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The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)
by G. W. F. Hegel
No current Talk conversations about this book.
Was tut man, wenn man im Sommer zwei Wochen frei hat, keinen Urlaub geplant, und es total verregnet ist? Richtig: Man beschäftigt sich mit der Phänomenologie des Geistes. Letztes Jahr habe ich es schon mal versucht, und habe es nach ca. 200 Seiten aufgegeben. Nun nochmal ein Versuch, zwei Wochen lang täglich mehrere Stunden, und diesmal hab ich mich auch durchgebissen.
Zugegebenermaßen habe ich trotzdem nicht das Gefühl, den Stoff richtig durchdrungen zu haben. Dennoch möchte ich meine Eindrücke kurz aufschreiben.
Das Buch erweckt den Eindruck, dass Hegel durchaus ein kluger Mann war, mit vielen schlauen Einsichten und Gedanken. Die Anerkennungstheorie ist nicht umsonst viel rezipiert worden. Die Idee des "absoluten Wissens" hat auch durchaus ihren Charme, wenngleich man sie heute vielleicht als etwas "esoterisch" bezeichnen könnte.
Die "Dialektik", mit der die verschiedenen Sachverhalte, wie ebendieses absolute Wissen hergeleitet werden, ist durchaus erfrischend und beeindruckend, zeigt vielleicht auch gewisse Einsichten in das Leben; mein Eindruck ist aber, dass ihr eine gewisse Notwendigkeit fehlt. Warum genau diese Einteilung in natürliche, Kunst- und offenbare Religion? Warum entwickeln sich Selbstbewusstsein in genau den Schritten wie beschrieben? Vielleicht verstehe ich es nicht so ganz, ich befürchte aber, dass dies Beschreibungen von teilweise kontingenten Pfadabhängigkeiten sind oder einfach der "besten Idee" Hegels entsprungen sind.
Zur Beurteilung der wissenschaftlichen "Haltbarkeit" traue ich mir mangels Verständnis und Wissen über Wissenschaftstheorie keine richtige Einschätzung zu. Jedenfalls vermittelt das Buch schon einige schlaue Gedanken, dir mir sicherlich noch einige Zeit hängen bleiben werden, und wird mir in Zukunft hoffentlich auch beim Verständnis anderer Autoren helfen.
Ohne Sekundärmaterial wäre ich wohl ziemlich aufgeschmissen gewesen. Ich habe "Hegels 'Phänomenologie des Geistes' von Georg Bertram" genutzt und kann dies empfehlen, außerdem habe ich ab und zu die Hegel-Videos z.B. von Gregory Sadler (leider Englisch) angeschaut. Eventuell werde ich nächstes Jahr oder so einen weiteren Durchlauf des Buchs wagen.
I have to agree with Bertrand Russell that Hegel “illustrates an important truth, namely, that the worse your logic, the more interesting the consequences to which it gives rise.” The best things about this book are the arguments that have been made against it. Hegel is the modern Aristotle, in that he makes arguments that appear at first glance to be rational arguments because of the way they are written, but in actuality have no rational basis. Of the two, Hegel is on the surface more logical, but far worse at expressing himself. For such overly simplistic ideas, he used a few too many words to describe them.
From the few references I've come across of Hegel and knowing that Hegel himself was an influence on figures such as Marx, Stirner, Adorno and Bakunin, I can't help but feel that Hegel's philosophy is vastly misunderstood and it may very well be due to an extremely shallow and disheartening interpretation of his work as some kind of trivialization of our existence. This is probably one of the most enlightening pieces of philosophy I've read and I think there's perhaps one thing that's best to keep in mind while reading it: contradiction.
Hegel's approach to Phenomenology, to the Spirit, is contradictory in itself but only in its circular closure – what we are must be some reconciliation between the consciousness, the objective self and everything beyond us (the universal substance). However, before we are to have self-consciousness, we must have experience through sensuous-movement within the substance, that is, we must interact with the world. With more movement within this other, our differentiation is something apparently objective and explicit. We are us, they are them, and whatever we are to them seems to be beyond our control. This is self-consciousness and the formation of the Unhappy Self-consciousness. To stop here is, as Hegel posits, is the stoic self-consciousness that accepts itself as whatever it is which the other has molded it into; the experiences are accepted by the Unhappy Self-consciousness as something helpless and merely a false sense of Spirit; an empty Spirit.
Hegel goes through many motions, and I am uncertain whether these were intentional, for the sake of the most general readership, but the constant recognition of this desire to be something, the power of, as Hegel calls it, picture-thinking and its ability to staunch any personal reflection upon it; that the Unhappy-consciousness is something which takes these picture-thoughts, an admixture of thoughtless memories and unreconciled ideals, as the substance of reality, as the universal substance and this is precisely where the Spirit should loft itself up rather than close itself off into some self-imposed prison of stoic dormancy.
