Summary of the First Two Chapters Of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

The Harmonizer (2012)
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Sense-certainty is the consciousness that Truth (what is/being) lies in particular external objects. For example, considering that the mountain is true, the tree is true, and so on. But truth is not immediate. Truth is necessarily mediated, i.e. a result, implying that it is arrived at. Thus, if a crime is claimed against someone before a judge, the judge does not accept it immediately as true. The truth of the claim has to be established, arrived at, through due process of presenting evidence, circumstances and arguments. The naïve realist accepts the evidence of his/her senses as true, as does the empirical scientist, but is unaware of the fact that there is process involved in making that determination. Divine Reason acts within all of creation, in which Man participates to some finite degree and, accordingly, is able to articulate that in the world. It is not so clear-cut as this, however, as the understanding would like it to be. The principle of the identity of identity and difference blurs the distinctions between God and Man so that, although the distinction is there, identity is also to be accounted for. It is this principle of simultaneous oneness and difference beyond understanding, and comprehensible only to what Hegel calls Speculative Reason that unlocks the door to the sphere of Spirit, or Absolute Knowledge. This is of course the broader perspective—the real science is in the details. Study of the Phenomenology is useful because it deals with the perspective of Reality from within consciousness and gradually leads to the comprehension of the Concept of which consciousness is only one aspect.



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

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