Re: [hegel] Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit Preface # 17
- Robert Fanelli writes:
>Hegel's famous proposition in para 17 from the Preface of the PhdG that
> Dear Group,
> My commentary is at the end.
> <The Absolute is subject --
> 17. In my view-a view which the developed exposition of the system
> itself can alone justify-everything depends on grasping and expressing
> the ultimate truth not as Substance but as Subject as well. At the
> same time we must note that concrete substantiality implicates and
> involves the universal or the immediacy of knowledge itself, as well
> as that immediacy which is being, or immediacy qua object for
> knowledge. If the generation which heard God spoken of as the One
> Substance was shocked and revolted by such a characterization of his
> nature, the reason lay partly in the instinctive feeling that in such
> a conception self-consciousness was simply submerged, and not
> preserved. But partly, again, the opposite position, which maintains
> thinking to be merely subjective thinking, abstract universality as
> such, is exactly the same bare uniformity, is undifferentiated,
> unmoved substantiality. And even if, in the third place, thought
> combines with itself the being of substance, and conceives immediacy
> or intuition (Anschauung) as thinking, it is still a question whether
> this intellectual intuition does not fall back into that inert,
> abstract simplicity, and exhibit and expound reality itself in an
> unreal manner.>
> I offer:
> We can not get to the truth of things unless Substance and Subject are
> conjoined, that is, put together, for a common purpose, perhaps more.
> This concrete substantiality requires both a universal and individual
> perspective, again, both conjoined. Self-consciousness must not be
> lost in all this. In the attainment of both individual and universal
> knowledge conjoined, immediacy of knowledge of things (in spite of the
> difficulty of maintaining the immediate moment) must also be attained.
"everything turns on grasping and expressing the True, not as Substance,
but just as Subject" becomes only clear in the following paragraph 18.
Hegel points there to the "living substance" which as living being is
Subject "or, what is the same, actual". Without being Subject the
Substance is not living being and not actual but only "unmoved
substantiality" - "the universal or the immediacy of knowledge itself"
(para 17). The same is true of the Subject taken only as abstract or
general thought In this case it is also an "unmoved substantiality"
since it does not move within the Substance but look at it from outside
taking it only as appearance (semblance), that is, as a given external
object - "being, or immediacy qua object for knowledge" (para 17). So,
only the mutual relationship between the two sides is the living
substance which generates objectivity avoiding abstractions on both
sides and which has to be followed conceptually by the philosopher. The
philosophical starting point, therefore, is the immediate unity of both
sides, that is, the "immediacy or intuition (Anschauung) as thinking"
(para 17). But this new philosophical beginning (first developed by
Schelling) may "not fall back into that inert, abstract simplicity, and
exhibit and expound reality itself in an unreal manner" (para 17).
So, Hegel does not discuss here the problem of "a universal and
individual perspective" or "individual and universal knowledge" but the
question how knowledge can achieve universality which is actual
objectivity and not merely abstractions or immediate knowledge which
falls back into mere subjectivism exposed fully to skepticism.
> Thinking itself, by its own nature, is, as subjective thinking,[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> abstract and universal, and though it may conceive, at times,
> ‘immediacy or intuition’ of things, it falls back into the same old
> ‘inert, abstract simplicity’ , and thus a false sense of reality.
> Hegel seeks the concrete merging of the individual and universal and
> the full richness of immediacy, as the subject seeks knowledge of
> things. The universal is the immediacy of knowledge itself. This is
> his ‘science of experience’ and ‘the experience of consciousness.’ The
> science of experience is an attempt to do away with abstract thinking
> and it is the goal to concretize thought and being. Being is the goal
> of thought; that is, the being of substance itself or the intrinsic
> reality of things. Hegel offers the merging of thought (well beyond
> the abstract) and being, that is, a merger that becomes substance itself.
> I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. God bless America