'Seit ein Gespräch wir sind': Language and dialogical experience in Hegel

Annet A. Goudriaan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 2 (Research NOT UU / Graduation UU)


An influential tradition in Hegel reception interprets Hegel’s dialectics as a monologue conducted by an omniscient subject, without any openness to what presents itself as other. This dissertation aims to present Hegel as a dialogical thinker and does so by means of a precise analysis of Hegels approach to language: of his reflections on language, his particular and idiosyncratic use of language and of the interaction with the reader. Reading Hegel as a dialogical thinker who grants a central position to both language and the reader allows for further development of Hegel’s concept of experience. ‘Bestimmung’ is a movement that allows for determination of experience, but also demands that we actively involve ourselves with the voices (‘Stimmen’) of others. The outcome is not a definitive truth in which there is no more to be said. Even though we have ultimately arrived at a comprehensive conceptual understanding, our concepts are not inert and require continuous interaction. This reading also allows for a rethinking of the role played by language in Hegel’s thought. A focus on the interaction between Hegel’s text and the reader shows that the reader is implicated in the process of knowing, and that language can be used as a means to bring about experience. Hegel’s texts allow for a process of continuous ‘Bestimmung’: of the development of the text’s meaning, but also of the voice of philosophy, a voice in which we can come to know and recognize the plurality of voices that contributed to its making.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Ziche, Paul, Primary supervisor
  • de Jong, Johan , Co-supervisor, External person
Award date12 Mar 2021
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs978-94-6103-086-3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021


  • language
  • experience
  • dialogic
  • Hegel


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