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Re: [hegel] Life and Desire

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  • greuterb
    ... William, Yes, indeed the Force and the Understanding chapter in the PhdG can be a traumatic experience. For a better understanding you can remember
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 17 3:04 AM
      Am 14.11.2011 10:15, William Yate writes:

      > Â
      >
      > Hi Group,
      >
      > After a long and traumatic recovery from Force and the Understanding,
      >


      William,

      Yes, indeed the 'Force and the Understanding' chapter in the PhdG can be
      a traumatic experience. For a better understanding you can remember
      Plato's Idea as noumenal world beyond the empircal and the experience,
      or Aristotle's Universal as an inductive abstraction from the sensible
      manifold. But both, I fear, do not fully explain the meaning of Hegel's
      frist and second supersensible world. I would have to read the chapter
      again before I could give you a satisfactory answer.


      > I'm trying to get back into the PhG, but am having trouble figuring
      > out "life" and "desire" and how they relate to one another. It
      > certainly seems that life, desire, and infinity somehow constitute the
      > connecting tissue between Consciousness and Self-Consciousness, but I
      > can't quite piece them together, or even define them. Is "life" the
      > objective world insofar as consciousness has recognized itself as
      > complicit in objectivity? Or is "life" mere empirical consciousness
      > prior to the realization of the status of consciousness at the end of
      > Force? Or is it some sort of attenuated self-consciousness that
      > doesn't quite count as full self-consciousness?
      >
      > And how does desire fit in? Is it desire to negate empirical objects?
      > Or desire to negate empirical consciousness? Or maybe desire to unify
      > empirical consciousness and pure self-consciousness? I'm sure this is
      > child's play to all of you, but I am having real difficulty figuring
      > out even the basic context of Self-Consciousness, let alone its
      > argument, and would greatly appreciate any insight. Thanks!


      Self-Consciouness, I think, is the achieved unity of the dualistic
      movement of the Consciousness of the unterstanding in the 'Force and the
      Understanding' chapter. As such it is the presupposition for this
      movement not yet seen from the standpoint of this Consciousness. In this
      sense it is the true infinity which has now the moment of knowledge
      within itself but not yet revealed (see also the Logic of Being).
      However this unity of Self-Consciousness would be only an abstraction
      (as in Fichte's Doctrine of Science) and therefore again in a mere
      dualistic relationship to the world. Therefore, now Hegel has to
      introduce the concept of Life though it is not developed in the previous
      chapters: in the PhdG there is no philosophy of nature as later in the
      Encyclopaedia in which Hegel tried to solve this problem. Both, the
      concept of Life and the concept of Self-Consciousness, have its other
      (the world) within itself, the first only in a immediate form, the
      second in the mediation of Life. This mediation begins with Desire which
      is still a very immediate expression of Self-Consiousness in its
      activity to mediate Life. The further passages in the Self-Consciousness
      chapter show the increasing mediation which then in the Consciousness of
      Reason leads to a further now mediated unity of consciousness (the
      'theoretical') and self-consciousness (the 'practical') with the task to
      find a real objective reconciliation with the world.

      This is certainly only a very rudimentary answer of your questions that
      creates further questions. But for going further we would have to stay
      nearer to the text.

