Intro to Hegel (& Progressive Politics) | Philosophy Tube

Intro to Hegel (& Progressive Politics) | Philosophy Tube

What are you? You’re like me. But you aren’t me. What are you? An object?
An animal? Are you looking at me? Wait… if you’re looking at me. Then there/s
a ‘Me.’ I exist. And you exist. But if there’s a ‘Me,’ and there’s
a ‘You,’ then that means there is a ‘Not Me.’ Something exists that is the negation
of myself. An Other. Every time I see you I’m reminded of my
negation. And if there’s more than one being like me, then at the end of the day what’s
left for me to be? I’ll kill you! But if I kill you, then you won’t be there
to look at me. And if you’re not there to look at me, how will I know I’m here? I
can’t kill you. But I can make your life miserable. It’s a stalemate. But never forget, I could
kill you anytime. From now on, my self-consciousness is rooted in being better than you, being
able to destroy you at any moment and replace you with someone who looks identical. You exist to serve me by reinforcing my conception
of myself: that’s what makes me the Master, and you the Slave. But wait… I can never get rid of you. You
will always be there, reminding me of my negation with your Otherness. Your whole presence is
a totalising violence to me. I need you. I need you to recognise me, but
even if you do I hate you so much your recognition isn’t satisfying. My whole identity is built
around dominating you. I need you, but you don’t need me anymore. Hegel”s Master and Slave dialectic. It’s
an odd one, to be sure, and there’s a good reason why I
chose to introduce you to it in the way that I just did, for now though let’s just make sure we didn’t miss anything. Take it as a story featuring two characters and we’ll talk about the meaning in a little bit. In their initial meeting, our two characters
– Self-Consciousnesses, Hegel calls them – are each trying to figure out what they themselves
are, what it means to be a Self-Consciousness. And by discovering somebody else, an Other, they find that they gain a new perspective on that question. By discovering an Other
and seeing themselves through that Other’s eyes, they discover themselves. Self-Consciousness,
for Hegel, isn’t an individual achievement, the way that it is for, for instance, Descartes: self-consciousness arises through interaction with others and how we see ourselves is mediated by how those others see us. “Self-consciousness exists in itself and
for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another self-consciousness;
that is to say, it *is* only by being acknowledged or “recognized”” Each character wants to be recognised by the Other. And a life-and-death struggle ensues, because as we saw, to become aware of the Other is to become aware of the possibility of your own negation. And that can be scary thing: there’s this Other: it’s not bound by my will. it represents the absence of me, does it that mean that I’m disposable if there’s just another self-consciousness that’s like me out there in the world? I’m gonna kick its ass! “In the same way each must aim at the death of the Other… the Other’s reality is presented to the former as an external Other, as outside
itself; it must cancel that externality.” Or in other words: “F**k me pal!” “F**k you? No no no no no, f***k me!” The French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre talked
about the nausea of confronting the Other. He thought it was shameful and thought one of the
worst things that can happen to you was to experience be fixed by the Other’s gaze, particularly if, and we’ll be getting into this a little bit later on, they see you as
something that you don’t see yourself as. Hence his famous quote, “Hell is other people.” Of course you wanna kill them! Beyond just that though, Hegel thinks that
neither Self-Consciousness can really know what it is until it’s risked losing
everything including its life. Until it’s risked throwing all the contingent stuff away, the clotheing, the physical health, the property, all of it – risk losing all of that
until you find the thing that you can’t get throw away, and whatever that is that must be what you essentially are. For Hegel, neither Self-Consciousness can know what it means to be alive until
they’ve faced death. If either one really killed the Other then
they’d be screwed, because remember recognition can only arise through being recognised by that Other. But, during the struggle one of them values Life more than they value being recognised, or they just lose the struggle, they become afraid, and the Other becomes the Master. They arrive at a conception of
themselves as dominant over the Slave, the one who experienced that fear, and the Slave ends
up doing all of their work. But the Master is never satisfied. They’ve
reduced the Slave so much now that their recognition doesn’t cut it for them anymore. What the Master really wants is to be recognised by an equal, an independent Self-Consciousness. They’ve
risked their life and they get the material rewards, but their whole conception of themselves
is now bound up in the Slave. Meanwhile, the Slave is out there in the world working
on objects, producing things. And as they work they realise that the things they make
reflect them. They understand the world they’re building better than the Master
does. Like, if you wanna know about pyramids you don’t ask a Pharaoh – you ask the
slaves that built them. The Slave also confronts Death every day,
because as a Slave they might be killed and replaced at any moment, and they realise that Death is
the true Master. It comes to us all, Master or Slave. That’s a much richer conception
of what it is to be a Self-Consciousness. By working and confronting Death the Slave arrives at a conception of themselves as an independent being, not just an extension of the Master’s
will or a piece of property, but a Self-Consciousness who can say: “I build those Pyramids, I built
the White House. There’s a piece of me in this world. I built all of this. Not you. I.
And if I don’t work, all of this stops.” In the end, the Master isn’t the one that
wins. The Slave learns what it truly means to be an independent Self-Consciousness. And at that point it’s only a matter of time before they rise up. I know that right now this story is very very abstract and weird. Don’t worry, we are gonna get into concrete examples in a minute and it
