Arquivo para May 17th, 2023

Controversies of spiritual and philosophical asceticism

17 May

To deny asceticism, one resorts to the idea that it would be impregnated with “Christian exegesis”, however, the literature itself shows that this is a contradiction, since both idealist philosophy tries to remake a vision of what is spiritual in the “Phenomenology of the Spirit” and also more modernly Foucault ( ) will say that the Greeks in the Hellenistic and Roman times would be far from understanding the term we call ascesis. “Our notion of asceticism is, in fact, more or less modeled and impregnated by the Christian conception”. (FOUCAULT, 2004, p.399).

In Michel Inwood’s Hegelian dictionary, we find the concept of Spirit (geist): “Geist includes the most intellectual aspects of the psyche, from intuition to thought and will, but excluding and contrasting with the soul, feeling, etc.”, however Spirit in Hegelian usage has a meaning that is both similar and different from that used in everyday life (in the sense of the soul) and in philosophy, since there is also a “Trinitarian” meaning there.

As in all idealist philosophy, Hegel is a post-Kantian it is good to say, there is a search for overcoming the subject and object duality, for Hegel it is found in the Absolute Spirit, said in such a way as to propitiate an encounter between the subject and the object, forming an identity that takes place within the mutual relationship between subjectivity and objectivity.

While in Kant transcendence is what makes the Subject go to the object, in Hegel it is the Absolute that marks a meeting between the subject and the object, forming an identity that takes place within the mutual relationship between subjectivity and objectivity, but in both there is no Being in transcendence.

It is important to understand this relationship because in it what Hegel treats as an essential intellectual activity takes place, for the intellective apprehension both about the object (which is precisely the moment of alienation as a “going out of the Self”) and about the subject itself (the return to subjectivity after the experience with the object, that is, the Other as he sees it), thus different from the ontology of Husserl, Heidegger and others, who see in this an ontological relationship with Being.

For this, one must penetrate the Hegelian categories: in-itself, of-itself and for-itself, said in the Philosophy of Right as: “In effect, the in-itself is consciousness, but it is also that for which it is a Other (the in-itself): it is for consciousness that the object’s in-itself and its being-for-an-other are the same. The I is the content of the relationship and the relationship itself; it confronts an Other and at the same time surpasses it; and this Other, for him, is only himself” (HEGEL, 2003);

Many contemporary philosophers will see the Other, as something beyond the Self, and a for-itself something beyond the Self and the Other, a “for” beyond.

Although there are controversies both in Hegelian idealism and in his “Trinitarian” dialectical conception, it is important to note that for him the members of a community should always have among the principles the one that “has objectivity, truth and morality” (HEGEL, 2003, §258).


Foucault, Michel. (2004) A hermenêutica do sujeito. Transl. Márcio Alves da Fonseca; Salma Tannus Muchail. Brazil, São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

Hegel, G.W.F. (2003) Princípios da Filosofia do Direito. Transl. Orlando Vitorino. Brazil, São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

Inwood, M. J. (1997) Hegel. Dicionário Hegel. Transl. Álvaro Cabral. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor.