John McTaggart A Commentary on Hegel’s Logic 1910
Appearance       |     Appearance

Chapter VI

132. Appearance (Die Erscheinung) is divided as follows:

I. Existence. (Die Existenz.)

A. The Thing, and its Properties. (Das Ding und seine Eigenschaften.)

(a) The Thing in itself and Existence. (Ding an sich und Existenz.)
(b) Property. (Die Eigenschaft.)
(c) The Reciprocal Action of Things. (Die Wechselwirkung der Dinge.)

B. The Constitution. of the Thing out of Matters. (Das Bestehen des Dings aus Materien.)

C. The Dissolution of the Thing. (Die Auflösung des Dings.)

II. Appearance. (Die Erscheinung.)

A. The Law of Appearance. (Das Gesetz der Erscheinung.)

B. The World of Appearance and the World in itself. (Die erscheinende und die an-sich-seiende Welt.)

C. The Dissolution of Appearance. (Die Auflösung der Erscheinung.)

III. Essential Relation. (Das wesentliche Verhältniss.)

A. The Relation of Whole and Parts. (Das Verhältniss des Ganzen und der Theile.)

B. The Relation of Force and its Manifestation. (Das Verhältniss der Kraft und ihrer Aeusserung.)

(a) The Conditionedness of Force. (Das Bedingtsein der Kraft.)
(b) The Solicitation of Force. (Die Sollicitation der Kraft.)
(c) The Infinity of Force. (Die Unendlichkelt der Kraft.)

C. The Relation of Inner and Outer. (Verhältniss des Innern und Aeussern.)

It will be seen that Appearance is used ambiguously, as the name of the whole secondary division, which we are here considering, and also as the name of its second tertiary division.


133. (G. L. ii. 120.) Hegel, as we saw in the last chapter, defines Existence as “an Immediacy, mediated through Ground and Condition, and identical with itself through the transcending, of the mediation” (G. L. ii. 118). This goes too far, if we take it literally. If Existence were really constituted by transcending mediation, and so was identical with itself, there would be no more difference, here or in any subsequent category, between Surface and Substratum. But such a distinction exists, as we shall see, throughout all the categories of Appearance. We must therefore regard this definition as exaggerated.

On the next page we find a more moderate statement. “The doctrine of Being contains the first proposition: Being is Essence. The second proposition: Essence is Being, constitutes the content of the firs t division of the doctrine of Essence. But this Being, to which Essence has determined itself, is Essential Being (das wesentliche Sein), Existence, that which has emerged from negativity and inwardness” (G. L. ii. 119).

Here the meaning does not appear to be that Existence is completely immediate, but that its immediacy is greater than that of the categories in the first division of Essence. And this is correct. The typical conception in Existence is that of the Thing and its Properties, and the relation between a Thing and its Properties is, I think, to be considered as closer than that between a Ground and the thing which is Grounded.

Now if the connexion is closer, the category may be called more immediate. The Surface is always immediate; immediacy is its distinguishing characteristic. The Surface, however, has to be referred for explanation to a Substratum. In so far as this Substratum is distantly and negatively related to the Surface, the reality as a whole will not be immediate. In so far as the relation is close and positive, and the immediate Surface expresses the nature of the Substratum, the reality as a whole is to be looked on as immediate.

To this extent, therefore, Hegel would be right in asserting the greater Immediacy of Essence. But I think he goes further. The extreme expressions, indeed, which indicate absence of all mediation, cannot be taken literally. It is evident he does not mean them literally, since, as has been said, each of the categories of Existence is described by him as having both a Surface and a Substratum. But when this correction has been made, there remain so many expressions emphasising the immediacy of Existence, that it seems difficult to deny that he maintained some sudden and exceptional increase in immediacy at this point — perhaps, indeed, an increase which was not maintained in subsequent categories.

Here, I think, he is wrong. Existence is more immediate than Ground, but, so far as I can see, only in the same way in which Ground is more immediate than Essentialities, and Essentialities than Show. In the same way, Appearance (the tertiary division) seems to me more immediate than Existence, and Essential Relation, again, more immediate than Appearance. If the Thing is more closely connected with its Properties than the Ground is with the Grounded, the Law again is more closely connected with its examples, than the Thing is with its Properties. Hegel’s emphasis on the immediacy of Existence must thus, I think, be considered excessive.

134. The first subdivision of Existence is

A. The Thing and its Properties.

(G. L. ii. 124.) The different elements of the Fact were Conditions of one another. Thus a fresh unity is substituted for the unity of Ground, which has disappeared. The various elements were directly connected among themselves. They belong to this Fact, and not to another. They are thus mediated by their relation to this unity. The Substratum is now the union of various elements of the Surface, instead of being, as in Ground, one of those elements. Thus we get the category of the Thing and its Properties.

It will be observed that there is no new element introduced here into our conception. Both Things and Properties had been already recognised. The Properties which we have here are only the Qualities, which we have had previously, under another name. And a Thing, for Hegel, is that which has Qualities or Properties. Thus the dialectic has been considering things ever since it reached, at the end of Quantity, the conception of a subject with a plurality of Qualities.

Hegel has not given them the name of Things before this point, but the conception of a thing is the conception which he has previously employed.

In what way, then, is this a new category? It is a new category because a different element is selected for the Substratum. The conception which runs all through Essence is that the explanation of reality lies. in the relation between one element of it and the rest. In Ground the element which formed the Substratum was a Quality. Now that we have been driven beyond the category of Ground, we find that in abandoning it we have emphasised another principle of unity. If the multiplicity of the surface can be united by the fact that different things have a common Ground, it can also be united by the fact that different Qualities belong to the same thing. And as the first relation has proved inadequate as an explanation, we proceed to the second. It is the union of different Qualities in the same thing which is now the Essence-relation. Hegel now, as we said above, uses the name of Thing for the first time. The word Property, I think, is used with this slight difference from Quality, that two Things would not be said to have the same Property, though they might have similar Properties, while Qualities can be said to be common to two things. This individualising of the Property is necessary when, as is the case here, the vital point is its connexion with this particular Thing. We shall see that it is again transcended when we pass to the category of the Constitution of the Thing out of Matters.

135. The connexion between the Thing and its Properties is first taken as merely immediate. Thus we have

(a) The Thing in itself and Existence

(G. L. ii. 125), where Existence denotes the Properties — the Surface-element. The externality of the relation consists in the fact that, although the general nature of the Thing in itself requires it to have some Existence, yet there is nothing in its nature which requires it to have that particular Existence rather than any other. It “is not the Ground of the unessential Determinate Being, it is the unmoved, undetermined unity” (G. L. ii. 126). He continues, “Therefore the Reflection also, as Determinate Being mediated through another, falls outside the Thing in itself. The latter must have no definite multiplicity in itself; and so receives it first when it is brought in by external Reflection; while it remains indifferent to the multiplicity. (The thing in itself has colour first in the eye ... &c., &c.)”

In this last sentence Hegel appears to regard his Thing in itself as equivalent to Kant’s. This comes out more clearly on p. 131. “In so far as the Thing in itself is posited as the undetermined, all determination falls outside it, in a reflection which is strange to it, and against which it is indifferent. For Transcendental Idealism this external reflection is Consciousness.” And he then proceeds to point out Kant’s error in taking the conception of the Thing in itself as absolutely valid.

It seems to me, however, that this identification is erroneous. Kant’s Thing in itself differs from Hegel’s in two important respects. In the first place, Hegel’s Thing in itself does possess the characteristics which form its Existence, however imperfectly it possesses them. They are the Surface of which it is the Substratum. They earl be predicated of it, and there is nothing else of which they can be predicated. In the second place, Hegel’s Thing in itself can have no characteristics except in this imperfect way. Its fundamental nature is to be indifferent to all characteristics which belong to it.