will become clearer just bear with me. For right now let’s orient ourselves. We said this is called the
“Master and Slave Dialectic” so what is Dialectics? No, it’s not the Scientology
book – that’s “Dianetics.” Dialectics is a method of study where we split
the thing that we’re studying into opposing or contradictory pieces. The idea is that if we wanna understand how something works then we should understand he sources of tension within it. If we understand the two opposing forces in something, and the tension between those forces, then we can understand what holds it together and how it might change or react if we were to expose it to certain things. For instance (finally, an example) atoms.
Within an atom you have positively charged particles, and negatively charged particles
– protons and electrons. If you understand atomic charge and energy levels and so on
you can understand what holds the atom together and how it will react with other atoms. If
you understand the sources of tension within it you can do chemistry. You can even exploit those sources of tension and split it apart. So dialectics is the study of the unity of opposites. Vladimir Lenin – yes, that Vladimir Lenin, don’t worry about that
just now, said, – “The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their “self-movement,” in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites.” These opposites are sometimes called the Thesis and the Antithesis, and when they clash they produce something new called the Synthesis. But how are we meant to use this? Is it meant
to be literal? Because in an atom there are also neutrons, which don’t have a charge
and which we didn’t really mention. And actually the nucleus of an atom is held together by the
strong nuclear force, not by the attraction Whoa, whoa whoa, hold your horses! Personally, and this might just be
me, I find dialectics to be more useful as a metaphor. Which is why I presented it first and foremost as a piece of theatre. Metaphors are extremely useful, explaining
something in terms of something else: a good metaphor should illuminate the thing that we are studying, not literally describe all its aspects. Take for instance, one of the most famous
metaphors in the English language: “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Tis the East and Juliet is the Sun!” “Actually, if Juliet were the Sun, Romeo
would be incinerated by plasma eruptions of up to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit, not to
mention cosmic rays: high-energy radioactive particles…” Whoa, don’t take it so literally. What Shakespeare means is, she’s the centre of his world, she’s his light, she brightens his day, everything revolves around her, (notice how these are all also metaphors, by the way) – in
other words Romeo is in love! So why not just just have him come out and say, “I am in love?” Because
– what brings you closer to understanding him, a flat word for the feeling, or a metaphor that illuminates the importance, the brilliance, the bodily basking in the physical majesty of this girl? A good metaphor can bring an idea home to you in the way that flat language just can’t always do. Which is why they’re so common not just in art but in science too, even in economics,
which you might think is very cut and dry but has shedloads of metaphors in it. “Strong currency,” “Human resources,” “Economic growth” – they’re all metaphors! But let’s get back on track. So Dialectics,
the study of the unity of opposites, as a metaphor for understanding – what exactly?
Well, loads of stuff! Ancient Chinese philosophy – Yin and Yang! There’s a kind of dialectic
supposed to illuminate all kinds of stuff about nature and medicine and even ethics – understanding the physical world as a unity containing opposing energies. If you’re a Marxist, you can understand
society as a unity containing classes with opposing interests; that’s
why we had Lenin earlier on. Okay. We now understand what dialectics is
and how to use it. So, Hegel’s specific version – the Master and Slave dialectic. What’s it all about? If it’s a metaphor what is it a metaphor
for? Well, people have made whole careers out of that, and, cards on the table, I’m
not a Hegel scholar, which is probably why I tend towards using it as a metaphor. But what’s it all about? Who is the Master supposed
the represent, and who the Slave? Are they literal masters and literal slaves? Are we talking about the Haitian Revolution? Or maybe they aren’t literal masters and slaves, maybe it’s about the French Revolution? Maybe they’re supposed to represent workers and capitalists? Maybe the two characters are supposed to represent nations and it’s a play about
nationalism? Nationalism in the face of colonialism? Maybe it’s about men and women and the struggle for gender equality? Or maybe it’s about the trans trans experience of gender disphoria? Maybe it’s about body image and the fear of being fat? We mentioned Masters and Slaves a lot: is it some kind of kinky sex thing? I hope so. I mean just look at that face. Doesn’t that
look like the face of a man who’s into some dirty, dirty/ People have taken Hegel’s ideas and used them to talk about kinds of stuff. Which is more evidence I think for it being a really great
metaphor – we could talk all day about the layers of meaning in “Juliet is the Sun” – in her book “The Rhetoric of Economics, ” economist Deidre McCloskey says, “The literal translation of a metaphor is never finished.” But because it’s particularly relevant to the tensions in Britain and America today, let’s talk about – The term ‘identity politics’ is sometimes
used derisively so I want to make it clear that I’m using it here descriptively only
to mean political engagement that revolves around an appreciation of the fact that
people with shared constructed identities will probably have similar experiences and similar political goals as well. If you’re gay, and your neighbour is gay, and you live in
a country that has a lot of institutional discrimination against gay people then you have a shared constructed identity (your sexuality), some shared experiences, and probably some similar political goals, namely the transformation or abolition of those discriminatory institutions. And before we go any further, here’s an important footnote from MarinaShutup: If you’re thinking this definition of identity
