‘The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing’ a Discussion by Slavoj Žižek, Rebecca Comay, and Frank Ruda

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Video recording of a discussion between Slavoj Žižek, Rebecca Comay, and Frank Ruda by The Department of German, the Department of Comparative Literature, and Deutsches Haus at New York University, held on 23rd October, 2018, which revolved around Comay and Ruda’s book The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing .

In The Dash—The Other Side of Absolute Knowing, 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 Philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist metaphysical interpretations of German Idealism and Marxian critique of ideology. His more than sixty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Pandemic! & Pandemic! 2, Hegel in a Wired Brain, Sex and the Failed Absolute, Like A Thief In Broad DaylightReading MarxIncontinence of the Void, and The Day After the Revolution.

Rebecca Comay is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her publications include Mourning Sickness: Hegel and the French Revolution and Hegel and Resistance, co-ed with Bart Zandtvoort.

Frank Ruda is Senior Lecturer for Philosophy at the University of Dundee, United Kingdom. His publications include: Reading Marx (with Žižek and Agon Hamza), Abolishing Freedom: A Plea for A Contemporary Use of Fatalism and For Badiou: Idealism without Idealism.

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