INTRODUCTION TO THE READING OF HEGEL LECTURES ON THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT ALEXANDRE KOJEVE During the years the. Alexandre Kojève (). Introduction to the Reading of Hegel. Source: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Basic Books, ; the final chapter only. Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit. By Edited by Allan Bloom. Translated by James H. Nichols.

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Return to Book Page. Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: This collection of lectures–originally compiled by Raymond Queneau and edited for its English-language translation by Allan Bloom–shows the intensity of Kojeve’s study and thought and the depth of his insight into Hegel’s Phenomenology.

More important–for Kojeve was above all a philosopher and not an ideologue–this profound and venturesome work on Hegel will expose the readers to the excitement of discovering a great mind in all its force and power. Paperbackpages.

Kojève, Alexandre | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. To see what your friends thought of this book, please introductin up. To ask other readers questions about Introduction to the Reading of Hegelalexandrf sign up. Hfgel the first to ask a ehgel about Introduction to the Reading of Hegel.

Lists with This Book. Jun 26, Roy Lotz rated it it was ok Shelves: Generally speaking, there is a tendency to underestimate the od of satisfaction and to overestimate those of omniscience.

This is peculiar, considering that his laexandre rests mainly on his interpretation of Hegel, an interpretation which he developed and propounded in a series of lectures in Many who attended these lectures—Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jacques Lacan, to name just two—went on Generally speaking, there is a tendency to underestimate the difficulties of satisfaction and to overestimate those of omniscience.

It is too bad, then, that I found his most famous book to be of little merit. Frankly, I failed to see anything of serious interest in these pages: Admittedly, the former did not surprise me. But I did not expect this book to be so devoid of intellectual interest. Indeed, I am somewhat at a loss as to why or how it became so influential. He is boorishly repetitious, persistently vague, and pompously obscure.

Meanwhile, his meaning, stripped of its pretentious shell, is either a banal truism, nonsense, or obviously wrong. This, by the way, is so often the case with turgid writers that I have grown to be deeply suspicious of all obscurity.

In academic circles, dense prose is easily self-serving. I cannot make these accusations without some demonstration. Being is not only Being, but also Truth —that is, the adequation reaading the Concept and Being.

I found all this to be academically slipshod. The attempt to make Hegel into a quasi-existentialist, deriving freedom from the cognizance of death, is especially unconvincing: Hegel was anything but an existentialist. Thus as an introduction to Hegel, the text is basically useless. Statements like these are common: But I shall say that it is irrefutable.

Full text of “KOJEVE introduction to the reading of (PDFy mirror)”

This habit of deferring to infallible texts, by the way, is a typical move in religious arguments, and has no place in philosophy. As a result, this book is one bloated series of unfounded assertions—seldom citing the text or providing anything resembling an argument—which makes it worse than useless.


Now, in case you think I am being overly harsh, let me quote one section where he does seem to be making an argument: Let us consider a real table. Now, this table does not float in empty space. It is on this floor, in this room, in this house, in this place on Earth, which Earth is at a determined distance from the Sun, which has a determined place within the galaxy, etc. To speak of this table without speaking of the rest, then, is to abstract from this rest, which in fact is just as real and concrete as this table itself.

To speak of this table without speaking of the whole of the Universe which implies it, or likewise to speak of this Universe without speaking of this table which is implied in it, is therefore to speak of an abstraction and not of a concrete reality.

To show this, as well as to demonstrate that philosophy need not always be written so badly, I will quote Bertrand Russell: No doubt he has relations, near and remote, with everything in the universe, but he can be spoken of truly without taking them into account, except such as are the direct subject-matter of what is being said.

He may be the father of Jemima as well as James, but it is not necessary for me to know this in order to know that he is the father of James. Now, if this book were truly as devoid of value as I am making it out to be, it would lead to the question of how it became to popular and influential. Well, I can only guess.

View all 12 comments. Jul 19, Ram rated it liked it.

