The Phenomenology of Spirit

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Scepticism ... makes mind for the first time qualified to test what truth is; since it brings about a despair regarding what are called natural views, thoughts, and opinions.
The familiar, just because it is familiar, is not cognitively understood. The commonest way in which we deceive either ourselves or others ... is by assuming something as familiar, and accepting it on that account.

The Phenomenology of Spirit (German Phänomenologie des Geistes, also translated Phenomenology of Mind) is Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's most important and widely discussed philosophical work. It was published in 1807.

Quotes[edit]

J. B. Baillie translation Phenomenology of Mind published in two volumes in 1910 by Swan Sonnenschein.
A. V. Miller translation Phenomenology of Spirit published in 1977 by Oxford University Press.
Michael Inwood translation Phenomenology of Spirit published in 2018 by Oxford University Press.

Preface[edit]

  • So wird auch durch die Bestimmung des Verhältnisses, das ein philosophisches Werk zu andern Bestrebungen über denselben Gegenstand zu haben glaubt, ein fremdartiges Interesse hereingezogen, und das, worauf es bei der Erkenntnis der Wahrheit ankommt, verdunkelt. So fest der Meinung der Gegensatz des Wahren und des Falschen wird, so pflegt sie auch entweder Beistimmung oder Widerspruch gegen ein vorhandenes philosophisches System zu erwarten, und in einer Erklärung über ein solches nur entweder das eine oder das andre zu sehen. Sie begreift die Verschiedenheit philosophischer Systeme nicht so sehr als die fortschreitende Entwicklung der Wahrheit, als sie in der Verschiedenheit nur den Widerspruch sieht. Die Knospe verschwindet in dem Hervorbrechen der Blüte, und man könnte sagen, daß jene von dieser widerlegt wird, ebenso wird durch die Frucht die Blüte für ein falsches Dasein der Pflanze erklärt, und als ihre Wahrheit tritt jene an die Stelle von dieser. Diese Formen unterscheiden sich nicht nur, sondern verdrängen sich auch als unverträglich miteinander. Aber ihre flüssige Natur macht sie zugleich zu Momenten der organischen Einheit, worin sie sich nicht nur nicht widerstreiten, sondern eins so notwendig als das andere ist, und diese gleiche Notwendigkeit macht erst das Leben des Ganzen aus.
    • The very attempt to determine the relationship of a philosophical work to other efforts concerning the same subject, introduces an alien and irrelevant interest which obscures precisely that which matters for the recognition of the truth. Opinion considers the opposition of what is true and false quite rigid, and, confronted with a philosophical system, it expects agreement or contradiction. And in an explanation of such a system, opinion still expects to find one or the other. It does not comprehend the difference of the philosophical systems in terms of the progressive development of the truth, but sees only the contradiction in this difference. The bud disappears as the blossom bursts forth, and one could say that the former is refuted by the latter. In the same way, the fruit declares the blossom to be a false existence of the plant. These forms do not only differ, they also displace each other because they are incompatible. Their fluid nature, however, makes them, at the same time, elements of an organic unity in which they not only do not conflict, but in which one is as necessary as the other; and it is only this equal necessity that constitutes the life of the whole.
      • § 2 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Denn die Sache ist nicht in ihrem Zwecke erschöpft, sondern in ihrer Ausführung, noch ist das Resultat das wirkliche Ganze, sondern es zusammen mit seinem Werden; der Zweck für sich ist das unlebendige Allgemeine, wie die Tendenz das bloße Treiben, das seiner Wirklichkeit noch entbehrt, und das nackte Resultat ist der Leichnam, der sie hinter sich gelassen.
    • For the Thing is not exhausted by its aim, but by its elaboration, nor is the result the actual whole, but only the result together with its becoming. The aim by itself is a lifeless universal, while the tendency is a mere drift that as yet lacks its actuality; and the naked result is a corpse which has left the tendency behind.
      • § 3 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • Daran mitzuarbeiten, daß die Philosophie der Form der Wissenschaft näher komme – dem Ziele, ihren Namen der Liebe zum Wissen ablegen zu können und wirkliches Wissen zu sein – , ist es, was ich mir vorgesetzt.
    • To help bring philosophy closer to the form of Science, to the goal where it can lay aside the title 'love of knowing' and be actual knowing – that is what I have set myself to do.
      • § 5 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Das Auge des Geistes mußte mit Zwang auf das Irdische gerichtet und bei ihm festgehalten werden; und es hat einer langen Zeit bedurft, jene Klarheit, die nur das Überirdische hatte, in die Dumpfheit und Verworrenheit, worin der Sinn des Diesseitigen lag, hineinzuarbeiten, und die Aufmerksamkeit auf das Gegenwärtige als solches, welche Erfahrung genannt wurde, interessant und geltend zu machen. – Jetzt scheint die Not des Gegenteils vorhanden, der Sinn so sehr in das Irdische festgewurzelt, daß es gleicher Gewalt bedarf, ihn darüber zu erheben. Der Geist zeigt sich so arm, daß er sich, wie in der Sandwüste der Wanderer nach einem einfachen Trunk Wasser, nur nach dem dürftigen Gefühle des Göttlichen überhaupt für seine Erquickung zu sehnen scheint. An diesem, woran dem Geiste genügt, ist die Größe seines Verlustes zu ermessen.
    • The eye of the Spirit had to be forcibly turned and held fast to the things of this world; and it has taken a long time before the lucidity which only heavenly things used to have could penetrate the dullness and confusion in which the sense of worldly things was enveloped, and so make attention to the here and now as such, attention to what has been called ‘experience’, an interesting and valid enterprise. Now we seem to need just the opposite: sense is so fast rooted in earthly things that it requires just as much force to raise it. The Spirit shows itself as so impoverished that, like a wanderer in the desert craving for a mere mouthful of water, it seems to crave for its refreshment only the bare feeling of the divine in general. By the little which now satisfies Spirit, we can measure the extent of its loss.
      • § 8 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Die Kraft des Geistes ist nur so groß als ihre Äußerung, seine Tiefe nur so tief, als er in seiner Auslegung sich auszubreiten und sich zu verlieren getraut.
    • The force of mind is only as great as its expression; its depth only as deep as its power to expand and lose itself.
      • § 10 (J. B. Baillie translation)
    • The force of spirit is only as great as its expression, its depth only as deep as it dares to spread out and lose itself in its display.
      • § 10 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • Das Leben Gottes und das göttliche Erkennen mag also wohl als ein Spielen der Liebe mit sich selbst ausgesprochen werden; diese Idee sinkt zur Erbaulichkeit und selbst zur Fadheit herab, wenn der Ernst, der Schmerz, die Geduld und Arbeit des Negativen darin fehlt.
    • The life of God and divine cognition may certainly be expressed as love’s play with itself; this Idea degenerates into edification, and even insipidity, if the seriousness, the pain, the patience and labour of the negative are missing from it.
      • § 19 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • The true is the whole. But the whole is only the essence completing itself through its development. Of the absolute it must be said that it is essentially result, that only in the end is it what it is in truth; and precisely in this consists its nature: to be actual, subject, or becoming-its-own-self. Though it may seem contradictory that the absolute is to be conceived essentially as result, a brief consideration clears up this semblance of contradiction. The beginning, the principle, or the absolute, as it is initially and immediately expressed, is only the universal.
    • § 20 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • Die Aufgabe aber, das Individuum von seinem ungebildeten Standpunkte aus zum Wissen zu führen, war in ihrem allgemeinen Sinn zu fassen, und das allgemeine Individuum, der Weltgeist, in seiner Bildung zu betrachten. – Was das Verhältnis beider betrifft, so zeigt sich in dem allgemeinen Individuum jedes Moment, wie es die konkrete Form und eigne Gestaltung gewinnt. Das besondre Individuum aber ist der unvollständige Geist, eine konkrete Gestalt, deren ganzes Dasein einer Bestimmtheit zufällt, und worin die andern nur in vermischten Zügen vorhanden sind.
    • The task of conducting the individual mind from its unscientific standpoint to that of science had to be taken in its general sense; we had to contemplate the formative development (Bildung) of the universal [or general] individual, of self-conscious spirit. As to the relation between these two [the particular and general individual], every moment, as it gains concrete form and its own proper shape and appearance, finds a place in the life of the universal individual. The particular individual is incomplete mind, a concrete shape in whose existence, taken as a whole, one determinate characteristic predominates, while the others are found only in blurred outline.
      • § 28 (J. B. Baillie translation)
    • The task of leading the individual from his uneducated standpoint to knowledge had to be seen in its universal sense, and the universal individual, self-conscious spirit, had to be considered in its education.—As regards the relationship between the two types of individual, every moment emerges in the universal individual, as it acquires its concrete form and its own configuration. The particular individual is the incomplete spirit, a concrete shape in whose whole Being-there one determinacy is dominant, while the others are present only in blurred outline.
      • § 28 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • The individual whose substance is the more elevated spirit runs through this past, in the way in which someone who takes up a higher science goes through the preparatory information he has long since absorbed, in order to bring its content to presence; he revives the recollection of it, without interest in it and without dwelling on it. The singleton must also pass through the educational stages of the universal spirit with regard to their content, but as shapes already discarded by the spirit, as stages on a way that has been prepared and levelled. Thus, as regards information, we see that what in former ages occupied men of mature spirit, has been reduced to the level of information, exercises, and even games of boyhood; and, in the pedagogical progression, we shall recognize the history of the education of the world as if traced in a silhouette. This past Being-there is already acquired property of the universal spirit that constitutes the substance of the individual and so, in appearing externally to him, constitutes his inorganic nature.—In this respect education, considered from the side of the individual, consists in his acquiring what is thus present before him, absorbing into himself his inorganic nature, and taking possession of it for himself. But, considered from the side of the universal spirit as substance, this is nothing but the fact that the substance gives itself its self-consciousness, and produces its becoming and its reflection into itself.
    • § 28 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • Science presents this educative movement in all its detail and necessity, as well as presenting, in its configuration, everything that has already been reduced to a moment and property of spirit. The goal is spirit’s insight into what knowledge is. Impatience demands the impossible, namely, the attainment of the goal without the means. On the one hand, the length of this way has to be endured, because each moment is necessary;—on the other hand, we have to dwell on each moment because each is itself an entire individual shape and is considered absolutely only insofar as its determinacy is considered as a whole or a concretion, or the whole is considered in the peculiarity of this determination.—Since the substance of the individual, since even the world-spirit has had the patience to pass through these forms in the long expanse of time, and to undertake the prodigious labour of world-history, in which it displayed in each form as much of its entire content as that form was capable of holding, and since the world-spirit could not attain consciousness about itself by any lighter labour, then in accordance with the Thing the individual certainly cannot comprehend his own substance with less labour; and yet, at the same time, he has less trouble, since in itself all this is accomplished,—the content is already the actuality razed to a possibility, the immediacy overcome, the configuration by now reduced to its abbreviation, to the simple thought-determination. Already something thought, the content is property of the substance; it is no longer the Being-there that needs to be converted into the form of Being-in-itself, it is rather the in-itself—no longer merely in its original state nor immersed in Being-there—but already recollected, that requires conversion into the form of Being-for-itself. The nature of this operation must be described more precisely.
    • § 29 (Michael Inwood translation)
