Topics

Some help in para 344 Phenomenology of Spirit


R Srivatsan
 

Dear Friends,

Our local reading group has come to the end of the Observing Reason chapter
and we are going into the transitional paragraphs 344-346 in this chapter
and 347-353 in the Actualization chapter on Saturday 22nd August.

In 344, Hegel draws a broad analogy between the Unhappy Consciousness'
abnegating itself to a thing vis a vis the Subject as the Unchangeable, and
the closing of the circle of Observing Reason with phrenology, which
reduces Spirit (implicitly self-consciousness, but another consciousness
explicitly) to a thing. When the explicit assignment of another
consciousness to thinghood is made, the implicit comprehension of
self-consciousness as a thing comes into the open and the infinite judgment
begins its speculative movement. Then as he begins to expound what this
truth Observation's unconscious has stumbled on to means, he says:

Consciousness,as well as self-consciousness, is in itself Reason; but only
that consciousness for which the object is determined as the category can
be said to have Reason. From this, however, we must still distinguish the
knowledge of what Reason is. The category, which is the immediate unity of
being and self, must pass through both forms, and it is precisely for
consciousness qua observer that the category presents itself in the form of
being. This consciousness, in its result, enunciates as a proposition that
of which it is the unconscious certainty-the proposition that is implicit
in the Notion of Reason.
(Miller 208-209)

I can understand what the previous sentences in this paragraph mean, and
have a sense of what the later sentences imply (in relation to the infinite
judgment). However I cannot understand precisely what is meant by the
references to the *category* here. I tried reading some references to Kant
and Aristotle, but found them unhelpful. Could someone explain what this
means? a) "The category, which is the immediate unity of being and
self,..."; b) and it is precisely for consciousness qua observer that the
category presents itself in the form of being; and c) how is this related
to the proposition that is implicit in the Notion of Reason -- that the
self is a thing (I understand fairly well what this means as an infinite
judgment in Hegel's speculative philosophy).

Thank you
Srivats

--
R Srivatsan
<http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/>
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)


Patrick J. Welsh
 

Hi Srivats,

You are right to look to Aristotle and Kant. By “category,” Hegel refers to
the most basic predicates by which being is determinate as thing. (The term
also has a lawyerly sense of imperative, which is also at play: being must
be determined.)

His weird use of the singular is presumably a consequence of his contention
that spirit, or the concept, does the metaphysical work Aristotle and Kant
assign to their table of categories.

As is typically the case in the Phenomenology, it is helpful to look
backwards and forwards.

Hegel is returning here to obliquely address the problems of abstract
idealism introduced in the opening of the chapter. See especially ¶235.
Fichte’s idealism is, per Hegel, a necessary result of Kant’s that is,
nevertheless, “even more incomprehensible.” (See also ¶346 on reason as
“purely objective thinghood itself,” which has the concept as its truth.)

The category is a detranscendentalized transcendental unity of apperception
that has not yet comprehended itself as an internally doubled
natural-spiritual being.

What reason learns in its observation is that, glossing loosely, it is its
own embodied activity, is self-animate nature sublated into its truth as
spirit (here still appearing in the shape of singular individuals).

Looking forward, see ¶394ff., in which Hegel most directly develops this
self-contradictory concept of the category in his presentation of
individuality that takes itself to be real in and for itself.

Hope some of this helps —

Cheers,
PJ

On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:33 AM R Srivatsan <r.srivats@...> wrote:

Dear Friends,

Our local reading group has come to the end of the Observing Reason chapter
and we are going into the transitional paragraphs 344-346 in this chapter
and 347-353 in the Actualization chapter on Saturday 22nd August.

