By James H. Nichols

Nichols examines the main writings of Alexandre Kojève, and clarifies the nature and brings to gentle the significance of his political philosophy. whereas emphasizing the political measurement of Kojève's proposal, Nichols treats all his significant released writings and indicates how the remarkably assorted components of Kojève's highbrow pastime move jointly. this is often a vital evaluate of Kojève which considers the works that preceded his flip to Hegel, seeks to articulate the nature of his Hegelianism, and displays intimately at the diverse meanings that the top of background had in varied classes of his notion.

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Extra resources for Alexandre Kojeve: Wisdom at the End of History (20th Century Political Thinkers)

Sample text

But the end of history means the end of the opposition between man and world through the coming into being of adequate knowledge. Therefore a reconciliation of man, or a new harmony of man, with the world (including the then given social human world) emerges. Philosophy gives way to wisdom. Man in the historical sense disappears, but not in any natural or biological catastrophe. Rather, Man as action negating the given, as error, as philosopher rather than wise man, disappears. Kojeve notes that Marx dealt with these themes: History properly so-called, in which men ("classes") fight among themselves for recognition and fight against Nature by work, is called in Marx "Realm of necessity" (Reich der Notwendigkeit); beyond (jenseits) is situated the "Realm of freedom" (Reich der Freiheit), in which men (mutually recognizing one another without reservation) no longer fight, and work as little as possible (Nature having been definitively mastered-that is, harmonized with Man).

Finally, whereas the master could never be satisfied with the recognition conferred on him by slaves, let alone wish to become slave himself, the slave, deprived of freedom, has before his eyes the ideal of freedom in the person of the master. The slave needs only to bring it about that he wins freedom and recognition from the master (who thus becomes a former master) in order to achieve a definitive satisfaction of the desire for recognition. And so the future of historical development lies on the side of the slaves.

But recognition, to be satisfying, has to come from someone whom one respects, whom one recognizes reciprocally or mutually. The master, however, precisely cannot extend recognition to the slave, who has refused to go all the way in the risk of life and who has plainly accepted a position of inferiority to the master; accordingly, the master's risk has been in fact for the sake of something without real value for him. And looking around him in the world, the master sees no other status to which he could aspire.

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