The Routledge Guidebook to Hegels Phenomenology of Spirit (The Routledge Guides to the Great Books)

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By John Schwarzmantel. Not originally intended for publication, their fragmentary character and their often cryptic language can mystify readers,…. By Bob Pepperman Taylor. By Gary Hatfield. Descartes is widely regarded to be the father of modern philosophy and his Meditations is among the most important philosophical texts ever written. By Glen Newey. Hobbes is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of ideas and political thought, and his seminal text Leviathan is widely recognised as one of the greatest works of political philosophy ever written.

The Routledge Guidebook to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

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By Sandrine Berges. Added to Cart. Upon publication in , the two parts of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man proved to be both wildly popular and extremely controversial. From the former point of view one thinks of the subject term as designating a substance, typically grasped as an instance of a kind, in which properties, designated by predicate terms, inhere. From the latter point of view, one thinks of predicate terms as abstract universals that subsume or are satisfied by entities to which the subject terms refer, an approach which conceives of the propositional content, in Stoic terminology—the lecton , the what-is-said —as having a primacy over the parts.

Using a distinction from the Medievals, we can describe the first type of judgments as de re about things and the second as de dicto about sayings. These alternative joining and splitting approaches can in turn be applied to the relationship of judgments within inferences or syllogisms. In contrast with Kant, Hegel seems to go beyond a transcendental deduction of the formal conditions of experience and thought and to a deduction of their material conditions.

Such a psychologistic attitude was opposed by Hegel just as it was opposed by a figure as central to modern logic as Gottlob Frege. For Frege, thoughts are not mental, rather they are abstract entities like numbers, so the problem facing us is not how to go from mental contents to the concrete world, it is how to go from abstract to concrete ones. In fact Bertrand Russell had, at points in his career, entertained such an idea of propositional content itself. Thus when Hegel characterizes some judgment structures typically perception based judgments as judgments of existence one might take the perceived thing itself as straightforwardly part of the content of the judgment.

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It is a concrete object, but not grasped as a concrete simple , but grasped in relation to what is judged of it in the predicate. And to the extent that judgments can be considered components of syllogisms, we might appreciate how syllogisms might have become contentful in a process that has culminated in the concrete syllogism of necessity. In the Phenomenology it turned out that the capacity for a subject to entertain objects of consciousness such as perceptual ones was that such a subject was capable of self-consciousness.

It then turned out that to be capable of self-consciousness the subject had to exist in a world with other embodied subjects whose intentions it could recognize. Formally considered we might think of this syllogism as the logical schematization of the most developed form of recognition in which thinkers acknowledge others as free thinkers. What we see here is a reprise of the conception of logos as an objective process running through the world as had been conceived by the ancient Stoics and neo-Platonists.

But it is now embedded not simply in the world as such—in nature —but in objectivized spirit , in human communities of thinkers. We are now returned to the domain of objectivity that had characterized Books 1 and 2 of the Science of Logic , but we might expect such a return from subjectivity to have effected a change in objectivity as earlier understood. To cross straight into a consideration of the objectivity of the human world of action and thought—spirit—would be to break the developmental pattern of the logic because thought about such a complex form of objective existence will presuppose thought about simpler forms.

And so the starting point for the consideration of objectivity will again be that of the simple object as something immediately grasped by thought. But this object can now be developed with that elaborate conceptual apparatus that has emerged in the preceding section. This adequate concept is the Idea , which, after tracking through considerations of the living individual and theoretical and practical cognition, emerges as the Absolute Idea. The first part of the Encyclopaedia is essentially a condensed version of his earlier Science of Logic , considered above.

Was not Hegel simply trying to pre-empt the work of empirical scientists by somehow attempting to anticipate the very contents of their discoveries from logical considerations alone? Krug is mentioned explicitly in a footnote at this point.

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In these sciences the empirical element is the sole confirmation of the hypothesis, so that everything has to be explained. In keeping with the more general idea that that philosophy attempts to discern or recognize concepts in representations Vorstellungen or empirical appearances, philosophy of nature investigates the conceptual structures that are manifest in the products of the scientific work that is done on the basis of those appearances.

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Traces of conceptual determination will certainly survive in the most particularized product, although they will not exhaust its nature. Clearly, philosophy of nature is not in competition with the empirical natural sciences; it takes as its subject matter the results of those sciences in order to discover within them the particular ways in which the necessary categorial structures deduced in the logic are expressed.

In terms of topics treated, the Philosophy of Nature largely coincides with those treated in the third book of the Science of Logic when the logical processes and relations in question have returned to objectivity after the excursion into the subjectivity of formal logic at the outset of Book 3. In Mechanism Hegel had reconstructed a movement in thought from a primitive cosmology in which all objects are conceived in relation to a central object the sun that exemplifies objecthood per se , to a system of objects within which any such self-sufficient center has been eliminated.

In this Newtonian world, that which gives order to the whole now has the ideality of law, but this is itself thought of as external to the system of objects.


