Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

George Noël: Hegel’s Logic. Paris, 1897

Written: 1915
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976, Volume 38, pp. 319-324
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XII. Published according to the manuscript.
Translated: Clemence Dutt
Edited: Stewart Smith
Transcription & Markup: K. Goins (2008)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The remarks on Georges Noël’s book La logique de Hegel (Hegel’s Logic), Paris, 1897, are contained in a notebook on whose cover Lenin wrote the word “Philosophy.” Probably written in Geneva in 1915.
Note that this document has undergone special formating to ensure that Lenin’s sidenotes fit on the page, marking as best as possible where they were located in the original manuscript.



PARIS, 1897

[Bibliothèque de Genève, Ca l219]

Printed in installments in Revue de Mé-
taphysique et de Morale;
edited by Xavier

The author is an idealist and a shallow
one. A re-writing of Hegel, a defence of
Hegel against “modern philosophers,” a com-
parison with Kant, etc. Nothing of interest.
Nothing profound. Not a word about ma-
dialectics: the author evidently
has no notion of it.

Note the translations of He-
gel’s terms:
     Être [Being] —EssenceNo-
(Mesure, etc. [Measure]).
Devenir (das Gewordene) [Becoming].
L’être déterminé (Dasein) [Determinate
     Being, Existent Being].
Être pour un autre (Sein-für-anderes)
Quelque chose (Etwas) [Something].
Limite (Grenze) [Limit].
Borne (Schranke) [Boundary].
Devoir Être (Sollen) [Ought].
Être pour soi (Für-sich-Sein) [Being-
Existence hors de soi (Auβer-sich-Sein)
     [Being outside itself].
La connaissance (das Erkennen) [Cog-
Actualité (Wirklichkeit) [Actuality].
Apparence (Schein) [Semblance].
Être posé (Das Gesetztsein) [Posited Be-
Position (Setzende Reflexion) [Positing
Fondement ou raison d’étre (Grund)
L’universel (das Allgemeine) [The Uni-
Particulier (das Besondere) [The Par-
Jugement (das Urteil) [Judgment].
Raisonnement on Syllogisme (Schluβ)
[Reasoning or Syllogism (Conclu-

Note also the amusing attempts of the
author to justify Hegel as it were[1] against
accusations of “realism” (read: material-
ism). According to Hegel “philosophy as
a whole is a syllogism. And in this syllo-
gism, logic is the universal, nature the par-
ticular, and spirit the individual” (p. 123).
The author “analyses” (= rehashes) the last
sentences of the Logic on the transition
from the Idea to Nature. It transpires that
through nature (in nature) the understand-
ing cognises the Idea = uniformity, ab-
stractions, etc.... Help! Almost material-


“To treat nature by itself, abstracted
from mind, is that not to return implicitly
to the most naïve realism?” (p. 129)


“True, by interposing a philosophy of
nature between Logic and the philosophy
of mind, Hegel adopts the standpoint of
realism, but in doing so he is not guilty
of any inconsistency.... Hegel’s realism
is only provisional. It is a point of view
that has to be superseded.” (129)


“That realism has its relative truth is
indisputable. A point of view so natural
and universal is not an aberration of the
human mind.... In order to supersede real-
ism, it” (dialectics) “will have to give it
first its full development and only thus


will it demonstrate the necessity of ideal-
ism. Hence Hegel will put time and space
as the most general determinations of na-

ture and not as forms of the mind. On
this point he seems to disagree with Kant,
but this is only in appearance and in



...“That is why he” (Hegel) “speaks of
sensuous qualities as if they were really
inherent in the body. It is surprising that
on this account Herr Wundt accuses him
of ignorance. Does the learned philosopher
believe that Hegel had never read Des-

cartes, Locke or even Kant? If he is a real-
ist, it is due neither to ignorance nor in-
consistency, but only tentatively and as a

Hegel = a

method of approach.” (130)


Comparing Hegel with Spinoza, the author
says: “In short, Hegel and Spinoza agree
in submitting nature to logic” (p. 140),
but in Hegel logic is not mathematical
logic but the logic of contradictions, of
the transition “from pure abstraction to
reality” (etc.). Of Spinoza it is said “with
him” (Spinoza) “we are at the antipodes of
idealism” (138); for “the world of spirits” (in
Spinoza) “exists side by side with the world
of bodies; it does not stand above it....”

