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
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