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Language and Consciousness in Hegel's Jena Writings DANIEL J. COOK IN RECENT YEARS, several commentators on Hegel's philosophy have investigated the Phiinomenologie des Geistes and some of his Jena Writings 1 in order to trace the development of his social thought. 2 Such commentators have usually fastened onto Hegel's distinctive treatment of the role of work and the struggle for recognition in the Jena writings or onto the famed "Lordship and Bondage" passage at the beginning of the second major section of the Phiinomenologie--that is SelfConsciousness . Their expositions of Hegel have usually been provocative, revealing how his early thoughts prefigured his later system and how he applied his dialectical method to the explanation of certain basic interpersonal and intergroup relations. However, these writers invariably neglect the earlier portions of these writings by Hegel, among his first attempts at developing a systematic philosophy. In perusing the various early drafts of Hegel's philosophy of Spirit, written during his stay in Jena--viz., his "System der Sittlichkeit" and the relevant portions of his Jenenser Realphilosophie I and//--one is immediately struck by the prominent role that speech (Rede), signification (Bezeichnung) or language (Sprache) play in Hegel's development of these systems. In the two latter works, I refer here specifically to the following texts: "System der Sittlichkeit," Hegels Schriften zur Politik und Rechtsphilosophie, ed. G. Lasson (Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1913), pp. 419-503, writen 1802/1803; "Philosophie des Geistes," Jenenser Realphilosophie I: Die Vorlesungen yon 1803/1804, ed. J. Hoffmeister (Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1932), pp. 195-241; "Jenenser Philosophie des Geistes," Jenenser Realphilosophie II: Die Vorlesungen von 1805/1806, ed. J. Hoffmeister (Leipzig: F. Meiner, 1931), pp. 179-273. The rifles of the latter two works as well as the names of the above sections are Hoffmeister's; hereafter, these will be cited as JR, I and JR, II respectively. Quotations from these two works, which were unpublished drafts of lecture notes of Hegel, will be cited exactly as they appear in Hoffmeister's texts. Rather than supply the necessary German grammatical ligatures or emendations, I have chosen to be faithful to the original text, since the meaning of Hegel's words is quite clear in the instances cited. 2 The most prominent examples of this group are: Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1941); Alexandre Kojrve, Introduction & la lecture de Hegel: Lemons sur la phdnomdnologie de l'esprit (Paris: Gallimard, 1947); Georg Luk~ics, Der ]unge Hegel. Ober die Beziehungen yon Dialektik und Okonomie (Zurich: Europa, 1948). Much of the recent interest in this area can be traced to the publication of the so-called "1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts" of Kar/ Marx. The relevant sections are found in Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, trans, and ed. Lloyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat (Garden City: Doubleday, 1967), especially in "Alienated Labor" (pp. 287-301) and "Critique of Hegelian Dialectic and Philosophy in General" (pp. 314-337). ,[197] 198 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY language--in one form or another--represents the first productive activity of consciousness and the first concrete, external form (Dasein) of Spirit (Geist). Furthermore , the role of language figures prominently in the first major section of the Phiinomenologie, that of Consciousness.3 Subsequently in that work, Hegel groups language and labor together as both representing man's first attempt at asserting himself in his world. 4 The important role of language at the beginning of the Phiinomenologie is quite understandable when we realize that the Realphilosophie H (of 1805/1806), which particularly stresses the formative role of language in the intellectual social development (Bildung) of consciousness, was written concurrently with the first part of the Phiinomenologie. 5 Finally, Hegel devotes a substantial portion of the Preface to the second edition of the WissenschaJt der Logik to the role of language (and logic) in man's intellectual development. Language is the first medium whereby man appropriates the world for himself and transforms it, at least formally, into something rational and supra-natural.6 Man does not first relate to his world by practically changing its material conditions---either through labor or interpersonal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 197-211
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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