- Series: Studies in Continental Thought
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Indiana University Press (October 19, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0253216923
- ISBN-13: 978-0253216922
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,759,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading Hegel's Phenomenology (Studies in Continental Thought) Paperback – October 19, 2004
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Russon's book differs in two ways from other commentaries on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. First, Russon (Univ. of Guelph) considers only the arguments in that text, rather than discussing its literary allusions or historical context. Second, Russon provides independent studies of the arguments in each section of Hegel's text. Whereas it is generally claimed that any part of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit can only be comprehended by understanding the part it plays in the text as a whole, Russon instead tries to investigate the arguments of the individual sections on their own terms. One might think that a disadvantage of Russon's approach would be the difficulty of addressing questions about whether Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit has an overall trajectory and structure. Even if that is correct, however, an examination of the details of the arguments in each section compensates. The 15 chapters each focus on a section of Hegel's book, making this an excellent resource in a course on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper―level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.(J. M. Fritzman, Lewis and Clark College , 2005jun CHOICE)
"The 15 chapters each focus on a section of Hegel's book, making this an excellent resource in a course on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers."(Choice)
About the Author
John Russon is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph. He is author of Human Experience: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life.
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That is why it is so refreshing to come across a work like John Russon's "Reading Hegel's Phenomenology": a philosophical commentary that is truly novel and accessible, and that approaches the Phenomenology of Spirit with the conviction that the subject matter of Hegel's phenomenology is the actual experience of each and every one of us. For Russon, this has the implication that above all a reading of Hegel's difficult book should make an effort to tie the initially obscure language of the text to illuminating and clear descriptions of real life. In each of Russon's provocative and powerful chapters, each focused on the different sections of Hegel's book, Russon attempts to identify a core phenomenon with which each of us can't help but be familiar, as a starting point from which to ground his analysis of the sections of the text. To find a commentary that employs a similar method as effectively, you would almost have to go back to Kojeve's Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (and I can't help but suspect that the similarity in titles is a deliberate move on Russon's part to suggest the affinity of his approach -- even where the substance of their analyses differ -- to that of Kojeve). The difference, that tells in favor of Russon's book, is that in Kojeve's book the primary experiential base from which he explicates almost the entire Phenomenology is his illuminating and provocative account of situations of unequal recognition, where in an intersubjective situation one person dominates and the other submits. Kojeve's insight into such situations, drawn from his analysis of Hegel's master/slave dialectic, and his recognition that they are widely characteristic of human social situations, provides a strong basis from which to consider a range of the developments in the Phenomenology -- and his work has with strong right been enormously influential on readers of Hegel. What his primary focus tends to obscure, however, is that Hegel's analysis aims at overcoming such situations of unequal recognition, and that he holds there to be real moments of contemporary existence in which such situations are in fact overcome. Russon's book is, for that reason, more widely applicable -- given his concern to highlight the relevance of Hegel's phenomenology to a much broader range of experiential phenomena: the existential experience of time, the feeling of one's own body, the power of desire, the encounter with an other, the experience of reading, the formation of communal belonging through ritual practice, moral engagement, and religious experience (to mention just some). It is an exceptional work of scholarship and teaching, that should serve as a model for philosophical commentary that is both rigorous in its responsibility to primary texts and philosophically illuminating in its own right. Highly recommended for anyone interested in thinking seriously about their lives and thoughts along with Hegel, rather than merely learning about Hegel. (By the way, if the task of thinking seriously about actual life intrigues you, it is worth taking a look at one of Russon's other books: Human Experience - a provocative and challenging investigation of the ways we attempt and fail to bring our lives into coherent and satisfying unity, and how philosophy can be an essential component of self-analysis and self-development.)