incendiary really sets on fire is not the isolated square inch of wooden surface to which he applies his torch, but the universal in that square inch, e.g. the house as a whole, so, as subject, he is neither the single existent of this moment of time nor this isolated hot feeling of revenge. If he were, he would be an animal which would have to be knocked on the head as dangerous and unsafe because of its liability to fits of madness. The claim is made that the criminal in the moment of his action must have had a ‘clear idea’ of the wrong and its culpability before it can be imputed to him as a crime. At first sight, this claim seems to preserve the right of his subjectivity, but the truth is that it deprives him of his indwelling nature as intelligent, a nature whose effective presence is not confined to the ‘clear ideas’ of Wolff’s psychology, and only in cases of lunacy is it so deranged as to be divorced from the knowing and doing of isolated things. The sphere in which these extenuating circumstances come into consideration as grounds for the mitigation of punishment is a sphere other than that of rights, the sphere of pardon’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

A comparison between a defective state and ‘the ugliest man, the criminal, the invalid, or the cripple’:

‘The state in and by itself is the ethical whole, the actualisation of freedom; and it is an absolute end of reason that freedom should be actual. The state is mind on earth and consciously realising itself there. In nature, on the other hand, mind actualises itself only as its own other, as mind asleep. Only when it is present in consciousness, when it knows itself as a really existent object, is it the state. In considering freedom, the starting-point must be not individuality, the single self-consciousness, but only the essence of self-consciousness; for whether man knows it or not, this essence is externally realised as a self-subsistent power in which single individuals are only moments. The march of God in the world, that is what the state is. The basis of the state is the power of reason actualising itself as will. In considering the Idea of the state, we must not have our eyes on particular states or on particular institutions. Instead we must consider the Idea, this actual God, by itself. On some principle or other, any state may be shown to be bad, this or that defect may be found in it; and yet, at any rate if one of the mature states of our epoch is in question, it has in it the moments essential to the existence of the state. But since it is easier to find defects than to understand the affirmative, we may readily fall into the mistake of looking at isolated aspects of the state and so forgetting its inward organic life. The state is no ideal work of art; it stands on earth and so in the sphere of caprice, chance, and error, and bad behaviour may disfigure it in many respects. But the ugliest of men, or a criminal, or an invalid, or a cripple, is still always a living man. The affirmative, life, subsists despite his defects, and it is this affirmative factor which is our theme here’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

If the role of gender which is much more explicitly discussed in Hegel has been routinely overlooked by scholars of his work, it is not surprising that until now the role of disability within his thought has not been a topic of analysis. Alan Patten frames his account of Hegel’s social theory in order to examine objections to the criticism that Hegel’s conception of ethical life is ‘unacceptably conservative’ but his only acknowledgement of Hegel’s treatment of women or the inegalitarian nature of the family is in a footnote stating that he will use masculine pronouns throughout in order not to ‘misleadingly create the impression that Hegel held more enlightened views about women than he actually did’.

But looking more deeply one observes that many of Hegel’s mentions of disability and in particular his comment about the cripple are deeply embedded in his account of contingency and its relation to the concept, and Hegel himself reminds us that we should not be one-sided in our reasoning about contingency: contingencies may not be disregarded as entirely irrelevant. An interpretation of Hegel’s references to disability that draws on both disability theory and the strategies of feminist scholars who use his work permits us to reframe these references as critical moments of his philosophy. Stone contends that Hegel’s account of form and matter reveals the gendered opposition deep in his system and Hegel’s account of contingency has fruitful implications for his treatment of disability. Just as Stone contends that awareness of this gendered structure is key to the transformation and re-imagining of Hegel’s philosophy for feminist purposes, an awareness of the ways that Hegel deals with contingency provides both a starting point for re-thinking disability in his philosophy and conceptual support for disability theory itself.

This portrait was misidentified as the subject’s daughter, Lady Sarah Sophia Fane, later Viscountess Villiers, and then Countess of Jersey. It is probably a portrait of her mother, the Countess of Westmorland, who was also named Sarah. The error is apparently written on the back of the item itself, as cited in the linked source, which is an art sale catalog that identifies the sitter as ‘Sarah Villiers, Viscountess of Jersey’ (no such person ever existed). The date of the portrait is given as 1786, which is probably correct based on clothing style. Sarah Fane, the daughter, was born in 1785, and the portrait looks similar to other portraits of Lady Westmorland, who died in 1794. Ozias Humphry.

The ugliest man, the criminal, the invalid, or the cripple. The kinds of instances that can best show evidence of underlying assumptions are sometimes to be found in the margins of sections of philosophical texts where a philosopher’s argument may be less philosophically precise than in the properly thought out version itself permitting more of the philosopher’s unconsidered thought to be conveyed and with Hegel an especially rich source of such inquiry can be found in his lectures, preserved in student lecture notes. Hegel’s editors drew from these notes, often merging different iterations of his courses together, to provide additions to several of Hegel’s texts. Many such additions can be linked back to their sources, and one addition, from the ‘Philosophy of Right’, is concerned with making clear how we should study existing states in the light of Hegel’s critical philosophy. The use of examples in this addition needs looking into:

‘Any state, even if we pronounce it bad in the light of our own principles, and even if we discover this or that defect in it, invariably has the essential moments of its existence [Existenz] within itself (provided it is one of the more advanced states of our time). But since it is easier to discover deficiencies than to comprehend the affirmative, one may easily fall into the mistake of overlooking the inner organism of the state in favour of individual [einzelne] aspects. The state is not a work of art; it exists in the world, and hence in the sphere of arbitrariness, contingency, and error, and bad behaviour may disfigure it in many respects. But the ugliest man, the criminal, the invalid, or the cripple is still a living human being; the affirmative aspect — life — survives [besteht] in spite of such deficiencies, and it is with this affirmative aspect that we are here concerned’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

Deficiency here is the English translation of Mangel which can also be translated as defect or lack. The original lecture notes of K. G. Griesheim, 1824/25, read slightly differently, separating out the deficient cases into two clusters: ‘But the ugliest man, [and] the criminal, is still a human being. An invalid, a cripple, is still a living human being’. Aber der häßlichste Mensch, der Verbrecher ist immer doch Mensch. Ein Kranker, Krüppel ist immer ein noch lebender Mensch. Although the ugliest man and the criminal do not appear to have anything in common beyond the assumption that they both are deficient, the invalid and the cripple are connected more explicitly with biological concerns. They are both deficiently human and deficiently living. The criminal has at least chosen to act in a certain way, and thus is reinforced as an agent even in the midst of his or her deficiency. The deficiency attributed to the invalid and the cripple is due to the contingency of nature and their agency which for Hegel is central to human personhood is overshadowed in their classification.

All four of Hegel’s examples in this addition illustrate what Susan Wendell (1945 — ) describes as the classification of Others: ‘we group them together as the objects of our experience instead of regarding them as subjects of experience with whom we might identify, and we see them primarily as symbolic of something else — usually, but not always, something we reject and fear and project onto them’. Hegel’s invocation of sickness and disability as analogous to political injustice reveals that, despite the text’s affirmation that the sick person and disabled person are living human beings, they are not quite fully human. Both the original version from the lecture notes and the editors’ Addition to the Philosophy of Right illustrate what now would be called ableist assumptions in how they connect ugliness, criminality, and sickness to disability and this kind of connecting is common in organic philosophies of the state where any sort of disorder or disruption within the body politic is equated metaphorically with a disease of an organic body can be found as far back in the history of philosophy as the precursors of the body politic metaphor in Plato and the medieval period. Plato’s ‘Republic’ equates health and justice:

‘Then’, said I, ‘to act unjustly and be unjust and in turn to act justly the meaning of all these terms becomes at once plain and clear, since injustice and justice are so’. ‘How so?’ ‘Because’, said I, ‘these are in the soul what1 the healthful and the diseaseful are in the body; there is no difference’. ‘In what respect?’ he said. ‘Healthful things surely engender health and diseaseful disease’. ‘Yes’. ‘Then does not doing just acts engender justice and unjust injustice?’ ‘Of necessity’. ‘But to produce health is to establish the elements in a body in the natural relation of dominating and being dominated1 by one another, while to cause disease is to bring it about that one rules or is ruled by the other contrary to nature’. ‘Yes, that is so’. ‘And is it not likewise the production of justice in the soul to establish its principles in the natural relation of controlling and being controlled by one another, while injustice is to cause the one to rule or be ruled by the other contrary to nature?’ ‘Exactly so’, he said. ‘Virtue, then, as it seems, would be a kind of health nd beauty and good condition of the soul, and vice would be disease, ugliness, and weakness’. ‘It is so’. ‘Then is it not also true that beautiful and honorable pursuits tend to the winning of virtue and the ugly to vice?’ ‘Of necessity’.

- ‘Republic’

In the Medieval period, John of Salisbury’s, (late 1110s — 25 October 1180), ‘Policraticus’ develops the political state-as-body metaphor. He also stated that philosophy was essential to human health and mental well-being, while humans lacking philosophical thought were akin to feral creatures incapable of rationalization.

So, the connection has a long history but needs to be contextualized within Hegel’s philosophy as a whole. Additions to the ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’ albeit though they do not mention the cripple again are evidently similar: “a bad State or a sick body may exist all the same, but they are untrue because their concept and their reality do not correspond to one another.

‘The relationship of the whole and its parts is untrue inasmuch as its concept and reality do not correspond to one another. It is the very concept of a whole to contain parts; but if the whole is posited as what it is according to its concept, then, when it is divided, it ceases at once to be a whole. There certainly are things that answer to this part-whole relationship, but, just for that reason, they are only inferior and untrue existences. In this connection we should recollect the general point that when we speak of something’s being ‘untrue’ in a philosophical discussion, that should not to be understood to mean that the sort of thing spoken of does not exist; a bad State or a sick body may exist all the same, but they are ‘untrue’ because their concept and their reality do not correspond to one another.

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

And it may certainly be correct that someone is ill, or has stolen something; but a content like this is not true for an ill body is not in agreement with the concept of life, and similarly theft is an action that does not correspond to the concept of human action.

‘In ordinary life correctness and truth are very often considered to be synonymous, and hence we often speak of the truth of a content when it is a matter of mere correctness. In general, correctness is only a matter of the formal agreement of our representation with its content, whatever kind this content may other wise be. Truth, on the contrary, consists in the agreement of the obect with itself, i. e., with its concept. It may certainly be correct that someone is ill, or has stolen something; but a content like this is not ‘true’, for an ill body is not in agreement with the concept of life, and similarly theft is an action that does not correspond to the concept of human action. From these examples it may be gathered that, no matter how correct it may be, an immediate judgment, in which an abstract quality is asserted of something immediately singular, simply cannot contain any truth; for subject and predicate do not stand to one another here in the relationship of reality and concept’.

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

‘In the philosophical sense, on the contrary, ‘truth’, expressed abstractly and in general, means the agreement of a content with itself. This is therefore a meaning of ‘truth’ quite different from the one mentioned above. Besides, the deeper (philosophical) meaning of ‘truth’ is also partly found in ordinary linguistic usage already. We speak, for instance, of a ‘true’ friend, and by that we understand one whose way of acting conforms with the concept of friendship; and in the same way we speak also of a ‘true’ work of art. To say of something that it is ‘untrue’ is as much as to say that it is bad, that it involves an inner inadequacy. A bad State, in this sense, is an ‘untrue’ State; and what is bad and untrue consists always in a contradiction between the object’s determination or concept and its existence. We can form a correct representation of a bad object of this sort, but the content of this representation is something inwardly ‘untrue’. We may have many examples of such things in our heads, examples that are correct and at the same time ‘untrue’.’

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

‘The civil law suit, in contrast, is an example of the simple negative judgment, because it deals with cases where only this particular right is negated, and right in general therefore remains recognised. So the situation is the same as in the case of the negative judgment, ‘This flower is not red’, where what is denied to the flower is merely this particular colour, but not colour in general, for the flower can still be blue, yellow, etc. In the same way, death is a negative-infinite judgment, too, whereas, in contrast, illness is a singular negative judgment. In illness, it is merely this or that particular life-function that is checked or denied, whereas in death-as we normally say-body and soul separate, in other words, they fall apart completely.

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

‘Truth is understood first to mean that I know how something is. But this is truth only in relation to consciousness; it is formal truth, mere correctness. In contrast with this, truth in the deeper sense means that objectivity is identical with the Concept. It is this deeper sense of truth which is at issue when we speak, for instance, of a ‘true’ State or a ‘true’ work of art. These objects are ‘true’ when they are what they ought to be, i. e., when their reality corresponds to their concept. Interpreted in this way, the ‘untrue’ is the same as what is sometimes also called the ‘bad’. A bad man is one who is ‘untrue’, i. e., one who does not behave in accord with his concept or his destination. But without any identity at all between Concept and reality nothing can subsist. Even what is bad and untrue can only be because its reality conforms to some extent with its Concept. Precisely for this reason, what is thoroughly bad or contrary to its concept disintegrates inwardly. It is by virtue of the Concept alone that things in the world have their own standing- to use the language of religious representation, things are what they are only because of the divine and hence creative thought that dwells within them’.

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

The similarity of these comments to the one in the ‘Philosophy of Right’, despite the ‘Philosophy of Right’’s different subject matter exemplifies the manner that this type of comparison appears evident and straightforward to Hegel, something that could be raised during the course of a lecture, and further the second of these comments goes even farther to link illness and criminality as deficiencies of a similar type. Despite Hegel’s metaphorical linkages here there is more to it with regard to how disability might be situated within his system as both something contingent and particular to individuals and something of universal significance that contributes to our idea of humanity and doing thus requires understanding the role of contingency and the meaning of truth for Hegel.

‘Femme à la lorgnette’, Henri Nicolas van Gopf (1758–1820)

The Concept, the Idea, and Truth. In order to understand the type of deficiency with which Hegel is concerned in the examples above it is important to clarify the relation that he draws between truth and the concept and this relation is what Hegel explains when he invokes the aforementioned examples in the ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’ and looking into this relation will make clear the manner whereby Hegel works with norms and exceptions which is important for understanding the resources that his work offers analyses of disability. The concept is a form of thought that includes the moments of the universal [Allgemeine], the particular [Besondere], and the singular or individual [Einzelne]. Concepts are not immediately known, we come to know a concept through the process of thinking it through and also living it historically, such that we perceive the distinctions within it.

‘As the substantial might which is for itself the Concept is what is free; and since each of its moments is the whole that it is, and is posited as inseparable unity with it, the Concept is totality; thus, in its identity with itself it is what is in and for itself determinate’.

‘The progression of the Concept is no longer either passing-over or shining into another, but development; for the [moments] that are distinguished are immediately posited at the same time as identical with one another and with the whole, and [each] determinacy is as a free being of the whole Concept’.

‘The doctrine of the Concept subdivides into: (1) the doctrine of the subjective or formal Concept, (2) that of objectivity or of the Concept as determined to immediacy, (3) that of the Idea, or of the Subject-Object, the unity of the Concept and of objectivity, the absolute Truth’.

- ‘Encyclopaedia Logic’

An example of a determinate concept: Freedom may initially be taken to be quite abstract, solely an absence of restriction on my will. Any determination would initially be deemed a limitation or restriction on my freedom. Further reflection, however, reveals that these determinations are essential to my freedom to be the particular person that I am, rather than be some other person. Hegel gives an example of the freedom that determination enables when he refers to young people who resist settling into a career, believing it to curtail their freedom.

‘At first (i.e. especially in youth) a man chafes at the idea of resolving on a particular social position, and looks upon this as a restriction on his universal character and as a necessity imposed on him purely ab extra. This is because his thinking is still of that abstract kind which refuses to move beyond the universal and so never reaches the actual. It does not realise that if the concept is to be determinate, it must first of all advance into the distinction between the concept and its real existence and thereby into determinacy and particularity (see § 7) — It is only thus that the concept can win actuality and ethical objectivity. Addition: When we say that a man must be a ‘somebody’, we mean that he should belong to some specific social class, since to be a somebody means to have substantive being. A man with no class is a mere private person and his universality is not actualised. On the other hand, the individual in his particularity may take himself as the universal and presume that by entering a class he is surrendering himself to an indignity. This is the false idea that in attaining a determinacy necessary to it, a thing is restricting and surrendering itself’. -

‘Philosophy of Right’

The point is that developing competency and skills in a particular field contributes to a given individual’s sense of identity and self-confidence causing him or her to feel more at home with himself or herself. Additionally, I am in part defined by what I have chosen not to pursue, and by what I am not; my identity is constituted in part by difference. Freedom as unlimited and without restriction is an abstract and thus empty notion, for the freedom of a human life requires determination in specific contexts and practices. This full human freedom cannot be fully appreciated and appropriated without living through it and thinking of concepts this way means that easy definitions are always untrue to the extent that they oversimplify or abstract away from their subject, a determinate concept does not exist separately from its instantiation and development in the world.

A fully realized and objectively instantiated concept is an Idea and the Idea is ‘the adequate Notion, that which is objectively true, or the true as such’ as he explains in the ‘Science of Logic’, Notion being is A. V. Miller’s translation of Begriff or concept. To put it another way truth is the relationship of the concept as we come to think of it to its presence in the actual world and the actual world informs our developing understanding of the concept but so too the concept informs our understanding and experience of the world and this relationship between the world and the concept means that ‘the reality that does not correspond to the Notion is mere Appearance, the subjective, contingent, capricious element that is not the truth’. Separating contingency from truth may appear restrictive but what is contingency and what role does it plays in the concept? The principle point is that we come to learn what the concept is over time and the concept is differentiated within itself and contains different ways in which to be expressed and truth is not a binary.

Truth then for Hegel evidently far from the positivistic ideas of it associated with the Enlightenment that postmodernists critique not that Hegelian philosophy has much to do with postmodernism and post-structural theory. An objective state of affairs can be more or less true or conversely more or less untrue to the extent that it more or less fully realizes its concept and the realization of the concept is a matter of degree down to the smallest degree. As he states in the ‘Science of Logic’: ‘the worst state, one whose reality least corresponds to the Notion in so far as it still exists, is still Idea; the individuals still obey a dominant Notion’. We can understand how the truth of a concept plays out by understanding the manner that particular, universal, and singular interrelate whereby I am determined in distinction from others through various particularities, my gender, race, physical and mental disabilities, class background, and so forth, and these particularities may in turn be considered abstractly as properties that occur in multiple instances, as universals but these universals are merely actual insofar as they are instantiated within concrete singular individuals and likewise each particularity can be fully understood only once I broaden my understanding of it beyond my immediate experience of it. The union of particularity and universality within singularity is what is meant by totality.

‘The Concept as such contains the moment of universality, as free equality with itself in its determinacy; it contains the moment of particularity, or of the determinacy in which the Universal remains serenely equal to itself; and it contains the moment of singularity, as the inward reflection of the determinacies of universality and particularity. This singular negative unity with itself is what is in and for itself determined, and at the same time identical with itself or universal’.

- ‘The Encyclopaedia Logic’

And furthermore:

‘… every determinate Notion is, of course, empty in so far as it does not contain the totality, but only a one-sided determinateness’.

- ‘Science of Logic’

In other words each of its moments can only be grasped immediately on the basis of and together with the others.

‘The Concept is what is altogether concrete, because negative unity with itself as being-determined-in-and-for-itself (which is what singularity is) constitutes its own relation to self, or universality. From this point of view, the moments of the Concept cannot be separated; the determinations of reflection are supposed to be grasped and to be valid each on its own, separately from the one opposed to it; but since in the Concept their identity is posited, each of its moments can only be grasped immediately on the basis of and together with the others’.

- ‘The Encyclopaedia Logic’

Since concepts are made actual only through their instantiation in concrete individuals and concrete individuals are made up of many determinations the meaning of the concept must include the way in which a given determination is affected by the context of its interaction with others, so we cannot understand gender, race, disability, class, and so forth in isolation but only how these aspects of identity play out within their intermingling within the lived and reflected-upon experience of human beings, one may study them on their own but this inquiry will only ever be an abstraction and inadequate to the concept and an abstraction may be correct. that is to say, it may correspond to a given state of affairs, but is not properly called true.

