Alexandre Kojeve: Wisdom at the End of History (20th Century by James H. Nichols PDF

By James H. Nichols

ISBN-10: 0742569764

ISBN-13: 9780742569768

Nichols examines the main writings of Alexandre Kojève, and clarifies the nature and brings to gentle the significance of his political philosophy. whereas emphasizing the political measurement of Kojève's notion, Nichols treats all his significant released writings and exhibits how the remarkably assorted components of Kojève's highbrow undertaking move jointly. this is often a necessary overview of Kojève which considers the works that preceded his flip to Hegel, seeks to articulate the nature of his Hegelianism, and displays intimately at the varied meanings that the tip of heritage had in various sessions of his notion.

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Extra info for Alexandre Kojeve: Wisdom at the End of History (20th Century Political Thinkers)

Example text

Throughout history thinking subjects have stood in opposition to objects thought. In fact thinking subject taken by itself and object thought taken by itself are both abstractions; what really exists is Spirit (objects revealed by thought and thought revealing objects). Concrete man, 40 Chapter Two Spirit, has throughout history been something that is coming into being as the product of the oppositions between subject (thinker and actor) and objects (world, other people, and self as object of thought).

This assertion sounds baffling, and for Kojeve it would be incomprehensible if by time what was meant was the time of modern physics; but time here means negativity; action that transforms the given reality; human, historical time. Conceptual understanding is possible, according to Kojeve's Hegel, only by detaching the essential content from the real temporal existence of something which passes into nonbeing. Fond of the strikingly paradoxical formulation, Kojeve quotes Hegel's saying from chapter 7 of the Phenomenology that "conceptual understanding is equivalent to a murder," and he comments in a footnote that it may be no accident that certain aspects of understanding (for instance, full understanding of the concept "dog") do in fact require the death of the object understood (in the dog's dissection).

The Hegelian dialectical conception of Being makes possible a full understanding of error, and the deep sense of errare humanum est ("to err is human" or, one could say, "the human is to err"). Only human beings can err, can live in error, and can keep error alive (possibly later to become truth), whereas Nature eliminates its errors (for example, defectively formed animals). And given the element of negativity in being, we can on that basis understand, or speak coherently about, fundamental change in human history-change such that what once was error may, through subsequent actions that negate given being, become truth.

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Alexandre Kojeve: Wisdom at the End of History (20th Century Political Thinkers) by James H. Nichols


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