THE present volume is a reprint, with one or two minor alterations, of the most masterly and influential of all English translations of Hegel: the Logic of Hegel translated from the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences by William Wallace, Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Oxford, first published close on a century ago. Wallace, like Edward Caird, came to Oxford from across the Border, and was able, owing to some strange affinity of the then Scotland with an earlier Germany, to enter into the finer shades of Hegel's thought, language, and historical milieu in a manner impossible to his southern-born contemporaries, who might adopt and display Hegelian show-pieces in their heavily written works on Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology, but who could never follow, in its odd, wavering integrity, the line of a dialectic that was often most tellingly true when it leapt with what seemed the greatest irresponsibility to view matters from some higher, different point of view. That Wallace's often loose paraphrase of the Hegelian text is at all points beyond improvement will not here be maintained: it is, however, a translation for which one may be devoutly thankful, as one cannot be for the first translations of Hegel's other major works. And while the Zusätze to the dense text which Leopold von Henning compiled from his own notes, and from the notes of his valued colleagues Hotho, Michelet, and Geyer — whose gaps he had at times the audacity to fill from his own personal memory of what Hegel had said — may fail to satisfy our new-found passions for documentation and doxography, we may be immeasurably glad that we have them too. Some passages from the Zusätze in Wallace's rendering have led whole generations of students to a better understanding of Hegel. That 'a progression to infinity is not the real infinite which consists in being at home with itself in its other', that 'the consummation of the infinite End consists merely in removing the illusion that makes it seem yet unaccomplished' and that 'the Absolute Idea may be compared to the old man who utters the same creed as the child, but for whom it is pregnant with the significance of a lifetime': these are almost scriptural statements, contributing as preciously to our thought and language as some of the passages in the King James Bible. The last of the three passages just cited has a peculiar significance for the present writer, since Wallace's Logic was among the first books on philosophy that he ever read, and will probably be among the last.
The importance of Wallace's work depends further on the importance of the Encyclopaedia, which Wallace was not wrong in describing as 'the only complete, matured, and authentic statement of Hegel's philosophical system'. First published in 1817, and with many of the points made by Hegel in lectures added by him to the 1827 edition, it represents the endlessly proliferating fourmillement of Hegel's thought, reduced at least to a modicum of translucency and settled repose. The Phenomenology of Spirit of 1807 was, as Wallace says, the flight of a young Pegasus on which only a kingly soul could soar to the empyrean of the Idea: it might have all the 'diamond purity' of Hegelianism, but only consummate skill and patience could hope to use it with advantage. And, as Hegel himself said in Encyclopaedia § 25, the Phenomenology, though intended to be the introductory first part of his system, which would show how immediate consciousness must necessarily progress to the philosophical point of view, was in fact forced to take account of numberless concrete 'formations of consciousness', Religion, Morality, Art, etc., which were really the subject matter of other special branches of philosophy, and which included much that had gone on 'behind consciousness' and now required to be raised into consciousness. The Phenomenology accordingly had to drag in much that properly belonged in another context, and as such it had defects which led to its replacement in the Encyclopaedia (§§ 1-78) by what amounts to a new Introduction, including a Vorbegriff and a study of the three main attitudes of previous philosophical thought to objectivity. The Phenomenology, for all its brilliance, is therefore ceremoniously trundled away as an Introduction to the whole system, and when Hegel planned its republication in 1831, he penned the following note, reproduced by his publisher after his death: ‘Characteristic early work not to be revised — relevant to the period in which it was written — the abstract Absolute was dominant at the time of the Preface’ (Phenomenology, Hoffmeister edition, p. 578). Its essential content, the development of Consciousness from a stage where it confronts an uninterpreted, objective presence in sense-certainty, to the stage at which it both recognises and is recognised by countless other embodiments of the same shared rationality, is presented, freed from brilliant incrustations and additions, in §§ 413-39 of the Encyclopaedia.
The other great work that preceded the publication of the Encyclopaedia, the Science of Logic, first published in three parts in 1812, 1813, and 1816, and in a partially revised form after Hegel's death, can be said, despite its vastly greater richness of content and profounder coverage of certain transitions (e.g. the treatment of Natural Law in Book II, Section II, and also the full-length treatments of the Judgement and the Syllogism), to have been superseded by the Logic of the Encyclopaedia. Hegel, we know, based the lecture-courses he gave on Logic practically every summer in Berlin on the Encyclopaedia-Compendium, and it may be presumed that this treatment, greatly augmented as it was in 1827, reflects the pattern into which his thought on Logic had finally fallen, when he looked back on the unimaginable intricacies of the longer treatment in a more distant perspective. Certainly those who have worked through, and attempted to teach, the hardest sections of the longer work, e.g. Hegel's almost inconceivably obscure treatment of Measure in Book I, Section III, and of Show and Reflection in Book II, Section I, Chapter I, cannot help feeling that the line of Hegel's long argument comes out better in the shorter work, and that many of the, intricacies of the longer work are merely an interesting but dispensable, and at times artificially stirred up, foam upon its basic waves. It is the view of the present writer that Hegel is better seen macroscopically than microscopically, even though the latter may be a necessary preliminary to the former: the broad drifts of the dialectic, fixed as to starting-point and goal, do not depend on the minuter eddies than can with some strain be seen in it. One has to let the headaches produced by a continuous Bacchantic riot subside into the calm of a more distant, critical vision if one is to profit fully from the majestic assault of Hegel's genius. The Science of Logic must indeed be used to fill in the spare outlines of the Encyclopaedia treatment, but not a few of its windings can be mercifully blurred. The editorial Zusätze previously mentioned are also extremely valuable as filling in the Encyclopaedia's spareness: however much they may require to be disentangled and reprocessed in the scholarly editions of the future, they at least bring us into touch with the spoken element which is quite essential in a philosophy like Hegel's, and they invariably illuminate and assist understanding, rather than confuse and complicate it.
