Part One of the Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences: The Logic

Third Subdivision: The Notion
First SubDivision: The Subjective Notion

(b) The Judgment continued

The Development of the Judgment
[a] Qualitative Judgment - [b] Judgment of Reflection - [c] Judgment of Necessity - [d] Judgment of the Notion

§ 171

At first, subject, predicate, and the specific content or the identity are, even in their relation, still put in the judgment as different and divergent. By implication, however, that is, in their notion, they are identical. For the subject is a concrete totality, which means not any indefinite multiplicity, but individuality alone, the particular and the universal in an identity: and the predicate too in the very same unity (§ 170). The copula again, even while stating the identity of subject and predicate, does so at first only by an abstract ‘is’. Conformably to such an identity the subject has to be put also in the characteristic of the predicate. By this means the latter also receives the characteristic of the former: so that the copula receives its full complement and full force. Such is the continuous specification by which the judgment, through a copula charged with content, comes to be a syllogism. As it is primarily exhibited in the judgment, this gradual specification consists in giving to an originally abstract, sensuous universality the specific character of allness, of species, of genus, and finally of the developed universality of the notion.

After we are made aware of this continuous specification of the judgment, we can see a meaning and an interconnection in what are usually stated as the kinds of judgment. Not only does the ordinary enumeration seem purely casual, but it is also superficial, and even bewildering in its statement of their distinctions. The distinction between positive, categorical, and assertory judgments is either a pure invention of fancy, or is left undetermined. On the right theory, the different judgments follow necessarily from one another, and present the continuous specification of the notion; for the judgment itself is nothing but the notion specified.

When we look at the two preceding spheres of Being and Essence, we see that the specified notions as judgments are reproductions of these spheres, but put in the simplicity of relation peculiar to the notion.

The various kinds of judgment are no empirical aggregate. They are a systematic whole based on a principle; and it was one of Kant’s great merits to have first emphasised the necessity of showing this. His proposed division, according to the headings in his table of categories, into judgments of quality, quantity, relation, and modality, cannot be called satisfactory, partly from the merely formal application of this categorical rubric, partly on account of their content. Still it rests upon a true perception of the fact that the different species of judgment derive their features from the universal forms of the logical idea itself. If we follow this clue, it will supply us with three chief kinds of judgment parallel to the stages of Being, Essence, and Notion. The second of these kinds, as required by the character of Essence, which is the stage of differentiation, must be doubled. We find the inner ground for that systematisation of judgments in the circumstance that when the Notion, which is the unity of Being and Essence in a comprehensive thought, unfolds, as it does in the judgment, it must reproduce these two stages in a transformation proper to the notion. The notion itself meanwhile is seen to mould and form the genuine grade of judgment.

Far from occupying the same level, and being of equal value, the different species of judgment form a series of steps, the difference of which rests upon the logical significance of the predicate. That judgments differ in value is evident in our ordinary ways of thinking. We should not hesitate to ascribe a very slight faculty of judgment to a person who habitually framed only such judgments as ‘This wall is green’, ‘This stove is hot’. On the other hand we should credit with a genuine capacity of judgment the person whose criticisms dealt with such questions as whether a certain work of art was beautiful, whether a certain action was good, and so on. In judgments of the first-mentioned kind the content forms only an abstract quality, the presence of which can be sufficiently detected by immediate perception. To pronounce a work of art to be beautiful, or an action to be good, requires on the contrary a comparison of the objects with what they ought to be, i.e. with their notion.

[a] Qualitative Judgment

§ 172

The immediate judgment is the judgment of definite Being. The subject is invested with a universality as its predicate, which is an immediate, and therefore a sensible quality. It may be (1) a Positive judgment: The individual is a particular. But the individual is not a particular: or in more precise language, such a single quality is not congruous with the concrete nature of the subject. This is (2) a Negative judgment.

It is one of the fundamental assumptions of dogmatic Logic that Qualitative judgments such as ‘The rose is red’ or ‘is not red’ can contain truth. Correct they may be, i.e. in the limited circle of perception, of finite conception and thought: that depends on the content, which likewise is finite, and, on its own merits, untrue. Truth, however, as opposed to correctness, depends solely on the form, viz. on the notion as it is put and the reality corresponding to it. But truth of that stamp is not found in the Qualitative judgment.

