Hegel’s Science of Logic

Determinate Being


§ 190

In determinate being (a) as such, its determinateness is first of all (b) to be distinguished as quality. This, however, is to be taken as well in the one determination of determinate being as in the other — as reality and negation. But in these determinatenesses determinate being is equally reflected into itself; and posited as such it is (c) something, a determinate being.

(a) Determinate Being in General

§ 191

From becoming there issues determinate being, which is the simple oneness of being and nothing. Because of this oneness it has the form of immediacy. Its mediation, becoming, lies behind it; it has sublated itself and determinate being appears, therefore, as a first, as a starting-point for the ensuing development. It is first of all in the one-sided determination of being; the other determination, nothing, will likewise display itself and in contrast to it.

§ 192

It is not mere being, but determinate being [Dasein], etymologically taken, being in a certain place; but the idea of space is irrelevant here. Determinate being as the result of its becoming is, in general, being with a non-being such that this non-being is taken up into simple unity with being. Non-being thus taken up into being in such a way that the concrete whole is in the form of being, of immediacy, constitutes determinateness as such.

§ 193

The whole is likewise in the form, that is, in the determinateness of being, for being has likewise shown itself in becoming to be only a moment — a sublated, negatively determined being; but it is such for us in our reflection, it is not yet posited as such in its own self. But the determinateness as such of determinate being is the determinateness which is posited, and this is implied in the expression Dasein [there-being or being which is there]. The two are always to be clearly distinguished from each other; only that which is posited in a Notion belongs in the dialectical development of that Notion to its content; whereas the determinateness that is not yet posited in the Notion itself belongs to our reflection, whether it concerns the nature of the Notion itself or is an external comparison. To draw attention to a determinateness of the latter kind can only serve to elucidate or indicate in advance the course which will be exhibited in the development itself. That the whole, the unity of being and nothing, is in the one-sided determinateness of being is an external reflection; but in the negation, in something and other and so on, it will come to be posited. It was necessary here to draw attention to the distinction referred to; but to take account of all the Remarks which may be prompted by reflection would lead to the prolixity of anticipating what must yield itself in the subject matter. Such reflections may facilitate a general view and thereby an understanding of the development, but they also have the disadvantage of appearing as unjustified assertions, grounds and foundations for what is to follow. They should therefore not be taken for more than they are supposed to be and should be distinguished from what is a moment in the development of the subject matter itself.

§ 194

Determinate being corresponds to being in the previous sphere, but being is indeterminate and therefore no determinations issue from it. Determinate being, however, is concrete; consequently a number of determinations, distinct relations of its moments, make their appearance in it.

(b) Quality

§ 195

Because of the immediacy of the oneness of being and nothing in determinate being, they do not extend beyond each other; so far as determinate being is in the form of being, so far is it non-being, so far is it determinate. Being is not the universal, determinateness not the particular. Determinateness has not yet severed itself from being; and indeed it will no more sever itself from being, for the truth which from now on underlies them as ground is the unity of non-being with being; on this as ground all further determinations are developed. But the relation in which determinateness here stands to being is the immediate unity of both, so that as yet no differentiation of this unity is posited.

§ 196

Determinateness thus isolated by itself in the form of being is quality — which is wholly simple and immediate. Determinateness as such is the more universal term which can equally be further determined as quantity and so on. Because of this simple character of quality as such, there is nothing further to be said about it.

§ 197

Determinate being, however, in which nothing no less than being is contained, is itself the criterion for the one-sidedness of quality as a determinateness which is only immediate or only in the form of being. It is equally to be posited in the determination of nothing, when it will be posited as a differentiated, reflected determinateness, no longer as immediate or in the form of being. Nothing, as thus the determinate element of a determinateness, is equally something reflected, a negation.

Quality, taken in the distinct character of being, is reality; as burdened with a negative it is negation in general, likewise a quality but one which counts as a deficiency, and which further on is determined as limit, limitation.

§ 198

Both are determinate being, but in reality as quality with the accent on being, the fact is concealed that it contains determinateness and therefore also negation. Consequently, reality is given the value only of something positive from which negation, limitation and deficiency are excluded. Negation taken as mere deficiency would be equivalent to nothing; but it is a determinate being, a quality, only determined with a non-being.

Remark: Quality and Negation

§ 199

Reality may seem to be a word of various meanings because it is used of different, indeed of opposed determinations. In philosophy one may perhaps speak of a merely empirical reality as of a worthless existence. But when it is said that thoughts, concepts, theories have no reality, this means that they do not possess actuality; in itself or in its notion, the idea of a Platonic Republic, for example, may well be true. Here the worth of the idea is not denied and it is left its place alongside the reality. But as against mere ideas, mere notions, the real alone counts as true. The sense in which, on the one hand, outer existence is made the criterion of the truth of a content is no less one-sided than when the idea, essential being, or even inner feeling is represented as indifferent to outer existence and is even held to be the more excellent the more remote it is from reality.

§ 200

In connection with the term 'reality', mention must be made of the former metaphysical concept of God which, in particular, formed the basis of the so-called ontological proof of the existence of God. God was defined as the sum-total of all realities, and of this sum-total it was said that no contradiction was contained in it, that none of the realities cancelled any other; for a reality is to be taken only as a perfection, as an affirmative being which contains no negation. Hence the realities are not opposed to one another and do not contradict one another.

