I agree with all of the above. You could, of course, start with some Kant and Spinoza. But all philosophers are bottomless, and assuming you have only one lifetime, you might as well just jump into the "hermeneutic circle," in keeping with Hegel's own method. There is no ideal starting point. You will need secondary literature, but not necessarily a classroom teacher. I'd recommend "An Introduction to Hegel" by Houlgate, and a general overview of German Idealism, just to get your historical bearings. There are any number of companion texts to the Phenomenology. Though I otherwise agree with virmaior I'd say Kojeve is worth reading, since his lectures were very influential in terms of Hegel's modern relevance. As an aside, tt is sometimes said that Hegel is easier to grasp if you dip into his earlier theological writings.
answered Aug 30 '15 at 16:09
In Jacques Derrida's 1982 book Margins of Philosophy there is an essay (apparently written in 1968) called "The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel's Semiology", which is a very lucid summary of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.
answered Dec 3 '14 at 14:01
In response to your initial question, I would recommend Allen Scott's prize winning Hollywood. he avoids a Lynchian PoMo. Interpretation as well as Jean Paul's existentialism. But as in his myriad other books, he is Hegel's dialectics at its best.
answered Aug 30 '15 at 7:50Your Answer
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Hegel moves from the discussion of consciousness in general to a discussion of self-consciousness. Like the idealist philosophers before him, Hegel believes that consciousness of objects necessarily implies some awareness of self, as a subject, which is separate from the perceived object. But Hegel takes this idea of self-consciousness a step further and asserts that subjects are also objects to other subjects. Self-consciousness is thus the awareness of another’s awareness of oneself. To put it another way, one becomes aware of oneself by seeing oneself through the eyes of another. Hegel speaks of the “struggle for recognition” implied in self-consciousness. This struggle is between two opposing tendencies arising in self-consciousness—between, on one hand, the moment when the self and the other come together, which makes self-consciousness possible, and, on the other hand, the moment of difference arising when one is conscious of the “otherness” of other selves vis-à-vis oneself, and vice versa. Otherness and pure self-consciousness are mutually opposed moments in a “life and death struggle” for recognition. This tension between selves and others, between mutual identification and estrangement, plays out in the fields of social relations.
Hegel explains that the realization of self-consciousness is really a struggle for recognition between two individuals bound to one another as unequals in a relationship of dependence. One person is the bondsman and one is the servant. The bondsman, or servant, is dependent on the lord. Because he is aware that the lord sees him as an object rather than as a subject (i.e. as a thing, rather than as a thinking, self-aware being), the lord frustrates his desire to assert his pure self-consciousness. He is stuck in a position of reflecting on his otherness. The independent lord, on the other end, is able to negate the otherness that he finds reflected through the subordinate bondsman, since the bondsman does not appear as a conscious subject to him. As the independent and superior partner in this relationship, his otherness does not bear down on him. The lord occupies the position of enjoying his dominant status, whereas the bondsmen must continuously reflect on his status as a subordinate “other” for the lord. At the same time, the lord does not find his position completely satisfying. In negating his own otherness in the consciousness of the bondsman, in turning the bondsman into an object unessential to his own self-consciousness, he has also to deny a fundamental impulse toward recognizing the bondsman as a consciousness equal to himself. At the same time, the bondsman is able to derive satisfaction in labor, a process of working on and transforming objects through which he rediscovers himself and can claim a “mind of his own.”
This section of the Phenomenology. and for that matter the rest of the book, is difficult because of its abstractness. Hegel writes about lords and bondsmen (or masters and slaves, as it is sometimes translated), and it is hard at first to see whom he is talking about and whether this is meant to describe social relations today or at some period in the past when slavery was more widespread. Precisely because it is so abstract, the section has been interpreted in many different ways. It is possible to view the lord and bondsmen relationship as an early stage of history, since the Phenomenology describes the evolution of Spirit throughout the course of human civilization, culminating in modern society. However, the dialectical evolution of Spirit throughout history may also be seen as a metaphor for the process through which each individual develops psychologically. Thus, the images of the lord and bondsman may be interpreted not literally, but as metaphors for positions in which we all find ourselves throughout life—sometimes as the objectified bondsman, sometimes as the objectifying lord.
The Lordship and Bondage section is among the most widely cited in all of Hegel’s writings. The struggle for recognition between lord and bondsman inspired Marx’s account of how class struggle naturally arises from the exploitation of one social class by another. A diverse array of twentieth-century thinkers, including psychoanalysts and existentialists, have drawn on Hegel’s ideas here. Earlier idealists, such as Kant, pointed out the difference between subject and object, but Hegel believed that the subject, or the self, is aware of its self only as a distinct entity through the eyes of another self. The radical idea inherent in this view is that consciousnesses are inextricably interwoven and that one cannot have any concept of oneself without having actually experienced a moment of identification with the other. Many readers have found his notion of self-consciousness easier to grasp intuitively than many of Hegel’s other concepts. His account seems to ring true with everyday experience. People come to know themselves through the image they suppose others hold of them. This image is positive or negative depending on who that person is, where he or she stands in society, and so forth, and gives rise to familiar stresses as individuals strive to assert their free individuality against the objectifying images that others have of them.
Next: Phenomenology of Spirit, Chapters 5 to 8: “Free Concrete Mind” and “Absolute Knowledge”
The Phenomenology of Spirit by Hegel, published in 1807, is based on a precious philosophical intuition: consciousness is not an completed institution, it is constructed, transformed to become other than itself. From this intuition, Hegel traces the epic adventure of the consciousness through its various stages, the evolution of consciousness, from sensitive consciousness to the absolute spirit. The Phenomenology of Spirit is thus the history of consciousness in the lived world. Hegel’s philosophy is a phenomenology insofar as he looks at the world as it appears to consciousness. This science of phenomena aims to capture the essence of things in the world.
Hegel, who began to write this essay to twenty-seven years, attempts to describe and define all the dimensions of human experience: knowledge, perception, consciousness and subjectivity, social interactions, culture, history, morality and religion. Through Phenomenology, he will form a closed philosophical system, which aims to cover the whole of human existence, to answer all the questions about man, the world and God.
The difficulty of this book lies in its language, arduous, as Hegel had to create a new terminology to escape the idealistic semantics used by Kant .
The method developed by Hegel is that the dialectic of contradictions and exceed via a new phase of the synthesis. This dialectical method will be decisive in the history of philosophy and influence Husserl. Sartre and especially Marx . who thinks the economic and social history in terms of the Hegelian dialectic.
The Phenomenology of Spirit is structured in two stages:
It as a challenge to sum up this huge work. Let’s try.Phenomenology of Spirit, Chapters 1-3: Consciousness
Hegel attempts to define the nature and conditions of human knowledge in the first three chapters. He argues that the mind does not understand objects in the world, according to Kant . for whom knowledge is not knowledge of “things in themselves”.
While Kant has an individualistic vision of knowledge, Hegel asks a component to collective knowledge. In fact, according to Hegel, there is a tension between the individual act of knowing and the universality of concepts related to this act. The individual act designates a first moment, that of sense-certainty, refers to the attempt of the mind to grasp the nature of a thing. This pulse is hampered by the requirement of universal concepts, ie that different people can understand these concepts. This requirement leads to the second mode of consciousness, perception. With perception, consciousness, in its search for certainty, uses categories of thought, and language.
Consciousness is always pulled in two different directions. Our senses tell us about the world and the categories make sense in the world. The mismatch between the senses and categories creates a sense of uncertainty, frustration leads to skepticism, that is to say, the suspension of judgment. Consciousness is thus placed in a learning process, which is the third and highest form of consciousness.Phenomenology of Spirit, Chapter 4: Self-Awareness
Hegel moves his analysis of consciousness in general to self-awareness. In the tradition of idealists, Hegel posits that awareness of objects necessarily implies a certain self-consciousness, ie separation between the subject and the perceived object. But Hegel goes further and says that the subjects are also objects to other subjects. Self-awareness is the awareness of another self-consciousness. In other words, one becomes aware of oneself through the eyes of another. This is the famous struggle for recognition. Otherness and pure self-consciousness are involved in a “fight to the death” for recognition.
See the paper on the dialectic of master and slavePhenomenology of Spirit, Chapters 5-8: Spirit and Absolute Knowledge
At the end of Chapter 4, Hegel describes the “unhappy consciousness”, the result of the negation of the world and the religious consciousness, itself the product of fear of death. Religion, according to Hegel, is often seen as a refuge for the failure of recognition by others subject: turning to a transcendent being (God), you can take comfort in being who exists only in itself, rather than in a struggle for recognition between human beings. This shift to a transcendent being the result of the initial attempt to enter the consciousness of the nature of the object.
