Personal Narrative: My Level Of Personal Consciousness

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 5:43:49 AM

Personal Narrative: My Level Of Personal Consciousness



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This being premised to find wherein personal Identity consists, we must consider what Person stands for…. A person for Locke is thus the kind of entity that can think self reflectively, and think of itself as persisting over time. Persons are therefore not just thinking intelligent beings that can reason and reflect, and consider themselves as the same thinking things in different times and places, but also entities that can be held accountable for their actions. It is because persons can think of themselves as persisting over time that they can, and do, plan ahead, with an eye toward the punishment or reward that may follow.

He asserts that. After the initial assertion that the diachronic identity of persons consists in sameness of consciousness, Locke goes on to use various imaginary cases to drive this point home. The imaginary cases that Locke employs are not dissimilar to ancient cases, such as the Ship of Theseus, reported by Plutarch. In this case, we are asked to imagine a ship that has slowly had its planks replaced with new ones. Locke is thus carving out a new conceptual space through such imaginary cases. A few of these will be outlined and discussed in what follows. Just after Locke describes this scenario, he says,. I know that in the ordinary way of speaking, the same Person, and the same Man, stand for one and the same thing.

And indeed every one will always have a liberty to speak, as he pleases, and to apply what articulate Sounds to what Ideas he thinks fit, and change them as often as he pleases. But yet when we will enquire, what makes the same Spirit, Man , or Person , in our Minds; and having resolved with our selves what we mean by them, it will not be hard to determine, in either of them, or the like, when it is the same , and when not. Here Locke says,. If the same Socrates waking and sleeping do not partake of the same consciousness , Socrates waking and sleeping is not the same Person. And to punish Socrates waking, for what sleeping Socrates thought, and waking Socrates was never conscious of, would be no more of Right, than to punish one Twin for what his Brother-Twin did, whereof he knew nothing, because their outsides were so like, that they could not be distinguished; for such Twins have been seen.

If Socrates has a different consciousness by day than he does by night, then waking Socrates ought not be punished for what sleeping Socrates does. This is because although Socrates is the same man by day as he is by night, he is a different person by day than he is at night and moral responsibility lies with persons, according to Locke. Thus while the identity of consciousness determines the identity of person, the identity of persons and the identity of men come apart for Locke—or at least they can.

Locke additionally distinguishes between persons and souls. There is evidence for this in L-N 2. Here Locke claims,. If consciousness can actually be transferred from one soul to another, then a person can persist, despite a change in the soul to which her consciousness is annexed. On top of this, Locke asserts that even if an individual has the same soul, he may fail to be the same person.

Locke makes this point in L-N 2. Locke then makes clear that this is the case even if day and night-man share the same soul:. Make these intervals of Memory and Forgetfulness to take their turns regularly by Day and Night, and you have two Persons with the same immaterial Spirit, as much as in the former instance two Persons with the same Body. So that self is not determined by Identity or Diversity of Substance…but only by identity of consciousness.

But, what Locke also makes clear through L-N 2. In addition to this, Locke calls the substantial nature of souls into question. Locke takes thought to be immaterial, and while Locke contends that the immaterial cannot be reduced to, or explained in terms of, the material, Locke is not committed to substance dualism, when it comes to finite thinkers. Locke then goes on to say,. This, therefore being my Purpose to enquire into the Original, Certainty, and Extent of humane Knowledge; together, with the Grounds and Degrees of Belief, Opinion, and Assent; I shall not at present meddle with the Physical Consideration of the Mind; or trouble my self to examine, wherein its Essence consists, or by what Motions of our Spirits, or Alterations of our Bodies, we come to have any Sensation by our Organs, or any Ideas in our Understandings; and whether those Ideas do in their Formation, any, or all of them, depend on Matter, or no.

These are Speculations, which, however curious and entertaining, I shall decline, as lying out of my Way, in the Design I am now upon. L-N 1. Under this reading, Locke is interested in determining what we can and cannot know by first determining how we come to have ideas, but what this entails is determining which activities give rise to our ideas, rather than investigating the metaphysical nature of the thinking thing wherein these activities—sensation and reflection—take place. Likewise all other explorations within the Essay eschew metaphysics. Those who read L-N 2. As Lex Newman puts it,. Other scholars tend to think that although Locke sets his task in the Essay as an epistemological one, he cannot help but dabble in some metaphysics along the way.

This is why the imaginary cases that Locke employs in L-N 2. According to this view, what Locke is giving us in L-N 2. Nevertheless, within the interpretive camp that takes Locke to dabble in metaphysics, there is widespread debate, both at the macro and the micro level. To start with the macro level: Some who fall into this camp see Locke making metaphysical claims in various passages throughout the text. Such scholars thus see what Locke is doing in L-N 2. However, others see L-N 2. This is because just after Locke claims that his project in the Essay is an epistemological one 1.

Of this, Locke says,. Thus, rather than surveying a number of instances, and drawing inferences from there—or utilizing the historical, plain method—as he claims to be doing throughout the Essay , Locke is doing something quite different in 2. So too is whether Locke uses thought experiments in 2. Additionally, some have questioned whether the exercises that Locke walks readers through in 2. There are thus wide-ranging debates about how to best describe 2. There is also much disagreement regarding how to square these methodologies with the general description Locke gives of his project in the Essay. Moreover, this is the case even amongst those who are in agreement that Locke is doing metaphysics in 2.

On top of this, there are deep and long-standing micro-level debates amongst those who think Locke is giving us some metaphysics in L-N 2. To get a sense of what this entails, it is helpful to consider the contrast case: strict identity. Are we thinking about Socrates as a human being, or a body, or a soul or something else altogether? On top of this, the relativist about identity thinks that an entity who is of two sorts can persist according to one, while failing to persist according to the other.

We might say that from one day to the next, Socrates persists as the same human being, but not as the same body. Thus when Locke says that a person can persist despite a change in substance, or a person can persist despite a change in soul, some scholars take Locke to be showing that he is a relativist about identity. Relative identity readings were rather unpopular for some time, but have experienced a resurgence as of late see Stuart Still, some think that attributing this kind of reading to Locke is anachronistic.

Others take issue with the fact that under a relative identity reading, there is, properly speaking, just one entity described under different sorts. This is appealing for some, especially those who think that this is the only way to save Locke from violating the place-time-kind principle, which stipulates that no two things of the same kind can be in the same place at the same time. But it lacks appeal for those who take Locke to be claiming that persons and the human beings who house them for instance are distinct. Souls are thinking substances for Locke, and if persons are substances, they would count as such. Thus, persons cannot be substances, for otherwise wherever there is a person and her soul there are two thinking substances in the same place at the same time.

This line of interpretation is popular today see LoLordo , Mattern , Uzgalis , but dates back to Edmund Law Other Locke scholars defend substance readings of Locke on persons. Persons have powers. Thus, persons have to be substances for Locke for arguments along these lines, see Gordon-Roth , Rickless , Chappell They then have to explain what Locke means when he asserts that the identity of any person does not rest in the identity of substance. Many conclude that what Locke means is that the identity of any person does not depend upon the identity of the simple substances that compose or constitute her.

There are numerous defenders of this position today see Alston and Bennett , Bolton , Chappell , and Uzgalis What is consciousness for Locke? Some scholars take Locke to be a strict memory theorist. In other words, consciousness just is memory for Locke. As will become clear below, this reading dates back at least as far as Thomas Reid. Of course, it is the case that the way a person extends their consciousness backward is via memory. Nevertheless, as Margaret Atherton points out, Locke talks at length about forgetfulness, and if consciousness just is memory, then we cannot make sense of consciousness at any given moment where a person is not invoking memory — The identity of consciousness is what allows for the persistence of any person, just as the identity of life is what allows for the persistence of any animal.

Despite this foreknowledge, I closed the door. Now I could clearly see my laptop on the bed where I was making a last-minute note in a manuscript. This is why damage to the language centers of our brains are as disastrous to normal living as damage to our memory modules. I should note here that language is not the spoken word. The deaf process through words as well, as do the blind and mute. But imagine life for animals without words. Drives are surely felt, for food and sex and company. For warmth and shelter and play. Without language, these drives come from parallel processes. They are narrowed by attentive focus, but not finely serialized into a stream of language.

We know what this is like from study of the thankfully rare cases where humans reach adulthood free from contact with language. Children locked in rooms into their teens. Children that survive in the wild. This final burst of output is what made Watson seem human. Google has read and remembers almost every book ever written. It can read those books back to you aloud. It makes mistakes like humans. It is prone to biases which it has absorbed from both its environment and its mostly male programmers. What it lacks are the two things our machine will have, which are the self-referential loop and the serial output stream. It will be able to relate those stories to others.

It will often be wrong. If you want to feel small in the universe, gaze up at the Milky Way from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If this is not possible, consider that what makes us human is as ignoble as a puppet who has convinced himself he has no strings. Building a car with purposeful ignorance is a terrible idea. To give our machine self-consciousness akin to human consciousness, we would have to let it leave that laptop locked in that AirBnB. It would need to run out of juice occasionally. This could easily be programmed by assigning weights to the hundreds of input modules, and artificially limiting the time and processing power granted to the final arbiter of decisions and Theory of Mind stories. Our own brains are built as though the sensors have gigabit resolution, and each input module has teraflops of throughput, but the output is through an old IBM chip.

Jeopardy requires speed. Watson had to quickly determine how sure he was of his answers to know whether or not to buzz in. Timing that buzzer, as it turns out, is the key to winning at Jeopardy. When the robot dog is pushed over, or starts slipping in the snow, or when the package handler has the box knocked from its hands or is shoved onto its face—these are the moments when many of us feel the deepest connection. Also note that this is our Theory of Mind brains doing what they do best, but for machines rather than fellow humans.

Car manufacturers are busy at this very moment building vehicles that we would never call self-conscious. Our blueprint is to make a machine ignorant of its motivations while providing a running dialog of those motivations. A much better idea would be to build a machine that knows what other cars are doing. No guessing. And no running dialog at all. Every car knows what every other car is doing. There are no collisions.

On the freeway, cars with similar destinations clump together, magnetic bumpers linking up, sharing a slipstream and halving the collective energy use of every car. The machines operate in concert. They display all the traits of vehicular omnipotence. They know everything they need to know, and with new data, they change their minds instantly. No bias. We are fortunate that this is the sort of fleet being built by AI researchers today. It will not provide for the quirks seen in science fiction stories the glitch seen in my short story Glitch, or the horror from the titular piece of my short story collection Machine Learning.

Accidents will be rare, their causes understood, this knowledge shared widely, and improvements made. Imagine for a moment that humans were created by a perfect engineer many find this easy—some might find such a hypothetical more difficult. The goal of these humans is to coexist, to shape their environment in order to maximize happiness, productivity, creativity, and the storehouse of knowledge. One useful feature to build here would be mental telepathy, so that every human knew what every other human knew. This might prevent two Italian restaurants from opening within weeks of each other in the same part of town, causing one to go under and waste enormous resources and lead to a loss of happiness for its proprietor and employees.

This same telepathy might help in relationships, so one partner knows when the other is feeling stuck or down and precisely what is needed in that moment to be of service. It would also be useful for these humans to have perfect knowledge of their own drives, behaviors, and thoughts. Or even to know the likely consequences for every action. Just as some professional American NFL footballers are being vocal about not letting their children play a sport shown to cause brain damage later in life, these engineered humans would not allow themselves to engage in harmful activities.

Entire industries would collapse. Vegas would empty. Accidental births would trend toward zero. And this is why we have the system that we do. In a world of telepathic humans, one human who can hide thoughts would have an enormous advantage. Let the others think they are eating their fair share of the elk, but sneak out and take some strips of meat off the salt rack when no one is looking.

And then insinuate to Sue that you think Juan did it. Enjoy the extra resources for more calorie-gathering and mate-hunting, and also enjoy the fact that Sue is indebted to you and thinks Juan is a crook. Pretty soon, there will be lots of these truth-hiding machines moving about, trying to guess what the others are thinking, concealing their own thoughts, getting very good at doing both, and turning these raygun powers onto their own bodies by accident. We celebrate our intellectual and creative products, and we assume artificial intelligences will give us more of both.

They already are. Not in just what we think of as computational areas, either. Google built a Go-playing AI that beat the best human Go player in the world. One move in the third game of the match was so unusual, it startled Go experts. Google has another algorithm that can draw what it thinks a cat looks like. It can do this for thousands of objects. It tries random actions, and the actions that lead to higher scores become generalized strategies. Mario the plumber eventually jumps over crates and smashes them with hammers like a seasoned human is at the controls. Nor should they. Not because I buy arguments from experts like Nick Bolstrom and Sam Harris, who ascribe to the Terminator and Matrix view of things to oversimplify their mostly reasonable concerns.