§ 201

Reality as thus conceived is assumed to survive when all negation has been thought away; but to do this is to do away with all determinateness. Reality is quality, determinate being; consequently, it contains the moment of the negative and is through this alone the determinate being that it is. Reality, taken as we are supposed to take it, in the so-called eminent sense or as infinite -in the usual meaning of the word-is expanded into indeterminateness and loses its meaning. God's goodness is not to be goodness in the ordinary, but in the eminent sense; not different from justice but tempered by it (a mediatory expression used by Leibniz), just as, conversely, justice is tempered by goodness; and so goodness is no longer goodness, nor justice any more justice. Power is supposed to be tempered by wisdom, but in that case it is not power as such for it would be subject to wisdom; wisdom is supposed to be expanded into power, in which case it vanishes as the wisdom which determines the end and measure of things. The true Notion of the infinite and its absolute unity which will present itself later, is not to be understood as a tempering, a reciprocal restricting or a mixing; such a superficial conception of the relationship leaves it indefinite and nebulous and can satisfy only a Notion-less way of thinking. When reality, taken as a determinate quality as it is in the said definition of God, is extended beyond its determinateness it ceases to be reality and becomes abstract being; God as the pure reality in all realities, or as the sum total of all realities, is just as devoid of determinateness and content as the empty absolute in which all is one.

§ 202

If, on the other hand, reality is taken in its determinateness, then, since it essentially contains the moment of the negative, the sum-total of all realities becomes just as much a sum-total of all negations, the sum-total of all contradictions; it becomes then straightway the absolute power in which everything determinate is absorbed; but reality itself is, only in so far as it is still confronted by a being which it has not sublated; consequently, when it is thought as expanded into realised, limitless power, it becomes the abstract nothing. The said reality in all realities, the being in all determinate being, which is supposed to express the concept of God, is nothing else than abstract being, which is the same as nothing.

§ 203

Determinateness is negation posited as affirmative and is the proposition of Spinoza: omnis determinatio est negatio. This proposition is infinitely important; only, negation as such is formless abstraction, However, speculative philosophy must not be charged with making negation or nothing an ultimate: negation is as little an ultimate for philosophy as reality is for it truth.

§ 204

Of this proposition that determinateness is negation, the unity of Spinoza's substance — or that there is only one substance — is the necessary consequence. Thought and being or extension, the two attributes, namely, which Spinoza had before him, he had of necessity to posit as one in this unity; for as determinate realities they are negations whose infinity is their unity. According to Spinoza's definition, of which more subsequently, the infinity of anything is its affirmation. He grasped them therefore as attributes, that is, as not having a separate existence, a self-subsistent being of their own, but only as sublated, as moments; or rather, since substance in its own self lacks any determination whatever, they are for him not even moments, and the attributes like the modes are distinctions made by an external intellect. Similarly, the substantiality of individuals cannot persist in the face of that proposition. The individual is a relation-to-self through its setting limits to everything else; but these limits are thereby also limits of itself, relations to an other, it does not possess its determinate being within itself. True, the individual is more than merely an entity bounded on all sides, but this more belongs to another sphere of the Notion; in the metaphysics of being, the individual is simply a determinate something, and in opposition to the independence and self-subsistence of such something, to the finite as such, determinateness effectively brings into play its essentially negative character, dragging what is finite into that same negative movement of the understanding which makes everything vanish in the abstract unity of substance.

§ 205

Negation stands directly opposed to reality: further on, in the special sphere of reflected determinations, it becomes opposed to the positive, which is reality reflecting the negation — the reality in which the negative has an illusory being [scheint], the negative which in reality as such is still hidden.

§ 206

Quality is especially a property only where, in an external relation, it manifests itself as an immanent determination. By properties of herbs, for instance, we understand determinations which not only are proper to something, but are the means whereby this something in its relations with other somethings maintains itself in its own peculiar way, counteracting the alien influences posited in it and making its own determinations effective in the other — although it does not keep this at a distance. The more stable determinatenesses, on the other hand, such as figure, shape, are not called properties, nor even qualities perhaps, because they are conceived as alterable, as not identical with the being [of the object].

§ 207

'Qualierung' or 'Inqualierung', an expression of Jacob Boehme's, whose philosophy goes deep, but into a turbid depth, signifies the movement of a quality (of sourness, bitterness, fieriness, etc.) within itself in so far as it posits and establishes itself in its negative nature (in its 'Qual' or torment) from out of an other — signifies in general the quality's own internal unrest by which it produces and maintains itself only in conflict.

(c) Something

§ 208

In determinate being its determinateness has been distinguished as quality; in quality as determinately present, there is distinction — of reality and negation. Now although these distinctions are present in determinate being, they are no less equally void and sublated. Reality itself contains negation, is determinate being, not indeterminate, abstract being. Similarly, negation is determinate being, not the supposedly abstract nothing but posited here as it is in itself, as affirmatively present [als seiend], belonging to the sphere of determinate being. Thus quality is completely unseparated from determinate being, which is simply determinate, qualitative being.

§ 209

This sublating of the distinction is more than a mere taking back and external omission of it again, or than a simple return to the simple beginning, to determinate being as such. The distinction cannot be omitted, for it is. What is, therefore, in fact present is determinate being in general, distinction in it, and sublation of this distinction; determinate being, not as devoid of distinction as at first, but as again equal to itself through sublation of the distinction, the simple oneness of determinate being resulting from this sublation. This sublatedness of the distinction is determinate being's own determinateness; it is thus being-within-self: determinate being is a determinate being, a something.

§ 210

Something is the first negation of negation, as simple self-relation in the form of being. Determinate being, life, thought, and so on, essentially determine themselves to become a determinate being, a living creature, a thinker (ego) and so on. This determination is of supreme importance if we are not to remain at the stage of determinate being, life, thought, and so on — also the Godhead (instead of God) — as generalities. In our ordinary way of thinking, something is rightly credited with reality. However, something is still a very superficial determination; just as reality and negation, determinate being and its determinateness, although no longer blank being and nothing, are still quite abstract determinations. It is for this reason that they are the most current expressions and the intellect which is philosophically untrained uses them most, casts its distinctions in their mould and fancies that in them it has something really well and truly determined. The negative of the negative is, as something, only the beginning of the subject [Subjekt] — being-within-self, only as yet quite indeterminate. It determines itself further on, first, as a being-for-self and so on, until in the Notion it first attains the concrete intensity of the subject. At the base of all these determinations lies the negative unity with itself. But in all this, care must be taken to distinguish between the first negation as negation in general, and the second negation, the negation of the negation: the latter is concrete, absolute negativity, just as the former on the contrary is only abstract negativity.

§ 211

Something is the negation of the negation in the form of being; for this second negation is the restoring of the simple relation to self; but with this, something is equally the mediation of itself with itself. Even in the simple form of something, then still more specifically in being-for-self, subject, and so on, self-mediation is present; it is present even in becoming, only the mediation is quite abstract. In something, mediation with self is posited, in so far as something is determined as a simple identity. Attention can be drawn to the presence of mediation in general, as against the principle of the alleged mere immediacy of knowledge, from which mediation is supposed to be excluded; but there is no further need to draw particular attention to the moment of mediation, for it is to be found everywhere, in every Notion.

§ 212

This mediation with itself which something is in itself, taken only as negation of the negation, has no concrete determinations for its sides; it thus collapses into the simple oneness which is being. Something is, and is, then, also a determinate being; further, it is in itself also becoming, which, however, no longer has only being and nothing for its moments. One of these, being, is now determinate being, and, further, a determinate being. The second is equally a determinate being, but determined as a negative of the something — an other. Something as a becoming is a transition, the moments of which are themselves somethings, so that the transition is alteration — a becoming which has already become concrete. But to begin with, something alters only in its Notion; it is not yet posited as mediating and mediated, but at first only as simply maintaining itself in its self-relation, and its negative is posited as equally qualitative, as only an other in general.


§ 213

(a) Something and other are at first indifferent to one another; an other is also immediately a determinate being, a something; the negation thus falls outside both. Something is in itself as against its being-for-other. But the determinateness also belongs to its in-itself and is

(b) its determination; this equally passes over into constitution which, being identical with the determination, constitutes the immanent and at the same time negated being-for-other, the limit of the something. This limit is

(c) the immanent determination of the something itself, which latter is thus the finite.

In the first section, in which determinate being in general was considered, this had, as at first taken up, the determination of being. Consequently, the moments of its development, quality and something, equally have an affirmative determination. In this section, on the other hand, the negative determination contained in determinate being is developed, and whereas in the first section it was at first only negation in general, the first negation, it is now determined to the point of the being-within-self or the inwardness of the something, to the negation of the negation.

(a) Something and an Other

§ 214

1. Something and other are, in the first place, both determinate beings or somethings.

Secondly, each is equally an other. It is immaterial which is first named and solely for that reason called something; (in Latin, when they both occur in a sentence, both are called aliud, or 'the one, the other', alius alium; when there is reciprocity the expression alter alterum is analogous). If of two things we call one A, and the other B, then in the first instance B is determined as the other. But A is just as much the other of B. Both are, in the same way, others. The word 'this' serves to fix the distinction and the something which is to be taken affirmatively. But 'this' clearly expresses that this distinguishing and signalising of the one something is a subjective designating falling outside the-something itself. The entire determinateness falls into this external pointing out; even the expression 'this' contains no distinction; each and every something is just as well a 'this' as it is also an other. By 'this' we mean to express something completely determined; it is overlooked that speech, as a work of the understanding, gives expression only to universals, except in the name of a single object; but the individual name is meaningless, in the sense that it does not express a universal, and for the same reason appears as something merely posited and arbitrary; just as proper names, too, can be arbitrarily assumed, given or also altered.

§ 215

Otherness thus appears as a determination alien to the determinate being thus characterised, or as the other outside the one determinate being; partly because a determinate being is determined as other only through being compared by a Third, and partly because it is only determined as other on account of the other which is outside it, but is not an other on its own account. At the same time, as has been Remarked, every determinate being, even for ordinary thinking, determines itself as an other, so that there is no determinate being which is determined only as such, which is not outside a determinate being and therefore is not itself an other.

§ 216

Both are determined equally as something and as other, and are thus the same, and there is so far no distinction between them. But this self-sameness of the determinations likewise arises only from external reflection, from the comparing of them; but the other as at first posited, although an other in relation to the something, is nevertheless also an other on its own account, apart from the something.

§ 217

Thirdly, therefore, the other is to be taken as isolated, as in relation to itself, abstractly as the other; the to eteron of Plato, who opposes it as one of the moments of totality to the One, and in this way ascribes to the other a nature of its own. Thus the other, taken solely as such, is not the other of something but the other in its own self, that is, the other of itself. Such an other, determined as other, is physical nature; it is the other of spirit. This its determination is thus at first a mere relativity by which is expressed, not a quality of nature itself, but only a relation external to it. However, since spirit is the true something and nature, consequently, in its own self is only what it is as contrasted with spirit, the quality of nature taken as such is just this, to be the other in its own self, that which is external to itself (in the determinations of space, time and matter).

