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Notes on G.W.F. Hegel,

The Encyclopedia Logic

(tr. Geraets, Suchting, and Harris)

Jeffrey Wattles, 1992

            In the sections on the three attitudes of thought to objectivity, Hegel sets forth a capsule history of philosophy in order to lead the reader up to the level from which to comprehend the logic--the sequence of key concepts for grasping truth in every domain of nature and finite spirit. 


            "All philosophy in its beginnings, all of the sciences, even the daily doing and dealing of consciousness, lives in" "the belief that truth is [re]cognized, and what the objects genuinely are is brought before consciousness, through thinking about them."  "In this belief, thinking goes straight to the objects" (#26).  Excellent, as well as very limited, thinking can go on in this way; the pre-Kantian metaphysics envisioned here (of Christian Wolff) is a product of that level of thinking Hegel calls the understanding (Verstand) as opposed to genuinely philosophic Reason (Vernunft) (#27).  Metaphysics tried to think the basic determinations of things, tried to think the Absolute via finite predicates, which were taken for granted in their intelligibility, coherence, independence, and relevance by the understanding (#28).  Finite predicates, however, are inadequate because they are (1) partial--none tells the whole story, nor is the whole story (of the Infinite!) to be got by conjoining them; (2) external--thrown up by the mere finite human intellect, picked up from mundane affairs, not belonging genuinely to the Absolute itself; and (3) fitting awkwardly with one another--think of the struggles to "reconcile," e.g., the mercy and justice of God (#29).  The objects of reason--soul, world, God--are treated as simply given and finished.  These themes are representations (images, suitable in picture-thinking or story telling, characteristic of religious discourse, not philosophy) which are sadly taken as the criterion which shall serve to judge the adequacy of thought (#30).  Representations seem at first to provide stability for thinking, but they may be interpreted in many different ways; indeed, they need to derive stability from thinking.  The irony of the [dogmatic] metaphysical sentence is that an indeterminate representation serves as the subject of the sentence and as the criterion of the [static] thought-determination which is [hopelessly] thrown up to qualify it (#31).  "This metaphysics became dogmatism because, given the nature of finite determinations, it had to assume that of two opposed assertions (of the kind that those propositions were) one must be true, and the other false" (#32).  Metaphysics, beginning with ontology, appealed to a mere list of basic categories . . . without regard for the question of their truth or necessity [their appropriateness] (#33).  In rational psychology, the inappropriate question was raised of the simplicity of the (materially-involved) soul (which is not the same as and intellectually subordinate to Hegel's spirit)--the supposed key to its prospect of immortality (#34).  Metaphysical cosmology traded in simplistic oppositions (#35).  [Be sure not to use this study aid as a substitute for the text.]  Natural theology, paradoxically, sought a ground for the existence of God.  The finite qualities attributed to God became meaningless when raised to an infinite degree (#36).  (Remark: Metaphysical thinking gives only three, inadequate options regarding the relation of the cosmos to God: (1) pantheistic identification, the reduction of God to cosmos; (2) dualism between God and cosmos, which reduces God to a sublime (and finite) beyond; and (3) affirming God as transcendence, denying the appropriateness of the categories of the understanding, such that God becomes finally meaningless.) 



            Empiricism brought in needed content from outer and inner experience, and it rejected metaphysical pretensions (#37).  Empiricism, with paradoxical humility, elevates the certainties of perception to universal notions (Vorstellung [in the singular]), principles, and laws (#38).  Remark: Empiricism, happily, demanded that truth should be conjoined to actuality and insight; unhappily, it did not reflect with the care of the metaphysicians upon the categories it used.  Addition: The method/process of empiricism is (1) rejoice in perceptual access to infinite determinacy . . . which must be (2) analyzed, destroying the integrity of its objects, and (3) relocating the essential again in universal determinations of thought [what it decried in metaphysics], (4) living in subjection to its objects as each a given, an absolute other external to itself.    Empiricism, basing itself on perception, dissolves universality and necessity . . . also in law, ethics, and religion (#39).


II.  CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY (the philosophy of Immanuel Kant)

            First, regarding theoretical reason, the quest for truth in science and metaphysics:

#40.  Like empiricism, critical philosophy denies that universality and necessity may be located in the realm of the objects of understanding: it is the understanding itself that contributes these features.

#41.  Even though critical philosophy affirms that it is possible for human knowledge to achieve a certain kind of objectivity, that objectivity still remains, in a wider sense, subjective by contrast with the thing-in-itself (the ideal of objectivity which is declared to be unattainable).  [The in-itself is reality considered apart from the limiting conditions of human understanding.]  Addition: the ambition of critical philosophy is to evaluate the human powers of cognition before any actual cognition is underway (cf. the Remark to #10, p. 34).

#42.  The mind achieves coherent experience by applying its categories to unify diverse inputs ("synthesize manifolds").  The unifying function, the "I" (or ego or transcendental unity of apperception), is utterly indeterminate; it has no intrinsic relation to the casually derived set of categories ascribed to it.  Indeed it is not the mere subjective ego but the Absolute that thus operates to "introduce" universality and necessity--and why should we deny these features to the objects themselves?  Do not be so concerned about the seeming loss of the being of objects in a philosophy that portrays their unity as a function of mind; be more concerned about the adequacy of the determinate concepts of things.

#43.  Objectivity is said to derive from the categories, which are said, somewhat misleadingly, to be empty (since the categories have some content just because they are determinate)--whose content is subjective [namely the data of inner and outer perception].

#44.  Since the categories have their meaningful application only to the manifold given in spatio-temporal perception, they cannot serve to know that which is not thus presented: the in-itself, the Absolute.  Remark: the in-itself is posited by thought, which projects its own self-identical emptiness as the "in-itself," which is, indeed, the easiest, not the hardest, to know.  [Hegel uses some equivalences of his own here, going beyond Kant whose philosophy is ostensibly being narrated: the Absolute (=God) = the in-itself = the system of soul, world, and God.] 

#45.  From what perspective is the pronouncement being made of the limited character of the finite, conditioned process of empirical understanding?  From the perspective of Reason, whose true object, if it could only attain it, would be the Absolute.  The in-itself is Reason's projection of its own abstract identity.  Given such an indefinite in-itself as the standard of Truth, of course what is given in experience must be regarded as mere appearance.  Addition.  The genuine infinite is not merely something beyond, but sublates the finite.  [To sublate, the conventional translation ("recycle" would be better) of Aufheben, means to negate/cancel and to preserve in a higher synthesis.]  For ordinary consciousness (sense-perception plus understanding) the dependence of things on what is outside them is external to what we take things to be: obviously independent . . . .  Their ground is the universal divine Idea.

#46.  Reason becomes (interestingly and importantly) unhinged when it tries to think the in-itself.

#47.  Errors arise: paralogisms ("the fallacy of four terms" in a syllogism [ambiguously using a key term in an argument which has one meaning in a premise and another meaning in the misleadingly derived conclusion]).  Teachings regarding the soul move from a phenomenological description of experience to a metaphysical doctrine of a simple substance which is non-spatial yet paradoxically related to space.  Remark: At least Kant weeded out some inappropriate thought-determinations from philosophical psychology, but they were not inappropriate qua thought-determinations.  Addition: Soul is both simple and self-differentiating.

#48.  The greatness of Kant's discernment of antinomies (contradictory propositions) regarding the world (whether limited in space-time, whether matter is quantized or continuous, whether cosmic necessity excludes the possibility of freedom, whether the cosmos as a whole has a cause) is to show that "everything actual contains opposed determinations in it."  But rather than accepting and unifying these oppositions, Kant rejected the cosmological enterprise.

#49.  God, for Kantian reason, is the Ideal union of identity [one] and being: the supremely real Essence . . . without determinations (which would introduce a certain finitude).

#50.  Kant miscriticises the proofs for God based on contingency and teleology.  The so-called proofs are really various journeys of the Geist raising itself (which is an entirely normal movement) to God.  Remark: The starting point of the proofs, the conception of the world as an aggregation of contingent facts or of linked purposeful relations [note the (ecological) mutual adaptation of the system to permit the various parts to be] is recycled by philosophy.  I.e., after the thoughtful rising to the Ground of such a scattered world, the world can no longer be conceived as being so scattered.  Second Remark: The attributes of Deity (substance, cause, purposive [even trivially so], living) that may be inferred on the basis of the predicates used in these proofs are important but not as crucial as Geist: God must be conceived as substance and subject.

