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Hegel on the Master – Slave Relationship

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  • jimstuart51
    All, Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven t really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 27, 2012
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      All,

      Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven't really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is the most difficult philosopher I have ever studied.

      Parts of his "The Phenomenology of Spirit" are impenetrable without resorting to secondary literature, but one area of the book which has excited me is what he writes about the Master-Slave relationship.

      In a nutshell his starting point is that human beings have a desire (even a need) to be recognized by others. However we tend to go about gaining recognition (or respect) in the wrong way. We think we can gain respect from others by dominating them. Thus human beings fight each other to end up top dog in the vain hope of earning the respect of those beneath them. Thus we fight, and some of us end up as masters and some as slaves.

      Hegel then says something quite astonishing: It is the slaves that actually win in this situation, as the masters don't actually win the recognition (the respect) of their slaves, as full recognition can only exist between equals. Further the slave actually benefits from being forced to work, as he creates things with his labour and these creations in effect act as some sort of recognition by the external world of himself. His work makes the world reflect himself back to him, and he is less alienated than his master who has failed to get the recognition he sought. The master is a pure consumer and this consumerism does not benefit him at all.

      There are many aspects of what Hegel writes which I do not yet understand, but his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being is an idea I warm to. It fits well with Aristotle's idea that human beings have the capability to live the Good Life, but not all of us do so to the same degree.

      I think Hegel is correct to point out that work (or any activity where we aim to achieve something thought our efforts – whether physical or mental) does us good, whilst merely passively consuming does us no good at all (although I admit it can be very enjoyable).

      I think Hegel is also correct to point out that the more we respect each other, and are respected back – the more we fully recognise each other as equals – the better it is for all of us. Hegel's idea is that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development, but a society of equals where each recognises his fellows as equals is at a higher level of human development.

      Jim
    • Bob Therriault
      Hi Jim What you said makes sense. How about the fear factor? Oftentimes respect has a large amount of fear attached to it. I m thinking about a parent-child
      Message 2 of 14 , Sep 27, 2012
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        Hi Jim What you said makes sense. How about the fear factor? Oftentimes respect has a large amount of fear attached to it. I'm thinking about a parent-child relationship in particular.


        Enjoy the day

        Bob T

        http://www.poetrybybobtherriault.blogspot.com
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jazz_talk

        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        From: jjimstuart1@...
        Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2012 20:10:42 +0000
        Subject: [existlist] Hegel on the Master � Slave Relationship


























        All,



        Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven't really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is the most difficult philosopher I have ever studied.



        Parts of his "The Phenomenology of Spirit" are impenetrable without resorting to secondary literature, but one area of the book which has excited me is what he writes about the Master-Slave relationship.



        In a nutshell his starting point is that human beings have a desire (even a need) to be recognized by others. However we tend to go about gaining recognition (or respect) in the wrong way. We think we can gain respect from others by dominating them. Thus human beings fight each other to end up top dog in the vain hope of earning the respect of those beneath them. Thus we fight, and some of us end up as masters and some as slaves.



        Hegel then says something quite astonishing: It is the slaves that actually win in this situation, as the masters don't actually win the recognition (the respect) of their slaves, as full recognition can only exist between equals. Further the slave actually benefits from being forced to work, as he creates things with his labour and these creations in effect act as some sort of recognition by the external world of himself. His work makes the world reflect himself back to him, and he is less alienated than his master who has failed to get the recognition he sought. The master is a pure consumer and this consumerism does not benefit him at all.



        There are many aspects of what Hegel writes which I do not yet understand, but his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being is an idea I warm to. It fits well with Aristotle's idea that human beings have the capability to live the Good Life, but not all of us do so to the same degree.



        I think Hegel is correct to point out that work (or any activity where we aim to achieve something thought our efforts � whether physical or mental) does us good, whilst merely passively consuming does us no good at all (although I admit it can be very enjoyable).



        I think Hegel is also correct to point out that the more we respect each other, and are respected back � the more we fully recognise each other as equals � the better it is for all of us. Hegel's idea is that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development, but a society of equals where each recognises his fellows as equals is at a higher level of human development.



