Hegel’s Science of Logic

Being for Self


§ 330

The one is the simple self-relation of being-for-self in which its moments have collapsed in themselves and in which, consequently, being-for-self has the form of immediacy, and its moments therefore now have a determinate being.

§ 331

As self-relation of the negative the one is a process of determining — and as self-relation it is an infinite self-determining. But because being-for-self is now in the form of immediacy, these differences are no longer posited only as moments of one and the same self-determination, but as at the same time affirmatively present. The ideality of being-for-self as a totality thus reverts, in the first place, to reality and that too in its most fixed, abstract form, as the one. In the one, being-for-self is the posited unity of simple being and determinate being, as the absolute union of the relation to other and self-relation; but, further, the determinateness of being also stands opposed to the determination of the infinite negation, to the self-determination, so that what the one is in itself is now only ideally present in it, and the negative consequently is an other distinct from it. What shows itself to be present as distinct from the one is its own self-determining; the unity of the one with itself as thus distinguished from itself is reduced to a relation, and as a negative unity it is a negation of its own self as other, exclusion of the one as other from itself, from the one.

(a) The One in its own self

§ 332

In its own self the one simply is; this its being is neither a determinate being, nor a determinateness as a relation to an other, nor is it a constitution; what it is, in fact, is the accomplished negation of this circle of categories. Consequently, the one is not capable of becoming an other: it is unalterable.

§ 333

It is indeterminate but not, however, like being; its indeterminateness is the determinateness which is a relation to its own self, an absolute determinedness-posited being-within-self. As the one is in accordance with its Notion a self-related negation, it has difference in it — a turning away from itself to an other; but this movement is immediately turned back on itself, because it follows from this moment of self-determining that there is no other to which the one can go, and the movement has thus returned into itself.

§ 334

In this simple immediacy the mediation of determinate being and of ideality itself, and with it all difference and manifoldness, has vanished. There is nothing in it; this nothing, the abstraction of self-relation, is here distinguished from the being-within-self itself; it is a posited nothing because this being-within-self no longer has the simple character of something but, as a mediation, has a concrete determination; but as abstract, though it is identical with the one, it is distinct from its determination. This nothing, then, posited as in the one, is the nothing as the void. The void is thus the quality of the one in its immediacy.

(b) The One and the Void

§ 335

The one is the void as the abstract relation of the negation to itself. However, the void as the nothing is absolutely distinct from the simple immediacy, the also affirmative being of the one, and since they stand in one and the same relation, namely, that of the one, their difference is posited; but as distinct from the affirmative being of the one, the nothing as the void is outside it.

§ 336

Being-for-self determined in this manner as the one and the void has again acquired a determinate being. The one and the void have negative relation to self for their common, simple base. The moments of being-for-self emerge from this unity, become external to themselves; through the simple unity of the moments there enters the determination of being and the unity thus reduces itself to being only one side, and so to a determinate being; and in this it is confronted by its other determination, the negation as such, likewise as a determinate being of the nothing, as the void.

Remark: Atomism

§ 337

The one in this form of determinate being is the stage of the category which made its appearance with the ancients as the atomistic principle, according to which the essence of things is the atom and the void. The abstraction which has developed into this form has acquired a greater determinateness than the being of Parmenides and the becoming of Heraclitus. Lofty as is this abstraction, in that it makes this simple determinateness of the one and the void the principle of all things, deriving the infinite variety of the world from this simple antithesis and boldly presuming to know the former from the latter, it is equally easy for figurate conception to picture here atoms and alongside them the void. It is, therefore, no wonder that the atomistic principle has at all times been upheld; the equally trivial and external relation of composition which must be added to achieve a semblance of concreteness and variety is no less popular than the atoms themselves and the void. The one and the void is being-for-self, the highest qualitative being-within-self, sunk back into complete externality; the immediacy or being of the one, because it is the negation of all otherness, is posited as being no longer determinable and alterable; such therefore is its absolute, unyielding rigidity that all determination, variety, conjunction remains for it an utterly external relation.

§ 338

However, with the first thinkers the atomistic principle did not remain in this externality but besides its abstraction had also a speculative determination in the fact that the void was recognised as the source of movement, which is an entirely different relation of the atom and the void from the mere juxtaposition and mutual indifference of these two determinations. That the void is the source of movement has not the trivial meaning that something can only move into an empty space and not into an already occupied space, for in such a space it would not find any more open room — understood in this sense, the void would be only the presupposition or condition of movement, not its ground, just as the movement itself, too, would be presupposed as already existing, the essential point, its ground, being forgotten. The view that the void constitutes the ground of movement contains the profounder thought that in the negative as such there lies the ground of becoming, of the unrest of self-movement — in which sense, however, the negative is to be taken as the veritable negativity of the infinite. The void is the ground of movement only as the negative relation of the one to its negative, to the one, that is to itself, which however is posited as having determinate being.

§ 339

But in other respects, the further determinations of the ancients concerning the shape and position of the atoms and the direction of their movement, are arbitrary and external enough and, in addition, stand in direct contradiction to the basic determination of the atom. Physics with its molecules and particles suffers from the atom, this principle of extreme externality, which is thus utterly devoid of the Notion, just as much as does that theory of the State which starts from the particular will of individuals.

