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Continued from thread 54576, "The design and non-design of philosophical papers".
Kojève’s Introduction to the Reading of Hegel is a book that compiles his lecture notes from a course he taught on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit from 1933–1939. It is most famous for being the source of the “End of History” thesis that Francis Fukuyama later made popular in America. The “Sage” or “Wise Man” is, I believe, the equivalent of the Greek sophron, the one who not only possesses self-knowledge but whose actions are guided by that knowledge. So it is more of an ancient notion than of the academic philosopher who thinks he has “a good job”. Kojève argues that Hegel was a Sage or Wise Man who incarnated his wisdom in book form, specifically in the Logic and Encyclopedia. Hegel’s Phenomenology, he argues, provides the anthropology of this appearance of wisdom. The particular three-part wisdom that Kojève articulates derives also from Hegel’s interpretation of the history of philosophy, especially from the Hellenistic philosophers. Kojève argues that the “Platonic–Hegelian ideal of Wisdom” is a necessary ideal only for the philosopher, the one who “puts the supreme value in Self-Consciousness” (IRH 84–85). Although Hegel seems to think that to be human one must be a philosopher, Kojève disagrees: there are forms of human satisfaction other than wisdom.
What I am doing is not actually defending this part of the claim, but taking it as my starting point to argue that if one accepts this relation of philosopher to wisdom, one must conceive of philosophical activity as necessarily being both a speculative and a productive activity, one which produces physical objects that objectively realize human thought. And since knowledge of this activity itself is necessary to wisdom, the philosopher must be conscious about how he objectively realizes his thought. That is, the philosopher cannot become a sage without also becoming a thoughtful designer and craftsperson of the objects that realize his thought. (Incidentally, this would undermine Kojève’s claim that Hegel’s books fully realize wisdom, since Hegel himself did not seem to be aware of his philosophical activity in this way). It seems to me that this argument articulates its own value: it reveals a necessary aspect of the activity of philosophizing, which should be an end in itself for anyone who values self-consciousness.
Does this still seem unfocussed? I seem to have a trouble with specificity, as I’ve rarely written anything my professors said couldn’t be improved by greater specificity. To me this seems perfectly focused for a 50-60 page paper at the undergraduate level, but maybe not.