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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Its intention or self-will [der eigene Sinn] is then stubborn- capriciousness [Eigensinn]: He has risked his life to be Master.

On the one hand, he follows Marx by seeing in idyllic terms the post-historical world, one of universal freedom, emancipation from war and want, leaving space for “art, love, play, and so forth; in short, everything that makes Man happy”.

The more he is conscious of the thing, the less he is conscious of himself.

Rewding man will first try to get rid of it: The human I must be an I of Desire— that is, an active I, a negating I, an I that transforms Being and creates a new being by destroying the given being. The enslaving side of the interaction with Nature falls to the lot of the Slave: The object, and not the subject, is what shows itself to him in and by — or better, as — the act of knowing.

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Of course, it is often impossible to use consistently one translation for each French term. Human Desire, too, tends to satisfy itself by a negating — or better, a transforming and assimi- lating — action. The form [the idea or project conceived by the Consciousness]by being established outside [of the Conscious- ness, by being introduced — through work — into the objective reality of the World], does not become, for the [working] Con- sciousness, an other-entity than it. He addresses this problem particu- larly in the note on Japan added to the second edition pp.

It is this work, and only this work, that frees — i.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

In other words, Mastery is an existential impasse. And is it not because of this that Hegel attains that absolute Knowledge to which his predecessors vainly aspired? Without this service, terror could not transform existence, jojeve existence, therefore, could never go beyond its initial state of terror. In Plato and probably already in Socrates all this became conscious.


Now, the only thing that goes beyond komeve given reality is Desire itself. 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.

And — subjec- tively — absolute Knowledge became possible because a man named Hegel was able to understand the World in which he lived and to understand himself as living in and understanding this World.

Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing French-language text. He is seated on a chair, at a table, readung with a pen on paper. For everything that the Slave does is, properly speaking, an activity of the Master.

In the case in question, man, to be really, truly “man,” and to know that he is such, must, therefore, impose the idea that he has of himself on beings other than himself: And universal history, the history of the interaction between men and of their interaction with Nature, is the history of the interaction between warlike Masters and work- ing Slaves.

His freedom, to be sure, is recognized. Throughout this period, then, it is Mastery that will reveal its essence by realizing its existential possibilities through Action. Like all opinion, the Myth arises spontaneously and is accepted or rejected in the same way. This objection— or explanation— is simplistic only introducgion first sight. Philosophically, it would end in absolute knowledge displacing ideology.

For death is not, the dead man is not. 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. Therefore, it is real- ized and revealed only as “recognized” reality.

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. And this is precisely what the Master can never obtain. International Standard Book Number Library of Congress Catalog Card Number Printed in the United Intrkduction of America Cornell University Press strives to use environmentally responsible suppliers and materials to the fullest extent possible in the publishing of its books.


The concrete Real of which we s geading is both Real revealed by a discourse, and Discourse revealing a real. Cornell University Press He makes it negate the given. Now, the Master who involuntarily engenders the desire of revolu- tionary negation is the Master of the Slave. There is no instinct that forces the Slave to work for the Master. And that is why the Master never succeeds in going beyond the freedom that is realized in himself and the insufficiency hte that freedom.

Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth Century France. Scientific experience perturbs the Object because of the active intervention of the Subject, who applies to the Object a method of investigation that is his own and to which nothing in the Object itself corresponds.

From the “first” Fight, the Slave has an intuition of the human reality, and that is the profound reason that it is finally he, and not the Master, who will complete History yo revealing the truth of Man, by revealing his reality through Hegelian Science.

But it is recognized only by Slaves. And the origin of this absolute negation can only be the absolute dread inspired by the given World, or more precisely, by that which, or by him who, dominates this World, by the Master of this World.

The being that acts to satisfy its own instincts, which — as such — are always natural, does not rise above Nature: The autonomous Consciousness existing for itself is introdution, for it, the truth [or a revealed reality], which, however, for it, does not yet exist in it. Only after having worked for the Master does he understand the necessity of the fight between Master and Slave and the value of the risk and terror that it im- plies.