We shall delay no more on scholarly minutiae. Wallace's Bibliographical Notice on the three editions and three Prefaces of the Encyclopaedia has not lost its value, and has the merit of stressing the connection of Hegel's Idea with the Idea of Plato and Aristotle in the second edition Preface, and the connection of Hegel's system with philosophical Christianity as brought out in the third edition Preface. The Notes and Illustrations are also valuable and at times amusing. What we must now try to illuminate are the points made in the Einleitung and Vorbegriff (§§ 1-25), really a new introduction to the System, the sections (§§ 26-78) dealing with the three historic attitudes of past thought to objectivity, the very important sections (§§ 79-83) dealing with three basic 'moments' of all logical thought, and finally the three systematic chapters on the Doctrine of Being, the Doctrine of Essence, and the Doctrine of the Notion, which are parallel to the systematic treatment of the Science of Logic.
In the first chapter of the Encyclopaedia Hegel tells us that the Divine Absolute, the goal of philosophy as of religion, can only be approached in philosophy through explicit thought: all other forms of experience, such as feeling, intuition, picture-thought, etc., are only implicitly cogitative, and can at best offer us metaphors of the Absolute as it appears to thought. The Absolute is then said in § 6 to be an existent Reason, which is not only present in our subjective self-consciousness, but is also actual in the world, though not always discernible on the surface. The nature of thinking subjectivity comes out with even more clarity in the second chapter of the Encyclopaedia. Here its characteristic achievement is seen as the liberation of the Universal from the singularity of the sensed instance and from the mutual externality of such instances. It is also seen as a liberation of the instances and parts of the thinking person from his own singularity. The Ego, Hegel tells us, is the Universal in and for itself, and all Egos, qua Egos, are just what I am. The Ego, in fact, for Hegel (§ 20) has only a nuance of difference from the activity of universalisation which is for Hegel the essential thing in thought: it is that activity conceived as a subject, itself universalised and given to itself, and not merely active in specific materials. The liberating activity of the Universal or the Ego is further said to be one that liberates the essential, intrinsic, or true nature of the object: it may profoundly change the manner in which things stand before us in sensation, intuition, or representation, but this change of manner is no subjective distortion as maintained in the Critical Philosophy: it is a bringing out of what the thing in itself truly is. (Wallace, we may note, has slightly veered towards Kantianism in translating the Hegelian sentence in § 22, Es ist somit nur vermittelst einer Veränderung dass die wahre Natur des Gegenstandes zum Bewusstsein kommt, by 'Thus, it appears, an alteration of the object must be interposed before its true nature can be discovered.' Wallace's words 'of the object' are wrongly placed: Hegel does not hold that the mind alters its object, but that by altering the manner in which that object is given to it, it penetrates to its true, its universal nature.) Hegel further holds that while thinking universality is undoubtedly self-determined and free, it is also free from any personal wantonness or arbitrariness: its freedom consists in thinking in a manner that all thinking individuals have in common, and in immersing itself in the thing (Sache) and its actual determinations. The universals that thought liberates are, moreover, to be found in unliberated, merely objective, sleeping form in Nature, associated with all sorts of irrelevances and externalities, and their rise to subjectivity consists merely in their liberation from such immersion, and their coming to be in and for themselves. It is not necessary for one to observe how much all these dicta hark back to Plato and Aristotle rather than to Kant and Fichte.
