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Phenomenology of Spirit [Paperback]

G. W. F. Hegel
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1979 0198245971 978-0198245971
This brilliant study of the stages in the mind's necessary progress from immediate sense-consciousness to the position of a scientific philosophy includes an introductory essay and a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the text to help the reader understand this most difficult and most influential of Hegel's works.

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About the Author

G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) is one of the great figures in the history of Western thought, and the most important philosopher of his time.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
90. The knowledge or knowing which is at the start or is immediately our object cannot be anything else but immediate knowledge itself, a knowledge of the immediate or of what simply is. Read the first page
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Concordance
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformative Text in the History of Philosophy Dec 26 2003
Format:Paperback
It doesn't make any sense to rate this work at anything less than 5 stars, since it's one of the most influential works of the last 200 years. It was written in 1806, and it is Hegel's attempt to demonstrate the systematic way in which human experience develops, from its simplest roots in sensory life to its highest fulfilment in scientific, political and religious experience. This was a work that took Kant's revolutionary insights and produced a new philosophy of the human person that prefigured the developments of Marx, Freud, existentialism, deconstruction and so on. Human experience is here understood in a rigorously anti-reductive way: Hegel will not allow meaningful dimensions of human experience to be ignored in the way that they typically are in too-facile theories of experience (like sense-data empiricism, physicalist reductionism, possessive individualism, etc.). Experience is also understood dynamically: because of its own internal reason, experience develops into progressively more complex forms. It is a masterful work, and it takes years of serious study to master this book. It is a very difficult book to work with, because it is written in a very daunting manner, which means it is not realistic to imagine reading it outside of a university course in which someone can lead you into the reading of Hegel's phenomenology. This translation by Miller is also imperfect. This translation was meant as an improvement to the older Baillie translation but, while this one is marginally more "literal," it does not do as good a job as Baillie at communicating the sense of what's being said. If you can only have one translation, this is probably the better choice, but if you are studying the book seriously, I highly recommend hunting down a copy of Baillie's translation as well.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Influential book, but don't get carried away Aug. 9 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit is doubtlessly one of the most influential works of philosophy ever compiled. Briefly summarized, Hegel 'retraces' (so he says) the dialectical movement of consciousness from mere sense-perception, through reason and into Spirit; and he makes significant analogies to the history of philosophy, religion, and indeed history itself.

It is hard to understate the influence of this book. Hegel offers a rather compelling and imaginative account of the development of collective human thought, particularly beliefs, values, and ideas; and his notion of history as teleological has inspired many thinkers, revolutionaries, and reformers who proceeded him.

I have several warnings. First, it's far too enthusiastic to call this the 'be all and end all' of philosophy. I strongly warn against getting carried away by Hegel's ideas. Hegel is guilty of making enormous leaps in logic, of obscurantism, and of syncretism. You must approach this with criticism, otherwise you'll earn nothing. Further, you shouldn't take his historical analogies as bare evidence - I don't think even Hegel meant them as such - for they aren't linear or even very accurate. They're better thought of as illustrations, not evidence. And, again, you shouldn't get caught up in Hegel's mystical language. Hegel wasn't a mystic but a true believer in reason, although reason brought him to some pretty strange places.

I must say, however, that this translation left me a little disappointed. I recommend you get a German copy and refer to it regularly. No translation is perfect; but there are many things wrong with this one. The translator rarely explains what words he is translating in footnotes or brackets, although there are many, many instances where they would help greatly, e.g.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Western Cognitive Enlightenment April 26 2004
Format:Paperback
Hegel's famous and difficult 45-page Preface to his Phenomenology of Spirit requires intensive study, but will reward the serious reader with nothing less than a cognitive enlightenment.
By loosening our grip on our rigid habit of self-conceptualizing and by releasing our self from our self-concepts, we begin to master our cognitive process and know ourself as this self-moving process. By this fluid detachment we gain the power to think, and without fear of being attached to our thoughts. We can, if we desire, more easily detach ourselves from being role-bound and tasked. We more easily live, and become, and recognize some of our fears as of our own making. And we are not so readily mediated by outside agencies, such as we have and are surrounded by in the 21st Century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very significant book Feb. 19 2004
Format:Paperback
A very significant book
This book was a turning point for me in my personal quest. Up until this point each philosopher I learned about in class was torn apart by the next philosopher. Hegel approached things differently and made it possible for me to learn what "sublated" means. Those philosophers were not being "torn apart" by their successors. Instead, the history of thought can be seen as the logical interplay of ideas gradually creating better ideas. The previous ideas are incorporated in an ever more mature view. This is how we view history. This is why sociology seems to be the philosophy of our day - the sociality of reason.
But this book is deeply embedded in a historical context itself and makes sense only with a good guide. For an interesting way to do this look at Hans Kung's description of his experience of Hegel in his memoirs. For an excellent guide I recommend Pinkard or Kaufmann. My own thesis is on Hegel's Geist.
No philosopher since has ever torn apart another philosopher in my view even if they try to deconstruct them.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars On Signs Of Being *Au Fait* With The Derive Of Relatives
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's *Phenomenology of Spirit* is the single most important book of philosophy ever published, surpassing the *Critique of Pure Reason* in influence by... Read more
Published on March 4 2004 by Jeffrey Rubard
5.0 out of 5 stars Hegel and his Phantom
The book is a historic classic of philosophy: Hegel's style is a pleasure of dialectic-conceptual and almost mystic creation of enigmas. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Do not devote your academic career to this!
Hegel's _Phenomenology of Spirit_ is a very thought-provoking and intellectualy stimulating work. However, it is also very mentally taxing, and is probably not worth the time and... Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Ross James Browne
5.0 out of 5 stars concerning Hegel
A professor once told me that nearly every major work of philosophy since the time of the Greeks could be pared down to one small pamphlet. The rest is filler. Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2003 by "j_kane"
5.0 out of 5 stars wha
If you're looking for easily-digested novels and neat, facile ideas that won't take much effort or time from your life, then don't pick up this book. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by Scott Gates
1.0 out of 5 stars lousy
Impassioned fans of Hegel should first read Sovereignty of Good by Iris Murdoch. Then they should Read Feynman's Surely You Must be Joking. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2002 by A. M. Rosencrants
1.0 out of 5 stars Ich hast Geist
This is the worst book I have ever read. Don't read it unless you must for class. What Hegel didn't realize when he wrote this book was that neither he nor the World Spirit had yet... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2002 by henning rasmussen
3.0 out of 5 stars Continental Philosophy
Have you ever met anyone who dresses in black, smokes Brazilian cigarettes and espouses that Hegel is "best read in the original German? Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Discourse
Along with J. G. Fichte and F. W. J. Schelling, Hegel (1770-1831) belongs to the period of "German idealism" in the decades following Kant. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2001 by fmeursault@yahoo.com
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