Night in Which All Cows Are Brown (New York State Fair 2013) (Hegel)

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“To set  this one cognition, that in the Absolute everything is the same, over against the discerning and fulfilled or fulfilling of seeking and reaching knowledge, or to display its Absolute as the night in which, as one has the duty to say, all cows are [brown], is the naivete of emptiness in knowledge.” –Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, translation intentionally altered in order to make a visual pun at the cowshed, New York State Fair. Of course, in the original Hegel’s cows are black, not brown. I wonder how the introduction of electric light might scramble the opening oscillation in the Phenomenology between daytime and nighttime that dialectic was supposed to resolve. Not dialectic, but revelation in which the stroke of midnight turns night into brightest day.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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