Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Prefaces and Introduction to the
Conspectus of Hegel’s book
The Science of Logic

Note: Quoted text and page numbers—i.e., (25)—indicate links to passages in Hegel’s Science of Logic.

Bern: Log. I. 175

Hegel’s Werke
Bd. I. Philosophische Abhandlungen
"     II. The Phenomenology of Mind
"     III-V. The Science of Logic
"     VI-VII. (1 and 2) The Encyclopaedia
"     VIII. The Philosophy of Law
"     IX. The Philosophy of History
"     X. (3 parts) Aesthetics
"     XI-XII. The History of Religion
"     XIII-XV. The History of Philosophy
"     XVI-XVII. Miscellaneous Writings
"     XVIII. Philosophical Propaedeutic
"     XIX. (1 and 2) Hegel’s Correspondence

Full Title of

G. W. Fr.
Collected Works of G. W. Fr.
Vol. III (Berlin, 1833)
(468 pages)
edition by
circle of
friends of
The Science of Logic.”[2]

Part 1. Objective Logic.
the deceased:
Section 1. The Doctrine of Being. Gans, Hen-
(Bern: Log I. 175)        nin, Hotho,


Vol. III,[3] p. 5 — a shrewd statement
about logic
: it is a “prejudice” that it ”teach-
es how to think” (just as physiology ”teaches
... to digest”??)

... “logical science, which is the true con-
tent of genuine metaphysics or pure spec-
ulative philosophy.... ” (6)

...“Philosophy cannot borrow its method
froma subordinate science, such as mathe-
matics....” (6-7)

...“But it can be only the nature of the
content which stirs in scientific cognition,
while at the same time it is this very
reflection of the content which itself ini-
tially posits and produces its determina-
tion.” (7)

(The movement of scientific
cognition — that is the essential thing.)
“Understanding (Verstand) makes deter-
minations” (bestimmt), Reason (Ver-
nunft) is negative and dialectical because
it dissolves into nothing (“in Nichts auflöst”)
the determinations of Understanding. (7)
The combination of these two—“Reason
which understands or Understanding which
reasons” (7) = the positive.

Negation of “the simple” ... “movement
of Mind ...” (7)

(The “path of self-construction” = the
path (this is the crux, in my opinion) of
real cognition, of the process of cognising,
of movement from ignorance to knowledge.[4]

The movement of consciousness, “like
the development of all natural and spiri-
tual life,”
rests on “the nature of the pure

This is char-

essentialities which make up the content
of Logic” (Natur der reinen Wessenheiten[5]).


     Turn it round: Logic and the theory 
 of knowledge must be derived from  
 “the development of all natural and  
 spiritual life”.


Up to here: preface to the First Edition.



“To present the realm of thought in its
philosophical aspect—that is, in its own

(NB) immanent activity, or (which comes


to the same thing) in its necessary (NB)
development....” (10)

“The familiar forms of thought”—an im-
portant beginning, “die leblosen Knochen
eines Skeletts.”[6] (11)

What is necessary is not  
  leblose Knochen, but living life.

The connection between thought
and language (the Chinese language, inciden-
tally, and its lack of development: (11),

the formation of nouns and verbs. (11)
In the German language words sometimes
have “entgegengesetzte Bedeutung”[7] (12)
(not simply “different” but opposed mean-
ings)—“a joy to thought....”

  the history  
  of thought =  
  the history of  


The concept of force in Physics—and
of polarity (“the things distinguished insep-
(Hegel’s italics) bound up to-
gether”). (12) The transition from force
to polarity—a transition to “higher Denk-
verhältnisse.”[8] (12)


[NB also p. 11.... “But if Nature in
general is opposed, as physical, to what is
mental, then it must be said that Logic
is rather something supernatural....”]

nature and
“das Geistige”[9]

Logical forms Allbekanntes sind,[10] but
... “was bekannt ist, darum noch nicht
erkannt.[11] (13)

“Infinite progress”—“liberation” of “forms
of thought” from the matter (von dem
Stoffe), ideas, desires, etc., elaboration of
the general (Plato, Aristotle): the beginning
of Knowledge....