politics describes almost if not all politics then you are correct. Arguably all politics
is identity politics, or at least that could be a useful metaphor. If that seems like a
problem, just remember that those two neighbours can also have solidarity and share political goals with other people who have different identities as well. Remember how in the Hegelian dialectic the two sides wanted Recognition from each other? Well, Identity politics is sometimes
called the politics of recognition. Oppressed groups get shown an image of themselves over and over that they just can’t identify with, and so they demand recognition. Like the Satre experience – fixed by the
gaze of the hell that is other people. On an individual level this might be something
like a trans person being misgendered; on a larger level it might be whole demographics of people being constantly portrayed as criminal or deviant, or whole countries full of people being portrayed as uncivilised or backward. And so the forms of resistance these groups
adopt could be seen as a demand for proper recognition. “You will see me not as a piece of meat whose body is common property, but as a woman,” “You will see me
not as a shameful aberration, but as prideful,” “You will see me not as a disposable human being or a target, but a black person whose life matters.” The
philosopher Charles Taylor writes: “Within these perspectives, misrecognition shows not
just a lack of due respect. It can inflict a grievous wound, saddling its victims with
a crippling self-hatred. Due recognition is not just a courtesy we owe people. It is a
vital human need.” We might even apply the Hegelian dialectic as a metaphor for rioting. In a world where people are made to feel small, inconsequential, like a cog in
the machine, they form a desire to be seen, and remind someone – Starbucks window display? or whatever Starbucks window display has come to represent in that moment? – that they are a subject. Hence the famous Martin Luther King quote, “A
riot is a language of the unheard.” We could use the metaphor that way, but exactly what demands for Hegelian recognition would translate into in terms of concrete policy proposals is
hotly debated, not just academically but, shall we say, practically. Because misrecognition
isn’t just offensive, it can translate into suffering and even death. Philosophy Professor
Nancy Fraser writes, “When such patterns of disrespect and disesteem are institutionalized,
for example, in law, social welfare, medicine, public education, and/or the social practices
and group mores that structure everyday interaction, they impede parity of participation, just
as surely as do distributive inequities.” That brings up a very important point, which is that demands for recognition can, and in many very clever people’s opinion should,
go hand in hand with demands for redistribution – actual changes in who has material access to money and power. As an example, if you suddenly make a whole
bunch of mainstream movies prominently featuring people from hitherto marginalised groups then that’s great and that’s important. But if those people are also generally severely economically disadvantaged then that alone isn’t gonna fix it. And on the flipside,
Black Panthers like Kwame Ture were saying in the 60s that replacing capitalism with
a more just economic system, although it would mean greater racial justice, wouldn’t on its own solve racism. You can have demands for both recognition and redistribution, and many contemporary
identity politics movements do in fact demand both. Fraser writes that our efforts to redistribute and our efforts to recognize should “interpenetrate” one other. Well it’s about time, Olly! I was starting to think we were never gonna talk about interpenetration! Now *this* is the Philosophy Tube content I subscribed for! It’s very important to note that not all
struggles for recognition are necessarily equally good or correct or grounded in reality. For instance, we could interpret the American Civil Rights movement as a demand to be recognised grounded in
the belief of the equality of black people. We could also maybe interpret the Nazis and the modern-day resurgence of white nationalism as a demand to be recognised as the superior race with the right to dominate all others, a belief which is obviously incorrect. That’s the thing about metaphors – you can’t always control them. And here it’s worth talking for a moment about the Master in the Master/Slave dialectic. Recall that Hegel thinks the Master never
gets truly recognised by the Slave in any satisfying way. Hegel thought that the dialectic between Master and Slave wasn’t just unsatisfying, but actually unsustainable: sooner or later the two moments in a dialectic clash andproduce the synthesis – something new, like matter and antimatter annihilating each
other. Once the Master bases their entire identity around dominating the Slave it’s only gonna
end one of two ways for them: either they change their mind and get a new self-identity right quick, or they spend their whole lives looking over their shoulder waiting for the Slaves to rise up. Like the Nazis, right: once you base your entire identity around being the superior Master Race with the right to dominate all others
you’re inevitably going to come across a conflict that you can’t win, so either you change your mind or your mind ends up pasted all over the walls. Moreover, and this bit’s really interesting,
once the Master’s identity is built around dominating the Slave, any time somebody representing
the Slave is just there, just present, and not being dominated it feels like an affront.
We’re gonna be talking a little bit more about Frantz Fanon in a little bit, but being a black philosopher from Martinique in France in the 1950s he found that the white French people he met were so used to thinking
of themselves as superior to black people, in particular black people from Martinique,
that just being present in the same train car as him was enough to make some of them feel so put out that they just yelled racial slurs at him. Compare that to Jim Crow laws in America – we could use the Hegelian metaphor to interpret that by saying that white racists so used to thinking of themselves as the Master that the mere sight of a free black
