GEORG HEGEL QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from Phenomenology of Spirit, "The Master-Slave Dialectic"; from Lectures on Fine Art (626-45).

From Phenomenology of Spirit, "The Master-Slave Dialectic" (1807)

1. What is required, according to Hegel, for "self-certainty"? Why is it necessary in this regard that there should be a "life-and-death struggle" in which "each must seek the other's death"? (632, paragraph 187)

2. How does Hegel characterize the immediate aftermath of this "life-and-death struggle"? How does he describe the two kinds of consciousness that he calls "lord {Herr} and bondsman {Knecht}"? (633, par. 189)

3. How do the lord and bondsman, respectively, relate to the "thing"? What does laboring or "work{ing} at" the thing turn out to be vital to the bondsman's consciousness? (633, par 190)

4. After the struggle, what contradiction or problem besets the lord's attempt to achieve self-certainty through his conquest of the one now called the bondsman? (634 par 191-92)

5. How does the bondsman's servitude lead to the surprising development of "a truly independent consciousness? (634-35, par 193-94)

6. How is it, further, that "consciousness qua worker, comes to see in the independent being {of the object} its own independence"? In other words, how, according to Hegel, does work, as "formative activity," allow the bondsman to produce his own independent identity? (635-36, par. 195-96)

7. We have read only a few selections by Kant and Hegel, but what similarities and differences can you find in the two philosophers' way of examining individual consciousness or identity? (general question, possible paper topic)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.