: The phenomenology of mind (philosophical classics) (9780486432519) : Georg W. F. Hegel : Books
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The Phenomenology Of Mind (philosophical Classics)

by Georg W. F. Hegel
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publishing date: 19/11/2003
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780486432519
  • ISBN: 0486432513


Remarkable for its breadth and profundity, this work combines aspects of psychology, logic, moral philosophy, and history to form a comprehensive view that encompasses all forms of civilization. Its three divisions consist of the subjective mind, the objective mind, and the absolute mind. A wide-ranging survey of the evolution of consciousness.

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    From Amazon

    and also with understanding.

    Without referring to prior reviews (see GUIDELINES) I wish to thank the learned professor for indicating why this is the most important book to read.

    And I thought that was Finnegans . . . (another book which is, well, to quote the good professor: "this book is in many places difficult and obsure, and becomes clear only with great difficulty. The payoff for such effort is enormous."

    In our materialist age, in which we go to remote control war over material resources, how are we certain the material exists, without, as Boswell reported of Dr. Johnson, striking our foot soundly against a stone?

    Excellent translation for those prepared for thought.

  • Easily one of the most important books ever written, a good alternative translation
    From Amazon

    I just noticed the other review of this book, giving it one star and claiming it is not worth the effort; I wanted to add something to counterbalance that review. First, the other reviewer is right that this is a very difficult book to read on your own, especially if you don't have a significant background in philosophy. But that is not necessarily an objection to the book. It would be silly for me to criticize a book of theoretical physics just because I didn't have the background necessary to understand it (and wasn't prepared or willing to learn from others who do). In spite of the difficulty, this is a very important book. In terms of scope and level of insight it is almost without parallel in the history of philosophy.

    The argument begins with an investigation of the experiential basis of objective knowledge, proceeds to show that our experience of objects is rooted in our understanding of ourselves and that this is inseparable from our relationships with other people. The text aims to show the interconnections between a wide range of social and historical or institutional forms of knowing and acting, and concludes with a demonstration that thinking is inseparable from the intersubjective and socialized formations of reality it aims to describe (and that the history of these formations is essentially a history of the thinking that gave rise to them, i.e. that "thinking and being are one").

    On another note, it is worth celebrating the fact that Baillie's translation is now back in print and being published by Dover. While not technically as accurate as the more popular Miller Translation of the Phenomenology of Spirit, the Baillie version is a nice complement that in many cases reads more clearly than Miller's and serves as a helpful tool to illuminate difficult or obscure passages (Note that in spite of the apparently different title, this is the same book as the Miller translation that Oxford publishes under the title "The Phenomenology of Spirit" -- just a different translation choice for the German word "Geist" = "Mind" or "Spirit"). There is, though, no getting around the fact that this book is in many places difficult and obsure, and becomes clear only with great difficulty. The payoff for such effort is enormous. (A helpful guide to reading Hegel, called "Reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit" by John Russon, was recently published.)

  • Can you say "inpenetrable"?
    From Amazon

    I started Hegel's 814 page Phenomenology of Mind 18 months ago. I finished it a week ago. I turn to the back pages where my notes would be to find I made none. If anyone other than me ever tells you he read this opaque monstrosity, this Finnigans' Wake of philosophy, he is almost certainly lying. I dog-eared the bottom of a few pages, which is my way of signaling that there is something there which may be interesting but not succinctly quotable. Rereading those pages in preparation for the fulfillment of my promise, I still find little to distill.

    From page pages 399-401:
    "If we put both sides of the universal ordinance over against one another and consider them, we see that this later universality has for its content restless individuality, which regards opinion or mere individualism as law, the real as unreal, and the unreal as real. That universality is, however, at the same time the side of realization of the ordinance, for to it belongs the independent self-existence (Fursichseyn) of individuality. The other side is the universal in the sense of stable passive essence; but, for that very reason, the absolutely non-existent, but still not an actual reality, and can itself only become actual by canceling the individuality, that has presumed to claim actuality. This type of consciousness, which becomes aware of itself in the law; which finds itself in what is inherently true and good not as mere individual, but only as essentially real; and which knows individuality to be what is perverted and perverting, and hence feels bound to surrender and sacrifice individualism of consciousness - this type of consciousness is Virtue."


    "The mood of moral sentimentalism is reduced to confusion and contradiction: but the subjective individualism in which it is rooted is not yet eradicated. Individualism now takes refuge in another attitude which claims to do greater justice to the inherent universality of rational self-realization.... The World's course is this to owe its goodness to the efforts of the individual. A struggle ensues, for the situation is contradictory; and the issue of the struggle goes to prove that the individual is not the fons et origo boni, that goodness does not await his efforts, and that in fact the course of the world is at heart good; the soul of the world is righteous.

    "The attitude analyzed here is that of abstract moral idealism, the mood of moral strenuousness, the mood that constantly seeks the improvement and perfectibility of mankind. It is found in many forms, but particularly wherever there is any strong enmity between the "ideal" life and the "life of the world".

    A mere 179 pages later I found this gem:

    "As everything is useful for man, man is likewise useful too, and his characteristic function consists in making himself a member of the human herd, of use for the common good, and serviceable to all. The extent to which he looks after his own interests is the measure with which he must also serve the purpose of others, and so far as he serves their turn, he is taking care of himself: the one hand washes the other. But wherever he finds himself there he is in his right place; he makes use of others and is himself made use of.

    "Different things are serviceable to one another in different ways. All things, however, have this reciprocity of utility by their very nature, by being related to the Absolute in the two fold manner, the one positive, whereby they have a being all their own, the other negative, and thereby exist for others. The relation to Absolute Being, or Religion, is therefore of all forms of profitableness the most supremely profitable. . .

    "Belief, of course, finds this positive outcome of enlightenment as much an abomination as its negative attitude towards belief. This enlightened insight into absolute Being, that sees nothing in it but just absolute Being, the etre supremen, the great Void - this intention to find that everything in its immediate existence is inherently real (ansich) or good, and finally to find the relation of the individual conscious entity to the Absolute Being, Religion, exhaustively summed up in the conception of profitableness - all this is for belief utterly and simply revolting. This special and peculiar wisdom of enlightenment necessarily seems at the same time to the believing mind to be sheer insipidity and the confession of insipidity; because it consists in knowing nothing of absolute Being, or, what amounts to the same thing, in knowing this entirely accurate platitude regarding it - that it is merely absolute Being, and, again, in knowing nothing but finitude, taking this, moreover, to be the truth, and thinking this knowledge about finitude as the truth to be the highest knowledge attainable."

    the juice not worth the squeeze

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