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

Published by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. in 1997.

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


From the Preface:

Hegel’s Ladder aspires to be . . . a ‘literal commentary’ on Die Phänomenologie des Geistes. . . . It was the conscious goal of my thirty-year struggle with Hegel to write an explanatory commentary on this book; and with its completion I regard my own ‘working’ career as concluded. . . .”

“The prevailing habit of commentators . . . is founded on the general consensus of opinion that whatever else it may be, Hegel’s Phenomenology is not the logical ‘Science’ that he believed it was. This is the received view that I want to overthrow. But if I am right, then an acceptably continuous chain of argument, paragraph by paragraph, ought to be discoverable in the text.”


 “. . . a magnificent contribution to scholarship on the Phenomenology. What sets this book apart from the rest is Harris’s deep commitment to thinking Hegel in context, even when Hegel’s position runs counter to Harris’s own cultural and philosophical position. Thus Harris self-effacingly clears away the encrustations of ideology that distorted or undermined Hegel’s influence in the nineteenth century, and the contemporary biases that lead to piecemeal commentaries and salvagings of Hegel in the present day, and opens a window through which Hegel’s thought can appear with perhaps less distortion than at any previous time. This commentary on the Phenomenology is a landmark that will date Hegel scholarship by whether it appeared before or after Harris.”

—Robert R. Williams, The Review of Metaphysics

“ . . . Harris provides what is without doubt the most thorough, well-researched and thoughtful study of the Phenomenology in English to date. . . . Harris’s commentary is a splendid and quite awe-inspiring achievement—the magnificent fruit of over thirty years of study that will be savoured by future generations of scholars and students for many years to come.”

—Stephen Hougate, in Radical Philosophy, July 1999

“Harris reconstructs the elaborate structure of Hegel’s treatise and shows clearly that it is a unified work . . . a lucid presentation and rich orchestration of significant structure and detail. . . . A genuine landmark: all work on Hegel’s Phenomenology will be dated by whether it precedes or follows it.”

—Kenneth R. Westphal, University of New Hampshire

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