Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

The phenomenology of mind online

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I.ibrar^ of jpbilosopbi?.



The library OF PHILOSOPHY is in the first instance a
contribution to the History of Thought. Wliile much has been
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history of thought.

By the co-operation of different writers in carrying out this
plan, it is hoped that a completeness and thoroughness of treat-
ment otherwise unattainable will be secured. It is believed,
also, that from writers mainly English and American fuller con-
sideration of English Philosophy than it has hitherto received
from the great German Histories of Philosophy may be looked
for. In the departments of Ethics, Economics and Politics,
for instance, the contributions of English writers to the common
stock of theoretic discussion have been especially valuable, and
these subjects will accordingly have special prominence in this

Another feature in the plan of the Library is its arrangement
according to subjects rather than authors and dates, enabling the
writers to follow out and exhibit in a way hitherto unattempted
the results of the logical development of particular lines of

The historical portion of the Library is divided into two
sections, of which the first contains works upon the develop-
ment of particular schools of Philosophy, while the second
exhibits the history of theory in particular departments.

To these have been added, by way of Introduction to the
whole Library, (i) an Enghsh translation of Erdmann's His-
tory of Philosophy, long since recognised in Germany as the best ;
(2) translations of standard foreign works upon Philosophy.


General Editor.


The History of Philosophy. By Dr. Johann Eduard Erdmann.

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In 3 vols., medium 8vo, cloth.

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Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind. Translated by Prof. J. B. Baillie.
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i and W. Scott Palmer, ids. 6d. net.





" A SPLENDID monument of patient labour, critical acumen and admirab
methodical treatment. ... It is not too much to predict that, for the librat
of the savant, for the academical student, whose business it is to be primed i
the wisdom of the ages, and for the literary dilettante, who is nothing if n(
well up in ' things that everybody ought to know,' these volumes will at om
become a necessity for purposes, at least, of reference, if not of actual study. . .
We possess nothing that can bear any comparison with it in point of complet
ness." — Pall Mall Gazette.

" It is not necessary to speak of the great merits of Erdmann's History
Philosophy. Its remarkable clearness and comprehensiveness are well known. . .
The translation is a good, faithful rendering, and in some parts even reaches
high hterary level." — Professor John Watson, in The Week, of Canada.

" It is matter of real congratulation, in the dearth still of original English i
American work over the whole field of historical philosophy, that by the side
the one important German compend af this generation, the other, so well fittf
to serve as its complement, is now made accessible to the English-speakir
student." — Mind.

" It has been long known, highly esteemed, and in its successive editio
has sought to make itself more worthy of the success it has justly achieve
Erdmann's work is excellent. His history of mediajval philosophy especial
deserves attention and praise for its comparative fulness and its admiral
scholarship. . . It must prove a valuable and much needed addition to o
philosophical works." — Scotsman.

" The combination of quaUties necessary to produce a work of the sco
and grade of Erdmann's is rare. Industry, accuracy, and a fair degree of phil
sophic understanding may give us a. work like Ueberweg's ; but Erdmanr
history, while in no way superseding Ueberweg's as a handbook for genei
use, yet occupies a different position. Erdmann wrote his book, not as a refc
ence book, to give in brief compass a digest of the writings of various authors, b
as a genuine history of philosophy, tracing in a genetic way the developme
of thought in its treatment of philosophic problems. Its purpose is to develi
philosophic intelligence rather than to furnish information. When we add th;
to the successful execution of this intention, Erdmann unites a minute aj
exhaustive knowledge of philosophic sources at first hand, equalled over t
entire field of philosophy probably by no other one man, we are in a conditii
to form some idea of the value of the book. To the student who wishes, n
simply a general idea of the course of philosophy, nor a summary of what tl
and that man has said, but a somewhat detailed knowledge of the evoluti'
of thought, and of what this and the other writer have contributed to it, Ei
mann is indispensable ; there is no substitute." — Professor John Dewey,
The Andover Review.

" It is a work that is at once compact enough for the ordinary student, a;
full enough for the reader of literature. ... At once systematic and intere:
ing." — Journal of Education.

" The translation into English of Erdmann's History of Philosophy is
important event in itself, and in the fact that it is the first instalment of an undi
taking of great significance for the study of philosophy in this country. Apa
however, from its relation to the Library to which it is to serve as an introc'.r
tion, the translation of Erdmann's History of Philosophy is something for win
the English student ought to be thankful. ... A History of past endeavou
achievements and failures cannot but be of great use to the student. Such
History, able, competent, trustworthy, we have now in our hands, adequatf
and worthily rendered into our mother-tongue." — Spectator.

ILibrari? of pbilosopb^.











Kal Tovro ^pyov iari^ rb TvoiTjaat. ck tC}v o-vri^ yi^ojpLfiojT^po}i'

ra Trj if/vjreL yvwpt^a aur(xi yfwptfia,

Kal t^ffTLp ri vl)Ti<n^ j'O^o'ews vb-qaiz,

Aristotle, Metaphysics.





THE work here translated and offered to the English
philosophical reader has long been recognised as an
unique product of Teutonic genius, and as, on the whole,
perhaps the most remarkable treatise in the history of
modern philosophy. Alike in its style of thinking, its
manner of expression, the comprehensiveness of its sur-
vey, and the wealth of its material, it can hardly be said
to have a parallel. Tracts of experience, which have
each formed from time to time the subject of separate
discussion, and have engaged the undivided interest of
different thinkers, are here treated as but fragments of
a single system. Movements of human history which
have marked epochs in the development of the human
race are looked upon as but typical or prominent
embodiments of principles at work in the spirit of man,
and are discussed in shadowy, schematic form, through
which the historical reality referred to is only dimly
visible. Acknowledged truths of science are stripped of
their apparent seif-containedness and independence, and
are reduced to phases of the necessary movement of
human intelligence. The supreme importance assigned
by mankind to religion is not allowed to obscure the
fact that reUgion is but one act in the drama of spiritual
existence. Even to the work of philosophy there is
assigned but a relative, though necessary, place. Man
in his lifetime must needs play many parts, and one of

vi Translator's Introduction

these is to be a philosopher ; and all philosophies are
here regarded as but phases of a single mood. The
imposing array of philosophical positions, constituting
the History of Philosophy, are abbreviated into central
principles, which together evolve a single comprehensive
truth controlling the minds of the individual philoso-
phers, though all unknown to themselves.

So exhaustive an analysis of the life-history of the
human spirit, so sustained an effort to reduce its com-
plex and involved harmonies to their simple, elemental,
leading motives, and to express these controlhng ideas
in an orderly, connected system, has certainly never
been compressed within the compass of a single treatise.
The courage which made such an effort possible was,
no doubt, in large measure due to the state of the in-
tellectual atmosphere at the time when the book was
written, an atmosphere surcharged with grand and
grandiose ideas, which were capable of stimulating and
sustaining philosophical enthusiasm, or of exciting and
intoxicating speculative ambition. Inspired by the
promise and potency of the Kantian philosophy, Kant's
immediate successors made bold to set sail on speculative
seas unknown, with a fraction of their master's scientific
knowledge and none of his philosophical prudence.
Influenced as Hegel undoubtedly was by the confident
daring of these earlier intellectual adventurers, it was
not long before a mind so concrete as his, and with so
reverent a regard for scientific truth and practical fact,
saw the necessity for chaining speculative imagination
to the solid ground of tried and verifiable experience.
It might be possible to dispense with " things in them-
selves," but it was not possible to dispense with "things,"
if the new philosophy was to make any claim to be a con-

Translator's Introduction vii

nected system of ideas, appealing to and satisfying the
common reason of mankind. The wealth of familiar and
accessible truth in science, history, and ordinary experi-
ence, must be at our disposal before philosophy can take
with assurance the high road of comprehensive, system-
atic knowledge. The constant, if cryptic, reference
throughout the whole of the following treatise to facts of
nature, human nature, and human history, amply testifies
at any rate to the seriousness with which Hegel endeav-
loured to meet this demand of all true philosophy. In
this sense, the work before us is in large measure a re-
action against the soaring insubstantiality, the ingenious
manipulation of principles in abstracto, and the weari-
some, unmethodical constructions of the works which
intervened between the Kantian analysis of experience
and the appearance of the Phenomenology in 1807. It is,
therefore, small surprise that, though the appearance
of the book was hailed with great expectation, the
work was received with coldness and dissatisfaction
by those who had, up to this point, been HegeFs teachers
and friends.

