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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For nothing predisposes the future Master to Mastery, just as nothing predisposes the future Slave to Slavery; each can freely create himself as Master or Slave.

But these are not the only advantages procured by Work; Work will also open the way to Freedom or— more exactly— to libera- tion. Citations of other works of Hegel are from the Lasson- Hoffmeister edition Leipzig: That is why it is not an idea in kojfve proper sense of the word: Anna Mudde – – Human Studies 32 2: In becoming conscious of this fact, therefore, he becomes conscious of his free- dom Freiheithis introductikn Selbstandigkeit.

Taken as Self-Consciousness as such, the Slave, too, is related to the thing in a negative introductio negating way, and he over- comes it [dialectically].

Such was the case of Saint Augustine. The desire for ‘recognition’ Anerkennungthe validation of human worth and the satisfaction of needs, propels the struggles and processes that make for historical progression. But it is true only relatively or temporarily: But this recognition is one-sided, for he does not recognize in turn the Slave’s human reality and dignity.

The Master, then, is the catalyst of the historical, anthropogenetic process. And this “internal” change puts him at variance with the World, which has not changed, and with the others, who are bound to the unchanged World.

Whence— in parentheses— the mod- ern variant of Stoicism, of which Hegel speaks in Chapter V: Truth is the revelation of a reality. But there is still more. He is conscious of himself, conscious of his human reality and dignity; and it is in this that he is essen- tially different from animals, which do not go beyond the level of simple Sentiment of self.


Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit. In particular, it will be concerned with dif- ferentiating this absolute philosophical Knowledge from another Knowledge, which also claims to be absolute— the Knowledge implied in the Christian revelation and the theology that follows from it. This form, on the contrary, is a skillful- ness that dominates only certain things, but does not dominate universal power and the totality of objective essential-reality.

The End of History and the Last Man. While the Slave still remains an “immediate,” natural, “bestial” being, the Master — as a result of his fight — is already human, “mediated.

This Work is placed between the Master and Nature. According to Kojeve, Hegel is the fulfillment of what Plato and Aristotle could only pray for; he is the modern Aristotle who responded to readlng or, I better, incorporated — the objections made to Aristotelian philoso- phy by modern natural and human science.

It was to become Master, to be Master that he risked his life, and not to live a life of pleasure. Therefore, the historical process, the historical becoming of the human being, is the product of the working Slave and not of the warlike Master. The truth of man, or the revelation of his reality, therefore, presupposes the fight to the death. Or in other words, these are entities that have not yet manifested themselves to one another as pure Being-for-itself — i.

That is why he changes himself by transforming the World. But this fear is not the same as the fear he experienced at the moment of the Fight: Hegelian Variations by Robert B. Man is what he is only to the extent that he becomes what he is; his true Being Sein is Becoming WerdenTime, History, and he becomes, he is History only in and by Action that negates the given, the Action of Fighting and of Work— of the Work that finally produces the table on which Hegel writes his Phe- nomenology, and of the Fight that is finally that Battle of Jena whose sounds he hears while writing the Phenomenology.

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

The human ideal, born in the Master, can be realized and revealed, can become Wahrheit truthonly in and by Slavery.


This I is a human individual, free with respect to the given real and historical in relation to itself.

Many kojsve these works were only published posthumously. In these circumstances, then, the fight for recognition can end only in the death of one of the adversaries — or of both together. On the other hand, if — at the start — the Slave’s freedom is recognized by no one but him- self, if, consequently, it is purely abstract, it can end in being realized and in being realized in its perfection.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

This, at least, is what Hegel says in the Introduction to the Phenomenology: In this perspective Kojeve interprets our situation; he paints a powerful picture of our problems as those of post-historical man with none of the classic tasks of history to perform, living in a universal, homogeneous state where there is virtual agreement on all the fundamental principles of science, politics, and religion.

If the fear rreading death, incarnated for ihtroduction Slave in the person of the warlike Master, is the sine qua non of historical progress, it is solely the Slave’s work that realizes and perfects it. On the one hand, he does not bind himself to what he is; he wants to transcend himself by negation of his given state.

This conception, according to which History is a dialectic or an interaction of Mastery and Slavery, permits us to understand the meaning of the division of the historical process into three great periods of very unequal lengths, incidentally. The present translation includes slightly under one half of the original volume: For there to be human Desire, then, there must first be a multiplicity of animal Desires.

Thus it is that, before realizing Freedom, the Slave imagines a series of ideologies, by which he seeks to justify himself, to justify his slavery, to reconcile the ideal of Freedom with the fact of Slavery.

If they are to be human, they must be at least two in number.