Hegel’s Science of Logic


Chapter 3: The Absolute Relation

§ 1232

Absolute necessity is not so much the necessary, still less a necessary, but necessity — being, simply and solely as reflection. It is relation because it is a distinguishing whose moments are themselves its whole totality, and therefore absolutely subsist, but in such a manner that there is only one subsistence and the difference is only the illusory being, the reflective movement, of the expository process, and this illusory being is the absolute itself. Essence as such is reflection or an illusory showing; but essence as absolute relation is illusory being posited as illusory being which, as this self-relating, is absolute actuality. The absolute, which at first was expounded by external reflection, now, as absolute form or as necessity, expounds its elf; this exposition of itself is its own positing of itself and it is only this self-positing. Just as the light of nature is neither something nor a thing, but its being is only its showing or shining [Scheinen], so manifestation is self-identical absolute actuality.

§ 1233

The sides of the absolute relation are therefore not attributes. In the attribute the absolute shows only in one of its moments, a moment presupposed and picked up by external reflection. But the expositor of the absolute is absolute necessity which is identical with itself as self-determining. Since it is an illusory showing that is posited as illusory being, the sides of this relation are totalities because they are in the determination of illusory being; for as illusory being, the differences are themselves and their opposite, or they are the whole; conversely, they are illusory being in this manner because they are totalities. Thus this distinguishing or illusory showing of the absolute is only the identical positing of itself.

§ 1234

This relation in its immediate Notion is the relation of substance and accidents, the immediate vanishing and becoming of the absolute illusory being within itself. When substance determines itself to being-for-self over against an other, or the absolute relation determines itself as real, then we have the relation of causality. Lastly, when this as self-relating passes over into reciprocity, the absolute relation is also posited in accordance with the determinations it contains; this posited unity of itself in its determinations which are posited as themselves the whole, but equally as determinations, is then the Notion.


§ 1235

Absolute necessity is absolute relation because it is not being as such, but being that is because it is, being as absolute self-mediation. This being is substance; as the final unity of essence and being it is the being in all being; it is neither the unreflected immediate, nor an abstract being standing behind Existence and Appearance, but it is immediate actuality itself and this as absolute reflectedness-into-self, as a subsisting in and for itself. Substance as this unity of being and reflection is essentially the reflective movement [Scheinen] and positedness of itself. The reflective movement is the reflective movement that is self-related, and it is thus that it is; this being is substance as such. Conversely, this being is only the positedness that is identical with itself, and as such it is totality in the form of illusory being, accidentality.

§ 1236

This reflective movement is identity as identity of form — the unity of possibility and actuality. It is first of all becoming, contingency as the sphere of coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be; for in accordance with the determination of immediacy, the relation of possibility and actuality is an immediate conversion of them (as in the determination of being) into each other, of each into that which is merely other to it. But because being is an illusory being, their relation is also one of identical reflection, of a reflection which is an illusory showing of each in the other. The movement of accidentality therefore exhibits in each of its moments the illusory showing in one another of the categories of being and of the reflective determinations of essence. The immediate something has a content; its immediacy is at the same time a reflected indifference towards form. This content is determinate, and since this determinateness is one of being, the something passes over into an other. But quality is also a determinateness of reflection; as such it is an indifferent difference. But this energises itself into opposition and withdraws into the ground, which is nothing, but also a reflection-into-self. This sublates itself; but it is itself a reflected in-itself, as such is possibility, and this in-itself is, in its transition which is equally a reflection-into-self, the necessary actual.

§ 1237

This movement of accidentality is the actuosity [Aktuosität] of substance as a tranquil coming forth of itself. It is not active against something, but only against itself as a simple unresisting element. The sublating of something presupposed is the vanishing illusory being; only in the act of sublating the immediate does this immediate itself become, or is this reflective movement; it is the beginning from itself which first is the positing of this self from which the beginning is made.

§ 1238

Substance, as this identity of the reflective movement, is the totality of the whole and embraces accidentality within it, and accidentality is the whole substance itself. The differentiation of itself into the simple identity of being and the flux of accidents in it, is a form of its illusory being. The former is the formless substance of ordinary thinking for which illusory being has not determined itself as illusory being, but which clings to such an indeterminate identity as an absolute, an identity which has no truth and is only the determinateness of immediate actuality or equally of the in-itself or possibility — form determinations which fall into accidentality.

§ 1239

The other determination, the flux of accidents, is the absolute form-unity of accidentality, substance as absolute power. The ceasing-to-be of the accident is the withdrawal of itself as actuality into itself, as into its in-itself or its possibility; but this its in-itself is itself only a positedness, and therefore it is also an actuality, and because these form determinations are equally content determinations, this possible is a differently determined actual also in respect of content. Substance manifests itself through actuality with its content into which it translates the possible, as creative power, and through the possibility to which it reduces the actual, as destructive power. But the two are identical, the creation is destructive and the destruction is creative; for the negative and the positive, possibility and actuality, are absolutely united in substantial necessity.

§ 1240

The accidents as such — and there is a plurality of them since plurality is one of the determinations of being — have no power over one another. They are the simply affirmative something, or the something that is for itself, existing things of manifold properties, or wholes consisting of parts, self-subsistent parts, forces, which require solicitation from one another and have one another for condition. In so far as such an accidental seems to exercise power over another, it is the power of substance which embraces both within itself; as negativity it posits an unequal value, determining the one as a ceasing-to-be and the other with a different content as a coming-to-be, or the former as passing over into its possibility, the latter into actuality — ever sundering itself into the differences of form and content, and ever purging itself of this one-sidedness, yet in this very purging it has fallen back into determination and disunity. One accident, then, expels another only because its own subsisting is this totality of form and content itself in which it and its other equally perish.

§ 1241

On account of this immediate identity and presence of substance in the accidents, no real difference is as yet present. In this first determination substance is not yet manifested according to its whole Notion. When substance, as self-identical being-in-and-for-self, is distinguished from itself as totality of accidents, that which mediates is substance as power. This is necessity, the positive persistence of the accidents in their negativity and their mere positedness in their subsistence; this middle term is thus unity of substantiality and accidentality themselves and its extremes have no subsistence of their own. Substantiality is, therefore, merely the relation as immediately vanishing, it relates itself to itself not as a negative, and, as the immediate unity of power with itself, is in the form only of its identity, not of its negative essence; only one of the moments, namely, the negative or the difference, vanishes altogether, the other, the moment of identity, does not. This can also be considered in the following manner. Illusory being or accidentality is in itself indeed substance through power, but it is not thus posited as this self-identical illusory being; thus substance has only accidentality for its shape or positedness, not itself, it is not substance as substance. The relation of substantiality is, therefore, in the first instance, only this, that substance manifests itself as formal power, the differences of which are not substantial; it is, in fact, only as the inner of the accidents, and these are only in the substance. In other words, this relation is only totality in the form of illusory being as a becoming; but it is equally reflection; accidentality which in itself is substance is for this very reason also posited as such; thus it is determined as self-relating negativity towards itself — determined as self-relating simple self-identity; and it is substance that exists for itself and has power.

§ 1242

Thus the relation of substantiality passes over into the relation of causality. ®


§ 1243

Substance is power, and power that is reflected into itself and not merely transitory, but that posits determinations and distinguishes them from itself. As self-relating in its determining, it is itself that which it posits as a negative or makes it into a positedness. Thus this is in general sublated substantiality, that which is merely posited, or effect; but substance which is for itself is cause.

§ 1244

This relation of causality is, in the first instance, merely this relation of cause and effect; as such it is the formal relation of causality.

