True Sacrifice: On Hegel’s Presentation of Self-Consciousness

The paper provides a modest reading of Hegel’s treatment of self-consciousness in his Phenomenology of Spirit and tries to present it as an integral part of the overall project of the experience of consciousness leading from understanding to reason. Its immediate objective is, it is argued, to think the independence and dependence, that is the pure and empirical I within the same unity of self-consciousness. This implies a double movement of finding a proper existence for the pure I and at the same time a breaking down of the empirical I’s attachment to particularity. It is argued that the Hegelian struggle for recognition intends to show how the access to reason demands the subject’s renunciation of its attachment to particularity, that is to sacrifice not only its bare life but every thing indeed, including its particular identity, and yet, to go on living.

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