(c) Many Ones: Repulsion

§ 340

The one and the void constitute the first stage of the determinate being of being-for-self. Each of these moments has negation for its determination and is at the same time posited as a determinate being; according to the former determination the one and the void are the relation of negation to negation as of an other to its other: the one is negation in the determination of being, and the void is negation in the determination of non-being. But the one is essentially self-relation only as related negation, that is, it is itself that which the void outside it is supposed to be. Each, however, is also posited as an affirmative determinate being, one as a being-for-self as such, the other an unspecified determinate being in general, and each is related to the other as to another determinate being.

§ 341

The being-for-self of the one, is, however, essentially the ideality of determinate being and of other: it relates itself not to an other but only to itself. But since being-for-self is fixed as a one, as affirmatively for itself, as immediately present, its negative relation to itself is at the same time a relation to an affirmative being; and since the relation is just as much negative, that to which it relates itself remains determined as a determinate being and an other; as essentially self-relation, the other is not indeterminate negation as the void, but is likewise a one. The one is consequently a becoming of many ones.

§ 342

Strictly, however, this is not really a becoming, for becoming is a transition of being into nothing: the one, on the other hand, becomes only one. The one, as related, contains the negative as a relation, has it therefore within it. Instead of a becoming, then, there is present first the immanent relation of the one itself; and secondly, since the relation is negative and the one is at the same time affirmatively present, the one repels itself from itself. The negative relation of the one to itself is repulsion.

§ 343

This repulsion as thus the positing of many ones but through the one itself, is the one's own coming-forth-from-itself but to such outside it as are themselves only ones. This is repulsion according to its Notion, repulsion in itself. The second repulsion is different from it, it is what is immediately suggested to external reflection: repulsion not as the generation of ones, but only as the mutual repelling of ones presupposed as already present. We have now to see how the first repulsion, repulsion in itself, determines itself to the second, to external repulsion.

§ 344

First of all we must establish what determinations are possessed by the many ones as such. As an explication of what the one is in itself, the becoming of the many, or the generation of the many, vanishes immediately; the products of the process are ones, and these are not for an other, but relate themselves infinitely to themselves. The one repels only itself from itself, therefore does not become but already is; and what is represented as repelled is likewise a one, a one that is. To repel and to be repelled applies equally to both, and makes no difference.

§ 345

The ones are thus presupposed relatively to one another — supposed or posited by the repulsion of the one from itself; pre-supposed as not posited. Their positedness is sublated, and as related only to themselves they are affirmative beings relatively to one another.

§ 346

Thus plurality appears not as an otherness, but as a determination completely external to the one. The one, in repelling itself, remains self-related, like that which to begin with is taken as repelled. That the ones are related to one another as others, are brought together into the determinateness of plurality, does not therefore concern the ones. If plurality were a relation of the ones themselves to one another then they would limit one another and there would be affirmatively present in them a being-for-other. Their relation-and this they have through their implicit unity — as here posited is determined as none: it is again the previously posited void. The void is their limit but a limit which is external to them, in which they are not to be for one another. The limit is that in which what are limited both are and are not: but the void is determined as pure non-being, and this alone constitutes their limit.

§ 347

The repulsion of the one from itself is the explication of that which the one is in itself; but infinity as explicated is here the infinity which has come forth from itself; it has come forth from itself by virtue of the immediacy of the infinite, the one. It is a simple relating of the one to the one, and no less also the absolute absence of relation in the one; it is the former according to the simple, affirmative self-relation of the one, and the latter according to the self-same relation as negative. In other words, the plurality of the one is its own positing; the one is nothing but the negative relation of the one to itself, and this relation-and therefore the one itself-is the plural one. But equally, plurality is absolutely external to the one; for the one is, precisely, the sublating of otherness; repulsion is its self-relation and simple equality with itself. The plurality of ones is infinity as a contradiction which unconstrainedly produces itself.

Remark: The Monad of Leibniz.

§ 348

We have previously referred to the Leibnizian idealism. We may add here that this idealism which started from the ideating monad, which is determined as being for itself, advanced only as far as the repulsion just considered, and indeed only to plurality as such, in which each of the ones is only for its own self and is indifferent to the determinate being and being-for-self of the others; or, in general, for the one, there are no others at all. The monad is, by itself, the entire closed universe; it requires none of the others. But this inner manifoldness which it possesses in its ideational activity in no way affects its character as a being-for-self. The Leibnizian idealism takes up the plurality immediately as something given and does not grasp it as a repulsion of the monads. Consequently, it possesses plurality only on the side of its abstract externality. The atomistic philosophy does not possess the Notion of ideality; it does not grasp the one as an ideal being, that is, as containing within itself the two moments of being-forself and being-for-it, but only as a simple, dry, real being-for-self. It does, however, go beyond mere indifferent plurality; the atoms become further determined in regard to one another even though, strictly speaking, this involves an inconsistency; whereas, on the contrary, in that indifferent independence of the monads, plurality remains as a fixed fundamental determination, so that the connection between them falls only in the monad of monads, or in the philosopher who contemplates them.

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