(a) Formal Causality

§ 1245

1. Cause is primary in relation to effect. As power, substance is an illusory showing, or has accidentality. But as power, it is equally reflection-into-self in its illusory being; thus it expounds its movement of transition and this illusory showing or reflective movement is determined as illusory being, or the accident is posited as this, that it is only something posited. But substance in its determining does not begin from accidentality as if this were already an other to start with and only now were posited as determinateness, but the two are one actuosity [Aktuositdt]. Substance as power determines itself; but this determining is immediately itself the sublating of the determining, and the return. It determines itself — it, the determinant, is thus the immediate and that which is itself already determinate; in determining itself, it therefore posits this already determinate as determined and thus has sublated the positedness and has returned into itself. Conversely, this return, because it is the negative relation of substance to itself, is itself a determining or repelling of itself from itself; it is through this return that the determinate becomes, the determinate from which substance seems to begin and which it now seems to posit as a determinate already given. The absolute actuosity is thus cause — the power of substance in its truth as manifestation, which immediately also expounds or explicates that which is in itself, that is, the accident (which is a positedness), in the becoming of the latter, posits it as positedness-as effect. This is therefore first, the same thing as the accidentality of the relation of substantiality, namely, substance as positedness; but secondly, accident as such substantially is only through its vanishing, as something transitory; but as effect, it is positedness as self-identical; the cause is manifested in the effect as whole substance, namely, as reflected into itself in the positedness itself as such.

§ 1246

2. Over against this positedness reflected into itself, the determinate as determinate, stands substance as the non-posited original. Because substance as absolute power is the return into itself, yet this return is itself a determining, it is no longer merely the in-itself of its accident but is also posited as this in-itself. It is therefore as cause that substance first has actuality. But this actuality in which its in-itself, its determinateness in the relation of substantiality, is now posited as determinateness, is effect; consequently the actuality which substance has as cause, it has only in its effect. This is the necessity which is cause. It is actual substance because substance as power determines itself, but is at the same time cause, because it explicates this determinateness or posits it as positedness; thus it posits its actuality as positedness or as effect. This is the other of cause, positedness over against the original and mediated by it. But cause, as necessity, equally sublates this its mediation and as the originally self-relating activity in the determining of itself is, as against the mediated, the return into itself; for the positedness is determined as positedness and hence is self-identical; the cause is therefore truly actual and self-identical only in its effect. The effect is therefore necessary just because it is the manifestation of the cause or is this necessity which is cause. Only as this necessity is cause self-moving, beginning from itself without solicitation from an other, and the self-subsistent source of production from out of itself; it must act; its originativeness is this, that its reflection-into-self is a positing that determines, and conversely, both are one unity.

§ 1247

Consequently, effect contains nothing whatever that cause does not contain. Conversely, cause contains nothing which is not in its effect. Cause is cause only in so far as it produces an effect, and cause is nothing but this determination, to have an effect, and effect is nothing but this, to have a cause. Cause as such implies its effect, and effect implies cause; in so far as cause has not yet acted, or if it has ceased to act, then it is not cause, and effect in so far as its cause has vanished, is no longer effect but an indifferent actuality. ®

§ 1248

3. Now in this identity of cause and effect, the form through which they are distinguished as implicit determinations and as positedness is sublated. Cause is extinguished in its effect; and with it the effect, too, is extinguished, for it is only the determinateness of the cause. Hence this causality which is extinguished in the effect is an immediacy which is indifferent to the relation of cause and effect, which attaches to it externally.

(b) The Determinate Relation of Causality

§ 1249

1. The self-identity of cause in its effect is the sublating of its power and negativity, and is therefore the unity which is indifferent to the differences of form, that is, content. Consequently content is, only implicitly related to form, here, to causality. They are thus posited as [merely] diverse, and form as against content is itself only an immediately actual, a contingent, causality.

§ 1250

Further, the content as thus determinate is a content diverse in its own self; and cause is determinate in respect of its content and so, therefore, equally is effect. Content, since reflectedness here is also immediate actuality, is to this extent actual, but finite, substance.

§ 1251

This now is the relation of causality in its reality and finitude. As formal, it is the infinite relation of absolute power whose content is pure manifestation or necessity. As finite causality, on the other hand, it has a given content and exhausts itself in an external difference in this identical content which in its determinations is one and the same substance.

§ 1252

Through this identity of content, this causality is an analytic proposition. It is the same fact which presents itself once as cause and again as effect, there as something subsisting on its own account and here as positedness or determination in another. ®

§ 1253

Since these determinations of form are an external reflection, it is, in point of fact, the tautological consideration of a subjective understanding to determine a phenomenon as effect and from this to ascend to its cause in order to comprehend and explain it; it is merely a repetition of one and the same content; there is nothing else in the cause but what is in the effect. Rain, for example, is the cause of wetness which is its effect; the rain wets — this is an analytic proposition; the same water which is rain is wetness; as rain, this water is only in the form of a fact by itself; as wetness or moisture, on the other hand, it is adjectival, something posited, that is no longer supposed to have its subsistence in its own self; and the one determination like the other, is external to it. Thus the cause of this colour is a colouring agent, a pigment, which is one and the same actuality, once in the form of an agent external to it, that is, externally connected with an agent different from it, and again in the determination, equally external to it, of an effect. The cause of an act is the inner disposition in an active subject, and this is the same content and worth as the outer existence which it acquires through the deed. If the motion of a body is considered as effect, then its cause is a propulsive force; but it is the same quantum of motion that is present before and after the impulse, the same existence which the propelling body contained and communicated to the propelled body; and the quantum it communicates is the same as that which it loses itself.

§ 1254

The cause, for example the painter or the propulsive body, has of course a further content, besides the colours and the form which combines them into a painting, in the case of the former, and besides the motion of specific strength and direction, in the case of the latter. Only this further content is a contingent accessory which does not concern the cause; what other qualities the painter possesses, apart from his being the painter of this picture, this does not enter into this painting; only those of his properties represented in the effect are present in him as cause; he is not cause as regards the rest of his properties. And so, whether the propulsive body is stone or wood, green, yellow, and so on, this does not enter into the impulse it communicates; in this respect it is not cause.

§ 1255

With respect to this tautology of the relation of causality, it is to be remarked that it does not seem to be contained therein if the remote, and not the proximate, cause of an effect is adduced. The change of form suffered by the basic fact in this passage through a number of intermediate terms conceals the identity which it retains in that passage. In this multiplication of causes which have entered between that fact and the ultimate effect, the former is at the same time connected with other things and circumstances, so that the complete effect is contained, not in that first term which was pronounced to be the cause, but only in these several causes together. If, for example, a man developed his talent in circumstances arising from the loss of his father who was hit by a bullet in battle, then this shot (or still further back, the war or a cause of the war, and so on to infinity) could be assigned as the cause of the man's skill. But it is clear that the shot, for example, is not by itself this cause, but only the combination of it with other effective determinations. Or rather, it is not cause at all but only a single moment which belonged to the circumstances of the possibility.

§ 1256

Further and above all, we must note the inadmissible application of the relation of causality to relations of physico-organic and spiritual life. Here, what is called cause certainly reveals itself as having a different content from the effect; but the reason is that that which acts on a living being is independently determined, changed and transmuted by it, because the living thing does not let the cause come to its effect, that is, it sublates it as cause. Thus it is inadmissible to say that food is the cause of blood, or certain dishes or chill and damp are the causes of fever, and so on; it is equally inadmissible to assign the ionic climate as the cause of Homer's works, or Caesar's ambition as the cause of the downfall of the republican constitution of Rome. In history generally, spiritual masses and individuals are in play and reciprocal determination with one another; but it is rather the nature of spirit, in a much higher sense than it is the character of the living thing in general, not to receive into itself another original entity, or not to let a cause continue itself into it but to break it off and to transmute it. However, these relationships belong to the Idea where they will first come up for consideration.

Here we may further remark that in so far as the relation of cause and effect is admitted, although improperly, the effect cannot be greater than the cause; for the effect is nothing more than the manifestation of the cause. It has become a common jest in history to let great effects arise from small causes and to cite as the primary cause of a comprehensive and profound event an anecdote. Such a so-called cause is to be regarded as nothing more than an occasion, an external stimulus, of which the inner spirit of the event had no need, or could have used a countless host of other such in order to begin from them in the sphere of Appearance, to disengage itself and give itself manifestation. ®

The reverse rather is true, namely, that such a petty and contingent circumstance is the occasion of the event only because the latter has determined it to be such.

