The Self and the Other

Topics: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Other, Ontology Pages: 2 (591 words) Published: June 13, 2010
The self and the other

“The self is for itself only by being for an other, and the self is for an other only by being for itself” (Williams’-“Recognetion”, p.151)

This statement which is taken from Robert Williams’ book “Hegel's Eidetics of Intersubjectivity” is a summary of the process of mutual recognition that occurs between two selves. Hegel’s claim is that the self cannot recognize itself unless through an other, thus the self always needs an other for recognition, “Since the self is hidden from itself, it depends on the other for its own self-discovery.” (Williams’-“Recognetion”, p.151). This shows the contradiction between Hegel and Descartes, since Descartes claims that we recognize our selves by being thinking things, and by that he is cancelling the “other” during the self recognition process. Hegel first discussed the three phases that the self faces in the process of recognition. The third phase, which is the phase of emergent concrete, in which the pre-selves emerge as actual selves in the process of mutual self recognition, is where the self starts to perceive that it needs an other in order to achieve self recognition. Thus, having an other helps by seeing oneself through the eyes of that “other”. In Hegel’s first phase, the self thinks it is the only one present, or universal, and that is called the state of particularity. Therefore, the self will not be able to see its flaws and errors that are present in it, since it is not able to see itself. When it is first introduced to the other, it will get into a state of, I would properly call it, denial or rejection because it actually denies the “otherness” of an other and it still reassures itself that everyone is just “a copy of it” and no one is different from itself, and it will demand reassurance from that “other” and that is the stage where the self makes the other as the slave that reassures the otherness of the self. Nevertheless, the master and slave phase does not necessarily...
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