  • Das Bekannte überhaupt ist darum, weil es bekannt ist, nicht erkannt. Es ist die gewöhnlichste Selbsttäuschung wie Täuschung anderer, beim Erkennen etwas als bekannt vorauszusetzen, und es sich ebenso gefallen zu lassen; mit allem Hin – und Herreden kommt solches Wissen, ohne zu wissen, wie ihm geschieht, nicht von der Stelle. Das Subjekt und Objekt u.s.f., Gott, Natur, der Verstand, die Sinnlichkeit u.s.f. werden unbesehen als bekannt und als etwas Gültiges zugrunde gelegt und machen feste Punkte sowohl des Ausgangs als der Rückkehr aus. Die Bewegung geht zwischen ihnen, die unbewegt bleiben, hin und her, und somit nur auf ihrer Oberfläche vor.
    • Quite generally, the familiar, just because it is familiar, is not cognitively understood. The commonest way in which we deceive either ourselves or others about understanding is by assuming something as familiar, and accepting it on that account; with all its pros and cons, such knowing never gets anywhere, and it knows not why. Subject and object, God, Nature , Understanding, sensibility, and so on, are uncritically taken for granted as familiar, established as valid and made into fixed points for starting and stopping. While these remain unmoved, the knowing activity goes back and forth between them, thus moving only on their surface.
      • § 31 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Das Analysieren einer Vorstellung, wie es sonst getrieben worden, war schon nichts anderes als das Aufheben der Form ihres Bekanntseins.
    • The analysis of an idea, as it used to be carried out, was, fact, nothing else than ridding it of the form in which it had become familiar.
      • § 32 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Die Art des Studiums der alten Zeit hat diese Verschiedenheit von dem der neuern, daß jenes die eigentliche Durchbildung des natürlichen Bewußtseins war. An jedem Teile seines Daseins sich besonders versuchend und über alles Vorkommende philosophierend, erzeugte es sich zu einer durch und durch betätigten Allgemeinheit. In der neuern Zeit hingegen findet das Individuum die abstrakte Form vorbereitet; die Anstrengung, sie zu ergreifen und sich zu eigen zu machen, ist mehr das unvermittelte Hervortreiben des Innern und abgeschnittne Erzeugen des Allgemeinen als ein Hervorgehen desselben aus dem Konkreten und der Mannigfaltigkeit des Daseins.
    • The manner of study in ancient times differed from that of the modern age in that the former was the proper and complete formation of the natural consciousness. Putting itself to the test at every point of its existence, and philosophizing about everything it came across, it made itself into a universality that was active through and through. In modern times, however, the individual finds the abstract form ready-made; the effort to grasp and appropriate it is more the direct driving-forth of what is within and the truncated generation of the universal than it is the emergence of the latter from the concrete variety of existence.
      • § 33 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Von allen Wissenschaften, Künsten, Geschicklichkeiten, Handwerken gilt die Überzeugung, daß, um sie zu besitzen, eine vielfache Bemühung des Erlernens und Übens derselben nötig ist. In Ansehung der Philosophie dagegen scheint jetzt das Vorurteil zu herrschen, daß, wenn zwar jeder Augen und Finger hat, und wenn er Leder und Werkzeug bekommt, er darum nicht imstande sei, Schuhe zu machen, jeder doch unmittelbar zu philosophieren und die Philosophie zu beurteilen verstehe, weil er den Maßstab an seiner natürlichen Vernunft dazu besitze...
    • In the case of all other sciences, arts, skills, and crafts, everyone is convinced that a complex and laborious programme of learning and practice is necessary for competence. Yet when it comes to philosophy, there seems to be a currently prevailing prejudice to the effect that, although not everyone who has eyes and fingers, and is given leather and last, is at once in a position to make shoes, everyone nevertheless immediately understands how to philosophize, and how to evaluate philosophy, since he possesses the criterion for doing so in his natural reason—as if he did not likewise possess the measure for a shoe in his own foot.
      • § 67 (A. V. Miller translation)
  • Dass die anderen Wissenschaften, sie mögen es mit Räsonnieren, ohne die Philosophie, versuchen, soviel sie wollen, ohne sie nicht Leben, Geist, Wahrheit in ihnen zu haben vermögen.
    • Let the other sciences try to argue as much as they like without philosophy—without it they can have in them neither life, Spirit, nor truth.
      • § 67 (A. V. Miller translation)

