Hi I am not sure wether my interpretation is correct. Could someone please correct this if they see any mistakes in it.

Hegel's master/slave dialectic

1) Starts of with a self consciousness, the ‘I am I’, which that lacks objectivity but has certitude (I cannot doubt myself since it is through me that I can even doubt, if I doubt myself then I undermine it at very the same stroke)

2) This I am I desires to become an object for itself.

3) It does this by recognising the other as a self-consciousness.

4) This objective self-consciousness is taken to be myself as object, the other is reduced to a non-essential consciousness.

5) This objective consciousness (I am I as object) is seen as the Negation of Others’ self consciousnesses in general; it is determined by this negation.

6) However the other cannot just be myself, for he is as a subject who is not me. To the extent that I do not recognise him as a subject, is to the extent that I can make him can reflect my self-consciousness.

7) He wishes to see me just as self-consciousness object for himself as immersed in life. That is that I am himself as object.

8) But in order for me to fully realise myself as an object, it is not good enough that I recognise the other as the reflection of my self-consciousness because it must not be the case that I am an object at the same time and that the other is a subject. This is why I need recognition from the other.

9) And so I risk my life to show that I cannot be an object for the other as himself. He recognises me as an subject which is myself. Also by doing this he needs to reduce himself to be a consciousness for me through me seeking his death (his subjectivity is removed and his self consciousness becomes recognised as myself as object) He becomes the slave and I become the master.

10) But a problem arises here that since his consciousness is now non-essential i.e no longer a subject and I can no longer a) get recognition from him b) see him as the truth of my self-consciousness.

11) So I have to recognise him as a self-consciousness which is synonymous with my self consciousness and vice versa. There is no more a distinction between self and other and there is just a universal self-consciousness. I am for him what he is for me what I am for myself and what he is for himself

  • At the first point, I don't think Hegel would claim that self-consciousness is the start. Rather it exists only in objective spirit, i.e. it must (like Kant) distinguish itself from objects and (like Fichte) other subjects. The self-consciousness exists as the master-slave dialectic, the distinction between subjects. But my knowledge on Hegel is limited.
    – Panda
    Commented Aug 22, 2019 at 7:23


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