A sick person and a cripple are untrue since they fail to live up to their concept, although such figures are not unique in doing so. The logic of the Idea ultimately suggests that we need to consider every thing as interconnected with every other thing in order to have a completely adequate story hence the consequence of this logic of interconnection is that any finite thing considered on its own and hence abstracted from its context, is partially untrue. Part of the essence of all finite things is that they die or are destroyed and then pass over into something else.

‘It is of the highest importance to interpret the dialectical [moment] properly, and to [re]cognise it. It is in general the principle of all motion, of all life, and of all activation in the actual world. Equally, the dialectical is also the soul of all genuinely scientific cognition. In our ordinary consciousness, not stopping at the abstract determinations of the understanding appears as simple fairness, in accordance with the proverb ‘live and let live, so that one thing holds and the other does also. But a closer look shows that the finite is not restricted merely from the outside; rather, it sublates itself by virtue of its own nature, and passes over, of itself, into its opposite. Thus we say, for instance, that man is mortal; and we regard dying as having its ground only in external circumstances. In this way of looking at things, a man has two specific properties, namely, he is alive and also mortal. But the proper interpretation is that life as such bears the germ of death within itself, and that the finite sublates itself because it contradicts itself inwardly’.

- ‘The Encyclopaedia Logic’

It is also part of their essence that they affect and are affected by what is around them therefore no finite thing lives up to its determinate concept on its own an insight within Hegel’s logic that connects to a general argument for interdependency and against atomism that runs throughout his system, from the metaphysical to the social. Insofar as the invalid and the cripple exist they participate to some extent in the Idea and a complete story about what they are will have to begin to investigate their connections to their environment and to the other finite beings around them, a complete story about the invalid and the cripple will also require an inquiry into the manner by which sickness and disability interrelate with the other particularities of the given single individual. To invoke the invalid or the cripple is to invoke a one-sided abstract universal and the standing of this kind of abstract universal within Hegel’s system is forever conditioned by an assurance within the system, it will be unveiled as something that is not able to stand on its own for long since it is forever already deeply dependent upon its contexts and concrete instantiations.

The cripple is still a living human being is a declaration linking together two abstract universals that can only be understood in their truth within the full context of a human life and Hegel’s examples bring out the affirmative aspect of each of these universals, that a bad state still embodies the more general concept of the state. With regard to disability focusing upon the affirmative aspect in this manner describes an untrue abstraction. The cripple is still a living human being is an affirmation that can be read as structurally akin to person-first language around disability, it disconnects the agent who takes part in what is at the centre of humanity from a condition that is understood to be an accidental and contingent quality, it posits a distinct heart to a living human being that is separable from the experience of having a disability or being ugly or diseased and this philosophy makes evident that there is no such separable heart to a human being that is untouched by the effects of environment, upbringing, culture, and encounters with others all of which constitute the way that disability is experienced.

‘Portrait of the artist’s wife’, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (1857–1929)

However Hegel’s example implies a certain badness to being disabled and a denial that disability might be properly part of the concept of humanity and this implication in addition can be linked to criticisms of people-first language. Tanya Titchkosky contends that the problem with person-first language is that albeit it is designed to honour the personhood of the agent, it does not change the meaning of disability, for, in its terms, disability remains a stigmatized condition. And further by setting itself up as a hegemonic norm for describing disability person-first language eliminates alternatives such as seeing disability as a relation between person and environment, as an identity category, as constituted by assumptions about normalcy, or as something that appears ‘through narrative in social life’. James Overboe explains his preference for the term disabled persons in this manner: ‘it implies that [people’s] disabilities not only inform their lives but may also be a positive factor in many aspects of their lives’. In person-first language disability remains a pathology of the individual agent even if the agent is recognized as a person, but Hegel certainly offers a rich understanding of the manner in which individual identities are shaped.

The Role of Contingency. So Hegel’s philosophy can incorporate disability in ways that go beyond its use as simple metaphor and the arguments of disability theorists that call for a different valuation of the situation of the cripple can tweak so to speak change the standard Hegelian story. Cripple after all is treated by Hegel as an obvious analogue to an imperfection of the state, rather as than another way to be human. Within the ‘Philosophy of Nature’ as well as in the passage from the ‘Philosophy of Right; cited above, a departure from the norm is referred to as a deficiency or a lack.

‘In so far as the contradiction of the Idea is external to itself as nature, one side of it is formed by the Notionally generated necessity of its formations and their rational determination within the organic totality, and the other by their indifferent contingency and indeterminable irregularity. In the sphere of nature, contingency and determinability from without come into their own. This contingency is particularly prevalent in the realm of concrete individual formations, which are at the same time only immediately concrete as things of nature. That which is immediately concrete is in fact an ensemble of juxtaposed properties, external and more or less indifferent to one another, to which simple subjective being-for-self is therefore equally indifferent, and which it consequently abandons to external contingent determination. The impotence of nature is to be attributed to its only being able to maintain the determinations of the Notion in an abstract manner, and to its exposing the foundation of the particular to determination from without’.

-’Philosophy of Nature’

Disability is a negatively-valued attribute a natural defect as opposed to a contingent aspect of someone’s ever-developing identity and social positioning and within the history of philosophy especially and throughout the history of Western cultures more generally disability has been represented and viewed in this way but the insights of the disability rights movement and the critical disability studies movement demonstrates that this need not be the case. Hegelian philosophy together with such insights about disability in mind permits for a re-imagining and re-appropriating of the philosophy in ways that are suggested by Stone’s thoughts concerning gender in his writing and upon disability being re-evaluated and re-imagined as a contingent determination rather than a defect it becomes simply one more aspect of human life contributing to who we are concretely. Hegelian philosophy accommodates such a conception of disability though the question arises as to how this conception of disability affects the Hegelian understanding of the human condition and how it contributes to the ongoing development of the concept, all of which depend upon an understanding of how contingencies play into philosophy.

Contingent matters of fact. What are they? The concern is with what is universal and necessary as part of the unfolding of the concept and in describing a state that would promote the fullest development of human freedom Hegel is interested in the necessary not the contingent, features of such a state: ‘the infinitely varied circumstances which take shape within this externality as the essence manifests itself within it, this infinite material and its organization, are not the subject-matter of philosophy’.

‘In philosophy truth is had when the conception corresponds to reality. A body is the reality, and soul is the conception. Soul and body should be adequate to each other. A dead man is still an existence, but no longer a true existence; it is a reality void of conception. For that reason the dead body decays. So with the true will; that which it wills, namely, its content, is identical with it, and so freedom wills freedom’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

The contingent features of the natural world set limits to philosophy since they do not adequately conform to the concept.

