What is the purpose of interdisciplinary research other than a coincidental junction of disparate points of view concerning the same subject? Hegel offers a differentiated answer: it is Bildung. This process does not amount only to the specific form of enlightened education—even though this was undoubtedly one of the many goals of Hegel, especially in his role as rector and administrator. As a matter of self-cultivation, the idea of Bildung also invites us to look at knowledge as a self-developing and self-correcting exercise by which we gain freedom in both the political and cognitive sense of the word. As such, we can never simply rely on the authority of some specific form of government or scientific approach to the world, but treat worldly phenomena as speaking for themselves, which is the maxim that Goethe influentially phrased in his Farbenlehre. In fact, Hegel’s phenomenological method accords almost literally and quite deliberately with Goethe’s goal, discussing Newton’s mathematical physics alongside Sophocles’ Antigone, recent phrenological research, theories of state or the principles of Christian religion.
Taking inspiration from this endeavour, the research group Hegel in Interdisciplinary Perspective (HIP) commits its members to elaborate on this multidimensional approach not just for the interdisciplinarity’s sake, but as a way of contributing to the “philosophy as its own age comprehended in thought.”