Introduction[edit]

  • Denn ist das Erkennen das Werkzeug, sich des absoluten Wesens zu bemächtigen, so fällt sogleich auf, daß die Anwendung eines Werkzeugs auf eine Sache sie vielmehr nicht läßt, wie sie für sich ist, sondern eine Formierung und Veränderung mit ihr vornimmt. Oder ist das Erkennen nicht Werkzeug unserer Tätigkeit, sondern gewissermaßen ein passives Medium, durch welches hindurch das Licht der Wahrheit an uns gelangt, so erhalten wir auch so sie nicht, wie sie an sich, sondern wie sie durch und in diesem Medium ist. Wir gebrauchen in beiden Fällen ein Mittel, welches unmittelbar das Gegenteil seines Zwecks hervorbringt; oder das Widersinnige ist vielmehr, daß wir uns überhaupt eines Mittels bedienen.
    • If knowledge is the instrument to take hold of the absolute essence, one is immediately reminded that the application of an instrument to a thing does not leave the thing as it is, but brings about a shaping and alteration of it. Or, if knowledge is not an instrument for our activity, but a more or less passive medium through which the light of truth reaches us, then again we do not receive this truth as it is in itself, but as it is in and through this medium. In both cases we employ a means which immediately brings about the opposite of its own end; or, rather, the absurdity lies in our making use of any means at all.
      • (A. V. Miller translation), § 73
  • Das natürliche Bewußtsein wird sich erweisen, nur Begriff des Wissens, oder nicht reales Wissen zu sein. Indem es aber unmittelbar sich vielmehr für das reale Wissen hält, so hat dieser Weg für es negative Bedeutung, und ihm gilt das vielmehr für Verlust seiner selbst, was die Realisierung des Begriffs ist; denn es verliert auf diesem Wege seine Wahrheit. Er kann deswegen als der Weg des Zweifels angesehen werden, oder eigentlicher als Weg der Verzweiflung; auf ihm geschieht nämlich nicht das, was unter Zweifeln verstanden zu werden pflegt, ein Rütteln an dieser oder jener vermeinten Wahrheit, auf welches ein gehöriges Wiederverschwinden des Zweifels und eine Rückkehr zu jener Wahrheit erfolgt, so daß am Ende die Sache genommen wird wie vorher. Sondern er ist die bewußte Einsicht in die Unwahrheit des erscheinenden Wissens, dem dasjenige das Reellste ist, was in Wahrheit vielmehr nur der nichtrealisierte Begriff ist.
    • Natural consciousness will show itself to be only the notion of knowledge, or in other words, not to be real knowledge. But since it directly takes itself to be real knowledge, this path has a negative significance for it, and what is in fact the realization of the Notion, counts for it rather as the loss of its own self; for it does lose its truth on this path. The road can therefore be regarded as the pathway of doubt, or more precisely as the way of despair. For what happens on it is not what is ordinarily understood when the word ‘doubt’ is used: shilly-shallying about this or that presumed truth, followed by a return to that truth again, after the doubt has be appropriately dispelled – so that at the end of the process the matter is taken to be what it was in the first place. On the contrary, this process is the conscious insight into the untruth of phenomenal knowledge, for which the supreme reality is what is in truth only the unrealized notion.
      • (A. V. Miller translation), § 78
  • This thoroughgoing scepticism is not what doubtless earnest zeal for truth and science fancies it has equipped itself with in order to be ready to deal with them — viz. the resolve, in science, not to deliver itself over to the thoughts of others on their mere authority, but to examine everything for itself, and only follow its own conviction, or, still better, to produce everything itself and hold only its own act for true. ... By the conversion of opinion held on authority into opinion held out of personal conviction, the content of what is held is not necessarily altered, and truth has not thereby taken the place of error. If we stick to a system of opinion and prejudice resting on the authority of others, or upon personal conviction, the one differs from the other merely in the conceit which animates the latter. Scepticism, directed to the whole compass of phenomenal consciousness, on the contrary, makes mind for the first time qualified to test what truth is; since it brings about a despair regarding what are called natural views, thoughts, and opinions, which it is matter of indifference to call personal or belonging to others, and with which the consciousness, that proceeds straight away to criticize and test, is still filled and hampered, thus being, as a matter of fact, incapable of what it wants to undertake.
    • (J. B. Baillie translation), § 78-79
  • Diese Eitelkeit, welche sich jede Wahrheit zu vereiteln, daraus in sich zurückzukehren versteht, und an diesem eignen Verstande sich weidet, der alle Gedanken immer aufzulösen und statt alles Inhalts nur das trockne Ich zu finden weiß, ist eine Befriedigung, welche sich selbst überlassen werden muß, denn sie flieht das Allgemeine, und sucht nur das Für-sich-sein.
    • This conceit which understands how to belittle every truth, in order to turn back into itself and gloat over its own understanding, which knows how to dissolve every thought and always find the same barren Ego instead of any content—this is a satisfaction which we must leave to itself, for it flees from the universal, and seek only to be for itself.
      • (A. V. Miller translation), § 80