‘The infinite wealth and variety of forms, and the utterly irrational contingency which mixes with the external order of natural formations, have been praised as the sublime freedom and divinity of nature , or at least as the divinity within it. It is to be expected that ordinary ways of thinking should mistake contingency, caprice and lack of order, for freedom and rationality. This impotence on the part of nature sets limits to philosophy; and it is the height of pointlessness to demand of the Notion that it should explain, and as it is said, construe or deduce these contingent products of nature, although the more isolated and trifling they are the easier the task appears to be. Traces of Notional determination will certainly survive in the most particularized product, although they will not exhaust its nature. The traces of this transmission and inner connection will often surprise the investigator, but will be particularly astonishing or even incredible to those accustomed only to seeing the same contingency in the history of nature as they see in that of humanity. Here one has to guard against accepting such traces as the determinate totality of formations, for it is this that gives rise to the analogies mentioned above’.

‘The difficulty, and in many cases the impossibility of finding clear distinctions for classes and orders on the basis of empirical observation, has its root in the inability of nature to hold fast to the realization of the Notion. Nature never fails to blur essential limits with intermediate and defective formations, and so to provide instances which qualify every firm distinction. Even within a specific genus such as mankind, monsters occur, which have to be included within the genus, although they lack some of the characteristic determinations which would have been regarded as essential to it. In order to classify such formations as defective, imperfect, or deformed, an invariable prototype has to be assumed, with the help of which we are able to recognize these so-called monsters’ deformities, and borderline cases. This prototype cannot be drawn from experience, but has as its presupposition the independence and worth of Notional determination’.

- ‘Philosophy of Nature.

As Stone puts it:

‘… that there are contingent features can be established a priori, but, just because they are contingent, what those features are cannot be deduced’.

- ‘Petrified Intelligence’

However to overlook the contingencies that arise is exactly to overlook the things that give a particular state, organism, or event its concrete existence and historical identity and to abstract away from the contingencies would diminish our thinking of the given state, organism, or event. Hegel recognised the need to balance our attitude toward the contingent:

Although it follows from discussion so far that contingency is only a one-sided moment of actuality, and must therefore not be confused with it, still as a form of the Idea as a whole it does deserve its due in the world of ob-jects. This holds first for nature, on the surface of which contingency has free rein, so to speak. This free play should be recognised as such, without the pretension (sometimes erroneously ascribed to philosophy) of finding something in it that could only be so and not otherwise. Similarly, as we have already noted in respect to the will, the contingent also asserts itself in the world of spirit, since will contains the contingent within itself in the shape of freedom of choice, though only as a sublated moment. In regard to the spirit and its activity, we also have to be careful that we are not misled by the well-meant striving of rational cognition into trying to show that phenomena that have the character of contingency are necessary, or, as people tend to say, into ‘constructing them a priori’, For example, although language is the body of thinking, as it were, still chance indisputably plays a decisive role in it, and the same is true with regard to the configurations of law, art, etc. It is quite correct to say that the task of science and, more precisely, of philosophy, consists generally in coming to know the necessity that is hidden under the semblance of contingency; but this must not be understood to mean that contingency pertains only to our subjective views and that it must therefore be set aside totally if we wish to attain the truth. Scientific endeavours which one-sidedly push in this direction will not escape the justified reproach of being an empty game and a strained pedantry’.

- ‘The Encyclopaedia Logic’

Michael Inwood has observed that ambiguity within the claim that something is contingent, since it could mean that something is purely caused by chance, or that although there is a reason for its occurrence, the reason is inaccessible to us, or that we do know the reason but that philosophy cannot show it to be necessary and a priori. What meaning might the contingent phenomenon have? How does it fit in with the rest of our picture of the world? What might we learn from it? Can we take it as a challenge to common assumptions? Is there a pattern yet to be apprehended? In the absence of such a pattern or if it is unable to be found the process of acting and reflecting is of dubious utility. In the case of illness the presence of any given illness is contingent, any particular disease can be caused by ageing, dying, and congenital defects and susceptibility to external influences.

‘In a state of health, there is no disproportion between the organic self and its determinate being; all its organs give free play to the fluidity of the universal. When this state prevails, there is a commensurate relationship between organic and inorganic being, as the result of which inorganic being does not offer any insuperable resistance to the organism. Disease is not an irritation incommensurate with the susceptibility of the organism; its Notion consists of a disproportion between the organism’s being and its self, and not of a disproportion between certain mutually dissociating factors within it. Factors are abstract moments, and cannot dissociate. When disease is spoken of as a heightening of excitation and a lessening of excitability, as if this were a matter of qualitative contrast, and an increase in the one were accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the other, the interpretation is immediately suspect therefore. To bandy about the concept of disposition, as if it were possible to be implicitly ill without being infected and sick, is no improvement; the reason for this being that the organism itself constitutes this reflection, within which that which is implicit is also actual. Disease occurs when the organism as a being separates itself, not from inner factors, but from inner aspects which are completely real. The cause of disease lies partly in the age, mortality and congenital defects of the organism itself, and partly in its susceptibility, as a being, to external influences’.

- ‘Philosophy of Nature’

Despite this illness itself is not only inescapable it is necessary and plays a significant in the life and development of the organism and the species The organism can recover from disease; but disease is in its very nature, and herein lies the necessity of death, i.e., of this dissolution in which the series of processes becomes the empty process which does not return into itself.

‘The organism can recover from disease, but it is because it is diseased from its very nature, that death is a necessity, i.e. that this dissolution occurs, in which the series of processes becomes an empty process not turning back into itsel£ In the opposition of the sexes, it is only the excreted sexual elements which die in an immediate manner,- the plantlike parts. At this juncture they die on account of their one-sidedness, not as a whole. The sexual parts die as a whole on account of the opposition between male and female which each contains within itself. Just as the stamens of the plant swell into the passive receptacle, and the passivity of the pistil swells into the generative principle, so now at this juncture, each individual itself constitutes the unity of both sexes. It is this that constitutes its death however, for each is nothing more than individuality, individuality constituting its essential determinateness. Only the genus unifies complete wholes within a single unity. In the first instance therefore, the opposition between male and female fell within the organism in an unresolved state; now a similar but more determinate opposition falls within it, i.e. the opposition of the abstract forms of the whole which emerge in fever, and which contain nothing but the whole. Individuality is not a universal, and is therefore unable to divide its self in this way. It is this general inadequacy which establishes the separability of soul and body; spirit is not mortal but eternal however, for as it is truth and therefore constitutes its own object, it is inseparable from its reality, i.e. the universal which exhibits itself as universal. In nature however, universality makes its appearance only in this negative way, which involves the sublation of the subjectivity within nature’.

