Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature

Analytical Table of Contents


§  192 Nature has presented itself as the idea in the form of otherness.
§  193 Hence nature exhibits no freedom in its existence, but only necessity and contingency.
§  194 Nature is to be viewed as a system of stages, in which one stage necessarily arises from the other.
§  195 Nature is, in itself a living whole.
§  196 The idea as nature can be named mathematics, physics, and physiology.

PART I: Mathematics

§  197 The immediate determination of nature is the abstract generality of its self-externality,-Space.
§  198 The three dimensions are merely diverse and quite indeterminate.
§  199 The relation of the point to space is the line, and the line passes over into the plane.
§  200 Negativity, thus posited for itself is time.
§  201 Time, as the negative unity of being outside of itself, is just as thoroughly abstract, ideal being.
§  202 The dimensions of time, the present, future, and past, are only that which is becoming and its dissolution.
§  203 Space and time constitute the idea in and for itself, with space the real or immediately objective side and time the purely subjective side.

PART II: Inorganic Physics

§  204 The unity of attraction and repulsion is gravity.
§  205 Matter is only (1) matter existing in itself or general; (2) elementary matter, and (3) Individualised matter.

A. Mechanics

§  206 Matter, as simply general, has at first only a quantitative difference.
§  208 The body is the indifferent content of space and time, in contrast to this form.
§  208 As the unity which binds time & space, the body essentially has motion, and the appearance of gravity.
§  209 In motion, time posits itself spatially as place, but this indifferent spatiality becomes temporal.
§  210 Gravitation is the true and determinate concept of material corporeality.
§  211 One body, therefore, is the general center of being in itself.; the particular bodies are others.
§  212 What Kepler articulated in the form of laws of celestial motion, Newton converted into the nonconceptual, reflective form of the force of gravity.
§  213 Lack their own centrality is striving towards the center lying outside of them.
§  214 The Galilean law of falling the liberation of the conceptual determinations of time and space.
§  215 The law of inertia is taken from the nature of the motion of dependent bodies, for which the motion is external.
§  216 The difference between central and dependent bodies is in the implicit being of gravity.
§  217 The determinacy of matter constitutes its being.

B. Elementary Physics

§  218 The determination of an element is the being for itself of matter.

(a) Elementary Particles

§  219 This existing self of matter is light.
§  220 As the abstract self of matter, light is absolutely lightweight, and as matter, infinite.
§  221 The ineptitude, tastelessness, even dishonesty of Newton's observations and experimentations.
§  222 Light is the active identity which posits everything as identical.
§  223 The lunar and the cometary body.
§  224 The earth or the planet.

(b) The Elements

§  225 The body of individuality constitute general physical elements.
§  226 Air is a transparent but just as elastic fluid, which absorbs and penetrates everything.
§  227 Fire is materialised time.
§  228 Water can assume a gaseous and a solid state apart from its characteristic state of internal indeterminacy.
§  229 Earth is the element of the developed difference.

(c) The Elementary Process

§  230 The meteorological process.
§  231 The earth is continuously ignited by its primordial relationship to the sun.
§  232 The thunderstorm.
§  233 The elements present themselves as being unified together in concrete points of unity.

C. The Physics of Individuality

§  234 The individual body is matter, brought together by the particularity of the elements.

(a) Shape

§  235 Shape is the specific inward coherence of matter and its external border in space.
§  236 Density of matter, the relation of the weight of its mass to the volume.
§  237 Brittleness.
§  238 Magnetism.
§  239 The sphere, the shape of the real absence of shape.
§  240 Cohesion.
§  241 Crystallisation.
§  242 The body retains its individual determinacy in resistance to external force.
§  243 Noise.
§  244 Capacity for heat.

(b) The Particularisation of Differences

§  245 The ancient, general idea that each body consists of the four elements.
§  246 Opacity, colour, odour saltiness, acidity, and taste.
§  247 These bodies are isolated from each other, but as individuals they also stand in relation to each other.
§  248 Sound, electricity.
§  249 Positive and negative electricity is an instance of how empiricism suspends itself.
§  250 The chemical process.

(c) The Process of Isolation

§  251 The chemical process has its products as a presupposition.
§  252 The decomposition of water into opposed moments.
§  253 Oxidation.
§  254 Nitrogen.
§  255 Nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon,.
§  256 Salt.
§  257 Empirical chemistry orders the products according to superficial and abstract determinations.
§  258 The chemical process is, in general terms, life.
§  259 The immediate chemical process; — the organism.

PART III: Organic Physics

§  260 The individual body has attained selfhood and become subjective. ... the idea has entered into existence, initially as an immediate existence, Life.

A. Geological Nature

§  261 Presupposed by subjective totality itself the body of the earth is only the shape of the organism.
§  262 Forms manifest themselves as the unfolding of an underlying idea, a past one.
§  263 Mountain ranges, and so on.
§  264 The physical organisation of the earth shows a series of stages of granitic activity.
§  265 General individuality now emerges for itself and life becomes vital or real.

B. Vegetable Nature

§  266 The plant differentiates itself into distinct parts and falls into pieces as several individuals.
§  267 Reproduction of the single individual coincides in this way with the process of genus formation.
§  268 Life is essentially the concept which realises itself only through self-division and reunification.
§  269 The plant is torn out of itself by light and multiplied into a multiplicity.
§  270 The plant brings forth its light as its own self in the blossom.
§  271 The plant in this way offers itself as a sacrifice.
§  272 The plant suspends the immediate individuality, and grounds the transition into the higher organism.

C. Animal Organism

§  273 In its outward process the organism inwardly preserves the unity of the self.
§  274 The animal has contingent self-movement because its subjectivity is ideality torn from gravity.
§  275 It is only as a selfreproducing entity, not as an existing one, that the animal organism is living.
§  276 Sensibility; irritability and reproduction.
§  277 The animal divides itself into three systems, the head, thorax, and the abdomen.
§  278 The idea of the living organism is the manifested unity of the concept with its reality.
§  279 The simple feeling of self.
§  280 Animal organisation differentiates itself into the multiple sensory qualities of inorganic nature.
§  281 The senses.
§  282 Only what is living feels a lack.
§  283 The animal is an individual entity, and therefore turns back constantly from its satisfaction to need.
§  284 The seizure of the external object is the beginning of the unification of the object with the living animal.
§  285 The opposition of the subject to its immediate assimilation.
§  286 Digestion.
§  287 The end product of its activity are that which it already is originally and at the beginning.
§  288 Sexual difference.
§  289 Sex drive.
§  290 The inadequacy of its single actuality drives each to have its self-feeling only in the other of its genus.
§  291 The product is only implicitly this genus and distinct from the individuals which have perished in it.
§  292 Comparative anatomy seeks to arrange its material to accord with reason.
§  293 The individual organism can not accord with its determination.
§  294 Disease, fever and healing.
§  295 Medicine provokes the organism to remove the inorganic power with which it is entangled.
§  296 The animal's subjectivity is only the concept in itself but not itself for itself .
§  297 In death the individual achieves only an abstract objectivity.
§  298 Nature passes over into its truth, the subjectivity of the concept, whose objectivity is itself the suspended immediacy of individuality, the concrete generality, the concept which has the concept as its existence — into the Spirit.

See also Hegel and Evolution and From Logic to Nature by Stephen Houlgate.

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