Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is definitely one of the harder pieces we have read so far. However, reading it aloud in my room alone has helped me understand the gist of his arguments of Here, Now, and I. One thing I found interesting is that he uses the tree example, and this made me think of the common philosophical question “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to here it, does it still make a sound?” And I argue that if Hegel was asked this question, he would have said no. Hegel proposes the idea of “sense-certainty” and how it governs truth and understanding of all objects presented to us. So if no one was in the woods when the tree fell, then the sound would not be appreciated with sense-certainty. “The force of its truth this lies in the ‘I’, in the immediacy of my seeing, hearing, and so on…” (101). If no one immediately heard the noise, then there was no noise. This seems like it would be untrue, considering the tree fell and physically produced waves that could be received by a person as sound. But with no one there to immediately hear the noise, technically there was no sound because there was no reception.
Also, when the sound occurred must be taken into account. I could go into the woods, notice a fallen tree, and infer there must have been a loud sound. However, “Now is just this; to be no more just when it is” (106). With this idea in mind, the tree I am looking at now is just a fallen tree because that’s what it is now and what I am perceiving, regardless of what it once was or the noise it made when it fell. Because I am not currently experiencing the act of the tree falling, I cannot say with any sense-certainty that it made a noise, because it is not now, and I can only appreciate just what is.
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