Like Kant . Hegel thinks that reason leads consciousness to adapt to particular phenomena universal categories. However, this process is not smooth and there is always an element of uncertainty and imprecision, because objects exist in a range of variations make it difficult to match them to universal categories. Thus, insofar as consciousness is oriented stable categories of thought, it is also aware of a set of standards governing how the phenomena comply with these categories. These rules or laws of thought, do not live in objects, nor the mind, but in a third dimension, “all organized social.” For each self-consciousness belongs to the collective self-consciousness. The laws of thought, morals and conventions belong to the social life. This set of laws governing the collective consciousness, Hegel called “Spirit.”. The Spirit is the place of ethical, laws and customs. Individuals interpret and act according to the laws and customs individually, but they are in compliance with community spirit. Ethical life has two manifestations. Firstly, it is the foundation of the actions of individuals. Second, it is externalized in the so-called culture and civilization. These two moments of mind ethics or ethical life, are in tension with one another. Enlightenment, for example, is expressed by individualism, but in its most extreme form, individualism leads to despotism and political terrorism.
The next step in the development of consciousness is religion. Religion is essentially a collective spirit conscious of itself, and as such it reflects the expression of a given culture of ethical life and the balance between individual and collective. Hegel describes the different phases in the development of religion, whose reflections are: art, myth and drama. But religion is not the highest stage of consciousness. This area is reserved for absolute knowledge. It is in the absolute knowledge that the mind becomes aware of its limitations and seeks to correct its contradictions and shortcomings to move to a higher level of understanding. Absolute Knowledge is the conscious and critical engagement with reality. It is the view of science and the starting point for philosophical inquiry.Conclusion on the Phenomenology of Spirit:
At the end of this epic, Hegel has built a science of consciousness, allowing him to move from childhood (the sentient consciousness), the self-awareness. Consciousness reaches the absolute knowledge when she knows she knows when she thinks its time and world and acts on them instead of experiencing it. Basically, Hegel, consciousness is complete when it reaches the philosophical stage.Quotes from the Phenomenology of Spirit:
– Since it is necessary that each of the two self-consciousnesses, which opposes one to the other, strives to demonstrate and affirm before the other and the other as a being-for-itself absolute, hence one who preferred the life of freedom and is powerless to do by itself and ensure its independence, apart from its sensible reality shows, and in the ratio between servitude
– Everyone tends to the death of the other
– For if knowledge is the instrument to capture the absolute essence, he has to mind that the application of an instrument to a thing does not leave as it is for itself, but introduces in her transformation and alteration.Index of the Phenomenology of Spirit:
Preface and Introduction
III. The Phenomenon. Strength and Mind
Phenomenology of the Spirit
ABSTRACT: The idea of spirit in its highest form takes a gathering character, where all is attracted by what Hegel called the world idea, an absolute spirit, and by what modern science understands as human psychological and social (consciousness) recognition. Included in this are unusual abilities like extrasensory perception, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. The sensibility of the pointed problems can be more fruitfully realized within a new phenomenology of the spirit. This is distinguished from Hegel by the fact that spirit is considered as non-destroyed attribute or matter’s property (quality). If Hegel considered the absolute idea as the outcoming principle or substantial base of being, then a new phenomenology of spirit must be abstracted from the question stated of the primary and secondary character of the material and ideal in a global plan. But this conception of the materialistic philosophy should be over comprehended, where spiritual is considered as the secondary phenomenon, so as the secondary in comparison with the material side of being. This new phenomenology of the spirit is based on the Hegelian and Marxist traditions’ overcomprehension in a quality of the main idea which takes up the subjective content and spiritual material base — its material-ideal nature.
Both a society and an individual possess such qualities and properties that cannot be understood only through the conventional ideology of objective, material being. There exist spiritual phenomena as well, understood here as everything linked to consciousness, psychology, feelings, perception etc. These are mostly connected with human beings and human society. At the same time the science actively discuss subjects not connec.
. middle of paper.
. been understood as secondary phenomenon, Thus having lesser importance in comparison with the material aspect of existence.
The new phenomenology of spirit, based upon reconsideration of Hegel / Marx tradition, can have as its main idea the subjective contents and material basis of spiritual, in other words — its material-ideal nature. It seems that in the nearest future such interpretation of the nature of spiritual will become more definite. Nowadays the new data is collected, new ideas are put forward, sometimes lying rather far from a single equivocal appraisal. The intellectual situation of the border of two centuries and two millennia is sometimes thought of as critical, even deadlock. However, the tendency of developing knowledge is such that the current processes will serve the basis for new paradigms of cognition, for the ultimate qualitative breakthrough.
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