Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit 2

Term: Spring 2010

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6022


In the second half of this year-long study of Hegel's pivotal early work our focus will be on the chapter on "Spirit." In it Hegel proposes that reflective self-understanding of ourselves as modern, self-determining subjects is a historical accomplishment, and hence that philosophical self-consciousness is necessarily historically mediated. Central to his argument is his account of the Greek world represented in Sophocles' Antigone (against which a variety of feminist critiques have been lodged); the French Revolution and the Terror; the critique of the moral philosophies of Kant and Fichte (against which a variety of Kantian counters have been lodged). The course will then turn to Hegel's account of "Religion," which raises the question of whether Hegel's system is merely a philosophical interpretation of Christian revelation or an atheistic system whose core ideals are merely anticipated by Christianity. Finally, we shall study Hegel's account of "Absolute Knowing" (his ultimate defense of idealism against epistemological realism), and his conception of philosophy as "speculative" writing in the "Preface." Consideration of contemporary accounts of Hegel's idealism by Pippin, Brandom, and others will be a leitmotif of our reflections.


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