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Phenomenology Of Mind: Upholding The Philosophy Essay

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Updated: Dec 26th, 2018

Introduction

Hegel’s interpretation of the world in his Phenomenology of Mind focuses on the ‘idealist form’. He asserts that his concept of idealism requires a subject to assume an identity of both thought and being in order to acquire an understanding of the world. This reasoning capacity possessed by the subject creates an innate knowledge that is known as ‘absolute idealism’. This paper supports Hegel’s argument based on three premises.

First, the notion that man is reduced to self-consciousness and that the human consciousness is identified with objectivity is brought to fore. Secondly, the author of this paper agrees with Hegel on the issue that it is actually the role of philosophy to resolve the differences within the human consciousness through Absolutism. Finally, the fact that the course of negation ensures that the free will of existence paves way for a conventional correlation with other selves in an effective unity.

Objection To The Notion That Man Is Reduced To Self-Consciousness

Hegel maintains that consciousness is not affronted by mere alienated objectivity but rather by ‘objectivity as such’ with the result that the consciousness itself becomes estranged from that objectivity. Karl Marx on the other hand seeks to preserve the thought of estrangement in a more determinate logic. According to Marx, what brings about the alienated objectivity surrounds the circumstances in which the particular alienation has occurred.

It is therefore not as a consequence of nature of objectivity as such that it has assumed the ‘peculiar’ eminence. Marx’s contention has elicited some reactions from his fellow philosophers regarding the notion brought to fore by Hegel. Consciousness is affronted by objectivity as such. According to them, it equates entities to something alien or ‘other’. The advancement of the phenomenology portrays the exclusion of such objectivity.

Hegel states that in progressing towards its true being, consciousness will eventually eliminate the facade of being burdened with something alien. Therefore, it is contended that Hegel’s objectivity is as a result of consciousness as an alien or ‘other’ hence something that is inherently ‘alienated’. There is also the connotation that Hegel’s phenomenology is antagonistic to objectivity. The connotation relies on the assertion by Hegel that consciousness is affronted by objectivity as such.

Reply To The Objection That Man Is Reduced To Self-Consciousness

The problem with the above objection is the fact that it comes to an erroneous conclusion from this contention about Hegel’s opening argument.

The fact that objectivity is seen to start at the beginning as alien does not necessary imply that eliminating the façade of being burdened with an alien entity gives way to the obliteration of objectivity as such. It is actually possible that the burden is eliminated without getting rid of objectivity as well. Marx himself does not expressly contend that the ultimate solution to entities from which we are alienated is by only getting rid of them.

Rather, the alienation can be conquered and as a result brought to an agreement with the entities in question. For example, in his early works, Marx illustrates how individuals have become alienated from their property as a result of privatization. His solution is to reinstate the individuals’ cherished connections to their property in a rather rational manner. Why is Hegel faulted in his attempt to treat alienation in that same manner?

That is, as something to be conquered without necessarily having to eliminate the other. The only obvious distinction between the two philosophers is that Marx on the one hand presupposes that a non-alienated situation precedes the alienation such that the prior notion of harmony seems to be the only acceptable and genuine solution.

For Marx therefore, he probably assumes that for Hegel’s consciousness to be burdened with something alien, it means that Hegel actually believes this alienation to be intrinsic in objectivity as such. Nonetheless, though it seems that Hegel implies that objectivity is actually a problem, this is not the case. Taking objectivity and alienation as primarily coextensive does not necessarily mean that objectivity and alienation should be treated as such.

The course taken by consciousness to eliminate the façade of being burdened with something ‘other’ as contended in the objection is also considered. In the phenomenology of Mind, this course assumes the structure of cognition that leads to and becomes a component of ‘absolute knowledge’. This appears to be somewhat logical. Entities will appear alien precisely to the point that they become rationally incomprehensible to us.

Therefore, for this alienation to be conquered, it is not of necessity to eliminate the entities but rather familiarize ourselves with them. Such knowledge safeguards the objectivity of what is actually ‘known’ despite its primary peculiarity. Taken this way, it is therefore imperative to argue that phenomenology does not in itself encourage the connotation raised in the objection.

The main issue with the objection is the fact that it actually considers Hegel to be furnishing us with common information of how consciousness correlates to objectivity. As a matter of fact, Hegel believes that consciousness only correlates to the theistic objectivity. Therefore, by overcoming the entity of consciousness, Hegel refers only to religious consciousness. Therefore, this response supports Hegel’s conclusion that man is reduced to the notion of self consciousness.

Objection To The Notion That Philosophy Reconciles Human Consciousness

On the issue of idealism, Hegel maintains that resistance and separation need to be reconciled and that the role of reconciliation falls on philosophy by inception of Absolute. Kant argues that pure concepts cannot be taken as the components of reality. For him, he attributes the importance of pure concepts to epistemology rather than metaphysics. According to him, he states that knowledge entail the sensory component, in which he argues that the mind remains inactive, and the rational component that consist of an active synthesized mind.

