1st Edition

Interpreting Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit Expositions and Critique of Contemporary Readings

Edited By Ivan Boldyrev, Sebastian Stein Copyright 2022

    This book focuses on the interpretations of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit that have proved influential over the past decades. Current readers of Hegel’s Phenomenology face an abundance of interpretive literature devoted to this difficult text and confront a plethora of different philosophical presuppositions, research strategies and hermeneutic efforts.To enable a better orientation within the interpretative landscape, the essays in this volume summarize, contextualize and critically comment on the issues and currents in contemporary Phenomenology scholarship. There is a common set of three questions that each of the contributions seeks to answer: (1) What kind of text is The Phenomenology of Spirit? (2) What do the different strategies of interpretation conceptually bring to the text? (3) How do different interpreters justify their verdict on whether the Phenomenology is still a viable project?

    Introduction: On Meta-Readings

    Sebastian Stein and Ivan Boldyrev

    1. Heidegger on the beginning of Hegel’s Phenomenology

    Ioannis Trisokkas

    2. "Now is the night": deixis in Hegel and Maldiney

    Anna Yampolskaya

    3. Truth and (its) appearance in Hegel’s Phenomenology: Brandom, Pippin and Houlgate on Geist and consciousness

    Sebastian Stein

    4. Masters, Slaves, and Us: The Ongoing Allure of the Struggle for Recognition

    Mariana Teixeira

    5. McDowell’s Rejection of Recognition-Based Readings of Hegel in Chapter Four of the Phenomenology of Spirit

    Paul Redding

    6. Self-consciousness and Alienation. The young Marx' Reception of Hegel's master-slave-dialectic

    Pablo Pulgar Moya

    7. Hegel on Death

    Michael Inwood

    8. "Heroism without Fate, Self-Consciousness without Alienation": Antigone, Trust and the Narrative Structure of Spirit

    Allen Speight

    9. Hegel vs. Subjective Duties and External Reasons: Recent Readings of "Morality" and "Conscience" in the Phenomenology of Spirit

    Sebastian Ostritsch

    10. On Comay on Hegel

    Gunnar Hindrichs

    11. Religion in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

    Lee Watkins

    12. Hegel’s Art-Religion in the Phenomenology of Spirit and Beyond

    Sven-Olov Wallenstein

    13. Absolute Mapping. Jameson’s Variations on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

    Jamila Mascat

    14. The Last Sigh of Absolute Knowledge: Schiller’s Friendship and Hegel’s Readers

    Ivan Boldyrev


    Ivan Boldyrev is Assistant Professor at Radboud University Nijmegen. He is the author of Ernst Bloch and His Contemporaries (2014); Hegel, Institutions and Economics (with Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2014); and Die Ohnmacht des Spekulativen: Elemente einer Poetik von Hegels Phänomenologie des Geistes (2021). Apart from German Idealism and critical theory, he also works on the history and philosophy of economics.

    Sebastian Stein is a Lecturer and a DFG Research Associate at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. He is co-editor of Hegel’s Political Philosophy (with Thom Brooks, 2017), Hegel and Contemporary Practical Philosophy (with James Gledhill, 2019) and Hegel’s Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences: A Critical Guide (with Joshua Wretzel, 2021). He has authored several journal articles and book chapters on Aristotle, Kant and post-Kantian idealism.

    "Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is as restless and relevant as ever in this lively collection of essays by new and established scholars alike. Herein are not only insightful introductories for readers approaching Hegel for the first time but also spirited debates on the interpretation of this enduring philosophical masterwork and, in particular, its reception from the twentieth century to the present."

    Andrew Cole, Princeton University, USA

    "The editors of this volume have collected fourteen "meta-readings" of Hegel’s Phenomenology, that is, discussions of different "strategies" for interpreting this central Hegelian text. The volume contains excellent, critical discussions, for example, of the Heideggerian account of the opening and method of the work, Marxian treatments of the master-slave dialectic, pragmatist or Sellarsian readings of Hegel on Antigone, and on the relation of consciousness to its object. The reader is introduced to a diversity of voices representing a wide range of philosophical traditions; and the diversity of those voices conveys an impression of how Hegel is being read today by philosophers all over the globe."

    Sally Sedgwick, Boston University, USA

    "This fine volume of essays provides an invaluable and very welcome guide to many of the most significant interpretations, past and present, of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Essays by scholars from around the world explore the distinctive merits of (and problems in) the readings of Hegel’s great work by, among others, Marx, Heidegger, Kojève, Fanon, de Beauvoir, Jameson, Brandom, McDowell, Pippin, and Comay. These original and engaging essays, which examine topics such as recognition, alienation, spirit, religion and absolute knowing, will help students of Hegel navigate the extraordinarily diverse range of interpretations that confront them, and will also remind more established scholars of the great value of reading one another."

    Stephen Houlgate, University of Warwick, UK

    "Interpreting  Hegel’s  Phenomenology  of  Spirit  serves  as  a  good  reminder  of  the  extraordinary  philosophical  richness  of  Hegel’s  earlier  work … [The]  volume  assembles  fourteen  thought-provoking  engagements  with  arguments  in  Hegel’s  Phenomenology,  spanning  topics  in  epistemology,  ethics,  philosophy  of  religion,  hermeneutics, political philosophy, and aesthetics."

    Robb DunphyArchiv für Geschichte der Philosophie