• Tragic Irony: Socrates in Hegel's History of Philosophy

      Kamtekar, Rachana; Farr, Patrick Matthew; Anas, Julia; Christiano, Tom (The University of Arizona., 2013)
      The following thesis outlines Hegel’s interpretation of Socrates in order to prove that as a negative dialectician, Socrates constitutes both a world historic personality who met a fate (Schicksal) which was tragic and practiced a philosophy which was tragically ironic. In this undertaking, Hegel’s Theory of Tragedy takes central importance which defines tragedy as two equally justified opposing forces which clash and destroy one another. This Theory of Tragedy is extended to show that through Socrates’ absolutely free will he brought himself to a tragic clash with the Athenian Ethical Life (Sittlichkeit), the Sophists’ arbitrary will, and the phenomenological will of uneducated Athenians. This clash is described in terms of a Hegelian Tragedy within which both Socrates and Athens were right and just in their actions against one another, but in the end were destroyed through those actions. His Method and Dialectic is then argued represent a negative dialectic which through the negation of negativity becomes positive as a midwifery of the consciousness. Next, because his Method and Dialectic begin in negativity and end in positivity, Socratic Elenchus is argued to not be representative of what has been termed “the Socratic Irony,” but instead only the negative moment of the Socratic Method. Finally, the Socratic Irony which Hegel argues is representative of both Socratic Philosophy and world history is defined as a Tragic Irony which sublates the finite consciousness of the phenomenological will, and the Ethical Life (Sittlichkeit), and the infinite arbitrary will of the Sophists in order to become a trans-subjective absolutely free will which becomes infinite itself like the Sophists’ will through reflection on the Ethical Life (Sittlichkeit).