§ 218

The other simply by itself is the other in its own self, hence the other of itself and so the other of the other — it is, therefore, that which is absolutely dissimilar within itself, that which negates itself, alters itself. But in so doing it remains identical with itself, for that into which it alters is the other, and this is its sole determination; but what is altered is not determined in any different way but in the same way, namely, to be an other; in this latter, therefore, it only unites with its own self. It is thus posited as reflected into itself with sublation of the otherness, as a self-identical something from which, consequently, the otherness, which is at the same time a moment of it, is distinct from it and does not appertain to the something itself.

§ 219

2. Something preserves itself in the negative of its determinate being [Nichtdasein]; it is essentially one with it and essentially not one with it. It stands, therefore, in a relation to its otherness and is not simply its otherness. The otherness is at once contained in it and also still separate from it; it is a being-for-other.

§ 220

Determinate being as such is immediate, without relation to an other; or, it is in the determination of being; but as including within itself non-being, it is determinate being, being negated within itself, and then in the first instance an other-but since at the same time it also preserves itself in its negation, it is only a being-for-other.

§ 221

It preserves itself in the negative of its determinate being and is being, but not being in general, but as self-related in opposition to its relation to other, as self-equal in opposition to its inequality. Such a being is being-in-itself.

Being-for-other and being-in-itself constitute the two moments of the something. There are here present two pairs of determinations: i. Something and other, 2. Being-for-other and being-in-itself. The former contain the unrelatedness of their determinateness; something and other fall apart. But their truth is their relation; being-for-other and being-in-itself are, therefore, the above determinations posited as moments of one and the same something, as determination which are relations and which remain in their unity, in the unity of determinate being. Each, therefore, at the same time, also contains within itself its other moment which is distinguished from it.

§ 222

Being and nothing in their unity, which is determinate being are no longer being and nothing — these they are only outside their unity — thus in their unstable unity, in becoming, they are coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be. The being in something is being-in-itself Being, which is self-relation, equality with self, is now no longer immediate, but is only as the non-being of otherness (as determinate being reflected into itself). Similarly, non-being as a moment of something is, in this unity of being and non-being, not negative determinate being in general, but an other, and more specifically — seeing that being is differentiated from it — at the same time a relation to its negative determinate being, a being-for-other.

§ 223

Hence being-in-itself is, first, a negative relation to the negative determinate being, it has the otherness outside it and is opposed to it; in so far as something is in itself it is withdrawn from otherness and being-for-other. But secondly it has also present in it non-being itself, for it is itself the non-being of being-for-other.

§ 224

But being-for-other is, first, a negation of the simple relation of being to itself which, in the first instance, is supposed to be determinate being and something; in so far as something is in an other or is for an other, it lacks a being of its own. But secondly it is not negative determinate being as pure nothing; it is negative determinate being which points to being-in-itself as to its own being which is reflected into itself, just as, conversely, being-in-itself points to being-for-other.

§ 225

3. Both moments are determinations of what is one and the same, namely, the something. Something is in itself in so far as it has returned into itself out of the being-for-other. But something also has in itself (here the accent falls on in) or within it, a determination or circumstance in so far as this circumstance is outwardly in it, is a being-for-other.

§ 226

This leads to a further determination. Being-in-itself and being-for-other are, in the first instance, distinct; but that something also has within it the same character that it is in itself, and, conversely, that what it is as being-for-other it also is in itself-this is the identity of being-in-itself and being-for-other, in accordance with the determination that the something itself is one and the same something of both moments, which, therefore, are undividedly present in it. This identity is already formally given in the sphere of determinate being, but more expressly in the consideration of essence and of the relation of inner and outer, and most precisely in the consideration of the Idea as the unity of the Notion and actuality. People fancy that they are saying something lofty with the expression 'in itself', as they do in saying 'the inner'; but what something is only in itself, is also only in it; 'in itself' is only an abstract, and so even external determination. The expressions: there is nothing in it, or, there is something in it, imply, though somewhat obscurely, that what is in a thing also belongs to the thing's being-in-itself, to its inner, true worth.

§ 227

It may be observed that the meaning of the thing-in-itself is here revealed; it is a very simple abstraction but for some while it counted as a very important determination, something superior, as it were, just as the proposition that we do not know what things are in themselves ranked as a profound piece of wisdom.

Things are called 'in themselves' in so far as abstraction is made from all being-for-other, which means simply, in so far as they are thought devoid of all determination, as nothings. In this sense, it is of course impossible to know what the thing-in-itself is. For the question: what? Demands that determinations be assigned; but since the things of which they are to be assigned are at the same time supposed to be things in-themselves, which means, in effects to,- be without any determination, the question is thoughtlessly made impossible to answer, or else only an absurd answer is given. The thing-in-itself is the same as that absolute of which we know nothing except that in it all is one. What is in these things-in-themselves, therefore, we know quite well; they are as such nothing but truthless, empty abstractions. ®

What, however, the thing-in-itself is in truth, what truly is in itself, of this logic is the exposition, in which however something better than an abstraction is understood by 'in-itself', namely, what something is in its Notion; but the Notion is concrete within itself, is comprehensible simply as Notion, and as determined within itself and the connected whole of its determinations, is cognisable.