#51.  Kant relied on an obvious and correct distinction--"Noting can be more obvious than that what I think or represent to myself is not yet actual because of that"--in his critique of the ontological proof of the existence of God [that One than whom none greater can be conceived must exist].  Kant missed the insight that the Concept has immediate relation to self (=being).  Faith preserves the insight of the inseparability of the certainty of God upon thinking the thought of God.  [In other words, the very experience of genuinely entertaining the thought of brings with it the realization of the reality of God: there is no external comparing or verifying that is meaningfully demanded if this "thinking" is appropriately realized.]

#52.  For Kant, Reason remains without determination; Kant asserts the emptiness of the understanding regarding the unconditioned, the infinite.


            Second, regarding practical reason, the thinking about what one ought to do:

#53.  Acting in accord with practical reason is self-determination (not being swayed to do something by inclination--some desire or fear) according to universal laws--laws that clear and thorough thinking would recognize to be binding on anyone in [essentially] the same situation, principles that involve respect for every person.  Genuine reason (as opposed to the mere notions of the abstract understanding, whose relation to "reality" remains always a matter of hypothesis that can never be confirmed) is here functioning in its authentic function of determining what is.  Why should we believe that reason has such power in rational freedom?  Because we experience ourselves as obligated beings, and the notion of duty presupposes not only that we are part of nature, acquiring thereby a certain inertia of resistance to what is rationally to be one, but also that we are free, that we really have a choice about what to do--whether to act on mere inclination or to act on principle.  There are, of course, objections to this affirmation, based on the facts of the influence of natural causal factors on our behavior and on the heap of maxims which allegedly guide our conduct but which cannot be deduced from the supreme rational principle of morality.

#54.  An ethic based on "the mere principle that willing should be self-consistent, and the demand that people should do their duty for the sake of duty" (though it insightfully enfranchised free, self-determining reason and was an advance over the prevalent theory of the pursuit of happiness) remains unable to illuminate the specific realms of duty in our ethical life [family life, the economic sphere, political participation, in which human freedom is realized and duty is concrete].  [This is Hegel's familiar and controversial interpretation that Kant's ethic is abstract and empty, without concrete implications for definite moral decisions, resonates with his critique of the abstract "I" of Kant's theoretical reason, allegedly projected as the indeterminate in-itself.]


            Third, reason in its capacity of judgment (regarding beauty and purposiveness):

#55.  Is there a faculty of the human mind that can unify the necessity of theoretical reason with the freedom of practical reason?  Is there any experience in which we can find universality in an undefinable yet certain bond with experienced individuals?  There is an intuitive capacity of judgment regarding art and the purposiveness of organic nature. 

#56.  This great idea of Kant's was not affirmed as the truth, but only as, on the one hand, the achievement of the work of genius (for which no formula can be provided) or of the recognition of aesthetic value (the beautiful or the sublime) which the mind recognizes in a universally valid judgment (for which no conceptual account can be given--beauty cannot be defined, unlike duty and the theoretical principles of the understanding).  (What we find beautiful, for Kant, is that which, presented to the senses, seems to suit our sense of order; what we find sublime we see as transcending our powers (e.g., as physically overwhelming) but nonetheless as inspiring, rousing our (moral) sense of dignity (superiority over the merely natural). 

#57.  The purposiveness that Kant recognizes in the organism was not the external purposiveness of the happy and superficial "natural theologians" who based arguments on the evidence that things work together in wondrous ways.  Hegel satirized such observations with examples: the cork trees have their purpose in providing stoppers for our wine bottles, the nose was providentially designed to support the eyeglasses, etc.  Rather the internal purposiveness of "organs" in mutual relation within the organism: this is the image of the true Concept.

#58.  Just at the point of reaching the most adequate concept, Kant reverted--characteristic of the second attitude of thought toward truth (objectivity)--to the idea that such judgments of purposiveness are merely subjective: they are hypotheses.  Thus Kant retains his agnostic posture regarding the things in themselves.

#59.  A purpose that posits and realizes itself is the adequate concept of God.

#60.  Kant posits the supreme unification of the good and the actual merely as a goal to be approached by infinite progression rather than as a self-differentiating, self-orchestrating, self-fulfilling process.  Again and again he wavers between insight and timid failure to maintain insight.  He accepts science as given, without any thoughtful transformation, and installs the principle of inward freedom from all outward authority in the dangerous position of being unable to determine the specific principles with which its freedom is actualized.



            One of Hegel's post-Kantian competitors was Jacobi, who taught an exalted immediate knowledge of God, the intuition of faith, as transcending the limited range of the Kantian categories of the understanding.  Hegel rejects the antithesis between such immediate knowledge of God and philosophically handled categorial mediation; he affirms the validity of Jacobi's immediate knowing, indeed, as the intuitive evidence for every step of the philosophic path. 

            Hegel's first two paragraphs comment on and extend the preceding position.  The thinking of a merely particular person is regarded as alienated from truth (#61).  The categories come to be regarded as untruth (#62).  But immediate knowledge of truth is asserted and regarded as equivalent to faith in God; but such knowledge is too indeterminate to be definitely associated with the richly articulated teachings of Christian doctrine [Hegel laments the modern tendency to relax propositional, doctrinal theology] (#63).  Immediate knowing affirms that God (treated as representation) is immediately combined with the certainty of God's being (#64).

            Immediate knowing of the first importance for philosophy is not limited to God.  There is also an affirmation of the self-evident connection between thought and being (in Descartes' intuition).  Unfortunately, when the affirmation is made regarding an immediate intuition, there is often a tendency to take a slap at the mediating labor of philosophy.  Unfortunately, the same kind of intuitive certainty is proclaimed for the reality of the body and the external world [which are not thought in their truth] (#64).  When the standpoint of immediate knowing polemicizes against mediation, it falls back into finitude, and the level of assertion of a fact of consciousness (#65).

            But as a matter of fact, we know that immediate recognition is generally the product of much mediation (especially, of thinking) (#66).  All philosophers' doctrines of the primal [perhaps, immediate] knowledge of human beings include the recognition of the need for education [i.e., learning, mediation] (#67).  The experiential claim to immediate knowledge affirms something (ironically) essential and necessary, on account of the observed constant connection to what is bound up with immediate knowing.  The very rising to the level of God-consciousness is a presupposed mediation (68).  The original connection that is affirmed in immediate knowing (#64) is a paradigm of mediation though not with something external, but as its own process toward a conclusion (#69).  What is immediate is the connection of two [elements], the Idea and Being, each validated/mediated by the other.

            Immediacy and mediation should not, as in block-thinking, be regarded as mutually exclusive (#70).  Basing an assertion on consciousness implies that the conscious individual who is making the assertion becomes the criterion of what all people believe, insofar as they are in touch with the common humanity.  Based on what is [evident] in consciousness (and it takes careful phenomenological work to discern that), there must be some content involved with the notion of God; on that basis, belief in God is denied to pagans (71).

            Immediate conviction can baptize superstition, idolatry, and evil (#72).  One move to defend immediate knowledge of God is to say that immediate knowledge is knowledge that God is, not knowledge of what God is; but such a generalized God has minimal content (#73).  Immediate knowing reverts to a metaphysics of abstract identity and forfeits the claim to know spirit--i.e., not an abstract, indefinite, blur, but a self-articulating/distinguishing/recovering Infinite (#74).  As an isolated, one-sided claim, immediate knowing ha been shown, via internal critique, to be false.  But as a phase of philosophy, it is involved in every step of the Logic (#75).

            Immediate knowing is continuous with naive metaphysics regarding the inseparability of thinking and being.  God's essence implies God's existence, whereas immediately known sensible things are perishing semblance (#76).  From the cogito (the intuitive and philosophically elucidated [Cartesian] I think, science was developed.  The (unfortunate) modern view is that finite mediations are inadequate to reach God, hence faith is necessary; this view rejects philosophic method and descends to "the untamed arbitrariness of imaginations and assurances, to moral conceit and haughtiness of feeling" (#77).  The assumed antithesis between faith and philosophy must be put aside--like all presuppositions and arbitrary assurances (on this point, philosophy goes along with ancient skepticism), in order to begin thinking purely (#78).


            More Precise Conception and Division of the Logic.

            In the Logic three aspects of thinking are always present (#79): the labor of the understanding with its clearly identified categories, the negative labor of dialectic, showing the inadequacy, the perishing, of each of these categories (#81), and the philosophic integration, which sustains their unity in the midst of their opposition/perishing (#82).  The standards of clarity and rigor of the understanding are necessary at all levels of thought (#80).


            The Doctrine of Being is the First Subdivision of the Logic.

            What is going on in the sequence of determinations [categories] here?  At first, they seem to have a certain independence, they seem each to be something on their own; but the unfolding of their implications is such that they pass over into other categories.  But in all this process the Concept itself is unfolding.  [The Concept means Begriff, grasping, synthesizing, precisely the work of Kant's ego, the transcendental unity of apperception, the unifying function that is presupposed in every unity we experience.  But Hegel's Begriff is the same function--to present it in historical terms--transferred to God as cosmic Mind.]  One more description is given of the process in this first part of the Logic: Being is deepening itself (#84).

            The older theology treated the predicates of God, the "names of God"; we have here the metaphysical determinations of the Absolute--except the second term of a classic triad, the negative moment, which emphasize difference and hence finitude (#85).


  A. Being

            Pure, abstract being simply is (#86); but at the same time, empty of predicates, it is no-thing (#87).  Nothing, however, is--just the same as being (#88).  [The reference to Buddhism in the Remark to #87, taken together with the discussion of immediate knowing, ##63ff, indicates that there is experiential import to what is being told here.]  The convertibility of being and nothing is the concept of transition itself, of beginning, or of becoming (#88).

  B. Being There

            In the following transition, does Hegel illicitly trade on the ambiguity of "becoming," which he has defined in terms of transition on a purely abstract level, but also carries connotations involving determinate, existing things--the new theme?  Or does he avoid paralogism, the fallacy of four terms, or, more generally, the illicit ambiguity--and he does seem to be aware of the danger--only by obfuscation, by spinning his inwardly confident stream of words in such a way that the result for an intelligent and honest reader is simply mystery or worse?  The [quality] of being/nothing is such that we should say that this vibrant "unity" exists, "is there" (#89).  The Remark and Addition try to aid this transition by translating its main point into an apparently different one: that the negation of prior moments of this dialectic sequence acquires determinateness (and hence being-there, existence) just by being specific negation, a negation that acquires content by having negated such and such a set of categories.  (Such being-there is only in thought, it would seem, and the point of the transition is lost.  Or?  If Hegel only wants to trace the determinations that are implied in any truthful encounter with nature or finite spirit, then this criticism would miss his project.)

            As determinate, being-there has quality, and hence is something (#90).  (1) Pure being is (2) limited in order to achieve determinate existence; hence two different moments may be distinguished at the interior of being-there; these moments may be regarded as mutually other (#91).  [Just now, when you are ready to throw this down in disgust, recall the ease with which we accord greatness to Einstein, who tenaciously challenged ordinary notions, such as simultaneity, in order to find a difficult-to-understand structure within them.  There are, by the way, those who regard this type of thinking as what the new physics precisely involves.  The point is not that this text is definitive, whatever that might mean; the point is to sustain the adventure with these conceptual linkings.]  Limited, determinate things can also undergo change--become other (#92).  Indeed, change can go on ad infinitum (#93)--but such an infinity is not glorious but tedious (the "bad infinite").  A REAL INFINITE has no simplistic, block-thinking, opposition to the finite.  [READ the next to last paragraph in the Addition to #94 and the Remark to the following paragraph.  This is one of the major points of the Hegelian philosophy.]  But something which, in changing, arrives only at itself, is genuinely infinite [i.e., it preserves itself through change, negation]: being-for-itself.

  C. Being-for-itself

            Being-for-itself, initially, is immediacy, the One that excludes the Other from itself.  [Does this process of categories illuminate interpersonal relationships and personal growth?]  The One is what it is by not being, or by being distinguished from, or by [here comes the rhetoric of the movement of the Concept, the divine mind], by distinguishing itself from ("repelling") the many which are outside it.  The many, in turn, prolong the mode of immediacy by each being a one excluding its fellow ones (#97).  But excluding is relating and relating involves attraction.  Atoms [c.f. Whitehead's actual entities] are such ones.  Qualitative difference thus forms the foundation for numerical distinctitude, quantity (#98).  Hegel's sequence from quality to quantity involves the thought that we can't start counting things until we have identified them (qualitatively) as somethings.


  A. Pure quantity

            Quantitative difference is, initially, merely quantitative difference: that which doesn't really matter (#99; note the attack on positivism in the Addition, paragraphs 4-5).  The abstractive understanding, choosing its mode of analysis, may regard quantity--which is a whole--either as continuous or as discontinuous (#100).

  B. Quantum

            Quantity is limited (#101); it has the numerical aspects ("moments") of discreteness, "annumeration," and of continuity, "unit" (#102).

  C.  Degree

            Intensive (qualitative) and extensive (quantitative) magnitudes are not mutually exclusive; neither does quality reduce to quantity.  Quantitative change has qualitative implications (#103).  Hence, changing the degree of something is on the one hand trivial ("indifferent"), on the other hand, is a transition into the opposite (#104).  Quantity is an external affair--units external to each other; the very notion of quantitative relation is born: ratio.  And ratio, associated with determinacy (remember? #90) is measure (#106).


            Measure is a quantitative sort of limit that governs a quality (e.g., "Don't go too far or you'll fall," morally or literally) (#107).  At first, it seems that measure can only effectively govern something limited.  In some situations a measure incorporates some flexibility (in this case, Hegel wants to call the measure a rule), but sometimes any change, any deviation from measure, induces a qualitative change (#108).  What if quantitative increase passes beyond all limits?  Measure in the initial sense is destroyed.  However a new quality emerges, a new kind of measure.  The notion of qualitative change in a quantitatively endless sequence is, for example, infinite progress; thus the governance of measure is restored as a more sophisticated kind of measure is conceived (#109).  Now that the relation between quantity and quality has come to light, especially, now, (to pick up threads from before, #94) a feature of a self-relating Infinite, we have entered the domain of Essence.  The key difference between the sphere of being and that of essence is that in the former relationship is merely implicit; in the latter, explicit: Essence relates to its other without losing itself in the process (#111).



            When we ask what something really is, we are asking about its essence.  We mean, for example, what it really is--as opposed to what it seems to be.  The essence of a thing is thus "opposed" to its outward appearance.  The two concepts of essence and appearance are each given in relation to each other.  Each one implies the other.  They are different, and yet what each of them is, and is bound up with the other.  This kind of logic is the logic of relation.  There are several such pairs of correlated concepts whose interrelation is narrated in this section of the Logic. 

            Essence is the Concept (the self-articulating and unifying function of mind) as posited (#112).  Think of the example of the Kantian thing in itself (whose place in the conceptual scheme comes later: #124, Remark); in the discussion of the second attitude of thinking to truth, Hegel emphasized that the in itself was something posited: mind posits the in itself as such.  Or think of the Platonic form, manifested in its examples, the material shadows of eternal patterns (or think of [universal] meanings which are exemplified in particular things or facts).  The essence or universal "shines" in, or is present in the example, the sensory individual.  At first glance, the essence is the essential, and the mere being which exemplifies it is mere appearance.  The Addition to this paragraph sets forth the logic of infinity: God is the supreme example of infinity.  The tendency of essentialist thinking is to set up God as Lord, as the supreme Beyond, and hence as finite, albeit the greatest.  Essence is, first, and foremost, God.    Essence also has its aspect of being simply identical with itself; it is what it is (#113).

            The first movement is to come to recognize (A) ESSENCE AS GROUND OF EXISTENCE, and the first step is to consider the interrelation between categories which the reflective understanding usually tries to keep "clearly" separate.    Identity and Difference ("distinction"): Essence is reflected into itself.  In other words, its identity is not the simplest immediacy of being; but it is what it is in virtue of its not being its other (#115); hence it contains difference within itself (#116).  Once we can speak of the essence of X, we can regard X as similar to ["equal" is the mathematical concept, which is used in the translation; the Platonic concept of Gleich, however, is the relation of similarity obtaining between the essence and the example, and this concept is more relevant to this discussion.]  The similarity relation between the essence and X must be established by some third something, which can relate or compare the two.  [Here we are on the verge of Plato's famous third man argument from the Parmenides, which deduces a regress: once it is acknowledged that the similarity or equality between two items is established only by a third, then the relation of similarity or equality or bond between the third and the first two requires once again to be established, say by a fourth, and so on.] (#117)  We only pronounce those things the same (equal) which are not the same (in some respects different, or unequal, or dissimilar).  Thus sameness and difference involve each other.  Now Hegel moves to a level on which characteristics of the relations between categories become the protagonists in his narrative (#118).  Difference involves not-being-the other, not just any other, but its other (#119).  Next Hegel affirms the thoroughgoing mutuality of essence and what it is the essence of.  (And by this move Hegel validates his mission of doing theology and cosmology simultaneously.)  Their mutual involvement (#120) is called . . . "ground."  "Ground" is a strange name, at first glance.  What Hegel initially means by ground is the whole (#121): universal totality.  The term ground only finds its justification in terms of its relation to the next category, existence (#122).  Existence is the set of interrelated, mutually conditioning things [think in ecological terms or of the Buddhist notion of dependent coexistence], which may be considered as detached from the ground (#123) as things which nevertheless have a certain substantiality to them inasmuch as they preserve some relation to the ground (#124).  In the thing, the many properties (which are determinate in virtue of their contrast with other properties) are possessed: the thing has properties (#125).  The material dimensions involved in the properties of the thing coalesce in what, from the perspective of the Aristotelian understanding of the thing as form-and-matter, is called the matter of the thing, which is only intelligible in terms of the unity of form (##126-29).  The thing shines forth in its properties: the thing is what appears.  To be even more adequate to conceptual process, we may say that the thing is the shining forth, or appearance.

            B. APPEARANCE (not mere appearance, as though opposed to truth/reality, but manifestation of the cosmic Essence).    Essence (in its logical complexity that transcends being) must appear, and it must be precisely essence which appears; i.e., essence is not something which remains behind or beyond appearance [so there is no room for a transcendent Creator] (#131).  Rehearsing and deepening #123, (the totality of) that which appears exists in virtue of form, which gives determinate integration to the materials that go to make it up; but that form involves (1) the very ground itself--(the divine or Cosmic) Essence and (2) finite relationships with other finite things--influencing, causing, conditioning, determining, depending on, opposing, on and on, without limit.  Since the cosmic Essence is not some reality held back behind things, what it appears as is just the very system of mutually conditioning/determining appearances itself: "the world of appearances" (#132).  The world of mutually determining manifestations is so related to itself that it has its form in itself (not transcendent to itself) and its form is identical with its content.  In other words, the form of this world is precisely its mutually conditioned character (its "reflection into itself"); and its content is just this system of mutually conditioning/referring manifestations.  When form is not so related to content, it is outer form, changeable and dependent on contingent factors (say, whether the manufacturer achieves his purpose with the wood, whether the masses obey the law) (#133).  [Again, in order to get the full story told, it is necessary to recall the perspective of less philosophically developed stages, and to insert the resulting train of realization as a subplot, as follows.]  At the most immediate or naively obvious level, determination is external, determination inherently involves relationship (i.e., to something different, exterior, other).  In other words, material characteristics are determined by causal relations with other "matters," and form might or might not obtain; or the animal, say, to illustrate with ancient Greek notions, could die, losing the form (the soul, life) that had informed it, made it a living being (#134). 

            Hegel takes the relation of whole and part as the prime example of simplistic relation, since the two sides of the relation exclude each other: the vision of the whole eclipses the view of the parts; the review of the parts annihilates the vision of the whole (#135).  [The transition of the next paragraph is made in terms of the formal properties of the previously discussed category pair.  The dialectical development of these properties leads to a set of properties that are manifested in a new category pair.  However, because of the continuing theme of the interrelatedness of elements involved (appearances/parts/forces), the transition to the new category pair cannot be considered a mere formalism.  It remains true that Hegel's way of sequencing these topics so as efficiently to encompass every region of what can be thought, and so as to show the interrelation of physics, theology, and philosophy strains intelligibility.  It is also tempting to regard the Logic as "merely" a weaving of categories; this would represent the second attitude of thought toward truth, and would obscure the fact--I want to say--that it is cosmic reality itself whose moments are being dissected before our eyes.]  In the previous category pair, each was the negative of the other, indifferent to the turn to the other (but that very negative indifference is already relation to the other).  Force and the expression of force ("utterance") manifest such a contingent bond; on the one hand, force cannot be force unless it is activated; on the other hand, it doesn't activate itself by itself.  Something must provoke it to function.  Without ignition, the rocket fuel will not explode.  Hence, force makes a poor God concept (Addition).  The world whole is itself a field of the interplay of forces engaging one another (#136).  Force cannot be force without utterance; hence its two sides are distinguished merely as inner and outer (#137).

            The movement of force, in its expression, unifies the inner (ground) and the outer, to make up the totality, the fulfilled content (#138).  Inner and outer have the same content; there is nothing unmanifest in the essence (#139).  At the same time, they are opposed abstractions, and each can be regarded ("immediately") as having a monopoly on content (#140).  (The Addition applies this category pair to the discussion of ethical character.)  Look now what a conceptually rich result we have: We have two dimensions in opposition; the inner comes into (outer) existence through the expression of force; and the content of these two opposed abstractions is their very identity.  This richness of the ground expressed in existence Hegel is ready to call actuality (#141).             C. ACTUALITY (Wirklichkeit connotes also reality and also the fulfillment of dynamic (Aristotelian) potentiality.)    The inner essence, become one with the outer existence, is actuality.  Addition!  The actual is the rational; it does not include every random contingency, taken (miscomprehended) outside its (necessary) connection to the whole, the process of self-realizing reality here narrated (self-realizing, because unlike a given force which requires external provocation in order to fire, we are speaking of reality as a whole system here) (#142).  Actuality (reality) can be simply regarded as a blunt affirmative: what it really is--i.e., as (abstract) identity, lacking the concrete determinations of fully developed actuality, namely, as possibility.  [If someone says "Coke is the real thing," they are merely affirming the actuality of Coke, not telling us anything about Coke.  Coke, thus affirmed, is merely the potentiality of the concretely understood beverage.] (For a discussion of the poverty of mere potential, see the Addition.) (#143)  But something so empty is precisely inessential, accidental (#144).  Mere possibility and contingency are the merely outward aspects of actuality, and their alienation from actuality is due to their seeming to have only a contingent relation to (rational) content.  The Addition remarks

on the immaturity of the will that arbitrarily chooses X and could just as well (possibly) choose not-X; but the point of philosophic science is not to exclude the "contingent" from consideration, but to unfold its latent rational content (#145).  Possibility, (immediately) merely presupposed as being-there, is the condition for something else (for its own transcendence ("sublation," in which it is negated and preserved on a higher level), for a fulfilled actualization) (#146).  When all the factors that condition the possibility of a thing [the Sache, "matter," "thing in question," such as the burning of a piece of coal] are present, the thing becomes necessary.  What are these factors?  (1) the thing itself must really be possible [the piece of coal is flammable]; (2) cosmic process of the outward expression of the inner nature of the cosmos must be such that fire can arise; and (3) the specific conditions themselves must obtain [oxygen and heat must be present, etc.].  Addition: purposiveness is not evident in necessity; to portray God's deeds as (merely) humanly inevitable implicitly makes God arbitrary.  The discovery of Christianity is the infinite value of subjectivity--in the human individual and in God.  We are not to be overwhelmed by Necessity.  Indeed, our freedom is to recognize what happens to us as never unjust, but always as a phase of the unfolding of ourselves (#147).  The event (Sache) itself (let us now insist on taking some human action as an example), the surrounding conditions that are required for it, and the activity of the agent are sufficiently separate that the necessity in question seems external--a relation between external factors (#148).  Necessity, then, is contingent; and since that which is contingent happens to be actual, its conditions are seen to have been fulfilled: it has thus become necessary.  Necessity gathers together both the immediacy of what is and mediation, i.e., the fact that the action (event, Sache) in question depends upon certain conditions (#149).

