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Modern philosophy tends to conflate subjectivity and ego (I-think, cogito, and the like). One lesson we can draw from Hegel is that the I emerges out of a natural and habitual state in the form of a return to itself through an opposition between self and world. In turn, Husserl has an interesting take on the anonymity of an ego-less subjectivity submerged in an affective and initially passive life out of which an ego-pole first constitutes itself. In both, a latent, functioning subjectivity which forms an unconscious ground is to be kept distinct from the several activities of a wakeful and self-conscious mind. I wish to compare and contrast Hegel and Husserl on this theme. The primary texts for my examination will be Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and the Philosophy of Subjective Spirit in the Encyclopaedia, and Husserl’s Ideas I, Ideas II, Cartesian Meditations and Experience and Judgment.
In this paper, I shall focus on the relation between habitual body and memory in Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit and Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception. Both Hegel and Merleau-Ponty defend a view of the self that is centred on the role of habituality as embodied activity situated in a context. However, both philosophers avoid committing to what Edward Casey has defined habitual body memory, i.e., an active immanence of the past in the body that informs present bodily actions in an efficacious, orienting and regular manner. I shall explore the reasons why neither Hegel nor Merleau-Ponty develops an explicit account of habitual body memory. This will shed light not only on Hegel’s account of lived experience, but also on Hegel and Merleau-Ponty’s common concern with the habitual body.
In this paper it is argued that the conceptions of embodied meaning and of intuition that Hegel appeals to in the Aesthetics anticipate some of Merleau-Ponty’s insights concerning the distinctive character of pre-conceptual, sensuous forms of meaning. It is argued that, for Hegel, our aesthetic experience of the beautiful is such that we cannot readily differentiate in it the purportedly distinct roles that sensation and thought play, and so that the account of sensuous intuition operative here differs from the one appealed to in more familiar, ‘intellectualist’ conceptions that are premised upon our being able to make such a distinction. Some of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological insights are brought to bear to help support and illuminate some of the implications of Hegel’s conception of such sensuously embodied meaning.
The widespread tendency to understand phenomenology on a Husserlian model makes it incomparable with other views. I will use the term ‘phenomenology’ in a wider sense to refer to approaches to cognition based on phenomena. From the latter angle of vision, ’phenomenology’ includes not only Husserl and the Husserlians but also a wider selection of thinkers stretching back to early Greece. Although this will enlarge the scope of what counts as phenomenology, I will not be claiming that everyone is a phenomenologist. I will, however, be arguing that Kant, Hegel and Husserl are phenomenologists, or again phenomenological thinkers, and that Hegel and Husserl can be understood through their different reactions to Kantian phenomenology.
The world we live in proves best understood as a cultural world. Cultural worlds are examined in this article regarding their aesthetic and ethical dimensions, with the help of Hegel and Husserl. The ethical realm is characterized by a tension between ethical conscience and cultural norms. Even Hegel, who is often conceived as a philosopher of customs, explores the significance of conscience in a detailed phenomenology. Husserl provides a curious perspective on ethics when he, under the heading of a renewal (Japanese Kaizo) of reason, provides an account of a vaguely dialectical development of reason as logos which goes beyond the division between the ‘descriptive’ and ‘ethical’. In the wider sense of ethics, it is also ‘good’ to write about the world we live in. Literature (Hermann, Wallace) will be treated here as an exemplary art-form that stands in close proximity to philosophy since both strive to capture in language the world we live in.
The paper examines Husserl’s notion of teleology through the lens of necessity and argues that there are two senses of teleology—historical and transcendental—at work in the task of phenomenology, especially as Husserl comes to conceive it in the Crisis. To understand not only how these two senses are related but also how their relationship shapes Husserl’s notions of normativity, reason, and progress, I argue that we must look closely at phenomenology as a distinctive form of critique, namely critique ‘from within’. What emerges is a philosophical stance that is fundamentally ambiguous: at once historical and transcendental-eidetic. This productive notion of ambiguity, I contend, differentiates Husserl’s conceptions of normativity, reason and progress from their Enlightenment guises.
This article argues that Hegel’s dialectic of wealth and power in the stage of social development called ‘culture’ (Bildung) reveals that even in moments of profound social alienation, Spirit (Geist)—the labour of constructing identity and freedom—remains. This stands in sharp contrast to Heidegger’s theory of alienation and Dasein’s ‘publicity’ (Offentlichkeit), which paints modern social existence as a profound threat to the very ‘Being’ and ‘possibilities’ of human life. The supposed threats of inauthenticity and mass existence are, from a Hegelian perspective, failures of adequate social phenomenology. The desiring, affective subject is not absorbed in the ‘they’ (das Man) but is, instead, the negativity that constantly transforms culture and the structure of social selfhood.
What is being? This is, from the Greeks to Hegel (according to Heidegger), the guiding question of ontology and the history of philosophy as metaphysics. And the answer is presence: ‘being’ means ‘being present’, ‘presencing’; ‘to be’ means ‘to be present’. By clarifying the limit of this philosophy of presence, however, it is possible to go beyond it, to a thinking of being as presence and absence—for both coming-to-presence and going-out-into-absence are ways in which beings are, and being happens. And yet, are presence and absence the only ways to think being? On the contrary—there is a third. From the Greeks (through Hegel) to Heidegger, the being that fails to come to presence, but also does not simply remain in absence—this is what is merely implied, an implication. But then what does it mean to think being as implied? Being as implying? As an implication?
This paper offers a limited defence of two seemingly disparate interpretive approaches to free thought in Hegel’s Jena Phenomenology of Spirit. On the one hand, I defend the view of so-called post-Kantian Hegelians, that Kant’s synthetic unity of apperception is central to Hegel’s account of free thinking in the Phenomenology. On the other hand, I argue that the notions of das Offene in Heidegger’s Vom Wesen der Wahrheit and Ab-Lösung in his 1930/31 lectures on Hegel’s Phenomenology are no less crucial to an understanding of free thought in Hegel’s work. I show that absolution is a condition for the possibility of das Offene, which is a condition for the possibility of apperception in its reflexive capacity.