Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit is a book about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel by Alexandre Kojève. Alexandre Kojève was a Russian-born French philosopher and statesman whose philosophical Some of Kojève’s more important lectures on Hegel have been published in English in the now classic Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Jan 14, Introhution n rte Reading of Hegel: Lecttres on rle Phenomenology of Spirig . KojEve is the most thoughtful, the most learned, the most pro-.

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Thus Hegel sees the key to historical reconciliation 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.

The object, and not the subject, is what shows itself hegsl him in and by — or better, as — the act of knowing. To be sure, the Slave, like the Master, like Man in general, is determined by the real World. The form [the idea or project conceived by the Consciousness]by being established outside [of the Conscious- ness, by being introduced — through work — into the objective reality of the World], does not become, for the [working] Hegsl sciousness, an other-entity than it.

But for us or in itself [i. Taken in this sense, Begriff signifies a particular real entity or a real aspect of being, revealed by the meaning of a word — i. Yet it flows from an incomplete consideration of the arguments. Such a careful and comprehensive study which makes sense of Hegel’s very difficult texts will be of great value in America where, though his influence has been great and is ever greater, very few people read, let alone understand, him.

Freud, Lacan and the mirror-stage”. He would have to be recognized by another Master. I should like to express my thanks to Kenley and Christa Dove, who kindly made available for this edition their translation of Kojeve’s “Structure of the Phenomenology of Spirit” and their correlation of the page and line references to J. Hence, heel Desire is different from animal Desire which produces a natural being, merely living and having only a sentiment of its life in that it is directed, not toward a real, “positive,” given object, but toward another Desire.

The freely embraced possibility of death symbolises the freedom of consciousness from the dictates of self-preservation. In the Master, Being- for-itself is, for the slavish Consciousness, an other Being-for-itself; or again, Being-for-itself exists there only for the slavish Con- sciousness.

The enslaving side of the interaction with Nature falls to the lot of the Slave: Therefore it cannot serve as a basis for a Truth, which by definition is universally and eternally valid.


Hegelian experience is a different story: Hegel only has to record the final result of that “dialectical” proof and to describe it correctly. It is because Hegel hears the sounds of that battle that he can know that History is being completed or has been completed, that — consequently— his conception of the World is a total conception, that his knowledge is an absolute knowledge.

Then, by chance, the man who has an opinion, or who has created or adopted a myth, comes up against a different myth or a contrary opinion. In other words, man’s humanity “comes to light” only if he risks his animal life for the sake of his human Desire.

History and Desire in Kojève

If, then, the Desire is directed toward a “natural” non-I, the I, too, will be “natural. In this Note, he says the following: But this latter is still just one opinion among many others.

Heidegger’s Philosophy in France, He did not want to bind himself to the Master’s condition, nor does he bind himself to kijeve condition as a Slave. Because “the Concept is Time” and “man is Time,” the basis for humanity’s comprehension of the historical unfolding of the empirically existing concepts, which describe the real, is to be located in our existential experience.

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

Now, to be able hgeel transform the natural given in relation to a nownatural idea is to possess a technique. Man “feeds” on Desires as an animal feeds on real things. In the beginning, as koheve as he is not yet actually recognized by the other, it is the other that is the end of his action; it is on this other, it is on recognition by this other, that his human value and reality depend; it is in this other that the meaning of his life is condensed.

It was only in that by the efforts of Raymond Queneau, the classes on the Phenomenology of Spirit taught by Alexandre Kojeve at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes from were published under the title, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. As soon as the revealing description is correct, it can be said that ordo et connexio idearum idem est ac ordo et connexio rerum ; for the order and the connection of the real are, according to Hegel, dialectical.

Rather, insofar as this kind of literal negation of physical life is at issue here, it is present only in the ‘staking of life’ as an unrealised possibility.

To reveal this World, there- fore, is to reveal the World— that is, to reveal being in the completed totality of its spatial-temporal existence. Hegelianism Existential phenomenology Marxism. But without this, world, outside of this world, man is nothing. Now, if this is to occur, one must suppose that one of the adversaries gives in to the other and submits to him, recognizing him without being recognized by him.


He must become other than what he if. And that is why to speak of the origin of Self-Consciousness is necessarily to speak of “the autonomy and kojefe of Self-Consciousness, of Mastery and Slavery. To the extent that the scientist thinks or knows his object, what really and concretely exists is the entirety of the Object known by the Subject or of the Subject knowing the Object. For only in and by work does man finally become aware of the significance, the value, and the necessity of his experience of fearing absolute power, incarnated for him in the Master.

Now, “to recognize” him thus is “to recognize” him as his Master and to okjeve himself and to be recognized as the Master’s Slave. Now, all Desire is desire for hegep value. The Master’s superiority over Nature, founded on the risk of his life in the Fight for prestige, is realized by the fact of the Slave’s Work. All this presupposes, of course, the completion of the real Dialectic kjeve fighting and of work, that is the definitive stopping of history. His own teaching is but the distillation of more than six years devoted to nothing but hehel a single book, line by line.

It is the realization of his project, of his idea; gegel, it is he that is realized in and by this product, and consequently he contemplates himself when he contemplates it. Furthermore, even as “brick,” man is essen- tially different from a material brick: Without being predestined to it in any way, the one must fear the other, must give in to the other, must refuse to risk his life for the satisfaction of his desire for “recognition.

Now, the Master who involuntarily engenders the desire of revolu- tionary negation is the Master of the Kljeve. Cover of the first edition.

This is the ontological definition of man, his raison d’etre. 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.

Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)

And yet, as long as it remains a Master’s freedom, the situation cannot be otherwise. And thus it was the sounds of one of these Fights that Hegel heard while finishing his Phenomenology, in which he became conscious of himself by answering his question “What am I? He grasps labour as the essence of man – man’s essence in the act of proving itself: