Category Archives: Hegel

Conscience and the Perfection of Religion (Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§677-678)

Conscience holds the moral truth within itself. Instead of waiting for the day of judgement, conscience judges its own actions in the here and now. But conscience is fooling itself. The universal law that the moral self-consciousness holds within itself, … Continue reading

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Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§674-677: Heaven and the Underworld

In the ancient Greek conception of “the underworld,” the shades that dwell there are individual souls still, as they were in the world above. They are still cut off from the unknown, unknowable, and universal “fate” that determines the outcomes … Continue reading

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Notes on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit §§673-674

“Religion” is a concept that Hegel develops throughout his Phenomenology of Spirit. Here I’m going to look at the most abstract concept of religion that Hegel provides, the most minimal notion of what a religion must be in order to … Continue reading

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A Short Note on Reason’s Certainty

In Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, having “reason” means being certain that you are “all reality”, knowing that the whole of the world can be found in your “I”. This self-certainty is well-founded in a sense: idealism is true, and the … Continue reading

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What is Philosophy?

It’s a question philosophers like to ask from time to time, never arriving at a universally satisfactory answer. If you start to read Hegel, you might arrive at the notion that philosophy is the science of Spirit coming to know … Continue reading

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Spirit is the Light of the Morning

“Its shape is in fact shapelessness, the all-embracing light of the morning.” – J.N. Findlay, Analysis of section 686 of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It’s impossible to see where light begins and ends. You can see it in the green … Continue reading

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How to Begin (Notes on the Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology)

It’s no use starting with the assumption that thought and being are identical. For one thing, no one will know what you’re talking about. Hegel started by looking at the philosophical thinking of his day and showing how it was … Continue reading

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Hegel’s Democratic Spirit

The Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit is a good place to begin with Hegel. The key question he’s asking in these pages is: What is philosophy? And his answer tells us a lot about what kind of philosopher he … Continue reading

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Hegel’s Scepticism

Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is an exercise in scepticism. People who call themselves “sceptics” often pride themselves on having their own ideas about the world, and trusting the evidence of their own senses. This is better than accepting established truths … Continue reading

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Hegel: Knowledge, Desire, and Freedom

The first part of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, concerning “consciousness,” shows us how knowledge of objects is knowledge only of oneself. In other words, it describes how we reach the initial premise of “transcendental idealism” – a philosophy created by … Continue reading

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