A Detailed Summary of the First Two Chapters of Phenomenology

The Harmonizer (2012)
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Abstract

The nature of the philosophical description of consciousness requires a mode of reflection that is different from ordinary understanding, including most of what transpires in the name of philosophy. Therefore, it will be helpful to review once again the basic development that has been covered thus far in previous articles. The consciousness of Understanding deals with the aspects or the “in-so-far-as” perspective of things. It does not deal with things in their contradictory wholeness. Rational consciousness, however, deals with wholes that are only abstractly divided for the sake of Understanding. It is the task of Reason to determine how to deal with wholes as wholes. Most importantly, is that comprehension of the whole, even when that is attained, puts the comprehending consciousness outside the whole that it is comprehending. This is therefore not the whole as it is in and for itself. The whole must include the consciousness comprehending it as well as everything else, and it must have its own being beyond any finite conception of it, and in fact produce the finite conception of itself. It is perhaps one of the most significant achievements of Hegelian philosophy to be able to reach this goal—Truth in and for itself and not only for consciousness. Another is that Hegel is able to expound a scientific system that deals with a substantial Reality that is essentially Subject, i.e. a Truth that is rationally conscious of itself—God. And finally within his system he is able to deal with all the problems of philosophy in a consistently methodical way that proves to be both necessary and complete. All of this is the product and development of Reason which is the integrating and differentiating substance of Reality that is essentially Subject— viz., the Absolute Reason of God.

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Bhakti Madhava Puri, Ph. D.
Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science

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