In common life the terms truth and correctness are often treated as synonymous: we speak of the truth of a content, when we are only thinking of its correctness. Correctness, generally speaking, concerns only the formal coincidence between our conception and its content, whatever the constitution of this content may be. Truth, on the contrary, lies in the coincidence of the object with itself, that is, with its notion. That a person is sick, or that some one has committed a theft, may certainly be correct. But the content is untrue. A sick body is not in harmony with the notion of body, and there is a want of congruity between theft and the notion of human conduct. These instances may show that an immediate judgment in which an abstract quality is predicated of an immediately individual thing, however correct it may be, cannot contain truth. The subject and predicate of it do not stand to each other in the relation of reality and notion.

We may add that the untruth of the immediate judgment lies in the incongruity between its form and content. To say ‘This rose is red’ involves (in virtue of the copula ‘is’) the coincidence of subject and predicate. The rose however is a concrete thing, and so is not red only: it has also an odour, a specific form, and many other features not implied in the predicate red. The predicate on its part is an abstract universal, and does not apply to the rose alone. There are other flowers and other objects which are red too. The subject and predicate in the immediate judgment touch, as it were, only in a single point, but do not cover each other. The case is different with the notional judgment. In pronouncing an action to be good, we frame a notional judgment. Here, as we at once perceive, there is a closer and a more intimate relation than in the immediate judgment. The predicate in the latter is some abstract quality which may or may not be applied to the subject. In the judgment of the notion the predicate is, as it were, the soul of the subject, by which the subject, as the body of this soul, is characterised through and through.

§ 173

This negation of a particular quality, which is the first negation, still leaves the connection of the subject with the predicate subsisting. The predicate is in that manner a sort of relative universal, of which a special phase only has been negatived. (To say, that the rose is not red, implies that it is still coloured – in the first place with another colour; which however would be only one more positive judgment.) The individual, however, is not a universal. Hence (3) the judgment suffers disruption into one of two forms. It is either (a) the Identical judgment, an empty identical relation stating that the individual is the individual; or it is (b) what is called the Infinite judgment, in which we are presented with the total incompatibility of subject and predicate.

Examples of the latter are: ‘The mind is no elephant’; ‘A lion is no table’; propositions which are correct but absurd, exactly like the identical propositions: ‘A lion is a lion’; ‘Mind is mind.’ Propositions like these are undoubtedly the truth of the immediate, or, as it is called, Qualitative judgment. But they are not judgments at all, and can only occur in a subjective thought where even an untrue abstraction may hold its ground. In their objective aspect, these latter judgments express the nature of what is, or of sensible things, which, as they declare, suffer disruption into an empty identity on the one hand, and on the other a fully-charged relation only that this relation is the qualitative antagonism of the things related, their total incongruity.

The negatively infinite judgment, in which the subject has no relation whatever to the predicate, gets its place in the Formal Logic solely as a nonsensical curiosity. But the infinite judgment is not really a mere casual form adopted by subjective thought. It exhibits the proximate result of the dialectical process in the immediate judgments preceding (the positive and simply-negative), and distinctly displays their finitude and untruth. Crime may be quoted as an objective instance of the negatively infinite judgment. The person committing a crime, such as a theft, does not, as in a suit about civil rights, merely deny the particular right of another person to some one definite thing. He denies the right of that person in general, and therefore he is not merely forced to restore what he has stolen, but is punished in addition, because he has violated law as law, i.e. law in general. The civil-law suit on the contrary is an instance of the negative judgment pure and simple where merely the particular law is violated, while law in general is so far acknowledged. Such a dispute is precisely paralleled by a negative judgment, like, ‘This flower is not red’: by which we merely deny the particular colour of the flower, but not its colour in general, which may be blue, yellow, or any other. Similarly death, as a negatively infinite judgment, is distinguished from disease as simply-negative. In disease, merely this or that function of life is checked or negatived: in death, as we ordinarily say, body and soul part, i.e. subject and predicate utterly diverge.

[b] Judgment of Reflection

§ 174

The individual put as individual (i.e. as reflected-into-self) into the judgment, has a predicate, in comparison with which the subject, as self-relating, continues to be still an other thing. In existence the subject ceases to be immediately qualitative, it is in correlation, and interconnection with an other thing — with an external world. In this way the universality of the predicate comes to signify this relativity (e.g. useful, or dangerous; weight or acidity; or again, instinct; are examples of such relative predicates).

