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On Hegel’s Claim That Self-Consciousnessis “Desire Itself” (“Begierde Überhaupt”)

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Chapter Summary


According to Hegel, the main task of philosophy is to develop human self- consciousness. Thus, 'meta-physics' in the sense of reflecting on the basic forms of physis or nature, that is, on 'what there is', turns into philosophical anthropology. The task is to make the fundamental differences between the form(s) of leading an animal life and the constitutive form(s) of a human life explicit. The method, going back to Kant, is 'transcendental' or 'speculative'. Its goal is a meta-level explication of the basic conceptual distinction between animal sentience, as the faculty of reacting with particular self-movements to sensations, and human Understanding, grounded on Intuition. In contrast to merely subjective animal perception, Intuition must be reconstructed as an already trans-subjective form of referring together to a jointly accessible world.

Keywords:Hegel; intuition; philosophical anthropology


This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book which focuses on the connections between two contemporary, intensively debated fields of inquiry: Hegel-inspired theories of recognition and analytical social ontology. It briefly characterizes the topic of social ontology and asks whether social ontology, as it is widely practiced in contemporary analytical philosophy, could have something useful to learn from recognition-theories. The chapter then characterizes the topic of theories of recognition and again asks whether philosophy of recognition, as it has been discussed recently, might have something to learn from the analytical tradition of social ontology. It clarifies some of the intricacies of the concept of recognition, and, finally provides a chapter by chapter summary of the book.

Keywords:recognition; social ontology




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