In neither of these points does Kant’s Thing in itself resemble it. In the first place, the phenomenal qualities are not, for Kant, the characteristics of the Thing in itself at all. They may be partly caused by it (inconsistent as this is with other parts of the theory) but they are not its characteristics. It may be due to the Kantian Thing in itself, on Kant’s theory, that I have a sensation of green. But to say that the Thing in itself was green, would be simply a mistake. In the second place, Kant does not exclude the possibility of the Thing in itself having characteristics, which not only belong to it, but express its nature, so that they would be what Hegel calls Properties, and the Thing in itself would not be what Hegel. calls a Thing in itself. Such properties of the Kantian Thing in itself cannot, indeed, be known by the Pure Reason. But the Pure Reason, according to Kant, expressly recognises their possibility, and when we come to the Practical Reason we find that some of them are pronounced to be actual.

136. We now pass to Hegel’s demonstration of the inadequacy of this category. There are, he tells us (G. L. ii. 127), a multiplicity of Things in themselves. And it is clear that this follows from the multiplicity of things which, as we saw, Hegel started with at the beginning of the doctrine of Essence. The Things in themselves are simply these things transferred to the Substratum side of the relation.

The various Things in themselves are connected by their respective Existences (G. L. ii. 127). It is clear that it is only through these that they could enter into any relations, since the nature of the Thing in itself, as distinguished from its Existence, excludes any relations.

But Things in themselves, as distinct from their respective Existences, are not in any way different from one another ii. 128). They can only be distinguished by their characteristics, and these all fall within their Existence. Apart from that, all that can be said of any Thing in itself is that it is a Thing in itself which stands in an external and indifferent relation to some Existence. And as much as this can be said of any other Thing in itself.

So far the argument seems clear. But now Hegel continues: “The two Things in themselves, which ought to form the extremes of the relation, do in fact (since they are to have no definiteness as against one another) fall together into one; there is only one Thing in itself, which in the external relation relates itself to itself, and it is its own relation to itself, as if to another, which makes its definiteness. This definiteness of the Thing in itself is the Property of the Thing” (G. L. ii. 128).

But it is not evident why that which was merely Existence, when it related two Things in themselves, should now, when the two Things in themselves have become one, have ceased to be external and indifferent to the Substratum, so as to turn itself into Property, and the Things in themselves into Things. .Hegel gives no reason why the connexion should be less external and indifferent when it is with one Thin, than when it is with two.

Again, if all Things in themselves, which are connected by their Existence, run together into one, then in the end there will be only one Thing in itself. For all the Things in themselves are taken by Hegel as connected by their Existences. And as this fusing of the Things in themselves forms the transition to Things with Properties, then all reality would consist of only one Thing with Properties. But Hegel’s treatment of the next category involves that there are many Things, and not only one. And he explicitly asserts this plurality (cp, G. L. ii. 133: “The Thing in itself is therefore a Thing which has Properties, and there are therefore many Things, which separate themselves from one another through themselves, and not through an alien aspect”)

Hegel’s demonstration of the transition does not, therefore, seem satisfactory. But we can see that the transition is necessary. The conception of the Thing in itself was that its Properties, although they were its Properties, did not affect it, or form part of its nature. And this is impossible. A Property is a Quality. And the Qualities of anything are just what constitute its nature. If they could be different without producing any difference in the Thing they would not be its Qualities.

And if the Qualities of the Thing were not part of its nature, it could have no nature at all, for nothing but — Qualities of anything can form part of its nature. Thus it would have no nature, and, consequently, no reality.

We must, therefore, abandon the isolation of the Thing from its Properties. which was the characteristic of the Thing in itself, and thus we pass to (G. L. ii. 129)

(b) Property.

137. Here the nature of the Thing is seen to consist in Properties. It might seem that we had returned to such a tautology as is found in Formal Ground. But each of the properties, taken by itself, is not identical with the nature of the Thing. The nature of the Thing consists in having all Properties and uniting them. It is this element of union to is the Substratum which keeps the category from being tautological.

The Things are now in a living connexion with each other, and not in the merely external connexion which existed between Things in themselves (G. L. ii. 133). As with the Things in themselves, so the present Things also are connected by means of their Surface element, but while the Things in themselves were only externally connected with their own Existence, and consequently only externally connected with one another, here the connexion expresses their own nature. So we reach

(c) The Reciprocal Action of Things.

(G. L. ii. 132.) Things, as we have seen, are connected \X with one another through their Properties. But the only connexion that has been demonstrated is that through the similarity of Properties. Hegel, however, seems to think that I here is more. For he says (G. L. ii. 129) that the Properties are “determined relations to an Other,” which is very different from saying that they produce relations of Likeness.

He also says (G. L. ii. 129) that “a Thing has the Property to produce (bewirken) this or that in its Other.” This looks as if we had already arrived at Causality, and Hegel’s distinction between Causality and his present position is not very clear. (“The Thing. is here still only the quiescent (ruhige) Thing of many Properties; it is not yet determined as actual Cause; it is still only the Reflection of its determinations an sich, not yet itself the positing Reflection of them” (G. L. ii. 130).)

138. Having reached this result he goes on to argue that “the Property is this Reciprocal Action itself, and the Thing is nothing outside it .... Thinghood is thus degraded to the form of undetermined Identity with itself which has its Essentiality only in its Property” (G. L. ii. 133). His conclusion is “The Property, which had to constitute the relation of the stable extremes, is now therefore itself that which is stable. The Things on the other hand are the Unessential” (G. L. ii. 134). Thus the Properties are now the Substratum, and the Things the Surface. But it is not clear why all this should follow from the connexion of Things by their Properties. Even if the Properties could be reduced, as he supposes, to the Reciprocal Action of the Things, the Things are as essential to the Reciprocal Action as the Action can be to the Things, and nothing. has been introduced by which the Things should become unessential, relatively to the Properties.

Hegel confuses the transition by mentioning, as if it were relevant here, the ambiguity of Things. “A book is a Thing, and each of its leaves is a Thing, and likewise every fragment of its leaves, and so on infinitely” (G. L. ii. 133). This is quite true, but, if it were brought in here, the next category could not follow. For, as we have just seen, that category takes the Properties as stable instead of the Things. But such an ambiguity of Things as that of the book and its leaves, makes the Properties as unstable as the Things. “I am cold,” as written here, may be taken as one sentence, as three words, as seven letters, or as an indefinite number of fragments of letters. But the Properties will vary in each case. For example, the sentence has, among its Properties, truth or falsehood. The three words, taken separately, cannot be true or false, but they each possess the Property of having a meaning. The separate letters, again, have no meaning. The ambiguity of Things which Hegel mentions here does not really come in until the category of Whole and Parts at the earliest.

The name of the present category also seems unfortunate. For the new conception in it is not the Reciprocal Action of Things, which, if Hegel’s argument were right, would have been reached in the category of Property, but the transfer of stability from the Things to the Properties.

The name of Property now becomes inappropriate to such stable existences. Hegel calls them Matters. Thus we reach

B. The Constitution of the Thing out of Matters.

(G. L. ii. 135), which may be called, for brevity, the category of Matters and Things. Matters correspond to Qualities, rather than to Properties, since the same Matter is to be found in many Things (G. L. ii. 135), while Things had similar Properties, but did not share the same Property. An identical Quality might form two separate though similar Properties, for they would be distinguished by the fact that it was the nature of one to belong to one Thing, and of the second to belong to another Thing. But Matters have to be determined independently of the Things which they constitute, for it is the Matters, not the Things, which are stable. And thus what was two similar Properties in the last category, is here replaced by a single Matter.

The Things, though now subordinate in importance, still remain. The Thing is now defined by enumeration of the Matters which constitute it. It is simply made up of its constituent Matters. It is a mere “Also” (''Auch,'’ G. L. ii. 138.) There is Matter A, and Matter B, and the simple juxtaposition of these is the Thing.

