Robert Stern (2002), Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit
Stephen Houlgate (2012), Hegel’s ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’: A Reader’s Guide
Frederick Beiser (2005), Hegel (有中译，可读性强)
Df: Sense-certainty as a form of consciousness that thinks the best way to gain knowledge of the world is to experience it directly or intuitively, without applying concepts to it.
It is immediate rather than mediated knowledge, which involves apprehension rather than comprehension.
The most elementary and fundamental way.
Epistemic foundationalism: posits direct intuitive experience as giving us the kind of unshakeable hook up to the world on which knowledge is build
Empiricism: intuitive knowledge is prior to conceptual knowledge, because empirical concepts are learned and get their meaning by being linked to objects as they are giving in experience
Realism: if the mind is not to distort or create the world, it needs to be in a position to gain access to the world in a passive manner without the mediation of conceptual activity, so the kind of direct experience envisaged by sense-certainty must be fundamental.
Hegel associates all three positions
But he has a more fundamental concern
Sense-certainty grasps a thing as an individual, without any abstraction.
concrete, singular entities
For this reason sense-certainty prioritize the one-to-one relation of direct experience over the generality and abstractness of thought, and so treats apprehension as more fundamental than comprehension.
Hegel emphasizes that for SC it is the individuality of the object that is taken to be ontologically fundamental
SC(Aconceptual view): it thinks that it will grasp what constitutes the unique essence of the thing as an individual only if it does not use concepts in knowing that individual.
For SC, concepts can be applied to many different things, and so cannot tell us about the thing qua individual. —> thingness –>this unique nature of the individual is claimed to be irreducible to any shareable qualities and so is said to be ontologically prior to any such qualities
If we bring in concepts, we bring in general terms that can only take us away from knowing the object in its singularity.
Hegel’s central strategy against SC us to argue that:
- SC grasps in experience is not unique to the individual object, so that apprehension has no advantage over conception
- SC therefore cannot claim that it is justified in treating the individual as a ‘this’ over and above its shared properties, so that the epistemic and metaphysical priority of the individual is hereby undermined.
“What is the This”?
Hegel proceeds to argue: that ‘existing here-and-now’ is far from unique to the object, as different times and places can come to be ‘here and now’, and thus so can different things; SC has therefore failed to acquire knowledge of the object in its singular individuality, but only of a property that can belong to many individuals, and hence is universal.
A dilemma for SC:
- The first option is that SC may insist that knowledge of the object requires that we grasp its unique essence; but then it must allow that such knowledge is unattainable.
- The section option is that SC may deny that the object has any such unique essence, in which case there is no reason not to use concepts in seeking knowledge, and so no grounds for prioritizing sense-certainty as an epistemic position.
In order to avoid this difficulty, SC then asserts the unique individuality of the object it is experiencing here and now by trying to ignore the existence of any other such objects, times and places.
Now, Here, I, and This do not contain a singularity but it is a plurality.
As Marcuse has put it, “sense-experience has thus itself demonstrated that its real content is not the particular but the universal.”
Assuming rather than denying our capacity to grasp individuals, Hegel therefore concludes that knowledge of individuals cannot require us to go beyond universality in the way sense-certainty supposes.
Ch 2 perception
Now consciousness is ready to conceive of individuals as being constituted by characteristics they have in common with other individuals, and so think in terms of universality as well as individuality.
Perception thus treats each individual as a co-instantiation of some collection of property-instances in a single spatial region.
A ‘bundle view’ of the object as an ‘Also’: 客体是各种漠不相关的特性的惰性组合
Hegel now argues that this view proves unstable, and gives rise to its opposite, which takes the object to be a ‘One’, that is, a unified substance or substratum over and above its properties
Hegel may be understood as suggesting that there is something unsatisfactory in the bundle view of the object as a co-instantiation of property instances as soon as we realize that these properties are distinct from one another, as they must be if they are to be determinate.
For it then appears that we cannot identify this individual this these properties, for then it would be many and not one.
We may then distinguish the thing as one from the properties as many, at which point we have arrived at the substratum/attribute view, of universals as predicates inhering in the individual things.