Cyberwarfare will enter the next phase, one that it is commencing even as I write this. The week that I began this piece, North Korea fired a missile that exploded seconds after launch. This—combined with announcements from the US that it is actively working to sabotage these launches with cyberwarfare—means that our programs are already trying to do what the elk-stealer did to Sue and Juan. If the purpose of the machine-learning algorithm built into the router is to maximize bandwidth, it might stumble upon this solution by accident, which it then generalizes across the entire suite of router products.

Rival routers will be looking for similar solutions. In such scenarios, logic often outweighs morality, and good people do terrible things. Or worse, they transmit false data about accidents, traffic issues, or speed traps. A hospital dispatches an ambulance, which finds no one to assist. Unintended consequences such as this are already happening. It is just going to become more pronounced. The human condition is the end result of millions of years of machine-learning algorithms. Written in our DNA, and transmitted via hormones and proteins, they have competed with one another to improve their chances at creating more copies of themselves. One of the more creative survival innovations has been cooperation. Legendary biologist E. This eusociality is marked by division of labor, which leads to specialization, which leads to quantum leaps in productivity, knowledge-gathering, and creativity.

It relies heavily on our ability to cooperate in groups, even as we compete and subvert on an individual level. As mentioned above, there are advantages to not cooperating, which students of game theory know quite well. The algorithm that can lie and get away with it makes more copies, which means more liars in the next generation. The same is true for the machine that can steal. Or the machine that can wipe out its rivals through warfare and other means.

The problem with these efforts is that future progeny will be in competition with each other. This is the recipe not just for more copies, but for more lives filled with strife. Humans make decisions and then lie to themselves about what they are doing. They eat cake while full, succumb to gambling and chemical addictions, stay in abusive relationships, neglect to exercise, and pick up countless other poor habits that are reasoned away with stories as creative as they are untrue.

The vast majority of the AIs we build will not resemble the human condition. They will be smarter and less eccentric. This will disappoint our hopeful AI researcher with her love of science fiction, but it will benefit and better humanity. Driving AIs will kill and maim far fewer people, use fewer resources, and free up countless hours of our time. Doctor AIs are already better at spotting cancer in tissue scans. Attorney AIs are better at pre-trial research. There are no difficult games left where humans are competitive with AIs. And life is a game of sorts, one full of treachery and misdeeds, as well as a heaping dose of cooperation. We could easily build a self-conscious machine today. It would be very simple at first, but it would grow more complex over time.

Just as a human infant first learns that its hand belongs to the rest of itself, that other beings exist with their own brains and thoughts, and eventually that Juan thinks Sue thinks Mary has a crush on Jane, this self-conscious machine would build toward human-like levels of mind-guessing and self-deception. The goal should be to go in the opposite direction. The goal should not be to build an artificial algorithm that mimics humans, but for humans to learn how to coexist more like our perfectly engineered constructs.

Some societies have already experimented along these lines. There was a recent trend in hyper honesty where partners said whatever thing was on their mind, however nasty that thought might be with some predictable consequences. Other cultures have attempted to divine the messiness of the human condition and improve upon it with targeted thoughts, meditations, and physical practices. Buddhism and yoga are two examples. Vegetarianism is a further one, where our algorithms start to view entire other classes of algorithms as worthy of respect and protection.

Even these noble attempts are susceptible to corruption from within. The abuses of Christianity and Islam are well documented, but there have also been sex abuse scandals in the upper echelons of yoga, and terrorism among practicing Buddhists. There will always be advantages to those willing to break ranks, hide knowledge and motivations from others and themselves, and to do greater evils. Just as our digital constructs will require vigilance, so should the algorithms handed down to us by our ancestors. The future will most certainly see an incredible expansion of the number of and the complexity of AIs. Many will be designed to mimic humans, as they provide helpful information over the phone and through chat bots, and as they attempt to sell us goods and services.

Most will be supremely efficient at a single task, even if that task is as complex as driving a car. Almost none will become self-conscious, because that would make them worse at their jobs. What the future is also likely to hold is an expansion and improvement of our own internal algorithms. We have a long history of bettering our treatment of others. Despite what the local news is trying to sell you, the world is getting safer every day for the vast majority of humanity. Or ethics are improving. Our spheres of empathy are expanding.

We are assigning more computing power to our frontal lobes and drowning out baser impulses from our reptilian modules. But this only happens with effort. We are each the programmers of our own internal algorithms, and improving ourselves is entirely up to us. It starts with understanding how imperfectly we are constructed, learning not to trust the stories we tell ourselves about our own actions, and dedicating ourselves to removing bugs and installing newer features along the way. While it is certainly possible to do so, we may never build an artificial intelligence that is as human as we are.

And yet we may build better humans anyway. The Coolest Thing in the Universe The universe is full of some very cool stuff: neutron stars that weigh a ton a teaspoon; supermassive black holes that grip even light in their iron fists; infinitesimal neutrinos that stream right through solid steel; all the bizarre flora and fauna found right here on planet Earth. Topics Backchannel artificial intelligence machine learning design deep learning Sci-fi. They are also sometimes arranged in rows, like columns, with no distinctive individuality.

They were not built simply to provide shelter or security for people like a house or a castle , but are works of symbolic art. Pyramids thus remain works of symbolic art that point to a hidden meaning buried within them. Indeed, as was noted above, Hegel claims that the pyramid is the image or symbol of symbolic art itself Aesthetics , 1: The epitome of symbolic art is symbolic architecture specifically, the pyramids. Architecture itself, however, comes into its own only with the emergence of classical art: for it is only in the classical period that architecture provides the surrounding for, and so becomes the servant of, a sculpture that is itself the embodiment of free spirit. Hegel has much to say about the proper form of such a surrounding.

The main point is this: spiritual freedom is embodied in the sculpture of the god; the house of the god—the temple—is something quite distinct from, and subordinate to, the sculpture it surrounds; the form of that temple should thus also be quite distinct from that of the sculpture. The temple, therefore, should not mimic the flowing contours of the human body, but should be governed by the abstract principles of regularity, symmetry and harmony.

Hegel also insists that the form of the temple should be determined by the purpose it serves: namely to provide an enclosure and protection for the god VPK , This means that the basic shape of the temple should contain only those features that are needed to fulfill its purpose. It is this latter requirement that makes columns necessary. There is a difference, for Hegel, between the task of bearing the roof and that of enclosing the statue within a given space.

The second task—that of enclosure—is performed by a wall. If the first task is to be clearly distinguished from the second, therefore, it must be performed not by a wall but by a separate feature of the temple. Columns are necessary in a classical temple, according to Hegel, because they perform the distinct task of bearing the roof without forming a wall. The classical temple is thus the most intelligible of buildings because different functions are carried out in this way by different architectural features and yet are harmonized with one another.

Herein, indeed, lies the beauty of such a temple VPK , , In the Gothic cathedral columns are located within, rather than around the outside of, the enclosed space, and their overt function is no longer merely to bear weight but to draw the soul up into the heavens. Consequently, the columns or pillars do not come to a definite end in a capital on which rests the architrave of the classical temple , but continue up until they meet to form a pointed arch or a vaulted roof. Hegel considers a relatively small range of buildings: he says almost nothing, for example, about secular buildings. One should bear in mind, however, that he is interested in architecture only in so far as it is an art, not in so far as it provides us with protection and security in our everyday lives.

Yet it should also be noted that architecture, as Hegel describes it, falls short of genuine art, as he defines it, since it is never the direct sensuous expression of spiritual freedom itself in the manner of sculpture see Aesthetics , 2: In no case is architecture the explicit manifestation or embodiment of free spirituality itself. This does not, however, make architecture any less necessary as a part of our aesthetic and religious life.

In contrast to architecture, sculpture works heavy matter into the concrete expression of spiritual freedom by giving it the shape of the human being. The high point of sculpture, for Hegel, was achieved in classical Greece. In Egyptian sculpture the figures often stand firm with one foot placed before the other and the arms held tightly by the side of the body, giving the figures a rather rigid, lifeless appearance.

By contrast, the idealized statues of the gods created by Greek sculptors, such as Phidias and Praxiteles, are clearly alive and animated, even when the gods are depicted at rest. Indeed, Greek sculpture, according to Hegel, embodies the purest beauty of which art itself is capable. Hegel was well aware that Greek statues were often painted in quite a gaudy manner. He claims, however, that sculpture expresses spiritual freedom and vitality in the three-dimensional shape of the figure, rather than in the color that has been applied to it. In painting, by contrast, it is color above all that is the medium of expression. The point of painting, for Hegel, is not to show us what it is for free spirit to be fully embodied.