person prompted them to demand something as petty as separate water fountains or seating areas, unwilling or unable to embrace an idea of Whiteness that wasn’t grounded in racial
domination. Compare it to people today who say they are fine with gay people, as long as they’re not “shoving it down our throats, pushing a too-pro-gay agenda.” The Hegelian metaphor might suggest that they’re so used to thinking of ‘Straight’ being the position of Master over ‘Gay’ that merely the free, prideful expression of gay sexuality, an expression of happiness and human joy, feels like a slap in the face. Or, compare
it to women being catcalled in the street: we might say that some men have
a conception of their own masculinity so grounded in the domination of the female Other that the mere sight of a free and independent women prompts them to try to centre that woman’s attention on themselves. George Ciccariello-Maher writes “For those relegated to nonbeing and
condemned to invisibility, to even appear is a violent act – because it *is* violent to the structures of the world and because it will inevitably be treated as such.” We’re going to be noting in a little bit an important way in which identity politics might differ from what Hegel had in mind, but before we embark on to the fifth and final part of our Hegel study, here’s another important footnote from critic and soy enthusiast, Hbomberguy: By the way, if you find the Hegelian dialectic to be a useful metaphor then by all means use it. If not, don’t worry about it. If you’re engaged in political activism or would like to be, you probably won’t get anywhere by insisting that everyone has to have read Hegel. If you find Hegel hard to understand, don’t worry: everyone does. There’s a really good reason why so many other writers, historians, philosophers even have dedicated themselves to the task of explaining what Hegel “actually meant.” Slavoj Žižek has built most of his career on this and, I mean, you’re watching a video that’s trying to explain it right n-
I mean, if it was obvious you could have just read it. Have you tried reading? It’s, it’s awful. Luckily, thanks to postmodern cultural Marxism, somehow, Hollywood has tried to adapt the Hegelian dialectic into numerous films designed to explain it a little more easily. The most popular example of course is the film ‘Blade.’ The titular Blade, or his more powerful cousin Blade II, are the children of both humans and vampires, and yet they have all of their strengths and none of their weaknesses. Blade is of course a hybrid of the two groups, but more importantly, he subverts the idea of the dichotomy between the two and opens up the path to a future where things are completely different. Hegel would be proud. And that’s why Blade II should have got an Oscar, it’s the best one, Guillermo del Toro’s finest work. Should have made Blade kiss a fish or something. Hegel himself was a racist. Let’s get that out in the open. And some philosophers have argued that his dialectic isn’t always a very good metaphor. Hegel
assumed that the two sides in the Master/Slave dialectic meet, at least initially, as equals, and Frantz Fanon wrote that that actually isn’t a very good explanation of race relations, particularly race relations following colonialism. Fanon was a philosopher and psychiatrist from Martinique,
which France invaded in 1635 and has occupied since, and throughout his life he became very involved with the struggle against French colonialism, particularly in Algeria. He eventually went to France and his experiences as a black man and a colonial subject greatly shaped his work. Fanon writes that Black colonial subjects
are disqualified from even entering into the dialectic of recognition in the first place. It’s precisely because Hegel’s version was so abstract that Fanon thought it wasn’t really useful for understanding a world so materially shaped by slavery, colonisation, and white
supremacy. Ciccariello-Maher puts it like this: “Lacking “ontological resistance”
in the eyes of whites – that is, not appearing as fully human or worthy of recognition –
Black subjects lack an entry point into the dialectic of recognition itself and are forced
to enter into a conflict that differs fundamentally from what Hegel had envisioned.” In Hegel’s original dialectic the Slave
turns away from the Master and concentrates on the objects of their labour: the things
they make that reflect them and help them arrive at a new understanding of themselves. What Fanon lamented though, was that in his experience, at least some colonized subjects didn’t turn away from the Masters, but towards them – trying to be more like the white colonizers rather than embracing their own anticolonial black nationalism. Another point of departure if we try to apply
Hegel’s dialectic to race might be that in Hegel’s version the Master knows that they are the Master, whereas various scholars since have explored the ways in which white people are kept ignorant of how our Whiteness might shape our experiences of the world. For these reasons Fanon says the Slaves, at
least wherever we take that metaphor to mean colonized subjects and in Fanon’s case black
colonized subjects in particular, are stuck in the “Zone of Nonbeing.” And the dialectic
is frozen. It doesn’t go anywhere or clash or progress – it just sticks. In order to
set it moving again, something different is required, “I had rationalized the world
and the world had rejected me on the basis of color prejudice. Since no agreement was
possible on the level of reason, I threw myself back toward unreason.” Namely an anticolonial revolution, which is exactly what Fanon took part in, in Algeria, and which ultimately
won Algeria its freedom from France. Ciccariello-Maher writes, “Lacking the reciprocity necessary
for the dialectic to enter smoothly into motion, these disqualified nonbeings have no choice but to initiate a one-sided struggle to gain it.” By the way, a brief note on the use of word “nationalism” there. In my country, in the dominant political discourses, the word “nationalism” is usually taken to be a bad thing, because when we hear “nationalism” we think of the kind of right-wing, Hitler/Ku-Klux-Klan White Nationalism. However, we can see how if our nation was under occupation from a foreign power, like, for instance Algeria was, an assertion of