Therefore, our knowledge is influenced in part by the mind and thought. Kant’s transcendental idealism entail considering the fact that the mind is only aware of only phenomena that inherently appear within it and cannot be acknowledged at first hand. He seeks to bridge rationalism and empiricism. Rationalism allows knowledge to be obtained solely by reason before an experience while empiricism provides that knowledge is achieved through senses only after an experience.

It is therefore his contention that whilst the sensory experience allows us to be aware of what is going on around us, it is also possible to ascertain the structure that they must assume before that particular experience. According to him, there exist ‘things in themselves’ other than mere awareness and thoughts in our minds.

Kant’s proponents argue that Hegel’s disagreement with Kant’s epistemology emanates from Kant’s comprehension of consciousness as a sense of mind. If consciousness is taken to be a sense of mind, then it would result to the assessment of its own sense leading to an infinite degeneration. Instead, Hegel maintains that consciousness is obviously progressive and an idea in itself. The notion that consciousness occurs from some meticulous substance that is present in our representation is thereby discarded.

It is contended that self-consciousness is not as a result of associating each and every representation with consciousness. Rather, the same is achieved if the representations are systematically adjoined to each other on the one hand and being conscious of their fusion on the other. Hence, it is only through the combination of various representations in a single consciousness that leads to the depiction of identity of consciousness.

Accordingly, it is contended that space and time are the pure structures of intuition. If diverse structures of intuition are achieved, then the experiences of the human being will have to compose a harmonious universe so as to attain self consciousness.

Further, the question that arises on the concept of the finite and infinite is whether the two can be enjoined without disbanding each other. The gap that seem to separate the two concepts inevitably tends to amalgamate and in the process reduce one of them. This tends to deny the significance of each other.

Reply To Objection That Philosophy Reconciles Human Consciousness

The objection raised above is generally weak and cannot be fathomed. The mind associates itself with resistances, disagreements and separation while reason seeks to conquer these in various cultural-historical epochs. The Absolute therefore gives way to consciousness.

In Schelling view, if Absolute is to be transformed, the reflection of the predicament must be put into consideration. He poses that the reflection acts as a perceptive and therefore brings out resistance and separation. Perception should therefore be enjoined with transcendental intuition. By distinguishing oneself from Schelling view, it is important to note that transcendental intuition does not necessarily mean supernatural intuition. It is based on reason.

Through the explanation of human reason, Hegel creates a clear definition of both nature and spirit. This is what Hegel refers to as the ‘philosophy of right’. Through this philosophy, an interrelationship between the subjects through a mutual recognition is achieved.

This concept seeks to verify the quest for human reason in a bid to understand their subjective existence within an object. Further, Hegel takes different approach from his predecessors by emphasizing the need to understand the notions of reality and practicability hence solidifying his argument.

The concept of idealism that Hegel brings out is well articulated and his argument on the same is fully supported. It is not in doubt that the purpose of integrating a philosophical query and knowledge is to generate an idea. His argument that various concepts and phenomena need to be explained and that the explanation is given in form of science is upheld.

Philosophy is therefore equated to science. This is justified in the fact that it is important to create a valuable hierarchy of things that validates the origin of each and every object and subject. His argument also brings to fore the concept of teleological explanation that develops the idealism approach.

The idealism approach explains the various types of consciousness that explains the phenomena of mind. The concept of idealism that Hegel brings out is well articulated and his argument on the same is fully supported. It is not in doubt that the purpose of integrating a philosophical query and knowledge is to generate an idea. It is for this reason that various concepts and phenomena need to be explained and the explanation given in form of science.

Philosophy is therefore equated to science. This is justified in the fact that it is important to create a valuable hierarchy of things that validates the origin of each and every object and subject. This assertion brings to fore the concept of teleological explanation that develops the idealism approach. The idealism approach therefore explains the various types of consciousness that explains the phenomena of mind.

Objection To The Notion That Negation Is The Producing Principle

Though Hegel is commended for portraying negativity as a self-sufficient positive, his argument is said to be conventional and ideally stuck at the juncture of the ‘negation of the negation’. Marx argues that Hegel fails to keep his own promise of ensuring a true notion of negation of the negation. This is attributed to the fact that the notion in itself is lacking and therefore inadequate.

The speculation and self-substantiation inherent in the negation of the negation is a speculation that is in itself uncertain and one that is still distraught with its opposing self. That is, the notion in itself seeks some kind of verification that is not obtainable through its own subsistence. This line of argument is of particular concern as it permits a more optimistic elucidation in Hegel’s argument.