      Regards,
      Beat Greuter


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • stephen theron
      It may be true in some sense that there is no systematic philosophy of nature or of life in the Phenomenology of Mind (though nor is there of anything else).
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 17 9:21 AM
        It may be true in some sense that there is no systematic philosophy of nature or of life in the Phenomenology of Mind (though nor is there of anything else). Still, nature and life are both discussed there at four or five (different) places. Then again, life as Life (as a logical category) gets treated in the first part of the Encyclopaedia, the Logic, before any mention, so to say, of a Philosophy of Nature, as of course it does in GL, and at the same place, as the Idea Immediate ("So ist die Idee erstlich das Leben... Unmittelbarkeit). The pairing of Force and Understanding under the rubric of moulding things into unity is striking and seems, on the surface at least, to mark a departure from Plato and Aristotle. It is more Fichtean perhaps? In any event it can seem like a kind of concession to the Kantian background. So Hegel writes in one place of how the Understanding has to pound and force its object(?), reality (?), into acceptable shape, like an instrument indeed. However, the more recent accounts even of Aristotle seem to give a place to this kind of active role in the Stagirite's thought. Aristotle speaks anyhow of the active intellect and so Peter Geach (Mental Acts), actually discussing Aquinas, stresses that for these two thinkers the mind makes concepts. For Hegel such concepts and, in the end, the concept, are themselves the making of reality, rather. Still, the idea is to discountenance a common impression about "abstraction" as a pulling away from a composite reality something that is already there and indeed Aristotle does say in one place that the same universal form (sc. concept, taken in a certain way) is found in things (rebus) and in the mind but alio modo, in a different way. This notion of a difference is essential for his Logic. There was surely a Gordian knot to be cut there, the last twist of which was of course Kant's thing-in-itself. Plato says "all nature is akin", or, this means, forms a system, "and the soul has learned everything" (Meno). This is more the Hegelian air. But being formed and forming now appear hardly different, the Hegelian "plasticity". Why should the soul ever learn everything unless it were really no instrument at all, but the Concept rather, the Absolute which is the Absolute Idea. For numbers, Hegel agrees with Aquinas, do not signify for the universal, like "soul", "neither one nor many" Plato had said. This transcendence of instrumentality is forcefully brought out in Hegel's Introduction to Ph.G. But then this does give the soul, mind, the active part and this is nicely caught by "force". Classical thought, at least in medieval times, expressed the same idea under the causative force of Omniscience, which raises the question if it is still knowledge in our usual sense at all (we might ask the same though of Hegelian "absolute knowledge", ultimately the same concept in my view, better expressed or not). The force of Mind or Will is greater than anything violent. So Heidegger can speak of thinking (inclusive of the Understanding, or not?) as "letting being be". But perhaps not "so"... it looks more like a classicist regression. In Hegel the unity brought about, by the Concept, ever active, is not discovery but creation, in at least some sense. It doesn't let anything be and there is nothing to let be, only itself, "pure play" though it be. I only throw out a few thoughts here. I have to study more systematically this part of Ph.G. before I can come up with anything more systematic, naturally (and there's a truth in that, the same one maybe, too). I just wanted to register my present reaction to the stimulus given here. Stephen.
        To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
        From: greuterb@...
        Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:04:35 +0100
        Subject: Re: [hegel] Life and Desire




























        Am 14.11.2011 10:15, William Yate writes:



        > �

        >

        > Hi Group,

        >

        > After a long and traumatic recovery from Force and the Understanding,

        >



        William,



        Yes, indeed the 'Force and the Understanding' chapter in the PhdG can be

        a traumatic experience. For a better understanding you can remember

        Plato's Idea as noumenal world beyond the empircal and the experience,

        or Aristotle's Universal as an inductive abstraction from the sensible

        manifold. But both, I fear, do not fully explain the meaning of Hegel's

        frist and second supersensible world. I would have to read the chapter

        again before I could give you a satisfactory answer.



        > I'm trying to get back into the PhG, but am having trouble figuring

        > out "life" and "desire" and how they relate to one another. It

        > certainly seems that life, desire, and infinity somehow constitute the

        > connecting tissue between Consciousness and Self-Consciousness, but I

        > can't quite piece them together, or even define them. Is "life" the

        > objective world insofar as consciousness has recognized itself as

        > complicit in objectivity? Or is "life" mere empirical consciousness

        > prior to the realization of the status of consciousness at the end of

        > Force? Or is it some sort of attenuated self-consciousness that

        > doesn't quite count as full self-consciousness?

        >

        > And how does desire fit in? Is it desire to negate empirical objects?

        > Or desire to negate empirical consciousness? Or maybe desire to unify

        > empirical consciousness and pure self-consciousness? I'm sure this is

        > child's play to all of you, but I am having real difficulty figuring

        > out even the basic context of Self-Consciousness, let alone its

        > argument, and would greatly appreciate any insight. Thanks!



        Self-Consciouness, I think, is the achieved unity of the dualistic

        movement of the Consciousness of the unterstanding in the 'Force and the

        Understanding' chapter. As such it is the presupposition for this

        movement not yet seen from the standpoint of this Consciousness. In this

        sense it is the true infinity which has now the moment of knowledge

        within itself but not yet revealed (see also the Logic of Being).

        However this unity of Self-Consciousness would be only an abstraction

        (as in Fichte's Doctrine of Science) and therefore again in a mere

        dualistic relationship to the world. Therefore, now Hegel has to

        introduce the concept of Life though it is not developed in the previous

        chapters: in the PhdG there is no philosophy of nature as later in the

        Encyclopaedia in which Hegel tried to solve this problem. Both, the

        concept of Life and the concept of Self-Consciousness, have its other

        (the world) within itself, the first only in a immediate form, the

        second in the mediation of Life. This mediation begins with Desire which

        is still a very immediate expression of Self-Consiousness in its

        activity to mediate Life. The further passages in the Self-Consciousness

        chapter show the increasing mediation which then in the Consciousness of

        Reason leads to a further now mediated unity of consciousness (the

        'theoretical') and self-consciousness (the 'practical') with the task to

        find a real objective reconciliation with the world.



        This is certainly only a very rudimentary answer of your questions that

        creates further questions. But for going further we would have to stay

        nearer to the text.



        Regards,

        Beat Greuter



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


















        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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