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Re: Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit Preface # 30/31

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  • Beat
    ... Bob, It is important to remember what Hegel wants to tell us in the paragraphs 30-33. At the end of para 29 he gives an outline about his aim. So, we
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 24, 2011
      --- In hegel@yahoogroups.com, robert fanelli <robertfanelli2001@...> wrote:

      >
      > Dear Group,
      >
      > My Comments on Paragraph 30:
      >
      > ‘Mere individual existence’ or Dasein and the forms or structures used to cognize all things are only the beginning of what we can know. We need to ‘transcend’ this stage. It is of course the negative process that we use in this development. In this process of initial development, what we are confronted with is mere ‘uncomprehended immediacy’ and ‘passive indifference.’ This becomes only an ‘ideal presentation.’ We must get to the core of cognition beyond just passive knowledge to active dynamic knowing and to knowing about knowing. Particular minds think particular things. Hegelian thought is not pure subjectivity, nor is it intuitive placement. It is the truly universal rational mind and its ‘concern of thought.’ It has its own forms and structures (its own categories), which are presented in his Science of Logic. These forms go beyond just a ‘figurative presentation.’ Hegelian Spirit (Geist), at this stage, ‘does
      > not comprehend itself.’ To know must go beyond the individual self to the universal self, that is, beyond individual existence (Dasein). We need the important structures of immediacy, with which we are daily confronted. The bottom of the Hegelian ladder of cognition is empirical reality, that reality which is the core of our individual existence. Descartes’ ‘thinking self’ is at the bottom of this cognitive ladder. In order for us to know anything we must get into the universal meaning of things and this is ‘an activity of the universal self.’ It is up to us to bring cognitive thought to life. We must mediate between the present and the past.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Bob Fanelli
      >
      >
      > Dear Group,
      >
      > Preface # 31 Comments:
      >
      > What is commonly or perhaps putatively known may, of course, be incorrect. We may deceive ourselves and other people as well. We are bombarded with information everyday which, since, it is so consistent, it appears to be true. Such things as the concept of God, nature, and the thousand cultural concepts, we simply accept. Much is superficial, and is just on the surface of knowledge. If there is a consensus then we accept it as full knowledge and that it is true. Hegel says “Apprehending and proving consist similarly in seeing whether every one finds what is said corresponding to his idea too, whether it is familiar and seems to him so and so or not.” Thus familiarity and agreement among people do not mean that this is correct knowledge. Knowledge must go deeper. We begin with knowledge based on our experience (as Kant offered), but we need something more than just simple perceptions and fundamental thought processes. We need to develop more
      > sustaining structures of knowledge. Thus we may separate that knowledge which is ‘common’ with that with which Hegel would assign as ‘scientific cognition’ (erkennen).
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Bob Fanelli
      >


      Bob,

      It is important to remember what Hegel wants to tell us in the paragraphs 30-33. At the end of para 29 he gives an outline about his aim. So, we should see these paragraphs in their context and not only for themselves as you do. At the end of para 29 Hegel writes (translated by J.B. Baillie):

      "Because the substance of individual mind, nay, more, because the universal mind at work in the world (Weltgeist), has had the patience to go through these forms in the long stretch of time's extent, and to take upon itself the prodigious labour of the world's history, where it bodied forth in each form the entire content of itself, as each is capable of presenting it; and because by nothing less could that all-pervading mind ever manage to become conscious of what itself is-for that reason, the individual mind, in the nature of the case, cannot expect by less toil to grasp what its own substance contains. All the same, its task has meanwhile been made much lighter, because this has historically been implicitly (an sich) accomplished, the content is one where reality is already cancelled for spiritual possibilities, where immediacy has been overcome and brought under the control of reflection, the various forms and shapes have been already reduced to their intellectual abbreviations, to determinations of thought (Gedankenbestimmung) pure and simple. Being now a thought, the content is the property of the substance of mind; existence has no more to be changed into the form of what is inherent and implicit (Ansichseins), but only the implicit-no longer merely something primitive, nor lying hidden within existence, but already present as a recollection-into the form of what is explicit, of what is objective to self (Fürsichseins). The kind of this activity has to be examine closer." (PhdG, Preface, para 29)

      This activity of the mind which now has to be examine closer we can generally describe as the transformation of the familar (representation) into abstract thought (the understanding) and then into the concept as Hegel's science of knowing (or thought), its being in-itself and becoming for-itself (becoming possession of pure self-consciousness).

      First, it is important to mention that the science of the PhdG (and of the Logic) does not deal with the sublation of 'existence' (Dasein) into thought (representation). This sublation is already done by history in its sublation of its determinate stages and Hegel describes this in his 'historical' Lectures (Philosophy of History, History of Art, Religion and Philosophy). In my quotation above Hegel writes at the end quite clear (my translation):

      "Being now a thought, the content is the property of the substance of mind; the 'existence' [das Dasein] has no longer to be inverted into the form of the being-in-itself but only the neither merely original nor sunken in the 'existence' rather already remembered being-in-itself [representation] into the form of the being-for-itself."

      Rather than to continue with an interpretation of the paragraphs 30-32 I should like to put some questions which for me are not yet answered in Hegel's text:

      (1) What kind of knowledge Hegel has in mind in these paragraphs?
      (2) What exactly is the relationship between the historical moment and the individual moment of knowledge and their development.
      (3) In para 28 Hegel writes:

      "This bygone mode of existence has already become an acquired possession of the general mind, which constitutes the substance of the individual, and, by thus appearing externally to him, furnishes his inorganic nature. In this respect culture or development of mind (Bildung), regarded from the side of the individual, consists in his acquiring what lies at his hand ready for him, in making its inorganic nature organic to himself, and taking possession of it for himself. Looked at, however, from the side of universal mind qua general spiritual substance, culture means nothing else than that this substance gives itself its own self-consciousness, brings about its own inherent process and its own reflection into self."

      What does this mean with respect to the other two questions?

      Regards,
      Beat Greuter
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