In §§ 26-83 Hegel then goes on to deal with three philosophical attitudes to objectivity, with the old, pre-critical, realistic Metaphysics in §§ 26-36, with Empiricism and the Critical Philosophy in §§ 37-60, and with the Intuitionism of certain of Hegel's contemporaries in §§ 61-78. By Hegel the old, pre-critical, realistic Metaphysics is seen as superior to the Critical Philosophy in that ,it took the laws of thought to be the fundamental laws and forms of things' and assumed that to think a thing was the means of finding its very self and nature (§ 28). It is, however, inferior to post-critical thought on the basic ground that it does not trouble to inquire into the sense of assertions made about objects of reason which cover all reality, e.g. God, the Cosmos, the Soul, and assumes that one can talk of them in precisely the same way as one talks of ordinary finite objects, borrowing one's conception of them from popular picture-thought, and imagining also that one can pit one antithetical statement about them against another just as one does in the case of ordinary finite things. But when one leaves the finite things of ordinary discourse, one also leaves the rules that govern discourse about such things. One has to frame new concepts of an embracing, non-antithetical kind, and not attempt to take over ill-formed popular concepts without modification. One has also to be prepared for the, fact that it may not be possible to apply ordinary predicates to one's new objects, or that it may be equally suitable or unsuitable to affirm or deny such predicates of them. 'The metaphysic of understanding is dogmatic, because it maintains half-truths in their isolation, whereas the idealism of speculative philosophy carries out the principle of totality and can reach beyond the inadequate formularies of abstract thought. Thur, idealism would say: The soul is neither finite only nor infinite only.; it is really the one just as much as the other, and that way neither the one nor the other' (§ 32). Hegel is saying what has since been expressed by saying that in a new language-game expressions may be given new senses and rules of usage, and that one must not be surprised if expressions which functioned well in old language games have no function in the new one. But whereas modern linguistic conservatism tends to think that far-reaching departures from ordinary usage are suspect, despite any general charter to say what we like', Hegel believes in a series of philosophical games that will perpetually revise and reconstruct older ones, and will follow a certain deep logic in doing so, and so will in the end construct a new set of what may be called 'iridescent' concepts since they find a use for certain conjunctions and combinations of expressions which in a more ordinary use are thought to involve incompatibility or contradiction. Hegel in fact tries to show that there is a well-formed terminal style of discourse built with difficulty on all the patterns of discourse that precede it, and leaving them with a certain restricted validity, which seems from their point of view to involve self-contradiction, though it alone in fact, of all forms of discourse, completely avoids it. Curiously enough in the remarkable Zusätze to § 32, Hegel anticipates even the ring of certain pronouncements of modern linguistic philosophy: where Wittgenstein makes it the task of the linguistic philosopher to cure the bewitchment of the understanding through the instruments of our speech (Philosophical Investigations, § 109), Hegel says that 'the battle of reason is the struggle to break up the rigidity to which the understanding has reduced everything', the understanding being the form of thought which continues to apply rigid rules and categories, which apply well in ordinary finite contexts, to the new, fluid, iridescent contexts and objects of Reason. That there is such a sphere of truly transcendental discourse, superseding yet gathering together all the forms of discourse that lead up to it, is of course the crowning thought :of Hegel, which the chapter on the pre-critical Metaphysics first brings into the open.
In the next chapter Hegel is at first concerned with Empiricism, which has for him the great merit of recognising that the Universals or Notions which make the world intelligible are necessarily encountered in and through their experienced instantiation in 'that world. 'Whatever is true must be in the actual world and present to sense-perception' (§ 38). Its deficiency lies, however, in failing to recognise that the Universality we encounter in sense-perception has features which go far beyond what is given in the encounters in question, and are sometimes so categorial that no set of such encounters can ever adequately body them forth. In the Critical Philosophy of Kant this presence of universal, connective, transcendental features is fully realised, and is rightly connected with the thinking 'I' which can put nothing before itself except as embodying such connective universality (§ 42): Kant's error lies, however, in psychologising and subjectivising this subordination of the specific and instantial to such universal, connective unity, so that the latter is not thought of as revealing what things in themselves truly are, but only how they appear to the subject. The Thing-in-itself which Kant holds to be unknowable is really the most completely knowable of abstractions: it is what we get when we deliberately leave out all empirical content and every vestige of categorial structure. Hegel may therefore be said to have laid bare the crypto-empiricism which haunts the thought of Kant: while recognising the non-empirical elements which structure experience and knowledge, he is yet forced to deny them reality or validity, since his secret test of these still lies in imagined sense-encounter with particulars. Hegel shows that such secretly empirical prepossessions vitiate Kant's criticism of the Transcendental Ideas: the Soul, the Cosmos, and God. Instead of seeing it as a defect of our merely empirical acquaintance with ourselves that we do not thereby rise to a full awareness of the structuring properties of thinking subjectivity, Kant rather sees it as a defect of that fuller awareness that it does not present us with a particular soul-thing on a level with the particulars of sense (§ 47). And instead of seeing the cosmological antinomies as proofs of the inherent oppositions involved in finite, cosmic actuality, Kant is forced, out of misplaced tenderness for a reality in or behind the cosmos, to see in such antinomies only the distortions of our perceiving and construing intelligence (§ 48). And instead, lastly, of regarding it as a defect of finite sensible objects like a hundred thalers that in their case real existence, vouched for by sense, falls apart from their pure notion or concept, he rather sees it as a defect of an ultimate Reason-object like God, that in His case Being and Notion cannot be held to fall apart as in the finite, empirical case (§ 51).
Hegel further points out, very interestingly, that the so-called proofs of the Divine Existence are not what they are ordinarily thought to be: purely affirmative reasonings in which what we start from furnishes a fixed, solid basis from which we pass on to something which has the same solidity as its premises. The action of thought is to negate the basis from which it starts, to show it up as not being self-subsistent, and so to have in it a springboard from which it can ascend to what is truly self-subsistent and self-explanatory.