            When we consider these sides of necessity as congealed, we see the thing as substantial (#150).  Substance is power manifesting itself in its accidents.  The Addition defends Spinoza, for whom God is (correctly but onesidedly) understood as substance, from the charge of pantheism: instead, Hegel charges Spinoza with failing to recognize that the cosmos of transient worldly things (whose perishing inspires the vision of overwhelming Substance in oriental thought) has its own actuality; for Spinoza, everything finite, such as a person, is nothing but a mode of the one Substance, which may be regarded from one point of view as nature and from another point of view as God (there are infinitely many points of view/attributes of God; humans know only two) (#151).  Substance as power ("might") causes things and hence is relation.  (The relation of causality at this point, however, is not the secondary causality of the billiard table but the primary causality of the First Cause; but since the essence is nothing but what is available in existence, the logic of primary causation and the logic of secondary causation are one.) (#152)

            Substance causes by functioning as the origin (original Sache--the word "cause" is Ursache, primal/original thing) which posits an effect (Wirkung).  There is no reason as yet to regard this causing as anything other than contingent, "accidental" (in religious terms, creation was an act that God did not have to do, chosen of God's own free will).  The Remark, taking rain and wet streets to illustrate causation, notes the identity of cause and effect, that they have the same content (wetness), and that the cause is only cause because of the effect; in other words, it is, qua cause, the effect of its effect!  Moreover, in the cause/effect chain, each cause is preceded by another, and so on without limit, and each effect has further effects, and so on without limit (#153).  The cause (taken as a thing) can only work its effect if the other thing on which it works already exists.  Initially, this second thing is passive; but it reacts, and has a reciprocal effect on the thing which first acted on it (#154).

            The active and reactive moments of the causal process are sides of one causal system ( #155).  Its process of moments that overcome their own one-sidedness is that system's (cause's) own doing: the Cause is "for itself."  The Remark observes that reciprocal influence is the only way to describe historical process and the organism, since a linear causal explanation is a simplistic falsification (#156).  The causally interinvolved actualities both are independent of each other and have an identical content (as causal influences); this level of necessity is not replete (#157).  The truth implicit in necessity is found the Concept which includes the moments which it distinguishes ("repels" from itself).  (Both "concept" and Begriff connote grasping, holding.)  Addition: Crude necessity seems hard; but genuine free action embraces precisely what it necessary, what must be done (#158).  The Concept is the truth of being and essence; it comprehends both within itself; it is the process of their identity.  [Cf. Parmenides' identification of thinking (the concept) and being (which, when rationally understood, is essence).  We have come far enough to see that what Hegel is affirming is no "subjective idealism."  Since the God of theism was presupposed as the first candidate for Essence, Hegel cannot be accused of pulling mind out of a system of natural causes by giving a rigged description of the latter (ala artificial intelligence.]  The Remark explains that thinking of necessity dissolves its apparent hardness; a liberation emerges, not as a flight from the real, but as a realization on various levels that one has to do with realities that are not external to oneself; rather, one is part of a process that includes self and "other": the mature character (the developed "I") identifies with universal reality; the same realization is implicit in the feeling of love and in the enjoyment of blessedness.  The Addition explains that it was impossible to begin with the Concept (defined as the unity of being and essence), which is the source of the abstract moments that we have worked with thus far, since the question would arise about the meaning of "being" and "essence" and how the two should be understood to be one (#159).



            The Concept is the totality (#160) which unfolds itself (#161) in three phases (#162).

A.  The Subjective Concept

  A. The Concept as Such

            The concept contains three moments: universality, particularity (I prefer "specificity"), and singularity (individuality) (#163); these aspects are in every case bound up with each other in what is concrete (#164), though they are first distinguished in the primal division (the etymological meaning, in German of Urteil, translated as "judgment"; note that Teil, part, can also refer to one of the (basic) elements in such a division/connection). 

  B.  The Judgment

            In this section we consider universality, specificity ("particularity"), and singularity (or individuality) taken in combinations of two.  The various types of divisions/relationships between such combinations are presented as types of judgment (sentence), which--and this is the main interest--are associated with various ways of thinking. 

            Every judgment has following form: the subject is the predicate.  Subject and predicate are distinguished . . . and identified.  In the abstract form of judging, however, it seems that the "ascription" of the predicate to the subject is contingent, not an (internally necessary) affair of the process of the concept.  When the subject term is singular and the predicate term is the universal, we have, for example, "This (rose) is red" or "God is absolute Spirit" (#166 Remark and Addition; read the Addition to #172: "we habitually ascribe only a very inadequate power of judgment to someone who habitually frames only such judgments as 'this wall is green,' 'This oven is hot', and so on."  In formal terms, a judgment of truth, beauty, or goodness, also applies a "universal" to a singular; but the character of the universal in such cases is so inwardly rich as to merit the term "concept.")  Everything is a union of singular and universal [fact and meaning].  Note that many uses of language are not judgments in this sense (#167).  From the finite standpoint of judgment, the singular and the universal are "diverse as well as separable in principle" [the color could be otherwise, the animal could die] (#168).

            To recognize the universal in the singular and the singular in the universal is to go beyond the stage at which each is an isolated independent block; it is to recognize that both singular and universal have determinateness, specificity (particularity) (#169).  The subject has many determinacies, not only the one mentioned in the predicate, and the predicate has many examples, not only the subject; only in terms of their determinate content are they identical (#170).  When the dynamic of the judgment is thus understood as involving three phases--singularity, universality, and specificity--then the structure connecting three moments comes into view, which is mirrored in the syllogism of traditional logic.  The singular may be associated with being, universal with essence; and the concept is the unity of the two (#171). 

            One rudimentary type of judgment pertains to immediate and (hence) sensible qualities: e.g., "The rose is red."  Such a judgment is called "qualitative."  The main point about this type of judgment is that its correctness is merely an external affair, not a matter of the subject corresponding truly (in the favorable case) to the authentic concept of what it really is/is supposed to be (#172).

            Another type of judgment asserts that X is not Y--where X and Y have nothing to do with one another, are "infinitely" remote from each other, e.g., "A lion is not a table," (which is as vacuously true as "A lion is a lion"); subject and predicate, e.g., body and soul, fall apart partly (e.g., sickness) or completely (e.g., in death) (#173). 

            Understanding, in its activity of reflection--associating things which are related, e.g., as opposites--forms the next type of judgment, in which the predicate expresses an oppositional/relational predicate (such as acid or base, positive or negative (electrically), male or female, etc.)  Sometimes we speak today of "two place predicates": "X is useful," properly symbolized, should be put, "X is useful for Y."  "Useful" is not a predicate that stands on its own.  The activity of understanding in expressing such connections generates judgments "of reflection" (#174).

            What is universality from the perspective of the understanding?  Universality is the product of the subjective activity of collecting singular instances and determines them as "all."  When we affirm "All men are mortal" we imply that there is something determinate about the individuals collected in the subject term that validates the predicate.  (On the level of such empirical generalization, however, there is no [essential] necessity to what is being affirmed [though, grasped more adequately, there is necessity to judgments such as "All men are mortal," "Metals conduct electricity"].)   (#175).

            Judgments about all Xs are more mature when it is recognized that predication is being made, not simply about a collection, but about a kind or type: the plant, man, etc. (#176).

