Hegel’s Science of Logic



§ 1068

The transition of property into a matter or into a self-subsistent stuff is the familiar transition performed on sensible matter by chemistry when it seeks to represent the properties of colour, smell, taste and so on, as luminous matter, colouring matter, odorific matter, sour, bitter matter and so on, or merely straightway postulates others like heat matter or caloric, electrical and magnetic matter, in the conviction that it has got hold of properties in their truth. Equally current is the expression that things consist of various matters. One is careful not to call these matters things; although it would certainly be admitted that, e.g. a pigment is a thing; but I do not know whether e.g. luminous matter, heat matter or electrical matter and so on, are also called things. Things and their constituents are distinguished without it being exactly stated whether and to what extent the latter are also things or perhaps only half things; but they are at least existents in general.

§ 1069

The necessity of making the transition from properties to matters, or of postulating that properties are in truth matters, has resulted from the fact that properties are the essential and therefore the truly self-subsistent element of things. But at the same time, the reflection of property into itself constitutes only one side of the whole reflection; namely, the sublating of the difference and the continuity of the property (which was supposed to be an Existence for an other) with itself. Thinghood, as negative reflection-into-self and a distinguishing which repels itself from an other, is thereby reduced to an unessential moment; but in this process it has at the same time further determined itself. First, this negative moment has preserved itself; for property has become continuous with itself and a self-subsistent matter only in so far as the difference of things has sublated itself; the continuity of the property into otherness therefore itself contains the moment of the negative, and its self-subsistence is, as this negative unity, the restored something of thinghood; the negative self-subsistence over against the positive of matter. Secondly, through this the thing has advanced from its indeterminateness to complete determinateness. As thing-in-itself it is abstract identity, the simply negative Existence, or Existence determined as the indeterminate; next, the thing is determined by its properties, by which it is supposed to be distinguished from other things; but it is, in fact, through property that it is continuous with other things and consequently this incomplete difference sublates itself. Through this the thing has returned into itself and is now determined as determinate; it is in itself determinate or this thing.

§ 1070

But, thirdly, this return-into-self, though a self-related determination is at the same time unessential; the self-continuous subsistence constitutes the self-subsistent matter in which the difference of things, their intrinsic and explicit determinateness, is sublated and an externality. Therefore, though the thing as this thing is a complete determinateness, this determinateness is determinateness in the element of unessentiality.

§ 1071

Considered from the side of the movement of property, this results in the following manner. Property is not only an external determination but an intrinsic Existence. This unity of externality and essentiality, because it contains reflection-into-self and reflection-into-an-other, repels itself from itself, and is, on the one hand, determination as simple, self-identical, self-related self-subsistence in which the negative unity, the one of the thing, is sublated; on the other hand, it is this determination over against an other, but likewise as a one reflected into itself and intrinsically determinate; it is therefore the matters and this thing. These are the two moments of the externality which is identical with itself, or of the property reflected into itself. Property was that by which things were supposed to be distinguished; but now that it has freed itself from this its negative side, of inhering in an other, the thing, too, has been freed from its being determined by other things and has returned into itself from the relation to other; but it is at the same time only the thing-in-itself that has become an other to itself, because the manifold properties on their part have become independent and therefore their negative relation in the one of the thing is only a sublated relation. For this reason, the thing is a self-identical negation only as against the positive continuity of the matter.

§ 1072

The 'this' thus constitutes the complete determinateness of the thing, the determinateness being at the same time external. The thing consists of self-subsistent matters which are indifferent to their relation in the thing. This relation is therefore only an unessential combination of them and the difference of one thing from another depends on whether and in what amount a number of the particular matters are present in it. They pass out of and beyond this thing, continue themselves into other things, and the fact that they belong to this thing is not a limitation for them; and just as little are they a limitation for one another, because their negative relation is only the impotent 'this'. Therefore in their combination in the latter they do not sublate themselves; as self-subsistent they are impenetrable for one another, relate themselves in their determinateness only to themselves, and are a mutually indifferent manifoldness of subsistence; they are capable only of a quantitative limit. The thing as 'this' is this their merely quantitative relation, a mere collection, their 'also'. It consists of some quantum or other of a matter, also of a quantum of another, and again of others; this connection of having no connection alone constitutes the thing.


