There is clearly some continuity between Kant’s notion andHegel’s project. In a sense Hegel’s phenomenology is astudy of phenomena (although this is not a realm hewould contrast with that of noumena) andHegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is likewise to beregarded as a type of propaedeutic to philosophy ratherthan an exercise in or work of philosophy. It ismeant to function as an induction or education of the reader tothe standpoint of purely conceptual thought from whichphilosophy can be done. As such, its structure has been compared tothat of a Bildungsroman (educational novel), having anabstractly conceived protagonist—the bearer of an evolvingseries of so-called shapes of consciousness or the inhabitant of aseries of successive phenomenal worlds—whose progress andset-backs the reader follows and learns from. Or at least this is howthe work sets out: in the later sections the earlier series ofshapes of consciousness becomes replaced with what seemmore like configurations of human social life, and the workcomes to look more like an account of interlinked forms of socialexistence and thought within which participants in such forms ofsocial life conceive of themselves and the world. Hegel constructs aseries of such shapes that maps onto the history of western Europeancivilization from the Greeks to his own time.


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