It is [Hegel says] because they do not, with sufficient prominence, express the negative features implied in the exaltation of the mind from the world to God, that the metaphysical proofs of the being of a God are defective interpretations and descriptions of the process ... That upward spring of the mind signifies that the being which the world has is only a semblance, no real being, no absolute truth; it signifies that, beyond and above that appearance, truth abides in God, so that true being is another name for God ... Unless the being of the world is nullified, the point d'appui for the exaltation is lost. (§ 50, Wallace)
In this passage Hegel not only explains the argument for a self-explanatory, absolute being, he. also explains the whole nature of the dialectic. Nowhere does it merely elicit what some firm basis entails: everywhere does it rather overturn its basis as involving incompleteness or conflict, and then progresses by a leap to something more harmonious and complete. Those who expect all thought-advance to be that of the deduction of conclusions from firmly established premises are quite incapable of dialectical thinking: in dialectic it is the insufficiency of the premises that leads to the more sufficient conclusion.
Of Kant's other Critiques Hegel gives a briefer criticism. Kant's treatment of Practical Reason as a thinking will, laying down objective laws of freedom which determine what shall happen, and legislating for the world as well as for the subject, is highly praised: it is seen as highly superior to a Eudaemonism which merely aims at satisfying the private appetites, wants, and wishes of particular men. Its defect lies, however, in its empty formalism, its failure to see that it is only as organising such appetites, wants, and wishes, that it can acquire content and concreteness (§ 54). The Critique of Judgement, on the other hand, is held to have risen to the speculative height of the Idea, whether in its notion of a beauty in which thought and sensuous conception have grown into one, or in its postulation of a harmony between natural necessity and free purpose (§ 55). Kant is, however, unable to conceive of this harmony as anything more than what we demand, or what merely ought to be: he is unable to rise to the notion of a harmony which, in being always in process of being achieved and recognised as such, is also in principle actual beyond every limit. Kant's whole procedure is brilliantly characterised as one of 'unifying at one moment what a moment before had been explained to be independent and therefore incapable of unification. And then, at the very moment after unification has been alleged to be the truth, we suddenly come upon the doctrine that the two elements, which, in their true status of unification, have been refused all independent subsistence, are only true and actual in their state of separation' (Wallace, p. 91). Kant, in short, is in a permanent philosophical muddle, and never knows where he has got to nor where he is going.
The third attitude of thought to objectivity (§§ 61-78) is the immediate or intuitive attitude, the spokesman of which is for Hegel Jacobi, though we should probably put Bergson, with his intuitive understanding of duration, or G. E. Moore, with his unshakeable Commonsense Knowledge, in such a position. Hegel is not disposed to reject the view that we may have an intuitive certainty of many all-important things: of our own existence as thinking beings, of the existence of something ideally perfect which perhaps comes up unsought in our thought, of the existence of external objects which make an impression on our senses, and of various ethical and other principles. What he does dispute is that such intuitive immediacy is an infallible mark of objective validity and truth, and that, where an intuitive conviction is valid, it does not also admit of a mediating justification, which, even if it does not amount to a syllogistic deduction, will at least put our conviction in a whole context of other facts and convictions, so that it becomes mediated on every side and not merely self-attested. Hegel believes in the end in a self-mediation which differentiates itself into a large number of mutually mediating insights, and also 'that it lies in the very nature of thought and subjectivity to be inseparable from being and objectivity' (Wallace, p. 99), and this comprehensive self-mediation in a sense justifies all the immediacies that can be chosen as starting-points within it. Hegel's view of an implicit rationality even in immediacies which seem at odds with reason comes out in his subsequent treatment of mysticism (Wallace, p. 121). Mysticism may seem to be, even to itself, an attitude that quarrels with comprehension and consistency, and which is wholly mysterious and ineffable: it reveals itself, however, on closer examination as a deeply rational attitude which feels the impossibility of maintaining the hard and fast oppositions and distinctions appropriate to ordinary finite objects in the face of certain ultimate objects of Reason.
Hegel is then led on (§§ 79-82) to the very pregnant distinctions between three logical 'moments', which can, in an inadequate perspective, be held apart, but which in their actual being interpenetrate one another in every notion and every true assertion, as well as in the being of all the things in the world. The first of these moments is das Verständige, that of the Understanding, whose métier it is to separate off what each thing is, in and by itself, from whatever it is only in connection and collaboration with other things, and whose separate nature, thus cut adrift, becomes free from the change and development which variable contexts bring about. It is Hegel's view that this separative action of the Understanding is necessary both for efficient thought and action, in which he is at one with all analysts-and all organisers, things in the world having a distinct self-identity which it would be wrong to ignore or blur. But with this recognition of distinctness and separateness goes the belief that it is something that we have to pretend to and strive after, rather than actually achieve, and that it is in fact logically impossible of achievement. It is here that the Logic of Hegel really takes issue with the Common Logic, and that not by violating the rules and forms of that Logic, but by applying them differently. For to Hegel the notion of a content that can with success be held quite apart from other contents which oppose or complete it, is not anything that can be conceived or even symbolised: there is, in fact, a logical flux, a passing of contents tracelessly into one another, which is even more ineluctable and ultimate than the sensible flux from which it is easy to retreat by an effort of abstraction. This logical passage makes it impossible to achieve the clearness, distinctness, and fixity which the Understanding desiderates, except for a limited purpose and in a limited range or span. Plato, the great predecessor of Hegel, passionately fought this logical flux in his earlier dialogues, but in such more mature dialogues as the Cratylus and the Parmenides he is arguably not far from admitting it. In a given exercise we both can and should preserve comparative clarity, distinctness, and fixity, but the thought-material we are coercing never fully acquiesces in our fixations, and forces endless revision upon us no matter how we seek to withstand this.
