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Part 2 of our discussion of G.F.W. Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit," covering sections 178-230 within section B, "Self-Consciousness." Part 1 is here.
First, Hegel's famous "master and slave" parable, whereby we only become fully self-conscious by meeting up with another person, who (at least in primordial times, or maybe this happens to everyone as they grow up, or maybe this is all just happening in one person's head... who the hell knows given the wacky way Hegel talks)? Then the story leads into stoicism, skepticism, and the "unhappy consciousness" (i.e. Christianity). We are again joined by Tom McDonald, though Wes is out sick. Wild speculation and disagreements of interpretation abound!
Buy the peach translation by A.V. Milleror read this online translation by Terry Pinkard.
End song: “I Die Desire,” by Mark Lint and the Fake from the album So Whaddaya Think? (2000).
Douglas Lain says
Ah! Something to look forward to tonight! Thanks again, guys.
Seth Paskin says
Just for the record, the ‘master and slave’ section in the Miller translation is titled “lordship and bondage” and he uses the terms “Lord” and “bondsman”. I try to stick to that terminology so if you hear me saying that, it means the same thing.
Mark Linsenmayer says
I can’t believe we got through that whole discussion without anyone making a “bondage” joke.
Only through S&M can we achieve full self-consciousness, with gimpy adopting the stoic position. The safe word is “God.”
Funny but wouldn’t be an altogether inaccurate inference of Hegel’s meaning IMHO if labor-bondage means serving pleasure and “God” means we ought to share the labors and pleasures more equally.
Tom McDonald says
I’m digging the tune “I Die Desire”. Nice one Mark.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Thanks. This is a remake from 2000 of a song I wrote in college; the original, crazy lo-fi version is at http://marklint.com/MayTricksAlbum.html).
Jay Bernstein, of the New School, has a course of audio lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit here.They’re pretty good and go into a lot of depth. A good supplement to the podcasts here, which, btw, I enjoyed very much. In fact, best show yet, in my personal opinion. Please find some way to do more Hegel in the future.
Daniel Horne says
Nice link, thanks!
Re: Stephen’s note: I used the Jay Bernstein audio lectures in the past and learned a lot from them. His affected speaking style can be grating at times, but his overall treatment of the book is very deep and broad and learned. It is more of a literary approach (PhG as odyssey of western civilization), but he is not weak on logical argumentation either. Bernstein could be called “critical theorist” in the Frankfurt school tradition that lives on at The New School in NYC. He teaches Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Judgment, but not Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason (i.e. normative reasoning). Bernstein claims that Hegel remains a post-Kantian “critical philosopher”, accepting most of Kant’s conclusions but replacing Kant’s ahistorical-metaphysical account of morals with the experientially richer historical-developmental account that is the Phenomenology of Spirit.
Hey guys, I appreciate the in depth reading done in this and the previous episode. Two thirds of the discussion still go over my head, but I may go back and listen to these two a few times.
My interest was really piqued by the talk near the 1:48 mark about the modern idea of reason having its origins in Christianity. This is something I’ve been interested in for a while, and I’d be curious to read more about how Hegel relates to that idea. Any recommendations for secondary literature that deal specifically with that? I’m planning on reading Michael Allen Gillespie’s “The Theological Origins of Modernity” sometime soon.
For an interesting fictional actualization of the Lord-Bondsman metaphor check out Ugly Americans Se1Ep11. There’s a notably absurd subplot that mirror’s Hegel’s description and the series is readily available on Netflix.
In our dialogue course, we have just been assigned two Hegel selections. The first, about the Lord and the Bondsman, irritated the hell out of me. Friends from my past are trying to diagram part of a sentence, or maybe a sentence itself, attributed to Hegel by Nikulin with “the activity of thinking thinking itself in itself.” I thought that was bad until I read his actual thoughts and I’m convinced I’m half-mad now. I say this to congratulate you all for the effort here. I won’t have time to listen to your three Hegel episodes tonight, but having heard them before helped me to only be half-mad.
Erik Weissengruber says
I am trying to better understand concept formation in phenomenological thinking.
Where (or how can) logical categories meet the structures of experience.
And some guy wrote a book about it.
The Introduction is up at Academia.edu