How the dialectical relationship between consciousness and life is differentiated in Hegel's and Marx's philosophies

Kibar, Sibel
The purpose of this study is to present the different approaches, which Hegel and Marx have developed regarding the relation between consciousness and life, consistent with their aims. Hegel̕s aim is to combine all the opposed ideas and beliefs proposed throughout the history of philosophy into a unified whole. Hegel̕s dialectics which is immanent to life can also explain the opposition between consciousness and life. Self-consciousness, which appears as subjectivity in Hegel̕s philosophy, at first, treats the life as an object of desire. Later, however, self-consciousness which cannot thus realize itself desires another self-consciousness who will recognize itself, so it relates with an other self-consciousness. This relation is defined as a أlife and death struggleؤ. At the end of the struggle, there arise new forms of self-consciousnesses, Master and Slave. While the Slave produces for its Master, it relates itself to Life and this relation between Slave and Life brings about Slave as self-consciousness. On the other hand, the aim of Marx is not only to combine the oppositions but also to create a worldly philosophy. To this end, Marx puts economic relations of human beings at the centre of his theory. According to Marx, relations of production condition classes. While one class produces, the other exploits the productions of the former class. In Hegel, the Slave obtains its certainty as self-consciousness while it produces, whereas in Marx, the worker, who produces, is alienated form him/herself in the capitalist mode of production. To sum up, both Hegel and Marx emphasize the mutual relation between consciousness and life, but their divergent aims lead to them constructing this relation with different concepts on different foundations.


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Citation Formats
S. Kibar, “How the dialectical relationship between consciousness and life is differentiated in Hegel’s and Marx’s philosophies,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2005.