...“The idea of evolution so characteris-
tic of Hegelianism has no meaning for
Spinoza....” (138)

Hegel develops the dialectics of Plato
(“he recognises with Plato the necessary
coexistence of opposites” 140)—Leibnitz is
close to Hegel. (141)

Noël defends Hegel against the charge
of pantheism ... (here, he says, is the basis
of this charge):

“Absolute spirit, the final point of

his” (Hegel’s) “dialectics, is it basically
other than the idealised and deified spirit
of man himself? Does his God exist any-
where but in nature and humanity?” (142)


Noël’s “defence” consists in stress-
ing (chewing over) the fact that
Hegel is an idealist.


Is Hegel not a “dogmatist”? (Chapter VI:
“The Dogmatism of Hegel”). Yes, in the
sense of non-scepticism, in the sense of

Hegel not
a “sceptic”

the ancients (p. 147). But according
to Kant that = cognisability of “Things-in-
themselves.” Hegel (just like Fichte) denies


Agnostic realism” according to
Kant (p. 148 i.f.).


...“Kant defines dogmatism from the

point of view of agnosticism. A dogmatist
is one who claims to determine the Thing-
in-itself, to know the unknowable. More-
over, dogmatism can take two forms....”
(149) Either it is mysticism, or

an agnostic

...“it can also naïvely raise sensuous
reality to absolute reality, identify

the phenomenon with the noumenon.


It is then empirical dogmatism, that
of the common mass and of the savant
who is alien to philosophy. The ma-
terialists fall into this second error;

ists = “dog-

the first was that of Plato, Descartes
and their disciples....”


In Hegel, it is stated, there is not a
trace of dogmatism, for “he will certainly
not be accused of not recognising the rel-
ativity of things with respect to thought,
since his whole system rests on this prin-
ciple. Nor will he be accused of applying
the categories undiscerningly and uncritical-
ly. Is not his logic precisely a critique of the
categories, a critique incontestably more
profound than the Kantian critique?” (150)

...“There is no doubt that by the very
rejection of noumena he” (Hegel) “puts
reality in the phenomenon,[2] but this real-
ity in the phenomenon as such is only
an immediate reality, consequently rela-
tive and intrinsically incomplete. It is

true reality only implicitly and on condi-
tion of its further development....” (151)


...“Moreover, between the intelligible and
the sensuous there is no absolute opposi-
tion, no hiatus, no unbridgeable gulf. The

sensuous is the intelligible in anticipation;
the intelligible is the sensuous under-
stood....” (152)

not bad!

(Even you, a shallow idealist, have de-
rived some benefit from Hegel!)

...“Sensuous being contains the abso-
lute implicitly and it is through a contin-
uous gradation that we raise ourselves from
the one to the other.” (153)

...“Thus, whatever may have been said
about it, Kant’s philosophy retains the fun-
damental vice of mystical dogmatism. We

find in it the two characteristic features
of this doctrine: absolute opposition be-
tween the sensuous and the supersensuous,
and an immediate transition from the one

to the other.” (156)


In Chapter VII: “Hegel and Modern
Thought,” Noël takes the positivism of
Auguste Comte and, analysing it, calls it

positivism =

“an agnostic system.” (166)

(Idem 169: “positivist agnosticism”)

In criticising positivism as agnosticism,
the author sometimes castigates it not at
all badly for its half-heartedness,—saying,
for example, that the question of the
source of laws or of the “permanence” of
facts (“des faits permanents,”[3] 170) cannot
be evaded:
     ...“Depending on whether one regards
them” (les faits permanents) “as uncognis-
able or cognisable, one is brought back
either to agnosticism or to dogmatic philos-
ophy....” (170 i.f.)

The neo-criticism of M. Renouvier is
described as eclecticism, something midway
between “positivist phenomenalism and
Kantianism proper.” (175)

Chattering about morality, freedom,
etc., Noël, the vulgariser of Hegel, has
not the slightest word to say about
freedom as the understanding of neces-


French translations of Hegel: Véra: Logic, The Philos-
ophy of Mind, The Philosophy of Religion, The Philosophy
of Nature;

Ch. Bénard: Aesthetics and Poetics

Works on Hegelianism:

E. Beaussire: Antécédents de l’hégélianisme.
P. Janet: La dialectique dans Hégel et dans Platon. 1860.
Mariano: La Philosophie contemporaine en Italie.
Véra: Introduction à la Philosophie de Hégel.



[1] These three words are in English in the original.—Ed.

[2] Noumena and phenomena—terms used by Kant in his theory of knowledge. Noumenon means a thing-in-itself, while phenomenon means a thing as it appears to us. According to Kant, phenomena are formed as a result of the action on man of something unknown (a thing-in-itself). Noumena are supposed to lie beyond phenomena, and their essence to be unknowable.

[3] “of permanent facts”—Ed.


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