Consider this a proposal in the literal sense that I hope that others will offer their comments and suggested amendments, or offer their own proposal if their suggestions vary greatly from these. Where I sound overly formal, read my intention as for brevity!My Role:
I am happy to take on the role of 'facilitator' with the goal of organizing the group, however I think it's important to see this as our
group and to take communal responsibility for its direction and success. Thus we have to distinguish such a facilitator role from a 'group leader' role which is not really present here.Text:
The text I propose we use is Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
as translated by Miller. This is widely available with the forward by Findlay. Those who do not have and do not want to get a copy of this text will be able to follow along via the free online translation here
, though NB that it is a different translation.Format:
I propose we proceed with either weekly or bi-weekly sessions organized under a 'session leader' role which alternates in series. We can perhaps have two levels of participation, with one being those included in the selection of session leaders and others welcome to participation but not so included.
The format will be as follows, that the session leader at the beginning of their session posts to the community an assigned reading from the text, and at the end of their session or at some intermediate date makes to the community a first discussion post on this reading. Thus for example at the beginning of week one the first leader posts an assignment, at the end of week one they post a discussion piece and the next leader posts an assignment.Workload:
This format leaves the session-by-session workload somewhat up to the individual session leaders. However, my proposal would be to work through the book in order, skipping Miller's Forward and Hegel's Preface, i.e. beginning with Hegel's Introduction and then the section on Consciousness. The text is divided into sections which make it easily assignable, with one section being, on one hand, trivially easy in terms of mere reading time, while on the other hand, containing more than enough philosophical meat for discussion. Thus the session leader can determine according to their interest to assign a shorter reading and focus more intensively on it or else assign some number of such passages. I don't think that, proceeding in this way, reading workload would get out of hand, but we can certainly address it if it does.Discussion Format:
The session leader takes responsibility for beginning discussion, while the scope and topics are open according to people's interest. Generally I suppose that introductory remarks would be aimed at the basic questions of What is Hegel saying here? and What situation does this have in the structure of the text? while more general topics could address the relevance of the work in the history of philosophy, to science, politics, art, etc., as our interests carry us. While group members other than the member don't have formal responsibilities during the session, we all of course have and share responsibility for getting something out of the project, and the presumption is thus that others will engage in the discussion the session leader has started, or suggest some discussion points of their own.
If people are still interested in trying this, I would like to settle on a format over the next few days so that we can begin in the first week of May. I look forward to your suggestions!