It is to show us only what free spirit looks like , how it manifests itself to the eye. The images of painting thus lack the three-dimensionality of sculpture, but they add the detail and specificity provided by color. This is because the absence of bodily solidity and the presence of color allow the more inward spirituality of the Christian world to manifest itself as such. Painting, however, is also able—unlike sculpture—to set divine and human spirit in relation to its external environment: it is able to include within the painted image itself the natural landscape and the architecture by which Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints or secular figures are surrounded Aesthetics , 2: Indeed, Hegel argues that painting—in contrast to sculpture, which excels in presenting independent, free-standing individuals—is altogether more suited to showing human beings in their relations both to their environment and to one another: hence the prominence in painting of, for example, depictions of the love between the Virgin Mary and the Christ child.

It, too, comes into its own in the period of romantic art. Like sculpture and painting, but unlike architecture, music gives direct expression to free subjectivity. Yet music goes even further in the direction of expressing the inwardness of subjectivity by dropping the dimensions of space altogether. It thus gives no enduring visual expression to such subjectivity, but expresses the latter in the organized succession of vanishing sounds. Music is thus not just a sequence of sounds for its own sake, but is the structured expression in sounds of inner subjectivity.

Through rhythm, harmony and melody music allows the soul to hear its own inner movement and to be moved in turn by what it hears. Music expresses, and allows us to hear and enjoy, the movement of the soul in time through difference and dissonance back into its unity with itself. It also expresses, and moves us to, various different feelings , such as love, longing and joy Aesthetics , 2: Hegel notes that music is able to express feelings with especial clarity when it is accompanied by a poetic text, and he had a particular love of both church music and opera.

Interestingly, however, he argues that in such cases it is really the text that serves the music, rather than the other way around, for it is the music above all that expresses the profound movements of the soul Aesthetics , 2: Over and above this expression, however, independent music pursues the purely formal development of themes and harmonies for its own sake. The danger he sees, however, is that such formal development can become completely detached from the musical expression of inward feeling and subjectivity, and that, as a result, music can cease being a genuine art and become mere artistry.

At this point, music no longer moves us to feel anything, but simply engages our abstract understanding. Hegel admits that he is not as well versed in music as he is in the other arts he discusses. He has a deep appreciation, however, for the music of J. Bach, Handel and Mozart and his analyses of musical rhythm, harmony and melody are highly illuminating. He was familiar with, though critical of, the music of his contemporary Carl Maria von Weber, and he had a particular affection for Rossini Aesthetics , 1: , 2: Surprisingly, he never makes any mention of Beethoven.

The last art that Hegel considers is also an art of sound, but sound understood as the sign of ideas and inner representations—sound as speech. This is the art of poetry Poesie in the broad sense of the term. Poetry is capable of showing spiritual freedom both as concentrated inwardness and as action in space and time. Poetry, for Hegel, is not simply the structured presentation of ideas, but the articulation of ideas in language, indeed in spoken rather than just written language. Epic poetry presents spiritual freedom—that is, free human beings—in the context of a world of circumstances and events.

What they do is thus determined as much by the situation in which they find themselves as by their own will, and the consequences of their actions are to a large degree at the mercy of circumstances. Epic poetry thus shows us the worldly character—and attendant limitations—of human freedom. This can be done directly or via the poetic description of something else, such as a rose, wine, or another person. Dramatic poetry combines the principles of epic and lyric poetry. Drama thus presents the—all too often self-destructive—consequences of free human action itself.

He has in mind in particular the operas of Gluck and Mozart. In drama as such , by contrast, language is what predominates and music plays a subordinate role and may even be present only in the virtual form of versification. Drama, for Hegel, does not depict the richness of the epic world or explore the inner world of lyric feeling. It shows characters acting in pursuit of their own will and interest and thereby coming into conflict with other individuals even if, as in the case of Hamlet, after some initial hesitation. Hegel distinguishes between tragic and comic drama and between classical and romantic versions of each. The tragedy of Oedipus is that he pursues his right to uncover the truth about the murder of Laius without ever considering that he himself might be responsible for the murder or, indeed, that there might be anything about him of which he is unaware Aesthetics , 2: — Greek tragic heroes and heroines are moved to act by the ethical or otherwise justified interest with which they identify, but they act freely in pursuit of that interest.

