Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit is a book about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel by Alexandre Kojève. Alexandre Kojève was a Russian-born French philosopher and statesman whose philosophical Some of Kojève’s more important lectures on Hegel have been published in English in the now classic Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Jan 14, Introhution n rte Reading of Hegel: Lecttres on rle Phenomenology of Spirig . KojEve is the most thoughtful, the most learned, the most pro-.

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Because he is a serious man, Kojeve has never sought to be orig- inal, and his originality has consisted in his search for the truth in the thought of wise men of the past. The Hegelian solution, accepted by Kojeve, is that this has indeed happened and that the enunciation of the universal, rational princi-j pies of the rights of man in the French Revolution marked the be-i ginning of the end of history. Like all opinion, the Myth arises spontaneously and is accepted or rejected in the same way.

It is this second, metaphorical sense of death alone which is at issue in consciousness’s seeking of the death of the other: But let us first see what the Slave is in the beginning, the Slave of the Master, the Slave not yet satisfied by the Citizenship that realizes and reveals his Freedom. The enslaving side of the interaction with Nature falls to the lot of the Slave: His book, Esquisse d’une phenomenologie du droitpublished posthumously incontrasts the aristocratic and bourgeois views of the right.

The Slave, also, considers him as such. By itself, this Desire constitutes only the Sentiment of self. To be anthropogenetic, then, Desire must be directed toward a nonbeing— that is, toward another Desire, another greedy emptiness, another I.

But of course, in order to write Chapter VI, in order to under- stand what History is, it is not sufficient to know that History has three periods. Generally speaking, to understand Napoleon is to understand him in relation to the whole of anterior historical evolution, to understand the whole of kkjeve history. The one is autonomous Consciousness, for which the essential-reality is Being-for-itself. The Master is only the “catalyst” of the History that will hdgel realized, completed, and “revealed” by the Slave or the ex-Slave who has become a Citizen.

Politics Between Abundance and Lack. Therefore, human, historical, self-conscious existence is possible only where there are, or— at least— where there have been, bloody fights, wars for prestige.

Alexandre Kojève

And all “negating-negativity” with re- spect to the given is necessarily active. And to transform what is real is to negate the given. He believed that the capitalist United States represented Right-Hegelianism while the state-socialist Soviet Union represented Hefel ; victory by either side, he posited, would result in what Lilla describes as “a rationally organized bureaucracy without class distinctions.


References and Further Reading Butler, Judith: Moreover, this recognition is methodologically analytically prior to production, for it is hegwl “struggle to the death for pure prestige” which the master and the slave enter freely, while work is imposed on the slave as a consequence of the slave’s defeat.

For further information, visit our website at www. But negating action is not purely destructive, kojevee if action destroys an objective reality, for the sake of satisfying the Desire from which it is born, it creates in its place, in and by that very destruction, a subjective reality. That is to say, finally, there would remain only one man in the world, kojsve according to Hegel— he would no longer be, he would not be, a human being, since the human reality is nothing but the fact of the recognition of one man by another man To explain the fact of the Battle of Jena, the fact of the History that that battle completes, one must therefore posit a fourth and last irreducible premise in the Phenomenology.

Work that frees man is hence neces- sarily, in the beginning, the forced work of a Slave who serves an all-powerful Master, the holder of all real power. Of course, it is often impossible to use consistently one translation for each French term. The real dialectic of existing Being is, among other things, the revelation of the Real and of Being by Speech or Thought.

And 4 Animals also have pseudo techniques: One must also know what each of them is, one must understand the why and the how of each of them and of the transition from one to another. From the “first” Fight, the Slave has an intuition of the human reality, and that is the profound reason that it is finally he, and not the Master, who will complete History by revealing the truth of Man, by revealing his reality through Hegelian Science.

And that is why to speak of the origin of Self-Consciousness is necessarily to speak of “the autonomy and dependence of Self-Consciousness, of Mastery and Slavery.

For only in this case can one reveal a reality in speech. In the beginning, the Slave who — by his Work — raised himself to the abstract idea of his Freedom, does not succeed in realizing it, because he kkojeve not yet dare to act with a view to this realization, that is to say, he does not dare to fight against the Master and to risk his koueve in a Fight for Freedom.

And with boredom driving him to action, he is content to activate his thought in some sense. At the start, the future Master and the future Slave are both determined by a given, natural World independent of them: Now, this is possible only on the condition that they behave differently in this fight. But in the Slave’s case, to hrgel existence is, again, to fight against the Hegle.

Now in actual fact the experience is had by a man who lives within Nature and is indissolubly bound to it, but is also opposed to it and wants to transform it: The dialectical movement is a movement of human thought and discourse, but the reality itself which one thinks and of which one talks is in no way dialectical. The autonomous Consciousness existing for itself is hence, for it, the truth [or a revealed reality], which, however, for it, does not yet exist in it. Hence, here again we would seem to be dealing with a dialectical method in the search for truth or in its exposition, which in no way affects the Real which that truth reveals.


Nevertheless, Man does not succeed in remaining in this skepti- cal-nihilistic attitude. In the Master, Being- for-itself is, for the slavish Consciousness, an other Being-for-itself; or again, Being-for-itself exists there only for the slavish Con- sciousness.

Hegel only has to record the final result of that “dialectical” proof and to describe it correctly.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Lectures on the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’

The Master appears only for the sake of engendering the Slave who “over- comes” aufhebt him as Master, while thereby “overcoming” himself as Slave. Hhegel [in the case we are studying] the other-entity, too, is a Self-Consciousness; a human-individual comes face to face with a human-individual. And this is what is insufficient – what is tragic – in his situation So long as there is slavery – whether to master, god or capital – man will never truly be ‘satisfied’ or truly free, since true satisfaction and freedom come from being recognised as an equal by an equal, which is possible only in the universal, Hegelian state.

Simone de Beauvoir’s reading of the book would emphasize the Master-Slave relation between men and women she saw in The Second Sex To the extent that the scientist thinks or knows his object, what really and concretely exists is the entirety of the Object known by the Subject or of the Subject knowing the Object. And to know this, he must know: But for the herd to become a society, multiplicity of Desires is not sufficient by itself; in addition, the Desires of each member of the herd must be directed — or potentially directed— toward koneve Desires of the other members.

History and Desire in Kojève

This “absolute Knowledge” is nothing other than the complete System of Hegelian philosophy or “Science,” which Hegel expounded later in the Encyclopaedia of Philosophical Sciences. And it is because he has an ideal, an abstract idea, that progress in the realization of Freedom can be completed by an understanding of Freedom, by the birth of the absolute Idea absolute Idee of human Freedom, revealed in and by absolute Knowledge.

The potential complementarity of Hegel and Heidegger’s work on this point lies at the basis of the extraordinary centrality of the master-slave dialectic to French thought since WWII.

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