- 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: 90 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Phenomenology of Spirit Revised ed. Edition
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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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History of Philosophy (College Outline) (Paperback)
by William S. Sahakian (Author)
It will give you a great summary of Hegel. Then approach the book in small bites. It's a slow read, but it is a profound book that truly changed the world of thought.
Hegel assumes the reader already knows the system before he or she starts the phenomenology. But most don't. so go to the above summary first. "the end is the beginning"; that's just the way it is. You must already have a grasp of Hegel's thought before even starting the phenomenology. But it is essential reading.
I really wish scholars would come together and put together an easily accessible version of this work however. The writing is extremely outdated, and that coupled with errors in translation lead to an extremely convoluted and hard to understand read. Regardless, this is a tough read.
If you are using this for a class I suggest investing time in online lectures in addition to reading or you will not understand, especially if you are skipping portions. Either that, or buy a companion book which explains the arguments being presented.
I knew going in how large the book is, but once in your hands, it's like a very poorly bound textbook. The paper is very cheap, almost like thick consumer printer paper. The tiny margins and line spacing in the book makes it very difficult to read what is already a challenging book.
To make it even worse, there are many typos throughout the book. I began reading from the preface and kept running into them, so I decided to leaf through and see if the typos are all through the book, and they are.
All these things put together make reading this book terrible, which is unfortunate for the otherwise great content. I spent about an hour and a half reading it before I had to put it down.
Before purchasing I would consider looking into different editions of this book, which are only a few dollars more.
Hegel has many a story to tell in this most amazing book. The most important, at least for our era, is the story of a final and complete reconciliation between all members of the human family. How could that, given the almost countless differences between myriad human groups, ever be achieved? Hegel achieves it by arguing (and dialectically showing) that everything partial, ambiguous and irrational in history is burned away in the process of that history until ...what? Until all that remains is all that could possibly (Hegel means theoretically and practically, logically and existentially) remain. There are, as you might guess, several non-trivial difficulties with a position as profound as this.
To begin, until the promised 'utopian' end-state finally and completely arrives different people interpret this end state differently. This is why Hegel reminds us that philosophy can only equal Science (of Wisdom) at the end of this phenomenal and historical process. Until then, and this is important, each and every understanding of Hegel necessarily remains mired in partiality, ambiguity and irrationality. (- This is also true, I would argue, of the ones that base themselves on (Hegel's) Logic.) But this, the ambiguity of speculative or dialectical Logic & Phenomenology, leads to other difficulties. For instance, this end state has been taken by `Hegelians' in either a religious or atheistic manner. But until world history catches up to the `necessities' of the Logic, whatever they may be, even something as fundamental as this necessarily remains ambiguous. Another problem, is Hegel himself at the end of this process (at least as far as Logic/System are concerned) or is he the beginning of the end of this process?
In fact, one can say, with perhaps only a little exaggeration, that the Logic itself waits, or seems to wait, on human history to turn the final page. But that is the problem with this `biography of Spirit' - does the hand that turns the page also write `new' pages? Is the Logic (and System, the full account of reality) changed too by the (seemingly endless) `phenomenological' ruses of human history? For if the `new' occurs in this sense (Logically) then there is no System at all. If you object that the Logic (or the Hegelian System) forbids the new (at least in Logic & System) then you will find yourself in the uncomfortable position of explaining how Hegel himself could introduce a new operator (the speculative or, if you prefer, the dialectic) into Logic.
For, while the `new' in history can be explained (or so Hegelians maintain) by the Logic, by the self-contained Circularity of the System, all this collapses, or so one suspects, if the new can also happen in the Logic. ...How does (or could) one explain, from within the System, the irruption of the new within the Logic? One cannot. This is why Kojeve (correctly and, from his point of view, necessarily) reminded us, in his great commentary on the Phenomenology, that Hegel "definitely reconciles himself with all that is and has been, by declaring that there will never more be anything new on earth." It is this `declaration' by Hegel that is the great stumbling block of the System. Did the new come to an end in Jena almost 200 years ago? Is the Logic the only thing that no longer develops in the Hegelian System? We all need to read the Phenomenology and the Logic together, each in the light of the other, again.
To reiterate all this in a different manner; for Hegel, one can indeed say that the System never encounters anything new. There is indeed only this great circularity of the Concept. But this is only correct from the standpoint of the Logic. From the standpoint of the Phenomenology (and History) the new does indeed emerge out of the ruins of the old. The `new' can perhaps be best understood as what's left after as much of the superfluous (the partial and ambiguous) and the unreasonable are subtracted (or burned away in the Golgotha of Spirit, the hell of history) as possible. It is only at the end of this process, the beginning of that end is the publication of the Phenomenology, that Logic and Being are precisely the same. Or, to put it yet another way, the only thing that doesn't change in Hegel is the System. Everything else, possibly even the Logic understood as the schematics of Spirit, moves. For Kojeve (and possibly Hegel) when movement finally stops (the End of History) one has the System entire. ...This is perhaps why Merleau-Ponty, in the Adventures of the Dialectic, calls this position of Kojeve an `idealization of death.'
As an aside I want to point out that the earlier mention of Kojeve should remind us of his great sparring partner, Leo Strauss, the great explicator of the esoteric. The political esoteric he writes about (and demonstrates in his commentaries on Plato, Al-Farabi, Maimonides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Nietzsche) is the only real methodological rival of Dialectics, at least for political philosophy. By way of comparison I will briefly say that Esotericism excludes nothing; everything comes back. There is no progress or change, not even through some exclusion of the negated. There is, of course, the hidden - but the hidden always returns, as the greatest modern esotericism, the one we find in Nietzsche, affirms. In esotericism the 'negated' (or hidden) remains, indeed, if it didn't remain esotericism would have no reason for continuing in its esoteric manner. This esoteric says there never was anything fundamentally new while the Hegelian Dialectic teaches that the new emerges until, and only until, Logic and Phenomenology are exactly the same. All that the esoteric requires is (exoteric) myth; all that the dialectical requires is Science. Each particular myth dies, but the necessity of myth is unending; while Science (in the Hegelian sense) seemingly can never reach birth. ...This is the impasse that the great methodological war of our time has brought us to: undying myths vs. unreachable Science.
There is so much more to say about this book and the vistas it has opened to philosophy. I will say only this, the Phenomenology is easily one of the most important texts in the history of philosophy; read it at your peril.
Most recent customer reviews
I actually like the preface more than the book.Read more