But while an enormous wealth of representative
material lies behind the treatise, partly illuminating the
argument, partly determining the course of its develop-
ment, it need not be supposed that the author could
possibly lay claim to omniscience. From first to last it is
apparent that the author was limited by the information
available at his time, by the scientific views prevalent
during his day, and by his own selective interest in the
material presented before him. Only in one department
was his knowledge sufficiently adequate to reduce this
limitation to a neghgible characteristic. This was the
department of History, and more especially the History

viii Translator's Introduction

of Philosophy.* But here, it may well be said, the
material was regarded as primarily representative, and
typical of movements of the human spirit, so that errors
of fact or of delail are, for the purpose of this treatise!,
insignificant. Even so, his selection of such materia'
is governed both by his interest in the problem oi
the Phenomenology, and also by the intellectual attitudt;;
and bias of his time. A selection under such conditions
imposes restrictions on the character of the argument
of the treatise. Such limitations as those indicated ard
doubtless inevitable, and they help us to explain many ot
the more singular peculiarities, or even obvious defects,
of the work. Subjects are treated in the book with
a fullness, and even diffuseness of analysis, which must
now seem utterly out of proportion to the value of what
is discussed. For example, Hegel devotes much labour
to demonstrating the hollow pretentiousness of the
pseudo-sciences of " Phrenology " and " Physiognomy,"!
and endeavours to bring to light the truth which
they had misconstrued, f The explanation is that in
his day these twin scientific impostures had great
success, and won much favour from learned and un-
learned alike. The scientific function of " Observation/'
again, is dealt with at an inordinate length, doubtless
because of the success which attended the scientific
investigation of nature towards the end of the eigh-
teenth century. I So, too, the constantly recurring
reference to states of spiritual fife which were familiar
features of the Romantic movement, is only to be ex-

* In 1805 he lectured at Jena on the History of Philosopliy ; and the
lectures then delivered are substantially the same as those which were
afterwards published in his collected works.

t 'ITiis truth finds ample recognition not merely in ordinary experi-
ence but in the recent work of scientific investigators such as Lomhroso.

J Vide -p. 221.

Translator's Introditction ix

plained by the outstanding historical importance of this
movement at the time the book was written.

But the omissions from the treatise are as remarkable
as the exaggerated attention devoted to some aspects
of experience relatively to others. In a work ostensibly
dealing with the whole range of human experience, it
seems surprising to find no specific discussion of our
knowledge of space or of number, or of the sphere of
lact dealt with by chemistry ; or again, to take another
domain of experience remote from these, there is no
mention at all of important fine arts, like music or
painting. Such omissions are all the more striking when
we bear in mind Hegel's keen appreciation of the value
of both pure science and fine art, and when we remember
that, in his later works, a full and elaborate treatment
is given to the subjects just mentioned. It is not enough
to plead in excuse that he is deahng in this work with the
main types of experience, and that what is not ex-
pHcitly discussed is imphed in the analyses of the types
selected ; for it seems obvious that the kinds of know-
ledge and of art above referred to play a unique part
in experience, and are not simply specific forms of more
general types of experience.

Looking at the plan of the treatise as a whole and
the method of treatment assigned to the forms of
experience brought under review, an impartial critic
is bound to admit that the scheme of the work is un-
balanced and out of proportion. The discussion of some
parts is foreshortened ; in other cases, subjects are
treated with an elaborateness of detail in which the
main idea is overborne by the sheer mass of the material
used to elucidate it. At times, indeed, the writer seems
to have become so absorbed with the particular subject

