Hegel’s Science of Logic
We have found the syllogism to be the restoration of the Notion in the judgment, and consequently the unity and truth of both. The Notion as such holds its moments sublated in unity; in the judgment this unity is internal or, what is the same thing, external; and the moments, although related, are posited as self-subsistent extremes. In the syllogism the Notion determinations are like the extremes of the judgment, and at the same time their determinate unity is posited.
Thus the syllogism is the completely posited Notion; it is therefore the rational. The understanding is regarded as the faculty of the determinate Notion which is held fast in isolation by abstraction and the form of universality. But in reason the determinate Notions are posited in their totality and unity. Therefore, not only is the syllogism rational, but everything rational is a syllogism. The syllogistic process has for a long time been ascribed to reason; yet on the other hand reason in and for itself, rational principles and laws, are spoken of in such a way that it is not clear what is the connection between the former reason which syllogises and the latter reason which is the source of laws and other eternal truths and absolute thoughts. If the former is supposed to be merely formal reason, while the latter is supposed to be creative of content, then according to this distinction it is precisely the form of reason, the syllogism, that must not be lacking in the latter. Nevertheless, to such a degree are the two commonly held apart, and not mentioned together, that it seems as though the reason of absolute thoughts was ashamed of the reason of the syllogism and as though it was only in deference to tradition that the syllogism was also adduced as an activity of reason. Yet it is obvious, as we have just remarked, that the logical reason, if it is regarded as formal reason, must essentially be recognisable also in the reason that is concerned with a content; the fact is that no content can be rational except through the rational form. In this matter we cannot look for any help in the common chatter about reason; for this refrains from stating what is to be understood by reason; this supposedly rational cognition is mostly so busy with its objects that it forgets to cognise reason itself and only distinguishes and characterises it by the objects that it possesses. If reason is supposed to be the cognition that knows about God, freedom, right and duty, the infinite, unconditioned, supersensuous, or even gives only ideas and feelings of these objects, then for one thing these latter are only negative objects, and for another thing the first question still remains, what it is in all these objects that makes them rational. It is this, that the infinitude of these objects is not the empty abstraction from the finite, not the universality that lacks content and determinateness, but the universality that is fulfilled or realised, the Notion that is determinate and possesses its determinateness in this true way, namely, that it differentiates itself within itself and is the unity of these fixed and determinate differences. It is only thus that reason rises above the finite, conditioned, sensuous, call it what you will, and in this negativity is essentially pregnant with content, for it is the unity of determinate extremes; as such, however, the rational is nothing but the syllogism.
Now the syllogism, like the judgment, is in the first instance immediate; hence its determinations are simple, abstract determinatenesses; in this form it is the syllogism of the understanding. If we stop short at this form of the syllogism, then the rationality in it, although undoubtedly present and posited, is not apparent. The essential feature of the syllogism is the unity of the extremes, the middle term which unites them, and the ground which supports them. Abstraction, in holding rigidly to the self-subsistence of the extremes, opposes this unity to them as a determinateness which likewise is fixed and self-subsistent, and in this way apprehends it rather as non-unity than as unity. The expression middle term is taken from spatial representation and contributes its share to the stopping short at the mutual externality of the terms. Now if the syllogism consists in the unity of the extremes being posited in it, and if, all the same, this unity is simply taken on the one hand as a particular on its own, and on the other hand as a merely external relation, and non-unity is made the essential relationship of the syllogism, then the reason which constitutes the syllogism contributes nothing to rationality.
First, the syllogism of existence in which the terms are thus immediately and abstractly determined, demonstrates in itself (since, like the judgment, it is their relation) that they are not in fact such abstract terms, but that each contains the relation to the other and that the middle term is not particularity as opposed to the determinations of the extremes but contains these terms posited in it.
Through this its dialectic it is converted into the syllogism of reflection, into the second syllogism. The terms of this are such that each essentially shows in, or is reflected into, the other; in other words they are posited as mediated, which they are supposed to be in accordance with the nature of the syllogism in general.
Thirdly, in that this reflecting or mediatedness of the extremes is reflected into itself, the syllogism is determined as the syllogism of necessity, in which the mediating element is the objective nature of the thing. As this syllogism determines the extremes of the Notion equally as totalities, the syllogism has attained to the correspondence of its Notion or the middle term, and its existence of the difference of its extremes; that is, it has attained to its truth and in doing so has passed out of subjectivity into objectivity.
1. The syllogism in its immediate form has for its moments the determinations of the Notion as immediate. Hence they are the abstract determinatenesses of form, which are not yet developed by mediation into concretion, but are only single determinatenesses. The first syllogism is, therefore, strictly the formal syllogism. The formalism of the syllogising process consists in stopping short at the determination of this first syllogism. The Notion, differentiated into its abstract moments, has individuality and universality for its extremes, and appears itself as the particularity standing between them. On account of their immediacy they are merely self-related determinatenesses, and one and all a single content. Particularity constitutes the middle term in the first instance since it unites immediately within itself the two moments of individuality and universality. On account of its determinateness it is on the one hand subsumed under the universal, while on the other hand the individual, as against which it possesses universality, is subsumed under it. But this concretion is in the first instance merely a duality of aspect; on account of the immediacy in which the middle term presents itself in the immediate syllogism. it appears as a simple determinateness, and the mediation which it constitutes is not yet posited. Now the dialectical movement of the syllogism of existence consists in the positing in its moments of the mediation that alone constitutes the syllogism.
