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Sublation

Page history last edited by Robert Goldman 15 years, 5 months ago

     The idea of Sublation is central to G.W.F Hegel's Phenomenology of the Mind, and specifically, his passage on the Master - Slave Dialectic. "Sublation" is generally defined as:

1. To take away or to remove; to deny or to negate

2. To elevate or raise to a higher level; to bring forward

     In Hegel's application, sublation means that in each interaction between a self and an other, each side internalizes the other as a way to recognize those external of the self. The self prior to recognition is defined by the exclusion of everything else, and that it was already a negation. For the self to be recognized, the other (the external object) had to be internalized. Through the process of sublation, the self maintains its own individual identity but also takes a portion of the other, which is the way in which the both sides are recognized by each other. The implication of sublation, then, is that all relationships contain their own negations, and that the self is composed of a multitude of other forces, including the recognition of the self by the other. The self and the other are irreversibly changed after the process of sublation (where definition two comes into play). Hegel argued that all relationships are sublated, and that sublation is intrinsic to every process in life. The recognition between the self and the other is not necessarily equal, and in fact Hegel stipulates that all relationships are born into conditions of inequality and instability. This is the way in which the Master - Slave dialectic is first created. Despite this inequality, Hegel concedes that relationships are dynamic and always changing, and that once the slave in the Master - Slave Dialectic recognizes himself, there can be no domination.

     Hegel's interpretation of consciousness is a radical departure from the Enlightenment thinkers, who held that consciousness was available to humanity in its immediacy, but also from Kant, who argued that consciousness was available to humanity because it was mediated (by a priori categories). Hegel posited that both of those arguments were largely one sided, and that consciousness was a part of a larger relation that had a long - term historical context.

 

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