Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit is a book about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel by Alexandre Kojève. Alexandre Kojève was a Russian-born French philosopher and statesman whose philosophical Some of Kojève’s more important lectures on Hegel have been published in English in the now classic Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Jan 14, Introhution n rte Reading of Hegel: Lecttres on rle Phenomenology of Spirig . KojEve is the most thoughtful, the most learned, the most pro-.

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The Master, on the other hand, is free; his idea of Freedom is not abstract. But there is still more.

Alexandre Kojève

Throughout this period, then, it is Mastery that will reveal its essence by realizing its existential possibilities through Action. Hegel’s heyel of death thus requires modification. Now, one can in fact overcome the contradiction of a given 54 Summary of the Koeve Six Chapters of the Phenomenology of Spirit existence only by modifying the, given existence, by transforming it through Action. Now, for vulgar science, this real is supposed to be independent of the thought which describes it.

Mac- millan, 12nd ed.

Actually, others recognize the Master as Master only because he has a Slave; and the Master’s life consists in consuming the products of slavish Work, and in living on and by this Work. Or again, he must transform the natural and human world in which he is not recognized into a world in which this recognition takes place.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel

The Stoic Slave becomes the skeptic-nihilist Slave. There is still [another] possibility.

Subjects of desire [1]. But this is no longer a philosophical possibility. Only work, by finally putting the objective World into harmony with the sub- jective idea that at first goes beyond it, annuls the element of madness and crime that marks the attitude of every man who — driven by terror — tries to go beyond the given World of which he is afraid, in which he feels terrified, and in which, consequently, he could not be satisfied.

Now, he must look upon his other-being as pure Being-for-itself, i. Progress in the realization of Freedom can be carried out only by the Slave, who begins with a wowrealized ideal of Freedom. And the Slave achieves this only through forced and terrified work carried out in the Master’s service. He is conscious of himself, conscious of his human reality and dignity; and it is in this that he is essen- tially different from animals, which do not go beyond the level of simple Sentiment of self.


Accordingly, this “consumption,” this idle enjoyment of the Master’s, which results from the “immediate” satisfaction of desire, can at the most procure some pleasure for man; it can never give him complete and definitive satisfaction.

Freud, Lacan and the mirror-stage”. But this is impossible, since — by definition — the Master prefers death to slavish recognition of another’s superiority. This I is a human individual, free with respect to the given real and historical in relation to itself.

What is given, therefore, is not the difference between Master and Slave, but the tree act that creates it. He frees himself mentally only thanks to forced work, only because he is the Slave of a Master.

Hegel only has to record the final result of that “dialectical” proof and to describe it correctly. The making of history is no longer simply a case of reason at work in the world, but of man’s activity as a being who collectively produces his own being.

The Master, on the other hand, who introduced the Slave between the thing and himself, is consequently joined only to the aspect of the thing’s dependence, and has pure enjoyment from it. Heidegger’s analysis may register that it is by the deaths of others that that ‘mineness’ of death is confirmed, but it provides no account of whence this thing called ‘death’ comes, or what its existential anticipation has to tell us, ontologically, about the character of Being as a social being.

Generally speaking, the I of Desire is an emptiness that receives a real positive content only by negating action that satis- fies Desire in destroying, transforming, and “assimilating” the desired non-I.

Alexandre Kojève – Wikipedia

In Heidelberg he completed in his PhD thesis on the Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Soloviev ‘s views on the union of God and man in Christ under the direction of Karl Jaspers.

To know what History is, one must therefore know what Man who realizes it is. Hegelian experience is a different story: And that is why the Master never succeeds in going beyond the freedom that is realized in himself and the insufficiency of that freedom.

By itself, this Desire constitutes only the Sentiment of self. This given-being is his chain, from which he could not abstract in the fight, in which fight he was revealed — because of that fact — as dependent, as having his autonomy in thingness. His essential-reality [which is his recog- nized, human reality and dignity] manifests itself to him as an other-entity [or another man, who does not recognize him and is therefore independent of him].


In the beginning, as long as he is not yet actually recognized by the other, it is the other that is the end of his action; it is on this other, it is on recognition by this other, that his human value and reality depend; it is in this other that the meaning of his life is condensed.

Human Desire, or better still, anthropogenetic Desire, produces a free and historical individual, conscious of his individuality, his freedom, his history, and finally, his historicity. History recurs as something that can only be enjoyed as a tourist attraction, or as a reverie of the past, viewed from the vantage point of its demise. Now, as long as the Master lives, he himself is always enslaved by the World of which he is the Master.

But animals do not attain it either. That is, he merely transforms it by work [i. Hence they do not find what they are looking for; they do not give what they promise, for they do not correctly reveal or describe what the Real is for them.

Desire is human — or, more exactly, “humanizing,” “anthropogenetic” — only provided that it is directed toward an- other Desire and an other Desire. To see this, let us analyze the relation from the Master’s point of view. Simone de Beauvoir’s reading of the book would emphasize the Master-Slave relation between men and women she saw in The Second Sex Universal history is the product of reason, leading potentially to a reconciled humanity, at kojrve with itself, living according to a shared morality that is the outcome of rational reflection.

Published in French under the title Introduction a la Lecture de Hegel 2d ed.

But it also contains within it a socialist or social democratic conception of equality of civic status, implying social regulation, welfare rights, and the like.

And it is by becoming a dialectician kojfve the man of myth or opinion becomes a scientist or a philosopher. Man who works transforms given Nature. Plato himself or that disciple who is capable of understanding him.