Hegel’s Science of Logic

The Judgment of the Notion

(a) The Assertoric Judgment

§ 1422

The judgment of the Notion is at first immediate; as such it is the assertoric judgment. The subject is a concrete individual in general, and the predicate expresses this same as the relation of its actuality, determinateness, or constitution to its Notion. (This house is bad, this action is good.) More precisely, therefore, it involves (a) that the subject ought to be something; its universal nature has posited itself as the self-subsistent Notion; and (b) particularity which, not only on account of its immediacy but also on account of its express differentiation from its self-subsistent universal nature, appears as an external existence with such and such a constitution; this, on its side, because of the Notion's self-subsistence, is also indifferent to the universal and may or may not conform to it. This constitution is the individuality, which lies beyond the necessary determination of the universal in the disjunctive judgment, a determination which only appears as the particularisation of the species and as the negative principle of the genus. Thus the concrete universality which has emerged from the disjunctive judgment is sundered in the assertoric judgment into the form of extremes, to which the Notion itself as the posited unity that relates them is still lacking.

§ 1423

For this reason the judgment is so far merely assertoric; the verification is a subjective assurance. The fact that something is good or bad, correct, suitable or not, is connected with an external third factor. But the fact that the connection is externally posited means that it is, at first, only implicit or internal. When therefore something is good or bad, etc. no one will suppose that it is, say, good only in subjective consciousness but perhaps bad in itself, or that good and bad, correct, suitable, etc., are not predicates of the objects themselves. The merely subjective element in the assertion of this judgment consists therefore in the fact that the implicit connection of subject and predicate is not yet posited, or, what is the same thing, that it is only external; the copula is still an immediate, abstract being.

§ 1424

Accordingly, the assurance of the assertoric judgment is confronted with equal right by its contradictory. When one is assured that 'this action is good', then the opposite assurance that 'this action is bad', is equally justified. Or, considering the judgment in itself, because the subject of the judgment is an immediate individual, in this abstraction it does not as yet possess posited within it the determinateness that should contain its relation to the universal Notion; thus the subject is still something contingent which may or may not conform to the Notion. The judgment is therefore essentially problematic.

(b) The Problematic Judgment

§ 1425

The problematic judgment is the assertoric in so far as the latter must be taken both positively and negatively. From this qualitative side, the particular judgment is likewise a problematic one, for it is equally valid positively and negatively; similarly, in the hypothetical judgment, the being of the subject and predicate is problematic; also, it is posited by the particular and hypothetical judgments that the individual and the categorical judgments are as yet merely subjective. But in the problematic judgment as such this positing is more immanent than in the judgments just mentioned, because in it the content of the predicate is the relation of the subject to the Notion, and here, therefore, the determination of the immediate as something contingent is itself given.

§ 1426

At first, it appears only problematic whether the predicate is to be coupled with a certain subject or not, and so far the indeterminateness falls in the copula. From this, no determination can emerge for the predicate, for this is already the objective, concrete universality. The problematic element, therefore, concerns the immediacy of the subject which is hereby determined as a contingency. But further, we must not for that reason abstract from the individuality of the subject; if this latter were purged of its individuality altogether, it would be merely a universal; the predicate contains just this, that the Notion of the subject is to be posited in relation to its individuality. We cannot say: the house or a house is good, but: according to its constitution. The problematic element in the subject itself constitutes its moment of contingency, the subjectivity of the thing over against its objective nature or its Notion, its merely contingent mode or its constitution.

§ 1427

Hence the subject itself is differentiated into its universality or objective nature, what it ought to be, and the particular constitution of its existence. Thus it contains the ground of its being or not being what it ought to be. In this way, it is equated with the predicate. The negativity of the problematic element, in so far as it is directed against the immediacy of the subject, accordingly means only this original partition of the subject which is already in itself the unity of the universal and particular, into these its moments-a partition which is the judgment itself.

§ 1428

It may further be remarked that each of the two sides of the subject, its Notion and its constitution, could be called its subjectivity. The Notion is the universal essence of a thing or a fact [Sache] withdrawn into itself, its negative unity with itself; this constitutes its subjectivity. But a thing is also essentially contingent and has an external constitution; this may equally be called the mere subjectivity of the thing in contrast to the other side, its objectivity. The thing itself is just this, that its Notion, as the negative of itself, negates its universality and projects itself into the externality of individuality. The subject of the judgment is here posited as this duality; those opposite significations of subjectivity are, in accordance with their truth, brought into a unity. The signification of the subjective element has itself become problematic by reason of its having lost the immediate determinateness which it possessed in the immediate judgment, and its determinate opposition to the predicate. This opposite signification of subjective which occurs even in the ratiocination of ordinary reflection might of itself at least draw attention to the fact that subjectivity in one of these significations alone, has no truth. The twofold signification is the manifestation of this truth that each by itself is one-sided.

§ 1429

When the problematic element is thus posited as the problematic element of the thing, as the thing with its constitution, then the judgment itself is no longer problematic, but apodeictic.

(c) The Apodeictic Judgment

§ 1430

The subject of the apodeictic judgment (the house constituted so and so is good, the action constituted so and so is right) has within it, first, the universal, what it ought to be, and secondly, its constitution; this latter contains the ground why a predicate of the Notion judgement applies or does not apply to the whole subject, that is, whether the subject corresponds to its Notion or not.

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