- ‘Philosophy of Nature’

So illness is not something that can be overlooked in the ‘Philosophy of Nature’, it serves its purpose in the text and has meaning. The existence or occurrence of given contingent phenomena are not to be ignored, the truth that we are looking for depends upon recognizing the context into which phenomena fit. The human being as a determinate concept does not exist separately from its instantiation in actual human beings and actual concrete human beings are continually developing and exist within actual concrete contexts that are themselves continually developing. As to how we develop we develop and cultivate ourselves to diminish our idiosyncrasies

‘By educated men, we may prima facie understand those who without the obtrusion of personal idiosyncrasy can do what others do. It is precisely this idiosyncrasy, however, which uneducated men display, since their behaviour is not governed by the universal characteristics of the situation. Similarly, an uneducated man is apt to hurt the feelings of his neighbours. He simply lets himself go and does not reflect on the susceptibilities of others. It is not that he intends to hurt them, but his conduct is not consonant with his intention. Thus education rubs the edges off particular characteristics until a man conducts himself in accordance with the nature of the thing. Genuine originality, which produces the real thing, demands genuine education, while bastard originality adopts eccentricities which only enter the heads of the uneducated’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

We have control over ourselves in our gait:

‘Shaking the head is a denial; for by this we indicate making something wobble, knocking it over. Tossing the head expresses contempt, elevating oneself above someone. Screwing up the nose denotes disgust as of something evil-smelling. Frowning proclaims anger, a concentration of oneself into oneself against an Other. We pull a long face when we see ourselves disappointed in our expectation; for in that case we feel, as it were, let down. The most expressive gestures have their seat in the mouth and in its surroundings, since it is from the mouth that the expression of speech proceeds, involving many and varied modifications of the lips. As for the hands, expressing astonishment by clapping them over ones head is in a way an attempt to pull oneself together over one’s own self. But shaking hands on a promise indicates, as is easy to see, unanimity. The movement of the lower extremities, gait, is also very significant. Above all things, gait must be cultivated; in it the soul must betray its mastery over the physical body. But not merely cultivation and the lack of it, but also slackness, an affected manner, vanity, hypocrisy, etc. , on the one hand, and orderliness, modesty, good sense, candour, etc. , on the other, express themselves in the peculiar style of walking; so that it is easy to distinguish people from one another by their gait’.

- ‘Philosophy of Mind’

And in our laughter:

‘As regards the mental side of these phenomena, we know with regard to laughter that it is generated by an immediately obvious contradiction, by something turning at once into its opposite, hence by something immediately self-annihilating, -assuming that we are not involved in this null content, do not regard it as our own; for if we felt ourselves injured by the destruction of this content, then we should weep. If, for example, someone proudly striding along falls over, this can give rise to laughter over it, because he experiences in his person the simple dialectic that what happens to him is the opposite of what he intended. Hence what provokes laughter in genuine comedies also essentially lies in the immediate veering round of a purpose in itself null into its opposite; whereas in tragedy it is substantial purposes which destroy themselves in their mutual opposition. With the dialectic befalling the object of comedy, the subjectivity of the spectator or listener attains to a serene and untroubled enjoyment of itself, since it is the absolute ideality, the infinite power over every limited content, consequently the pure dialectic by which, in fact, the comic object is annihilated. Herein lies the ground of the gaiety into which we are transported by the comic. But the physiological appearance of this gaiety, which particularly interests us here, is in harmony with this ground. For in laughter, the subjectivity attaining to untroubled enjoyment of itself, this pure self, this spiritual light, embodies itself as a glow spreading over the countenance, and at the same time the spiritual act by which the soul repels the ridiculous from itself finds a bodily expression in the forcibly interrupted expulsion of the breath. — Incidentally, though laughter pertains to the natural soul, hence is anthropological, it ranges from the vulgar peals of side-splitting guffaw of someone empty or coarse to the gentle smile of the noble soul, smiling through tears, a series of gradations in which laughter frees itself more and more from its naturalness until in smiling it becomes a gesture, thus something originating in free will. The various modes of laughter indicate, therefore, the cultural level of individuals in a very characteristic manner. A man of reflection never, or only rarely, abandons himself to peals of laughter; Pericles, foe example, is supposed not to have laughed any more after he had dedicated himself to public affairs. Excessive laughter is rightly held to be evidence of dullness, of a foolish mentality that is insensitive to all great, genuinely substantial interests and regards them as external and alien to it’.

- ‘Philosophy of Mind’

Unrestrained actions are associated with vulgarity of character but he rejects the idea of forcibly controlling particularity, arguing that one of the primary roles of the state is to promote the recognition of personal individuality, that is, an individuality in relation to others.

‘The state is the actuality of concrete freedom. But concrete freedom consists in this, that personal individuality and its particular interests not only achieve their complete development and gain explicit recognition for their right (as they do in the sphere of the family and civil society) but, for one thing, they also pass over of their own accord into the interest of the universal, and, for another thing, they know and will the universal; they even recognise it as their own substantive mind; they take it as their end and aim and are active in its pursuit. The result is that the universal does not prevail or achieve completion except along with particular interests and through the co-operation of particular knowing and willing; and individuals likewise do not live as private persons for their own ends alone, but in the very act of willing these they will the universal in the light of the universal, and their activity is consciously aimed at none but the universal end. The principle of modern states has prodigious strength and depth because it allows the principle of subjectivity to progress to its culmination in the extreme of self-subsistent personal particularity, and yet at the same time brings it back to the substantive unity and so maintains this unity in the principle of subjectivity itself’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

The structure of Hegel’s system which balances universal and particular, necessary and contingent, entails that his endorsement of particularist visions of the human rules out his imposition of any of them as norms.

‘Reading Le Figaro’, 1878, Mary Cassatt

Hegel’s system gives us reasons for the rejection of his association of concept with the male an association that Stone criticizes, if the concept of humanity is something that develops continually then there is no reason why it should not accommodate alternative theories of gender for there is a flexibility in the concept of humanity here. Tuija Pulkinnen believes feminist philosophers have been misled by the strain of Hegel interpretation derived from Alexandre Kojève’s influential reading in the 1930s which provided the basis for most twentieth-century phenomenological interpretations of Hegel, in which the human being is exemplary, and further gender norms are thought of as foundational and static. Pulkinnen contends that Hegel does not need to be read this way, that without the focus on the human as exemplar, Hegelian ontology opens up in a way that is useful to feminist thinking: ‘[I]n Hegelian thought, without the Kojèvian interpretation, the interest is not in the stable features of the human; instead, human beings are always conceived of as already being within a culture, and in the eternally changing process of cultures and history in the infinite and unconcluded process of the spirit’ she says.

Pulkinnen herself limits her analysis to gender but the analysis can be extended in order to contend that the manner through which any given individual’s experience of disability plays out is particular and contingent for philosophy cannot dictate what the experience of disability will be in every case yet it can investigate the commonalities, communicated and shared, that emerge from the experiences of disparate single individuals and these commonalities can in turn be incorporated into the concept. Disability therefore functions as both a particular and a universal feature of human life, universal and particular insofar as it is a possibility for every human being As Hegel’s logic informs us disability cannot be understood as only particular or only universal, although each of these ways of understanding disability is partly true neither way on its own is completely adequate to the concept which requires both of them both to be thought together to be actualized in singular individuals. Hence disability is not to be excluded from the concept of humanity but we can ponder further about what disability productively contributes to the concept. Tanya Titchkosky and James Overboe strove to transform the meaning that Hegel attributes to disability and in this respect we ought to consider the significance of disability for overturning the assumed norms on which Hegel’s philosophy is largely grounded.

