‘Hegel’s Ladder: A Commentary on Phenomenology of Spirit’ by H. S. Harris | Two Volume Set

Published by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. in 1997. Download link and description updated on 25. June 2021.

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Awarded the Nicholas Hoare/Renaud-Bray Canadian Philosophical Association Book Prize in 2001.

This commentary by Henry Silton Harris is a landmark study on Georg W. F. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit from 1807, a work of philosophy which is by itself often regarded as the most difficult and misunderstood book to ever have been written in the entire history of Western philosophy, even published under the most intense circumstances of war between France and Prussia.

This extraordinary and awe-inspiring contribution to Hegel scholarship is a lucid presentation and rich orchestration of significant structure and detail, still bearing the prestigious title of the most thorough, well-researched and thoughtful study of the Phenomenology to have appeared in English language up to this date.

The prevailing habit of commentators on Phenomenology has been founded on the general consensus of opinion that, whatever else it may be, it cannot possibly be the logical ‘Science’ which Hegel himself presented it as. This is the deeply ingrained established view that Hegel’s Ladder intends to overthrow and by reconstructing the elaborate structure of Hegel’s treatise, it clearly proves it to be a unified work.

A magnificent fruit of a long thirty-year struggle of study of strenuous analysis and detailed paragraph by paragraph continuous chain of argument, Hegel’s Ladder is a literal commentary on Hegel’s Die Phänomenologie des Geistes. And if this were not enough, Harris emphatically wrote in the preface that “with the books completion I regard my own ‘working’ career as concluded.”


Henry Silton Harris (April 26, 1926 – March 13, 2007) was a British-Canadian philosopher, having been a Distinguished Research Professor at York University starting in 1984. He was Glendon College’s Academic Dean from 1967 to 1969, a Fellow in Royal Society of Canada and was also given an Honorary Doctor of Letters from York in 2001.

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