“It was only after nearly everything that
was necessary ... was available, that people
began to trouble themselves about philo-
sophic knowledge,” says Aristotle (13-14);
and the selfsame: the leisure of the Egyp-
tian priests, the beginning of the mathe-
matical sciences. (14) Preoccupation with
“pure thought” presupposes “a long stretch
of road already traversed by the mind

of man.” In this kind of thought

  “those interests are hushed which move
the lives of peoples and individuals.” (14)

“move the lives
of peoples”

The categories of Logic are Abbrevi-
[12] (“epitomiert”[13] in another pas-
age) for the “endless multitude” of “par-
ticulars of external existence and of ac-
tion....” (15) In turn, these categories die-
nen[14] people in practice (“in the
intellectual exercise of living content, in
production and interchange”). (15)


“We do not say of our feelings, impulses
and interests that they serve us—rather,
they are regarded as independent faculties
and powers...all this is just what we are.”

the relation
of thought to
interests and

And concerning forms of thought (Denk-
formen) it cannot be said that they serve
us, for they permeate “all our ideas” (16),
they are “the Universal as such.”

Objectivism: the categories of
  thought are not an auxiliary tool
  of man, but an expression of laws
  both of nature and of man—com-  
  pare further the antithesis—

of “subjective thinking” and “the objec-
tive concept of the very essence of things”.
We cannot “get beyond the nature of things”.


“Also the remark against the "Critical
Philosophy.” (17) It conceives the relation
between “three terms” (We, Thought,
Things) so that thoughts stand “in the mid-
dle” between things and us, and so that
this middle term “separates” (abschließt)
“rather than... connects” (zusammenschli-
eBen) us. This view may be met, says
Hegel, by the “simple observation” that
“these very things which are supposed
to stand beyond (jenseits) our thoughts ...
are themselves thought entities (Gedanken-
dinge)” ... and “the so-called Thing-in-it-
self is only ein Gedankendingder leeren


In my opinion, the essence of the argu-  
  ment is: (1) In Kant, cognition demar-  
  cates (divides) nature and man; actually  
  it unites them; (2) In Kant, the “empty  
” of the Thing-in-it-  
  self instead of living Gang, Bewegung,[16]  
  deeper and deeper, of our knowledge  
  about things.


In Kant, Ding an sich[17] is an empty  
  abstraction, but Hegel demands abstrac-  
  tions which correspond to der Sache[18]:  
  “der objective Begriff der Dinge die  
  Sache selbst ausmacht,”[19] which cor-  
  respond—speaking materialistically—to  
  the real deepening of our knowledge of  
  the world.


It is incorrect to say that Denkformen
are only a “Mittel”, “zum Gebrauch.”[20]

It is also incorrect to say that they are
“äußere Formen,”[21] “Formen die nur

an dem Gehalt, nicht der Gehalt selbst
seien,” (forms which are merely forms at-
tached to the content, and not the content
itself). (17)...


What Hegel demands is a Logic,  
  the forms of which would be ge-  
  haltvolle Formen,[22] forms of  
  living, real content, inseparably  
  connected with the content.

And Hegel draws attention to “thoughts
of all natural and spiritual things”, to the
“substantial content....” (18)

—“To bring into clear consciousness this
logical character, which gives soul to mind
and drives and operates in it, this is our
problem.” (18)

Logic is the science not of ex-  
  ternal forms of thought, but of  
  the laws of development “of all  
  material, natural and spiritual  
  things”, i.e., of the development  
  of the entire concrete content of  
  the world and of its cognition, i.e.,  
  the sum-total, the conclusion of the  
  History of knowledge of the world.  

“Instinctive action” (instinktartiges
Tun) “is broken up ... into an infinitely di-
verse matter.” On the other hand, “intelligent
and conscious action” brings out “the con-
tent of that which motivates” (den Inhalt
des Treibenden) “out of its immediate unity
with the subject” and makes it “an object
for it” (for the subject).

In this web strong knots are formed
now and then, which are foci of the arrest
and direction of its” [the spirit’s, or the
subject’s] “life and consciousness ....” (18)

 How is this to be understood?  
     Man is confronted by a web  
  of natural phenomena. Instinctive  
  man, the savage, does not distin-  
  guish himself from nature. Con-  
  scious man does distinguish, cate-  
  gories are stages of distinguishing,  
  i.e. of cognising the world, focal  
  points in the web, which assist  
  in cognising and mastering it.  

“Truth is infinite” (19) —its finiteness
is its denial, “its end”. The forms (Denk-
formen[23]), if one regards them as forms,
“distinct from the substance and merely at-
tached to it” are incapable of embrac-
ing truth. The inaneness of these forms of
[formal logic] makes them deserving of
“contempt” (19) and “derision.” (20) The
Law of identity, A = A,
“unerträglich.”[24]. (19)

It is unfair to forget that these categories
“have their place and validity in cognition.”
(20) But as “indifferent forms” they can be
“instruments of error and sophistry” (20),
not of truth.

“Contemplative thought” should include
“der Inhalt”[25] as well as the “external form.”


