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N° 86 (2/2024) - Speculative Thinking

Deadline for submission: April 30, 2023
Luca Illetterati, Zdravko Kobe e Giulia Bernard

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The term ‘speculative’ closely characterizes Hegel’s philosophy, to the point of designating his own philosophical proposal: speculative thinking as opposed to intellectual-abstract and negative-rational thinking, speculative philosophy as a totality of knowledge organized as a system, and speculative logic as departing from transcendental and formal logic are just a few examples that surface when considering Hegel’s philosophy in terms of its differences from other philosophical projects. The term has thus become almost a proper name. And yet it is all but clear what determines the speculative as such: its specific form.

A similar fate seems to have befallen the later revivals of the concept in those who referred to it, in a genealogy directly or indirectly dependent on Hegel. We have seen an increase of interest in the speculative (Alfred North Whitehead, Theodor W. Adorno, Dieter Henrich, Jean-Luc Nancy, Slavoj Žižek) and an upsurge of theoretical proposals that refer back to the speculative (speculative realism, speculative materialism, speculative naturalism), but do so by explicitly distancing themselves from something like ‘speculative thinking’, which in their view represents a legacy to be overcome. The question is: What does speculative thinking actually mean? And in what way do these new conceptions of the speculative succeed in freeing themselves from the allegedly cumbersome burden carried by the term?

This issue of Rivista di Estetica aims at addressing these questions by dwelling on the different uses and meanings of the term ‘speculative’ in Hegel’s philosophy, and the issues that have defined speculative thinking as such. Its scope is to arrive at a conceptual clarification of ‘speculative thinking’ and to examine some of its outcomes in contemporary debate.

Submissions focusing on the following issues (or related topics) are welcome:

  • Speculative thinking and its form in Hegel:
    – the logical form of the speculative
    – discursivity and performance
    – the language of the speculative
    – the ‘three sides’ of the logical as attitudes of thinking: the side of abstraction or of understanding; the dialectical or negatively rational; the speculative or positively rational
    – the relationship between the sayable and the unsayable

  • Hegel’s contentious genealogy and legacy: what does it mean for philosophy to be ‘speculative’?
    – the genealogy of ‘speculative thinking’ from pre-critical rationalism to Classical German Philosophy
    – its legacy in critical theory, hermeneutics, deconstruction, processual metaphysics, and analytic philosophy, among others
    – ‘speculative’ in theoretical proposals nowadays: speculative realism, speculative materialism, speculative naturalism, speculative pragmatism, speculative anthropology

Articles must be written in English or Italian and should not exceed 40,000 characters, notes and blank spaces included.

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