Alexandre Kojève (). Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Source: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Basic Books, ; the final chapter only. INTRODUCTION TO THE READING OF HEGEL LECTURES ON THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT ALEXANDRE KOJEVE During the years the. among contemporary left Hegelians none has been so influential as. Alexandre Kojeve, whose brilliant Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. ()’ is viewed as .

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In the first place, if we want to compare universal history to the construction of an edifice, we must point out that men are reaving only the bricks that are used in the construction; they are also the masons who build it and the architects who conceive the plan for it, a plan, moreover, which is progressively elaborated during the construction itself.

Now, to preserve oneself in Nature without fighting against it is to live in Genuss, in Enjoy- ment. Now, the Master who involuntarily engenders the desire of revolu- tionary negation is the Master of the Slave. And lf boredom driving him to action, he is content to activate his thought in some sense. That is to say, finally, there would remain only tto man in the world, and— according to Hegel— he would no longer be, he would not be, a human being, since the human reality is nothing but the fact of the recognition of one man by another man To explain the fact of the Battle of Jena, the fact of the History that that battle completes, one must therefore posit a fourth and last irreducible premise in ihtroduction Phenomenology.

And universal history, the history of the interaction between men and of their interaction with Nature, is the history of the interaction between warlike Masters and work- ing Slaves.

Hence individual values and needs would converge upon a common settlement in which a shared human nature comprising the desires and inclinations that define humanity as such would find its satisfaction. There- fore, Desire directed toward another Desire, taken as Desire, will create, by the negating and assimilating action that satisfies it, an I introdution different hdgel the animal “I. Work that frees man is hence neces- sarily, in the beginning, the forced work of a Slave who serves an all-powerful Master, the holder of all real power.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

Truth is the revelation of a reality. And Hegel 32 Summary of the First Six Chapters of the Phenomenology of Spirit studies these conditions in the first four chapters of tthe Phe- nomenology. The making of history is no longer simply a case of reason at work in tthe world, but of man’s activity as a being who collectively produces his own being. The historical movement of this reason is one of a sequence of alienations Entfremdungen or splits, and the subsequent attempt to reconcile these divisions through a restoration of unity.


His interpretation has made Hegel an important alternative again, and showed how much we have to ho from reeading at a time when he seemed no longer of living significance.

What it reveals, therefore, is neither the Object taken independently of the Subject, nor the Subject taken independently of the Object, but only the result of the interaction of the two or, if you that interaction itself. But by acting to satisfy an instinct that is not my own, I am acting in relation to what is not — for introudction — instinct. And he is no longer merely the [abstract] concept of Consciousness, but a [real] Consciousness existing for itself, which is mediated with itself by another Consciousness, namely, by a Consciousness to whose essential-reality it belongs to be synthesized with given- being, i.

Now, by the way, reality is dialectical only because it implies a negative or negating element: Now, this artificial product is at the same time just as “autonomous,” just as objective, just as independent of man, as is the natural thing.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Lectures on the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’

However that may be, it was the boredom caused by Stoic chat- ter that forced Man to seek something else. His thought simply reflects the Real.

It becomes the aporetic method: Accordingly, the Animal attains only Selbst-gefwW, Sentiment of self, but not Selbst-beivusstsein, Sdf-Consciousness—xhxt is, it cannot speak of itself, it cannot say “I ” And this is so because the Kijeve does not really transcend itself as given— i. These materials are men.

With the final demise of Soviet Marxism, and the global hegemony of capitalism, we have finally reached the end of history. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: This man koueve first try to get rid of it: To be a man, he wanted to be recognized by another man.

As is only to be expected, his honesty and clarity lead him to pose the difficulty himself. Consequently, the presence of the Reaing of Jena in Hegel’s consciousness is of capital importance. Only the Slave can transform the World that forms him and fixes him in slavery and readibg a World that he has formed in which he will be free. Kojeve’s use of capitalization has been preserved throughout.

Thus Hegel sees the key to historical untroduction lying in the rational realisation of underlying unity, a unity that can, in time, come to connect individuals with each other and with the world in which they live.

For in some sense the reverse is true for Hegel: And thus it finally attains its end, which is the adequate and complete understanding of itself — i.

Human Desire, or better still, anthropogenetic Desire, produces a free and historical individual, conscious of his individuality, his freedom, his history, and finally, his historicity.

But, thereoy, the essen- tial constituent-element — i. For what changes as a result of Work is not only the natural World; it erading also— and even especially— Man himself. The End of History and the Last Man.


The risk itself is what counts, and it does not matter whether a stone ax or a machine gun is being used. The relation of the introdiction Self-Consciousnesses, therefore, is determined in such a way that they come to light — each for itself and one for the other — through the fight for life and death.

Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)

In Plato and probably already in Socrates all this became conscious. If they are to be human, they must be at least two in number. From him one can learn both the implications and the necessary presuppositions of historicist philosophy; he elaborates what the world must be like if terms such as freedom, work, and creativity are to have a rational content and be parts of a coherent under- standing.

Thus, this Being-for-itself exists in the slavish Consciousness.

But [in the case we are studying] the other-entity, too, is a Self-Consciousness; a human-individual comes face to face with a human-individual. In this Note, he says the following: But, he is Master of the Slave only because he previously freed himself from Nature and from his own nature by risking his life in a fight for pure prestige, which — as such — is not at all “natural. Indeed, if all men were as I have just said, every Fight for prestige would end in the death of at least one of the adversaries.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel – Wikipedia

This political moment takes the form of law, which confers universal recognition upon all individuals, thereby satisfying the particular individual’s desire to be affirmed as an equal amongst others.

Hence scientific thought does not attain its truth; there is no scientific truth in the strong and proper sense of the go. Thus, the Master no longer needs to make any effort to satisfy his natural desires. By itself, this Desire constitutes only the Sentiment of self. Enlightenment philosophy, the philosophy of Hegel’s own time, is the latest and most sophisticated attempt to reconcile these divisions through reason alone, to freely find man’s hetel amongst others and the universe as a whole.

In fact, Man can be satisfied only by action. It is precisely because of this lack of a fully constituted being that man experiences or, more properly is nothing other than desire. Being can be revealed by Thought; there is a Thought in Being and of Being, only because T is dialectical; i.