Hegel on mediation

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Mediation and gaps underfoot (Curaçao swinging bridge)

Instabilities amid fixity (Halifax cemetary)

Hegel argued that nothing is just simply and immediately present, that nothing is simply given as a firm basis for something else. (Hegel 1969, 68 and 829) Everything in thought and reality becomes what it is through mediations, which are not the same as relations. A relation connects two already established things (this city is larger than that city; Chicago is north of New Orleans). Mediations, on the other hand, are connections within the processes that establish things. (For instance, Hegel argues that the totality of the state and the developed individuality of its citizens are each made actual through the other). For him, a mediated whole is something more than a set of static relations; mediated wholes exist in the tensions of the processes of their own becoming.

Hegel has many unruly French and American descendants and opponents who fight against his totalities and his strict dialectics. But these thinkers do not return to simple givenness or immediacy. My descriptions in this project borrow from Hegel the idea of complex wholes that are processes in tension, and the goal of greater self-awareness. But I am unfaithful to him when I deny a pure grasp of the logical patterns of the process through which social meaning comes to be.