Hegel’s Science of Logic

The Judgment of Existence

(a) The Positive Judgment

§ 1362

1. The subject and predicate as we have remarked, are in the first instance names, which only receive their actual determination through the course of the judgment. However, as sides of the judgment, which is the posited determinate Notion, they have the determination of moments of the Notion, but by virtue of their immediacy, the determination is still quite simple: for it is not enriched by mediation, and also, in accordance with the abstract opposition, it is determined as abstract individuality and universality. The predicate, to speak of this first, is the abstract universal; since this abstract is conditioned by the mediation in which the individual or particular is sublated, this mediation is so far only presupposition. In the sphere of the Notion there can be no other immediacy than one in which mediation is essentially and explicitly a moment and which has come to be only through the sublating of that mediation, that is, the immediacy of the universal. Thus even qualitative being, too, is in its Notion a universal; but as being, the immediacy is not yet so posited; it is only as universality that it is the Notion determination in which is posited the fact that negativity essentially belongs to it. This relation is given in the judgment in which it is the predicate of a subject. Similarly, the subject is an abstract individual, or the immediate that is supposed to be as such, and therefore the individual as a something in general. Thus the subject constitutes the abstract side of the judgment according to which the Notion has in it passed over into externality. As the two Notion determinations are determined, so also is their relation, the is or copula; it too can only have the significance of an immediate, abstract being. On account of the relation which as yet contains no mediation or negation, this judgment is called the positive.

§ 1363

2. The immediate pure enunciation of the positive judgment is, therefore, the proposition: the individual is universal.

This enunciation must not be put in the form: A is B; for A and B are entirely formless and consequently meaningless names; the judgment as such, however, and therefore even the judgment of existence, has Notion determinations for its extremes. A is B can represent any mere proposition just as well as a judgment. But in every judgment, even in those with a more richly determined form, there is asserted the proposition having this specific content: the individual is universal; inasmuch, namely, as every judgment is also in general an abstract judgment. With the negative judgment, how far it likewise comes under this expression, we shall deal presently. If no heed is given to the fact that in every judgment-at least, to begin with, every positive judgment, the assertion is made that the individual is a universal, this is partly because the determinate form whereby subject and predicate are distinguished is overlooked-the judgment being supposed to be nothing but the relation of two notions-and partly, probably, because the rest of the content of the judgment, Gaius is learned, or the rose is red, floats before the mind which is busy with the representation of Gaius, etc., and does not reflect on the form although such content at least as the logical Gaius who has usually to be dragged in as an example, is a much less interesting content and, indeed, is expressly chosen as uninteresting in order not to divert attention from the form to itself.

§ 1364

In its objective signification, the proposition that the individual is universal connotes, as we previously had occasion to remark, on the one hand the perishableness of individual things, and on the other hand their positive subsistence in the Notion as such. The Notion itself is imperishable, but that which comes forth from it in its partition is subject to alteration and to return into its universal nature. But conversely, the universal gives itself a determinate being. Just as essence issues into a reflected being [Schein] in its determinations, ground into the manifestation of Existence, and substance into the revelation of itself, into its accidents, so the universal resolves itself into the individual; and the judgment is this explication of the universal, the development of the negativity which it already is in itself. The latter fact is enunciated by the converse proposition, the universal is individual, which is equally enunciated in the positive judgment. The subject, which in the first instance is the immediate individual, is related in the judgment itself to its other, namely, the universal; consequently it is posited as the concrete; in the sphere of being as a something of many qualities, or as the concrete of reflection, a thing of manifold properties, an actuality of manifold possibilities, a substance of such and such accidents. Since these manifold determinations here belong to the subject, the something or the thing, etc., is reflected into itself in its qualities, properties or accidents; or it continues itself through them, maintaining itself in them and equally them in itself. The positedness or determinateness belongs to the being-in-and-for-self. The subject is, therefore, in its own self the universal. The predicate, on the other hand, as this universality which is not real or concrete but abstract, is, in contrast to the subject, the determinateness and contains only one moment of the subject's totality to the exclusion of the others. By virtue of this negativity which, as an extreme of the judgment, is at the same time self-related, the predicate is an abstract individual. For example, in the proposition: the rose is fragrant, the predicate enunciates only one of the many properties of the rose; it singles out this particular one which, in the subject, is a concrescence with the others; just as in the dissolution of the thing, the manifold properties which inhere in it, in acquiring self-subsistence as matters, become individualised. From this side, then, the proposition of the judgment runs thus: the universal is individual

