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By Tom Rockmore

Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, the philosopher's first and might be maximum paintings, is an important philosophical treatise of the 19th century. during this better half quantity to his common advent to Hegel, Tom Rockmore deals a passage-by-passage advisor to the Phenomenology for first-time readers of the e-book and others who're now not Hegel experts. Rockmore demonstrates that Hegel's options of spirit, recognition, and cause might be handled as parts of a unmarried, coherent idea of information, one who is still strikingly appropriate for the modern dialogue. He exhibits how the quite a few conceptions of cognition built within the textual content culminate in absolute realizing, which Rockmore reads, against the widespread non secular readings of Hegel, in a unconditionally secular demeanour. in contrast to commentators who isolate Hegel's textual content from its philosophical origins, Rockmore analyzes the publication within the philosophical context from which it emerged, lucidly discussing notoriously tough passages in terms of the information of Aristotle and Descartes, and certainly to these of Kant and different German idealists.

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Extra resources for Cognition: An Introduction to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

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Now looking ahead to the next section, he implies that mere stoical detachment is not freedom in the full sense of the term. For unless one has been threatened in the deepest manner one cannot really be free. 27 B. Freedom of Self-Conciousness: Stoicism, Skepticism, and the Unhappy Consciousness The reason for devoting so much space to this brilliant passage is quite simply its immense importance: within Hegel's exposition, in Marx and Marxism, above all for the understanding of modern society.

This yields an opposition between the merely empiricist, natural scientific view, illustrated in Newtonian mechanics, and the philosophical view that combines empiricism and idealism, illustrated in Kant's critical philosophy. Hegel contrasts these two models in an extremely difficult passage, whose interpretation is uncertain,34 based on a distinction between the world and the so-called inverted world. There is an obvious opposition between Newton, the natural scientist, and Kant, the philosopher, each of whom explains the world of experience through a further, supersensible world, but from opposing perspectives.

Hegel, who maintains that forms of thought are related to the historical moment in which they appear, now notes that stoicism could only appear "in a time of universal fear and servitude, in which culture had risen to thought" (§199, 121*), parenthetically like the unequal relation of the slave to the master. The stoic, who is "indifferent to natural existence" (§200, 122), is free in thought only. Such a theory is unable to furnish criteria for truth or goodness other than "contentless thought" (§200, 122).

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