        Jim


















        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • William
        Message 3 of 14 , Sep 27, 2012
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Bob Therriault <bobtherriault@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > Hi Jim What you said makes sense. How about the fear factor? Oftentimes respect has a large amount of fear attached to it. I'm thinking about a parent-child relationship in particular.
          >
          >
          > Enjoy the day
          >
          > Bob T
          > T bob, it is really great to hear from you. Please enlighten us further with your examination of fear as motovation. Of course you know hegel is not an existentialist so you begin by buying into a dead philosophy from a protestant like Jim. Bill
          > http://www.poetrybybobtherriault.blogspot.com
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jazz_talk
          >
          > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          > From: jjimstuart1@...
          > Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2012 20:10:42 +0000
          > Subject: [existlist] Hegel on the Master – Slave Relationship
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          > All,
          >
          >
          >
          > Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven't really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is the most difficult philosopher I have ever studied.
          >
          >
          >
          > Parts of his "The Phenomenology of Spirit" are impenetrable without resorting to secondary literature, but one area of the book which has excited me is what he writes about the Master-Slave relationship.
          >
          >
          >
          > In a nutshell his starting point is that human beings have a desire (even a need) to be recognized by others. However we tend to go about gaining recognition (or respect) in the wrong way. We think we can gain respect from others by dominating them. Thus human beings fight each other to end up top dog in the vain hope of earning the respect of those beneath them. Thus we fight, and some of us end up as masters and some as slaves.
          >
          >
          >
          > Hegel then says something quite astonishing: It is the slaves that actually win in this situation, as the masters don't actually win the recognition (the respect) of their slaves, as full recognition can only exist between equals. Further the slave actually benefits from being forced to work, as he creates things with his labour and these creations in effect act as some sort of recognition by the external world of himself. His work makes the world reflect himself back to him, and he is less alienated than his master who has failed to get the recognition he sought. The master is a pure consumer and this consumerism does not benefit him at all.
          >
          >
          >
          > There are many aspects of what Hegel writes which I do not yet understand, but his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being is an idea I warm to. It fits well with Aristotle's idea that human beings have the capability to live the Good Life, but not all of us do so to the same degree.
          >
          >
          >
          > I think Hegel is correct to point out that work (or any activity where we aim to achieve something thought our efforts – whether physical or mental) does us good, whilst merely passively consuming does us no good at all (although I admit it can be very enjoyable).
          >
          >
          >
          > I think Hegel is also correct to point out that the more we respect each other, and are respected back – the more we fully recognise each other as equals – the better it is for all of us. Hegel's idea is that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development, but a society of equals where each recognises his fellows as equals is at a higher level of human development.
          >
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          > Jim
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        • Jim
          Hello Bob, I appreciate your contributions. I think what you write shows that respect is an ambiguous term with at least two distinct meanings. I was using
          Message 4 of 14 , Sep 28, 2012
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            Hello Bob,

            I appreciate your contributions.

            I think what you write shows that 'respect' is an ambiguous term with at least two distinct meanings.

            I was using it in a similar way to Kant, who, when he talks of "respect for persons", means a recognition that the other is a person like oneself, and should always be treated as an end in himself, and never as a means to one's own ends. This notion of respect involves treating the other as an equal.

            Another meaning of 'respect' involves an acknowledgement that the other has more power than oneself, and has to be respected for this reason. Thus, in the old days, people who depended on the land for their livelihood had respect for nature.

            It is in this sense, I suggest, that children have respect for their parents: they are utterly dependent on their parents to protect them and look after them. This second meaning of 'respect' has the notion of fear attached to it.

            Part of the humour in the South Park episode where Cartman has been given temporary police powers by Officer Barbrady and goes around saying "Respect my authority!" is that it plays on the ambiguity of meaning of the word 'respect'.

            See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx4jn77VKlQ

            Jim



            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Bob Therriault <bobtherriault@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Hi Jim What you said makes sense. How about the fear factor? Oftentimes respect has a large amount of fear attached to it. I'm thinking about a parent-child relationship in particular.
            >
            >
            > Enjoy the day
            >
            > Bob T
            >
          • Mary
            Jim, Hegel is indeed a difficult read with opposing schools of thought attending. I don t read this section as you do. I take it to be an allegory for how
            Message 5 of 14 , Sep 28, 2012
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              Jim,

              Hegel is indeed a difficult read with opposing schools of thought attending. I don't read this section as you do. I take it to be an allegory for how self-consciousness develops and how the various shapes of truth become determined from the interaction of subject and object, or in this case, absolute knowing and its phenomena. Its existential relevance relates to this alienated but opposed unity. For me it symbolizes the difficulty of adequately knowing in order to make decisions about what's true. Fear in this passage is unformed truth becoming determined by relation to an other. This is one of Hegel's negation of a negation and demonstrates quite fundamentally how the dialectic moves between oppositions.