            There are three types of judgment that are considered under the heading "the judgment of necessity."  (The concept of necessity is one of the most important in Hegel's thought.)  (1) "Gold is a metal" has a "concrete" universal as its subject; and its predicate is a determinacy that excludes other predicates.  But the same predicate applies to many things.  It is more scientific to express a judgment of causation in hypothetical form: if X is gold, then X is a metal.  Now science, considering a particular class of objects, wants to know what in what specific categories an example of that class might fall (see the Addition to #230, p. 298).  If we have a set of such categories that are complete and mutually exclusive, then we can form (as a judgment of necessity) a disjunctive judgment: S is either A or B or C (e.g., "A poem is either epic or lyric or dramatic") (#177). 

            Judgments of truth, beauty, or goodness are classified as judgments of the concept, thanks to the conceptual richness required for such discrimination (#178).  Such a judgment is first simply (subjectively) asserted, hence vulnerable to being opposed by a contradicting assertion; but the genuine judgment of the concept is an unfolding of the object itself, showing its conformity to its "determination and purpose" (which, for finite things, may or may not be the case) (#179).  The duality of predication (subject and predicate) shows itself, in its mature forms, to involve a more complex structure: the copula, "is," has become itself a third, active theme in the following [extended] sense.  The terms of the judgment are no longer satisfactorily merely asserted by the subjective judger.  Rather the object itself is to be shown to have, in its own articulation, the predicate in question.  The level of complexity of the process of judging now involves not only singularity and universality but also specificity, and as a three-termed process, it may be called a "syllogism." 

  C.  The Syllogism

            When we think of the syllogism, the first example that comes to mind is Aristotle's: "All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal."  There are forms of syllogisms that spiral around, reproducing the forms of judgment once again.  And again, it is not the outer properties of the sentences that are crucial, but rather the way in which singularity, universality, and specificity (particularity) are understood to be associated/separated/connected.  Everything that is has three phases: singularity, particularity, and universality.  In this sense, everything is a concept, i.e., the grasping-together of these aspects of what it is.  Their mutual relations may be diversely seen and associated with different modes of thought.  When something is understood in terms of these three phases, it is rationally grasped.  The point of dialectical argument is to show that it is not merely the philosopher's arranging of paragraphs but the inherent dynamism implicit in the theme itself that is active.  Hence the movement from subjectivity to objectivity, the deduction of the reality/objectivity of the Idea, the proof of the reality of God, is achieved (#181).

            Where singularity and universality figure in (syllogistic) thought abstractly (in block thinking), the understanding is operating in a merely subjective manner, choosing thus to associate terms (#182).  The simplest type of syllogism, the "qualitative syllogism," is used to assert what is merely there: e.g., "This rose is red, red is a color, therefore this rose is something colored."  Though such reasoning is hardly of value in philosophy, we do use it implicitly in daily life: e.g., "when someone hears the creaking of a cart in the street as he wakes on a winter's morning and is led by that to the conclusion that it must have frozen quite hard" (#183).  Using contingent determinations, anything can be argued, or "proven"; the lawyers can argue forever.  (Philosophy which contents itself with giving "good reasons" is on this level.] (#184)  One can ask for (syllogistic) proofs to demonstrate the premises of a given syllogism; and this demand can be repeated infinitely (#185).  The complex relations between the three terms (the singular, the universal, and the particular) are such that each can serve as extreme and as middle term (in terms of which the other two are unified) (##186-87).  Sometimes the thinking expressed in syllogistic thought is mathematical; but the axioms of mathematics are logical propositions whose proof comes "from universal and self-determining thinking" (#188). 

            When the understanding engages in rational thought, it produces "the syllogism of reflection" in which the major premise--"all men are mortal," "all metals are conductors of electricity"--is based on (empirical) induction, and, in fact, presupposes the conclusion--"therefore Caius is mortal," "therefore copper does the same."  This type of scientific thinking "presupposes that observation and experience are complete in a certain domain; but since finite experience is never so exhaustive, the understanding moves forward to a new type of "syllogism," asserting that whatever is of the same type will probably have the characteristic thus observed in the sample.  (There is an analogy between the subject term of the conclusion and the subject set in the premises.)  The instinct of reason, however, "surmises that this or that empirically discovered determination is grounded in an object's inner nature or kind."  [This is Hegel's--and Husserl's--answer to the problem of how induction can be justified (can I KNOW that coal will burn tomorrow?)  Whitehead took this issue seriously too.] (#190)


            In the forest of complexities here, in which the types of syllogism are distinguished by which phase (singular, universal, particular) is the "middle term" [in terms of which the identity of the other two are established] the translators find it necessary to save Hegel's logic by changing his text: replacing "or" at one place by "and" (#192 Addition, p. 268).  The upshot of this development (##191-93) is that once we recognize the mutual mediation of all three phases, we have reached the level of the concept--self-articulating, positing its own phases, first, as independent moments, then in opposition to one another, and, last, as identical-in-difference.  This achievement, however, confronts us initially as a (relatively immediate) object.



            Every new level of conceptual development can be looked at, initially, as a kind of summary or block or comparatively immediate . . . object.  The concept itself has developed to just such a level here.  The Absolute may be regarded simply as an object, Confronting subjectivity, rousing fear, rather than the later of the truth that the Absolute is also subjectivity, that universal subjectivity includes finite spirit, whose true self is God, the Concept (#194).  The second Addition to #194 nicely summarizes the development of this section.

  A. Mechanism

            In mechanism, the object, a block of sorts, finds itself in (mechanical) relation to other . . . blocks--and there are external, "mechanical" relationships, activities, etc., not only in nature, but also in human life; human nature can even be conceived as a set of interacting substances (#195).  In a mechanical system, though each object is, in a way, independent, each is passive/dependent/acted upon by the other objects, and so has its center outside itself (gravitational attraction, desire) (#196).  In the (attractional) relating of a mechanical system, there is not only the center of each object (taken by itself) but also a center which represents the balancing point between the attracting objects; the system center [the "relative center"] is not the same point as the center of the central object [its "absolute center'] (#197).  The center of the earth is not the center of the earth-moon system.  [Similarly in theology, evolving Deity, not eternal Deity, is the relative center of the God-man relationship.]  In mature, complex systems, each of the three terms functions to mediate the others.  For example, consider the three part system of individual, civil society (the set of social and economic institutions that provide for human needs), and the state (the level of right, justice, government, law, and coherence on the stage of world history).  Physical and cultural needs mediate the relationship of the individual and the state (what motivation would someone without needs have to participate in collective organization?); at the same time the individual's activity is the fulcrum [middle term] for the satisfaction of needs and the actualization of the right (at the level of the state); one can also say that it is only within the ordering matrix [middle term] of the state that individuals can function satisfactorily in civil society (#198).  Such initially independent system-members must now be understood has relating to their inwardly determined others.  [This transition is analogous to that between (1) the transitions in the category pertaining to being--that simply is--where there was no intrinsic relation to a specific other and (2) the polar relationships characteristic of the categories pertaining to essence--what deeply is.]  Once we realize

  B. Chemism [A term from a special science is used as a symbol for a type of relation between conceptual moments since chemistry has much to do with oppositions, such as acid and base, positive and negative electricity, etc. that exemplify what is being articulated here.]

            The categories here exemplify opposition, but these categories have such conceptual richness that these opposites strive to transcend their own opposition (#200) by oscillating (#202) between the condition of opposition and a neutral product (#201).  [Acid and base = salt + water; each condition tends to shift into the other; post-coital repose stills desire momentarily.]  The convertibility of the differentiated and undifferentiated states overcomes the apparent externality or immediacy of each of them; the concept becomes thus for itself.  The initial definition of purpose is just this self-overcoming of externality, immediacy (#203).

