Hegel. The Philosophical Propadeutic. 1808-1811

2. Phenomenology
[For the Middle Class]


[1.] Our ordinary Knowing has before itself only the object which it knows, but does not at the same time make an object of itself, i.e. of the Knowing. But the whole which is present in the act of knowing is not the object alone but also the I [Ego] that knows and the relation of the Ego and the object to each other, i.e. Consciousness.

2. In Philosophy the determinations of Knowing are not considered one-sidedly only as determinations of things but as, at the same time, determinations of the Knowing to which they belong in common at least with the things. In other words they are not taken merely as objective but also as subjective determinations or rather as specific kinds of the relation of the object and subject to each other.

3. Since things and their determinations are in the Knowing it is possible, on the one hand, to think of them as in-and-for-themselves outside of Consciousness, as given to the latter in the shape of alien and already existing material for it. On the other hand, since Consciousness is equally essential to the Knowing of these [material things] it is also possible to think that Consciousness itself posits this, its world, and produces or modifies, either wholly or in part, the determinations of the same through its behaviour and its activity. The former point of view is called Realism the latter Idealism. Here we are to consider the universal determinations of things simply as the specific relation of the object to the subject.

4. The subject, thought of more specifically, is Mind [or Spirit]. It is phenomenal [erscheinend] when essentially relating to an existent object: i.e. in so far it is Consciousness. The Science of Consciousness is, therefore, called The Phenomenology of Mind [or Spirit].

5. But Mind as spontaneously active within itself and as self-referential [Beziehung auf sich] and independent of all reference to others is considered in the Doctrine of Mind or Psychology.

6. Consciousness is, in general, the knowing of an object, whether external or internal, without regard to whether it presents itself without the help of Mind or whether it be produced by it. Mind is to be considered in its activities in so far as the determinations of its Consciousness are ascribed to itself.

7. Consciousness is the specific relation of the Ego to an object. In so far as one starts from the object, consciousness can be said to vary according to the diversity of the objects which it has.

8. At the same time, however, the object is essentially determined in its relation to Consciousness. Its diversity is, therefore, to be considered conversely as dependent upon the further development of Consciousness. This reciprocity proceeds in the phenomenal sphere of Consciousness itself and leaves the matters in paragraph 3 above undecided.

9. Consciousness has, in general, three stages [Stufen] according to the diversity of the object. It [the object] is namely [a] either the object standing opposed to the Ego or [b] the Ego itself or [c] something objective which belongs likewise equally to the Ego, [e.g.] Thought. These determinations are not empirically taken up from without but are moments of Consciousness itself. Hence Consciousness is:

(1) Consciousness in General;
(2) Self-Consciousness;
(3) Reason

First Stage. Consciousness in General

10. Consciousness in General is:

(a) Sensuous;
(b) Perceiving;
(c) Understanding.

The Sensuous Consciousness

11. The simple Sensuous Consciousness is the immediate certainty of an external object. The expression for the immediacy of such an object is that it is, and indeed is this object, a Now according to time and a Here according to space, [and is] completely different from all other objects and completely determined in-itself.

12. Both this Now and this Here are vanishing determinatenesses. Now is no more even while it is and another Now has taken its place, and this latter Now has likewise immediately vanished. But the Now abides all the same. This abiding Now is the universal Now which is both this and the other Now, and also neither of them. This Here which I mean, and point out has a right and left, an above and a below, a behind and a before, etc. ad infinitum, i.e. the Here pointed out, is not a simple and hence specific Here but a totality of many Heres. Therefore what in truth is before us is not the abstract, sensuous determinateness but the universal.


13. Perception has no longer for [its] object the sensuous in so far as it is immediate but, in so far as it is also universal, it is a mingling of sensuous determinations with those of Reflection.

14. The object of this Consciousness is, therefore, the Thing with its Properties. The sensuous properties (a) are for-themselves not only inmiediately in Feeling but also at the same time determined through the relation to others and mediated; (b) belong to a Thing and, in this respect, on the one hand are included in the individuality of the same, [and] on the other hand have universality in accordance with which they transcend this individual thing and are at the same time independent of one another.

15. In so far as Properties are essentially mediated they have their subsistence in an Other and are alterable. They are only Accidents. Things, however, since they subsist in their properties, for the reason that they are distinguished by means of these, perish through the alteration of those properties and are an alternation of coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.