Thus, Hegel uses the one/many problem to get us from the bundle view to the substratum/attribute view.
Hegel think we must start with a deeper conception of universality, because consciousness oscillate between the one conception and the other.
How perception responses to this two-fold way of viewing the object?
Perception is torn between on the one hand making the object independent of its plurality of properties, and treating them as secondary: “甜（嘴巴），白（眼睛），硬（手）”
Corresponding to this two-fold view of the object, there is a two-fold of the role of the subject, as either breaking up the unity of the object into a plurality of properties, or as holding together the plurality in to a unity.
Distinction between essential and inessential collapses
The conception of perception is a limited one because it treats universals as simple sensuous property instances which has led it to reduce the object to a plurality of unrelated attributes.
Ch3 force and the understanding
In this chapter, consciousness tries to get round this difficulty by setting aside common-sense ontology, and moving to a metaphysical picture that replaces the objects of ordinary sense experience with the very different conception of the world presented to use by the natural sciences, where the ‘manifest image’ of things and properties is sed aside in favour of the ‘scientific image’ of the world favoured by physics, in which this common-sense ontology is rejected.
The notion of force
While he sees how in one sense the notion of force is attractive, in that it appears to get over the aporia faced by the common-sense conception of things and properties, he also tries to show how this ‘scientific image’ is itself problematic, in so far as it takes us too far away from the common-sense conception, and so once again leads to a puzzle concerning individuality and universality.
Reality is now conceived of as an interconnected whole of internally related forces.
This interconnectedness is not visible to us directly in the world given to sense experience, where it appears that reality consists of distinct entities; but this pattern is now taken by consciousness to be merely the appearance of [a more holistic structure of internally connected force].
Consciousness then discovers that a price must be paid if it attempts to escape the puzzles that arise out of our ordinary conception of the world by moving to the two-tier view adopted by the scientific theorist:
‘the inner world is, for consciousness, still a pure beyond, because consciousness does not yet find itself in it. It is empty, for it is merely the nothingness of appearance, and positively the simple or unitary universal. ‘ (PS:88)
Although moving from the manifest to the scientific image may help us escape the aporia of perception, the bifurcation in our world-view this entails creates as many problem as it solves, as once we go below the level of empirical phenomena, it becomes harder to defend the claim that we have cognitive access to this underlying reality, or to know what we can say about it: it thus becomes a ‘super-sensible beyond’, outside the reach of our intellectual power.
Thus, it seems that the scientific theorist cannot give us grounds for taking his picture of the world seriously from an ontological point of view, unless he can give grounds for taking this picture to be true
The understanding attempts to render this super-sensible realm less mysterious by identifying it with the laws that govern the natural phenomena, which both stand above the phenomena and are instantiated in them.
Hegel sees difficulties here:
- He argues that on this conception of law, it is natural for the understanding to look for some way of unifying its laws into a unified theory; but, “when the laws thus coincide, they lose their specific character. The law becomes more and more superficial, and as a result what is found is, in fact, not the unity of these specific laws, but a law which leaves out their specific character.”(PS:91) In other words, in becoming unified the laws become more general, and in becoming more general they lose their applicability to the concrete world.
- He argues that an understanding of the world in terms of laws is incomplete, because it provides no answer to the question of why these laws obtain, when it appears that the universe could have obeyed other laws.(PS:93)
- He claims that while laws may help us to think about phenomena in general terms, they describe rather than properly explain.(PS:94-5)
Thus, whereas the understanding began with a conception of forces and laws as universals underlying the particular objects as they appear to us, it now sees that without the particularity of empirical phenomena, there would be no content to our talk of general laws; its claim to have established the priority of universality over particularity in this respect has therefore proved unstable.
The general point seems to be that once the understanding posits a super-sensible world over and above the one apparent to ordinary experience, it then become very hard for consciousness to say what the world is really like “in itself’.
The dualism of the understanding can be overcome dialectically in the concept of the infinite.