              Mary

              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
              >
              > All,
              >
              > Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven't really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is the most difficult philosopher I have ever studied.
              >
              > Parts of his "The Phenomenology of Spirit" are impenetrable without resorting to secondary literature, but one area of the book which has excited me is what he writes about the Master-Slave relationship.
              >
              > In a nutshell his starting point is that human beings have a desire (even a need) to be recognized by others. However we tend to go about gaining recognition (or respect) in the wrong way. We think we can gain respect from others by dominating them. Thus human beings fight each other to end up top dog in the vain hope of earning the respect of those beneath them. Thus we fight, and some of us end up as masters and some as slaves.
              >
              > Hegel then says something quite astonishing: It is the slaves that actually win in this situation, as the masters don't actually win the recognition (the respect) of their slaves, as full recognition can only exist between equals. Further the slave actually benefits from being forced to work, as he creates things with his labour and these creations in effect act as some sort of recognition by the external world of himself. His work makes the world reflect himself back to him, and he is less alienated than his master who has failed to get the recognition he sought. The master is a pure consumer and this consumerism does not benefit him at all.
              >
              > There are many aspects of what Hegel writes which I do not yet understand, but his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being is an idea I warm to. It fits well with Aristotle's idea that human beings have the capability to live the Good Life, but not all of us do so to the same degree.
              >
              > I think Hegel is correct to point out that work (or any activity where we aim to achieve something thought our efforts – whether physical or mental) does us good, whilst merely passively consuming does us no good at all (although I admit it can be very enjoyable).
              >
              > I think Hegel is also correct to point out that the more we respect each other, and are respected back – the more we fully recognise each other as equals – the better it is for all of us. Hegel's idea is that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development, but a society of equals where each recognises his fellows as equals is at a higher level of human development.
              >
              > Jim
              >
            • Bryan Junius
              Hi, Have you ever read any of the works of Marquis De Sade? The reason I ask is you bring up some interesting stuff in Hegel s works about the master-slave
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 28, 2012
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                Hi,

                Have you ever read any of the works of Marquis De Sade?

                The reason I ask is you bring up some interesting stuff in Hegel's works about the master-slave relationship - if you want a critical analysis of two bodies of work that can be eye-opening in some regard to hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" and to Sade's extreme individualism (libertinism),I would recommend it.

                Many philosophers like Foucalt, Beauvoir, and Adorno found, or at least suggested, that Sade was a precursor by 150 years, to the ideas of modern existentialsim, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, and the champion of surrealism.

                I only point out the master-slave relationship portions only in regards to Sade's hedonistic individualism as being the comparison to qualify if Hegel was correct in that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development or that his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being.

                Talking about Sade's 120 days of Sodom, his imprisonment, or his courting of a 13 year old for 5 years until his death would be overkill in this conversation, so this is not what I am referring to either just for clarification.

                regards,

                Bryan

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                >
                > All,
                >
                > Having been studying Hegel for around three months now, I haven't really made up my mind about him. The only clear conclusion I have come to is that he is the most difficult philosopher I have ever studied.
                >
                > Parts of his "The Phenomenology of Spirit" are impenetrable without resorting to secondary literature, but one area of the book which has excited me is what he writes about the Master-Slave relationship.
                >
                > In a nutshell his starting point is that human beings have a desire (even a need) to be recognized by others. However we tend to go about gaining recognition (or respect) in the wrong way. We think we can gain respect from others by dominating them. Thus human beings fight each other to end up top dog in the vain hope of earning the respect of those beneath them. Thus we fight, and some of us end up as masters and some as slaves.
                >
                > Hegel then says something quite astonishing: It is the slaves that actually win in this situation, as the masters don't actually win the recognition (the respect) of their slaves, as full recognition can only exist between equals. Further the slave actually benefits from being forced to work, as he creates things with his labour and these creations in effect act as some sort of recognition by the external world of himself. His work makes the world reflect himself back to him, and he is less alienated than his master who has failed to get the recognition he sought. The master is a pure consumer and this consumerism does not benefit him at all.
                >
                > There are many aspects of what Hegel writes which I do not yet understand, but his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being is an idea I warm to. It fits well with Aristotle's idea that human beings have the capability to live the Good Life, but not all of us do so to the same degree.
                >
                > I think Hegel is correct to point out that work (or any activity where we aim to achieve something thought our efforts – whether physical or mental) does us good, whilst merely passively consuming does us no good at all (although I admit it can be very enjoyable).
                >
                > I think Hegel is also correct to point out that the more we respect each other, and are respected back – the more we fully recognise each other as equals – the better it is for all of us. Hegel's idea is that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development, but a society of equals where each recognises his fellows as equals is at a higher level of human development.
                >
                > Jim
                >
              • Jim
                Hi Bryan, Thanks for your response. In answer to your question I have not read any of the works of the Marquis De Sade. You suggest Sade may have been an
                Message 7 of 14 , Sep 29, 2012
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                  Hi Bryan,