The course of the qualitative syllogism has sublated what was abstract in its terms with the result that the term has posited itself as a determinateness in which the other determinateness is also reflected. Besides the abstract terms, the syllogism also contains their relation, and in the conclusion this relation is posited as mediated and necessary; therefore each determinateness is in truth posited not as an individual, separate one, but as a relation to the other, as a concrete determinateness.
The middle term was abstract particularity, by itself a simple determinateness, and was a middle term only externally and relatively to the self-subsistent extremes. Now it is posited as the totality of the terms; as such it is the posited unity of the extremes, but in the first instance it is the unity of reflection which embraces them within itself — an inclusion which, as the first sublating of immediacy and the first relating of the terms, is not yet the absolute identity of the Notion.
The extremes are the determinations of the judgment of reflection, individuality proper and universality as a connective determination or a reflection embracing a manifold within itself. But the individual subject also contains, as we have seen in the case of the judgment of reflection, besides the bare individuality which belongs to form, determinateness as universality absolutely reflected into itself, as presupposed, that is here still immediately assumed, genus.
From this determinateness of the extremes which belongs to the progressive determination of the judgment, there results the precise content of the middle term, which is essentially the point of interest in the syllogism since it distinguishes syllogism from judgment. It contains (1) individuality, but (2) individuality extended to universality as all, (3) universality which forms the basis and absolutely unites within itself individuality and abstract universality — that is, the genus. It is in this way that the syllogism of reflection is the first to possess genuine determinateness of form, in that the middle term is posited as the totality of the terms; the immediate syllogism is by contrast indeterminate, because the middle term is still only abstract particularity in which the moments of its Notion are not yet posited. This first syllogism of reflection may be called the syllogism of allness.
The mediating element has now determined itself (1) as simple determinate universality, like the particularity in the syllogism of existence, but (2) as objective universality, that is to say, universality which contains the entire determinateness of the distinguished extremes like the allness of the syllogism of reflection, a fulfilled yet simple universality-the universal nature of the fact, the genus.
This syllogism is pregnant with content, because the abstract middle term of the syllogism of existence posited itself as determinate difference to become the middle term of the syllogism of reflection, while this difference has reflected itself into simple identity again. This syllogism is therefore the syllogism of necessity, for its middle term is not some alien immediate content, but the reflection-into-self of the determinateness of the extremes.
These possess in the middle term their inner identity, the determinations of whose content are the form determinations of the extremes. Consequently, that which differentiates the terms appears as an external and unessential form, and the terms themselves as moments of a necessary existence.
In the first instance this syllogism is immediate, and thus formal in so far as the connection of the terms is the essential nature as content, and this content is present in the distinguished terms in only a diverse form, and the extremes by themselves are merely an unessential subsistence. The realisation of this syllogism has so to determine it that the extremes also shall be posited as this totality which initially the middle term is, and that the necessity of the relation which is at first only the substantial content, shall be a relation of the posited form.
In this way then the formalism of the syllogistic process, and with it the subjectivity of the syllogism and of the Notion in general, has sublated itself. This formal or subjective side consisted in the fact that the mediating factor of the extremes is the Notion as an abstract determination, and this latter is distinct from the extremes whose unity it is. In the consummation of the syllogism, on the other hand, where objective universality is no less posited as totality of the form determinations, the distinction of mediating and mediated has disappeared. That which is mediated is itself an essential moment of what mediates it, and each moment appears as the totality of what is mediated.
The figures of the syllogism exhibit each determinateness of the Notion individually as the middle term, which at the same time is the Notion as an ought-to-be, a demand that the mediating factor shall be the Notion's totality. But the different genera of the syllogism exhibit the stages of impregnation or concretion of the middle term. In the formal syllogism the middle term is only posited as totality by all the determinatenesses, though each singly, functioning as the mediating factor. In the syllogisms of reflection the middle term appears as the unity that gathers together externally the determinations of the extremes. In the syllogism of necessity it has likewise determined itself to the unity that is no less developed and total than simple, and the form of the syllogism which consisted in the difference of the middle term from its extremes has thereby sublated itself.
Thus the Notion as such has been realised; more exactly, it has obtained a reality that is objectivity. The first reality was that the Notion, as within itself negative unity, sunders itself, and as judgment posits its determinations in a determinate and indifferent difference, and in the syllogism sets itself in opposition to them. In this way it is still the inwardness of this its externality, but the outcome of the course of the syllogisms is that this externality is equated with the inner unity; the various determinations return into this unity through the mediation in which at first they are united only in a third term, and thus the externality exhibits in its own self the Notion, which therefore is no longer distinguished from it as an inner unity.
However, this determination of the Notion which has been considered as reality, is, conversely, equally a positedness. For it is not only in this result that the truth of the Notion has exhibited itself as the identity of its inwardness and externality; already in the judgment the moments of the Notion remain, even in their mutual indifference, determinations that have their significance only in their relation. The syllogism is mediation, the complete Notion in its positedness. Its movement is the sublating of this mediation, in which nothing is in and for itself, but each term is only by means of an other. The result is therefore an immediacy which has issued from the sublating of the mediation, a being which is no less identical with the mediation, and which is the Notion that has restored itself out of, and in, its otherness. This being is therefore a fact that is in and for itself objectivity.
Highlighted text is Lenin's underlining. The ® accesses Lenin's annotations; © accesses annotations by C L R James.
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