Author Archives: Robbert Veen
Brief explanation of Hegel’s Encyclopedia par. 488 – 492, dealing with property.
It is meant as the summary for the more detailed discussion of property that we are producing in our commentary on the Phil. of Right.
What would happen if we take a difficult, yet understandable quote from Hegel’s work and run it through Google Translate a couple of times? Going from Dutch to Amharic, through Finnish and Mongolian right up to Croatian and English? The artificial Intelligence of the Google Translate program of course lost track of the meaning of the text. And – just for fun, though I suspect there is a lot more interesting to say about this from a linguistic perspective – here are some of the results.
I started with this older Dutch translation of a text by Hegel – originally in German:
Which I then translated into English:
This is pretty close to the original meaning, and so we must applaud Google translate for this high level of accuracy. It only missed the meaning of the text when it came up with “do so”, because this is in the original “do like this”, or “act in this manner”. “So” is close to “Zo” but insufficient. With a little help this could be quite a good translation. But what would happen if we translate into languages that have no relationship with each other at all? I started with the modern Greek rendering:
And then moved through several languages that I could not understand at all, like Finnish, Amharic, Mongolian etc. until I reached Croatian:
And finally English – the Croatian is based on the same Bulgaric version…
Now we see what Google translate ultimately wants to do: to make us dependent without a country. But that can wait till after the middle. In the mean time we can enjoy the fine poetry of Hegel Babelised!
In Hegel’s Social Philosophy the concept of personality is of vital importance. It is defines human subjectivity in the modern era as the foundational idea about humans a social beings as opposed to Roman Antiquity and the tradition of Natural Right. We are both determined by our social being – as in communitarianism – and yet infinitely distinct, which involves the negative capacity our free will. (The exaggeration of that is liberalism.)
Dudley Knowles found a way to make this concept easy to understand. I present his analysis of that concept in his book on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.
This video is part #2 of an introductory series on the basic concepts the Philosophy of Right, before we start reading the section on Property.