139. Hegel now finds a contradiction in this category, on the ground, apparently, that if the Matters are really united by the Thing they will have to exist “in one another’s pores!’ (This is clearly only a metaphor, but what is meant by it is very difficult to see.) In that case they will not be as stable as the nature of Matters requires. On the other hand, if they are not really united by the Thing — if the Thing is a mere Also — it will not be a true Thing at all (G. L. ii. 139, 140).

This argument leads him to

C. The Dissolution of the Thing.

(G.L .ii.138.) The name is somewhat misleading, for the Thing is in no greater difficulties than the Matters. But what Hegel appears to mean is that this category marks the break down of the attempt to explain the universe by the correlative conceptions of Thing on one side and of Properties or Matter on the other. It might more appropriately be called the DissoIution of Existence, in the sense in which Hegel uses Existence. We have the Things still, and we have their Qualities or Properties. But the attempt to account for the facts by taking either the Thing or the Qualities as the Substratum has broker, down. We want a principle which will determine certain Qualities to be found together in one Thing, and each of these Qualities to be also found in other Things. It must be something, which underlies both the Things and Qualities — which will be a Substratum while Things and Qualities are in the Surface. And we find what we want in the conception of Law. Such and such Qualities are grouped in a Thing, or a Thing has such and such Qualities in its nature, according to Laws. Things are no longer explained by Qualities, or Qualities by Things[1], but the Laws explain both of them. Law is the characteristic idea, of the second subdivision of Appearance — the subdivision which is also, in a narrower sense, called Appearance, and to this we now pass.

140. Looking back on the categories of Existence, the transition from the Thing in itself to Property must be pronounced in evitable, even if we see cause to reject Hegel’s account of it. As to the transitions which led us from Property to Matters and Thing, they must, I think, be rejected. For even if Hegel had been right in taking the Properties of Things as Relations between them, I cannot see how this would entitle him to abandon the conception of Things and Properties for that of Matters and Things.

But I believe it would be easy to show that the conception

of Matters and Things possesses equal validity with that of Things and Properties (though not, as Hegel maintains, greater validity). And from the category which would be formed by the recognition of the validity of both conceptions, I believe we could pass to Law by a process not unlike that which Hegel does adopt.


141. (G. L. ii. 144.) The name is, as I have pointed out, ambiguous, and it seems to have no very definite connexion with, the particular categories which are found in this division. Its first subdivision is

A. The Law of Appearance.

(G. L. ii. 146.) The transition to this category from the last has been already discussed. The change is that the categories of Thing could only account for the grouping of the Surface-elements by making those groupings ultimate and essential to the elements grouped. Here the groupings are accounted for by something other than themselves, which leaves them only a subordinate and conditioned position.

Hegel now proceeds to point out three defects in this category. In the first place, the Law does not account for the whole of the nature of the Surface. “The Appearance has also another content against the content of the Law. This other content is indeed unessential, and a return into the content of the Law, but for the Law it is a First, not posited by the Law; it is therefore a content externally connected with the Law” (G. L. ii. 151). If, for example, we endeavour to explain the fall of a leaf by the Law of Gravitation, the explanation is only partial. The shape of the leaf, the currents in the air, and other considerations will affect its course. Nor would it have fallen at all, if it had not been heavier than the air. That it is heavier is a fact, not a Law. Or if its greater weight could be traced to another law, we may then ask why this Law should be applicable to the leaf, and not to hydrogen. And the answer must finally be found in a fact which is not a Law.

The second defect in the category of Law is that the additional content, whose existence constitutes the first defect, is related to the content of the Law in a negative manner. The Law is unchanging (ruhig) (G. L. ii. 151). The other content is changing (unruhig). I do not believe that Hegel means that some Laws (it would not be true of all) deal with changes of what is subject to them, while the Laws themselves are unchanging I believe him to mean that the additional content, besides being indifferent to the Law, is different in different cases, in all of which the Law is the same. A leaf and a stone both obey the Law of Gravitation in falling to the earth. But the additional element in the two cases is very different. Hegel is, however, rather obscure here.

The third defect is the absence of any inherent connexion between the circumstances linked together in the Law itself.

Why should one body attract another? And why should the relation between the distance of the bodies and the force of the attraction be what it is, and not something else? This may be explained by another Law. But then a similar question will arise about this second Law. Eventually we must come’ to a conjunction which is ultimate and inexplicable (G. L. ii. 1.5 2).

142. The first two defects are due to that part of the content of the Surface which is not accounted for by the Law. But this content is not intrinsically different from the part which the Law does account for. If one can be accounted for, so can the other (G. L. ii. 153). This can be done by making the Law more precise. Instead of referring the fall of the leaf and the rise of the tides to the same Law of Gravitation, we can find for each a separate and more detailed Law of the action of, gravitation under particular circumstances, which will leave much less of the content of the Surface unaccounted for. Still, however, a general Law of tides will leave outside o f itself many aspects of the rise of the tide at a particular time and place. To remedy this we must make the Law still more particular. And so we shall go on, till the Law covers all the circumstances of the particular case. But by doing so it will have ceased to be a Law, for it will have no generality. It will not explain the case by connecting it with others. It will simply restate it. Thus we pass, when this is applied to, the whole of the Surface of the universe, to

B. The World of Appearance and the World in itself.

(G. L. ii. 153.) Here the Substratum is merely the restatement of the Surface, or, to put it more accurately, the Surface is the reflection of the Substratum.

Hegel appears to think that this cures the third defect which he finds in Law, as well as the other two. He says that the two sides of the Law now involve one another, because each is determined as being different from the other, and so involves the other (G. L. ii. 154). But I cannot see that they do this more than they did before. The Law is changed into the World in itself. The connexion between two classes of particulars which we found in the Law is replaced (since generality is now sacrificed for the sake of completeness) by a connexion between two particulars in the World in itself. But the two particulars are no more inherently connected than the two classes were.

It seems to me, indeed, that Hegel was wrong in counting this third characteristic of Law as a defect which has to be transcended here. We find just the same immediate ultimate conjunction far higher up in the dialectic in the Syllogisms of Necessity. And there it is not regarded as a defect to be transcended, but, on the contrary, as a truth the explicit recognition of which is itself an advance. The characteristic inadequacy of the present category of Law — the one which we must transcend as we pass out of it — seems to me to be contained in the first and second defects given by Hegel. And these, as we have seen, are transcended in the World of Appearance.

Hegel regards these two worlds as having their corresponding contents related to each other as polar opposites. The North Pole in the World of Appearance is “in and for itself — the South Pole. Evil and unhappiness in the World of Appearance are “in and for themselves” good and happiness (G. L. ii. 158. The phrase used here is “an und fur sich,” and not, as in the title of the category, “an sich”).

I must confess myself at a loss to understand this. The two. Worlds are, of course, distinguished as Surface and Substratum. But why should this make any difference in their contents, except that of being Surface and Substratum respectively ? And what, on this view, would correspond, in the World in itself, to those characteristics of the World of Appearance which are not one of a pair of polar opposites ?

143. Since the two sides are now perfectly alike except for a distinction of form (for Hegel does not regard the polar opposition of the two Worlds as more than this, and, if we reject the polar opposition, it is still clearer that there is only a formal difference) the category breaks down. In referring the World of Appearance to the World in itself we are only referring it to itself. The only difference is the difference of form, and that is simply the affirmation of the fact that one is referred to the other. Now to refer anything to itself as its own Substratum is obviously useless. If it does explain itself, there could be no need for a reference to a Substratum at all. If it does not explain itself, such a Substratum can never explain it. So we reach (G. L. ii. 158)

C. The Dissolution of Appearance.

Once more, as previously in Identity and in Formal Ground, we find the conception of Essence reduced to a tautology, owing to the identity of content in Surface and Substratum. What is to be done ? We cannot, as we did in the case of Identity, supplement A’s identity with itself by means of its difference from B, for here the identical content covers. the whole of the universe. Nor can we, as with Formal Ground, avoid the difficulty by ascribing to the World in itself only part of the content of the World of Appearance. For that had already been done in Law, and it was the inadequacy of this which drove us on to the category of the two Worlds.

