Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, the philosopher’s first and perhaps greatest work, is the most important philosophical treatise of the nineteenth century. In this companion volume to his general introduction to Hegel, Tom Rockmore offers a passage-by-passage guide to the Phenomenology for first-time readers of the book and others who are not Hegel specialists.
Rockmore demonstrates that Hegel’s concepts of spirit, consciousness, and reason can be treated as elements of a single, coherent theory of knowledge, one that remains strikingly relevant for the contemporary discussion. He shows how the various conceptions of cognition developed in the text culminate in absolute knowing, which Rockmore reads, in opposition to the frequent religious readings of Hegel, in a wholly secular manner. Unlike commentators who isolate Hegel’s text from its philosophical origins, Rockmore analyzes the book in the philosophical context from which it emerged, lucidly discussing notoriously difficult passages in relation to the ideas of Aristotle and Descartes, and above all to those of Kant and other German idealists.
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