The judgment of Reflection is distinguished from the Qualitative judgment by the circumstance that its predicate is not an immediate or abstract quality, but of such a kind as to exhibit the subject as in relation to something else. When we say, e.g. ‘This rose is red’, we regard the subject in its immediate individuality, and without reference to anything else. If, on the other hand, we frame the judgment, ‘This plant is medicinal’, we regard the subject, plant, as standing in connection with something else (the sickness which it cures), by means of its predicate (its medicinality). The case is the same with judgments like: This body is elastic; This instrument is useful; This punishment has a deterrent influence. In every one of these instances the predicate is some category of reflection. They all exhibit an advance beyond the immediate individuality of the subject, but none of them goes so far as to indicate the adequate notion of it. It is in this mode of judgment that ordinary raisonnement luxuriates. The greater the concreteness of the object in question, the more points of view does it offer to reflection; by which however its proper nature or notion is not exhausted.

§ 175

(1) Firstly then the subject, the individual as individual (in the Singular judgment), is a universal. But (2) secondly, in this relation it is elevated above its singularity. This enlargement is external, due to subjective reflection, and at first is an indefinite number of particulars. (This is seen in the Particular judgment, which is obviously negative as well as positive: the individual is divided in itself: partly it is self-related, partly related to something else.) (3) Thirdly, Some are the universal: particularity is thus enlarged to universality: or universality is modified through the individuality of the subject, and appears as allness Community, the ordinary universality of reflection.

The subject, receiving, as in the Singular judgment, a universal predicate, is carried out beyond its mere individual self. To say, ‘This plant is wholesome’, implies not only that this single plant is wholesome, but that some or several are so. We have thus the particular judgment (some plants are wholesome, some men are inventive, etc.). By means of particularity the immediate individual comes to lose its independence, and enters into an interconnection with something else. Man, as this man, is not this single man alone: he stands beside other men and becomes one in the crowd. Just by this means however he belongs to his universal, and is consequently raised. The particular judgment is as much negative as positive. If only some bodies are elastic, it is evident that the rest are not elastic.

On this fact again depends the advance to the third form of the Reflective judgment, viz. the judgment of allness (all men are mortal, all metals conduct electricity). It is as ‘all’ that the universal is in the first instance generally encountered by reflection. The individuals form for reflection the foundation, and it is only our subjective action which collects and describes them as ‘all’. So far the universal has the aspect of an external fastening, that holds together a number of independent individuals, which have not the least affinity towards it. This semblance of indifference is however unreal: for the universal is the ground and foundation, the root and substance of the individual. If e.g. we take Caius, Titus, Sempronius, and the other inhabitants of a town or country, the fact that all of them are men is not merely something which they have in common, but their universal or kind, without which these individuals would not be at all. The case is very different with that superficial generality falsely so called, which really means only what attaches, or is common, to all the individuals. It has been remarked, for example, that men, in contradistinction from the lower animals, possess in common the appendage of ear-lobes. It is evident, however, that the absence of these ear-lobes in one man or another would not affect the rest of his being, character, or capacities: whereas it would be nonsense to suppose that Caius, without being a man, would still be brave, learned, etc. The individual man is what he is in particular, only in so far as he is before all things a man as man and in general. And that generality is not something external to, or something in addition to, other abstract qualities, or to mere features discovered by reflection. It is what permeates and includes in it everything particular.

§ 176

This subject being thus likewise characterised as a universal, there is an express identification of subject and predicate, by which at the same time the speciality of the judgment-form is deprived of all importance. This unity of the content (the content being the universality which is identical with the negative reflection-in-self of the subject) makes the connection in judgment a necessary one.

The advance from the reflective judgment of allness to the judgment of necessity is found in our usual modes of thought, when we say that whatever appertains to all, appertains to the species, and is therefore necessary. To say all plants, or all men, is the same thing as to say the plant, or the man.

[c] Judgment of Necessity

§ 177

The Judgment of Necessity, i.e. of the identity of the content in its difference (1), contains, in the predicate, partly the substance or nature of the subject, the concrete universal, the genus; partly, seeing that this universal also contains the specific-character as negative, the predicate represents the exclusive essential character, the species. This is the Categorical judgment.

(2) Conformably to their substantiality, the two terms receive the aspect of independent actuality. Their identity is then inward only; and thus the actuality of the one is at the same time not its own but the being of the other. This is the Hypothetical judgment.

(3) If, in this self-surrender and self-alienation of the notion, its inner identity is at the same time explicitly put, the universal is the genus which is self-identical in its mutually exclusive individualities. This judgment, which has this universal for both its terms, the one time as a universal, the other time as the circle of its self-excluding particularisation in which the ‘either-or’ as much as the ‘as well as’ stands for the genus, is the Disjunctive judgment. Universality, at first as a genus, and now also as the circuit of its species, is thus described and expressly put as a totality.