  C. Teleology [from the Greek word telos, goal, end, purpose]

            Purpose is initially defined in terms of a sequence of moments: (1) it is the inner self-removal from merely outer determinacy [I have my own purpose, I am not a plaything of outer, material contingencies.] (2) the purposive subject takes the negation of determinacy so far as to regard that its purpose is not at all realized in reality; its purpose is merely its own pure project, without validation in the structure of reality. (3) purposive activity brings about the real-ization of the purpose.  But (4) in this process, purpose is not losing itself, converting into its opposite, but precisely upholding itself (#204).  The Remark to this paragraph emphasizes (1) that purpose is effective without (like a mere cause) having an external relationship to its effect; (2) that purposiveness is exemplified not only in an agent's use of means toward an end, but also in the inner purposiveness, e.g., of the organism; (3) the process of desiring shows a remarkable significance: on the one hand, a subject desires what is outside.  The desiring subject has certainty about him/herself qua desiring subject and about the object qua desired.  The separation of the object and the subject is precisely what is overcome in the process of the accomplishing of the desire.  The thing desired has, thus, no substantial, enduring independence over against the subject; and the subject's removal from the object is only temporary.  [This movement is observed in the beginning chapter of the Phenomenology of Mind, and Hegel remarks that philosophical theories about independent, enduring substantial Things and Subjects locked within their own subjectivity fail to recognize such an elementary practical refutation of their own block thinking.]  (4) The negation of immediate externality (characteristic of purpose) is shown in the "proofs for the existence of God," which are, properly understood, ways of leading the mind from its immediate, external level of seeing things.

            On the most elementary level, finite purpose is related to something presupposed as outside it, which may or may not be successfully achieved, and for which one must forage around for suitable means with which to bring about the intended result.  [Immature willing is an arbitrary opting for, or striving toward, an indefinite multiplicity of outer goods, which are simply taken as immediate needs or wants.]  It is possible to make observations about how intricately the universe was designed so as to make human life possible, but there is a deeper concept of purpose which is more adequate (#205).

            Activity unites subjective purpose with objectivity.  The quality of purpose differs according to the quality of the relationship between the broadest level of purpose that we have and the specific, restricted purpose that provides focus for the decision.  When there is a harmonious flow between our overarching purpose (in life?) and the specific purpose enacted here and now, when the universal may be said to specify itself, then the process of the Concept may be said to be most fulfilled.  Decision both opens our activity and closes us off from the inwardness of deliberation (#206). 

            The following process of achieving decision is considered merely subjective and defective: the individual does the specifying [i.e., it is not (universal) love but the headstrong, individualistic, perhaps contrary-minded person who determines to do X (which may have aspects of nobility)]; the goal is regarded as remote, and one turns outward toward it in a kind of self-forgetfulness that amounts to losing one's true self (#207).

            The agent thus subjectively determined goes forth and wholly identifies with (gets totally involved with, even becomes) the specific activity of pursuing that object; and the agent and establishes power over the object in the process, determining the external objectivity exclusively in terms of the value it aims to actualize (in its "ideality").  For example, a person strives for self-mastery over bodily inclinations, makes the body his instrument (#208).

            "Mechanical" and "chemical" aspects of process are subordinate aspects in the prosecution of purpose.  Rational purpose works its way throughout the blind mechanism, etc. of daily external, perhaps even apparently chaotic events.  "The cunning of reason" is to achieve its global goals through such mundane methods (#209).  As purpose realizes itself in the conquest of the objective realm, the concept is comparatively fulfilled (#210).   That realized purpose, however, becomes (merely) a stepping stone for further goals, and so on.  The goal of all this conceptual evolution is to overcome the barriers/one-sidedness/exclusive independence/dualism between the object and the subject.  But the independence of the object is overcome now, not only in virtue of mechanical and chemical process, but also because the object is pervaded by achieved purpose and finally because the object is merely a moment in an ongoing purposive movement.  This transcendence of the opposition of subject and object is "the Idea" [the concept together with its realization].  Addition: When purpose is projected finitely, its goal seems to be outside of itself; infinite purposiveness undertakes activity as the unfolding of what is already true.  Purposive activity cannot arise without the illusion of the remoteness of its goal; neither can it be fulfilled until that illusion has been worked through (#211). 



            The Idea is reality as what satisfies the concept.  ["Idea" had been a technical term in Kant's philosophy: a correlate of reason, such as God, the universe, or the soul, the very level of reality that would satisfy reason if we could achieve cognition of things as they truly are, beyond the oppositions engendered by finite constraints.]  From the standpoint of the Idea thus achieved we are supposed to grasp the unity of the concept and objectivity.  Let us not go back to affirming existing things as Reality, forgetting their co-involvement in universality and specificity, etc.  What the things of objectivity really have been shown to be is the concept (#213).  The Idea is the unity of subject and object, the ideal and the real, identity and difference, the infinite and the finite, the soul and the body, essence and being.  Remark: For the understanding (narrow-minded philosophizing), this involves elementary blunders, contradictions.  But the very movement between regarding these things as unified and regarding them as opposed/separate/etc. is itself the movement of the concept.  "Only in this way is the Idea eternal creation, eternal vitality, and eternal Spirit."  This oscillation does not have an origin in time (the understanding would like to tell a story about a creation once upon a time.)  The point is to see that these perspectives are movements of the concept, generated by the concept, thus exemplifying its inner purposiveness.  [Hegel is working toward his conclusion: replacing the notion of the Creator with the Concept: he is trying to think "creation" as the free and necessary self-externalization of the concept.] (#214)  The image connoted by talking of the Idea as "the unity" of the infinite and the finite, etc., is misleading, since "unity" connotes "an abstract, quietly persisting identity," whereas the Idea is process.  The notion of "unity" is also misleading, since one member of each pair prevails: the infinite over the finite, and subjectivity over objectivity, etc. (#215).

  A. Life

            Life is the Idea on the level of immediacy.  the singular, living being is an animated [ensouled] body.  [The term soul does not have the Platonic-Christian meaning of potentially immortal character, but rather the Aristotelian-Greek meaning of the principle of life as such: the presence of psyche is what differentiates the living from the non-living.]  On the one hand, the soul is diffused throughout the body; thanks to the soul, the members--organs--of the body are in vital, purposive, interrelation with each other.  At the same time, the living being is mortal; the soul and body can separate.  Moreover, on this level of immediacy, mere life can attain the level of sentience (perception) but not the duality and the overcoming of duality involved in cognition (#216).  The vital process involves three three-fold stages (#217).  In the first, the organism is regarded as a unit with the properties of sensibility, irritability (the reactive, intuitive-immediate responsive capacity of even the simplest organisms), and reproduction (self-maintenance) [by definition a purposive capacity for Hegel, including self-repair or self-healing] (#218).  In the second stage, the living organism is considered in its (triumphant) relation to its inorganic environment, which it assimilates into itself (although in the end, the inorganic processes, "the elementary powers of objectivity," are "continually ready to pounce, to begin their process in the organic body, and life is a constant struggle against them" (#219).  The vital process involves sexual differentiation (#220); the individual organism now has the aspect of something which is generated by the genus (the concrete universal); but since the individual organism is not the enduring universal, it perishes (#221).  As life frees itself from its immediate existence in the (dying) individual organism, the universal comes into its own as free spirit.  [This seems to make sense only if the assumed background is the Christian story of Easter and especially of the bestowal of the Spirit upon the believing community on Pentecost--not, for Hegel, "upon all flesh."  Hegel, however, seems to expect that the "logic" of this will be compelling even when he is making his formal remarks regarding the significance of the death of any organism whatsoever.] (#222)

  B. Cognition [here taken to involve cognition of the true and willing of the good]

            At the level of cognition, the Idea is highly articulately realized, but there remains a duality between cognition and the (presupposed) external universe (#223).  The reflection of finite understanding comes on the scene (to tackle the cognition of the external universe) full in the confidence of reason that cognition can be achieved, that the alienation between subject and object can be overcome [cf. Whitehead's talk of faith in cosmic Order] (#224).  The overcoming of the duality between subjectivity and objectivity involves (1) the process of knowing, in which the subjectivity fills itself with the truth of what is (for it) genuine reality: objectivity and (2) the process of willing, in which subjectivity brings forth its noble purposes (the good) upon the contingencies of the external world which are just waiting to be reshaped (#225). 

