Both Hegel and Freud venture to explain the consciousness and how we interpret our surroundings. In Freud’s piece, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, he explains how we interact with internal and external events in terms of the id, ego, and super ego, while Hegel explains his ideas in Sense Certainty using the all-excompassing ‘I’. Continue reading →
Posted in Contemporary Philosophy, Experience, Knowledge
Tagged Alexia, Consciousness, ego, freud, hegel, I, id, sense certainty, super ego
“Self consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.”(Phenomenology of the Spirit 111).
In his Phenomenology of the Spirit Hegel describes consciousness as an independent thing whose independence is only achieved through the acknowledgment of its own dependence on outside objects and the subsequent struggle to negate this “self externality” in order to achieve true independence (Phenomenology of the Spirit 114). He retells this elaborate genesis as a dramatic “life and death struggle”, in the story of the Lord and the Bondsman where each must engage in this struggle in order to “raise their certainty of being” (Phenomenology of the Spirit 113). In both stories one thing is clear: in order to develop a truly independent consciousness it is essential to first acknowledge and be acknowledged by another consciousnesses. In other words, we need the recognition of other consciousnesses — this is the first step to attaining our own freedom. Continue reading →
In discussions about identity, philosophers often mention the influence of others on a self. In our most recent readings about self-consciousness, Hegel says, “Self-consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.” He then goes into a discussion of the interaction between two beings and how the interaction is what makes them fully self-conscious. So if this reaction never existed, what would be the result?
Besides philosophy, this issue is analyzed from a sociological perspective in the cases of feral children. One of the first cases was in 1800 when a boy who had been living in the woods his whole life was discovered Continue reading →
Hegel’s work on sense-certainty and the self-consciousness of others is a subject he is noted for in the scholarly world. The way he elaborates on his theories is similar to that of Plato, in which an extended metaphor is applied in order to make it easier to understand. In Hegel, the metaphor is placed between the relationships of a Bondsman to his Lord.
After reading the ending paragraphs of the section, it was almost obvious that I formed a relation to the metaphor of the bondsmen in Hegel, to the role of the proletariat in Marxist Theory. In Hegel, the bon Continue reading →
A recent picture of a dress has taken the internet by storm. Someone posted a picture of a dress online and many people view the dress as blue and gold and a comparable amount of people view the dress as white and black. This simple dress sparked hot disputes all over the world. Although this discussion of the optical illusion dress seems totally irrelevant to our discussion of knowledge, as Megan Garber points out in her article in the Atlantic, it creates a point of discussion where people discuss where they fit into the world. Continue reading →
Hegel’s concept of sense-certainty in Phenomenology of Spirit reminds me of many others concepts, including experience and embodied cognition (psychology). “Certainty as a connection is an immediate pure connection: consciousness is “I”, nothing more, a pure “This” (91), Hegel emphasizes the importance of direct connection to something in order to verify its own truth. For experience, we are sure that we see what actually happens. In Hegel’s terminology, we sense this “Now”, and our “I” confirm that the truth is “Here”. Beside experience, embodied cognition somewhat illustrates Hegel’s point. Embodied cognition focuses on human behaviors and thoughts based on the environments. Let’s consider Hegel’s usage of the tree falling into the woods. The noise does not exist when there is no one around it, for we cannot certainly say that it is there without being there. One condition of hearing the truthful sound is being there in the woods. Our body has to show our mind that we hear (sense) the sound (certainty).
“But what has been, is not; I set aside the second truth, its having been, its supersession, and thereby negate the negation of the “Now”, and thus return the first assertion, that the “Now” is” (107) Does the truth change? Answer: Yes, it does. We experience and see changes every day. Our body changes in many small ways, and we can say that we are physically not the same person we were yesterday, or even a minute ago. Yet, there are many things that make up the truth of one thing as Hegel would argue. A truth is not simple, but contains many other things. For example, one person reads for five hours straight. What is the absolute truth? In this case, he tells himself that it is him cramming for his exam. His body (embodied cognition once again) assigns this intense condition as cramming for an exam. However, after the exam, he reads books for eight hours straight. Does it mean that he still studies according to his experience/embodied cognition? In a way, he does. In a way, he does not. The truth is not what it seems. Did you just read all I wrote? Are you sure that you did not imagine hearing what I just wrote?
A common theme among the readings is the concept of the senses and how they relate to knowledge. In Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel coins the term sense-certainty as something that “immediately appears as the richest kind of knowledge” and as “a knowledge of infinite wealth for which no bounds can be found,” (I.91). The way I interpreted this statement was by noting how important our senses are in determining what things are and therefore gaining knowledge. Knowledge gained through the senses (i.e., sight, smell, touch, taste, feel) provides the most natural and most hands-on experience in an attempt to identity and later understand an object.
Another quote that stands out to me is the one when Hegel says “But, in the event, this very certainly proves itself the most abstract and poorest truth” (I.91). I think this means that within the known factors, such as what we feel or see, we still have yet to delve into the true meaning of the object beyond merely identifying the object alone. It seems to be that sense-certainty is very important in the eyes of Hegel as the “richest knowledge” because it enhances our deductive reasoning. It forces us to use our senses to determine what we might think we know.
The idea of sense-certainty is still very complex in its meaning and by the way it encapsulates other sub-forms of knowledge and thought such as consciousness for example. Its perplexity makes sense in a complicated way by the way that the acquisition of knowledge can be reached in a multitude of ways, including how some knowledge is taught and how some is developed through the use of our senses.
I didn’t really understand what Hegel meant by sense-certainty until I read about what he meant when he said “Here” in the later paragraphs of our reading. In paragraph 101, he says,
“But in this relationship sense-certainty experiences the same dialectic acting upon itself as in the previous one. I, this ‘1’, see the tree and assert that ‘Here’ is a tree; but another ‘I’ sees the house and maintains that ‘Here’ is not a tree but a house instead. Both truths have the same authentication, viz. the immediacy ofseeing, and the certainty and assurance that both have about their knowing; but the one truth vanishes in the other.”
By this, I think that he means that how we sense, or perceive things to be in that moment is how things are, and if we are certain that what we are seeing is really what we are seeing, then that is how we are “certain” and we can say that that is a truth. With this example, he demonstrates that our sense-certianty can change. This is what he means when he says “the one truth vanishes in the other”. When you are currently seeing a tree, you can say, with certainty, that what you are seeing then is a tree. However, if you see a house right after you see the tree, you cannot say that you are still, currently, seeing the tree; you are now seeing a different object. This is what he means when he says, right in the beginning of paragraph 99, that
“The knowledge or knowing which is at the start or is immediately our object cannot be anything else but immediate knowledge itself, acknowledge of the immediate or of what simply is. Our approach to the object must also be immediate or receptive; we must alter nothing in the object as it presents itself. ”
He is saying that you immediately can see one object and tell yourself what it is. However, if the object alters, then we must alter our knowledge on what the object is. This is what I think he means when he says that we must be “immediate and receptive”. So, our senses have to change, they have to adjust to our surroundings. What to you guys think?
In the first chapter of his Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel discusses the concept of sense certainty. Like Kant, Hegel maintains that the process of obtaining knowledge is not purely sensory (Empirical) nor purely in our minds (Rational) but instead a cooperative act between mind and matter, one always mediating the other. Unlike Kant, Hegel discusses the implications of this duality and thus makes the distinction between certainty and the truth. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →