Call for Papers: "Kojève, an attempt at an update"

Isabel Jacobs's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2023 to December 31, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Intellectual History, Modern European History / Studies, Philosophy, Political Science


Special Issue of Continental Philosophy Review

Kojève, an attempt at an update

Alexandre Kojève is recognized as one of the most influential continental philosophers of the 20th century. He is still mostly known for his original if not controversial commentary on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit which he delivered to an esteemed group of intellectuals in 1930s Paris. The trajectory of many important strands of French philosophy throughout the late 20th century can be read as a response to his seminars. As Heidegger once quipped, “even the abandonment of these talks is itself an idea.” However, the gravity of his Introduction à la lecture de Hegel has resulted in a distorted view of Kojève’s philosophy. The breadth of his work far exceeds the comparatively narrow scope of his seminars. In the shadows of his reading of Hegel lies a rich philosophical undertaking which includes one of the first philosophical treatments of quantum physics, a manuscript on Russian sophiology, a treatise on law, a history of pagan philosophy stretching from the pre-Socratics to neo-Platonism, and a book-length commentary on Kant. Thus, pushing back against the common view that Kojève’s philosophy can be reduced to an outmoded Hegelianism, the goal of this Special Issue of the Continental Philosophy Review is to explore neglected aspects of Kojève’s vast corpus.

Kojève was a protean thinker whose thought cannot be reduced to any one idea. Betraying his reputation as a philosopher of the end of history, Kojève was constantly attempting to update his thought: “People who are content with themselves and especially with their philosophy”, Kojève once quipped, “are not only bad philosophers and people but they are also not interesting.” Thus, even though a red thread runs through his corpus, each of his texts must be approached as a singular work problematically connected to an always shifting totality. These texts include his Philosopher’s Journal (1920-23) containing his nascent philosophy of non-existence, a book  devoted to Atheism (1931), The Idea of Determinism (1932) which explores the transition from classical to modern physics, a philosophy of religion expressed through a commentary on the Religious Metaphysics of Vladimir Solovyov (1934-35), the idea of a universal and homogeneous state in his Outline of a Phenomenology of Right (1943), and his unfinished postwar magnum opus The Concept, Time, and Discourse (1956), itself  described as an “attempt at an update” of Hegel’s system.

We call on contributions that explore these and other lesser known elements of Kojève’s corpus. Papers that address the following themes/concepts will be strongly considered:

  • Philosophy of nature (legality, causality, and determinism in Kojève’s philosophy of science)
  • System (update of Hegel and its connection to Kant and German idealism)
  • Sophia and Sophiology (dissertation on Solovyov; [soon to be published] manuscript “Sophia, Philosophy and Phenomenology”)
  • Philosophy of Religion (especially with respect to the problem of atheism)
  • Aesthetics (commentary on Kandinsky and “concrete art”, but also his relationship to Surrealism and the avant-garde)
  • Political philosophy (i.e., 1940s work on right, law and authority and its connection to universality, homogeneity and the idea of empire)
  • Pagan philosophy (e.g., Parmenides, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus)
  • Ontological dualism (also in relation to his critique of “monism” in Parmenides, Spinoza and Hegel)

We also welcome scholarship which makes use of his many scattered writings in the form of letters (e.g. with Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Tran Duc Thao), reviews (especially the ones on phenomenology published in Recherches philosophiques), or any one of his short essays.


  • Paper proposals: January 15, 2023 (abstracts of 300-500 words)
  • Notice of initial acceptance by the Editors: March 1, 2023. The acceptance of complete articles is subject to anonymous review.
  • Complete papers (if accepted): December 31, 2023. Please follow the journal guidelines:

Please send paper proposals by January 15, 2023 to:

Guest Editors:

Kyle Moore (Kingston University London, CRMEP),

Isabel Jacobs (Queen Mary University of London),