The Categorical judgment (such as ‘Gold is a metal’, ‘The rose is a plant’) is the unmediated judgment of necessity, and finds within the sphere of Essence its parallel in the relation of substance. All things are a Categorical judgment. In other words, they have their substantial nature, forming their fixed and unchangeable substratum. It is only when things are studied from the point of view of their kind, and as with necessity determined by the kind, that the judgment first begins to be real. It betrays a defective logical training to place upon the same level judgments like ‘gold is dear’ and judgments like ‘gold is a metal’. That ‘gold is dear’ is a matter of external connection between it and our wants or inclinations, the costs of obtaining it, and other circumstances. Gold remains the same as it was, though that external reference is altered or removed. Metalleity, on the contrary, constitutes the substantial nature of gold, apart from which it, and all else that is in it, or can be predicated of it, would be unable to subsist. The same is the case if we say, ‘Caius is a man.’ We express by that, that whatever else he may be has worth and meaning only when it corresponds to his substantial nature or manhood.

But even the Categorical judgment is to a certain extent defective. It fails to give due place to the function or element of particularity. Thus ‘gold is a metal’, it is true; but so are silver, copper, iron: and metalleity as such has no leanings to any of its particular species. In these circumstances we must advance from the Categorical to the Hypothetical judgment, which may be expressed in the formula: If A is, B is. The present case exhibits the same advance as formerly took place from the relation of substance to the relation of cause. In the Hypothetical judgment the specific character of the content shows itself mediated and dependent on something else: and this is exactly the relation of cause and effect. And if we were to give a general interpretation to the Hypothetical judgment, we should say that it expressly realises the universal in its particularising. This brings us to the third form of the judgment of Necessity, the Disjunctive judgment. A is either B or C or D. A work of poetic art is either epic or lyric or dramatic. Colour is either yellow or blue or red. The two terms in the Disjunctive judgment are identical. The genus is the sum total of the species, and the sum total of the species is the genus. This unity of the universal and the particular is the notion: and it is the notion which, as we now see, forms the content of the judgment.

[d] Judgment of the Notion

§ 178

The Judgment of the Notion has for its content the notion, the totality in simple form, the universal with its complete speciality, The subject is, (1) in the first place, an individual, which has for its predicate the reflection of the particular existence on its universal; or the judgment states the agreement or disagreement of these two aspects. That is, the predicate is such a term as good, true, correct. This is the Assertory judgment.

Judgments, such as whether an object, action, etc., is good, bad, true, beautiful, etc., are those to which even ordinary language first applies the name of judgment. We should never ascribe judgment to a person who framed positive or negative judgments like: This rose is red, This picture is red, green, dusty, etc.

The Assertory judgment, although rejected by society as out of place when it claims authority on its own showing, has however been made the single and all-essential form of doctrine, even in philosophy, through the influence of the principle of immediate knowledge and faith. In the so-called philosophic works which maintain this principle, we may read hundreds and hundreds of assertions about reason, knowledge, thought, etc., which, now that external authority counts for little, seek to accredit themselves by an endless restatement of the same thesis.

§ 179

On the part of its at first unmediated subject, the Assertory judgment does not contain the relation of particular with universal which is expressed in the predicate. This judgment is consequently a mere subjective particularity, and is confronted by a contrary assertion with equal right, or rather want of right. It is therefore at once turned into (2) a Problematical judgment. But when we explicitly attach the objective particularity to the subject and make its speciality the constitutive feature of its existence, the subject (3) then expresses the connection of that objective particularity with its constitution, i.e. with its genus; and thus expresses what forms the content of the predicate (see § 178). (This (the immediate individuality) house (the genus), being so and so constituted (particularity), is good or bad.) This is the Apodeictic judgment. All things are a genus (i.e. have a meaning and purpose) in an individual actuality of a particular constitution. And they are finite, because the particular in them may and also may not conform to the universal.

§ 180

In this manner subject and predicate are each the whole judgment. The immediate constitution of the subject is at first exhibited as the intermediating ground, where the individuality of the actual thing meets with its universality, and in this way as the ground of the judgment. What has been really made explicit is the oneness of subject and predicate, as the notion itself, filling up the empty ‘is’ of the copula. While its constituent elements are at the same time distinguished as subject and predicate, the notion is put as their unity, as the connection which serves to intermediate them: in short, as the Syllogism.

Syllogism (next section)

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