The problem with these picture-thoughts is precisely that they have not been abstracted, they have not been reconciled into their constituent parts insofar as they exist within the universal substance. The way Hegel sees it (or as I see him seeing it) is that the Spirit must determine the actual universal substance for itself and in this process of understanding, of obtaining the knowledge of the disjoint and atomic nature of the substance, it is here where the Spirit begins to divest itself of any invariant and indivisible mass and so it begins to extol the universal substance and loft itself ever higher as self-consciousness relieves itself of picture-thinking's excesses. The invariance of Self is revealed as farce the moment the self-consciousness recognizes itself as the contradictory being that it is – to retain the dead weight of picture-thought as History of Self drags upon the Spirit in an attempt to bring it to the ground.
The Self is something entirely individual and the Spirit is entirely universal. Neither can exist without the other and it is in this contradiction that any other supposed fixed-knowledge of self-consciousness cannot hold itself against. The power of picture-thinking is imposed by our immediate, sensuous-consciousness, and the only way to get beyond the immediacy and objectivity of this self-imposed constraint is to define it. The Self can only be seen through its content, what it knows to be true on its own conviction and not that of the picture-thought nor on the account of some other imposing upon us. The Self is Scientific it is personal knowledge of experience and the expropriation of self from History, a reintegration of self into substance and, through the sensuous-consciousness, the immediate consciousness, a differentiation back into self. The Notion of the substance is ability to reason and to see the substance for what it is: forever changing universality. Something that cannot be known in totality, something without absolute Truth but it is all we've got to work with.
So the Natural Religion, as Hegel phrases it, is this understanding of Self as a mirror of its experience and eventual supersession of this experience, this Historical self-consciousness, by the Spirit.
There is absolutely no way I can review this work in any meaningful way without writing a book on this book.
In this regard, I'm stuck in Hegel's own back yard, trying to observe a thing, understanding that I cannot fully understand the thing, but postulating anyway, only to revise after new information comes to light, and postulating again, revising again, postulating again, and revising again until I approach the Truth of what he's saying while never quite arriving at the Truth.
So much of what is spoke of in this towering castle of cards is aimed at understanding the Geist, the whole conceptualization of Consciousness. Doing it, he had to work from Kant and build an entire edifice from practically nothing at all.
So, of course, he goes in some culturally obvious directions that make modern philosophers cringe. For example, he not only works through the cultural bias angle, but he also goes through the entire Religiosity angle, attempting to divorce spirit from religion and winding up at the point where people can have morals without the Church.
With me so far? Well, that's only two angles among many, and we really need a BIG Venn diagram to work out his entire phenomenology.
Just so you know, this BARELY scratches the surface:
I found myself scratching my head at how dense and obscure it was in all the "In itself"s and wanted to strangle him for the needlessly recursive recapitulations.
And yet, for all the things that I, in my own culturally biased way, dismiss in Hegel as being a blind fool, I can still appreciate WHAT HE ACCOMPLISHED.
He basically formulated a non-working AI template.
Cool, right? He worked from what he believed to be base principles, (religion being one of them, including God as an outside restrictive force,) to build a Mind. Or Spirit. Or Geist. The definition always errs toward the Whole Ball of Wax.
He also got pretty close to nearly formulating a complete formal-logic construct. :)
Of course, it's wrong. But we learned a LOT from Hegel. The Hegelian Dialect is something we all use today, bringing up Thesis and Antithesis, figuring out what went wrong, then doing it all over again until we reach The Truth.
Oh, for you weird fanboys out there, I should mention that while I was reading this, I noticed a very cool thing. Asimov worked out his own formulations of all these same points in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit in his Robot books. He explained the questions and anti-questions in a much more enjoyable, if not quite as thorough, way.
My appreciation for Asimov just went through the roof.
Boken er den første komplette norske utgave av Hegels hovedverk. Den fremstiller menneskeåndens utvikling og historie som en lang rekke erfaringer, eventyr eller episoder, i et forsøk på å finne seg selv, og erkjenne verden og sin plass i den ved å utprøve muligheter og høste nederlag, etterfulgt av nye erfaringer og nye erkjennelser.
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Wikipedia in English (5)
Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is one of the most influential texts in the history of modern philosophy. In it, Hegel proposed an arresting and novel picture of the relation of mind to world and of people to each other. Like Kant before him, Hegel offered up a systematic account of the nature of knowledge, the influence of society and history on claims to knowledge, and the social character of human agency itself. A bold new understanding of what, after Hegel, came to be called 'subjectivity' arose from this work, and it was instrumental in the formation of later philosophies, such as existentialism, Marxism, and American pragmatism, each of which reacted to Hegel's radical claims in different ways. This edition offers a new translation, an introduction, and glossaries to assist readers' understanding of this central text, and will be essential for scholars and students of Hegel.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)193 — Philosophy and Psychology Modern western philosophy German and Austrian
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