There is, therefore, a second necessary 'moment' in logical thought, always emerging out of the fixing, separative acts of the Understanding, a moment which breaks down and destroys the fixities and separations thus produced, and which, after restoring fluidity, makes the emergence of new fixities and distinctions possible. This second moment in thought is called by Hegel Dialectic Proper: it is not unlike the linguistic 'cramps' mentioned by Wittgenstein in the Blue Book which make us wish to depart from the conventions of ordinary speech in various philosophically interesting directions. To the Understanding Dialectic readily appears as a wholly destructive, self-contradictory force, but it is rather to be regarded as a force evoked by the inherent absurdity and self -contradiction of the sort of fixity and separateness which the Understanding strives for. And so far is it from being anything genuinely self-nullifying, and so non-existent, that the perpetual flux of being in the world is no more than an instantial manifestation of the essential logical flux. The world changes, not as the early Plato thought, because it participates in ever differing but unchanging Eide, but because the Eide in which it participates are themselves arranged in a developing series, in which each gets taken up and passes away into its logical successor.
It is not, however, possible to fix and separate the flux of Dialectic Proper, any more than anything else, and it is in fact always being taken up into the third moment of logical thought which Hegel calls Reason. This Reason has some of the reasonableness of ordinary speech, which shuns an utter exactness which it knows it cannot reach, and which is not afraid to hesitate and to refuse to say either Yea or Nay in certain obviously borderline situations. That reasonableness has, however, some of the connotation of the lazy, whereas the Hegelian Reason is one that, with the clearest consciousness of what it is doing, sees things in a round of what there is an inclination to call incompatible lights, but in what for a sufficiently experienced and nimble mind are perfectly reconcilable. Such reasonable concepts have the stability of the Understanding, without unleashing the Dialectic which too great an exactness and exclusiveness would at once arouse. They involve, as noted before, something like the experienced iridescence where slight shifts of vision reveal startlingly new colours, or something like the experienced combination of incompatible viewpoints which occurs in stereoscopic or stroboscopic vision. All our conscious references to things out there, to other people, to what has been or what will be or what ought to be, involve what, from the strict standpoint of the Understanding, is a definite contradiction, and which none the less proves a living, incontestable fact: it is not, therefore, an indefensible strategy, nor one different from what most of us practise, to see in the ardent rigidities of the Understanding the true source of contradiction and absurdity, while the iridescent, multi-dimensional poises of Reason are the correct form of the harmonious and true. This at least is what Hegel prescribes in the four remarkable paragraphs we have mentioned: it is arguable that there is no philosopher of any stature who is not great just because he has swallowed, and in some difficult manner digested, and induced others also to swallow and digest, what is, from the. standpoint of clear, one-sided thought, a plain and obvious contradiction.
From all these interesting preliminaries to the System, we now turn to the three dialectically ordered chapters of the Logic Proper: the Doctrine of Being, the Doctrine of Essence, and the Doctrine of the Notion or Begriff. On these intricately structured chapters we cannot give a running commentary: we can at best state certain general viewpoints from which they may be studied. The Doctrines of Being and Essence form what Hegel calls the Objective Logic: in them what is ideal and universal has not yet separated itself off from the phenomenal surface of the Existent, nor made the latter merely an outflow of itself. When this last happens, we have the Subjective Logic, or Logic of the Notion, which is not, we may note, subjective in an ordinary sense. The Doctrine of Being is said by Hegel (§ 83) to represent the Notion in its immediacy, the Notion as yet implicit or undeveloped. We may ourselves say that it deals with the merely Descriptive Categories of Thought and Being, the Categories in which the mere being of things comes to light, and is stereotyped into quality and quantity and suchlike attributions, without ever delving beneath the surface or seeking to explain anything. The Doctrine of Essence is said by Hegel to study the Notion in its Reflection and Mediation, in its Being-for-self, and its Show. We ourselves may say that it deals with the Explanatory Categories, those that postulate a deeper level of the permanently essential beneath the surface layer of mere fact: this is the field in which fixed natures or dispositions, relations of mutual influence or necessitation, ordination to unchanging laws, and rigorous distinctions of natural type, play a pivotal part. The Doctrine of the Notion is said by Hegel to be the Notion in its return to self, and in its developed abiding by self: the Notion in and for itself. We ourselves may say that it deals with the Self-mediated or Self-explanatory Categories, those that, in explaining themselves, not requiring external justification, also explain everything. They are the absolutist Categories in which traditional Metaphysics has believed, but with which merely descriptive or relativistic types of thought have thought that they could dispense. The Doctrine of the Notion both preserves and sets aside the difficult dualisms and oppositions that have been developed in the Doctrine of Essence, returning to something remotely like the surface-harmony of the Categories of Being. The sense of these somewhat enigmatic characterisations will become plainer in the survey that where every whole fades indistinguishably into wider wholes or follows.