§ 228

Being-in-itself, in the first instance, has being-for-other as its contrasted moment; but positedness, too, is contrasted with it. This expression, it is true, includes also being-for-other, but it specifically contains the already accomplished bending back of that which is not in itself into that which is its being-in-itself, in which it is positive. Being-in-itself is generally to be taken as an abstract way of expressing the Notion; positing, properly speaking, first occurs in the sphere of essence, of objective reflection; the ground posits that which is grounded by it; still more, the cause produces or brings forth an effect, a determinate being whose self-subsistence is immediately negated and which carries the meaning of having its matter [Sache], its being, in an other. In the sphere of being, determinate being only proceeds from becoming, or, with the something an other is posited, with the finite, the infinite; but the finite does not bring forth the infinite, does not posit it. In the sphere of being, the self-determining even of the Notion is at first only in itself or implicit — as such it is called a transition; and the reflected determinations of being such as something and other, or finite and infinite, although they essentially refer to each other or are as a being-for-other, they too count as qualitative, as existing on their own account; the other is, the finite ranks equally with the infinite as an immediate, affirmative being, standing fast on its own account; the meaning of each appears to be complete even without its other. On the other hand positive and negative, cause and effect, however much they may be taken as isolated from each other, are at the same time meaningless one without the other. There is present in them their showing or reflection in each other, the showing or reflection in each of its other. In the different spheres of determination and especially in the progress of the exposition, or more precisely in the progress of the Notion towards the exposition of itself, it is of capital importance always clearly to distinguish what is still in itself and what is posited, the determinations as they are in the Notion, and as they are as posited, or as being-for-other. This is a distinction which belongs only to the dialectical development and which is unknown to metaphysical philosophising, which also includes the critical philosophy; the definitions of metaphysics, like its presuppositions, distinctions and conclusions, seek to assert and produce only what comes under the category of being, and that, too, of being-in-itself.

§ 229

Being-for-other is, in the unity of the something with itself, identical with its in-itself; the being-for-other is thus present in the something. The determinateness thus reflected into itself is, therefore, again in the simple form of being, and hence is again a quality: determination.

(b) Determination, Constitution and Limit

§ 230

The in-itself into which something is reflected into itself out of its being-for-other is no longer an abstract in-itself, but as negation of its being-for-other is mediated by the latter, which is thus its moment. It is not only the immediate identity of the something with itself, but the identity through which there is present in the something that which it is in itself; being-for-other is present in it because the in-itself is the sublation of the being-for-other, has returned out of the being-for-other into itself; but equally, too, simply because it is abstract and therefore essentially burdened with negation, with being-for-other. There is present here not only quality and reality, determinateness in the form of simple being, but determinateness in the form of the in-itself; and the development consists in positing this determinateness as reflected into itself.

§ 231

1. The quality which is constituted by the essential unity of the in-itself in the simple something with its other moment, the presence in it of its being-for-other, can be called the determination of the in-itself, in so far as this word in its exact meaning is distinguished from determinateness in general. Determination is affirmative determinateness as the in-itself with which something in its determinate being remains congruous in face of its entanglement with the other by which it might be determined, maintaining itself in its self-equality, and making its determination hold good in its being-for-other. Something fulfils its determination in so far as the further determinateness which at once develops in various directions through something's relation to other, is congruous with the in-itself of the something, becomes its filling. Determination implies that what something is in itself, is also present in it.

§ 232

The determination of man is thinking reason; thought in general, thought as such, in his simple determinateness — by it he is distinguished from the brute; in himself he is thought, in so far as this is also distinguished from his being-for-other, from his own natural existence and sense — nature through which he is directly connected with his other. But thought is also present in him; man himself is thought, he actually exists as thinking, it is his concrete existence and actuality; and, further, since thought is in his determinate being and his determinate being is in thought, it is to be taken as concrete, as having content and filling; it is thinking reason and as such the determination of man. But even this determination again is only in itself as something which ought to be, that is it, together with the filling which is incorporated in its in-itself, is in the form of the in-itself in general, in contrast to the determinate being not incorporated in it, which at the same time still confronts it externally as immediate sense-nature and nature.

§ 233

2. The filling of the in-itself with determinateness is also distinct from the determinateness which is only being-for-other and remains outside the determination. For in the sphere of quality, the differences in their sublated form as moments also retain the form of immediate, qualitative being relatively to one another.

That which something has in it, thus divides itself and is from this side an external determinate being of the something, which is also its determinate being, but does not belong to the something's in-itself. The determinateness is thus a constitution.

§ 234

Constituted in this or that way, something is involved in external influences and relationships. This external connection on which the constitution depends, and the circumstance of being determined by an other, appears as something contingent. But it is the quality of something to be open to external influences and to have a constitution.

§ 235

In so far as something alters, the alteration falls within its constitution; it is that in the something which becomes an other. The something itself preserves itself in the alteration which affects only this unstable surface of its otherness, not its determination.