                  Thanks for your response.

                  In answer to your question I have not read any of the works of the Marquis De Sade.

                  You suggest Sade may have been "an existentialist 150 years before Existentialism" and that his philosophy of hedonistic individualism is a consideration to be put alongside Hegel's account of the master-slave relationship and Hegel's view that the master-slave relationship was just an early stage in humankind's conceptual and historical development on the journey to something higher.

                  In "The Phenomenology of Spirit", Hegel argues that the contradictions in the master-slave situation (contradictions more apparent to the slave, but also apparent to some degree to the master) lead to the next stage in humankind's conceptual development - stoicism. From there Hegel moves onwards and upwards to scepticism then to the unhappy consciousness and thence to other stages before he reaches the pinnacle of humankind's absolute knowledge that the individual is a vehicle of Geist.

                  It is a topic of debate to what extent Hegel was arguing in the Phenomenology that these stages of human self-consciousness were supposed to be actual stages of human history, or were rather more abstract stages in the development of conceptual thought. (From her post, I gather Mary thinks the latter.)

                  I am not completely clear why you think Sade's philosophy is relevant to Hegel's. Perhaps your thought is that the outlook of the master in the master-slave situation resembles Sade's philosophical outlook, and where Hegel thinks the master's outlook is a contradictory and impoverished one which can be bettered, in effect Sade is arguing is that the outlook of the master is as good as it gets.

                  I don't know exactly how Sade characterised his hedonistic individualism, but I would distinguish between two versions:

                  1 - All that counts are my desires and my pleasures. Maltreating other people is good if it increases my pleasure.

                  2 - What counts is the pleasure of all. A right action is one that leads to the largest net increase in pleasure.

                  2 is of course utilitarianism, whilst 1 seems to fit best the life Sade lived. Remember there is strong historical evidence that he maltreated people – many of the servants and prostitutes who willing came to his home in the first place, had to escape his imprisonment, and I think the evidence suggests Sade thought there was nothing wrong with torturing people if it gave him pleasure.

                  Arguably Sade was a nihilist, and his position had similarities with later philosophers like Nietzsche, Sartre and Foucault. Some present day existentialist think nihilism is the correct philosophical position, others do not.

                  This is all a far cry from Hegel, who argued that the gradual unfolding of Geist in human history pointed to a reality full of meaning, rationality and purpose.

                  I am more attracted to Hegel's outlook than that of Sade. Sade's "hedonistic individualism" seems more a philosophy for the psychopath or sociopath that a sensitive human being who recognizes that all human beings have intrinsic worth.

                  Jim



                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Bryan Junius" <bryan.junius@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi,
                  >
                  > Have you ever read any of the works of Marquis De Sade?
                  >
                  > The reason I ask is you bring up some interesting stuff in Hegel's works about the master-slave relationship - if you want a critical analysis of two bodies of work that can be eye-opening in some regard to hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" and to Sade's extreme individualism (libertinism),I would recommend it.
                  >
                  > Many philosophers like Foucalt, Beauvoir, and Adorno found, or at least suggested, that Sade was a precursor by 150 years, to the ideas of modern existentialsim, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, and the champion of surrealism.
                  >
                  > I only point out the master-slave relationship portions only in regards to Sade's hedonistic individualism as being the comparison to qualify if Hegel was correct in that the Master-Slave relationship was a step in human development or that his general idea that human beings can ascend to higher levels of understanding, consciousness and well-being.
                  >
                  > Talking about Sade's 120 days of Sodom, his imprisonment, or his courting of a 13 year old for 5 years until his death would be overkill in this conversation, so this is not what I am referring to either just for clarification.
                  >
                  > regards,
                  >
                  > Bryan
                  >
                • Mary
                  Jim, According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity.
                  Message 8 of 14 , Sep 29, 2012
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                    Jim,

