Hegel’s Phenomenology: On the Logical Structure of Human Experience

Joseph Carew 1
  • 1 McGill University, , Montreal, Canada


I argue that Hegel’s Phenomenology is an attempt to prove that human experience displays a sui generis logical structure. This is because, as rational animals who instinctively create a universe of meaning to navigate our environment, the perceptual content of our conscious experience of objects, the desires that motivate our self-conscious experience of action, and the beliefs and values that make up our sociohistorical experience all testify to the presence of rationality as their condition of possibility. As such, Hegel’s Phenomenology not only requires of us that we transform the mission of logic into a description of the immanent logic at the basis of human experience, thereby making the task of logic “anthropological.” It also presents us with a novel model of human experience—one that: demonstrates the rationality already instinctively at work in our bodily sensations, perceptions, and desires; gives an account of the origins of human society and history; and also makes human experience irreducible to cognitive processes in the brain, psychological mechanisms, and the biological imperatives of survival and reproduction.

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