 “With this introduction of Content into  
  logical consideration,” the subject becomes  
  not Dinge but die Sache, der Begriff der  



  not things, but the laws[27] of their  
  movement, materialistically

...”the logos, the reason of that which
" (21)

And on page (22) at the beginning,
the subject of logic is expressed in the


...“Entwicklung des Denkens in seiner

  ment” of  
  thinking in  
   with its  


The categories have to be derived (and
not taken arbitrarily or mechanically) (not
by “exposition”, not by “assurances,” but
with proofs) proceeding from the
simplest, most fundamental (Being, Noth-
ing, Becoming (das Werden)) (without
taking others)—here, in them, “in this
germ, the whole development.” (23)




Logic is usually understood as being the
“science of thinking,” the “bare form of
(27) Hegel refutes this view.
He is against Ding an sich[28] as “something
beyond thought.” (29)

Forms of thinking apparently “have no
applicability to Things-in-themselves.” (31)
Ungereimt wahre Erkenntnis,[29] which does
not cognise the Thing-in-itself. But is not
Verstand[30] also a Thing-in-itself? (31)

“Transcendental idealism, carried
more consistently to its logical conclusion, has
perceived the nullity of the spectre of the
Thing-in-itself left over from the critical
philosophy—that abstract shadow detached
from all content—and has had the aim
of demolishing it altogether. Also, this phi-
losophy (Ficthe?) made a beginning of mak-
inf reason develop its own determinations
out of itself. But the subjective attitude
of this attempt did not admit of its being
carried to completion.” (32)

Logical forms are tote Formen[31]
for they are not regarded as an “organic
unity,” (33) as “their living concrete unity”


In the Phenomenology of Mind
I have examined “the movement of con-
sciousness, from the first direct contradiction
(Gegensatz) between itself and the object, up
to absolute knowledge. (34) This path goes
through all the forms of the relation of con-
sciousness to the object....”

“Truth, as science, is pure self-conscious-
ness unfolding itself...” (35) “objective think-
ing“ ... ”the concept, as such, is that which
exists in and for itself.” (35) (36: clerical-
ism, God, the realm of truth, etc., etc.)
37: Kant imparted “an essentially subjec-
tive signification” to “logical determi-
nations”. But “thought determinations”
have “an objective value and exist-
ence”. (37) The old logic has fallen into
Verachtung.[32] (38) It requires trans-
39— The old, formal logic is exactly like
a child’s game, making pictures out
of jig-saw pieces (in Verachtung ge-
kommen[33]: (38))
40 Philosophy must have its own method
(not that of mathematics, contra Spi-
noza, Wolff und Andere[34]).
40-41: “For method is the conscious-
ness of the form taken by the inner
spontaneous movement of its content,”
and the rest of page 41 gives
a good explanation of dialectics
   “es ist der Inhalt in sich, die Dia-
lektik, die er an ihm selbst hat, welche
ihn fortbewegt.” (42)
   “The given sphere of phenomena is
moved forward by the content itself
of this sphere, the dialectic, which
it (this content) has in (an) itself” (i.e.,
the dialectic of its own movement).

“The negative is to an equal extent pos-
(41)—negation is something defi-
nite, has a definite content, the inner con-
tradictions lead to the replacement of the
old content by a new, higher one.


In the old logic there is no transition, de-
velopment (of concept and thought), there

is not “eines inneren, notwen-
digen Zusammenhangs
[35] (43)
of all the parts and “Übergang”[36] of some
parts into others.


And Hegel puts forward two basic require-
1)  “The necessity of connection”
2)  “the immanent emergence of distinctions”.


  Very important!! This is what it means,  
  in my opinion:
    1. Necessary connection, the ob-  
  jective connection of all the aspects,  
  forces, tendencies, etc., of the given  
  sphere of phenomena;
    2. The “immanent emergence of dis-  
  tinctions” - the inner objective logic of  
  evolution and of the struggle of the  
  differences, polarity.


Shortcomings of the Platonic dialectics
in Parmenides

“Dialectic is generally regarded as an
external and negative procedure, that does
not belong to the subject-matter itself,
that is based on pure vanity, as a subjec-
tive craving to shake and break down what
is fixed and true,—or that at best leads
to nothing but the inaneness of the dialec-
tically treated matter.” (43)

44 The great merit of Kant was that he
removed “den Schein von Willkür”[38]
from dialectics.
Two important things:
(1)  Die Objektivität
      des Scheins[39]

NB: unclear,
return to it!!

