The Appearance of Self-Concsiousness

In this course you will learn the method and the core arguments of the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831) by discussing his massively influential work The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). 

Join our 8 lectures Masterclass now and learn the most important ideas of this masterpiece.

Consciousness as the Quest for Knowledge 

Hegel’s most influential work, The Phenomenology of Spirit, aims at nothing less than ‘the coming to be of knowledge’ . This work has exercised tremendous influence and inspiration on thinkers like Karl Marx, Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Richard Rorty, John McDowell, Robert Brandom, Slavoj Žižek and many others.

Hegel asks: What is the nature of knowing?

Yet, Hegel not only asks for theoretical knowledge, but also for the certainty of my immediate situation: that there is a street outside that window; that there are invisible laws at work when I let go of this cup midair; that I feel drawn towards certain things and how I orient myself among others in society.

Hegel thought that consciousness is intrinsically oriented towards knowing the world and itself, but that it would often undermine its own projects despite the best of intentions. 

"The life of spirit is not a life that is fearing death and austerely saving itself from ruin; rather, it bears death calmly, and in death, it sustains itself. Spirit only wins its truth by finding its feet in its absolute disruption"

 - Hegel, Preface of the Phenomenology 

What You Will Learn in This Course

You will learn what consciousness, self-consciousness and spirit (Geist), and many other philosophical terms mean for Hegel.

You will also learn about the specific “shapes” of consciousness (sense-certainty, perception, understanding, desire, mastery, servitude, cultural, moral, conscientious) and how they develop logically from one to the other.

You will learn about Hegel’s particular method of immanent critique: how the best way to critique something is to let it undermine itself through on its own terms.

Last but not least, you will learn how to read one of the toughest books on philosophy ever written, see new ways of thinking open before you and gain a whole new confidence in all matters intellectual.

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Your Teacher: Dr. Filip Niklas 

Filip Niklas has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Warwick. His thesis on Hegel’s Critique of Determinism: Justifying Unfreedom as A Moment of Freedom, was supervised by Stephen Houlgate. He has organized the conference series Hegel at Warwick, which saw five installations inviting world-leading Hegel scholars on examining Hegel’s philosophy. Filip was recipient of a DAAD scholarship in 2019 to study at the University of Heidelberg for one year. He has given talks on Hegel, Collingwood and Kant. In 2017-2019, he edited the philosophy journal Plí. 

Dr. Filip Niklas introduces his course.