§ 1365

In bringing together this reciprocal determination of subject and predicate in the judgment, we get a twofold result. First that immediately the subject is, indeed, something that simply is, an individual, while the predicate is the universal. But because the judgment is the relation of the two, and the subject is determined by the predicate as a universal, the subject is the universal. Secondly, the predicate is determined in the subject; for it is not a determination in general, but of the subject; in the proposition: the rose is fragrant, this fragrance is not any indeterminate fragrance, but that of the rose; the predicate is therefore an individual. Now since subject and predicate stand in the relationship of the judgment, they have to remain mutually opposed as determinations of the Notion; just as in the reciprocity of causality, before it attains its truth, the two sides have to retain their self-subsistence and mutual opposition in face of the sameness of their determination. When, therefore, the subject is determined as a universal, we must not take the predicate also in its determination of universality-else we should not have a judgment--but only in its determination of individuality; similarly, when the subject is determined as an individual, the predicate is to be taken as a universal.

§ 1366

Reflection on the above mere identity yields the two identical propositions:

The individual is individual,
The universal is universal,

in which the sides of the judgment would have fallen completely asunder and only their self-relation would be expressed, while their relation to one another would be dissolved and the judgment consequently sublated. Of the two original propositions, one, the universal is individual, enunciates the judgment in respect of its content, which in the predicate is a singled out determination, while in the subject it is the totality of them; the other, the individual is universal, enunciates the form which is stated immediately by the proposition itself. In the immediate positive judgment the extremes are still simple: form and content are, therefore, still united. In other words, it does not consist of two propositions; the twofold relation which we found in it directly constitutes the one positive judgment. For its extremes appear as (a) self-subsistent, abstract sides of the judgment, and (b) each side is determined by the other, by virtue of the copula connecting them. But for that very reason, the difference of form and content is implicit in it, as we have seen; to wit, what is implied in the first proposition: the individual is universal, pertains to the form, because it expresses the immediate determinateness of the judgment. On the other hand, the relationship expressed by the other proposition: the universal is individual, that is to say, that the subject is determined as universal, but the predicate as particular or individual concerns the content; for the sides of the judgment arise only through the reflection-into-self whereby the immediate determinatenesses are sublated, with the result that the form converts itself into an identity that has withdrawn into itself and persists in opposition to the distinction of form: that is, it converts itself into content.

§ 1367

3. Now if the two propositions, the one of form and the other of content:

Subject   -   Predicate
The individual is universal
The universal is individual,

were, because they are contained in the one positive judgment, to be united, so that both subject and predicate alike were determined as unity of individuality and universality, then both subject and predicate would be the particular; and this must be recognised as implicitly their inner determination. Only, on the one hand, this combination would only have been effected by an external reflection, and, on the other hand, the resultant proposition, the particular is the particular, would no longer be a judgment, but an empty identical proposition like those already derived from the positive judgment, namely, the individual is individual, and the universal is universal. Individuality and universality cannot yet be united into particularity, because in the positive judgment they are still posited as immediate. In other words, the judgment must still be distinguished in respect of its form and content, just because subject and predicate are still distinguished as immediacy and something mediated, or because the judgment, according to its relation, is both self-subsistence of the related sides and also their reciprocal determination or mediation.

§ 1368

First, then, the judgment considered in respect of its form asserts that the individual is universal. But the truth is that such an immediate individual is not universal; its predicate is of wider scope and therefore does not correspond to it. The subject is an immediate being-for-self and therefore the opposite of that abstraction, of that universality posited through mediation, which was supposed to be predicated of it.

§ 1369

Secondly, when the judgment is considered in respect of its content, or as the proposition, the universal is individual, the subject is a universal of qualities, a concrete that is infinitely determined; and since its determinatenesses are as yet only qualities, properties or accidents, its totality is the spuriously infinite plurality of them. Such a subject therefore is, on the contrary, not a single property such as its predicate enunciates. Both propositions, therefore, must be denied and the positive judgment must be posited rather as negative.

