|About the Book|
William F. Bristow presents an original and illuminating study of Hegels hugely influential but notoriously difficult Phenomenology of Spirit. Hegel describes the method of this work as a way of despair, meaning thereby that the reader whoMoreWilliam F. Bristow presents an original and illuminating study of Hegels hugely influential but notoriously difficult Phenomenology of Spirit. Hegel describes the method of this work as a way of despair, meaning thereby that the reader who undertakes its inquiry must be open to the experience of self-loss through it. Whereas the existential dimension of Hegels work has often been either ignored or regarded as romantic ornamentation, Bristow argues that it belongs centrally to Hegels attempt to fulfil a demanding epistemological ambition. With his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant expressed a new epistemological demand with respect to rational knowledge and presented a new method for meeting this demand. Bristow reconstructs Hegels objection to Kants Critical Philosophy, according to which Kants way of meeting the epistemological demand of philosophical critique presupposes subjectivism, that is, presupposes the restriction of our knowledge to things as they are merely for us. Whereas Hegel in his early Jena writings rejects Kants critical project altogether on this basis, he comes to see that the epistemological demand expressed in Kants project must be met.- Bristow argues that Hegels method in the Phenomenology of Spirit takes shape as his attempt to meet the epistemological demand of Kantian critique without presupposing subjectivism. The key to Hegels transformation of Kants critical procedure, by virtue of which subjectivism is to be avoided, is precisely the existential or self-transformational dimension of Hegels criticism, the openness of the criticizing subject to being transformed through the epistemological procedure.