Phenomenology Of Self-Consciousness Hegel Summary

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George W.F Hegel writes in Phenomenology of Spirit that the self-consciousness “exists only being acknowledged,” and that a human individual can only recognize itself as having self-consciousness through meeting another human individual and realizing their shared traits and otherness. This initial process leads to conflict between the two entities, as they must fight over the other being the essential being while the other is an object. This conflict is the struggle, and at the end of the struggle one being becomes the master and the other the slave. This process is built on the concept of fear, specifically fear of death and becoming a thing as opposed to a self-conscious being. This paper will analyze that concept of fear, and through…show more content…
The continued existence of the other as a self-conscious person undermines both individual’s status as an essential being. In order to become an essential being, an individual must defeat the other so totally that they cannot rise up and become the essential being. The only way to totally prevent the other from attaining the same level of self-consciousness and threaten the status on the individual is to revert them to a thing, and that reversion comes from death. Therefore, the struggle must be to the…show more content…
The crux of Hegel’s piece falls on the idea that two beings must recognize each other to attain self-consciousness, must fear the otherness and idea of not being essential, and struggle to form the master-slave dialectic. The master-slave dialectic contains the idea of control, as the master must control the slave in order to maintain their identity, and the slave must control their desires in order to continue to work towards their self-conscious. Fear comes from the unknowable and uncontrollable, and humanity fears what it cannot control in themselves and what they cannot control in their worlds. The master-slave dialectic proves this by having the struggle be based on fear and the ensuing relationship based on mutual fear of the other. If fear were to be removed, then the struggle would end, and the relationship would reach its synergistic end as Hegel hopes it will. Until that point, fear is a central factor of the master-slave dialectic, and is key to defining the struggle for self-conscious in the human

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