Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Eco's The Myth of Superman, and Camus'The Fall

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Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Eco's The Myth of Superman, and Camus'The Fall It is impossible to truly realize the impact of earlier minds on modern society, simply because that which they taught is so intrinsic to thought which followed. One great example is G.W.F. Hegel, an eighteenth-century philosopher who first named dialectical relationships. In his book Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel details the relations between people and ideas in a way that now seems obvious, but was groundbreaking at the time. He opens his discussion by describing consciousness meeting as master and slave, and describes the development of the interaction in a dialectical fashion. In this particular situation, the slave receives an original definition from the master, then negates it, since it is not a complete (and therefore an inaccurate) description of the self. The relationship between the two consciousness plays out as a progression of a definition, the negation and the result. The common terms given to this movement are thesis (the original posit or definition), antithesis (the negation), and synthesis (the final movement combining elements of each of the first two). The synthesis often becomes the new thesis, which is similarly negated. The whole theory can be seen as an elaboration of cause and effect, where the original thesis "causes" the antithesis which "causes" a synthesis. There is a direct causal progression. An interesting concept which the dialectic gives rise to is the fact that once a thesis is made everything that comes after is affected by the original posit. For example, one can attempt to negate a label, yet still give validity to the label, and the synthesis will cause the slave, even in the "free" definition, to define the self in terms of what the master originally defined. Even a negation ends in the original terms, because the original terms were the "cause" of any definition the slave would create. Hegel's theory held prevalence in society for many years, thinkers such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger relying heavily upon the dialectic as a way to further their own theories. Cause and effect became the main way of looking at world events, and life continued until the advent of the twentieth century, which saw a negation of Hegel's thought and a shift in the dialectic. In 1972, an English translation of Umberto Eco's The Myth of Superman was published. In this article, Eco, a critic and novelist, discussed the shift from the Hegelian dialectic in light of the Superman saga.

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