Consequently, though of history which makes a huge shape spring from a slender stalk is ingenious, it is an extremely superficial treatment. It is true that in this process of a great event arising out of a small circumstance we have an instance of the conversion which spirit imposes on the external; but for this very reason, this external is not cause in the process, in other words, this conversion itself sublates the relationship of causality.

§ 1257

2. But this determinateness of the relationship of causality, that content and form are distinct and indifferent, extends further. The form determination is also content determination; cause and effect, the two sides of the relation, are, therefore, also another content. Or the content, because it is only as content of a form, has the difference of form in its own self and is essentially different. But this its form is the relationship of causality, which is a content identical in cause and effect, and consequently the different content is externally connected, on the one hand with the cause, and on the other hand with the effect; hence the content itself does not enter into the action and into the relation.

§ 1258

This external content is therefore devoid of any relationship, an immediate existence; or because it is, as content, the implicit identity of cause and effect, it too is an immediate, simply affirmative identity. This is, therefore, anything at all which has manifold determinations of its existence, among them also this, that in some respect or other it is cause or else effect. In it, the form determinations have their substrate, that is, their essential subsistence, and each has a particular subsistence-for their identity is their subsistence; but at the same time it is their immediate subsistence, not their subsistence as form unity or as relation.

§ 1259

But this thing is not only substrate but also substance, for it is identical subsistence only as subsistence of the relation. Further, it is finite substance, for it is determined as immediate over against its causality. But at the same time, it has causality because it is equally only the identical as this relationship. Now, as cause, this substrate is negative relation to self. But it itself to which it relates itself is first, a positedness, because it is determined as an immediately actual; this positedness, as content, is any determination whatever. Secondly, causality is external to it; and therefore causality itself constitutes its positedness. Now since it is causal substance, its causality consists in relating itself negatively to itself, therefore to its positedness and external causality. The action of this substance therefore begins from an externality, liberates itself from this external determination; and its return into itself is the preservation of its immediate existence and the sublating of its posited existence, hence of its causality as such.

§ 1260

Thus a stone which moves is cause; its movement is a determination which it has, but besides which it also contains many other determinations of colour, shape, and so on, which do not enter into its causality. ®

Its immediate existence is separate from its form relation, namely, causality, and is, therefore, an externality; the stone's movement and the causality attaching to the stone in its movement are present in the stone only as a positedness. But the causality also belongs to the stone itself; this stems from the fact that its substantial subsistence is its identical relation to itself, but that this is now determined as positedness and is therefore at the same time a negative relation-to-self. Its causality, which is directed against itself as positedness or as an externality, consists therefore in sublating this and by removing it to return into itself, hence to that extent to be not self-identical in its positedness, but only to restore its abstract originativeness. Or, rain is the cause of wetness, which is the same water as the rain. This water has the determination of being rain and cause as a result of this determination being posited in it by an other; some other force, or whatever it may be, has lifted it into the air and gathered it together into a mass, the weight of which makes it fall. Its removal to a distance from the earth is a determination alien to its original self-identity, to its heaviness; its causality consists in removing this determination and restoring that identity, but also, therefore, in sublating its causality.

§ 1261

The second determinateness of causality now under consideration concerns form; this relationship is causality as external to itself, as the originativeness which is equally in its own self positedness or effect. This union of opposed determinations as in a simply affirmative substrate constitutes the infinite regress from cause to cause. The effect is the starting point; as such it has a cause, this in turn has a cause, and so on. Why has the cause a fresh cause? that is to say, why is the same side which was previously determined as cause now determined as effect, with a consequent demand for a fresh cause? For this reason, that the cause is a finite, a determinate in general; determined as one moment of form over against the effect, it has its determinateness or negation outside it; but for this very reason it is itself finite, has its determinateness within it and this is positedness or effect. This its identity is also posited, but it is a third term, the immediate substrate; causality is therefore external to itself, because here its originativeness is an immediacy. The form difference is, therefore, a primary determinateness, not yet determinateness posited as determinateness, it is a simply affirmative otherness. Finite reflection, on the one hand, stops short at this immediate, removes the form unity from it and makes it in one respect cause and in another respect effect; on the other hand, it transfers the form unity into the infinite, and through the endless progress expresses its impotence to attain and hold fast this unity.

