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Master Slave in Hegel

Master Slave in Hegel

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11/07/2012

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MASTER
-
SLAVE
RELATIONSHIP
IN
HEGEL'S
PHILOSOPHY
MUHAMMAD
AMAL
This paper is concerned with a significant aspect of 
Hegel's
philosophywhich has a widespread
influence
on Marxism and Existentialism. To begin with
I
would prefer to discuss the concept of 'Time' by
Hegel
which provides a cluein understanding the nature and structure of 'Consciousness.' In pursuing thisinterpretation we need first to distinguish mathematical
time,
as the latterdetermines the stream
.f
"
world
-
spirit
"
or 'Consciousness' analysed in the
Phenomenology
o
Mi~id.
As
we
know, mathematical time deals with quantityand lifeless reality and is divided into equal units. Human time, by contrast, isqualitative consists of unrepeatable events in which every new event is richerin content than those antecedent to it. This concept of time is central to
Hegel's
philosopphy. One can find explicit references to
Hegel's
concept of human timein the
The
Pi~enomenology,
where
he
states that,
c
L
Time
appears as Spirit's destiny
and
necessity,
where
Spirit is
not yet
complete within itself.
"
The revelation of Consciousness
in
the
self-formative
proocess of humanhistory takes place in two different ways; First, Consciousness posits itself assomething temporal and dynamic. Second, it objectifies itself and becomes alifeless entity or something spatial. And then it stands
as
an opposition to thatkind of spatial entity or 'Being' which is Consciousness in its otherness.
Inmthis
confrontation, Consciousness as an imperative condition for thesake of achieving self 
-
realisation completely. As we see,
Hegel's
view of timeis distinct from that which Kant has described in his
First
Crjtique.
For
Hegel,
Time and Space are
not
subjective conditions of sensory experiences, butontological, simply because time is the formative process of Consciousness
Indian
Philosophical
Quarterly,
Vol.
XXV
No.
4
October
1998
 
456
MUHAMMAD
KAMAL
without which history is unthinkable and since that process takes place
in
theworld, time is, then, not subjective. Conversely, one could also argue that sinceall the categories in
Hegel's
philosophy are real and 'Time' is one of them, then'Time' is real or ontological. Temporality of Consciousness draws
a
line of demarcation between human beings and the given objects. Since Consciousnesson this view is temporality, then, it is not something identical to itself like aninanimate entity. In other words, Consciousness is what it is not, because
it
isincomplete and dynamic and is in the state of constant change striving
to
fillitself with content. This movement of Consciousness is also self determined.The 'Other' is its own externalisation and for this reason there is no distinctionbetween externality
and
internality of Consciousness. This significantcharacteristic of Consciousness provides the ground for freedom and quiteessential for the category of 'True Infinite' in Dialectic Logic, where
Hegel
remarks;
"
The Being of spirit may
be
understood
by
a
glance
at
its directopposition
-
matter. As the essence
of 
matter is
gravity,
so, on the otherhand,
we
may affirm that the substance, the essence of Spirit
is
freedom.'
'
As
I
understand them
Hegel's
notions of temporality and
Cor~sciousness
have had a profound impact on the philosophies of Heidegger and
Sal-tre.
Humanexistence
(Daseinj,
in Heidegger's philosophy, has been described as an abilityto anticipate and direct one's self towards future possibilities and towards arealised end. This is what
Hegel
tries to generalise in his philosophy. But theintrinsict difference between
Hegel
and Heidegger arises with the notions of Dasein's authentic mode of existence and individuality. History for
Hegel
is oneof a collective Consciousness. It is a public history
in
which the individual issubordinated by the universal will and the parts are therefore determined by thewhole. By contrast, Heidegger distinguishes between public life and the authenticmode of existence and, for him, public life gives an end to
the
authenticity of Dasein. In this context, freedom is an essential characteristic of the authenticbeing and
history
is the history of individuals rather than a universal will. Thedynamics of human reality on this view stresses novelty and no historical eventwill remain eternally true. Human existence is nothing but a constant negation
of 
itself and an external reality.
 
Master
-
-
Slave Relationship in
Hegel's
Pl~ilosopl~y
457
It has been mentioned before
that
consciousness and Being oppose eachother and the oppositions in Dialectic Logic are identical and different. andcontain each other. This kind of relationship
suggesrs
that Consiousness realisesits distinction from and
silnilarities
to Being. As
a
result that alienated realitywill be understood as nothing more than
ano'ther
form of Consciousness and forthat reason it will be negated as an independent reality and preserved. Thetransformation of Being is initially
accolnplished
theoretically,
througli
theepistemological grasp of Being of different stages in Dialectic of Consciousnesswhich has occupied the
first
half of the
Pl~enomenology,
and then,
transfoi-mation
of Being is accomplished practically in (Desire) by Labour. These two differentways
namely,
theorectical and practical,
ai-e
necessarily connected andsupplement each other. Theoretical appropriation is the conceptualisation of Being for the sake of change. This relationship between theory and practice,however, does not label
He~cl
a
pragmatic philosopher like
WiIliam James
and
7
John Dewey, because all
ki1ii.j~
of knowing is not doing.
-
But at the same time,
Hegel
does not deny that knowledge can become
a
force or must become
a
forcefor social change. It should be remembered here that
Karl Marx
as one of the
Hegelians,
has put a great emphasis on the necessary relationship
between
theoryand practice and firmly believed that theory be prior to practice, for example in
Das
kapital
he remarks that,
L L
A
spider conducts operations which resemble those
of 
weavers. and
a
bee
puts
many
of 
human architect to shame by the construction
o
itshoney comb
cell.
But what distinguishes the worse architect
from
thebest of bees is
that the
architect builds
rhe
cell
in
his mind before
he
constructs
it
in
work.
At
the
end
of every labour process,
a
result emergeswhich had already
been
conceived
by
the worker
at
the beginning, hence,it already existed ideally.
$74
Generally speaking,
Hegel's
view of unification of Consciousness withBeing can be understood on the grounds of his ontology,
logic
and epistemology.If we look at Consciousness and Being in the super triad of 
Hegel's
ontology,we find them as two
main
oppositions having
a
dialectic relationship. On oneside they appear to be identical because Being is the self 
-
externalisation of Consciousness. Yet, on
the other
side they are different because being is
the
idea in its otherness and alienated
fi-om
Consciousness. Logical unificationconsists
in
the application of 
the sune
dialectic relationship in the realm of logic.

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