The Doctrine of Being begins with the much too famous triad of Being, Nothing, and Becoming, which does no more than attest the indistinguishable emptiness of categories which are without the internal differentiation of mutually contrasted definites or finites. Hegel's philosophy is a philosophy of the definite, the finite, almost from the start: it can attach no meaning to notions in which all fades out in an Oriental blur. The Understanding therefore enters the stage with Dasein, finite determinate being, the being of a something which essentially lives in an indefinitely extensible context of other somethings, each having its own peculiarity, its quality, but only sustaining that peculiarity, that quality, in virtue of the contrasting somethings surrounding it. Hegel makes plain that the enumerative thought which does no more than distinguish this from that is not aware of the thorough-going relativity which haunts its proceedings: we, the logicians, see the inseparability of the this from the that and their mutual relativity, but such relativity will only become explicit when we go on to the reflective Categories of Essence. At present we live in a stage of thought where each limited existent seems to have an absolute independence: many philosophers, who hold the world to be simply the aggregate of all that there is, have never advanced beyond this simple position. Hegel, however, makes plain the wholly absurd character of mere qualitative distinctness: we try to grasp its peculiar distinctiveness, but it wholly eludes us. All we can say and communicate regarding each finite, qualified thing is that it is wholly unique and peculiar, and this character it shares with every other finite, qualified thing. Qualities, as Plato pointed out in the Theaetetus and elsewhere, are essentially vanishing, private, incommunicable products: if we are to lay hold of anything with our minds and communicate it to minds in general, it can only be in terms of the pure universalities of number and measure. The distinction of the entities in the world therefore becomes a distinction without a difference: each entity has its own pure Being-for-self in which it is indistinguishable from every other entity. But this lack of true difference forces us on from discrete plurality to continuous quantity. We pass into a logical region where every whole fades indistinguishably into wider wholes or reveals other partial wholes within it. The 'Bad Infinites' of the indefinitely Great and the indefinitely Small loom on either side, for Hegel as for Plato, and seem to remove all meaning from number and quantity.
The reasonable result of this dialectic is, however, the emergence of a concept of Measure (Mass), in which relative magnitude or Ratio, the sort of magnitude that can stay constant despite indefinite alteration in absolute quantity, takes the place of absolute quantity, and which is now re-associated with a quality which is the outward sign of its presence. Hegel here puts forward a doctrine of infinite interest and great scientific relevance, which few of his interpreters have understood: that the contrast between what are commonly called Primary and Secondary Qualities has something necessary about it. Purely quantitative distinctions, even those expressed in fixed ratios, are quite without content unless documented by emergent differences of quality, while purely qualitative distinctions are likewise without meaningful content unless capable of being connected with a continuously varying scheme of quantities. The notion of those reactionaries, from Aristotle to Husserl, who fear to depart from the qualitative 'life-world', as well as the notion of those radical formalists, from Descartes to Einstein, who would like to reduce everything to quantity, are therefore alike rejected. And Hegel further teaches the doctrine of an interestingly necessary out-of-stepness between the qualitative and quantitative aspects of natural being. While the former necessarily proceeds by discrete leaps, the latter is necessarily quite continuous. This means that quantitative change can proceed for a long time without a change in quality, and then, when an appropriate 'node' is passed, a new quality will emerge to attest new underlying ratios, These doctrines are not interesting if treated as mere 'facts of life' as they have been by some Marxists: Hegel makes them interesting by arguing that they are necessarily true.
The logical transition from the Doctrine of Being to the Doctrine of Essence, though veiled in much obscure verbiage, amounts to no more than our complete inability to understand or believe in a mere set of unexplained surface facts, however much decked out in exact formulae of quality and quantity. Mere facts vanish in our hands: they are incapable of being remembered or predicted. The transition to Essence lies simply in our need to form concepts of permanent nature or disposition, or of inviolable law, which will add to the surface description of what momentarily is the deeper, invariant statement of what can be, or what would be, or what must be, or what must have been, whether absolutely or in given circumstances. These categories, whether called 'modal' or 'dynamic' or 'nomic' or 'explanatory', are what certain types of psychologistic or phenomenalistic or logico-mathematical thought try to dispense with altogether: Hegel, however, sees in them something necessary and logical. A world in which there are no clear permanences of nature, no repeating rubrics of class, no definitely limited generalities of behaviour, is not anything that can be thought of or that can be. 'The ordinary consciousness', it is said in the Zusätze to § 110, 'conceives things as being, and studies them in quality, quantity, and measure. These immediate characteristics however soon show themselves to be not fixed but transient, and Essence is the result of their dialectic.' To which the Zusätze to § 112 adds the following:
The problem or aim of philosophy is often represented as the ascertainment of the essence of things: a phrase which only means that things instead of being left in their immediacy, must be shown to-be mediated by, or based upon, something else . There is a permanent in things, and that permanent is in the first instance their essence ... Still it should be remembered that the only means by which the Essence and the inner self can be verified is their appearance in outward reality.