In 344, Hegel draws a broad analogy between the Unhappy Consciousness'
abnegating itself to a thing vis a vis the Subject as the Unchangeable, and
the closing of the circle of Observing Reason with phrenology, which
reduces Spirit (implicitly self-consciousness, but another consciousness
explicitly) to a thing. When the explicit assignment of another
consciousness to thinghood is made, the implicit comprehension of
self-consciousness as a thing comes into the open and the infinite judgment
begins its speculative movement. Then as he begins to expound what this
truth Observation's unconscious has stumbled on to means, he says:

Consciousness,as well as self-consciousness, is in itself Reason; but only
that consciousness for which the object is determined as the category can
be said to have Reason. From this, however, we must still distinguish the
knowledge of what Reason is. The category, which is the immediate unity of
being and self, must pass through both forms, and it is precisely for
consciousness qua observer that the category presents itself in the form of
being. This consciousness, in its result, enunciates as a proposition that
of which it is the unconscious certainty-the proposition that is implicit
in the Notion of Reason.
(Miller 208-209)

I can understand what the previous sentences in this paragraph mean, and
have a sense of what the later sentences imply (in relation to the infinite
judgment). However I cannot understand precisely what is meant by the
references to the *category* here. I tried reading some references to Kant
and Aristotle, but found them unhelpful. Could someone explain what this
means? a) "The category, which is the immediate unity of being and
self,..."; b) and it is precisely for consciousness qua observer that the
category presents itself in the form of being; and c) how is this related
to the proposition that is implicit in the Notion of Reason -- that the
self is a thing (I understand fairly well what this means as an infinite
judgment in Hegel's speculative philosophy).

Thank you
Srivats

--
R Srivatsan
<http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)




R Srivatsan
 

Thanks a lot Patrick, especially for this at first seemingly impenetrable,
but highly accurate (as much as possible) line:

The category is a detranscendentalized transcendental unity of apperception
that has not yet comprehended itself as an internally doubled
natural-spiritual being.

It helped to connect the category with Hegel's problematization of the
transcendental unity of apperception.

Best
Srivats


On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 11:58 PM Patrick J. Welsh <pjw.list.email@...>
wrote:

Hi Srivats,

You are right to look to Aristotle and Kant. By “category,” Hegel refers to
the most basic predicates by which being is determinate as thing. (The term
also has a lawyerly sense of imperative, which is also at play: being must
be determined.)

His weird use of the singular is presumably a consequence of his contention
that spirit, or the concept, does the metaphysical work Aristotle and Kant
assign to their table of categories.

As is typically the case in the Phenomenology, it is helpful to look
backwards and forwards.

Hegel is returning here to obliquely address the problems of abstract
idealism introduced in the opening of the chapter. See especially ¶235.
Fichte’s idealism is, per Hegel, a necessary result of Kant’s that is,
nevertheless, “even more incomprehensible.” (See also ¶346 on reason as
“purely objective thinghood itself,” which has the concept as its truth.)

The category is a detranscendentalized transcendental unity of apperception
that has not yet comprehended itself as an internally doubled
natural-spiritual being.

What reason learns in its observation is that, glossing loosely, it is its
own embodied activity, is self-animate nature sublated into its truth as
spirit (here still appearing in the shape of singular individuals).

Looking forward, see ¶394ff., in which Hegel most directly develops this
self-contradictory concept of the category in his presentation of
individuality that takes itself to be real in and for itself.

Hope some of this helps —

Cheers,
PJ


On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:33 AM R Srivatsan <r.srivats@...> wrote:

Dear Friends,

Our local reading group has come to the end of the Observing Reason
chapter
and we are going into the transitional paragraphs 344-346 in this chapter
and 347-353 in the Actualization chapter on Saturday 22nd August.

In 344, Hegel draws a broad analogy between the Unhappy Consciousness'
abnegating itself to a thing vis a vis the Subject as the Unchangeable,
and
the closing of the circle of Observing Reason with phrenology, which
reduces Spirit (implicitly self-consciousness, but another consciousness
explicitly) to a thing. When the explicit assignment of another
consciousness to thinghood is made, the implicit comprehension of
self-consciousness as a thing comes into the open and the infinite
judgment
begins its speculative movement. Then as he begins to expound what this
truth Observation's unconscious has stumbled on to means, he says:

Consciousness,as well as self-consciousness, is in itself Reason; but
only
that consciousness for which the object is determined as the category can
be said to have Reason. From this, however, we must still distinguish the
knowledge of what Reason is. The category, which is the immediate unity
of
being and self, must pass through both forms, and it is precisely for
consciousness qua observer that the category presents itself in the form
of
being. This consciousness, in its result, enunciates as a proposition
that
of which it is the unconscious certainty-the proposition that is implicit
in the Notion of Reason.
(Miller 208-209)

I can understand what the previous sentences in this paragraph mean, and
have a sense of what the later sentences imply (in relation to the
infinite
judgment). However I cannot understand precisely what is meant by the
references to the *category* here. I tried reading some references to
Kant
and Aristotle, but found them unhelpful. Could someone explain what this
means? a) "The category, which is the immediate unity of being and
self,..."; b) and it is precisely for consciousness qua observer that
the
category presents itself in the form of being; and c) how is this related
to the proposition that is implicit in the Notion of Reason -- that the
self is a thing (I understand fairly well what this means as an infinite
judgment in Hegel's speculative philosophy).

Thank you
Srivats

--
R Srivatsan
<
http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the
mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a
place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the
course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)





--
R Srivatsan
<http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/>
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)


PAUL
 

Srivats,

Here's my take on #344 reference to "category." First, the phrase in
question:

*" The Thing is, therefore, the unity of the 'I' and being -- the
category." (Hegel, PS, #344)*

The solution isn't in Kant or even Aristotle -- it's in Descartes. It's a
reference to the Ontological Argument of Anselm as filtered through the
Cartesian Cogito. Here's my explanation:

1. The Unhappy Consciousness (UC) has undergone a stressful test of
endurance within its own Self-consciousness, seeking for its Ground of
Being, and never finding it.

2. So, the UC decides to return to planet Earth, so to speak, and to again
connect with the Objective world of Nature

3. This is what Hegel meant when he wrote: "It thereby reverted from
Self-consciousness to Consciousness." (Hegel #344)

4. But now, everything has changed. In addition to the Things in the
world, the UC can now add a new Thing -- *itself*.

5. Thousands of years before Descartes, our prehistoric ancestors, in
their pursuit of God, could recognize that, "I think therefore I am."

6. The key here is that Descartes unites Thinking and Being -- not just
the infinity of God's Being, but also my own finite being.

7. So, to get to the point -- the "category" here refers to this
astounding realization of Reason.

8. The "category" recognizes that Nature is composed of Things in a
profoundly organized System -- while at the same time, my own Thinking is
also a profoundly organized System

9. Here is another way that Thinking and Being become unified (Anselm):

10. The UC possesses this unique power called Thinking which moves in
organized "categories," and that Nature as a system is also designed in
terms of organic "categories" -- we have a profound Unity.

11. Hegel calls this newfound unity -- "Observing Reason" -- the "Notion
of Reason."

12. Finally, the UC is transformed by uniting Thought with Thing. Reason
emerges as a Self-conscious entity. Science is now an embryo.

So, Srivats, there's my take on it. I trust you and yours are well and
keeping safe during this global Covid-19 crisis.

Best regards,
--Paul

On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:33 AM R Srivatsan <r.srivats@...> wrote:

Dear Friends,

Our local reading group has come to the end of the Observing Reason chapter
and we are going into the transitional paragraphs 344-346 in this chapter
and 347-353 in the Actualization chapter on Saturday 22nd August.

In 344, Hegel draws a broad analogy between the Unhappy Consciousness'
abnegating itself to a thing vis a vis the Subject as the Unchangeable, and
the closing of the circle of Observing Reason with phrenology, which
reduces Spirit (implicitly self-consciousness, but another consciousness
explicitly) to a thing. When the explicit assignment of another
consciousness to thinghood is made, the implicit comprehension of
self-consciousness as a thing comes into the open and the infinite judgment
begins its speculative movement. Then as he begins to expound what this
truth Observation's unconscious has stumbled on to means, he says:

Consciousness,as well as self-consciousness, is in itself Reason; but only
that consciousness for which the object is determined as the category can
be said to have Reason. From this, however, we must still distinguish the
knowledge of what Reason is. The category, which is the immediate unity of
being and self, must pass through both forms, and it is precisely for
consciousness qua observer that the category presents itself in the form of
being. This consciousness, in its result, enunciates as a proposition that
of which it is the unconscious certainty-the proposition that is implicit
in the Notion of Reason.
(Miller 208-209)

I can understand what the previous sentences in this paragraph mean, and
have a sense of what the later sentences imply (in relation to the infinite
judgment). However I cannot understand precisely what is meant by the
references to the *category* here. I tried reading some references to Kant
and Aristotle, but found them unhelpful. Could someone explain what this
means? a) "The category, which is the immediate unity of being and
self,..."; b) and it is precisely for consciousness qua observer that the
category presents itself in the form of being; and c) how is this related
to the proposition that is implicit in the Notion of Reason -- that the
self is a thing (I understand fairly well what this means as an infinite
judgment in Hegel's speculative philosophy).

Thank you
Srivats

--
R Srivatsan
<http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)




R Srivatsan
 

Thanks Paul for your reading. Good to hear from you -- you'd gone off the
group somewhat even a month before COVID struck. Hope all's well, and that
others in the group are all right. COVID seems to prefer the older and the
Hegel group is quite old in average age.

I think (finally after several readings and inputs including yours and
Patrick's) that:

The category here refers to the primary category, the hold-all of the
world, the I. Read in conjunction with paragraph 235, the I appears to the
Kantian (and pre-Kantian) consciousness as a fixed category. And the world
it holds is a fixed category too (a multiplicity, but fixed as objective).
This formal category is the basis of the observing consciousness -- the I
which observes the skull pictures it as the reliable indicator of the
brain's capacity which in turn is pictured a reliable indicator of the I as
being-for-self. This primary category, the I, even in this static mode of
self recognition, possesses reason because it observes, categorizes what it
sees -- the I is being and possesses reason. The possession of reason of
course jars against the thingness of the I causing all kinds of
contradictions and attempts to paper over them described in paragraph 345
following.

This of course results in the nonsense of phrenology and all its progeny
developing into the twenty first century (including using functional
magnetic resonance imaging to approach how observing the brain function can
tell what a person is thinking. It is quite amazing that this observing
consciousness is as yet unable to see its own development and
transformation of its being-for-self over two centuries.

At this point, as we look on (per the Introduction), we see or enact the
inversion of the I. The I that sees both the observing I and the observed
I recognizes their subsumed unity in itself -- at this point the I
superseding its prior formation in this manner has crossed over from the
formal I to the speculative I. The category becomes dynamic, even
historical. Reason develops in the process and becomes speculative (which
is of course the same as saying the I has developed, since the I is Reason).

In other words, the synthetic unity of apperception is transformed from a
fixed (and somewhat arbitrary) Kantian category into a self-transforming
category which Hegel sees as being produced without preconceptions. The I
which sought to divine itself through observing the world and understanding
it now begins to produce itself meaningfully through its action on the
world. This is the transition towards the Actualization chapter. It is as
yet of course, not yet cognizant, except as the slightest hint over the
horizon, that the I and the world are a dialectical one.

Best
Srivats

On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 10:20 PM PAUL <petrejo@...> wrote:

Srivats,

Here's my take on #344 reference to "category." First, the phrase in
question:

*" The Thing is, therefore, the unity of the 'I' and being -- the
category." (Hegel, PS, #344)*

The solution isn't in Kant or even Aristotle -- it's in Descartes. It's a
reference to the Ontological Argument of Anselm as filtered through the
Cartesian Cogito. Here's my explanation:

1. The Unhappy Consciousness (UC) has undergone a stressful test of
endurance within its own Self-consciousness, seeking for its Ground of
Being, and never finding it.

2. So, the UC decides to return to planet Earth, so to speak, and to again
connect with the Objective world of Nature

3. This is what Hegel meant when he wrote: "It thereby reverted from
Self-consciousness to Consciousness." (Hegel #344)

4. But now, everything has changed. In addition to the Things in the
world, the UC can now add a new Thing -- *itself*.

5. Thousands of years before Descartes, our prehistoric ancestors, in
their pursuit of God, could recognize that, "I think therefore I am."

