Hegel’s Criticism of Recognition: The Sublation of Actualized Recognition in Phenomenology VI-VIII

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Abstract

I argue that in his Phenomenology of Geist, Hegel not only emphasizes the importance of recognition, but also its one-sidedness. Hegel has a more critical and balanced attitude towards recognition than is acknowledged in contemporary exegetical and systematic debates. I develop a conceptual framework for recognition based on the pure concept of recognition in Phenomenology IV.A. I then show that recognition is not only relevant for the Self-Consciousness chapter of the Phenomenology, but also for the Geist chapter (Phenomenology VI). I discuss the one-sidedness of recognition as revealed in the dialectic of the consciences at the close of the Geist chapter. The forgiveness of the consciences actualizes an ideal of symmetry inherent in recognition. Nonetheless, the state of forgiveness between the consciences is still deficient. This shows that Hegel is aware that recognition alone, even if symmetrical, is an insufficient solution for conflicts in the social sphere. In the Religion chapter recognition is sublated in the process of reflection, understood as a communal reflection on the ethical substance of a society. The one-sidedness of symmetrical recognition shows, according to Hegel, that an account of recognition has to be supplemented by an account of reflection in order to come to terms with conflicts in the social sphere.
Translated title of the contributionHegel’s Criticism of Recognition: The Sublation of Actualized Recognition in Phenomenology VI-VIII
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)90-122
Number of pages32
JournalHegel Studien
Volume49
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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