                    According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity. Absolute knowledge not only unfolds within natural phenomena; it is natural phenomena. The individual is not a vehicle for Geist; it is Geist. "The spirit is a bone." The stages of The Phenomenology reflect the development of a particular consciousness, the reader, as well as to the development of universal concepts. Hegel intended, as is explicated in his Science of Logic, to show how negations of oppositions in thought create the movement of reason. However, absolute knowing can never know its totality; this is the interpretation of Hegel I reject. For example, you can never know all of your thoughts, either at all once, or remember how or why you thought what you previously did. You possibly might be able to trace their development. Geist is also the process of its notion, both subject and substance.

                    Mary

                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

                    In "The Phenomenology of Spirit", Hegel argues that the contradictions in the
                    master-slave situation (contradictions more apparent to the slave, but also
                    apparent to some degree to the master) lead to the next stage in humankind's
                    conceptual development - stoicism. From there Hegel moves onwards and upwards to
                    scepticism then to the unhappy consciousness and thence to other stages before
                    he reaches the pinnacle of humankind's absolute knowledge that the individual is
                    a vehicle of Geist.

                    It is a topic of debate to what extent Hegel was arguing in the Phenomenology
                    that these stages of human self-consciousness were supposed to be actual stages
                    of human history, or were rather more abstract stages in the development of
                    conceptual thought. (From her post, I gather Mary thinks the latter.)
                  • Jim
                    Mary, Thanks for your response. You write: According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 29, 2012
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                      Mary,

                      Thanks for your response.

                      You write:

                      "According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity. Absolute knowledge not only unfolds within natural phenomena; it is natural phenomena. The individual is not a vehicle for Geist; it is Geist."

                      Yes, I agree with this. I would say both that the individual is part of Geist and is a vehicle for Geist. There is no agreement on how Hegel's word `Geist' should be translated, and, arguably, he uses it in different ways.

                      My understanding is that `Geist' means something like `world spirit', with this being made up of all conscious minds together, thus as the totality of human understanding gradually improves and increases, Geist gradually unfolds and ascends to a higher level of being.

                      Whether Hegel thought of absolute knowledge as an achievable end-point or just a point towards which conceptual development was heading is another disputed area of Hegelian interpretation.

                      Like you, I don't expect the end point to be reached – certainly not in my lifetime – and I also find it difficult to fully agree with Hegel that human history is a continuous rational development from a lower level of Geist to a higher level. This seems an example of enlightenment over-optimism. When I survey the development of human history in my lifetime, I am not convinced the progress has been from lower to higher at all times. I think it is possible for human beings (whether individually or collectively) to lose insights as well as to gain them.

                      Jim



                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Jim,
                      >
                      > According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity. Absolute knowledge not only unfolds within natural phenomena; it is natural phenomena. The individual is not a vehicle for Geist; it is Geist. "The spirit is a bone." The stages of The Phenomenology reflect the development of a particular consciousness, the reader, as well as to the development of universal concepts. Hegel intended, as is explicated in his Science of Logic, to show how negations of oppositions in thought create the movement of reason. However, absolute knowing can never know its totality; this is the interpretation of Hegel I reject. For example, you can never know all of your thoughts, either at all once, or remember how or why you thought what you previously did. You possibly might be able to trace their development. Geist is also the process of its notion, both subject and substance.
                      >
                      > Mary
                      >
                    • Mary
                      Jim, Positivity and telos are part of one interpretation of Hegel and usually part of the more theological reading. As you can see, I m not with that school.
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 29, 2012
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                        Jim,

                        Positivity and telos are part of one interpretation of Hegel and usually part of the more theological reading. As you can see, I'm not with that 'school.' My understanding is that Geist isn't a collection of minds but Idea/Truth/Knowledge not only unfolding but also the process itself. The specific direction of the unfolding can't be predetermined. The primary things I've taken away from my preliminary readings are negation, and dialectical and speculative reason. I'm especially fond of the beginning of the Science of Logic. I've learned much more about Hegel from the secondary sources and critical reading I prefer :) Nice to chat with someone about philosophy again!