16. In this alternation it is not merely the something that sublates itself and becomes an Other but the Other also ceases to be. But the Other of the Other, or the alteration of the alterable, is the Becoming of the enduring [Werden des Bleibenden], of that which subsists in-and-for-itself and is inner.

The Understanding

17. The object has now this determination: it has (a) a purely accidental side but (b) also an essential and permanent side. Consciousness, in that the object has for it this character, is the Understanding in which the Things of perception pass for mere phenomena and it [the Understanding] contemplates the Inner of Things.

18. On the one hand, the Inner of Things is that in them which is free from their appearances, namely, their Manifoldness which constitutes an outer in opposition to the inner, [and] on the other hand, however, the inner is that which is related to them through its concept. It is therefore:

(1) simple Force, which passes over in Determinate Being into its Expression [or Manifestation].

(2) Force remains with this difference the same in all the sensuous variety of Appearance. The law of Appearance is its quiescent, universal image. It is a relation of universal abiding determinations whose distinctions are external to the law. The universality and persistence of this relation does indeed lead to its necessity but without the difference being one determined in-and-for-itself or inner, in which one of the determinations lies immediately in the concept of the other.

20. This concept, applied to Consciousness itself, gives another stage thereof. Hitherto it was in relation to its object as something alien and indifferent. Since now the difference in general has become a difference which at the same time is no difference, the previous mode of the difference of Consciousness from its object falls away. It has an object and is related to an Other, which, however, is at the same time no ‘Other’; in fine, it has itself for object.

21. In other words, the Inner of Things is the Thought or Concept of them. While Consciousness has the Inner as object it has Thought or equally its own Reflection or Form and, [consequently], simply has itself for object.

Second Stage. Self-Consciousness

22. As Self-Consciousness the Ego intuits itself, and the expression of this in its purity is Ego = Ego, or: I am I.

23. This proposition of Self-Consciousness is devoid of all content. The urge of Self-Consciousness consists in this: to realize its concept and in everything to become conscious of itself. It is, therefore, active (a) in overcoming the otherness of objects and in positing them as the same as itself [and] (b) in externalizing itself and thereby giving itself objectivity and determinate being. These two are one and the same activity. Self-Consciousness in becoming determined is at the same time a self-determining and, conversely, it produces itself as object.

24. Self-Consciousness has, in its formative development or movement, three stages:

(1) Of Desire in so far as it is directed to other things;
(2) Of the relation of Master and Slave in so far as it is directed to another Self-Consciousness unlike itself;
(3) Of the Universal Self-Consciousness which recognizes itself in other Self-Consciousnesses and is identical with them as they are identical with it.


25. Both sides of Self-Consciousness, the positing and the sublating, are thus united with each other immediately. Self-Consciousness posits itself through negation of otherness and is practical Consciousness. If, therefore, in Consciousness proper, which also is called theoretical [Consciousness], the determinations of it and of the object altered themselves in-themselves, this now happens through the activity of Consciousness itself and/or it. It is aware that this sublating activity belongs to it. In the concept of Self-Consciousness lies the determination of the as yet unrealized difference. In so far as this difference does make its appearance in it there arises a feeling of an otherness in consciousness itself, a feeling of a negation of itself or the feeling of a lack, a need.

26. This feeling of its otherness contradicts its identity with itself. The felt necessity to overcome this opposition is Impulse, Negation or Otherness, [and] presents itself to consciousness as an external thing different from it, but which is determined by Self-Consciousness, (a) as a something suited to gratify the Impulse and (b) as something in-itself negative whose subsistence is to be sublated by the Self and posited in identity with it.

27. The activity of Desire thus overcomes the otherness of the object and its subsistence and unites it with the subject, whereupon the Desire is satisfied. This is accordingly conditioned, (a) by an object existing externally or indifferent to it, or through Consciousness; and (b) by its activity producing the gratification only through overcoming the object. Self-Consciousness comes therefore only to its feeling of Self.

28. In Desire, Consciousness stands in relation to itself as an individual. It is related to a selfless object which is, in-and-for-itself, an other than the Self-Consciousness. The latter therefore only attains self-identity as regards the object by overcoming the latter. Desire is in general destructive [and], in its gratification therefore, it only gets as far as the self-feeling of the subject’s being-for-self as an individual: [i.e.] to the indeterminate concept of the subject in its connection with objectivity.

The Relation of Master and Slave

29. The concept of Self-Consciousness as a Subject which is at the same time objective, yields the relation that another Self-Consciousness exists for Self-Consciousness.