§ 236

Determination and constitution are thus distinguished from each other; something, in accordance with its determination, is indifferent to its constitution. But that which something has in it, is the middle term connecting them in this syllogism. Or, rather, the being-in-the-something showed itself as falling apart into these two extremes. The simple middle term is determinateness as such; to its identity belongs both determination and constitution. But determination spontaneously passes over into constitution, and the latter into the former. This is implied in what has been said already; the connection is more precisely this: in so far as that which something is in itself is also present in it, it is burdened with being-for-other; hence the determination is, as such, open to relationship to other. The determinateness is at the same time a moment, but contains at the same time the qualitative distinction of being different from the in-itself, of being the negative of the something, another determinate being. The determinateness which thus holds the other within it, being united with the in-itself, brings the otherness into the latter or into the determination, which, consequently, is reduced to constitution. Conversely, being-for-other isolated as constitution and posited by itself, is in its own self the same as the other as such, the other in its own self, that is, the other of itself; but thus it is self-related determinate being, the in-itself with a determinateness, and therefore a determination. Consequently, in so far as determination and constitution are also to be held apart, the latter, which appears to be grounded in something external, in an other in general, also depends on the former, and the determining from outside is at the same time determined by the something's own, immanent determination. But further, the constitution belongs to that which the something is in itself; something alters with its constitution.

§ 237

This alteration of something is no longer the first alteration of something merely in accordance with its being-for-other; the first was only an implicit (an sich seiende) alteration belonging to the inner Notion; now alteration is also posited in the something. The something itself is further determined and the negation is posited as immanent in it, as its developed being-within-self.

§ 238

In the first place, the transition of determination and constitution into each other is the sublation of their difference, resulting in the positing of determinate being or something in general; and since this latter results from that difference which equally includes within it qualitative otherness, there are two somethings which, however, are not opposed to each other only as others in general — for in that case this negation would still be abstract and would arise only from comparing them. But the negation is now immanent in the somethings. As determinate beings they are indifferent to each other, but this their affirmation is no longer immediate, each relates itself to itself only by means of the sublation of the otherness which, in the determination, is reflected into the in-itself.

§ 239

Thus something through its own nature relates itself to the other, because otherness is posited in it as its own moment; its being-within-self includes the negation within it, by means of which alone it now has its affirmative determinate being. But the other is also qualitatively distinguished from this and is thus posited outside the something. The negation of its other is now the quality of the something, for it is as this sublating of its other that it is something. It is only in this sublation that the other is really opposed to another determinate being; the other is only externally opposed to the first something, or rather, since in fact they are directly connected, that is in their Notion, their connection is this, that determinate being has passed over into otherness, something into other, and something is just as much an other as the other itself is. Now in so far as the being-within-self is the non-being of the otherness which is contained in it but which at the same time has a distinct being of its own, the something is itself the negation, the ceasing of an other in it; it is posited as relating itself negatively to the other and in so doing preserving itself; this other, the being-within-self of the something as negation of the negation, is its in-itself, and at the same time this sublation is present in it as a simple negation, namely, as its negation of the other something external to it. There is a single determinateness of both, which on the one hand is identical with the being-within-self of the somethings as negation of the negation, and on the other hand, since these negations are opposed to one another as other somethings, conjoins and equally disjoins them through their own nature, each negating the other: this determinateness is limit.

§ 240

3. Being-for-other is the indeterminate, affirmative community of something with its other; in the limit the non-being-for-other becomes prominent, the qualitative negation of the other, which is thereby kept apart from the something which is reflected into itself. We must observe the development of this Notion, which manifests itself, however, rather as an entanglement and a contradiction. This contradiction is at once to be found in the circumstance that the limit, as something's negation reflected into itself, contains ideally in it the moments of something and other, and these, as distinguished moments, are at the same time posited in the sphere of determinate being as really, qualitatively distinct.

§ 241

[a] Something, therefore, is immediate, self-related determinate being, and has a limit, in the first place, relatively to an other; the limit is the non-being of the other, not of the something itself: in the limit, something limits its other. But the other is itself a something in general, therefore the limit which something has relatively to the other is also the limit of the other as a something, its limit whereby it keeps the first something as its other apart from it, or is a non-being of that something; it is thus not only non-being of the other, but-non-being, equally of the one and of the other something, consequently of the something as such.

§ 242

But the limit is essentially equally the non-being of the other, and so something at the same time is through its limit. It is true that something, in limiting the other, is subjected to being limited itself; but at the same time its limit is, as the ceasing of the other in it, itself only the being of the something; through the limit something is what it is, and in the limit it has its quality. This relationship is the outward manifestation of the fact that the limit is simple negation or the first negation, whereas the other is, at the same time, the negation of the negation, the being-within-itself of the something.

§ 243

Something, as an immediate determinate being, is, therefore, the limit relatively to another something, but the limit is present in the something itself, which is a something through the mediation of the limit which is just as much the non-being of the something. Limit is the mediation through which something and other each as well is, as is not.

§ 244

[b] Now in so far as something in its limit both is and is not, and these moments are an immediate, qualitative difference, the negative determinate being and the determinate being of the something fall outside each other. Something has its determinate being outside (or, as it is also put, on the inside) of its limit; similarly, the other, too, because it is a something, is outside it. Limit is the middle between the two of them in which they cease. They have their determinate being beyond each other and beyond their limit; the limit as the non-being of each is the other of both.

§ 245

It is in accordance with this difference of something from its limit that the line appears as line only outside its limit, the point; the plane as plane outside the line; the solid as solid only outside its limiting surface. It is primarily this aspect of limit which is seized by pictorial thought — the self-externality of the Notion — and especially, too, in reference to spatial objects.

