Hegel’s Science of Logic

The Judgment of Necessity

(a) The Categorical Judgment

§ 1407

The genus essentially sunders itself, or repels itself into species; it is genus only in so far as it comprehends species under itself; the species is species only in so far as on the one hand it exists in the individuals, and on the other hand is in the genus a higher universality. Now the categorical judgment has such a universality for its predicate, a predicate in which the subject possesses its immanent nature. But the categorical judgment is itself the first or immediate judgment of necessity; accordingly the determinateness of the subject whereby it is a particular or individual over against the genus or species, so far belongs to the immediacy of external existence. But objective universality, too, has here as yet only its immediate particularisation; hence it is on the one hand itself a determinate universality in contrast to which there are higher genera; on the other hand, it is not exactly the proximate genus, that is, its determinateness is not exactly the principle of the specific particularity of the subject. But what is necessary in it is the substantial identity of the subject and predicate, contrasted with which that property of the subject which distinguishes it from the predicate is only an unessential positedness, or even merely a name; the subject is reflected in its predicate into its being-in-and-for-self. A predicate of this kind should not be classed with the predicates of the preceding judgments; to throw, for example, the judgments

The rose is red,
The rose is a plant, or
This ring is yellow,
It is gold,

into the one class, and to regard such an external property as the colour of a flower as a predicate on the same level as its vegetable nature, is to overlook a difference which must strike the meanest intelligence. The categorical judgment must therefore be definitely distinguished from the positive and negative judgments; in the latter, what is predicated of the subject is a single contingent content; in the former, the content is the totality of the form reflected into itself. Here therefore the copula has the meaning of necessity, whereas in the others it merely signifies abstract, immediate being.

§ 1408

The determinateness of the subject, which makes it a particular in contrast to the predicate, is in the first instance something contingent; subject and predicate are not necessarily related by the form or determinateness; the necessity is, therefore, still an inner necessity. But the subject is subject only as a particular, and in so far as it possesses objective universality it must possess it essentially in accordance with that primarily immediate determinateness. The objective universal in determining itself, that is in positing itself in the judgment, is essentially in an identical relation with this expelled determinateness as such, that is, it is essential that the determinateness is not posited as a mere contingency. It is only through this necessity of its immediate being that the categorical judgment conforms to its objective universality and in this way it has passed over into the hypothetical judgment.

(b) The Hypothetical Judgment

§ 1409

If A is, then B is; or, the being of A is not its own being, but the being of another, of B. What is posited in this judgment is the necessary connection of immediate determinatenesses, a connection which is not yet posited in the categorical judgment. There are here two immediate Existences or external contingencies, of which in the categorical judgment there is at first only one, the subject; but since one is external to the other, this other is also external to the first. In accordance with this immediacy, the content of the two sides is still mutually indifferent; hence this judgment is in the first instance a proposition of empty form. Now in the first place the immediacy is indeed as such a self-subsistent, concrete being; but secondly, the relation of this being is the essential point; therefore this being is just as much a mere possibility; the hypothetical judgment involves, not that A is or that B is, but only that if one is, then the other is; only the connection of the extremes is posited as being, not the extremes themselves. On the contrary, in this necessity each extreme is posited as equally the being of an other. The principle of identity affirms that A is only A, not B; and that B is only B, not A; in the hypothetical judgment, on the contrary, the being of finite things is posited by the Notion in accordance with their formal truth, namely that the finite is its own being, but equally is not its own being, but that of an other. In the sphere of being, the finite alters and becomes an other; in the sphere of essence it is Appearance, and being is posited as consisting in the reflection of an other in it, and necessity is the inner relation, not yet posited as such. But the Notion is the positing of this identity so that what is, is not an abstract self-identity but a concrete identity and is immediately in its own self the being of an other.

§ 1410

By employing reflective relationships, the hypothetical judgment can be more precisely characterised as a relationship of ground and consequent, condition and conditioned, causality, etc.

