The Beginning of Spirit As We Know It: Hegel’s Mother

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Contemporary anthropological discourses are struggling and striving more than ever before. This may come as a surprise, given the longtime intimate connection anthropology has had with metaphysics. This article investigates how and why Hegel’s anthropology, the first part of his philosophy of subjective spirit
and his philosophy of spirit as a whole, is a means of overcoming a substantialist characterization of the human. To that end, the article turns to Hegel’s conception of habit in order to raise the problem of the human spirit’s beginning in Hegel’s anthropology and the relationship between habit as “second” nature and the “first” nature that habit transforms. In doing this, we come across the issue of inheritance in Hegel: if there is nothing that is a given, then how can we conceive that which spirit somehow inherits? Hegel refers to this presence of spirit in the mode of absence as “nature.” Spirit presupposes nature, i. e. its own absence. There are, furthermore, two important aspects to the natural disposition of spirit in Hegel, analyzed here: the concept of “genius” and the role of another subject. The author defends the idea that Hegel’s anthropology may be regarded as overcoming substantialism, because for Hegel the human being
cannot but be confronted with the fact that there is no (m)other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-114
Number of pages24
JournalLogos
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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