6. The key here is that Descartes unites Thinking and Being -- not just
the infinity of God's Being, but also my own finite being.

7. So, to get to the point -- the "category" here refers to this
astounding realization of Reason.

8. The "category" recognizes that Nature is composed of Things in a
profoundly organized System -- while at the same time, my own Thinking is
also a profoundly organized System

9. Here is another way that Thinking and Being become unified (Anselm):

10. The UC possesses this unique power called Thinking which moves in
organized "categories," and that Nature as a system is also designed in
terms of organic "categories" -- we have a profound Unity.

11. Hegel calls this newfound unity -- "Observing Reason" -- the "Notion
of Reason."

12. Finally, the UC is transformed by uniting Thought with Thing. Reason
emerges as a Self-conscious entity. Science is now an embryo.

So, Srivats, there's my take on it. I trust you and yours are well and
keeping safe during this global Covid-19 crisis.

Best regards,
--Paul

On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:33 AM R Srivatsan <r.srivats@...> wrote:

Dear Friends,

Our local reading group has come to the end of the Observing Reason
chapter
and we are going into the transitional paragraphs 344-346 in this chapter
and 347-353 in the Actualization chapter on Saturday 22nd August.

In 344, Hegel draws a broad analogy between the Unhappy Consciousness'
abnegating itself to a thing vis a vis the Subject as the Unchangeable,
and
the closing of the circle of Observing Reason with phrenology, which
reduces Spirit (implicitly self-consciousness, but another consciousness
explicitly) to a thing. When the explicit assignment of another
consciousness to thinghood is made, the implicit comprehension of
self-consciousness as a thing comes into the open and the infinite
judgment
begins its speculative movement. Then as he begins to expound what this
truth Observation's unconscious has stumbled on to means, he says:

Consciousness,as well as self-consciousness, is in itself Reason; but
only
that consciousness for which the object is determined as the category can
be said to have Reason. From this, however, we must still distinguish the
knowledge of what Reason is. The category, which is the immediate unity
of
being and self, must pass through both forms, and it is precisely for
consciousness qua observer that the category presents itself in the form
of
being. This consciousness, in its result, enunciates as a proposition
that
of which it is the unconscious certainty-the proposition that is implicit
in the Notion of Reason.
(Miller 208-209)

I can understand what the previous sentences in this paragraph mean, and
have a sense of what the later sentences imply (in relation to the
infinite
judgment). However I cannot understand precisely what is meant by the
references to the *category* here. I tried reading some references to
Kant
and Aristotle, but found them unhelpful. Could someone explain what this
means? a) "The category, which is the immediate unity of being and
self,..."; b) and it is precisely for consciousness qua observer that
the
category presents itself in the form of being; and c) how is this related
to the proposition that is implicit in the Notion of Reason -- that the
self is a thing (I understand fairly well what this means as an infinite
judgment in Hegel's speculative philosophy).

Thank you
Srivats

--
R Srivatsan
<
http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the
mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a
place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the
course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)





--
R Srivatsan
<http://www.anveshi.org.in/the-people-of-anveshi/fellows-2/dr-r-srivatsan/>
Flat 101, Block C, Saincher Palace Apartments
10-3-152, Street No 2
East Marredpally
Secunderabad
Telangana 500026
Mobile: +91 77027 11656, +91 94404 80762
Landline: +91 40 2773 5193

*Human action is characteristically neither blind and goalless nor the mere
implementation of means to an already decided end. Acting that is the
bringing about of such an end by a calculated means certainly has a place,
but a subordinate place, in human activity. That it is only in the course
of the movement that the goals of the movement are articulated is the
reason why we can understand human affairs only after the event. The owl
of Minerva, as Hegel was later to put it, flies only at dusk. *
Alasdair Macintyre, "Hegel on Faces and Skulls", in ed., *Hegel: A
Collection of Critical Essays, * (Garden City NY: Anchor, 1972)