§ 1262

The case is directly the same with the effect, or rather the infinite progress from effect to effect is entirely the same as the regress from cause to cause. In this, the cause became effect, which in turn has another cause; similarly and conversely, the effect becomes cause, which in turn has another effect. The determinate cause we are considering begins from an externality, and in its effect does not return into itself as cause but, on the contrary, loses its causality therein. But conversely, the effect arrives at a substrate which is substance, an originally self-related subsistence; in this substrate, therefore, this positedness becomes positedness, that is to say, this substance, when an effect is posited in it, behaves as cause. But the first effect, the positedness, which arrives at substance externally, is other than the second which is produced by the substance; for this second effect is determined as its reflection-into-self, but the first as an externality in substance. But because causality here is self-external causality, equally it, too, does not return into itself in its effect, but therein becomes external to itself: its effect again becomes a positedness in a substrate-as in another substance, which, however, equally makes it into a positedness, or manifests itself as cause, again repels its effect from itself, and so on, to the spurious infinity.

§ 1263

3. We have now to see what has developed through the movement of the determinate causal relation. Formal causality is extinguished in the effect; this produces the identity of these two moments, but only as implicitly the unity of cause and effect, a unity to which the form relation is external. As result, this identical is also immediate, in accordance with the two determinations of immediacy, first, as in-itself, a content, in which causality runs its course externally; secondly, as an existent substrate in which cause and effect inhere as distinct determinations of form. In this, they are implicitly one, but on account of this in-itself or externality of form, each is external to itself, and consequently in its unity with the other is also determined as other against it. Therefore, though the cause has an effect and is at the same time itself effect, and the effect not only has a cause but is also itself cause, yet the effect which the cause has, and the effect which the cause is, are different, as are also the cause which the effect has, and the cause which the effect is.

§ 1264

But now the outcome of the movement of the determinate causal relation is this, that the cause is not merely extinguished in the effect and with it the effect, too, as in formal causality, but that the cause in being extinguished becomes again in the effect, that the effect vanishes in the cause, but equally becomes again in it. Each of these determinations sublates itself in its positing, and posits itself in its sublating; what is present here is not an external transition of causality from one substrate to another; on the contrary, this becoming-other of causality is at the same time its own positing. Causality therefore presupposes its own self or conditions itself. The identity, the substrate, which was previously only in itself or implicit, is therefore, now determined as presupposition or posited over against the active causality, and the reflection which was previously only external to the identity, now stands in a relationship to it.

(c) Action and Reaction

§ 1265

Causality is a presupposing act. Cause is conditioned; it is negative self-relation as a presupposed, external other, an other which in itself but only in itself, is causality itself. It is, as we have found, the substantial identity into which formal causality passes over, which has now determined itself over against the latter as its negative. Or it is the same thing as the substance of the causal relation, but substance that is confronted by the power of accidentality as itself substantial activity. It is passive substance. Passive is that which is immediate or in itself, but is not also for itself; pure being or essence which is only in this determinateness of abstract self-identity. Active substance, as negatively self-related substance, stands over against passive substance. It is cause, in so far as in determinate causality it has restored itself through the negation of itself out of the effect, a reflected being which in its otherness or as an immediate behaves essentially as a positing activity and mediates itself with itself through its negation. Here, therefore, causality no longer has a substrate in which it inheres, and is not a form determination over against this identity, but is itself substance; in other words, what is originative is causality alone The substrate is the passive substance which has presupposed itself.

§ 1266

Now this cause acts; for it is the negative power over itself; at the same time, it is its own presupposition; thus it acts on itself as on an other, on the passive substance. Accordingly, first, it sublates the otherness of this substance and in it returns into itself; secondly, it determines this substance, positing this sublating of its otherness or the return into itself as a determinateness. This positedness, because it is at the same time its return-into-self, is first of all its effect. But conversely, because as presupposing it determines itself as its other, it posits the effect in the other, in the passive substance. Or because the passive substance itself is double, namely, a self-subsistent other and also something presupposed and in itself already identical with the active cause, the action of this, too, is double; it is two actions in one: the sublating of its determinedness, namely, of its condition, or the sublating of the self-subsistence of the passive substance; and by thus sublating its identity with the passive substance, it presupposes itself or posits itself as other. Through the latter moment, the passive substance is preserved; that first sublating of it also appears in relation to the substance in such a manner that only some determinations in it are sublated and the identity of the passive substance with the active substance in the effect takes place externally in it.

§ 1267

To this extent it suffers violence. Violence is the manifestation of power, or power as external. But power is external only in so far as causal substance in its action, that is, in the positing of itself, is at the same time presupposing, that is, it posits itself as sublated. Conversely, the act of violence is equally an act of power. It is only on an other presupposed by itself on which the violent cause acts, its effect thereon is a negative relation to itself, or the manifestation of itself. The passive is the self-subsistent that is only something posited, something that is broken within itself; an actuality which is condition, and condition, too, which is now in its truth, that is, an actuality that is only a possibility, or, conversely, an in-itself that is only the determinateness of the in-itself, is only passive. Therefore not only is it possible to do violence to that which suffers it, but also violence must be done to it; that which acts violently on the other can do so only because it is the power over it, the power in which it manifests both itself and the other. Through violence, passive substance is only posited as what it is in truth, namely, to be only something posited, just because it is the simple positive, or immediate substance; what it is beforehand as condition, is the illusory immediacy which active causality strips off from it.

§ 1268

Passive substance therefore only receives its due through the action on it of another power. What it loses is that immediacy, the substantiality which is alien to it. What it, as something alien, receives, namely, to be determined as a positedness, is its own determination. But now in being posited in its positedness, or in its own determination, the outcome is not that it is sublated, but rather that it only unites with its own self and therefore in being determined is, in fact, originative. On the one hand, therefore, the passive substance is preserved or posited by the active substance, namely, in so far as the latter makes itself into a sublated substance; but, on the other hand, it is the act of the passive substance itself to unite with itself and thus to make itself into the originative and into cause. Its being posited by an other, and its own becoming are one and the same thing.

§ 1269

Now since passive substance is itself converted into cause, the outcome is first, that in it the effect is sublated; in this consists its reaction in general. Passive substance is in itself positedness, as passive substance; also the positedness has been posited in it by the other substance, in so far as it received the effect of the latter within it. Its reaction, therefore, equally contains the twofold result: first, that what it is in itself is posited, and secondly, that what it is posited as displays itself as its in-itself ; it is in itself positedness, and consequently receives within it an effect through the other substance; but this positedness is, conversely, the passive substance's own in-itself; this is thus its own effect, it itself displays itself as cause.

§ 1270

Secondly, the reaction is against the first active cause. The effect which the previously passive substance sublates within itself is, in fact, precisely this effect of the first cause. But the cause has its substantial actuality only in its effect; when this is sublated, its causal substantiality is sublated. This happens first in itself through itself, in that it converts itself into effect; in this identity its negative determination vanishes and it becomes a passive substance; secondly, it happens through the previously passive, but now reactive, substance, which sublates its effect. In determinate causality, it is true that the substance which is acted upon also in turn becomes cause, thus acting against the positing in it of an effect. But it did not react against that cause, but posited its effect again in another substance, giving rise to the progress to infinity of effects; because here the cause is at first only implicitly identical with itself in its effect, and therefore, on the one hand, vanishes in an immediate identity in its rest, and, on the other hand, resuscitates itself in another substance. In conditioned causality, on the contrary, the cause is self-related in the effect, because it is its other as condition, as something presupposed, and its action is thereby just as much a becoming as a positing and sublating of the other.

§ 1271

Further, in all this it behaves as a passive substance; but, as we saw, it comes into being as a causal substance as a result of its being acted upon. That first cause, which first acts and receives its effect back into itself as reaction, thus reappears as cause, whereby the action, which in finite causality runs on into the spuriously infinite progress, is bent round and becomes an action that returns into itself, an infinite reciprocal action.

C. RECIPROCITY - next section

Hegel-by-HyperText Home Page @ marxists.org