nationhood might be quite a different beast. An assertion of Algerian nationhood against France would be very different kind of thing from, say, an assertion of French nationhood against Algerian in
that colonial situation; it would be a strike against the occupying power rather than a rallying of
the oppressors against the oppressed. Indeed, modern White Nationalists of that right-wing variety will often falsely try to portray themselves as besieged victims of all kinds of conspiracy theories for that very reason. Although Fanon argued in favour of anticolonial
black nationalism, he was also the first person to warn that, once let off the chain, the forces of nationalism could turn into something quite ugly that held the new nation back and ended up reinforcing and mirroring the oppression of the colonisers. Fanon wasn’t the only one to suppose that
all Hegel’s abstractions could do with a little bringing down to Earth. Marx’s whole
deal was injecting a little blood and guts economics into all this theatrical farting
about, trying to figure out how we take a metaphor and use it to make it so the people
working in the mills in Manchester don’t have to sell their kids to afford food. I’ve
done a whole series on Marx before if you’re interested, and actually there’s another
potential criticism of Hegel we should explore that would apply equally to Marx as well: In Hegel’s dialectic there’s some pretty
complex cognitive activity going on. We’ve got the two self-consciousnesses become aware of themselves, becoming aware of the Other, becoming aware of their social positions relative to each each other; we’ve got the Slave becoming aware of labour and how they build the world around them. And because a certain cognitive threshold is required for that, this is gonna
exclude at least some people with intellectual disabilities. In her book “The Capacity Contract,” scholar
Stacy Clifford Simplican argues that pretty much since John Locke, we’ve had a model in mind of the ideal citizen required to participate in a democracy as somebody who can do many of the things that Hegel describes: be aware of themselves; be aware of others; be aware of their social relations; be informed about their own position in the world and communicate their desires to change it to others, often verbally. Think about how much information and reflection and communication is needed to be an ideal participant in something like an election. And that’s something that not
everybody – although it’s a spectrum of course – can actually manage, despite the fact that people who can’t manage it are still capable of having political interests and of being political agents, just in ways that aren’t as widely recognised. There’s a similar zone of non-being here. And this is a charge that we could level not
just at Hegel, but at liberal politics, at conservative politics, at Marxist politics, and maybe at identity politics as well. Orthodox Marxism places a lot of emphasis on workers achieving class-consciousness:
becoming aware of how we are exploited and how our time is nickeled and dimed away in order to generate profit. That requires a lot of understanding: it’s quite a big thing to wrap one’s head around, and so again
there’s an element of what Simplican calls “compulsory capacity” here. Similarly, identity politics seems to require,
again, knowledge of oneself and one’s social position relative to others; knowledge of history and of power systems and how they reproduce; clear articulation of one’s own identity and a demand for authentic recognition that at least some people with intellectual disabilities might find difficult to publicly perform in a way that is recognised by everyone else as meeting that threshold. Which might be even more of a pain if as well as being
intellectually disabled they are also women, or LGBT, or from an oppressed racial minority, and therefore could really do with some identity politics. Simplican doesn’t think that we should throw
out capacity-based methods of political philosophy entirely, just that we need to be open to other ways of doing it as well. She talks at length about how people with intellectual disabilities have
taught her all sorts of ways of engaging politically that aren’t based around a shared cognitive or bodily capacity, but based around a shared vulnerability. Forming communities and relations based not around how much work we can do, how much information we can gather and retain, or around what we can articulate, but around our common needs. And I personally find that really interesting. Saying to somebody – you are part of my political community
not because you can know a lot of things or do a lot of things, or speak English fluently,
or salute the right flag at the right time, but because we both need food, shelter, healthcare, and love. We are all vulnerable. So let’s hang together, and be vulnerable together.
That is kindof what some versions of identity politics do get at, and that again is a very different kind of process from what Hegel had in mind. There is so much more we could say, all I
can really do today is open the Hegel door for you. Hegel is difficult and obscure,
like poetry, but like poetry it can be really, really illuminating. Fanon concludes his book Black Skin, White Masks with what sounds like poetry and which itself is steeped
in metaphor: “Superiority? Inferiority? Why not the quite simple attempt to touch the
other, to feel the other, to explain the other to myself? Was my freedom not given to me
then in order to build the world of the You? At the conclusion of this study, I want the
world to recognize, with me, the open door of every consciousness.” Thank you so much to Mike Rugnetta, MarinaShutup, Contrapoints, and Hbomberguy for marshaling their prodigious talents to serve this nonsense.
I feel like I’ve assembled the Avengers and gotten them to rescue a cat out of a tree!
You can find links to all their work in the Description. If you enjoyed this video I have a tip jar
at – think of it like me putting a hat round and the end of
the lecture! Or, is where you could make a regular donation
to help me afford rent and food.

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100 thoughts on “Intro to Hegel (& Progressive Politics) | Philosophy Tube”

  • I wonder if the dinamics of an event as the colonization of Argelia are better explain on the basis of Nietzshe´s Master / Slave morality where the slave looks at the master to define itself and in the end challenge the master´s authority

  • Simple question (someone correct me if I'm off): Hegel asserts that individuals establish self recognition through interaction with the other. Does he have any kind of proof or argument for that? Why does one have to establish self consciousness through interaction with another?

  • "I feel like I've assembled the avengers to help me rescue a cat out of a tree,"

    And yet, this cat is so very grateful, my distant, future friend

    I don't know that you saved my life, but you saved me a hell of a lot of time, and unlike antidepressants, you helped me feel a hell of a lot less alone.

  • You insist a lot on metaphors. But if metaphors are very good for getting a grasp on a topic. But complete understanding cannot come through metaphors.

    "Economic growth" stop being a metaphor once you put a clear definition to it.

  • I'm so upset that I didn't find this video back when I was studying Hegel's Phenomeology of Spirit for my finals and hating myself and this man with all of my heart.

  • For the hegelian metaphor in 20:20 equality in speech and expression in correlation with mass media must be always proportionate to the bearers of each different expression,meaning as a fraction of the whole ,the same should be in the expression of different identities,the reason for that is that the consumers of the mass media is the whole population and should the fraction become different in expression of the whole in relation to the consumption from the mass media ( if that balance change) then to the role of the master we have the minority and to the role of the slave we have the majority, furthermore it is understandable that when a minority is oppressed to use that to achieve its emancipation but i think after a point there is a negative return.

  • "Holly:
    Jean-Paul Sartre said Hell was being locked forever in a room with your friends.

    Holly, all his mates were French!"

  • just imagine how this conversation went down

    Olly: Hey Natalie, so I'm making a video where I say the word "interpenetration" at a certain point and I was thinking we could do a joke where you are like "ooh interpenetration" or something…

    Natalie: uh… blushes …okay

  • I know this video was posted a year ago but this brings up a lot of questions is it possible to maybe email exchange with you or even letter exchange?

