KOJEVE INTRODUCTION TO THE READING OF HEGEL PDF

French philosopher , born Aleksandr Vladimirovich Kozhevnikov in Russia. Along with Jean Hyppolite, he was responsible for the serious introduction of Hegel into French thought. His lectures exerted a profound influence both direct and indirect over many leading French philosophers and intellectuals — amongst them Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Bataille, Althusser, Queneau, Aron, and Breton. He continued to write philosophy over these years, including works on the pre-Socratics, Kant, the concept of right, the temporal dimensions of philosophical wisdom, the relationship between Christianity and both Western science and communism, and the development of capitalism. Many of these works were only published posthumously. History is the history of reason , as it grapples with its own nature and its relation to that with which it is confronted other beings, nature, the eternal.

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French philosopher , born Aleksandr Vladimirovich Kozhevnikov in Russia. Along with Jean Hyppolite, he was responsible for the serious introduction of Hegel into French thought. His lectures exerted a profound influence both direct and indirect over many leading French philosophers and intellectuals — amongst them Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Bataille, Althusser, Queneau, Aron, and Breton. He continued to write philosophy over these years, including works on the pre-Socratics, Kant, the concept of right, the temporal dimensions of philosophical wisdom, the relationship between Christianity and both Western science and communism, and the development of capitalism.

Many of these works were only published posthumously. History is the history of reason , as it grapples with its own nature and its relation to that with which it is confronted other beings, nature, the eternal. The historical movement of this reason is one of a sequence of alienations Entfremdungen or splits, and the subsequent attempt to reconcile these divisions through a restoration of unity.

Thus, for example, Hegel sees the world of the Athenian Greeks as one in which people lived in a harmonious relation to their community and the world about, the basis of this harmony being provided by a pre-reflective commitment to shared customs, conventions and habits of thought and action. With the beginnings of Socratic philosophy, however, division and separation is introduced into thought — customary answers to questions of truth, morality, and reality are brought under suspicion.

Historically, this task of reconciliation has been embodied in many forms — in art, in religion, and in philosophy. This, for Hegel, is only to be achieved through the overcoming Aufhebung of false divisions, by grasping that underlying apparent schisms such as that between subject and object there is a unity, with all elements being manifestations of an Absolute Spirit Geist. Thus Hegel sees the key to historical reconciliation lying in the rational realisation of underlying unity, a unity that can, in time, come to connect individuals with each other and with the world in which they live.

Universal history is the product of reason, leading potentially to a reconciled humanity, at one with itself, living according to a shared morality that is the outcome of rational reflection. This occurs through the labor of appropriating and transforming his material world in order to satisfy his own needs. Desire is the permanent and universal feature of human existence, and when transformed into action it is the basis of all historical agency.

History moves through a series of determinate configurations, culminating in the end of history, a state in which a common and universal humanity is finally realised. Hence individual values and needs would converge upon a common settlement in which a shared human nature comprising the desires and inclinations that define humanity as such would find its satisfaction. How and why is this realisation of mutuality and equality to come about?

However, this relation is doomed to failure, for two fundamental reasons. Affirmation or recognition that is not freely given counts for nothing. The relation between Master and Slave… is not recognition properly so-called …The Master is not the only one to consider himself Master. The Slave, also, considers him as such.

Hence, he is recognized in his human reality and dignity. Hence, he is recognized by someone whom he does not recognize. And this is what is insufficient — what is tragic — in his situation…For he can be satisfied only by recognition from one whom he recognizes as worthy of recognizing him. This establishes the constitutive need for mutual recognition and formal equality, if recognition of value is to be established.

It is only when there is mutuality and recognition of all, that the recognition of any one becomes fully possible. So, on the material level, the slave possesses the key to his own liberation, namely his active mastery of nature.

It is precisely because of this lack of a fully constituted being that man experiences or, more properly is nothing other than desire. From Hegel he takes the notion of a universal historical process within which reconciliation unfolds through an intersubjective dialectic, resulting in unity.

From Marx he takes a secularised, de-theologised, and productivist philosophical anthropology, one that places the transformative activity of a desiring being centre stage in the historical process. From Heidegger, he takes the existentialist interpretation of human being as free, negative, and radically temporal. Pulling three together, he presents a vision of human history in which man grasps his freedom to produce himself and his world in pursuit of his desires, and in doing so drives history toward its end understood both as culmination or exhaustion, and its goal or completion.

This recognition will remove the rationale for war and struggle, and so will usher-in peace. Moreover, like Marx he believed that the expansion of capitalism was an homogenising force, producing a globalising cultural standard that laid waste to local attachments, traditions and boundaries, replacing them with bourgeoisie values. Far from becoming increasingly impoverished, the working class was coming to enjoy unprecedented prosperity.

Hence he asserted, long before the final collapse of the Soviet empire, that the Cold War would end in the triumph of the capitalist West, achieved through economic rather than military means. The end of history would also usher-in other distinctive forms. Philosophically, it would end in absolute knowledge displacing ideology. Artistically, the reconciled consciousness would express itself through abstract art — while pictorial and representational art captured cultural specifics, these specifics would have been effaced, leaving abstract aesthetic forms as the embodiment of universal and homogeneous consciousness.

In his philosophical anthropology, man is defined by his negating activity, by his struggle to overcome himself and nature through struggle and contestation. Yet the end of history marks the end of this struggle, thereby exhausting man of the activity which has defined his essence.

It is a matter of on-going contention whether or not Sartre personally attended the Hegel seminars of the s. It is the experience of lack, the twin of the experience of desire, that provides the ontological condition of subject formation; it is only through the lack-desire dyad that a being comes into the awareness of its own separation from the world in which it is, at first, thoroughly immersed.

History recurs as something that can only be enjoyed as a tourist attraction, or as a reverie of the past, viewed from the vantage point of its demise. The victory of reason was, for Bataille, a curse; its inevitable triumph in the unstoppable march of modernity brought with it homogeneity, order, and disenchantment.

The triumph of reason as history meant the twilight and death of man, as the excessive and destructive power of negativity was displaced by harmonious, reciprocal equilibrium. With the final demise of Soviet Marxism, and the global hegemony of capitalism, we have finally reached the end of history. There are no more battles to be fought, no more experiments in social engineering to be attempted; the world has arrived at a homogenised state in which the combination of capitalism and liberal democracy will reign supreme, and all other cultural and ideological systems will be consigned irretrievably to the past.

Moreover, he sees it as the primary mechanism for the provision of recognition and value. Consumerism and the commodity form, for Fukayama, present the means by which recognition is mediated.

Humans desire to be valued by others, and the means of appropriating that valuation is the appropriation of the things that others themselves value; hence lifestyle and fashion become the mechanisms of mutual esteem in a post-historical world governed by the logic of capitalist individualism.

Harmondsworth, Penguin, Hegel, G. F: Phenomenology of Spirit. An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

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Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)

Source : Introduction to the Reading of Hegel , Basic Books, ; the final chapter only reproduced here. We can give a first answer to this question by recalling a passage from the Encyclopaedia — more exactly, the Introduction to the First Part of the Encyclopaedia, entitled Logic. This well-known text lends itself to two misunderstandings. But in the explanatory Note, Hegel underlines that the three aspects are in reality inseparable.

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Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit

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