(b) The Negative Judgment

§ 1370

1. We have already referred above to the prevalent idea that it depends merely on the content of the judgment whether it be true or not, since logical truth concerns only the form and demands only that the said content shall not contradict itself. The form of the judgment is taken to be nothing more than the relation of two notions. But we have seen that these two notions do not have merely the relationless character of a sum, but are related to one another as individual and universal. These determinations constitute the truly logical content, and, be it noted, constitute in this abstraction the content of the positive judgment; all other content that appears in a judgment (the sun is round, Cicero was a great orator in Rome, it is day now, etc.) does not concern the judgment as such; the judgment merely enunciates that the subject is predicate, or, more definitely, since these are only names, that the individual is universal and vice versa. By virtue of this purely logical content, the positive judgment is not true, but has its truth in the negative judgment. All that is demanded of the content is that it shall not contradict itself in the judgment; but as has been shown it does contradict itself in the above judgment. It is, however, a matter of complete indifference if the above logical content is also called form, and by content is understood merely the remaining empirical filling; in that case, the form does not imply merely an empty identity, the determinate content lying outside it. The positive judgment has, then, through its form as positive judgment no truth; whoever gives the name of truth to the correctness of an intuition or perception, or to the agreement of the picture-thought with the object, at any rate has no expression left for that which is the subject matter and aim of philosophy. We should at least have to call the latter the truth of reason; and it will surely be granted that judgments such as: Cicero was a great orator, and: it is day now, and so on, are not truths of reason. But they are not such not because they have, as it were contingently, an empirical content, but because they are merely positive judgments that can have and are supposed to have no other content than an immediate individual and an abstract determination.

§ 1371

The positive judgment has its proximate truth in the negative: the individual is not abstractly universal - but on the contrary, the predicate of the individual, because it is such a predicate or taking it by itself apart from its relation to the subject-because it is an abstract universal, is itself determinate; the individual is, therefore, in the first instance a particular. Further, in accordance with the other proposition contained in the positive judgment, the negative judgment asserts that the universal is not abstractly individual, but on the contrary, this predicate, just because it is a predicate, or because it stands in relation to a universal subject, is something wider than a mere individuality, and the universal is therefore likewise in the first instance a particular. Since this universal, as subject, is itself in the judgment determination of individuality, the two propositions reduce to one: the individual is a particular.

§ 1372

We may remark (a) that here the predicate proves to be in the determination of particularity of which we have already made mention; but here it is not posited by external reflection, but has arisen by means of the negative relation exhibited by the judgment. (b) This determination here results only for the predicate. In the immediate judgment, the judgment of existence, the subject is the underlying basis; the determination seems therefore to run its course at first in the predicate. But as a matter of fact this first negation cannot as yet be a determination, or strictly speaking a positing of the individual, for the individual is the second negation, the negative of the negative.

§ 1373

The individual is a particular, is the positive expression of the negative judgment. This expression is not itself a positive judgment, for the latter, by reason of its immediacy, has only abstractions for its extremes, while the particular, precisely through the positing of the relation of the judgment presents itself as the first mediated determination. But this determination is not to be taken only as moment of the extreme, but also-as it really is in the first instance-as determination of the relation; in other words, the judgment is to be regarded also as negative.

§ 1374

This transition is based on the relationship of the extremes and their connection generally in the judgment. The positive judgment is the relation of the immediately individual and universal, therefore the relation of things, one of which at the same time is not what the other is; the relation is, therefore, no less essentially separation or negative; that is why the positive judgment had to be posited as negative. It was, therefore, unnecessary for logicians to make such a fuss over the not of the negative judgment being attached to the copula. In the judgment, what is determination of the extreme is no less a determinate relation. The judgment's determination, or the extreme, is not the purely qualitative determination of immediate being which is supposed to confront only an other outside it. Nor is it determination of reflection, which, in accordance with its general form, has a positive and negative bearing, each being posited as exclusive, and only implicitly identical with the other. The judgment's determination, as determination of the Notion, is in its own self a universal, posited as continuing itself into its other determinations. Conversely, the relation of the judgment is the same determination as that possessed by the extremes; for it is just this universality and continuation of them into one another; in so far as these are distinguished, the relation also has negativity in it.