  • it amazes me how similar this description is to an experience of ego-dissolution (generally induced by a large dose of psychedelics). Do you have any knowledge of Hegel being used in applied social sciences theories?

  • BLADE!?!? I'm supposed to concentrate and understand this whole concept and yall are gonna make it that much more difficult by bringing up Blade? And on top of that I'm supposed to live my life knowing my Childhood Family Vampire Movie made it into a philosophy discussion. I'm annoying enough as it is while watching movies, and now this! How am I gonna not try to explain this to my mom while Blade cuts some guy in half in the background?

  • WHAT OLLIE SAYS: an in-depth, well-researched essay about Hegel's "Master and Slave" Dialectic and how it relates to today's world of identity politics
    WHAT I HEARD: ksjdfio fasvb diofsdhnfodsgnr sidcndsogbn INTERPENETRATION dsjfds kdsjfajfp;dfojsr peofigdfngvflek MASTER OVER GAY osiugbfdsklcodihfioeapsdkas oisdfjaefeoifndsroivj dsifus

  • I know this thread is old, but, for additional reference, I'd recommend checking out Arthur Schopenhauer, who was the polar opposite of Hegel and tried to introduce Eastern Philosophy into the Western canon. Schopenhauer presents a different, albeit problematic view on political theory, drawing more from his ideas concerning the unconscious mind to lead the discussion.

    Also, if you happen to check out both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, I'd recommend looking into Irvin Yalom's work, which examines both of their philosophies in realistic social contexts.

  • I like how it took until the last few seconds for anyone to say "well, what if the two consciousnesses didn't immediately try to kill each other?". Is the assumption that they will obviously fight pretty deeply rooted in masculine stereotypes or is that just me, a genderqueer?

  • hell of a thing to see this video after finding your channel through your videos about being in and getting out of your abusive relationship. endless solidarity

  • I only clicked on this because the thumbnail looks like

    Master: intense hatered for slave
    Slave: huh. That's interesting.

  • Watching this off the back of the most recent video, Climate Grief, really deepens the understanding of the First Americans feeling such deep sentimentality for their land. "There is a piece of me in there" Great video as always.

  • If you're asking about pyramids you should ask both the pharoh, the slave (or not, do we have a consensus on that now?) and a bunch of other people.

    The slave can tell who and some of the how it was built. But if you're asking why it was built the pharaoh might have more info.

  • Dialectics is derived from the root of a Greek word, which has ancient origins, and alas, it's if you study, say, Plato, you can see it's use being much different then it's reified conception today. And yes, it's actually more like the 'metaphor' you put in the intro, than what is mostly defined as 'dialectics' today [that is, the use of the term by Plato].

  • You could also not by hyperbolic and say that black and white nationalists, depending on their views [and in the normative sense of "merely wanting to be recognized"], are essentially vying for the same goals, which is, greater "recognition". That's equally as valid. And insuperable. The key watchword for everyone is "White" — the dialectic is in that word. It's not entirely erm "black and white" either. No, that would be fallacious. No, it's making monoliths that is the problem when it comes to the Master-Slave dialectic. It is literally the initiation of the problem itself, q.e.f.

  • The Nazis, they actually were Germans. Germans were slaves. They were serfs. Their empire, collapsed. Not the US's, though. Certainly not Israel. But alas, they were Germans who were convinced by radical extremist views, and you're being hyperbolic in your aspirations to make twain their former empire's "world-view" [, and then conflate it] with what the "star-chamber" of the "elites" in the Nazi party thought for the German race. You should learn to lessen your hyperbole.

  • Also, Communists [while aspiring for Good] blew the brains out of a lot of innocent people…In Korea, there were family members made to literally kill one another, for proving their loyalty. In Russia, same difference. Hey, but it's ok, cause Hell is paved with Good Intentions. Let's never talk about it, eh, Philosophy Tube?

  • Heads up to other viewers: There's a gunshot sound at 19:06. It was unpleasant for me without warning, so wanted to provide one!

  • i find it hilarious how often olly brings up his bdsm stuff, like "hi! i do philosophy, also i'm a kinky motherfucker, let's talk about lenin!"

  • I do not like the concept of self consciousness that exists in popular use. To feel/experience is to be self conscious since there are no other consciousness than the self.
    Looking in to a mirror does not set fundamental questions related to consciousness. It is just a test of a certain sort of intelligence. Not only that, but many animals communicate more trough sound and smell than sight. Those animals tend to have a hard time comprehending what the mirror means since it doesn't mirror anything real for them. It is like being allmost blind and being tested if you have a self consciousness by looking in to a mirror.
    If you have a concept of your own body then you are self aware. There is a different thing to be able to question ones self. But that is nothing that the mirror tests can indicate since that is a deeper philosophical topic..

