The Phenomenology of Mind HTML version
THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF MIND
c. OBSERVATION OF THE RELATION OF SELF−CONSCIOUSNESS TO
ITS IMMEDIATE ACTUALITY − PHYSIOGNOMY AND PHRENOLOGY.
[[ Translator's comments: In the previous section observation was directed upon the relation of mind to
external reality−−the natural environment of individuality. The relation of mind to its own physical
embodiment furnishes a further object for observation to take up. How observation operates in dealing with
this relation forms the subject of the analysis in the present section.
Up to and at the time at which Hegel wrote, the discussion of this relation took the form of what are now
looked upon either as spurious sciences or at best as falling within the scope of physiology or psychophysics.
Those pseudo−sciences were Physiognomy and Phrenology or Cranioscopy. Both had in one form or another
engaged the attention of reflective minds from the earliest times. But about the latter half of the eighteenth
century they gained unusual public prominence, in Germany, France and England, through the eloquence and
conviction of their exponents; so much so that in Germany a law was passed forbidding the promulgation of
phrenology as being dangerous to religion, and in England a law of George II re−enacted a statute of
Elizabeth imposing the severest penalties on physiognomists. The chief exponents and propagandists of these
studies of the human individual were Lavater (1741−1801), in physiognomy, and Gall (1758−1828), along
with his pupil Spurzheim, in phrenology. The personal character and influence of the first, combined with his
rhetorical eloquence, compelled the attention not only of the popular mind but of men of outstanding
intelligence; while Gall lectured publicly and went from one University to another expounding the
generalizations discovered or made.
It was impossible therefore for any philosopher who attempted to discuss comprehensively the methods and
procedure of observational science to ignore the claims made by these pseudo−sciences or to refuse to
examine the validity of the laws they proposed to formulate. This was all the more necessary because the
object they dealt with−−the relation of mind to its physical embodiment−−was and is unquestionably an
important fact of experience and presents a serious problem to philosophy, especially to idealism. Hence we
have in the following section an elaborate analysis of the observational "sciences" of physiognomy and
phrenology−−an analysis the length of which can only be explained and justified by the historical
circumstances above indicated.]]
OBSERVATION OF THE RELATION OF SELF−CONSCIOUSNESS TO ITS
IMMEDIATE ACTUALITY − PHYSIOGNOMY AND PHRENOLOGY.(1)
PSYCHOLOGICAL observation discovers no law for the relation of self−consciousness to actuality or the
world over against it; and owing to their mutual indifference it is forced to fall back on the peculiar
determinate characteristic of real individuality, which has a being in and for itself or contains the opposition
of subjective self−existence (Fersichseyn) and objective inherent existence (Ansichseyn) dissolved and
extinguished within its own process of absolute mediation. Individuality is now the object for observation, or
the object to which observation now passes.
The individual exists in himself and for himself. He is for himself, or is a free activity; he is, however, also in
himself, or has himself an original determinate being of his own−−a character which is in principle the same
as what psychology sought to find outside him. Opposition thus breaks out in his own self; it has this twofold
nature, it is a process or movement of consciousness, and it is the fixed being of a reality with a phenomenal
character, a reality which in it is directly its own. This being, the "body" of the determinate individuality, is
its original source, that in the making of which it has had nothing to do. But since the individual at the same
time merely is what he has done, his body is also an "expression" of himself which he has brought about; a
sign and indication as well, which has not remained a bare immediate fact, but through which the individual
only makes known what is actually implied by his setting his original nature to work.
c. OBSERVATION OF THE RELATION OF SELF−CONSCIOUSNESS TO ITS IMMEDIATE ACTUALITY − PHYSIOGNOMY AND PHRENOLOGY.