The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing: A discussion with Slavoj Žižek, Rebecca Comay, and Frank Ruda


The Department of German at NYU, the NYU Department of Comparative Literature, and Deutsches Haus at NYU present a discussion between Slavoj Žižek, Rebecca Comay, and Frank Ruda which will revolve around Comay and Ruda’s book The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing.

Deutsches Haus at NYU, October 23, 2018

In The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing (MIT Press, 2018), the authors present a reading of Hegel’s most reviled concept, absolute knowing. Their book sets out from a counterintuitive premise: the “mystical shell” of Hegel’s system proves to be its most “rational kernel.” Hegel’s radicalism is located precisely at the point where his thought seems to regress most. Most current readings try to update Hegel’s thought by pruning back his grandiose claims to “absolute knowing,” but Comay and Ruda invert this deflationary gesture by inflating what seems to be most trivial: the truth of the absolute is grasped only in the minutiae of its most mundane appearances. What if everything turns out to hinge on the most inconspicuous and trivial detail—a punctuation mark?

Slavoj Žižek, is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a visiting professor at a number of American Universities (Columbia, Princeton, New School for Social Research, New York University, University of Michigan). He obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Ljubljana studying Psychoanalysis. He also studied at the University of Paris. Slavoj Žižek is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and Marxist social analyst.

Rebecca Comay, is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Other publications include Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution (Stanford, 2011) and Hegel and Resistance, co-ed with Bart Zandtvoort (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Frank Ruda, is Senior Lecturer for Philosophy at the University of Dundee, UK. Other publications include: Reading Marx (with Slavoj Žižek and Agon Hamza)(Polity, 2018); Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for A Contemporary Use of Fatalism (Nebraska UP, 2016); For Badiou: Idealism without Idealism (Northwestern UP, 2015).