(2)  die Notwendigkeit des Wilderspruchs[40]

selbstbewegende Seele[41]  ... (“inher-
ent negativity”) ... “the principle of all phys-
ical and spiritual life”

  Is not the thought here that semblance  
  also is objective, for it contains one  
  of the aspects of the objective  
  world? Not only Wesen,[42] but  
  Schein, too, is objective. There is a
  difference between the subjective  
  and the objective, BUT IT, TOO,  

The dialectical =
   = “comprehending the antithesis in its unity....”

45 Logic resembles grammar, being one
thing for the beginner and another thing
for one who knows the language (and lan-
guages) and the spirit of language. “It is
one thing for him who approaches Logic
and the Sciences in general for the first
time and another thing for him who comes
back from the sciences to Logic.”

subtle and

Then logic gives “the essential character
of this wealth” (des Reichtums der Welt-
vorstellung[43]), “the inner nature of spir-
it and of the world....” (46)


“Not merely an abstract universal, but
a universal which comprises in itself the
wealth of the particular” (47)

c.f. Capital

  A beautiful formula: “Not mere-  
  ly an abstract universal, but a uni-  
  versal which comprises in itself  
  the wealth of the particular, the  
  individual, the single” (all the   
  (all the wealth of the particular  
  and single!)!! Très bien!


“—Just as one and the same moral
maxim in the mouth of a youth who
understands it quite accurately does
not have the significance and scope
which it has in the mind of a man
of years and experience, for whom it
expresses the full force of its con-

a good

Thus, the value of logic only receives due
appreciation when it is the result of ex-
perience of the sciences; then it presents
itself to the mind as universal truth, not
as a particular department of knowledge
alongside other departments and realities,
but as the essence of all this other con-
tent....” (47)

“sum-total of
experience of
the sciences”

the “essential
content of all

“The system of logic is the realm of
(47), free from "all sensuous con-

(50)— ...“not abstract, dead and immo-
bile, but concrete....”
[This is characteristic! The spirit and
essence of dialectics!]
(52) Note ... the results of Kant’s philos-
...: “that reason can cognise no
valid content, and with regard to
absolute truth must be referred to

Kant: to res-
trict “reason”
and strength-
en faith[44]


  (53) Once again, that Ding an  
  sich = an abstraction, the product  
  of thinking that abstracts.



[1] The first edition of Hegel’s works in German consists of 18 volumes (1832-45) and an additional volume in two parts (1887).

[2] Wissenschaft der Logik (The Science of Logic) consists of two parts (three books).

[3] Hegel, Werke, Bd. III, Berlin, 1833.—Ed.

[4] In the manuscript the words “from ignorance to knowledge” are struck out with a horizontal line, apparently instead of being underlined.—Ed.

[5] In the nature of pure essentialities—Ed.

[6] “the lifeless bones of a skeleton”—Ed.

[7] “opposed meanings”—Ed.

[8] “relations of thought”—Ed.

[9] “the mental”—Ed.

[10] “are familiar to all”—Ed.

[11] “what is familiar is not on that account necessarily known”—Ed.

[12] abbreviationsEd.

[13] optimised—Ed.

[14] serveEd.

[15] a thought entity of empty abstraction—Ed.

[16] progress, the movement—Ed.

[17] the Thing-in-itselfEd.

[18] the essenceEd.

[19] “the objective concept of things constitutes their very essence”—Ed.

[20] a “means,” “for use”—Ed.

[21] “external forms”—Ed.

[22] forms with content—Ed.

[23] forms of thought—Ed.

[24] “insufferable"—Ed.

[25] “content”—Ed.

[26] things, but the essence, the concept of things—Ed.

[27] The word “laws” is linked by an arrow with the word “logos” in the next paragraph—Ed.

[28] Thing-in-itself—Ed.

[29] True cognition is absurd—Ed.

[30] understanding—Ed.

[31] dead forms—Ed.

[32] disrepute—Ed.

[33] It has fallen into disrepute.—Ed.

[34] and others—Ed.

[35]an inner necessary connection”—Ed.

[36] “transition”—Ed.

[37] Parmenides—the name of one of Plato’s dialogues, in which the philosophical views of Parmenides, the ancient Greek Eleatic philosopher, are discussed.

[38] “the semblance of arbitrariness”—Ed.

[39] the objectivity of semblance—Ed.

[40] the necessity of contradiction—Ed.

[41] self-moving soul—Ed.

[42] essence—Ed.

[43] the wealth of the world view—Ed.

[44] Lenin is apparently referring to the following well-known statement by Kant in the preface to the second edition of Critique of Pure Reason: “I would have to restrict the field of knowledge to make place for faith.”


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