Disruption, Disorientation and Dialectic. The progression of Spirit is described as prompted forward through experiences of disorientation, discomfort, and conflict between our assumptions or expectations and that with which we are confronted. In the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’, our path toward knowledge of ourselves and the world is called the way of despair.

‘Natural consciousness will show itself to be only the Notion of knowledge, or in other words, not to be real knowledge. But since it directly takes itself to be real knowledge, this path has a negative significance for it, and what is in fact the realization of the Notion, counts for it rather as the loss of its own self; for it does lose its truth on this path. The road can therefore be regarded as the pathway of doubt , or more precisely as the way of despair. For what happens on it is not what is ordinarily understood when the word ‘doubt’ is used; shillyshallying about this or that presumed truth, followed by a return to that truth again, after the doubt has been appropriately dispelled-so that at the end of the process the matter is taken to be what it was in the first place, On the contrary, this path is the conscious insight into the untruth of phenomenal knowledge, for which the supreme reality is what is in truth only the unrealized Notion. Therefore this thoroughgoing scepticism is also not the scepticism with which an earnest zeal for truth and Science fancies it has prepared and equipped itself in their service: the resolve, in Science, not to give oneself over to the thoughts of others, upon mere authority, but to examine everything for oneself and follow only one~.s own conviction, or better still, to produce everything oneself, and accept only one’s own deed as what is true’.

- ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’

The onset of the new spirit is the product of a widespread upheaval in various forms of culture, the prize at the end of a complicated, tortuous path and of just as variegated and strenuous an effort.

‘When we wish to see an oak with its massive trunk and spreading branches and foliage, we are not content to be shown an acorn instead. So too, Science, the crown of a world of Spirit, is not complete in its beginnings. The onset of the new spirit is the product of a widespread upheaval in various forms of culture, the prize at the end of a complicated, tortuous path and of just as variegated and strenuous an effort. It is the whole which, having traversed its content in time and space, has returned into itself, and is the resultant-simple Notion of the whole. But the actuality of this simple whole consists in those various shapes and forms which have become its moments, and which will now develop and take shape afresh, this time in their new element, in their newly acquired meaning’

- ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’

For instance the legal status of personhood emerges as a distinct ethical form of life out of the clash between the law of the city and the divine law that privileges familial relations. And further in the ‘Philosophy of Right’ is described the individual’s transition from the intimacy of family life into the public, economic realm which he refers to as civil society and in this realm each individual seeks to fulfill its own particular needs through the exchange of goods and services, creating an interwoven system, the system of needs. Feminist philosophers criticize Hegel’s assumptions that only men make this transition as well as his description of the young man’s emergence from the family which appears to incorporate gendered assumptions concerning the nature of independence and the process of individuation and separation from the mother. Heidi Ravven points out though that we can productively derive from Hegel’s account a critique of the limits of the family alongside lessons about what models of community would best promote human development.

Hegel reminds us that the notion of a comfy family isolated from the larger public sphere is false, civil society subjects the existence [Bestehen] of the whole family itself to dependence on civil society and to contingency.

‘Originally the family is the substantive whole whose function it is to provide for the individual on his particular side by giving him either the means and the skill necessary to enable him to earn his living out of the resources of society, or else subsistence and maintenance in the event of his suffering a disability. But civil society tears the individual from his family ties, estranges the members of the family from one another, and recognises them as self-subsistent persons. Further, for the paternal soil and the external inorganic resources of nature from which the individual formerly derived his livelihood, it substitutes its own soil and subjects the permanent existence of even the entire family to dependence on itself and to contingency. Thus the individual becomes a son of civil society which has as many claims upon him as he has rights against it’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

The move to civil society discloses something concerning the way that the family always already was, a part of a greater whole, dependent upon the contingency of the system of needs for its survival, only one particular vantage point from which to understand the world, and a vantage point that can be challenged. This transition to civil society delivers a fruitful account of how a disorienting experience is important to the individual’s moral development. Within the family, relations are ideally constituted through immediate family and love.

‘THE family, as the immediate substantiality of mind, is specifically characterised by love, which is mind’s feeling of its own unity. Hence in a family, one’s frame of mind is to have self-consciousness of one’s individuality within this unity as the absolute essence of oneself, with the result that one is in it not as an independent person but as a member. Addition: Love means in general terms the consciousness of my unity with another, so that I am not in selfish isolation but win my self-consciousness only as the renunciation of my independence and through knowing myself as the unity of myself with another and of the other with me. Love, however, is feeling, i.e. ethical life in the form of something natural. In the state, feeling disappears; there we are conscious of unity as law; there the content must be rational and known to us. The first moment in love is that I do not wish to be a self-subsistent and independent person and that, if I were, then I would feel defective and incomplete. The second moment is that I find myself in another person, that I count for something in the other, while the other in turn comes to count for something in me. Love, therefore, is the most tremendous contradiction; the Understanding cannot resolve it since there is nothing more stubborn than this point (Punktualität) of self-consciousness which is negated and which nevertheless I ought to possess as affirmative. Love is at once the propounding and the resolving of this contradiction. As the resolving of it, love is unity of an ethical type’. -

‘Philosophy of Right’

In civil society on the other hand relations are constituted through an individual’s instrumental value and the move into civil society is by no means plain sailing, the family assists in preparing the young person for the broader world but then civil society tears the individual [Individuum] away from family ties, alienates the members of the family from one another, and recognizes them as self-sufficient persons.

‘Originally the family is the substantive whole whose function it is to provide for the individual on his particular side by giving him either the means and the skill necessary to enable him to earn his living out of the resources of society, or else subsistence and maintenance in the event of his suffering a disability. But civil society tears the individual from his family ties, estranges the members of the family from one another, and recognises them as self-subsistent persons. Further, for the paternal soil and the external inorganic resources of nature from which the individual formerly derived his livelihood, it substitutes its own soil and subjects the permanent existence of even the entire family to dependence on itself and to contingency. Thus the individual becomes a son of civil society which has as many claims upon him as he has rights against it’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

Civil society discloses that different members of the family have different interests and needs. In addition, civil society exposes the individual to the uncertainty of negotiating different worlds and sets of priorities.

‘The family disintegrates (both essentially, through the working of the principle of personality, and also in the course of nature) into a plurality of families, each of which conducts itself as in principle a self-subsistent concrete person and therefore as externally related to its neighbours. In other words, the moments bound together in the unity of the family, since the family is the ethical Idea still in its concept, must be released from the concept to self-subsistent objective reality. This is the stage of difference. This gives us, to use abstract language in the first place, the determination of particularity which is related to universality but in such a way that universality is its basic principle, though still only an inward principle; for that reason, the universal merely shows in the particular as its form. Hence this relation of reflection prima facie portrays the disappearance of ethical life or, since this life as the essence necessarily shows itself, this relation constitutes the world of ethical appearance — civil society’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

Hegel characterises this discomfort as opening up the chance to learn and develop and while restricted to the family the individual may have been ignorant of the interconnected relationships required to provide for the family’s needs and thus unaware of the way that his or her existence depends on a whole web of others. Taking a place within civil society exposes the individual to the existence of this system of needs and thus to the demands of others beyond the family.