§ 1375

The above-stated transition from the form of the relation to the form of the determination has for its immediate consequence that the not of the copula must no less be attached to the predicate and the predicate determined as the not-universal. But by an equally immediate consequence the not-universal is the particular. If we stick to the negative in the completely abstract determination of immediate not-being, then the predicate is only the completely indeterminate not-universal. This determination is commonly treated in logic in connection with contradictory notions and it is inculcated as a matter of importance that in the negative of a notion one is to stick to the negative only and it is to be regarded as the merely indeterminate extent of the other of the positive notion. Thus the mere not-white would be just as much red, yellow, blue, etc., as black. But white as such is a notionless determination of intuition; the not of white is then equally notionless not-being, an abstraction that has been considered at the very beginning of the logic, where we learned that its proximate truth is becoming. To employ as examples, when treating of the terms of the judgment, such notionless contents drawn from intuition and pictorial thinking, and to take determinations of being and reflection for terms of the judgment, is the same uncritical procedure as the Kantian application of the notions of the understanding to the infinite Idea of reason or the so-called thing-in-itself; the Notion, which also includes the judgment that proceeds from it, is the veritable thing-in-itself or the rational; those other determinations, however, are proper to being or essence and have not yet been developed into forms which exhibit them as they are in their truth, in the Notion. If we stop at white and red as sensuous images, we are giving, as is commonly done, the name of Notion to what is only a determination of pictorial thinking; in that case the not-white and not-red are of course not positive predicates, just as also the not-triangular is something completely indeterminate, for a determination based on number and quantum is essentially indifferent and notionless. But this kind of sensuous content, like not-being itself, must be conceptually grasped and must lose that indifference and abstract immediacy which it has in blind, static, pictorial thinking. Already in determinate being, the meaningless nothing becomes the limit, through which something does, after all, relate to an other outside it. But in reflection, it is the negative that essentially relates to a positive and hence is determinate; a negative is already no longer that indeterminate not-being; it is posited as existing only in so far as the positive is its counterpart, the third member of the triad being their ground; the negative is thus confined within an enclosed sphere in which, what the one is not, is something determinate. But more than this, in the absolutely fluid continuity of the Notion and its determinations the not is immediately a positive, and the negation is not merely a determinateness but is taken up into the universality and posited as identical with it. The not-universal is therefore immediately the particular.

§ 1376

2. Since the negation affects the relation of the judgment, and we are dealing with the negative judgment still as such, it is in the first place still a judgment; consequently we have here the relationship of subject and predicate, or of individuality and universality, and their relation, the form of the judgment. The subject as the immediate which forms the basis remains unaffected by- the negation; it therefore retains its determination of having a predicate, or its relation to the universality. What is negated, therefore, is not the universality as such in the predicate, but the abstraction or determinateness of the latter which appeared as content in contrast to that universality. Thus the negative judgment is not total negation; the universal sphere which contains the predicate still subsists, and therefore the relation of the subject to the predicate is essentially still positive; the still remaining determination of the predicate is just as much a relation. If, for example, it is said that the rose is not red, it is only the determinateness of the predicate that is negated and separated from the universality which likewise belongs to it; the universal sphere, colour, is preserved; in saying that the rose is not red, it is assumed that it has a colour, but a different one. In respect of this universal sphere the judgment is still positive.

§ 1377

The individual is a particular - this positive form of the negative judgment enunciates immediately that the particular contains universality. But in addition it also expresses that the predicate is not merely a universal but also a determinate universal. The negative form implies the same; for though for example the rose is not red, it must not merely retain the universal sphere of colour for predicate but must also have some other specific colour; thus it is only the single determinateness of red that is negated; and not only is the universal sphere left but determinateness, too, is preserved, though converted into an indeterminate or general determinateness, that is, into particularity.

§ 1378

3. The particularity which we have found to be the positive determination of the negative judgment is the mediating term between individuality and universality; thus the negative judgment is now, in general, the mediating term leading to the third step, to the reflection of the judgment of existence into itself. It is, in its objective significance, merely the moment of alteration of the accidents-or, in the sphere of existence, of the isolated properties of the concrete. Through this alteration the complete determinateness of the predicate, or the concrete, emerges as posited.

§ 1379

The individual is particular, according to the positive enunciation of the negative judgment. But the individual is also not a particular, for particularity is of wider extent than individuality; it is therefore a predicate that does not correspond to the subject, and in which, therefore, it does not yet possess its truth. The individual is only an individual, the negativity that relates not to an other whether positive or negative, but only to itself. The rose is not a thing of some colour or other, but has only the specific colour that is rose-colour. The individual is not an undetermined determinate, but the determined determinate.