                        Mary

                        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Mary,
                        >
                        > Thanks for your response.
                        >
                        > You write:
                        >
                        > "According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity. Absolute knowledge not only unfolds within natural phenomena; it is natural phenomena. The individual is not a vehicle for Geist; it is Geist."
                        >
                        > Yes, I agree with this. I would say both that the individual is part of Geist and is a vehicle for Geist. There is no agreement on how Hegel's word `Geist' should be translated, and, arguably, he uses it in different ways.
                        >
                        > My understanding is that `Geist' means something like `world spirit', with this being made up of all conscious minds together, thus as the totality of human understanding gradually improves and increases, Geist gradually unfolds and ascends to a higher level of being.
                        >
                        > Whether Hegel thought of absolute knowledge as an achievable end-point or just a point towards which conceptual development was heading is another disputed area of Hegelian interpretation.
                        >
                        > Like you, I don't expect the end point to be reached – certainly not in my lifetime – and I also find it difficult to fully agree with Hegel that human history is a continuous rational development from a lower level of Geist to a higher level. This seems an example of enlightenment over-optimism. When I survey the development of human history in my lifetime, I am not convinced the progress has been from lower to higher at all times. I think it is possible for human beings (whether individually or collectively) to lose insights as well as to gain them.
                        >
                        > Jim
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Jim,
                        > >
                        > > According to my understanding, another way to say this is that conceptual development or the unfolding of reason is not separate from human activity. Absolute knowledge not only unfolds within natural phenomena; it is natural phenomena. The individual is not a vehicle for Geist; it is Geist. "The spirit is a bone." The stages of The Phenomenology reflect the development of a particular consciousness, the reader, as well as to the development of universal concepts. Hegel intended, as is explicated in his Science of Logic, to show how negations of oppositions in thought create the movement of reason. However, absolute knowing can never know its totality; this is the interpretation of Hegel I reject. For example, you can never know all of your thoughts, either at all once, or remember how or why you thought what you previously did. You possibly might be able to trace their development. Geist is also the process of its notion, both subject and substance.
                        > >
                        > > Mary
                        > >
                        >
                      • Jim
                        Mary, Yes, it s a nice change for me too to be discussing philosophy again. I have now read most of The Phenomenology of Spirit and I have sampled a few of
                        Message 11 of 14 , Oct 1, 2012
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                          Mary,

                          Yes, it's a nice change for me too to be discussing philosophy again.

                          I have now read most of "The Phenomenology of Spirit" and I have sampled a few of the secondary commentaries on Hegel.

                          I'd like to tackle "The Science of Logic" at some stage, but my progress is slow as I try to take in Hegel's ideas which can be quite strange to me.

                          Hopefully I'll write more soon.

                          Jim


                          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Jim,
                          >
                          > Positivity and telos are part of one interpretation of Hegel and usually part of the more theological reading. As you can see, I'm not with that 'school.' My understanding is that Geist isn't a collection of minds but Idea/Truth/Knowledge not only unfolding but also the process itself. The specific direction of the unfolding can't be predetermined. The primary things I've taken away from my preliminary readings are negation, and dialectical and speculative reason. I'm especially fond of the beginning of the Science of Logic. I've learned much more about Hegel from the secondary sources and critical reading I prefer :) Nice to chat with someone about philosophy again!
                          >
                          > Mary
                          >
                        • Mary
                          Jim, How goes your reading of Hegel?. Since the election rhetoric is over, I m rereading the Phenomenology. However, this time I m striving for a more naive
                          Message 12 of 14 , Nov 15, 2012
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                            Jim,

                            How goes your reading of Hegel?. Since the election rhetoric is over, I'm rereading the Phenomenology. However, this time I'm striving for a more 'naive' reading, one not tinted by either theistic or atheistic coloring, a more objective reading if such is possible. I'm to the point where commentaries and secondary sources have become a hindrance. Spirit is no longer a frightening word :)