‘THE concrete person, who is himself the object of his particular aims, is, as a totality and a mixture of caprice and physical necessity, one principle of civil society. But the particular person is essentially so related to other particular persons that each establishes himself and finds satisfaction by means of the others, and at the same time purely and simply by means of the form of universality, the second principle here’.

‘In the course of the actual attainment of selfish ends — an attainment conditioned in this way by universality — there is formed a system of complete interdependence, wherein the livelihood, happiness, and legal status of one man is interwoven with the livelihood, happiness, and rights of all. On this system, individual happiness, &c., depend, and only in this connected system are they actualised and secured. This system may be prima facie regarded as the external state, the state based on need, the state as the Understanding envisages it’.

- ‘Philosophy of Right’

Albeit the values of civil society are constituted by instrumentality the progression toward civil society is the first step in the extension of the individual’s ethical awareness. Hegel foreshadows insights found in both contemporary feminist and disability theory, feminist standpoint theory draws upon the notion that lived experience that contradicts the expected norms offers the opportunity for an epistemic advantage in reflection about those norms. Edwina Barvosa contends that the experience of negotiating multiple and often contradictory cultures and communities, which she calls ‘mestiza consciousness’, operates to enhance autonomy, competency, and self-reflection. This consciousness is a ‘conscious state of cognitive struggle’, which ‘can generate an ongoing creative process that provides the self with a critical distance from which to assess, reject, adopt, and/or transform the outlooks and paradigms that come to it by ways of diverse forms of socialization’. Ami Harbin contends that ‘disorientation can allow for shifts in attention that cultivate morally productive reflection’. Harbin’s account of disorientation reflects Hegel’s logic with regard to the individual’s progress into civil society. She notes: ‘Disorientation can spur new ways of depending on others and more awareness of our relationality’.

Arguments concerning epistemic vantage points are found within a disability context by Steven Smith who observes that what we learn from reflecting on experiences especially surprising ones including pain and suffering contributes to ‘an enriched life’ by contributing to human agency and, furthermore, that the self is created through this kind of ‘active engagement with life’. As a matter of fact a common contention in disability studies addresses the debateable notion that we are able to be completely self-sufficient and independent, which contributes to a stigmatization of dependency and the need for help. The extent to which we are dependent on others is often obscured in the service of those whose bodies and minds fit the norm, as Tobin Siebers contends: ‘identities in conflict with society … have the ability to expose its norms’. As a consequence disabled people are able to challenge what Siebers calls the ‘ideology of ability’ Jackie Leach Scully looks into a similar point when she contends that ‘the challenge of unusual embodiment is that it poses unexpectedly hard questions of justification to the normative ethical reflections that are performed from a nondisabled perspective (that is, most normative ethics)’. Disability, she observes, can be a source of knowledge: ‘The idea that social position has an influence on the way a person perceives and describes events is hardly new’. She points out, however, that a ‘less familiar idea … is that the biophysical, as well as social, nature of a person’s bodied presence in the world has some influence on moral perception and interpretation’. Disability theory and feminist theory that is to say reflect the significance of valuing contingencies that are often disruptive to the prevailing norms.

Affirming Disability. Feminist and disability studies writers generally agree that we should be open to contingency and what we can learn from it rather than try to foreclose on it and Hegel can be drawn upon here for his account of the dialectical development of our consciousness and ethical awareness offers models of reading disability into his philosophy as a valuable source of knowledge, his philosophy valorises instances of questioning and challenging norms in particular when the norms serve to further disclose our interdependency, a central tenet of his philosophical system. Disability is a part of the concept of humanity as well as a significant aspect of the continued development of this concept and therefore the progression to greater truth.

Hegel, though of course there was no Disability Studies discipline then and many are sceptical of any discipline that has ‘Studies’ in the title, is thus a champion of disability rights as part of the ongoing development of the concept of humanity. With regard to feminist philosophy Pulkinnen suggests that ‘Hegel could inspire feminist thought more toward change and an open future, instead of maintaining the aspiration of revealing the human condition’ which suggests there is enough scope to bring together feminist philosophy and disability theory.

Opening up Hegel’s philosophy by delving into the often concealed part of contingency and difference within it offers fruitful material for disability theory. As Mairian Corker and Tom Shakespeare noted: ‘we will need all the conceptual tools we can get’ and extending Hegel’s philosophy also discloses disability as an important though hidden category in the history of philosophy as a whole, and this extension can allow us to investigate alternative interpretations and possibilities embedded within the history of the tradition of Western philosophy, permitting us to draw from the tradition rather than feel constrained by it. Charlotte Witt notes that it is valuable to find feminist antecedents in the history of philosophy since doing so confirms the rootedness of feminist concerns within the tradition and so also will it be worth our while to discover antecedents in the history of philosophy for disability theory. By this means the tradition of Western philosophy can support disability scholarship rather than merely a millstone and by bringing the analysis of contingency and the positive role of non-conforming bodies embedded within Hegel’s philosophy to feminist philosophy of disability one can form the bedrock for such a partnership within philosophy more generally. Several feminist philosophers endeavour to re-interpret and re-appropriate the canon, to open it up, arguing that troubled it may be we do not need to dispense with the history of philosophy. In line with Hegel such feminist philosophers endeavour to discern what is essential within a philosopher’s work, knowing that what is vital to such work might not be so evident and may be subject to ongoing development as our own thinking progresses, and as we settle on what we want to learn from our history the insights of disability theory and consideration of the meaning of disability are important for revealing, challenging, and overcoming what we now hear referred to as ableism in the philosophical tradition and contemporary theory.

‘The Housekeeper: A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva’, 1896, F. Malyavin

Dedicated as always to my muse and soul-mate ❤️

Only love can make a memory

Only love can make a moment last

You were there and all the world was young

And all it’s songs unsung

And I remember you then, when love was all

All you were living forAnd how you gave that love to me

Only then I felt my heart was free

I was part of you and you were all of me

Warm were the days and the nights of those years

Painted in colors to outshine the sun

All of the words and the dreams

And the tears live in my remembrance

Only love can make a memory

Only love can make a moment last

Life was new, there was a rage to live

Each day a page to live

And I remember you then

When love was all, all you were living for

And how you gave that love to me

Only then I knew my heart was free

I was part of you and you were all of me

Nana Mouskouri ‘Only Love’:

Coming up next:

More thoughts about women.

It may stop but it never ends.



David Proud

David Proud is a British philosopher currently pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, on Hegel and James Joyce.