  • Ollie, I love ya and I love your content…. but my readings of Hegel and especially the Phenomenology of Spirit seem to imply that he's not speaking so much metaphorically as much as literally. You're fairly spot on in your interpretation of the Master/Slave dialectic, but then he quickly goes off the rails and starts yelling like an old man about how the French Revolution is a harbinger of the end of history.

    Hegel brought some useful tools to the table, but I get the impression he thinks he's smarter than he actually is.

  • i am a slave at heart, and know I am meant to serve a superior!!! For me, to be a real true life slave in absolute servitude is a dream that I will never realize! Too bad Sirs!!!

  • Regarding part 1, as far as my interpretation goes, I am not sure if this hegelian dialectic requires the self (p) to recognize the other as a negation of the self (-p). You don't really bring it up again in this manner. The "nausea" of being self aware of the otherizing "gaze" still does not prop up a p and not p binary (I understand sartre's position need not be consistent with the hegelian dialectic). Our interpretations line up for the rest of the stuff though, so that's nice.

  • So I've decided to do my dissertation on criticising Hegel's property theory to justify that property theory can be used to argue for animal rights in law. I'm regretting this now.

  • Olly! My hero! I just read Hegel and spent five hours writing 'WHAT THE FUCK' after every single paragraph. You saved my presentation and critical review. Hell, I might just link this video instead.

  • i've spent the last four years in lefty circles not understanding what "dialectics" meant and this nerd explains it to me in five seconds good play olly thanks man

  • Star Wars philosophy!

    The reason Sith masters take on new apprentices is because a Sith cannot imagine any non-Sith truly understanding them and appreciating who they are and what they have overcome.

    The closer their apprentice comes to being their equal, the better they are finally understood as individuals.

  • That people on 'the spectrum' aren't necessary able to participate in the models Hegel, Marx and others established sounds comprehensible to me. But I don't see a reason why they must be on the oppressed side in society. Maybe intellectual disabilities are the explicit qualification to oppress other people. Society just doesn't recognize lacking empathy as a disability, because the people with lacking empathy are in the power positions to define what society conceive as disability and what doesn't. Maybe neoliberlism ayn rand bullshit is born out of a cognitive disability that somehow developed a momentum of its own, on the social level.

  • the intro and already a problem. "if you're not here to look at me, how will I know I'm here?" you can just look at yourself. im surprised hegel didn't come up with this. okay continuing the video.

  • Thanks for the explanation.

    Now i understand more why the Left likes Hegel.

    I think his ideas are awful, so it makes sense he would be canonized by the Progressives

  • I'm always impressed on how Olly infused philosophy into the current issues. They provide more interesting views and perspectives. I'm no philosopher, Olly's presentation keeps my logic activated and functioning. Thanks a lot Olly.. God bless..

  • Sadly, I’m just arriving and too lazy to read all the comments but I laughed hard at the picture of Luke Skywalker AKA Mark Hamill in place of Slavoj Žižek @22:03 – brilliant. Deep respect or having a laugh?

  • As a Deleuzo-Guattarian and Postcolonial PhD student I honestly shit all over Hegel. And you explained very well for which reasons.
    Brilliant video. Bravissimo!!

  • I tend to see „Herrschaft und Knechtschaft“ as psychological codependency.

    Or in psychoanalysis the well known transference and counter-transference.

    Meaning there is a two way projection and the development of consciousness creates a third type of consciousness. Jung called that the transcendent function where you recognize the other in yourself and the self in the other.

    Right now there is also an increasing scientific understandings of the phenomenon of transference.

    But there is another phenomenon in BDSM of top, bottom and things like „topping from the bottom“ and recognition of top as bottom. This is about maintaining the tension but also recognizing a consensual greater relationship within the tension of both mutual vulnerability and the playing out of the polarized roles at the same time.

  • Olly thou art an ocean to my ship, carrying me upon eddies of thought to distant shores of discovery… (But if Olly was an ocean, how would ocean upload new things to youtube?) :-S

  • "I know that right now that this story is abstract and weird, don't worry, we will be getting into concrete examples in a minute just bare with me"

    dude, I was on board at 2mins, lol

  • I think it speaks to the hard work put into this video that everyone in it is saying how hard Hegel is to understand when I've had no problems following along through this entire presentation.