§ 1073

This thing, which has determined itself as the merely quantitative connection of free matters, is the simply alterable thing. Its alteration consists in the exclusion from the collection or the addition to this 'also,' of one or more matters, or in the alteration of their quantitative relationship to one another. The coming-to-be and passing away of 'this' thing is the external dissolution of such external combination or the combination of matters to which it is indifferent whether they are combined or not. Matters circulate freely out of or into 'this' thing; the thing itself is absolute porosity without measure or form of its own.

§ 1074

The thing in its absolute determinateness through which it is 'this' thing, is thus the absolutely dissoluble thing. This dissolution is an external process of being determined, as also is the being of the thing; but its dissolution and the externality of its being is the essential element of this being; it is only the 'also', and consists only in this externality. But it also consists of its matters, and not only the abstract 'this' as such, but the whole of 'this' thing is the dissolution of itself. The thing, namely, is determined as an external collection of self-subsistent matters; these matters are not things, they do not have negative self-subsistence; but they are the properties as self-subsistents, that is, they are determinate and the determinateness is, as such, reflected into itself. The matters, therefore, are indeed simple and are only self-related; but their content is a determinateness; reflection-into-self is only the form of this content, which is not as such reflected into itself but, in accordance with its determinateness, relates itself to an other. The thing is, therefore, not merely the 'also' of the matters — their relation as mutually indifferent — but equally their negative relation; on account of their determinateness the matters themselves are this their negative reflection, which is the puncticity of the thing. One matter is not that which the other is, in accordance with the determinateness of their content as against one another; and one is not, in so far as the other is, in accordance with their self-subsistence.

§ 1075

The thing is, therefore, the interrelation of the matters of which it consists in such a manner that in it both the one and the other also subsist; and yet at the same time the one does not subsist in so far as the other does. In so far therefore as the one matter is in the thing, the other is thereby sublated; but the thing is at the same time the 'also', or the subsistence of the others. In the subsistence of the one matter, the other, therefore, does not subsist, and also it no less subsists in the former; and so with all these diverse matters reciprocally. Since, therefore, in the same respect as the one subsists the others also subsist, this one subsistence of them being the puncticity or negative unity of the thing, they thus simply interpenetrate one another; and since the thing is at the same time only the 'also' of them, and the matters are reflected into their determinateness, they are indifferent to one another and in their interpenetration do not touch one another. The matters are therefore essentially porous, so that one subsists in the pores or in the non-stibsistence of the others; but these others are themselves porous; in their pores or non-subsistence the first and all the others also subsist; their subsistence is at the same time their sublatedness and the subsistence of others; and this subsistence of the others is equally this their sublatedness and the subsistence of the first, and in the same way of all the others. The thing is, therefore, the selfcontradictory mediation of independent self-subsistence through its opposite, namely, through its negation, or of one self-subsistent matter through the subsistence and non-subsistence of an other. In this thing, Existence has reached its completion, namely, it is intrinsic being or independent subsistence, and unessential Existence in one; hence the truth of Existence is to have its being-in-self in unessentiality, or its subsisting in an other, and that, too, the absolute other, or that it has its own nullity for substrate. It is therefore Appearance.

Remark: The Porosity of Matters

§ 1076

It is one of the commonest determinations of ordinary thinking that a thing consists of a number of independent matters. On the one hand, the thing is considered to have properties, whose subsistence is the thing. But, on the other hand, these different determinations are regarded as matters whose subsistence is not the thing, but, conversely, the thing consists of them and is itself only their external combination and quantitative limit. Both properties and matters are the same content-determinations; only in the former case they are moments, that is, they are reflected into their negative unity as into a substrate distinct from them, namely, thinghood, and in the latter case they are self-subsistent, different determinations, each of which is reflected into its own unity-with-self. These matters are now further determined as an independent subsistence; but they are also together in a thing. This thing has the two determinations of being first, this thing, and secondly, the 'also'. The 'also' is that which presents itself in external intuition as spatial extension; but the 'this', the negative unity, is the puncticity of the thing. The matters are together in the puncticity, and their talso' or the extension is everywhere this puncticity; for the 'also' as thinghood is essentially also determined as a negative unity. Therefore where one of these matters is, the other also is, in one and the same point; the thing does not have its colour in one place, its odorific matter in another, its heat matter in a third, and so on, but in the point in which it is warm, it is also coloured, sour, electric, and so on. Now because these matters are not outside one another but are in one 'this', they are assumed to be porous, so that one exists in the interstices of the other. But that which is present in the interstices of the other matter is itself porous; conversely, therefore, in its pores the other exists; but not only this matter but the third, tenth, and so on. They are all porous and in the interstices of each all the others are present, just as each, with all the rest, is present in the pores of every other. Accordingly they are a multiplicity which interpenetrate one another in such a manner that those which penetrate are equally penetrated by the others, so that each again penetrates its own penetratedness. Each is posited as its negation, and this negation is the subsistence of another; but this subsistence is equally the negation of this other, and the subsistence of the first.

