A Problem of self-consciousness and recognition in Hegel's phenomenology of spirit

Günay, Serkan
The problem of self-consciousness and recognition is one of the most crucial and central issues in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. The purpose of this study is to expose and investigate this problem in accordance with the unity of Phenomenology through which Hegel examines the experience of consciousness in terms of its own criterion. The emergence of self-consciousness as an explicit issue becomes the truth of movement of consciousness, and self-consciousness essentially takes the form of desire. In this process, self-consciousness evolves from the natural desire to desire for recognition, and recognition by the other arises as the condition of self-consciousness. Besides, the only form of recognition that makes the satisfaction of self-consciousness or desire possible is the reciprocal recognition. Hegel exposes consciousness’ experience of recognition as the struggle for recognition and the dialectic of master and slave. On the other hand, the process of recognition in the Phenomenology does not culminate in the master-slave dialectic or in the liberation of slave. Rather, the servile consciousness takes another shape that emerges from its contradictory nature and it changes into the freedom of thought. That is, Hegel’s concept of recognition cannot be reduced to the master-slave dialectic; the process of recognition persists in the subsequent movement of consciousness and it evolves into certain recognitive relations in the ‘Spirit’. For this reason, the problem of self-consciousness and recognition has a determining or constitutive role through the whole movement of consciousness in the Phenomenology.


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Citation Formats
S. Günay, “A Problem of self-consciousness and recognition in Hegel’s phenomenology of spirit,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2012.