Hegel or Spinoza is the first English-language translation of the modern classic Hegel ou Spinoza. Published in French in 1979, it has been widely influential, particularly in the work of the philosophers Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri, and Gilles Deleuze.
Hegel or Spinoza is a surgically precise interrogation of the points of misreading of Spinoza by Hegel. Pierre Macherey explains the necessity of Hegel’s misreading in the kernel of thought that is “indigestible” for Hegel, which makes the Spinozist system move in a way that Hegel cannot grasp. In doing so, Macherey exposes the limited and situated truth of Hegel’s perspective—which reveals more about Hegel himself than about his object of analysis. Against Hegel’s characterization of Spinoza’s work as immobile, Macherey offers a lively alternative that upsets the accepted historical progression of philosophical knowledge. He finds in Spinoza an immanent philosophy that is not subordinated to the guarantee of an a priori truth.
Not simply authorizing a particular reading—a “good” Spinoza against a “bad” Hegel—Hegel or Spinoza initiates an encounter that produces a new understanding, a common truth that emerges in the interval that separates the two.