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Individuality, Individualism and Our Human Zoôn Politikon

Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in German Idealism book series (PHGI)

Abstract

The examination of ‘Life and Desire’ which opens Hegel’s critique of ‘Self-Consciousness’ is the first step in Hegel’s phenomenological demonstration that we Moderns are, as ever, a zoôn politikon. That preliminary, and the ‘Battle unto Death’, show (inter alia) that living embodiment is necessary for individual human self-consciousness. Hegel’s infamous examination of ‘Lord and Bondsman’ is, however, only the first step in Hegel’s phenomenological demonstration that our individual rational self-consciousness is fundamentally a social (and historical) achievement, insofar as it is both socially acquired and is—constitutively—socially exercised. That very portentous thesis requires demonstration, for the reader qua observer, extending from the outset of ‘Self-Consciousness’ through to the end of ‘Spirit’; yet this thesis is only demonstrated for the forms of consciousness observed in the Phenomenology of Spirit in the final chapter, ‘Absolute Knowing.’ This chapter examines why and how Hegel’s examination of human sociality is so extensive and intensive, embracing 80% of his text.

Keywords

Sociality of reason zoôn politikon ‘Lord and Bondsman’ Social ontology Logical egoism Moral egoism Constructive mutual criticism Mutual recognition Individualism Individuality Rational justification Fallibilism Hobbes Kant 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBoğaziçi ÜniversitesiIstanbulTurkey

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