Hello! I'm Gregory B. Sadler, and my life's calling - and my company's motto - is bringing philosophy into practice. This blog is one virtual location where I do precisely that.
I first started studying Hegel's thought in a serious way as a graduate student at Southern Illinois University, back in the mid-1990s. By then, I'd developed enough facility in German to be able to read Hegel's works, particularly the Phenomenology of Spirit, in the original language -- and actually in the old German Fraktur script (there's a whole story there that I'll tell elsewhere) -- and that's what I did when I took the seminar on Hegel there.
It was considered important -- at least for those doing Continental Philosophy at SIU -- to know Hegel (and the other two "H"s -- Husserl and Heidegger) well enough to understand the uses of, references to, and even criticisms made bearing on his work by later 20th-century European thinkers. I found myself very strongly attracted to -- or rather into -- his writings for their own sake. After the class ended, I helped start and led two graduate student reading groups working their way through the Phenomenology. I got my hands on -- and laboriously photocopied the entirety of (another story for another time!) -- Jean Hyppolite's voluminously annotated French translation of the Phenomenology. I also began working my way through Hegel's Science of Logic.
At some point, I decided that I would write my doctoral dissertation on Hegel. At that time at SIU we had a quite demanding set of preliminary examinations, prerequisites that a student had to fulfill before even considering writing a dissertation prospectus. Each student had to prepare for, take, and -- most importantly -- pass four of these "prelims". One focused on Metaphysics and Philosophy of Religion. Another was for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. A third covered Ethics, Political Theory, and Aesthetics. And the fourth. . . that one was called the "Special Thinker" exam. One had to pick one philosopher to specialize in, usually someone who would be central for one's dissertation.
I picked Hegel. For each of the other prelims, there was a lengthy reading list of works that one was expected to study. When I asked my professors what I ought to be reading for the Hegel Special Thinker examination, they assigned me a somewhat different preparatory task. Just stick with the Phenomenology and the Science of Logic. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Then they added the punch-line: Memorize all the dialectical developments that takes place in the Phenomenology, since we might ask you anything about any of them -- and be prepared to write about some of the "main ideas" of the Logic.
So, with those guidelines, that's precisely what I set out to do. Needless to say, I learned a lot in the process, and I earned a "high pass" on the exam. By that stage in my graduate studies, I'd published what turned out to be my only article on Hegel to date, in part because I'd also become very interested in Maurice Blondel -- a 19th and 20th century thinker who was often called the "French Hegel" or the "Catholic Hegel" (as well as "the philosopher of Vatican II"). I proposed to write my dissertation on both Hegel and Blondel (with chapters on Kierkegaard and Marx in the middle). The committee counter-proposed that I should focus specifically and solely upon Blondel, and I adopted that as my project.
I had intentions of writing some additional articles on Hegel, and have quite a few half-finished still in my files, but I got drawn off into other areas of research -- there's only so many hours in the day, after all! I'd find way to work him into some of my classes from time to time, and I'd continued to read around in Hegel's work for my own pleasure and edification. It wasn't until I started recording my YouTube lectures, and developing a following in that medium, that I began working again upon Hegel in a more systematic way. People wanted lectures to help them understand Hegel -- they kept asking for them, month after month, until I decided to attempt it and determined upon the Half Hour Hegel series as the best means to satisfy those requests and the desires behind them.
If you're interested in my education, academic background, publications, faculty development work, or teaching experience, you can find my Curriculum Vitae available online here.
I also produce an ever-growing body of video lectures on a variety of philosophical texts, thinkers, and topics. You can find my course videos here, and my YouTube channel here. I'm currently in the process of developing several entire online courses using these videos as a base but providing students with a number of other valuable resources as well.
Interested in booking me to deliver a talk, provide a workshop, or to contribute my experience, training, and insight in a consult or conversation? I encourage you to contact me, or my marketing director, through my consulting company, ReasonIO -- philosophy is my passion, and bringing it into practice is what I live to do!
I also offer Philosophical Counseling services, and One-on-One Tutoring in Philosophy. If you're interested in those services, feel free to email me.