The problem of Hegel’s notion of negation is therefore attributed to atheism. The trouble with atheism is that as an inference to human race, it is still integrated with the theism that that is so against. According to Marx, the thought of the Supreme Being (God) is the original negation and atheism negates this negation. What is then required is to precede atheism to achieve the constructive consciousness.

Reply To The Objection That Negation Is The Producing Principle

The objection raised to the effect that atheistic humanism should be rejected as it is infatuated with its opposite does not hold water. Consciousness is in itself self-motivating and regularly conceives a dissimilarity that attempts to conquer that same dissimilarity. In the event that consciousness, in the process of this self-assessment, comes to the realization that the two moments cannot match up, it becomes obvious that it has to modify its data in order to achieve its precision.

Nevertheless, the two moments are so intertwined such that the modification of one automatically modifies the other. Thus, both the principle and knowledge becomes unsuccessful hence creating a new substance. The substance created is said to portray itself as ‘not in-itself’. Though the substance is acknowledged, consciousness perceives it as being ‘not in-itself’ hence the principle fails.

The unsuccessful nature is what is known as the negation of consciousness. This particular negation is what Hegel calls the determinate negation. The fact that consciousness perceives itself as fictitious does not necessarily render it a negative process. The negation therefore becomes a negation in itself. The new creation of consciousness therefore highlights the nature of total knowledge itself.

The Theoretical Observation

One of the main theoretical observations evident in Hegel’s discussion is the notion of self-consciousness. He equates phenomenology to the discipline of consciousness. It is observed that Hegel commences with natural intuitive consciousness and then identifies its dialectical progression until it attains absolute knowledge. According to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind, self-consciousness assumes the structure of desire.

He observes that the ‘self’ interests itself with the exterior entities but assumes some kind of satisfaction through the distinctiveness of desire. However, this approach of desire disintegrates when other selves are involved. The occurrence of the ‘other’ therefore becomes important in creating self-consciousness. A developed self-consciousness can only be achieved when the ‘self’ identifies itself and other selves.

The occurrence of the other self thus serves as a provision for self-consciousness. Reason is also brought to being by a fusion of consciousness. He develops the concept of reason through a sequence of dialectical stages. In the first stage, reason achieves an indication of its own likeness in nature. Secondly, the science of formal logic and pragmatic psychology is implanted in it and finally, as a manifestation in itself in various aspects of the universe.

This argument takes a significant approach in explaining the power of consciousness through reason in the society. This self-consciousness embodies the concept of free will that acts as a unifying factor. To understand Hegel’s argument, it is better to dwell on how most things are often defined. All definitions, it is argued, rely on the dichotomy of words. Hegel takes a different approach.

In his phenomenology of spirit, he examines the concept through the notion of self-consciousness. In his argument, he contends that humans are able to learn more about themselves based on their relationships and continues to equate self-consciousness to desire. He asserts that self-definition should be taken as a consummation of self acceptance as opposed to a restraint against each other. What Hegel contends here is that definition is based on the freedom of self-transcendence.

Hegel draws the progression of consciousness from the barbaric form that fails to meet the threshold of ‘realism’. For example, the society is placed under the leadership of a master and his servants. Each and every one of them needs to possess a kind of consciousness in order to coexist. The master therefore assumes mastery self-consciousness.

This consciousness helps him to draw some kind of attention to himself hence bringing with it a kind of fear to the outside world. The servant who assumes the servant self-consciousness is obedient in nature and learns to endure all the hardship that comes with his position.

Significance Of The Argument

The dialectic of master and slave is an important aspect in towards the achievement of self-conscious liberty. This dialectic depicts the account of the self consciousness achieved through interpersonal affiliations experienced in the course of labour. The argument plays a significant role in building the social and individual development that brings to light the need of a civil society policy. This policy is created in order to manage the predisposition towards alienation and poverty in the modern society.

Hegel’s assertion gives an option to the rising disagreements and disasters of market societies in the current state. His argument confronts the eccentric and ahistorical assumptions of the contemporary laissez-faire convention. A clear understanding of Hegel’s theory furnishes us with a practical idea for future labour system. It integrates an evaluation of the current catastrophic Classical liberalism and modern market.

Conclusion

The Phenomenology of mind is considered to be one of the greatest works done by Hegel. This paper supports the argument presented in his work and relates the said arguments to our present lives. His notion of creating an ‘ideal’ model is based on logical science. His central purpose in this work is to establish a ‘determinate being’ through positive means as opposed to negation of self-consciousness. He therefore upholds the notion of freedom to act as a justification to our fundamental beliefs in matters of equality and reason.

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IvyPanda. (2018, December 26). Phenomenology Of Mind: Upholding The Philosophy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/phenomenology-of-mind-upholding-the-philosophy-2/

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Phenomenology Of Mind: Upholding The Philosophy." December 26, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/phenomenology-of-mind-upholding-the-philosophy-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Phenomenology Of Mind: Upholding The Philosophy'. 26 December.

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