Transition to self-consciences
1. 康德主义的解读 （realism to idealism）
What happens after the aporia of the inverted world is that consciousness comes to accept that ”the essence of appearances, the origin of the unity and other of appearances, is not some beyond, or some law like generalization, but the self-conscious activity of the understanding itself” (Pippin 1989:13 9).
The object turns out to be constructed by the subject
2. 中立解读 (theory to practice)
In theorizing we have a detached view of world, and so abstract from our position as subject in the world, whereas in practical activity we act on the world an so put ourselves as subjects at the center of things. (Kojeve 1969:37-8 ‘Thus, a new journey starts here – the practical journey of self-consciences that has theoretically’ ‘set itself on one side’)
The theoretical attitude we have our focus on the object, while in the practical one we subordinate the object to the subject.
Consciousness now see the world as something that the subject can engage with directly through its practical relation to it, as nothing but a vehicle for its self-expression.
Ch 4 self-consciousness
Hegel wants to show that both attitudes are one-sided:
- Consciousness was one-sided because it tried to displace itself from the world and take up a purely objective stance.
- Self-consciousness is one-sided because it tries to impose itself on the world too strongly, so the self/world distinction collapses and self-consciouness is reduced to ‘the motionless tautology of I am I’.
The one-sidedness of self-consciousness cannot properly resolve the dialectic of universal and individual in the relation to itself as subject, and the conception it has of its own identity.
Thus, as self-consciousness begins by interacting with the world at the level of desire, it finds the ‘dull northern fog’ has lifted to reveal a world teeming with living things
At the beginning, self-consciousness conceives of itself as more than a merely animal consciousness
This practical relation takes the form of desire, in which the subject exerts itself as a kind of pure will, where any sense of estrangement from the world is centered by the destruction of the object, and so by a negation of its otherness in a literal sense.
Thus, with desire the subject attempts to preserve its individuality by negating the world around it.
the destruction of the object
Once this object is destroyed, the subject has nothing over which to exert its control and so demonstrate it individuality.
The subject must therefore find itself another object to destroy, again and again.
This will happen when the single self-consciousness sees the world as containing other self-consciousness; for in seeing that others are selves like it, and in thereby recognizing itself in them, the subject is no longer faced by sheer otherness, where only by negating the world can the subject dint itself in it.
As Hegel makes clear, when the self-conscious subject is able to see ‘itself in the other’, we will have arrived at a decisive turning-point in the journey of consciousness through the P, after which consciousness while be capable of a much more balanced outlook than has been achieved hitherto.
Each self-consciousness must acknowledge the other as an autonomous subject, ‘as something that has an independent existence of its own,
therefore, it cannot utilize for its own purposes, if that object does not of its own accord do what the first does to it.’ (the Kantian echoes of 人是目的，不是手段)
Moreover, each self-consciousness must also realize and accept that its well-being and identity as a subject is bound up with how it is seen by the other self-consciousness.
If recognition is reciprocal, then neither side need fear that by acknowledging the other and feeling itself bound to it.
The life and death struggle
At first, it will exhibit the side of the inequality of the two, or the splitting-up of the middle term into the extremes which, as extreme, are opposed to one another, one being only recognized, the other only recognizing.
At this stage, the single self-consciousness is not yet able to achieve a stable sense of its own identity in the face of the other self-consciousness: (ES:SS403Z)
In this determination lies the tremendous contradiction
- The I is wholly universal, absolutely pervasive, and interrupted by no limit, it the universal essence common to all men, the two mutually related selves therefore constituting one identity
- They are also two selves rigidly and unyieldingly confronting each other, each existing as a reflection-into-self, as absolutely distinct from and impenetrable by other.
A: desire ->impose will on objects ->impose will on subjects -> each tries to impose will on the other ->life and death struggle between subjects
B: desire ->impose will on objects -> move from desire to one-sided recognition ->life and death struggle, as one subject seeks to get recognition from other without giving anything in return
C: desire ->impose will on objects -> move from desire to recognition -> recognition by other requires staking life, and recognition of their requires testing other for willingness to stake life -> life and death struggle