E491 GEORG HEGEL QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from Phenomenology of Spirit, "The Master-Slave Dialectic" (1807); 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)

From Lectures on Fine Art (1835-38)

8. How does Hegel moderate between those who say that art is merely a skill, and those who say that art is entirely a production of genius and not "a product of general human activity" (637)

9. Why, according to Hegel, is art superior to the works of nature? From what "universal and absolute need" (639) does it spring, and how, on 640, does that need link it to "all acting and knowing"? (638-40)

10. What is the first or "symbolic form of art" In what lies its chief value? What "double defect" leads to its giving way to the classical stage of art? (641-42)

11. How does the second or "classical art-form" do away with the defects of the first form? How does it achieve such progress? (642)

12. Nonetheless, what defect does classical art's success in relating Idea and shape lead to? How does Hegel define "spirit" (643), and how, according to Hegel, must classical artists have conceived of spirit when they represented it in "sensuously concrete form"? (642-43)

13. How does the third or "romantic form of art" solve the problem with classical art? How does its success amount to "the self-transcendence of art in the form of art itself" (643-44)

14. Again, how does romantic art's success also lead it to reach its point of failure? How is this problem similar to that of symbolic art? But what, according to Hegel, is "the essential difference" between the respective failures? (644)

15. Based on our selections, explain how Hegel's attitude towards the link between humanity and nature compares to Kant's. (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.