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In the Newtonian laws of mechanics, however, the unity of matter is still only formal , and in Section Two, Physics, the determinateness of form is now considered as immanent within such corporeal matter. Matter has individuality to the extent that it is determined within itself by having being-for-self developed within it.

It is through this determination that matter breaks away from gravity and manifests itself as implicitly self-determining. While Mechanics clearly reflects the more space-filling conception of matter dominant in British thought, Physics is consistent with the more dynamic continental European conception of matter originating in Leibniz with his idea of living forces. Within this framework, Hegel attempts to organize a vast array of areas of contemporary physical investigation including meteorology, theories of sound and heat, light and electricity up to and including chemical processes which stand on the threshold of Organic Physics, dealt with in Section Three.

From such a conception, the first body to be considered is that of the earth itself , along with its history. Chapter Two moves to a consideration of the plant and Chapter Three, the animal organism. From the point of view of the actual content of scientific theories and approaches that Hegel summarizes and locates within his system, his Philosophy of Nature is clearly a product of his time. Nevertheless, many of the underlying philosophical issues dealt with are still now far from settled. Within subjective spirit, we may anticipate that the first division, Anthropology, will follow on from topics with which Philosophy of Nature ends—the animal organism—and so it does.

If soul and body are absolutely opposed to one another as is maintained by the abstractive intellectual consciousness,. The community was, however, recognized by ancient metaphysics as an undeniable fact. The Seele of Anthropology should therefore not be confused with the modern subjective conception of mind, as exemplified by Descartes and other early modern philosophers. Aristotle had conceived of the soul as the form of the body, not as a substance separate from that of the body, and had attributed lesser souls to animals and even plants.

Concomitantly, in this section Hegel describes spirit as sunk in nature, and treats consciousness as largely limited to what now might be described as sentient or phenomenal consciousness alone—the feeling soul. Consciousness in the sense of the modern subject—object opposition only makes its appearance in the following second section, Phenomenology of Spirit, which, reprising key moments from the earlier book of that name, raises a problem for how we are to understand the relation of phenomenology and systematic philosophy: is it a path to it or part of it?

Given that the recognitive approach to self-consciousness presupposes that potential self-consciousnesses are in fact embodied and located in the world, we would expect the mind as treated in Psychology to be no less embodied as the way in which it is conceived in Anthropology. What in fact distinguishes the mind of Psychology from that of Anthropology is its rational capacities, considered in terms that would now be described as normative rather than simply naturalistic, and this for Hegel clearly signals a difference in the way in which an actual psychological subject relates to his or her own body.

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The type of abstractive thinking found in Psychology does not, of course, as in mythical images of metempsychosis—a favorite trope of Platonists—involve the mind leaving the body. This would count for Hegel as a piece of mythical picture thinking—a Vorstellung. Rather, it involves a certain capacity of the psychological subject to suspend unreflected-upon endorsement of the claims made on behalf of his or her body, for example, to subject the evidence given by the senses to rational scrutiny. In this sense, we are witnessing within another mode, the type of progression seen in the movement in Phenomenology from shapes of consciousness to shapes of spirit.

The internal Phenomenology of Spirit seems to play an important role in setting up this transition from Psychology to Objective Spirit Williams , but it might also be seen as crucial in relating the more cognitive dimensions of Psychology back to the theme of embodiment prominent in Anthropology Nuzzo a. Thus any naturalistic analysis is ultimately surpassed by a social and historical one, which itself cannot be understood as anti -naturalistic. The philosophy of subjective spirit passes over into that of objective spirit, which concerns the objective patterns of social interaction and the cultural institutions within which spirit is objectified.

Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit by Robert Stern

The Philosophy of Right as it is more commonly called can be read as a political philosophy that stands independently of the system Tunick , despite the fact that Hegel intended it to be read against the background of the developing conceptual determinations of the Logic. The text proper starts from the conception of a singular willing subject grasped from the point of view of its individual self-consciousness as the bearer of abstract right. While this conception of the individual willing subject possessing some kind of fundamental rights was in fact the starting point of many modern political philosophies such as that of Locke, for example the fact that Hegel commences here does not testify to any ontological assumption that the consciously willing and right-bearing individual is the basic atom from which all society can be understood as constructed—an idea at the heart of standard social contract theories.

Just as the categories of the Logic develop in a way meant to demonstrate that what had at the start been conceived as simple is in fact only made determinate in virtue of its being a functional part of some larger structure or process, here too it is meant to be shown that any simple willing and right-bearing subject only gains its determinacy in virtue of a place it finds for itself in a larger social, and ultimately historical, structure or process.

Thus, even a contractual exchange the minimal social interaction for contract theorists is not to be thought simply as an occurrence consequent upon the existence of two beings with natural animal wants and some natural calculative rationality, as in Hobbes, say; rather, the system of interaction within which individual exchanges take place the economy will be treated holistically as a culturally-shaped form of social life within which the actual wants of individuals as well as their reasoning powers are given determinate forms.

Hegel is well aware of the distinctive modernity of this form of social-life. Here too it becomes apparent that Hegel, taking up themes from the Phenomenology, follows Fichte in treating property in terms of a recognitive analysis of the nature of such a right.