, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 481-487
Date: 02 Nov 2011

Robert B. Pippin: Hegel on Self-Consciousness: Desire and Death in the Phenomenology of Spirit

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In the world of Hegel studies, Robert Pippin casts a long shadow. His first book on the philosophical giant, Hegel’s Idealism: The Satisfactions of Self-Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, 1989), defended a daringly revisionary reading of Hegel’s overall project, which has since become standard fare. His more recent venture, collected in Hegel’s Practical Philosophy: Rational Agency as Ethical Life (Cambridge University Press, 2008), breathed new life into Hegel’s theory of agency by pitting it against contemporary Hobbesian and Kantian reconstructions. Now, Pippin’s newest contribution to the literature, Hegel on Self-Consciousness: Desire and Death in the Phenomenology of Spirit, returns to the subject of self-consciousness and provides a detailed reinterpretation of Hegel’s notorious master–slave dialectic. On Pippin’s insightful and bold new reading, Hegel’s aim in this section is to develop a novel conception of self-consciousness, defined as the practical activity of quest