This is a bookshelf where authors can speak about their own works selected
for a UTokyo Grant for Academic Publications (UTokyo Jiritsu Award for Early Career Academics).

Book title in white on a red cover


Hegel - Shukanteki Seishin no Tetsugaku (Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit – Genesis of Subject in Spirit and its Conditions)


294 pages, A5 format




March 20, 2019



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Hegel - Shukanteki Seishin no Tetsugaku

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The early 19th-century German philosopher Hegel has been viewed as the “culmination of modern philosophy” (Feuerbach), and has been widely read in a variety of fields. In fact, his thought, which philosophically unified the modernity for the first time, had an immeasurable influence upon standard bearers of modern thought and political movements such as Marx, Kojève, and Habermas.
So saying, the reputation attached to Hegel's thought cannot be said to be flattering. The reason is that Hegel's thought subsumes everything within the framework of a self-identifying, conscious, and rational “subject” and seeks to exclude differences, others, and the subconscious; it is thus viewed as an archetype of bad “identity-philosophy.”
However, is this kind of image truly able to capture the reality of Hegel's thought? In particular, is Hegel's “subject” originally the model of a stereotype as is now claimed? What was it that Hegel himself actually viewed the “subject” to be? Moreover, exactly how are we to consider the modernity borne by that “subject”: in other words, the social structure and issues that have persisted right through to today?
Rethinking the concept of the “subject” again within Hegel's own philosophy, which has received both praise and criticism as the “culmination of modern philosophy,” and from thereon reconsidering how we lead our own lives in extension of that modernity is the objective of this book. As an approach to that goal, this book is based on the text “Philosophy of Subjective Spirit” (published in the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830)) in which Hegel himself describes the process by which the “subject” is generated. In this text Hegel indicates the conditions for the genesis of the “subject,” and suggests how it relates to the structure and issues of modern society as well as to the possibility of future transformation. Moreover, those conditions are nothing more than acts of unconscious memory (“recollection”) and “habit” (or “language”), both of which lie behind consciousness and reason. That is to say, Hegel sought to find the “roots” of the issues embroiling subjects in the modern age, capturing the history of the subject's consciousness and reason itself based on these dual conditions. Hegel further suggests that the same subject is also open to the possibility of overthrowing its existing manner of being and renewing the social order itself. What holds the key here are, still, the dual conditions that have shaped the subject’s formation.
The significance of this book lies in the pioneering presentation of the dynamic and complex breadth – one that is not completed using one's own identity and reason – present in Hegel's “subject,” while keeping to the text. The success or failure of the attempt made in this book will be determined by how effectively the above conclusions of this book, drawn from theory, can in practice be tied to various social and ethical issues of today. Although the book devotes itself to basic research, if these attempts at connections gain traction in various fields while accepting the issues that arise here, perhaps in future this book will be viewed as having fulfilled its role well.


(Written by: IKEMATSU Tatsuo / February 17, 2020)