§ 246

[c] But further, something as it is outside the limit, the unlimited something, is only a determinate being in general. As such, it is not distinguished from its other; it is only determinate being and therefore has the same determination as its other; each is only a something in general, or each is an other; thus both are the same. But this their primarily immediate determinate being is now posited with the determinateness as limit, in which both are what they are, distinguished from each other. Limit is, however, equally their common distinguishedness, their unity and distinguishedness, like determinate being. This double identity of both, of determinate being and limit, contains this: that something has its determinate being only in the limit, and that since the limit and the determinate being are each at the same time the negative of each other, the something, which is only in its limit, just as much separates itself from itself and points beyond itself to its non-being, declaring this is to be its being and thus passing over into it. To apply this to the preceding example and taking first the determination that something is what it is only in its limit: as thus determined, the point is therefore the limit of the line, not merely in the sense that the line only ceases in the point, and as a determinate being is outside it; neither is the line the limit of the plane merely in the sense that the plane only ceases in it-and similarly with surface as limit of the solid; on the contrary, in the point the line also begins; the point is its absolute beginning. Even when the line is represented as unlimited on either side, or, as it is put, is produced to infinity, the point still constitutes its element, just as the line is the element of the plane, and the surface that of the solid. These limits are the principle of that which they limit; just as one, for example as hundredth, is the limit, but also the element, of the whole hundred.

The other determination is the unrest of the something in its limit in which it is immanent, an unrest which is the contradiction which impels the something out beyond itself. Thus the point is this dialectic of its own self to become a line, the line the dialectic to become a plane, and the plane the dialectic to become total space. A second definition is given of line, plane and total space: namely, that the line originates through the movement of the point, the plane through the movement of the line, and so on. But this movement of the point, line and so on, is regarded as something contingent or as only thus imagined. This point of view is, however, really retracted in so far as the determinations from which the line and so on are supposed to originate are their elements and principles which, at the same time, are nothing else but their limits; and so the origin is not considered as contingent or as only thus imagined. That point, line and plane by themselves are self-contradictory, are beginnings which spontaneously repel themselves from themselves, so that the point, through its Notion, passes out of itself into the line, moves in itself and gives rise to the line, and so on, lies in the Notion of limit which is immanent in the something. The application itself, however, belongs to the consideration of space; to give an indication of it here, the point is the wholly abstract limit, but in a determinate being; this is taken as still wholly abstract, it is so-called absolute, that is, abstract space, a purely continuous asunderness. But the limit is not abstract negation, but is in this determinate being, is a spatial determinateness; the point is, therefore, spatial, the contradiction of abstract negation and continuity, and is, therefore, the transition, the accomplished transition into the line, and so on; just as also, for the same reason, there is no such thing as a point, line or plane.

§ 247

Something with its immanent limit posited as the contradiction of itself, through which it is directed and forced out of and beyond itself, is the finite.

(c) Finitude

§ 248

The being of something is determinate; something has a quality and in it is not only determined but limited; its quality is its limit and, burdened with this, it remains in the first place an affirmative, stable being. But the development of this negation, so that the opposition between its determinate being and the negation as its immanent limit, is itself the being-within-self of the something, which is thus in its own self only a becoming, constitutes the finitude of something.

§ 249

When we say of things that they are finite, we understand thereby that they not only have a determinateness, that their quality is not only a reality and an intrinsic determination, that finite things are not merely limited — as such they still have determinate being outside their limit — but that, on the contrary, non-being constitutes their nature and being. Finite things are, but their relation to themselves is that they are negatively self-related and in this they are negatively self-related and in this very self-relation send themselves away beyond themselves, beyond their being. They are, but the truth of this being is their end. ®

The finite not only alters, like something in general, but it ceases to be; and its ceasing to be is not merely a possibility, so that it could be without ceasing to be, but the being as such of finite things is to have the germ of decease as their being-within-self: the hour of their birth is the hour of their death.

[a] The Immediacy of Finitude

§ 250

The thought of the finitude of things brings this sadness with it because it is qualitative negation pushed to its extreme, and in the singleness of such determination there is no longer left to things an affirmative being distinct from their destiny to perish. Because of this qualitative singleness of the negation, which has gone back to the abstract opposition of nothing and ceasing-to-be as opposed to being, finitude is the most stubborn category of the understanding; negation in general, constitution and limit, reconcile themselves with their other, with determinate being; and even nothing, taken abstractly as such, is given up as an abstraction; but finitude is the negation as fixed in itself, and it therefore stands in abrupt contrast to its affirmative. The finite, it is true, lest itself be brought into flux, it is itself this, to be determined or destined to its end, but only to its end — or rather, it is the refusal to let itself be brought affirmatively to its affirmative, to the infinite, and to let itself be united with it; it is therefore posited as inseparable from its nothing, and is thereby cut off from all reconciliation with its other, the affirmative. The determination or destiny of finite things takes them no further than their end. The understanding persists in this sadness of finitude by making non-being the determination of things and at the same time making it imperishable and absolute. Their transitoriness could only pass away or perish in their other, in the affirmative; their finitude would then be parted from them; but it is their unalterable quality, that is, their quality which does not pass over into its other, that is, into its affirmative; it is thus eternal