Just as in the categorical judgment substantiality appeared in the form of its Notion, so, too, does the nexus of causality in the hypothetical judgment. This and the other relationships all come under the hypothetical judgment; but here they are no longer relationships of self-subsistent sides, but these sides are essentially only moments of one and the same identity. However, in the hypothetical judgment they are not yet opposed as Notion determinations, as individual or particular to universal, but at first only as moments in general. Thus the hypothetical judgment has rather the shape of a proposition; just as the particular judgment has an indeterminate content, so the hypothetical is indeterminate in form, since its content is not determined as a relationship of subject to predicate. Yet since the being is the being of an other, for that very reason it is in itself a unity of itself and its other, and consequently universality; at the same time it is, strictly speaking, only a particular, for it is a determinate and in its determinateness is not purely self-related. But it is not the simple, abstract particularity that is posited; on the contrary, through the immediacy which the determinatenesses possess, the moments of the particularity are distinguished; at the same time, through the unity of the moments which constitutes their relation, the particularity is also their totality. What therefore is truly posited in this judgment is universality as the concrete identity of the Notion, whose determinations have no subsistence of their own but are only particularities posited in that identity. As such, it is the disjunctive judgment.

(c) The Disjunctive Judgment

§ 1411

In the categorical judgment, the Notion is objective universality and an external individuality. In the hypothetical judgment, the Notion in its negative identity emerges in this externality. Through this identity, its moments receive the same determinateness, now posited in the disjunctive judgment, that they possess immediately in the hypothetical judgment. Hence the disjunctive judgment is objective universality posited at the same time in union with the form. It therefore contains first concrete universality or the genus in simple form as the subject, and secondly the same universality but as totality of its distinct determinations. A is either B or C. This is the necessity of the Notion, in which first the identity of the two extremes is one and the same extent, content and universality; secondly they are distinguished according to the form of the Notion-determinations, but in such a manner that, by reason of that identity, this distinction is a mere form. Thirdly, the identical objective universality appears for that reason as the determination that is reflected into itself in contrast to the unessential form, that is, as the content, but a content which possesses within itself the determinateness of form, once as the simple determinateness of the genus, and again, this same determinateness developed into its difference-in which way it is the particularity of the species and their totality, the universality of the genus. The particularity in its development constitutes the predicate, for it is the more universal in so far as it embraces the entire universal sphere of the subject, and this too in its detailed particularisation.

§ 1412

A closer examination of this particularisation shows first of all that the genus constitutes the substantial universality of the species; the subject is therefore both B and C; this both-and denotes the positive identity of the particular with the universal; this objective universal completely maintains itself in its particularity. Secondly, the species mutually exclude one another; A is either B or C; for they are the specific difference of the universal sphere. This either-or is their negative relation. Yet in this they are just as identical as in their positive relation; the genus is their unity as determinate particulars. If the genus were an abstract universality as in the judgments of existence, the species would also have to be taken as only diverse and mutually indifferent; but it is not that external universality which results merely from comparison and omission but is the immanent and concrete universality of the species. An empirical disjunctive judgment lacks necessity; A is either B or C or D, etc., because the species B, C and D, etc., have already been given; strictly speaking, this cannot give us an either-or, for species of this kind constitute, as it were, a merely subjective completeness; true, one species excludes the other; but either-or excludes every further species and shuts off within itself a total sphere. This totality has its necessity in the negative unity of the objective universal, which dissolves individuality within itself and possesses it as a simple principle of difference immanent in it by which the species are determined and related. Empirical species, on the contrary, have their differences in some contingency or other which is an external principle and therefore not their principle, and consequently also not the immanent determinateness of the genus; for this reason they are also not related to one another according to their determinateness. But it is through the relation of their determinateness that the species constitute the universality of the predicate. It is here really that the so-called contrary and contradictory notions should first find their place; for in the disjunctive judgment is posited the essential difference of the Notion; but in it they at the same time also possess their truth, namely, that the contrary and contradictory themselves are each distinguished as contrary and contradictory. Species are contrary in so far as they are merely diverse, that is to say in so far as they possess through the genus as their objective nature an existence that is in and for itself; they are contradictory in so far as they exclude one another. But each of these determinations by itself is onesided and lacks truth; in the either-or of the disjunctive judgment their unity is posited as their truth, in accordance with which the species' self-subsistent existence as concrete universality is itself also the principle of the negative unity whereby they mutually exclude one another.

§ 1413

By the just demonstrated identity of subject and predicate in accordance with the negative unity, the genus in the disjunctive judgment is determined as the proximate genus. This expression indicates in the first place, a mere quantitative difference of more or less-determinations possessed by a universal in relation to a particularity coming under it. From this point of view, it remains contingent what is properly the proximate genus. In so far, however, as the genus is taken as a universal formed merely by the omission of determinations, it cannot really form a disjunctive judgment; for it is contingent whether it has retained the determinateness which constitutes the principle of the either-or; the genus would not be exhibited at all in the species according to its determinateness, and the species could only possess a contingent completeness. In the categorical judgment, the genus is at first only in this abstract form over against the subject, and therefore not necessarily the proximate genus to it and is so far external. But when the genus is a concrete, essentially determinate universality, then it is, as a simple determinateness, the unity of the moments of the Notion, which in this simplicity are only sublated, but have their real difference in the species. Accordingly, a genus is the proximate genus of a species in so far as the latter has its specific difference in the essential determinateness of the genus, and the species as a whole are differentiated by a principle that lies in the nature of the genus.

§ 1414

The aspect just considered constitutes the identity of subject and predicate from the aspect of their determinedness in general, an aspect which has been posited by the hypothetical judgment, whose necessity is an identity of immediate and diverse things and therefore essentially a negative unity. It is this negative unity in general that separates subject and predicate, but now it is itself posited as differentiated-in the subject as a simple determinateness, in the predicate as totality. This separation of subject and predicate is the difference of the Notion; and thus the totality of the species in the predicate cannot be any other difference. The reciprocal determination of the disjunctive terms is therefore given by this. It reduces to the difference of the Notion, for it is this alone that disjoins itself and in its determination reveals its negative unity. However, the species is considered here only in respect of its simple Notion determinateness, not in respect of the shape in which it has come forth from the Idea into a further self-subsistent reality; this latter is indeed dropped in the simple principle of the genus; but the essential distinction must be a moment of the Notion. In the judgment here considered, it is really the Notion's own progressive determination that now posits its disjunction; the same thing that we found, when considering the Notion, to be its essential and explicit determination, its differentiation into determinate Notions. Now because the Notion is the universal, both the positive and the negative totality of the particulars, it is itself for that very reason also immediately one of its disjunctive members; the other, however, is this universality resolved into its particularity, or the determinateness of the Notion as determinateness, that determinateness in which the universality exhibits itself as totality. If the disjunction of a genus into species has not yet attained this form, this is a proof that it has not risen to the determinateness of the Notion and has not proceeded from the Notion. Colour is either violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange or red; even the empirical confusion and impurity of such a disjunction is at once apparent; just from this aspect alone it must be termed barbarous. When colour has been grasped as the concrete unity of light and dark, then this genus contains within it the determinateness which constitutes the principle of its particularisation into species. But of these species, one must be the utterly simple colour which contains the opposition in equipose and confined and negated in the colour's intensity; over against this there must be presented the opposition of the relationship between light and dark, to which must be added, since a natural phenomenon is involved, the indifferent neutrality of the opposition. When mixtures such as violet and orange, and differences of degree, such as blue and light blue, are taken for species, this can only result from a completely thoughtless procedure that shows too little reflection even for empiricism. But this is not the place to discuss what further distinct and more precisely determined forms disjunction may have, according as they occur in the element of Nature or of spirit.

§ 1415

In the first instance, the disjunctive judgment has the members of the disjunction in its predicate; but it is itself no less disjoined; its subject and predicate are the members of the disjunction. They are the moments of the Notion, posited in their determinateness but at the same time as identical; identical (a) in the objective universality which, in the subject is the simple genus, and in the predicate is the universal sphere and the totality of the moments of the Notion, and (b) in the negative unity, in the developed connection of necessity, in accordance with which the simple determinateness in the subject is sundered into the difference of the species, and in this very difference is their essential relation and self-identity.

§ 1416

This unity, the copula of this judgment into which the extremes have coalesced through their identity, is therefore the Notion itself, and the Notion, too, as posited; the mere judgment of necessity has thereby risen into the judgment of the Notion.

D. The Judgment of the Notion

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