            In the cognitive striving of the understanding [the second position of thought] the external is regarded as material determined by applying the diverse categories of the mind; but the categories remain external to the objectivity; the in-itself cannot be known.  Understanding does not recognize the activity of the concept in its (to itself) apparently passive functions of "recognizing" what is (#226).  The understanding proceeds by analysis, bringing forth and highlighting some abstract universal predicate (and hence doing the reverse of its announced intention--to take the concrete just as it is) (#227).  Having generated the abstract universals, the understanding then moves to the activity of synthesis, in which these universal predicates are organized into classifications, definitions, and theorems (#228).  But this procedure is also deficient by the ideal standards of knowledge held up by philosophy: first, a complex object is capable of being given many definitions--why therefore should the particular definition proposed be used?  Second, this method presupposes objects without showing their necessity: but only philosophy can show that the organism is a legitimate and necessary category for science (over against the reductionistic tendencies of biochemical science) or that the state with its structure of legal necessity is a legitimate theme for science (as opposed to the reductionistic, skeptical or critical tendencies of theorists who want to see only raw power relations "behind" political structure) (#229).  The method of classification aims for divisions that will be complete (include every member of the set to be classified) and mutually exclusive (such that no member will belong to more than one classification at a given level).  Moreover, classification is well done when it is based on what really marks the region in question; "For example, the division of mammals in zoology is mainly based upon the teeth and the claws, and this makes sense, because the mammals distinguish themselves from one another through these parts of their bodies . . . ."  Following the structure of the concept, tri-partite articulations are normal.  The Remark to this section contains one of Hegel's major comments in philosophy of science.  In geometry the synthetic method is more perfectly adequate than in any other science; that is the method of elaborating the relations of necessity that obtain among abstract universals; the theme of geometry is space in abstraction from all conceptual development--a sensory intuition, as Kant called it.  In other sciences, the starting points are presupposed as given, obvious, taken from elsewhere [for example in economics the initial notion of scarcity involves a presupposition taken from psychology].  Moreover, the sciences begin along a certain path and then run into the limits of that path (this happens also in geometry).  At these limits, many-sided Reality challenges the linear conceptions of the understanding; such a point of invasion is identified as a contradiction by the understanding; but it is just the moment where reason, the logic of the whole, is beginning to be effective (#231).

            Here comes a major transition: when mind pursues formal necessity (pertaining to the understanding, e.g., in formal logic as studied today) and becomes engaged in the higher necessities of the concept, the requirements are now only internal requirements, the requirements of mind/thought itself, not the requirements to be adequate to (correspondent with) something given from outside.  Now thought-determinations are an affair of self-determination . . . and self-determination is the name of willing.  There is a bit of fuzziness in the transition, acknowledged by Hegel in two ways: first, in the phrase "passes over"--just the term used in the doctrine of being to describe the brute, non-self-comprehending conceptual moves there; and, second, in the Addition which says, "This passage consists, more precisely, in the fact that the universal in its truth must be interpreted as subjectivity, as the Concept that is self-moving and active, and that posits determinations" (#232).

            In willing, the Idea of the good is, initially, regarded as a merely subjective one (the second attitude of thinking) which is to be carried out, made valid, imposed upon a recalcitrant world that is on the one hand null and void because it is merely a field for transformation by the activity of well-intentioned purpose and on the other hand an external realm that has its independence from the subject (#233).  Thus, on the one hand, subjective purpose is something merely accidental to the world which is to be modified by it; on the other hand, the Idea of the good is what is essential [this is the "contradiction"--which is vicious when the agent vacillates uncomprehendingly between despair over the prospects of success or embarrassment about "imposing" something on another and presumption or imperialism].  The Addition: "Whereas the task of intelligence is simply to take the world as it is, the will, in contrast, is concerned to make the world finally into what it ought to be."   The effort to think through the implications of morality also runs into the "contradictions" of a many-sided reason-reality [regarding the oscillating attitude of moral self-determination to the inclinations of the animal-origin nature (with which either domination or unification may be sought), regarding oscillating attitudes about the contradiction between the (unknowable?) ideal of duty and duty as I am able imperfectly to grasp it here and now, regarding oscillating attitudes about the need to posit God as the guarantor of a final rational harmony that makes morality not absurd--versus the need to determine duty and carry it out on my own].  The completion of the project of willing--the actualization of the good--would destroy willing and duty: there would be nothing more to do.  Therefore finite willing requires that the final goal remain (though ever approached) infinitely remote.  Hegel wants to culminate in a place where finite cognition and finite willing have pursued their process sufficiently to transcend their own initial notions of limitation and to find their unity.  How well does he convince us of this result?  "The will knows the purpose as what is its own, and intelligence interprets the world as the Concept in its actuality."  Once the process of purposive activity is realized as the activation of what is already essentially actual, then the unhappiness of finite striving is transformed (#234).  The truth of the good is that activity actualizes what the Concept already is, and that it is the Concept primarily at work, eternally positing itself as purpose and carrying forth the relevant activity.  [To say that it is, first and foremost, the concept at work is to appeal again to the cunning of reason; it is not designed to make obsolete talk according to which human individuals are said to engage in activities.  Hegel wants to validate two levels of discourse about agency, and give a leading emphasis to the level of the agency of the concept while (thereby especially validating and) preserving the level of singular agency.] (#235)

  C. The Absolute Idea

            All truth is included in the Absolute Idea (God as the self-generating process of thought determinations, including in the realms of subjectivity and objectivity).  The unity of theory and practice (in terms of the unity of "the theoretical and the practical Idea") and the unity of life and realization ("cognition"--which cannot be limited to theoretical/scientific/philosophic achievement apart from value-directed action).  At this level, we are expected to be able to experience thinking not just as "my own" thinking, but thinking as Thinking (which occurs in me)--the "mind of God" which, as Aristotle first said, is thinking of thinking.  [Philosophic reflection is thus given the status of God.] [If we want to think of the Absolute Idea as a set of thought-determinations, we need to add that each thought-determination contains all the previous ones and that the last one generates the series.] (#236)  Nothing, logically speaking, is external to this inclusive process of thought-determinations.  Initially, one rejoices at reaching such a culmination.  One next realizes that, defined thus briefly, it's quite abstract.  Finally, one realizes that the genuine interest and reality in the Absolute Idea is the very concrete path which the Logic has traversed (#237).  Our method has been to begin with the most abstract, immediate thought-determination, and then to proceed analytically (merely unfolding the implications of one thought determination in order to generate the next one) and synthetically (bringing in new content, affirmed as identical with the content of the previous thought-determination) at the same time (#238-39).  "Within Being the abstract form of the progression is an other and passing-over into an other; within Essence [it is] shining within what is opposed; in the Concept" the movement achieves the realization of the identity between the singular and the universal [e.g., individual person and humanity, individual thinker and (universal, "divine") Thinking, immediate natural thing/fact and essential scientific law/meaning/thought-determination] (#240).  The spheres (the sets of thought-determinations) of Being and of Essence each develop into each other, and so their conceptual unity never becomes static (#241).  Only at the end is it obvious that the Absolute Idea, the true beginning, was present, implicit, in the immediate beginning, mere being (#242).  Dialectical method and conceptual content are one in the Absolute Idea.  Hegel's Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline is a three part work, of which we have surveyed the first part.  The next part is the philosophy of nature, the demonstration of nature as a process identical to that which has been described as the abstractly conceptual process of the network of meanings.  His conclusion is a transition to the philosophy of nature.  But it also expresses the highest ambition of Hegel's philosophy: to supplant the concept of a Creator with the concept of Mind, come to self-consciousness in philosophy.  Hegel calls nature the self-externalization of the concept.  His claim is not merely that logical relations between meanings are just as compelling when we are considering examples from the realm of nature as when we are considering such relations in logical abstraction from nature and finite spirit.  His claim is that the concept both necessarily and freely (since purpose is for-itself, subjectivity).  What kind of transition is here?  Is the transition from the Absolute Idea to nature an abrupt transition, such as may be symbolized by the notion of creation?  No.  The relation is more intelligible than that.  Is it a transition in which finite understanding can discern an essence (think of the Platonic affirmation about the way in which perceptual and lived affairs reflect eternal ideas, "Time is the moving shadow of eternity")?  No.  The connection is even more intimate than that.  The Absolute Idea releases nature out of itself, and determines itself to do so.  From this perspective, the need for religious representation has been transcended; the Creator has been relocated as Mind, the Mind that encompasses its own actualization.