§ 1077

The usual excuse by which ordinary thinking evades the contradiction of the independent subsistence of a number of matters in one thing, or their mutual indifference in their interpenetration, bases itself on the smallness of the parts and of the pores. Where difference-in-itself, contradiction, and the negation of negation occur, in general, where thinking should be in terms of the Notion, ordinary thinking falls back onto external, quantitative difference; in regard to coming-to-be and passing away, it has recourse to gradualness, and in regard to being, to smallness in which the vanishing element is reduced to an imperceptible and the contradiction to a confusion, and the true relationship is perverted into an ill-defined image which saves the self-sublating aspect of th relationship by its obscurity.

§ 1078

But when more light is thrown on this obscurity it is revealed as the contradiction which is partly subjective, stemming from pictorial thinking, and partly objective, stemming from the object; the elements of the contradiction are completely contained in the thinking itself. For pictorial thinking, in the first place contains the contradiction of wanting to hold on to perception and to have before it things that have real being, and secondly, of ascribing a sensible existence to the imperceptible, to what is determined by reflection; the minute parts and pores are at the same time supposed to be a sensible existence and their positedness is spoken of as if it had the same kind of reality as that which belongs to colour, heat, etc. If, further, pictorial thinking considered more closely this objective nebulosity, the pores and the minute particles, it would recognise in it not only a matter and also its negation, so that here there would be matter and alongside it its negation, the pore, and alongside this, matter again, and so on, but also that in this thing it has, in one and the same point, (1) self-subsistent matter, and (2) its negation or porosity and the other self-subsistent matter, and that this porosity and the independent subsistence of the matters in one another as in a single point is a reciprocal negation and a penetration of the penetration.

§ 1079

Recent expositions in physics of the expansion of steam in atmospheric air and of various gases in one another give more distinct prominence to one side of the Notion concerning the nature of the thing that has here come to view. They show, namely, that for example a certain volume takes up the same amount of steam whether it is empty of atmospheric air or filled with it; and also that the various gases diffuse themselves in one another in such a manner that each is as good as a vacuum for the other, or at least that they are not in any kind of chemical combination with one another, each remains uninterrupted by the other and continuous with itself and in its interpenetration with the others keeps itself indifferent to them. But the further moment in the Notion of the thing is that in this thing one matter is present where the other matter is, and the matter that penetrates is also penetrated in the same point; in other words, the self-subsistent is immediately the self-subsistence of an other. This is contradictory; but the thing is nothing else but this very contradiction; and that is why it is Appearance.

§ 1080

Corresponding in the spiritual sphere to the conception of these matters, is the conception of forces or faculties of the soul. Spirit is, in a much deeper sense this one thing, the negative unity in which its determinations interpenetrate one another. But when it is thought of as soul, it is quite frequently taken as a thing. Just as man in general is made to consist of soul and body, each of which has an independent being of its own, so too the soul is made to consist of so-called soul-forces, each of which has a self-subsistence of its own, or is an immediate, separate activity with its own peculiar nature. It is imagined that the intellect acts separately in one place and the imagination by itself in another, that intellect, memory, and so on, are each cultivated separately, and for the time being the other forces are left inactive on one side until perhaps, or perhaps not, their turn comes. In placing them in the materially simple soul thing which as simple is immaterial, the faculties are not, it is true, represented as particular matters; but as forces they are taken as equally indifferent to one another as the said matters. But spirit is not that contradiction which the thing is, which dissolves itself and passes over into Appearance; on the contrary, it is already in its own self the contradiction that has returned into its absolute unity, namely, the Notion, in which the differences are no longer to be thought of as independent, but only as particular, moments in the subject, in the simple individuality.

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