Kojeve makes everything far more difficult than I think it has to be. So, while this book was at times revelatory and made me feel like I was this close to “knowing” Hegel’s mind, Kojeve always then launched into a 10 page might as well have been page discussion of how we can draw “The Idea” “IN Time” or “OUTSIDE of Time” as a circle, or two circles, or a square with a dildo glued on it, or whatever.

The whole book was like that. Plus, Kojeve doesn’t use modern w Jesus H. Plus, Kojeve doesn’t use modern words to talk about things. He uses some other vocabulary, one that looks like normal words but where the words don’t mean anything but what he wants them to, when he wants them to. You can go pages and pages without figuring out that he was trying to make a key point. Of course, as the cover explains, Kojeve was a philosopher, not an ideologue, so his interpretation is “brilliant” and Hegel is, what?

No wonder philosophizing so closely resembles sitting around and doing nothing! Now, I shall read the actual Phenomenology of Spirit and we’ll see if Hegel was indeed so impenetrable that he needed an interpreter to torture undergrads for 6 years explaining a book of only pages.

This book is really better than I make it sound. But goddammit, I had to read the same pages over and over again for no reason except that Kojeve wanted to be a dick and confuse me.

The class was excellent, the reading of the Phenomenology an excitingly intriguing introduction to years of further study, but Kojeve’s interpretation was too tendentiously Marxist particularly the part on the Master-Slave dialectic to be taken very seriously.

Still, our arguments about it were fun. Jun 04, David M rated it it was amazing.

The stuff about the end of history and the master-slave dialectic has really stuck with me. May 31, Joe rated it it was amazing Shelves: July A Brief Note on Tactics This book, an ‘Introduction to the Reading of Hegel’, is a collection of transcripts and notes collected and edited by Raymond Queneau, that is the true beginning of the contemporary ‘End of History’ debate. But can there ever be a final reconciliation between the innumerable factions of human history?


And that boils down to the question: There is a not minor problem with making predictions in public that I would like to mention in this short note; these predictions become but another factor in human interactions. Kojeve, of course, is quite well aware of this; he regarded his ‘philosophy’ as little more than propaganda for the Hegelian position.

This is no modesty, btw, in our posthistoire one can only make propaganda. Briefly, according to Kojeve, ‘History’ properly understood ended with Hegel. We live today in a post-history that is nothing but the actualization of Hegelian philosophy throughout the World.

Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit

When this actualization is complete the Universal Homogenous State then rises. Thus Kojeve regards correctly, given his premises all ‘philosophy’ today as propaganda. But he has, in my humble opinion. Stanley Rosen, a student of Kojeve, alludes to this possibility in the title essay of ‘Hermeneutics as Politics’: On Kojeve’s changing his mind see, for instance, the enigmatic ‘Note to the Second Edition’ in the ‘Introduction to the Introduftion of Hegel’.

But there is more to the problem than rrading. By revealing the ‘necessities’ of History long before its final consummation i. But it may turn out that these short-lived oppositional movements are well-nigh innumerable. So, exactly what should Kojeve, given his intentions, have done? He should have worked in the French Ministry Kojeve is the true architect of the European Readong, a building block of the World Statebrought out the unjustly ignored, and posthumously published, ‘Outline of a Phenomenology of Right’, and told Queneau precisely hsgel he could stick his class notes.

By publishing the technical, legal and economic ‘Outline’ and keeping his philosophical speculations permanently to himself he could have perhaps! For as Kojeve admitted in a letter to Leo Strauss, “Historical action necessarily leads to a specific result hence: The choice between these rading is free, and this choice determines the content of the speeches about the action and the meaning of the result. Thus the propaganda i.

By this Kojeve means the technical, economic and legal forces that inexorably or so it seems drive us towards the World State i. Thus Kojeve’s propaganda and predictions, best embodied in the ‘Introduction’, were always secondary.

Would we be closer to the UHS if the ‘Introduction’ never saw the light of day? Of course we will never know.

Alexandre Kojève (1902—1968)

But this possibility can never be discounted either. It is this perplexing note that I would like to address in this review. This note is where Kojeve first admits that posthistory, as he originally conceived it, was contradictory, that if “Man becomes an animal again, his arts, his loves, and his play must become purely natural again.

But it gets worse!