The Encyclopaedia treatment of Essence spares us the quite agonising obscurities of three types of reflection distinguished in the Science of Logic: it proceeds straight to the three basic Categories of Reflection, namely Identity, Difference, and Ground. These are connected by Hegel with much revised versions of the traditional Logical Laws of Identity, Contradiction, Excluded Middle, Identity of Indiscernibles, and Sufficient Ground. Everywhere in the world we must, according to Hegel, dig down to deep identities of Essence, spanning wide ranges of surface-difference, to which an instinct of reason must guide us. This deep identity is not the trivial identity which every arbitrarily distinguished item has with itself, but an identity of principle which can be discerned in quite widely disparate acts and thoughts and existences, as Hegel in the dialectic is constantly showing. But everywhere in the world we must likewise dig down to deep differences of Essence: what is the same generically must also be different specifically, and there is nothing even casually individual in which such essential difference is not also present. And such difference of Essence is always ready to be sharpened into incompatibility or opposition, without prejudice to its deeper identity. It is then characteristic of Hegel to find opposition swinging over into a common groundedness which also makes things reciprocally ground and consequent to one another: in the very exclusion of A by B, there is an entailment that B, and not only A, should be, and thereby an inclusion of B in A's Essence. It is, to take a modern psychoanalytic example, in the most entrenched opposition of the two sexes that their groundedness in a common Man-Womanhood is most palpably evident, as well as the possibility that each of them should develop the traits of the other.
The universal groundedness of things in things has therefore to be dug down to everywhere, and this leads Hegel on to consider the many obscurities which surround the conception of the propertied Thing-in the more precise sense of 'Thing'-all of whose characteristic properties consist solely in the way in which what the Thing is at any moment gears in with what other Things are or might "be. Reflections of this relativistic sort soon dissolve the world of self-existent Things into a network of manifestations, in which, however, the essential and permanent, in shifting from Things, has to transfer its force to the new notion of unchanging Laws. The relation of the changeable phenomenal world to the unchanging Law-world is then gone into somewhat inadequately - the Science of Logic is here very much better-and the two orders are more and more brought together in a single structure, in which woulds and coulds become part of what is, just as what is becomes merely a special case of what would or what could be. The dialectic then shifts to various forms of immanent and transient conditioning and causality: to a view of things as a single, self-developing Spinozistic Substance, to a view of things as successive phases each enjoying the unique prerogative of momentary actuality, and transmitting the heritage of their predecessors to their successors, and to the view, finally, of the world as consisting of a vast number of interacting Substances, each of which, in being acted upon by the other, may be said equally to act on the other to act upon itself, and so, by a circuit, to be covertly self-active or free.
This covert self-activity or freedom becomes overt self-activity and freedom with the next turn of the dialectic, which carries us over into the Doctrine of the Notion. The 'truth' of the pattern of mutual necessitation with which Essence terminates is said to be Freedom, in that free self-activity is what mutual necessitation dimly prefigures, and what must be rendered overt for the significant completion of the latter. Free self-activity will soon take the form of organic purpose or teleology, of which conscious thought is the culmination, and Hegel is in fact saying that the blind necessities of inorganic nature, and any other blind necessities, are only possible or intelligible as fitting with, or being capable of being used by, pervasive, organic purposes. And Hegel is not saying this because he wants the self-explanatory unity of teleology to dominate indefinitely extending, necessitarian explanation, but because he believes that the latter conception is inferior to the former from an explanatory, logical point of view. If unexplainable fact is impossible, and if the explanations of necessitarianism merely refer us back to further unexplained facts without end, then we obviously require a type of explanation that is in a benign manner circular, bent back upon itself, and this we have in the various teleological categories of the Notion.
The Doctrine of the Begriff or Notion starts by explaining the doctrine of concrete universality which was lightly sketched in the introductory chapters of the work. True Universality is as much in-the-world or objective as it is in-the-mind or subjective, it is essentially active and self-realising rather than inert, and it includes in itself the full round of its mutually exclusive species, and lives and achieves full specification in its individual instances. It is, moreover, not this or that specific universal, but rather the generic principle of all universality, or Universality as Such. It is further not to be identified with any chance conception that men may form, but only with the good, the standard form of everything, by exemplying which each thing becomes truly or actually what it is. This last qualification of the Notion is brought out in the §§ 178-9, devoted to Judgements of the Notion, Judgements in which a thing, e.g. a particular man or a work of art, has a value-predicate attributed to it, is said to realise its Notion, to be actually or truly this or that. The Hegelian Begriff has therefore many of the properties of a Platonic or an Aristotelian Eidos, though brought to a clearer focus: it has little that connects it with a Begriff in the thought of Hegel's predecessors. 'Hegel's whole strategy is to see in his principle of active,. concrete Universality, a principle that has no contrast, except in and for itself: it is only by an illusion that it can be opposed to an external realm of objective fact, or to an undigested experience on which it imposes order. It does not, however, lie behind the surface of existence as in the case of the categories of Essence, nor is it merely part of this surface, as in the case of the categories of Being, but remains as a permanent directive force, active and fulfilled in specification and instantiation.
This immanent Atlas first displays itself in a transformed version of the traditional judgment-forms and forms of syllogism. In these, operative in the copula 'is', it unites the individual with the species, the species with the genus, and the genus with the individual, in a round of forms that achieve greater 'truth' according as the distinct 'moments' are more profoundly and necessarily united, and not merely brought together in an external, matter-of-fact manner. That Socrates is great and good is more profoundly true, because expressing a coincidence of notion with instance, than that the wallpaper is green or that Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and a disjunctive syllogism that finally places an individual in a whole round of mutually exclusive species has more of the Notion in it than an extensional syllogism that places an individual in one class because he happens to fall in another class that happens to be ranged under the first. These ideas are more fully developed in the Science of Logic than the Encyclopaedia, and/have been more profoundly studied and used by British thinkers like MacRan, Bradley, and Bosanquet than by anyone else.
