Studies in Hegelian Cosmology. John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart 1901


1. Throughout this chapter, I shall employ the word finite, when used without qualification, to denote anything which has any reality outside it, whether its determination is merely external, or due to its own nature. Hegel himself speaks of the self-determined as infinite. But this is inconvenient in practice, though it is based on an important truth. For it leaves without a name the difference between the whole and a part of reality, while it gives the name of infinity to a quality which has already an appropriate name – self-determination.

2. Cp. Philosophy of Religion, i. 79, ii. 268, 313, 495 (trans. i. 79, iii.

57, 105, 303).

3. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic.

4. Encyclopaedia, Section 236.

5. Sections 11-19 are taken, with some omissions, from a paper on Hegel’s Treatment of the Categories of the Idea, published in Mind, 1900, p. 145.

6. I use the word Individual here in the sense given it by Hegel (cp. especially the Subjective Notion). To use it in the popular sense in which it is equivalent to a person would be, of course, to beg the question under discussion.

7. It will be seen later that this does not mean that the individuality is subordinated to the unity, but that both moments are completely united in the concrete conception of reality, from which they are both abstractions.

8. Mind, 1899, p. 47.

9. I have endeavoured to prove this in Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. iv.

10. Cp. Mr Bradley’s Logic, Book I. Chap. vii.

11. Metaphysic, Section 96.

12. Metaphysic, Section 98. Microcosmus, Book IX. Chap. iii (iii. 533, trans. ii. 644).

13. The word reproduction seems the best we can employ, but it is rather misleading, as it may be taken to imply that the whole is active in this harmony, and the individual passive. This, as we saw from the transition to the Absolute Idea, is not the case.

14. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Sections 14, 15.

15. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Section 147.

16. Matter is, of course, used here as the contrary of Form, not of Spirit.

17. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. v.

18. Cp. Section 20.

19. Appearance and Reality, Chap. xxvx. p. 501. My references are to the edition of 1897.

20. op. cit. Chaps. ix and x.

21. op. cit. Chap. ix. pp. 88-96.

22. Cp. e.g., op. cit. Chap. xv. pp. 175-183.

23. op. cit. Chap. xxv, p. 507.

24. op. cit. Chap. xxvi, p. 509.

25. It is not, I think, justifiable to carry this line of thought so far as to assert that a state of consciousness can ever rise so high that its duration or extinction in time should be completely irrelevant. It is true that if such a state reached absolute perfection, it would not matter if it were extinguished immediately afterwards. But why is this? Only because a perfect state is an eternal one, and the eternal does not require duration in time for its perfections to he displayed in. But then the eternal is the timeless, and therefore its end in time is not only unimportant, but impossible. On the other hand, if a state does end in time, it is not completely eternal, or completely perfect, and then its end in time is not absolutely irrelevant.

If we deny that a perfect state is eternal, we have no reason to suppose that a perfect state is indifferent to its duration. But if the perfect is the eternal, it seems quite clear that no state, which is imperfect enough to cease in time, can be perfect enough to entirely disregard its cessation.

26. A more adequate consideration of this subject than is possible in prose will be found in “The Lost Leader,” and “Evelyn Hope.”

27. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Section 175.

28. Metaphysic, Section 245.

29. This will be discussed in the next Chapter, Section 88.

30. Metaphysic, Section 245.

31. The expression is no doubt flagrantly contradictory. But the contradiction may perhaps be only a necessary consequence of considering time as a whole from inside time, and thus be no evidence against the possibility of time’s eventual disappearance.

32. This might require some qualification about every form of personal relation except that form which we found reason to consider absolutely adequate. Cp. Chap. ix.

33. Cp. Chap. ii.

34. Sections 79-83.

35. Sections 216-218.

36. Sections 64-67 are taken, with some alterations and transpositions, from the paper on Hegel’s Treatment of the Categories of the Idea, already quoted. (Mind, 1900, p. 145.)

37. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. iv (iii. 560, trans. ii. 670).

38. Sections 73-78.

39. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 580, trans. ii. 688).

40. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 572, trans. ii. 680).

41. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 570, trans. ii. 678).

42. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 575, trans. ii. 683).

43. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. iv (iii. 571, trans. ii. 679).

44. Outlines of the Philosophy of Religion, Section 24.

45. Microcosmus, Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 561, trans. ii. 670).

46. If the consciousness of the personality were necessary, the personality would be necessary, for a mistaken belief in the personality would be an intellectual error, incompatible with harmony.

47. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 577-579, trans. ii. 685-687).

48. op. cit. Bk IX. Chap. xv (iii. 571, trans. ii. 679).

49. That is, as citizen. It is quite possible to maintain that the man, who is the citizen, is an eternal and adequate expression of reality, while the state in a transitory and imperfect expression of it. But then the man, in so far as he in such an eternal and adequate expression, and therefore superior to the state, is not only a citizen.

50. Sections 75-78.

51. Cp. Chap. vi.

52. Section 101.

53. Section 101.

54. Cp. Sections 276-279.

55. There is of course the abstract possibility of the good produced by each alternative being exactly equal. But the chance of this is too small to be worth considering. And, if it did occur, it is obvious that we could not go wrong, whatever we did, which would not be an unsatisfactory conclusion.

56. Philosophy of Law, Sections 99 and 100.

57. George Eliot, Felix Holt, Chap. xli.

58. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Section 207.

59. op. cit. ii. 257-282 (trans. iii. 45-72).

60. op. cit. ii. 260 (trans. iii. 48).

61. op. cit. ii. 264 (trans. iii. 53).

62. op. cit. ii. 277 (trans. iii. 67).

63. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. vii.

64. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. v.

65. Cp. Chap. v.

66. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. iv.

67. To consider this point would be beyond the limits of the present chapter. Cp. Chap. xx; also Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Sections 202-206.

68. Cp. Appearance and Reality, Chap. xxv. p. 440.

69. Kipling, Barrack-room Ballads, Dedication.

70. Philosophy of Law, Section 258, lecture note.

71. An Introduction to Social Philosophy, Chap. iii. p. 164. My references are to the edition of 1895.

72. op. cit. Chap. iii. p. 166-171.

73. op. cit. Chap. iii. p. 150.

74. op. cit. Chap. iii. p. 176.

75. Professor Mackenzie appears, in one paragraph at least, to recognize this. For in the concluding passage of Chap. iii. (p. 203) he admits, if I understand him rightly, that before we can properly call society an organism we must enquire whether the ideal human wellbeing, which is the end of society, is itself social. But since, in the passage quoted above from p. 176, he appears to assert explicitly that human well-being is, as such, social, I thought it well to deal with both positions separately. The view stated on p. 203, and developed in Chap. iv, will be considered later.

76. Cp. above Section 194, note, and the Introduction to Social Philosophy, Chap. iii. p. 203.

77. Cp. above Sections 216-218.

78. op. cit. Chap. iv. p. 260.

79. op. cit. Chap. iv. p. 260.

80. Cp. Chap. ix.

81. Self-centred does not, with Hegel, mean isolated. Indeed, the two qualities are incompatible.

82. Philosophy of Religion, ii. 221-223 (trans. iii. 426).

83. op. cit. ii. 224-226 (trans. iii. 7-10).

84. op. cit. ii. 227 (trans. iii. 11).

85. Cp. Hegel’s account of the Hindoo religion in Part II of the Philosophy of Religion; also ii. 242 (trans. iii. 28).

86. op. cit. ii. 226 (trans. iii. 10).

87. op. cit. ii. 229 (trans. iii. 13).

88. op. cit. ii. 232 (trans. iii. 16).

89. op. cit. ii. 238 (trans. iii. 23).

90. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Sections 6, 94.

91. Philosophy of Religion, II. 221-223 (trans. iii. 4-6).

92. op. cit. ii. 210 (trans. ii. 349).

93. op. cit. ii. 308 (trans. iii. 100).

94. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Sections 98-100, 131-132.

95. Philosophy of Religion, i. 194 (trans. i. 200).

96. op. cit. ii. 197 (trans. ii. 334).

97. op. cit. ii. 242 (trans. iii. 28).

98. op. cit. ii. 315 (trans. iii. 107).

99. op. cit. ii. 221 (trans. iii. 3-4).

100. Cp. above, Sections 79-83.

101. op. cit. ii. 292 (trans. iii. 83).

102. op. cit. ii. 314 (trans. iii. 106).

103. op. cit. ii 191 (trans. ii. 327).

104. op. cit. ii. 496 (trans. ii. 303).

105. The incarnation of God in the Kingdom of the Son must be carefully distinguished from God’s manifestation in Individuals. This latter is the absolute truth of God’s nature, and persists in the Kingdom of the Spirit. These Individuals are perfect Individuals, and are not, in Hegel’s terminology, finite.

106. op. cit. ii. 261 (trans. iii. 38).

107. op. cit. ii. 286 (trans. iii. 76).

108. Cp. Chap. vi.

109. Philosophy of Religion, ii. 318 (trans. iii. 110).

110. op. cit. ii. 282 (trans. iii. 72).

111. op. cit. ii. 284 (trans. iii. 75).

112. op. cit. ii. 295-307 (trans. iii. 86-99).

113. op. cit. ii. 283 (trans. iii. 73).

114. op. cit. ii. 290 (trans. iii. 81).

115. op. cit. ii. 293 (trans. iii. 84).

116. op. cit. ii. 295 (trans. iii. 86).

117. Philosophy of Religion, ii. 291 (trans. iii. 81).

118. Cp. above, Section 230.

119. Philosophy of Religion, ii. 293 (trans. iii. 84).

120. op. cit. ii. 291 (trans. iii. 82).

121. Cp. Phenomenology, IV. B. 158.

122. Philosophy of Religion, ii. 320 (trans. iii 113).

123. op. cit. ii. 258-260 (trans. iii. 45-48).

124. op. cit. ii. 260 (trans. iii. 48); cp. above Chap. vi.

125. op. cit. ii. 258-260 (trans. iii. 45-48).

126. op. cit. ii. 264 (trans. iii. 52).

127. op. cit. ii. 816 (trans. iii. 108).

128. op. cit. ii. 75 (trans. ii. 202).

129. op. cit. ii. 265 (trans. iii. 54).

130. op. cit. ii. 277 (iii. 67).

131. Cp. above, Section 14.

132. Encyclopaedia, Section 212, lecture note.

133. Cp. Phenomenology, v. B. b. 275-284.

134. Cp. above, Section 84.

135. For example, of the moral commands of Jesus he says, “for those stages in which we are occupied with absolute truth they contain nothing striking, or else they are already contained in other religions, and in the Jewish religion.” Philosophy of Religion, ii. 291 (trans. iii. 82).

136. Encyclopaedia, Section 572.

137. Philosophy of Religion, i. 188 (trans. i. 194).

138. Cp. Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic, Chap. VI.

139. Cp. Sections 14, 16.

140. Cp. Sections 219, 220.

141. Section 269.

142. Works, ii. 191.

143. Cp. Sections 219, 220.

144. I see no necessity for considering the relations between each individual and all the others to he direct. It would seem quite as possible that the relation of each individual to the majority of the others should he indirect, and through the mediation of some other individuals.