§ 251

This is a very important consideration; but certainly no philosophy or opinion, or understanding, will let itself be tied to the standpoint that the finite is absolute; the very opposite is expressly present in the assertion of the finite; the finite is limited, transitory, it is only finite, not imperishable; this is directly implied in its determination and expression. But the point is, whether in thinking of the finite one holds fast to the being of finitude and lets the transitoriness continue to be, or whether the transitoriness and the ceasing-to-be cease to be. But it is precisely in that view of the finite which makes ceasing-to-be the final determination of the finite, that this does not happen. It is the express assertion that the finite is irreconcilable with the infinite and cannot be united with it, that the finite is utterly opposed to the infinite. Being, absolute being, is ascribed to the infinite; confronting it, the finite thus remains held fast as its negative; incapable of union with the infinite, it remains absolute on its own side; from the affirmative, from the infinite, it would receive affirmation, and would thus cease to be; but a union with the infinite is just what is declared to be impossible. If it is not to remain fixed in its opposition to the infinite but is to cease to be, then, as we have already said, just this ceasing-to-be is its final determination, not the affirmative which would be only the ceasing to be of the ceasing-to-be. If, however, the finite is not to pass way in the affirmative, but its end is to be grasped as the nothing, then we should be back again at that first, abstract nothing which itself has long since passed away.

§ 252

With this nothing, however, which is supposed to be only nothing, and which at the same time is granted an existence in thought, imagination or speech, there occurs the same contradiction as has just been indicated in connection with the finite, but with this difference, that in the case of that first nothing it only occurs, whereas in finitude it is explicitly stated. There it appears as subjective; here it is asserted that the finite stands perpetually opposed to the infinite, that what is in itself null is, and is as in itself null. We have to become conscious of this; and the development of the finite shows that, having this contradiction present within it, it collapses within itself, yet in doing so actually resolves the contradiction, that not only is the finite transitory and ceases to be, but that the ceasing-to-be, the nothing, is not the final determination, but itself ceases to be.

[b] Limitation and the Ought

§ 253

This contradiction is, indeed, abstractly present simply in the circumstance that the something is finite, or that the finite is. But something or being is no longer abstractly posited but reflected into itself and developed as being-within-self which possesses a determination and a constitution, and, still more specifically, a limit which, as immanent in the something and constituting the quality of its being-within-self, is finitude. It is to be seen what moment are contained in this Notion of the finite something.

§ 254

Determination and constitution showed themselves as sides for external reflection; but the former already contained otherness as belonging to the something's in-itself; the externality of the otherness is on the one hand in the something's own inwardness, on the other hand it remains, as externality, distinguished from it, it is still externality as such, but present in the something. But further, since the otherness is determined as limit, as itself negation of the negation, the otherness immanent in the something is posited as the connection of the two sides, and the unity with itself of the something which possesses both determination and constitution, is its relation turned towards its own self, the relation of its implicit determination to the limit immanent in the something, a relation in which this immanent limit is negated. The self-identical being-within-self thus relates itself to itself as its own non-being, but as negation of the negation, as negating the non-being which at the same time retains in it determinate being, for determinate being is the quality of its being-within-self. Something's own limit thus posited by it as a negative which is at the same time essential, is not merely limit as such, but limitation. But what is posited as negated is not limitation alone; the negation is two-edged, since what is posited by it as negated is the limit, and this is in general what is common to both something and other, and is also a determinateness of the in-itself of the determination as such. This in-itself, therefore, as the negative relation to its limit (which is also distinguished from it), to itself as limitation, is the ought.

§ 255

In order that the limit which is in something as such should be a limitation, something must at the same time in its own self transcend the limit, it must in its own self be related to the limit as to something which is not. The determinate being of something lies inertly indifferent, as it were, alongside its limit. But something only transcends its limit in so far as it is the accomplished sublation of the limit, is the in-itself as negatively related to it. And since the limit is in the determination itself as a limitation, something transcends its own self.

§ 256

The ought therefore contains the determination in double form: once as the implicit determination counter to the negation, and again as a non-being which, as a limitation, is distinguished from the determination, but is at the same time itself an implicit determination.

§ 257

The finite has thus determined itself as the relation of its determination to its limit; in this relation, the determination is an ought and the limit is a limitation. Both are thus moments of the finite and hence are themselves finite, both the ought and the limitation. But only the limitation is posited as finite; the ought is limited only in itself, that is, for us. It is limited through its relation to the limit which is already immanent in the ought itself, but this its restriction is enveloped in the in-itself, for, in accordance with its determinate being, that is, its determinateness relatively to the limitation, it is posited as the in-itself.

§ 258

What ought to be is, and at the same time is not. If it were, we could not say that it ought merely to be. The ought has, therefore, essentially a limitation. This limitation is not alien to it; that which only ought to be is the determination, which is now posited as it is in fact, namely, as at the same time only a determinateness.

§ 259

The being-in-itself of the something in its determination reduces itself therefore to an ought-to-be through the fact that the same thing which constitutes its in-itself is in one and the same respect a non-being; and that, too, in this way, that in the being-within-self, in the negation of the negation, this in-itself as one of the negations (the one that negates) is a unity with the other, which at the same time is a qualitatively distinct limit, through which this unity is a relation to it. The limitation of the finite is not something external to it; on the contrary, its own determination is also its limitation; and this latter is both itself and also the ought-to-be; it is that which is common to both, or rather that in which both are identical.

§ 260

But now further, the finite as the ought transcends its limitation; the same determinateness which is its negation is also sublated, and is thus its in-itself; its limit is also not its limit.

§ 261

Hence as the ought, something is raised above its limitation, but conversely, it is only as the ought that it has its limitation. The two are inseparable. Something has a limitation in so far as it has negation in its determination, and the determination is also the accomplished sublation of the limitation.

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