Discussion on Essence 2

What is Reflection?

We have first separated essence and illusory being, and then having showed their insufficiency in their separateness, came to understand by reflection their dialectical unity. This oscillation of from one pole to its contrary and back again is now being taken into consideration as a whole. Analysis of Essence made explicit that negation of immediate being by essence which determinate it as it is, is a movement of reflection. Being as mere immediacy is just empty determination. Immediate being is illusory being (Semblance, show) because it disguise its production. Nevertheless, it is not a camouflage externally related to Being, as sceptics and idealist assumed. Illusory being, as immediate being, is produced (reflected) by essence by means of negation.

Reflection is the name of the process between essence and illusory being. When I say "apple," this uttered sign corresponds, both the concept of apple in my mind, and refers to the actual apple external to my mind. Like this, the term "reflection" is the name of both the process of thought (intellectual reflection) and a process in the actual world. It is by thought's reflective activity that thing in itself can be known through its show. However, Hegel wants to discuss on reflection generally.

Reflection, is a process but like a labour process, in which production is consumption with double sense: product of the same production process is the input for its own renewal. That is, "it is what is presupposed, or reflection into itself, which is the immediate." Also, production process is itself consumption process, that is, "it is negatively self related; it is related to itself as to its non-being". In this analogy, production is essence and consumption is illusory being. Essence is the answer to question of "How is it produced?" Product, waste, machines, building etc. are all illusory being.

Here are some fuzzy expressions representing wavering of reflection:

Positing Reflection: immediate identity of essence and illusory being

Hegel defines reflection as, the movement of nothing to nothing, and so back to itself and is the negation that coincides with itself. Reflection is the movement of negation of nothing, that is without passing over to nothing, back to itself, thereby equating with itself. Movement in the sphere of being, that is, external, sensuous motion is the transition from determinate point to another point. While at one and the same moment moving something is both here and not here, considering two different moment, the second point is nothing in relation to first point as being. What is permanent during motion implies essence, in other words all relativity to what is external is sublated in the character of what is essential. For this reason, the movement of essence is from nothing to nothing. Time is the expression of movement. However, the movement of positing reflection does not imply time.

Just as Being and Nothing are same as well as opposite and passes into each other in their unity, so too are the moments of reflection. (Since the two poles are overlapping, or vanishing into each other, the above schema is not appropriate here.)

"Since the unity of being and nothing as the primary truth now forms once and for all the basis and element of all that follows, besides becoming itself, all further logical determinations: determinate being, quality, and generally all philosophical Notions, are examples of this unity." (85)

At one and the same moment, essence is illusory being and illusory being is essence. Here, negative or other with respect to becoming is internal, namely the other of reflection is showing of essence itself.

"Quality, throug its relation, passes over into other; in its relation its alteration begins. The determination of reflection, on the other hand, has taken its otherness back into itself." (408)

Like, production is immediately consumption and consumption is immediately production. Neither pole is starting point nor return for the other: prior is, at the same time posterior; presupposition is at the same time posited and vice versa. "Reflection therefore is the movement that starts or returns only in so far as the negative has already returned into itself." (401) Means that, reflection is the negation that coincides with itself. Reflection is itself what it negates which is simple equality with itself or immediacy.

Production is consumption but sublated consumption, vice versa. Similarly, illusory being, first, is the result, that is, does not have its being in an other. This result (this self-related negativity of essence) is the precondition (negating of itself) for essence. "What is thus found only comes to be through being left behind; its immediacy is sublated immediacy. Conversely, the sublated immediacy is the return-into-self, the coming-to-itself of essence, simple, self-equal being. Hence this coming-to-itself is the sublating of itself and is the self repelling, presupposing reflection, and its self-repelling is the coming-to-itself of reflection." (402)

Posited reflection only posits the dialectical relation between essence and illusory being. Full circularity of reflection in which, any pole is neither arrival nor return, and not self-subsistence, is immediacy. Immediacy of reflection is indifferent to reflected determinations of being. On the other hand, determinacy necessitates otherness. In Spinoza's words, "Determinacy is negation." Therefore, for reflection to be determinate it must externalize itself -external reflection. Moreover, as external reflection it has presupposition.

External Reflection: mediated identity of essence and illusory being

External production is determinate reflection that has a presupposition. What is different and transient in respect to essence, is in the sphere of being. Thus, external reflection, inevitably, starts from immediate being, while positing reflection from nothing. External reflection posits the two sides, the self-equality of essence, and the differences of illusory being as show, as entirely distinct. As has been shown in the above schema, moments of external reflection are separately drawn showing that: while production and consumption are indispensable, they are now external to each other. Production is for consumption and consumption is for production. They are mutually interdependent. In either case, one must be the starting point for other, or each one mediates its other in their mutual dependence. Production is explained through production, and consumption is explained through production.

For Kant after comparison of objects by reflection on them we find what they have common and than abstract from their properties. That is, reflection is determination of the appropriate universal from the given particular. Essence, in the former, is a reflection of thought's movement of abstracting from the immediately distinctive beings. On the other hand, given is always preceded by thought determinations.

"in external reflection there is also implicit the notion of absolute reflection (essence n.b.); for the universal, the principle or rule and law to which it advances in its determining, counts as the essence of that immediate which forms the starting point." (405)

While universal (qualitative essence) and particular (immediate being) are external to each other, they are not indifferent to each other. Contrary, the success of reflection depends on their mutuality. In this sense, "what reflection does to the immediate, and the determinations which issue from reflection, are not anything external to the immediate but are its own proper being."

Determining Reflection: unity of mediation and immediacy

It is the unity of positing and external reflection. Reflection, apart from being immediately the other, and apart form the mediating the other, posits the other in reflecting into itself, and posits itself as the other.

"It is positedness, negation, which however bends back into itself the relation to other, and negation which is equal to itself, the unity of itself and its other, and only through this is an essentiality. It is, therefore, positedness, negation; but as reflection-into-self it is at the same time the sublatedness of this positedness, infinite self-relation." (408)

Mustafa Cemal