Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

William Bristow

Committee Members

Nataliya Palatnik, Julius Sensat


Hegel, Mediator, Reason, Self-Consciousness, Spirit, Transition


This paper is an attempt to provide a response to two questions that occur in the transition of the shape of Self-Consciousness to Reason in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: What justifies the sudden appearance of the ‘mediator’ and Why does the shape of Reason, in its initial appearance, “forget” the path through which it came to be. I deploy an original interpretive framework upon Hegel’s dialectic, which I call the ‘tracking’ approach, that tracks ‘movement’ and ‘emergence’ of the subject consciousness so that one may know its corresponding ‘cognitive level’ that develops for it. I argue that the mediator’s appearance is the culmination of the dialectic of recognition in the Self-Consciousness chapter, which now forms a ‘peer’ relation to effect genuine unity. Self- consciousness in relation with the mediator also embodies Spirit, whose movement Hegel has been implicitly tracking throughout the chapter. I thereafter argue that the dialectic of the mediator is continued in the transition to Reason—its unifying activity is made actual and explicit as the category. Reason’s initial ‘forgetting’ is then nothing but the cognitive effect of the category, bringing about the (formal) dissolution of subject-object dichotomy.

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