Phenomenology of Spirit

From Academic Kids

The work called in German "Phänomenologie des Geistes" (1807) has multiple names in English, due to the translation of the German "Geist" variously as "spirit" and "mind". The most important philosophical work of Hegel, it explores the concept of Geist, asking how it is that it can conceive of itself and of the world, and in the process lays out an entire system of metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. Considered one of Hegel's more radical works, it introduces his famous dialectic of the lord and the bondsman. To become free every man must engage in a life-death struggle. Those that shirk away from this struggle, those that live in fear of losing their life, become the bondsman under the domination of the lord. However, by working and laboring on the world the bondsman begins to understand its temporal nature and sees his own role in changing it, while the lord essentially loses the world by failing to engage it except through his servantile bondmen. This, for example, is at the root of the lord's faculty of desire-- the only way in which he relates to the world is not by working on it and altering it, but by desiring something that he may have enough power to acquire. The bondsman, according to Hegel, will oneday rise up and realize that this life is nothing to him, thus risking his life and usurping power from the lord. Only by risking one's life is one able to achieve freedom in the full Hegelian sense.

External Links

Electronic versions of the English translation of Hegel's Phenomology of Mind are available at:

Template:Philo-stub

fr:Phénoménologie de l'esprit

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