Chapter 4, Part A: Lordship and Bondage[edit]

  • Selbstbewußtsein ist das einfache Ich der absolute Gegenstand, welcher aber für uns oder an sich die absolute Vermittlung ist, und die bestehende Selbstständigkeit zum wesentlichen Momente hat. Die Auflösung jener einfachen Einheit ist das Resultat der ersten Erfahrung; es ist durch sie ein reines Selbstbewußtsein, und ein Bewußtsein gesetzt, welches nicht rein für sich, sondern für ein Anderes, das heißt, als seiendes Bewußtsein oder Bewußtsein in der Gestalt der Dingheit ist. Beide Momente sind wesentlich; – da sie zunächst ungleich und entgegengesetzt sind, und ihre Reflexion in die Einheit sich noch nicht ergeben hat, so sind sie als zwei entgegengesetzte Gestalten des Bewußtseins; die eine das selbstständige, welchem das Für-sich-sein, die andere das unselbstständige, dem das Leben oder das Sein für ein Anderes das Wesen ist; jenes ist der Herr, dies der Knecht.
    • In immediate self-consciousness the simple ego is absolute object, which, however, is for us or in itself absolute mediation, and has as its essential moment substantial and solid independence. The dissolution of that simple unity is the result of the first experience; through this there is posited a pure self-consciousness, and a consciousness which is not purely for itself, but for another, i.e. as an existent consciousness, consciousness in the form and shape of thinghood. Both moments are essential, since, in the first instance, they are unlike and opposed, and their reflexion into unity has not yet come to light, they stand as two opposed forms or modes of consciousness. The one is independent whose essential nature is to be for itself, the other is dependent whose essence is life or existence for another. The former is the Master, or Lord, the latter is the Bondsman.
      • § 189 (translated by J. B. Baillie)

Chapter 6: Spirit[edit]

