The Self-Consciousness of Consciousness

Walter Jaeschke

Ruhr-Universität in Bochum


On the basis of Fichte’s and Schelling’s transcendental-philosophical conceptions of a “history of self-consciousness,” Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit will be reinterpreted – in the light of the conditions of its genesis as a “genealogy of consciousness” with an entirely new form – as a “genealogy of spirit,” which for the first time displays the constitutive significance of the historical formation of knowledge for knowledge itself. This predestines the Phenomenology to take on the function of an introduction to Hegel’s System of Science; today it also makes it necessary, beyond such questions that are immanent to Hegel scholarship, to transform the problems posed by the Phenomenology—a developmental history of human spirit, the cultural evolution of human thought and of the objectifications and institutions it has produced—into current problems and methods.


Walter Jaeschke is Professor of Philosophy at the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, and the director of the Hegel archives. He is the general editor of Hegel’s Gesammelte Werke, published by the Nordrhein-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, as well as of Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi’s Werke (together Klaus Hammacher), and Jacobi’s Briefwechsel. His publications include Die Suche nach den eschatologischen Wurzeln der Geschichtsphilosophie. Eine historische Kritik der Säkularisierungsthese; Die Religionsphilosophie Hegels; Die Vernunft in der Religion. Studien zur Grundlegung der Religionsphilosophie Hegel (Eng. trans. Reason in Religion), and Hegel-Handbuch.