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The Self and its Body in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

The Self and its Body in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

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    The Self and its Body in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
    Book Description:

    Russon argues that Hegel has not only taken account of the body in his philosophy, but has done so in a way that integrates both modern work on embodiment and the approach to the body found in ancient Greek philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8234-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. A Note on the Text
    (pp. xv-2)
  5. Introduction: The Project of Reading Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Body
    (pp. 3-12)

    Hegel’sPhenomenology of Spiritis the systematic treatment of a particular philosophical issue, and Hegel describes it as ‘the Science of the Experience of Consciousness’;¹ basically, this means that thePhenomenology of Spiritproceeds by rigorous argument from the comprehension of the most primitive forms of conscious experience to the comprehension of that form of experience that is this comprehension itself; that is, it proceeds to ‘the absolute standpoint,’ the epistemological or existential stance that is consistent with itself in its efforts to comprehend experience. My project in this work, however, is not Hegel’s project in thePhenomenology of Spirit....


    • 1 Unhappy Consciousness and the Logic of Self-Conscious Selfhood
      (pp. 15-29)

      Any study of Hegel’s philosophy of self-consciousness must focus on what he calls the ‘Unhappy Consciousness,’ which Jean Hyppolite, one of the best interpreters of Hegel, rightly identifies as the fundamental theme of thePhenomenology of Spirit.¹ In this chapter I shall work through Hegel’s phenomenology of self-consciousness in order to see why, and in what sense, unhappy consciousness is at the heart of thePhenomenology of Spirit, essentially, the unhappy consciousness will be the self-conscious positing of a distinction between transcendental and empirical selfhood, and this will be the cornerstone of self-conscious selfhood.

      The section called ‘The Freedom of...

    • 2 Reason and Dualism: The Category as the Immediacy of Unconditioned Self-Communion
      (pp. 30-50)

      Hegel’s philosophy in general will not tolerate any unreconciled dualism, and how this commitment works itself out in relation to the philosophy of mind is the particular subject-matter of this work. The dualism of self-as-mind and body, which is often associated with the name of Descartes, always has been, at least since Plato’s ‘Phaedo,’ the strongest opponent of the non-dualistic view; the key to the Cartesian argument is that self-consciousness is constituted by a direct identification with universal and necessary rational truths that are not dependent on any bodily conditions, and, thus, the selfquarational is independent of the...


    • 3 The Condition of Self-Consciousness: The Body as the Phusis, Hexis, and Logos of the Self
      (pp. 53-76)

      In our investigations so far, we have learned that an internal dynamic of the empirical and the transcendental ego is constitutive of self-conscious selfhood, and that, rather than forming an immediate unity, these moments and their relations form areflectedunity, that is, a unity that exists only in and as the self-unification of differences. The self-identity of the self-conscious self is thus always a self-differentiation, and I articulated this above by saying that the self must be embodied. It is this concept of self-differentiating self-identity, or embodied selfhood, that will provide an adequate ground for comprehending Hegel’s analyses of...

    • 4 The Zôion Politikon: The Body as the Institutions of Society
      (pp. 77-108)

      Our progress so far has been as follows. We began, in Chapter 1, with ‘Stoicism,’ that is, with the selfhood of the apparently isolated ego, a starting point with which we all can identify. In our analysis of such selfhood, we were driven to the ‘Unhappy Consciousness’; that is, we were forced to recognize a distinction between the self as it immediately appears to itself and the self as it really is. This distinction between the real and the apparent self meant that the self-conscious self is really self-conscious – that is, it knows its real self, or again, more...


    • 5 Responsibility and Science: The Body as Logos and Pathêtikos Nous
      (pp. 111-134)

      From our analysis of Hegel’s Chapter IV, ‘Self-Consciousness,’ we concluded that ‘the body’ is always a relative determination, that what it is relative to is the self (or, ultimately, an activity), and that its relationship is that it is thephusis,hexis, andlogosof that self. From our analysis of Hegel’s Chapter VI, ‘Geist,’ we concluded that the self-conscious self reaches its proper form only within a system ofRecht, and that only the system of conscientious forgiveness can be the proper fulfilment of this requirement. The dependence of the self on a social system ofRechtallowed us...

  9. Appendix: Hegel’s Explicit Remarks on ‘Body’
    (pp. 135-138)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 139-182)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 183-196)
  12. Index
    (pp. 197-199)