  • Eine Partei bewährt sich erst dadurch als die siegende, daß sie in zwei Parteien zerfällt; denn darin zeigt sie das Prinzip, das sie bekämpfte, an ihr selbst zu besitzen, und hiemit die Einseitigkeit aufgehoben zu haben, in der sie vorher auftrat. Das Interesse, das sich zwischen ihr und der andern teilte, fällt nun ganz in sie und vergißt der andern, weil es in ihr selbst den Gegensatz findet, der es beschäftigt. Zugleich aber ist er in das höhere siegende Element erhoben worden, worin er geläutert sich darstellt. So daß also die in einer Partei entstehende Zwietracht, welche ein Unglück scheint, vielmehr ihr Glück beweist.
    • A party proves itself to be the victor by splitting into two parties; for in so doing, it shows that it possesses within itself the principle that it combated, and thus has sublated the one-sidedness in which it previously entered the scene. The interest which was divided between itself and the other party now falls entirely within itself and forgets the other party, because that interest finds within itself the opposition that occupies it. At the same time, however, the opposition has been raised into the higher victorious element in which it presents itself purified. So that therefore the schism that arises in a party, which seems to be a misfortune, demonstrates rather that party’s good fortune.
      • § 575 (Michael Inwood translation)

Chapter 8: Absolute Knowledge[edit]

  • But the other side of spirit’s becoming, history, is a knowing, self-mediating becoming—spirit estranged into time; but this estrangement is equally an estrangement of itself; the negative is the negative of itself. This becoming presents a slow movement and succession of spirits, a gallery of images, each of which, endowed with all the riches of spirit, moves so slowly just because the Self has to penetrate and digest this entire wealth of its substance. As the fulfilment of spirit consists in perfectly knowing what it is, in knowing its substance, this knowing is its withdrawal-into-itself in which it abandons its Being-there and hands its shape over to recollection. In its withdrawal-into-itself spirit is sunk in the night of its self-consciousness, but in that night its vanished Being-there is preserved; and this sublated Being-there—the former one, but now reborn of knowledge—is the new Being-there, a new world and a new shape of spirit. In this new shape the spirit has to make a new beginning with its immediacy, as naively as before, and expand to maturity again, as if, for it, all that preceded were lost and it had learned nothing from the experience of the earlier spirits. But re-collection has preserved them and is the interior and in fact the higher form of the substance. So although this spirit begins its cultivation afresh, seeming to set out only from itself, it is nonetheless at a higher stage that it begins. The realm of spirits which has formed itself in this way in Being-there constitutes a succession in which one spirit superseded another and each took over the realm of the world from its predecessor. The goal of this succession is the revelation of the depth, and this is the absolute concept; this revelation is thereby the sublation of the depth of the concept, or the expansion of it, the negativity of this I withdrawn-into-itself, a negativity which is its estrangement or substance,—and this revelation is also the time of the concept, the time in which this estrangement estranges itself within itself, and so in its expansion it is equally in its depth, in the Self. The goal, absolute knowledge, or spirit that knows itself as spirit, has for its path the recollection of the spirits as they are within themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their realm. Their preservation, on the side of their free Being-there appearing in the form of contingency, is history, while on the side of their conceptually comprehended organization, it is the science of appearing knowledge; the two together, comprehended history, form the recollection and the calvary of absolute spirit, the actuality, truth, and certainty of its throne, without which it would be lifeless solitude; only—
from the chalice of this realm of spirits
foams forth for Him his own infinitude.
  • The final two lines are a rendering of Schiller's Die Freundschaft.
  • § 808 (Michael Inwood translation)

Quotes about The Phenomenology of Spirit[edit]

  • Hegel’s lack of charity toward the instrument metaphor is not arbitrary. It represents his disenchantment with the assumption that knowledge is power and that method is the means to this end. ... Descartes’ conception of method, like Bacon’s, is linked to this idea of knowledge as an instrument of power. ... The same could be said of Locke. Hegel can rightly claim that the instrument metaphor pervades the epistemological tradition he is seeking to transcend.
    • Merold Westphal, History and Truth in Hegel’s Phenomenology (1979), pp. 3-4
  • Hegel’s ... deepest objections to the view of knowledge as method and power, as “controlling knowledge” (Scheler, Tillich) or “the logic of domination” (Marcuse), are moral. He agrees with Schiller that “utility is the great idol of the times.”
  • Knowledge conceived as an instrument is a means to the end of power. The goal of philosophy, however, is not to gain power over the Absolute but to know it as it truly is.

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