144. Only one alternative remains. We must abandon the attempt — hitherto characteristic of the categories of Essence — to explain the content of the Surface by means of the content of the Substratum. The explanation of the Surface is now to be found, not in the content of the Substratum, but in its own relation to the Substratum — a relation which no less explains the Substratum (G. L. ii. 160). Thus the tautology has vanished. The Surface is no longer explained by the content of a Substratum which has the same content as itself, It is explained by the fact that this content is found in two aspects -Surface and Substratum. And the fact of the relation of the two aspects is of course not identical with either aspect. This is the positive significance of our present category, and this takes us out of Appearance, in the narrower sense, into the last subdivision of Appearance, in the wider sense (G. L. ii. 161).


A. The Relation of Whole and Parts.

(G. L. ii. 162.) Hegel shows us with sufficient clearness the transition to Essential Relation as a whole, but he is not explicit as to the transition to Whole and Parts. It is clear that this category falls properly within Essential Relation. The identity of content between Whole and Parts is manifest; the cardinal fact about them is that they are equal to one another.

And tautology has disappeared, for we do not attempt here to explain the nature of the Parts by the nature of the Whole, but by the relation of the form of the Parts to the form of the Whole. But why is this the first subdivision of Essential ,Relation, and why do we proceed to it direct from the Dissolution of Appearance?

The reason, I think, is as follows. The Surface has always been a multiplicity throughout Essence. On the other hand, the Substratum has always presented itself as a unity, not always is an undivided unity, but always as something which did unify the multiplicity of the Surface. The only exceptions have been the limiting cases in which the Substratum became identical in nature with the Surface. And this always involved a break down through tautology.

Whenever the Substratum has not been impotent from tautology it has unified. Now that we have seen that the two sides of the Essence-relation have the same content, and only differ in form, what we require is a difference of form such that the one side is a unity and the other a multiplicity, while the content of each is the same. And this just gives us the conception of the Substratum as a Whole, and of the Surface as its Parts. All that is existent forms a single Whole consisting of Parts.

145. If we look more closely at this category, we see that the statement that the Whole is equal to its Parts is only true

if the Parts are conceived as taken together. The Whole is not equal to all its Parts in the sense in which the original resembles all its copies — it is not equal to each of them. It is only equal to them as taken together — taken as a unity. But the unity of the Parts is the Whole. And thus we have come round to the tautology that the Whole is equal to the Whole (G. L. ii. 166).

In the same way the Parts are not equal to the Whole as a Whole. If the Parts are taken as separate (and, if not, they would be the Whole) then the Whole has to be taken as divided in order to equal them, since it is not, as a Whole, equal to each of the separate Parts. But the Whole as divided is the Parts. Once more we reach a tautology — the Parts are equal to the Parts (G. L. ii. 167).

The reason of this is the indifference of the relation between the forms of Whole and Part. Under this category there is no, necessity to take what is taken as Many as also One, nor to take what is taken as One as also Many. And so we can only say that the One is the Many if it is the Many — i.e. that the Many is the Many, and, in the same way, that the One is the One. The One could as well be undivided, and the Many as well ununited. Since the undivided One is not a Whole, and the ununited Many are not Parts, we may say that if anything is merely a Whole, it is quite indifferent to its nature whether it is a Whole or riot, and if any aggregate of things are merely Parts, it is quite indifferent to their nature whether they are Parts or not.