30. A Self-Consciousness which is for another is not for it a mere object but is its other self. The Ego is no abstract universality in which, as such, there is no distinction or determination. Since Ego is, therefore, object for the Ego the object is, in this relation, the same as that which the Ego is. It beholds in the other its own self.

31. This beholding of oneself in another is the abstract moment of self-sameness. But each has also the determination of appearing to the other as an external object and, in so far, as an immediate, sensuous and concrete existence. Each exists absolutely for-itself as an individual opposed to the other and demands to be regarded and treated as such by the other and to behold in the other its own freedom as an independent being or to be acknowledged by it.

32. In order to make itself valid as a free being and to obtain recognition, Self-Consciousness must exhibit itself to another as free from natural existence. This moment is as necessary as that of the freedom of Self-Consciousness within itself. The absolute identity of the Ego with itself is essentially not an immediate identity but one which has been achieved by overcoming sensuous immediacy and, by so doing, has also made itself free and independent of the sensuous for another. It thus shows itself to conform to its concept and must be recognized because it gives reality to the Ego.

33. But independence is freedom not so much outside of and [apart] from sensuous immediate existence, as rather a freedom in it. The one moment is as necessary as the other but they are not of the same value, since inequality enters, namely, that to one of the two Self-Consciousness[es] freedom passes for the essential in opposition to sensuous existence, while with the other the opposite occurs. With the reciprocal demand for recognition there enters into determinate actuality the relation of master and slave between them or, in general terms, that of service and obedience, so far as this diversity of independence is present through the immediate agency of nature.

34. Since of the two Self-Consciousness[es] opposed to each other each must strive to prove and maintain itself as an absolute being-for-self against and for the other, that one enters into a condition of Slavery who prefers life to freedom and thereby shows that he is incapable of making abstraction from his sensuous existence by his own efforts in order to achieve his independence.

35. This purely negative freedom, which consists in the abstraction from natural existence, does not, however, correspond to the concept of Freedom, for this latter is self-sameness in otherness, that is, in part the beholding of oneself in another self and in part freedom not from existence but in existence, a freedom which itself has an existence. The one who serves lacks a self and has another self in place of his own; so that in the Master he has alienated and annulled himself as an individual Ego and now views another as his essential self. The Master, on the contrary, sees in the Servant the other Ego as annulled and his own individual will as preserved. (History of Robinson Crusoe and Friday.)

36. The Servant’s own individual will, considered more closely, is suppressed in the fear of the Master, in the inner feeling of its own negativity. Its labour for the service of another is an alienation of its own will, partly in principle, partly at the same time, with the negation of its own desire, the positive transformation of external things through labour; since through labour the self makes its own determinations into the forms of things and in its work views itself as an objective self. The renunciation of the unessential arbitrary will constitutes the moment of true obedience. (Pisistratus taught the Athenians to obey. Through this he made the Code of Solon an actual power and, after the Athenians had learned this, the dominion of a Ruler over them was superfluous.)

37. This renunciation of Individuality as Self is the moment by which Self-Consciousness makes the transition to being the Universal Will: [i.e.] the transition to Positive Freedom.

Universality of Self-Consciousness

38. The Universal Self-Consciousness is the intuition of itself not as a particular existence distinct from others but as the implicit universal self. Thus it recognizes itself and the other Self-Consciousnesses within it and is, in turn, recognized by them.

39. Self-Consciousness is, according to this its essential universality, only real to itself in so far as it knows its reflection in others. (I know that others know me as themselves.) And as pure spiritual universality, as belonging to the family, one’s native land, etc., [it] knows itself as an essential self. This Self-Consciousness is the basis of every virtue, of love, honour, friendship, bravery, all self-sacrifice, all fame, etc.

Third Stage. Reason

40. Reason is the highest union of consciousness and self-consciousness or of the knowing of an object and of the knowing of itself. It is the certainty that its determinations are just as much objective, i.e. determinations of the essence of things, as they are our own thoughts. It is equally the certainty of itself, subjectivity, as being or objectivity in one and the same thinking activity.

41. Or what we see through the insight of Reason is (a) a content which does not consist in our mere subjective ideas or thoughts which we make for ourselves but which contains the absolute essence of objects and possesses objective reality, and (b) a content which is, for the Ego, nothing alien, nothing given from without but is throughout penetrated and assimilated by the Ego and therefore, to all intents, produced by the Ego.

42. The knowing of Reason is therefore not mere subjective certainty but also Truth, because Truth consists in the agreement, or rather unity, of certainty and being or of certainty and objectivity.


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