free ebooks

A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

The Phenomenology of the Mind


point, therefore, of greatest difference between Schelling and Hegel is their philosophical method, and this at the same time forms the bond of close connection which unites Hegel with Fichte. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis--this was the method by which Fichte had sought to deduce all being from the Ego, and in precisely the same way Hegel deduces all being--the intellectual and natural universe--from the thought, only with this difference, that with him that which was idealistically deduced had at the same time an objective reality. While the practical idealism of Fichte stood related to the objective world as a producer, and the ordinary empiricism as a beholder, yet with Hegel the speculative (conceiving) reason is at the same time productive and beholding. I produce (for myself) that which is (in itself) without my producing. The result of philosophy, says Hegel, is the thought which is by itself, and which comprehends in itself the universe, and changes it into an intelligent world. To raise all being to being in the consciousness, to knowledge, is the problem and the goal of philozophizing, and this goal is reached when the mind has become able to beget the whole objective world from itself.

In his first great work, the "_Phenomenology of the Mind_," Hegel sought to establish the standpoint of absolute knowledge or absolute idealism. He furnishes in this work a history of the phenomenal consciousness (whence its title), a development of

the formative epochs of the consciousness in its progress to philosophical knowledge. The inner development of consciousness consists in this, viz., that the peculiar condition in which it finds itself becomes objectified (or conscious), and through this knowledge of its own being the consciousness rises ever a new step to a higher condition. The "_Phenomenology_" seeks to show how, and out of what necessity the consciousness advances from step to step, from reality to being _per se_ (_vom Ansich zum Fuersich_), from being to knowledge. The author begins with the immediate consciousness as the lowest step. He entitled this section: "_The Sensuous Certainty, or the This and the Mine_." At this stage the question is asked the Ego: what is _this_, or what is _here_? and it answers, _e. g._ the tree; and to the question, what is _now_? it answers now is the night. But if we turn ourselves around, _here_ is not a tree but a house; and if we write down the second answer, and look at it again after a little time, we find that _now_ is no longer night but mid-day. The _this_ becomes, therefore, a not-this, _i. e._ a universal. And very naturally; for if I say: this piece of paper, yet each and every paper is a this piece of paper, and I have only said the universal. By such inner dialectics the whole field of the immediate certainty of the sense in perception is gone over. In this way--since every formative step (every form) of the consciousness of the philosophizing subject is involved in contradictions, and is carried by this immanent dialectics to a higher form of consciousness--this process of development goes on till the contradiction is destroyed, _i. e._ till all strangeness between subject and object disappears, and the mind rises to a perfect self-knowledge and self-certainty. To characterize briefly the different steps of this process, we might say that the consciousness is first found as a certainty of the sense, or as the _this_ and the _mine_; next as perception, which apprehends the objective as a thing with its properties; and then as understanding, _i. e._ apprehending the objects as being reflected in itself, or distinguishing between power and expression, being and manifestation, outer and inner. From this point the consciousness, which has only recognized itself,

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us