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Phenomenology of Spirit Revised ed. Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198245971
ISBN-10: 0198245971
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

'Hegel's Phenomenology was written, so the story goes, on the eve of Napoleon's destruction of the Holy Roman Empire and at the beginning of the German 'Wars of Liberation.' The book itself is no less dramatic or revolutionary. It is Hegel's grandest experiment, changing our vision of the world and the very nature of the philosophical enterprise.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 595 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198245971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198245971
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The following comments pertain to the Miller translation of Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit published by Oxford University Press. Arguably the Phenomenology is one of the most significant works in modern philosophy, certainly in German idealism. While clearly an important work, even by the arcane standards of German idealism it is a difficult read for the non-Hegelian. And, can be nearly impenetrable if approached without the assistance of a skilled guide (or two). The following comments are limited to the respective quality of the Oxford University Press edition, and, to offer some potential resources that may be helpful for readers new to Hegel.

First. In addition to the text of the Phenomenology a foreword and para by para commentary by Findlay is also included. Though he is a capable thinker, Findlay's commentary is rather terse and may be of limited help to first time readers. From a physical stand point, while the font is of an adequate size, the margins are relatively small and not conducive to copious note making.

Second. With regard to additional resources, Robert Stern's commentary in the Routledge Philosophy Guidebook series is quite good as a starting. It is readable, short, and clear - not overly laden with technical jargon and its citations are referenced to the Miller translation. A modest drawback to Stern is the lack of a glossary. Hegelian terminology can be difficult and some assistance in this regard would be useful. More advanced students may wish to augment Stern with a more detailed commentary from the likes of Harris, Hyppolite or Lauer.

Third. J. Bernstein has a wonderful yearlong graduate-level course discussing the Phenomenology available on-line for no cost at BernsteinTapes.com. Kudos to the folks who have made this available it is an outstanding resource.

Overall, this is a solid version of the Phenomenology that offers good value to the purchaser.
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Format: Paperback
It doesn't make any sense to rate this work at anything less than 5 stars, since it's one of the most influential works of the last 200 years. It was written in 1806, and it is Hegel's attempt to demonstrate the systematic way in which human experience develops, from its simplest roots in sensory life to its highest fulfilment in scientific, political and religious experience. This was a work that took Kant's revolutionary insights and produced a new philosophy of the human person that prefigured the developments of Marx, Freud, existentialism, deconstruction and so on. Human experience is here understood in a rigorously anti-reductive way: Hegel will not allow meaningful dimensions of human experience to be ignored in the way that they typically are in too-facile theories of experience (like sense-data empiricism, physicalist reductionism, possessive individualism, etc.). Experience is also understood dynamically: because of its own internal reason, experience develops into progressively more complex forms. It is a masterful work, and it takes years of serious study to master this book. It is a very difficult book to work with, because it is written in a very daunting manner, which means it is not realistic to imagine reading it outside of a university course in which someone can lead you into the reading of Hegel's phenomenology. This translation by Miller is also imperfect. This translation was meant as an improvement to the older Baillie translation but, while this one is marginally more "literal," it does not do as good a job as Baillie at communicating the sense of what's being said. If you can only have one translation, this is probably the better choice, but if you are studying the book seriously, I highly recommend hunting down a copy of Baillie's translation as well.
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Format: Paperback
Everyone agrees that the Phenomenology of Spirit is a frustratingly difficult book. It is also, in my humble opinion, one of the most important and brilliant works of philosophy ever written. I want to emphasize "important" because there are plenty of people who are willing to grant that the work is a work of genius, but who would still deny it any enduring relevance or importance. I think that many of Hegel's insights have become so common place that Hegel is not always given the credit he deserves for them. The critics of Hegel are often unaware of the debt they owe to Hegel in regard to certain ideas that they simply take for granted, but before I get to that, I want to say a few words about why this book is so difficult.

This review turned out to be much longer than I anticipated so I have broken it up into three sections. In the first section I try to give some sense for why I believe the difficulty of this book is necessary and could not have been avoided. I will be defending Hegel from the charge of willful obscurantism. In the second section I attempt to provide a brief (and woefully inadequate) summary of some of the ideas in this book, especially ideas that I think are of enduring relevance. And in the third section I provide a very brief list of some helpful secondaries on Hegel.


All philosophy is difficult. I think what frustrates people about Hegel is their belief that he is being willfully obscure. It often appears as if Hegel is trying his best to make sure that no one is able to understand him, or that he is simply dressing up simple insights in extremely convoluted language. I think this is a mistake.
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