Alexandre Kojève (). Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Source: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Basic Books, ; the final chapter only. INTRODUCTION TO THE READING OF HEGEL LECTURES ON THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT ALEXANDRE KOJEVE During the years the. among contemporary left Hegelians none has been so influential as. Alexandre Kojeve, whose brilliant Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. ()’ is viewed as .

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This sub- structure, which supports both Religion and Philosophy, is nothing but the totality of human Actions realized during the course of universal history, that History in and by which Man has created a series of specifically human Worlds, essentially different from the natural World. On the one hand, as I just said, possessing the idea of Freedom and not being free, he is led to transform the given social conditions of his existence — that is, to realize a his- torical progress.

But, just as Mastery showed that its essential-reality is the reverse or perversion of what it wants to be, so much the more will Slavery, in its fulfillment, probably become the opposite of what it is immediately; as repressed Con- sciousness it will go within itself and reverse and transform itself into true autonomy.

What it is as such, in and for itself, must now be considered. This would result in the pauperisation of the proletariat, and capitalism’s inability to avoid such crisis would necessitate the overthrow of its relations by a proletariat raised up to class consciousness under the conditions of its immiseration.

To desire Being is to fill oneself with this given Being, to enslave oneself to it. Now, what is the I of Desire— the I of a hungry man, for example— but an emptiness greedy for content; an emptiness that wants to be filled by what is full, to be filled by emptying this fullness, to put itself— once it is filled— in the place of this fullness, to occupy with its fullness the emptiness caused by overcoming the fullness that was not its own?

Man became a Slave because he feared death. Hence, it is to fall into decay, to become brutish; and this metaphysical truth is revealed to Man through the phe- nomenon of boredom: Now, the given World in which he lives belongs to the human or divine Master, and in this World he is neces- sarily Slave. Therefore, it is not reform, but the “dialectical,” or better, revolutionary, overcoming of the World that can free him, and — consequently — satisfy him.


Hence, he is recognized in his human reality and dignity. And for there to be Introductionn Consciousness, Selbst-bewusstsein, there must be this Selbst, this specifically human thing that is revealed by man and reveals itself when koheve says, “I.

And since ijtroduction are Slaves only where there is a Master, Mastery, while itself an impasse, is “justified” as a necessary stage of the historical existence that leads to the absolute Science of Hegel. To be sure, without the Master, there would have been no History; but readinv because without him there would have been no Slave and hence no Work.

But what interests me above all is that I am a philosopher, able to reveal the definitive truth, and hence endowed with an absolute Knowledge— that is, a universally and eternally valid Knowedge.

Kojeve presents Hegel’s teaching with a force and rigor which should counterpoise both tendencies. This world is, to be sure, “foreign” to him; he must “deny” it, transform it, fight it, in order to realize himself in it. What is other for it exists as an object without essential-reality, as an object marked with the character of a negative-entity.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Descartes’ philosophy is insufficient because the answer that it gives to the “What am I? Like- wise, the Master is related in a mediated ivay to the thing, viz. Given that the Master is the power that rules over this given-being and that this given-being is the power that rules over the Other [i.

The Master can finish off the thing completely and satisfy himself in Enjoyment. In Plato and probably already kojsve Socrates all this became conscious.

For death is not, the dead man is not. Therefore it cannot serve as a basis for a Truth, which by definition is universally and eternally valid.

He would have to be recognized by another Master. ,ojeve, this task of reconciliation has been embodied in many forms – in art, in religion, and in philosophy.

For in the Master’s fulfilling himself, something entirely different from an autonomous Consciousness has come into being [since he is faced with a Slave]. Moreover, the ‘master’ has no desire to transform the world, whereas the ‘slave’, unsatisfied with his condition, imagines and attempts to realise a world of freedom in which his value will finally be recognised and his own desires satisfied.


His passion for clarity is more powerful than his passion for changing the world. He frees himself mentally only thanks to forced work, only because he is the Slave of a Master. And only because it reflects this real dialectic does it finally achieve, in the person of Hegel, the truth or the complete and adequate revelation of the Real.

Kojève, Alexandre | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Allan Bloom Plato ‘s Dialogue on Friendship: Request removal from index. Being can be revealed by Thought; there is a Thought in Being and of Being, only because Being is dialectical; i. In other words, the Slave who works for the Master represses his instincts in relation to an idea, a concept. Find it on Scholar.

Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)

But in fact, this is not at all the case. And it cannot be otherwise, for vulgar science is in fact concerned not with the concrete real, but with an abstraction. He sees it only in the Master, who realized pure “negating-negativity” by risking his life in the fight for recognition. The In Place of an Introduction supreme value for an animal is its animal life. Therefore, man can free himself introductioon the given World that does not satisfy him only if this World, in its totality, belongs properly to a ingroduction or “sub- limated” Master.

Thus this con- sciousness became just as total, as universal, as the process that it revealed by understanding itself; and this fully self-conscious con- sciousness is absolute Knowledge, which, by being developed in discourse, will form the content of absolute philosophy or Science, of that Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences that contains the sum of all possible knowledge.

Far from becoming increasingly impoverished, the working class was coming to enjoy unprecedented prosperity.