Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Self-consciousness, philosophy: self-consciousness is a form of consciousness that allows a localization of the thinking subject in the logical space. The prerequisite for self-consciousness is consciousness of external and internal processes as well as the ability to differentiate between these two sources of influences. See also identification, self-identification, self, I, consciousness, individuation, identity, person.

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.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

G.W.F. Hegel on Self- Consciousness - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 256
Self-Consciousness/Hegel/Gadamer: [Hegel had already developed] the structural correspondence between life and self-consciousness in the "Phenomenology" (...).
Gadamer I 257
The fundamental fact of being alive is assimilation. The distinction is therefore at the same time a non-distinction. The foreign is appropriated. This structure of the liveliness has (...) its counterpart in the essence of self-consciousness. Its being consists in the fact that it knows how to make everything and anything the object of its knowledge and yet knows itself in everything and everyone that knows it. Thus, as knowledge, it is a "differentiation from itself" and, as self-consciousness, it is at the same time an overlapping, in that it unites itself with itself.
Gadamer: Obviously it is more than a mere structural correspondence between life and self-consciousness. Hegel is quite right when he derives self-consciousness dialectically from life. What is alive is in fact never really recognizable to the objective consciousness, the effort of the mind that strives to penetrate the law of phenomena.
Life/Hegel: Living things are not of the kind that one could ever come from outside to see them in their liveliness. The only way to grasp liveliness is rather to become aware of it. Hegel alludes to the story of the veiled image of Sais when he describes the inner self-objectivation of life and self-consciousness: "Here the inner sees the inner"(1).
Gadamer: It is the way of self-feeling, the inner being of one's own vitality, in which life
is experienced alone. Hegel shows how this experience flares up and goes out in the form of desire and satisfaction of desire. This self-consciousness of vitality, in which the liveliness becomes conscious of itself, is admittedly an untrue preform, a lowest form of self-consciousness, provided that the becoming conscious of oneself in desire simultaneously destroys itself through the satisfaction of desire. As untrue as it is to the objective truth, the consciousness of something foreign, it is nevertheless, as the vital feeling, the first truth of self-consciousness.

1. Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes, ed. Hoffmeister, S. 128

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Grenz I 38
Self-Consciousness/Hegel/Gadamer/Grenz: Gadamer draws attention to Hegel's emphasis on the universality of self-consciousness (Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode, p.19, Hegel Phänomenologie, p. 148).
Comparability/Gadamer: comparability of the consciousness is ensured by the universality of the produced things.

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Höffe I 329
Self-Consciousness/Phenomenology/Hegel/Höffe: In competition with his or her peers, the human does not first depend on self-assertion, but already on the constitution of a self. Hegel extends the debate, which is often conducted in a purely social, legal or state theoretical manner, by three further topics:
a) confrontation of humans with themselves,
b) confrontation with nature and
c) the three dimensions belonging to the concept of work.
At first, people are not finished subjects, but must first acquire the necessary self-consciousness 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/Fight for Recognition: Self-confidence appears at first as a simple striving for self-preservation, but encounters the competing striving of another (...) and leads, since one self-preservation contradicts the other, to a "fight for life and death".

1. Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807

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 [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977

Friedemann Grenz
Adornos Philosophie in Grundbegriffen. Auflösung einiger Deutungsprobleme Frankfurt/M. 1984

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2023-06-03
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