Hegel Bulletin 42 (1):77-95 (2021)

This paper discusses Hegel's conception of self-consciousness in the fourth chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit. It argues that Hegel articulates self-consciousness as a living being's capacity to conceive of itself in light of the life-form it instantiates. I start by critically reassessing the prevalent readings of the Self-Consciousness chapter, each of which focuses on one of three constitutive aspects of self-consciousness: sociality, corporeality or practicality. Second, I reconstruct how the opening of the chapter aims to reveal that the initial rift between the sensory and the conceptual capacities of consciousness is resolved by the unity of consciousness as a life-form. Third, I discuss the specification of this life-form as Geist and argue that, by introducing the notion of Geist, Hegel indicates that the generic capacity of the human being to conceive of itself in light of its life-form always particularizes itself in a conception of human life that determines a historic and social form of life. Fourth, I outline how the master-slave dialectic illustrates the interdependency between sensory and conceptual capacities. Hegel's tale undermines the assumption of a self-contained capacity for reason by displaying how conceptual capacities, actualized by a living being, rely from the outset on objective constraints. I conclude by contending that the Self-Consciousness chapter paves the way for the central role that the idea of life plays in the Logic in exemplifying the objectivity of the concept.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/hgl.2020.28
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,214
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Introduction à la lecture de Hegel.Al Kojève - 1950 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 140:197.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Life, Work and Death of Self-Consciousness in Hegel’s Master-Slave Dialectic.Joseph Waterman - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 16:135-141.
Hegel on the Body.John Edward Russon - 1990 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
The Role of the "We" in Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit".David Michael Parry - 1986 - Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
Dewey's 'Naturalized Hegelianism' in Operation: Experimental Inquiry as Self-Consciousness.Scott Johnston - 2010 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (3):453-476.
Substance and Subject: On Hegel's Conception of Subjectivity.David Samuel Stern - 1985 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego


Added to PP index

Total views
18 ( #608,430 of 2,507,636 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #139,887 of 2,507,636 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes