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Master-slave dialectic: This is about the dynamic development of skills and competencies resulting from proximity to the work process, as well as dependencies resulting from a distance from this process. According to Hegel, there may ultimately be a reversal of the power relationship. See also governance, capabilities, dependency.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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G.W.F. Hegel on Master-Slave Dialectic - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 329
Governance/Slavery/Phenomenology/Hegel/Höffe: preliminary considerations: In competition with his peers, the human does not first depend on self-assertion, but already on the constitution of a self. Hegel expands the often merely social, legal, or state theoretical
debate on three further topics:
a) the confrontation of humans with themselves,
b) the confrontation with nature and
c) the three dimensions belonging to the concept of work.
HegelVsHobbes: Hegel overcomes the reduction of the human driving forces to three conflict-causing passions and the resulting war of all against all. He neither denies the competition nor its possibly deadly violent character, nor does he deny that there are fortunately
Höffe I 330
opposing forces, three passions of peace and the reason serving them.
But in fighting off the violent competition (...) he discovers a far more fundamental task and ultimate achievement: people are not initially finished subjects, but must develop
the necessary self-concsiousness in a dynamic process. In the complex course (...) of a veritable "fight for recognition", three dimensions interlock:
- the personal confrontation of the individual with him- or herself,
- the social with his or her peers and the
- economic with nature.
Self-consciousness: Self-consciousness appears at first as a simple striving for self-preservation, but encounters the competing striving of another (...) and, since one self-preservation contradicts the other, leads to a "fight to the death".
Struggle: Whoever now clings to survival within the framework of this struggle, and consequently shuns death, submits to the one who dares to live. He becomes a servant, the other a master.
Reason/Master: Here, according to Hegel, the master represents the level of consciousness of the mind.
Sensuality/Slave: the slave, because he considers physical survival to be the most important thing, the level of sensuality.
Dialectic: But since the slave, forced by the master to work, in this very work, instead of directly enjoying nature, he is inhibited in his own lust. The master, on the other hand, who lets the other work, finds himself in the role of the merely enjoying, consuming individual. The slave, precisely because he must inhibit his desire, frees himself from the merely naturally existing. Thus the initial order of precedence is reversed: The servant proves himself superior to the master, whereby he rises to the actual master, while the previously superior, the master, stands there as a slave.
Self-consciousness: The core of this struggle for recognition consists in a "self-knowledge in the other".
a) personal: One recognizes oneself first and only in a second person.
b) apersonal: Self-knowledge does not come about through social recognition alone. It also requires an examination of the pre- and extra-personal world through work, i.e. economic action.(1)


1. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-09-18
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