Hegel's Phenomenology of Self-Consciousness
Text and Commentary
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Presents a new translation with commentary of chapter IV (“Self-Consciousness”) of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.
Offering a new translation of the famous chapter IV ("Self-Consciousness") of Phenomenology of Spirit, this book reflects the far-reaching insights of contemporary Hegelian scholarship. Included is extensive commentary as well as a review of its reception by such important twentieth-century thinkers as Kojeve, Heidegger, Sartre, Gadamer, Bataille, Deleuze, Lacan, and Habermas.
Interest in Hegel has historically centered around the Phenomenology of Spirit. In particular chapter IV, including Hegel's celebrated "master-slave dialectic," has influenced philosophers, political theorists, social psychologists, cultural anthropologists, and literary theorists alike. Hegel began this chapter with an influential discussion of the nature of human "desire," and then described a hypothetical encounter between two pre-social human beings who engage in a life-and-death struggle for recognition. Out of this struggle that gave rise to self-identity, emerged such forms of consciousness as master and slave, stoicism, skepticism, and what Hegel referred to as "the unhappy consciousness," which he took to be paradigmatic of early Christianity. These forms of consciousness, in turn, are transcended by other, more comprehensive, forms of consciousness that ultimately come to reflect the highest elaborations of societal life. The impetus for these dynamic changes comes from the dialectical contradictions that inhere within our most basic conceptions of personhood.
Leo Rauch was Professor of Philosophy of Babson College and the author of several books including Hegel and the Human Spirit: A Translation and Discussion of the Jena 1805–6 Lectures. David Sherman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.
"It provides a focussed presentation and discussion of this single, all-important chapter from Hegel's Phenomenology, and sets it in the context of a review of major commentaries from twentieth-century continental philosophy on this particular text. " —Philip T. Grier, Dickinson College
"This is an intelligent, insightful, and friendly presentation of chapter IV of Hegel's Phenomenology, a most perplexing, multifaceted, and fertile chapter in an exciting, difficult, and enigmatic book. " — Peter G. Stillman, editor of Hegel's Philosophy of Spirit