The great problem of epistemology is the possibility and essence of knowledge . If knowledge is viewed as something separate from the reality of things , yet existant and true , we come to a logical paradox , of how knowlege can exist beyond the absolute (p . 133 . We do not know , then what is knowledge , allowing ourselves to hypothesize upon its nature as either a tool or a medium . Hegel , in his text Phenomenology of the Spirit , removes this paradox , by placing knowledge in the context of consciousness , rendering it substantial , and thus solving the problem [banner_entry_middle]
of the criterion . Instead of searching for some outside criterion of truthfulness , Hegel argues that consciousness is , in itself , the criterion for any truth – in essence , that consciousness and knowledge are one and the same thing
He notes that consciousness and knowledge have , essentially , the same mode of being – they both compare and contrast outside objects with themselves (p . 139 . There is no other way to test data for truthfulness but compare it with the other massives of data , and this is done pre-Hegelian epistemology – however , he is the first to use the fact that this process is a property of consciousness itself . In this way he grounds his further observations
Then he somewhat widens the usual definition of object , including within it not only the essence of the object as a thing-in-itself , but also the effects it has on the surroundings (p . 140 . For Hegel , the definition of the object includes all of its interactions between itself and outside reality . This blurs the distinction between objects , in fact : removes their status as independent entities , but rather makes them fluent things , subject to constant change and continuously remaining in flux between one another . This prepares us for the latter monistic idea of one substance , for this , effectively , renders all objects infinite , and distinctinve only as actualized variations of one substance
Consciousness , to Hegel , is just another object . He discards any prior speculation towatds it , of the method of its existence , but instead also postulates its substantionality , for , if it can interact with other matters of substance , it must have some way of interaction . In essence Hegel does not separate consciousness from reality . He has no ideal realm – in fact , his is the kingdom of the flesh in this respect . All is substance , all is consciousness , all is true . Hegel bulds the picture of a very explicit world
When interacting with an object , it is a property of consciousness to compare and contrast it with some sort of criterion (p . 142-143 However , this criterion is already present within consciousness , because the process is automatic . We do not know , and never will know , of what the thing is in itself , per se , but we will know of what it is for us which is part of its object ‘s being in itself . They are true both , and thus , both fall within the essence of knowledge – and consciousness encompasses knowledge , for it is in consciousness that there is consciousness of… [banner_entry_footer]
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