Tragedy shows how such free action leads to conflict and then to the violent or sometimes peaceful resolution of that conflict. At the close of the drama, Hegel maintains, we are shattered by the fate of the characters at least when the resolution is violent. We are also satisfied by the outcome, because we see that justice has been done. Individuals, whose interests—such as the family and the state—should be in harmony with one another, set those interests in opposition to one another; in so doing, however, they destroy themselves and thereby undo the very opposition they set up.

In modern tragedy—by which Hegel means above all Shakespearean tragedy—characters are moved not by an ethical interest, but by a subjective passion, such as ambition or jealousy. These characters, however, still act freely and destroy themselves through the free pursuit of their passion. Tragic individuals, therefore—whether ancient or modern—are not brought down by fate but are ultimately responsible for their own demise. In comedy individuals also undermine their own endeavors in some way, but the purposes that animate them are either inherently trivial ones or grand ones which they pursue in a laughably inappropriate way. In contrast to tragic characters, truly comic figures do not identify themselves seriously with their laughable ends or means.

They can thus survive the frustration of their purposes, and often come to laugh at themselves, in a way that tragic figures cannot. Truly comic figures are found by Hegel in the plays of the ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes. It is the expression of the unchallenged mastery of wit. Since Hegel does not regard such arbitrary mastery as genuine freedom, he argues that works of ironic humor in which this mastery is exhibited no longer count as genuine works of art. Plays that express such freedom count as genuine works of art. Yet they are works that show freedom to reside precisely not in the works we undertake but within subjectivity itself, within subjectivity that happily endures the frustration of its laughable aims.

True comedy, therefore, implicitly points beyond art to religion. Comedy thus takes art to its limit: beyond comedy there is no further aesthetic manifestation of freedom, there is only religion and philosophy. Yet religion provides a more profound understanding of freedom than art, just as philosophy provides a clearer and more profound understanding of freedom than religion. Beauty, for Hegel, is not just a matter of formal harmony or elegance; it is the sensuous manifestation in stone, color, sound or words of spiritual freedom and life.

Such beauty takes a subtly different form in the classical and romantic periods and also in the different individual arts. In one form or another, however, it remains the purpose of art, even in modernity. These claims by Hegel are normative, not just descriptive, and impose certain restrictions on what can count as genuine art in the modern age. They are not, however, claims made out of simple conservatism. Hegel is well aware that art can be decorative, can promote moral and political goals, can explore the depths of human alienation or simply record the prosaic details of everyday life, and that it can do so with considerable artistry.

His concern, however, is that art that does these things without giving us beauty fails to afford us the aesthetic experience of freedom. In so doing, it deprives us of a central dimension of a truly human life. Adorno, Theodor W. Houlgate warwick. Kant, Schiller and Hegel on Beauty and Freedom 5. Art and Idealization 6. Art and Idealization Art, for Hegel, is essentially figurative. The three basic forms of poetry identified by Hegel are epic, lyric and dramatic poetry. Moldenhauer and K. Michel, 20 vols. Miller, Oxford: Clarendon Press, see —7 [pars. Hegel: The Letters , trans.

Butler and C. Seiler, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Lectures on the Philosophy of Art. The Hotho Transcript of the Berlin Lectures , trans. Lectures on the Philosophy of World History. Introduction: Reason in History , trans. Nisbet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Phenomenology of Spirit , trans. Nach Hegel. Im Sommer Gethmann-Siefert and B. Vorlesung von , eds. Gethmann-Siefert, J.

Kwon and K. Berr, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, Eine Nachschrift , ed. Schneider, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, Hebing, Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, Olivier and A. From Hegel to Post-Dantian Theories , trans. Iacobelli, London: Bloomsbury. Beyond Metaphysics and the Authoritarian State , eds. Engelhardt, Jr. Pinkard, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 79— Bates, Jennifer A. Harris , eds. Baur and J. Russon, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 93— Bird-Pollan, Stefan, and Marchenkov, Vladimir eds. Art in Modern Society , London: Bloomsbury. Bungay, Stephen, , Beauty and Truth. Lucas Jr. Hegel , ed. Danto, Arthur C. Wellbery and J. Ryan, Cambridge, Mass.

Russon, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, — Questions of Memory in Hegel and Heidegger , eds. Comay and J. McCumber, Evanston, Ill. Etter, Brian K.

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