                            Mary

                            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Mary,
                            >
                            > Yes, it's a nice change for me too to be discussing philosophy again.
                            >
                            > I have now read most of "The Phenomenology of Spirit" and I have sampled a few of the secondary commentaries on Hegel.
                            >
                            > I'd like to tackle "The Science of Logic" at some stage, but my progress is slow as I try to take in Hegel's ideas which can be quite strange to me.
                            >
                            > Hopefully I'll write more soon.
                            >
                            > Jim
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Jim,
                            > >
                            > > Positivity and telos are part of one interpretation of Hegel and usually part of the more theological reading. As you can see, I'm not with that 'school.' My understanding is that Geist isn't a collection of minds but Idea/Truth/Knowledge not only unfolding but also the process itself. The specific direction of the unfolding can't be predetermined. The primary things I've taken away from my preliminary readings are negation, and dialectical and speculative reason. I'm especially fond of the beginning of the Science of Logic. I've learned much more about Hegel from the secondary sources and critical reading I prefer :) Nice to chat with someone about philosophy again!
                            > >
                            > > Mary
                            > >
                            >
                          • Jim
                            Hello Mary, Thank you for enquiring how my Hegel reading is going. I have to admit it has taken a back seat in the last couple of months as I have been reading
                            Message 13 of 14 , Nov 18, 2012
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                              Hello Mary,

                              Thank you for enquiring how my Hegel reading is going.

                              I have to admit it has taken a back seat in the last couple of months as I have been reading other things for reading and discussion groups I attend here in Nottingham, England.

                              I hope to get back to Hegel before too long as I wish to complete The Phenomenology – I am about three-quarters through it. I am also half way through Charles Taylor's book on Hegel which I am thoroughly enjoying reading.

                              As you suggest it is possible to read Hegel in different ways – with either theistic or atheistic presuppositions. However I try to read without bringing in my own biases if this is possible. I suppose this involves a `naive reading', similar to what you are doing at the moment.

                              I think with a philosopher as difficult as Hegel, reading some of the secondary literature is essential, but I try to balance my reading of the secondary literature so I can compare opposing interpretations.

                              Jim



                              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Jim,
                              >
                              > How goes your reading of Hegel?. Since the election rhetoric is over, I'm rereading the Phenomenology. However, this time I'm striving for a more 'naive' reading, one not tinted by either theistic or atheistic coloring, a more objective reading if such is possible. I'm to the point where commentaries and secondary sources have become a hindrance. Spirit is no longer a frightening word :)
                              >
                              > Mary
                              >
                            • Mary
                              I read Hegel early in the morning when my mind is rested but only for an hour, then return to any challenging sections the following morning. After reading
                              Message 14 of 14 , Nov 18, 2012
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                                I read Hegel early in the morning when my mind is rested but only for an hour, then return to any challenging sections the following morning. After reading about the universal object and universal subject vs. the impossibility of a universal experience, in the Sense Certainty section today, I sat dazed with my hands over my face and pondered the assumptions of common thought. I enjoy his rigorous exposition of philosophy as a logic and a science.

                                Mary

                                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Hello Mary,
                                >
                                > Thank you for enquiring how my Hegel reading is going.
                                >
                                > I have to admit it has taken a back seat in the last couple of months as I have been reading other things for reading and discussion groups I attend here in Nottingham, England.
                                >
                                > I hope to get back to Hegel before too long as I wish to complete The Phenomenology – I am about three-quarters through it. I am also half way through Charles Taylor's book on Hegel which I am thoroughly enjoying reading.
                                >
                                > As you suggest it is possible to read Hegel in different ways – with either theistic or atheistic presuppositions. However I try to read without bringing in my own biases if this is possible. I suppose this involves a `naive reading', similar to what you are doing at the moment.
                                >
                                > I think with a philosopher as difficult as Hegel, reading some of the secondary literature is essential, but I try to balance my reading of the secondary literature so I can compare opposing interpretations.
                                >
                                > Jim
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Jim,
                                > >
                                > > How goes your reading of Hegel?. Since the election rhetoric is over, I'm rereading the Phenomenology. However, this time I'm striving for a more 'naive' reading, one not tinted by either theistic or atheistic coloring, a more objective reading if such is possible. I'm to the point where commentaries and secondary sources have become a hindrance. Spirit is no longer a frightening word :)
                                > >
                                > > Mary
                                > >
                                >
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