The going forth of Universality into the specific and the individual can, however, be seen, by a shift of the dialectic, as an inherent reference of the individual instance to the species and genera present in it. The individual becomes a specimen, a concrete embodiment of organising universality, and lives together with other similar specimens in a world organised by the same Universal. It is here, after a brief skirmish with Mechanism and Chemism, that Hegel puts forth Teleology as the supreme objective expression of the Notion. This Teleology is not that of external design, but of immanent, Aristotelian purpose, and it is not that of a design which borrows its content from outside, but rather design for the sake of design, which remains orientated towards itself in infinitely numerous finite projects that succeed one another: it is, further, not design which is merely relevant to a pre-existent situation, but which is covertly responsible for the pre-existences that it presupposes, and is in fact the secret raison d'étre of all its means, projects, procedures, and situational backgrounds. To see the objective world as Ideal Pattern, for ever going through its organising act in its own programme of self-fulfilment, is to achieve the vision of infinite teleology with which Hegel now presents us, thereby rising to the Idea (see § 212, plus Zusätze).
The immediate, purely objective expression of the idea is Life, the actual act or process of living in. which all organs and functions serve merely to secure their own integrated continuance, in which everything external is made to do service to organic self-maintenance, which moreover perpetuates itself in an endless series of individuals. The purpose of life is solely to go on living, in a variety of species and specimens, and, in so far as the inorganic environment has any purpose, that purpose is to serve as a stimulus or an instrument or an untoward provocation to more and more living. The maintenance of Life is therefore the Absolute Purpose which explains everything objective.
We see, however, something essentially incomplete, and forced into the bad infinity of perpetual repetition, in the materialised singularity of Life, and this makes our minds leap upwards to a more complete embodiment of immanent Teleology, the embodiment we know as Conscious Cognition, in which Universality enjoys the free life that it can only have in a mind or spirit which uses it for purposes of understanding and mastering the world. Such Conscious Cognition assumes the two forms of Theory and Practice: Theory, in which the Universal is for ever laying hold on what seem to be external, unorganised data, and coming to see them as wholly pervaded by itself, and Practice, which is only a superior form of thinking, which not only organises on the plane of the Universal, but also creeps down into the last detail of the individual and transforms it utterly. Theory and Practice, however, both, seem to exhibit the Bad Infinite: they press on to a goal of perfected understanding and achievement which they can never reach. But at this point, when all seems in jeopardy, the Absolute Idea makes a saving appearance. The line of development involved in infinite teleology, which is simply the line worked out in Hegel's whole dialectic up to this point, is its own goal. The 'Other' which seems to stand around us in Life, and before us in Theory and Practice, is simply the shadow cast by our own spiritual activity, whose whole function, as a shadow, is to retreat endlessly as that activity progresses. This progress is not, as in Fichte, something that ought to be completed: it ought not to be completed, because it is perfect as it is.
All unsatisfied endeavour ceases [we read in § 234] when we recognise that the final purpose of the world is accomplished no less than accomplishing itself. Generally speaking, this is the man's way of looking, while the young imagine that the world is utterly sunk in wickedness, and that the first thing needful is a thorough transformation. The religious mind on the contrary views the world as ruled by Divine Providence, and thereby correspondent with what it ought to be. But this harmony between the is and the ought to be is not torpid and rigidly stationary. Good, the final end of the world, has being only while it constantly produces itself. And the world of spirit and the world of nature continue to have this distinction, that the latter moves only in a recurring cycle, while the former also makes progress.
The outcome of the Logic of Hegel, its Absolute Idea, is thus simply the axiomatic convergence, which can also be viewed as a coincidence, of what is and what ought to be, but which is also the Categorical Imperative that this convergence or coincidence should be unendingly pursued, and the religious blessedness of realising it to be eternally achieved. If these are not axioms or imperatives usually included in Logic, or even in Ethics or Metaphysics, it is perhaps the great merit of Hegel that he has made them pivotal and explanatory, and not left them peripheral and unexplained.
The present Foreword is no more than an attempt to create a sense of the general drift of Hegel's Logic and to show how it anticipates the whole concrete treatment of Nature and Spirit which follows upon it, and which cannot be understood without it. Logic is, for Hegel, the realm of shadows, of simple essentialities, stripped of all sensuous concretion (Science of Logic, Lasson, vol. i, p. 41), but it is equally the realm of truth as it is in and for itself and without veil, the presentation of God, as He was in his eternal essence before the creation of Nature and finite Spirit (ibid., p. 31). Those who are unwilling to see Hegel as an ontologist and First Philosopher, or as a theologian in the sense of Aristotle or Proclus, will never be able to make more than a partial use of his brilliant insights, or become liberated from the sheer arbitrariness and inconsequence of much of his detail, which must be carefully studied only to be put in place and set aside.
The Wallace translation of the Encyclopaedia Logic, with its inclusion of the precious remains of Hegel's oral discourse, has made the understanding of Hegel's ontology and theology possible to many Anglo-American philosophers in the past, and may now, it is hoped, continue to do so for some time.
J. N. FINDLAY
5 January 1973