VOL. I. — 6

X Translator's Introduction

in hand, that for the time being he seems to have lost,
sight of the ^^lan and purpose of the argmnent of the
whole treatise. In such cases, the author's description
of his work as his " voyage of discovery " has a literal-
ness of application which is more accurate than com-
plimentary to the author. For the business of a writer
is to determine the chart of his argument before he sets
out on his literary expedition, and not to draw it
afterwards in order to discover what coasts of truth
he has visited. Hegel himself felt that in many parts,
the argument had been overweighted,* and expressed
the hope, in a letter to his friend Niethammer, that
he might be able, in a second edition, to ' unload
some of the ballast, and get the ship to float more
easily.'! The last part of the work is especially unsatis-
factory. To the discussion of " Religion " and " Abso-
lute Knowledge," one would naturally have expected
the author to have devoted the greatest care and the
best of his energies. For it was one of the main objects
of his task to explain and justify the place of Philoso-
phical Knowledge in the plan of human experience. Yet
the analysis of "Religion" is condensed, fragmentary,
and inadequate to the theme ; while the statement of
" Absolute Knowledge " is brief and eUiptical to'
the verge of obscurity. This is disappointing, more
particularly after the long and carefully-wrought
argument dealing with the sphere of moral and social
experience which immediately precedes the section
on Rehgion. The defect certainly demands some
explanation, and this is to be found in the circum-

* Briefe, I, p. 80. See also the letter to Schelling, Briefe, \, p. 102.

+ It was a quarter of a century before the wish had the prospect'
of being fulfilled, and then, unfortunately, the author died before he had '
revised many pages.

Translator's Introduction xi

stances under which this last part of the treatise was

In a letter to Schelling, in which Hegel promises to
send him a copy of the book,* Hegel asks indulgence for
the unsatisfactory character of the last parts of the
work, and says, as if by way of explanation, that the
" composition of the book was concluded at midnight
before the battle of Jena." This sounds a Uttle hollow
and melodramatic. For one naturally asks what the roar
of Napoleon's cannon had to do with the philosophical
delineation of the Absolute. The Absolute, as well as his
expositor, could surely afford to wait till the smoke of
such temporalities had cleared. In any case, " on the
night before the battle " there could have been no serious
cannonade to disturb Hegel's meditations. In point of
fact, the Prussian General himself did not expect
Napoleon to attack on the 14th of October (the day of
the battle) ; and it is extremely unlikely that Hegel
could have been so certain of Napoleon's plans as to
feel constrained to hurry on the completion of his book
in case of eventuahties. No doubt, after the battle,
kfiffairs in Jena were uncomfortable, and sufficiently
funcertain to induce Hegel to carry about in his pocket
the MS. finished on the night of the 13th, and to defer
till the 20th, when things had quieted down, the despatch
of his MS. to Bamberg.

The real explanation was much more commonplace.
Hegel had made an unfortunate arrangement with his
publisher. Instead of waiting till the MS. of the work
was actually finished before sending it to the publisher,
Hegel arranged to let the publisher have it in instal-
ments. The publisher was to pay so much a sheet, the

* Briefe, I, p. 102.

xii Translator's Introduction

first payment to be made when half the entire MS. was:
in his hands. Printing began in February, 1806. Any
pubhsher could easily make sure of getting the best of.
such a bargain ; in this case the publisher was printer,
publisher, and bookseller all in one — a singularly
dangerous person for an impecunious man of letters
to deal with. When Hegel had sent what he took to
be half the MS. of the book, and demanded payment
accordingly, the publisher declared himself unable to feel
satisfied that this really was half the MS. Payment
was therefore refused, and further, the edition of one
thousand copies, originally agreed upon, was altered now
to one of seven hundred and fifty, with a corresponding
diminution of payment to the author. Hegel, being
much in need of the money, appealed in despair to his
friend Niethammer, then living in Bamberg (the place
of publication), and asked his good offices to urge the
publisher to forward the money. The publisher was;
obdurate. Finally, Niethammer made a new contract
with the pubhsher, whereby Niethammer agreed to
pay the pubhsher so much should Hegel fail to senc
the last of the MS. by the 18th October, 1806. This new^
contract was made on 29th September. By great effort,! ■
Hegel managed to send off large instalments on the 8th'
and on 10th of October, promising faithfully to send
the last remaining instalment by the 13th. Meantime,
Napoleon appeared on the scene, and hostilities with
Prussia were definitely declared from Bamberg on the
7th October. The proximity of this " Weltseele " on
horseback added to Hegel's anxieties and difficulties ;•
for there could be no certainty that postal arrangementsi
would be efficiently carried out and the MS. safely^

Online LibraryGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelThe phenomenology of mind → online text (page 1 of 34)