§ 1380

Starting from this positive form of the negative judgment, this negation of it appears again as only a first negation. But it is not so. On the contrary, the negative judgment is already in and for itself the second negation or the negation of the negation, and what it is in and for itself must be posited. That is to say, it negates the determinateness of the predicate of the positive judgment, the predicate's abstract universality, or, regarded as content, the single quality which the predicate contains of the subject. But the negation of the determinateness is already the second negation, and therefore the infinite return of individuality into itself. With this, therefore, the restoration of the concrete totality has been achieved, or rather, the subject is now for the first time posited as an individual, for through negation and the sublating of the negation it is mediated with itself. The predicate, too, on its side, has herewith passed over from the first universality to absolute determinateness and has equated itself with the subject. Thus the judgment runs: the individual is individual. From the other side, inasmuch as the subject was equally to be taken as universal, and as the predicate (which in contrast to that determination of the subject is the individual) widened itself in the negative judgment into particularity, and as now, further, the negation of this determinateness is no less the purification of the universality contained in the predicate, this judgment also runs: the universal is the universal.

§ 1381

In these two judgments, which we had previously reached by external reflection, the predicate is already expressed in its positivity. But first, the negation of the negative judgment must itself appear in the form of a negative judgment. We saw that in it there still remained a positive relation of the subject to the predicate, and the universal sphere of the latter. From this side, therefore, the negative contained a universality more purged of limitation than the positive judgment, and for that reason must be all the more negated of the subject as an individual. In this manner, the whole extent of the predicate is negated and there is no longer any positive relation between it and the subject. This is the infinite judgment.

(c) The Infinite Judgment

§ 1382

The negative judgment is as little a true judgment as the positive. But the infinite judgment which is supposed to be its truth is, according to its negative expression, negatively infinite, a judgment in which even the form of judgment is set aside. But this is a nonsensical judgment. It is supposed to be a judgment, and consequently to contain a relation of subject and predicate; yet at the same time such a relation is supposed not to be in it. Though the name of the infinite judgment usually appears in the ordinary logics, it is not altogether clear what its nature really is. Examples of negatively infinite judgments are easily obtained: determinations are negatively connected as subject and predicate, one of which not only does not include the determinateness of the other but does not even contain its universal sphere; thus for example spirit is not red, yellow, etc., is not acid, not alkaline, etc., the rose is not an elephant, the understanding is not a table, and the like. These judgments are correct or true, as the expression goes, but in spite of such truth they are nonsensical and absurd. Or rather, they are not judgments at all. A more realistic example of the infinite judgment is the evil action. In civil litigation, something is negated only as the property of the other party, it being conceded that it should be theirs if they had the right to it; and it is only the title of right that is in dispute; the universal sphere of right is therefore recognised and maintained in that negative judgment. But crime is the infinite judgment which negates not merely the particular right, but the universal sphere as well, negates right as right. This infinite judgment does indeed possess correctness, since it is an actual deed, but it is nonsensical because it is related purely negatively to morality which constitutes its universal sphere.

§ 1383

The positive moment of the infinite judgment, of the negation of the negation, is the reflection of individuality into itself, whereby it is posited for the first time as a determinate determinateness. According to that reflection, the expression of the judgment was: the individual is individual In the judgment of existence, the subject appears as an immediate individual and consequently rather as a mere something in general. It is through the mediation of the negative and infinite judgments that it is for the first time posited as an individual.

§ 1384

The individual is hereby posited as continuing itself into its predicate, which is identical with it; consequently, too, the universality no longer appears as immediate but as a comprehension of distinct terms. The positively infinite judgment equally runs: the universal is universal, and as such is equally posited as the return into itself.

§ 1385

Now through this reflection of the terms of the judgment into themselves the judgment has sublated itself; in the negatively infinite judgment the difference is, so to speak, too great for it to remain a judgment; the subject and predicate have no positive relation whatever to each other; in the positively infinite judgment, on the contrary, only identity is present and owing to the complete lack of difference it is no longer a judgment.

§ 1386

More precisely, it is the judgment of existence that has sublated itself; hereby there is posited what the copula of the judgment contains, namely, that the qualitative extremes are sublated in this their identity. Since however this unity is the Notion, it is immediately sundered again into its extremes and appears as a judgment, whose terms however are no longer immediate but reflected into themselves. The judgment of existence has passed over into the judgment of reflection.

B. The Judgment of Reflection - next section

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