Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and German Idealism

For Saturday, November 2nd, we will meet at Cafe Boiling Pot, in Sinchon.

Directions: (See the location here.)Take line 2 to Sinchon Station and go out exit 3. Walk toward Yonsei University for approximately 10 minutes. At the second intersection, you will see a massive, red brick church. Turn right and walk about 1 minute. The cafe is directly behind the church. We have reserved the study room on the second floor of the cafe.
Time: We will meet at 4pm on Saturday, November 2nd.Image
Please note that the new venue seats 6 people comfortably and 8 people snuggly.
Beginning on November 2nd, we will start tackling one of the big books in the history of Western philosophy: G. W. F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. The translation I will be reading is that by A.V. Miller.
However, there are other translations available, including this free one.
For the week of November 2nd, my plan of discussion is as follows:
1. I want to contextualize the Phenomenology by discussing it’s relationship to earlier thinkers, including Kant, Fichte, and Schelling. Hegel’s text is known (for better or worse) as the culmination of German Idealist philosophy. Moreover, Hegel saw himself as carrying the torch lit by Kant’s Critical philosophy. However, various followers of Kant (including Kant himself) held the entire Idealist tradition in contempt. I want to spend some of the time trying to outline the ambivalent relationship Hegel held to Kant’s philosophy. This means trying briefly to sketch Kant’s project and the various “schools” that developed in its wake.
2. I want to go lightly over the preface. Hegel’s “Preface” to the Phenomenology is a landmark text in philosophy, but it can be hard to know why unless one is acquainted with his project more generally. In part, this difficulty can be attributed to the order of the text’s composition. That is, the Preface was the last part of the book he wrote, and in fact, it’s goal was to bridge the recently completed Phenomenology with Hegel’s next project, The Science of Logic. This is all to say that the Preface, while important, is best understood after reading the whole book. On November 2nd, I intend to go over some of the main themes of the Preface, but it will be more of a perfunctory gesture.
The nature of the text is such that, in the first week at least, I don’t envisage a great deal of discussion in the manner of “is Hegel right or wrong?” type questions. Rather, I’m planning a more lecture-based approach on the first day. However, I hope that this approach will be forgiven inasmuch as it will make it easier to have proper discussions in subsequent sessions.
In terms of suggested readings for November 2nd, try these:
2. The preface of The Phenomenology of Spirit, at least paragraphs 1-27.

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