Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

I provide a close exegetical reading of Hegel's "anthropology," his doctrine of the human body and soul, located in the first part of the Philosophy of Spirit, volume three of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. In the course of this exegesis I show how Hegel demonstrates that all of the phenomena there under investigation must be understood as at once corporeal and distinctively human. Accordingly, anthropological phenomena should not be understood as essentially the same in humans as it is in animals, though many commentators allege that they should be. I provide a survey of the secondary literature on the topic as well, disputing commentators when they err. This study culminates in the analysis of sensation (Empfindung), self-feeling (Selbstgefühl) and habit (Gewohnheit). On my analysis, sensation involves the soul's affection through its body (the sensible mediation provided by nature) and the soul's consequent failure to distinguish itself from its corporeity even as it distinguishes itself from other corporeal objects. Self-feeling involves the soul's circumvention of this form of mediation to establish an immediate relation to its content: the soul's immediate identification of itself with its content is insanity. Habit is the soul's fashioning of a new `body' for itself, i.e. a new form of mediation between itself and its content. The soul is able to distinguish itself from its habits while at the same time using them to mediate its relation to its feelings, thereby avoiding the problems involved in both sensation and feeling.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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