The category has thus broken down. Instead of the significant assertion that the Whole equals the Parts, we have the two tautologies that the Whole equals the Whole, and the Parts the Parts. Now our present position permits and requires that the content of the Substratum and of the Surface shall be identical, but this is only possible because the difference between them, which is still essential, is transferred to the form. If the difference of forms goes too, the tautology that results involves as complete a failure as previous tautologies. Indeed, the failure is more obvious, for the category has developed into two separate and unconnected tautologies. Thus all connexion between the Substratum and the Surface is denied. All that we can say is that the Substratum is the Substratum, and the Surface is tile Surface.

And even the tautologies destroy themselves. As Hegel when taken out of all points out (G. L. ii. 167) the Whole, connexion with the Parts, ceases to be a Whole at all, and becomes an abstract identity; and the Parts, taken out of all connexion with the Whole, cease to be Parts, and become an unconnected manifold.

146. The category has broken down on account of the merely indifferent connexion of Whole and Parts. It is true that, as we have just seen, a Whole is not a Whole unless it has Parts. But when we bring a unity under the conception of Whole, we imply that it is indifferent to it whether it has Parts (and so is a Whole), or not. The indifference to the correlative form makes the form with which we start itself indifferent to the content it is imposed on.

It is this indifference which produced the tautologies, for, since there was no inherent connexion between the two forms, the equality could only be asserted by eliminating the difference of form. It is necessary, therefore, to regard the unity of the Substratum as a form which cannot exist except in company with the other form of the, variety of the Surface, and the variety of the Surface, again, as a form which can only exist in company with the unity of the Substratum Whatever exists in the one form must also exist in the other (G. L. ii. 168). So we reach

B. The Relation of Force and its Manifestation.

(G. L. ii. 170.) This category seems to imply by its name much more than has been reached in this deduction. But if we take Hegel’s definition of Force and Manifestation we shall find that it contains no more than the deduction justifies. “The Relation of Force is the higher return into itself, in which the unity of the Whole, which determines the relation of the stable Other-Being, ceases to be external and indifferent to this multiplicity (G. L ii. 170). As elsewhere in the dialectic, the name taken from a conception used in empirical science does not indicate that the category has all the content to be found in that empirical conception. It only implies that the category finds in that conception its clearest empirical embodiment.

In the first place, says Hegel, Force has its Surface-moment in the form of an existent Something. This gives us

(a) The Conditionedness of Force.

(G. L. ii. 171.) This Something, he tells us, is to be conceived as a Thing or Matter separate from the Force (G. L. ii. 171).

147. But, as he remarks at once, the immediate existence is not, in Force, something outside it, but a moment in its own nature. “The Thing, in which the Force is supposed to be (sein sollte), has here no more meaning ...And the Force is thus not merely a determined Matter; such stability has long ago passed over into Positing and Appearance L. ii. 172).

Force has its immediate existence as an element in its own nature. That which exists in the form of Force must also exist in the form of Manifestation. Since the immediacy here “has determined itself as the negative unity which relates itself to itself, it is itself Force” (G. L. ii. 173). The Surface and the Substratum are both Forces. “The relation” of each to the other “is not the passivity of a process of determination, so that thereby something Other came into it; but the Impulse (Anstoss) only solicits (sollicitirt) them” (G. L. ii. 174). From this Hegel calls the new category (G. L. ii. 173)

(b) The Solicitation of Force.

148. Solicitation is the determination exercised by each Force on the other. (The two Forces are the original Force of the Substratum, and the Force of the Surface, which was originally Manifestation.) But since this is so, each “only solicits in so far as it is solicited to solicit.” And each “is only solicited in so far as it has solicited the other to solicit it” (G. L. ii. 175). Thus neither side has any immediacy as against the other, and all that is real is the unity of the two (G. L.. ii. 176). This gives us

(c) The Infinity of Force.

(G. L. ii. 176.) This is so called because Force is no longer limited either by a Thing on which it acts, or by another Force outside it. The Force and its Manifestation have nothing independent of one another, even in form. The Force is thus completely self-determined, that is, in Hegel’s language, it is infinite. From this Hegel proceeds to make the transition to the next category of Inner and Outer.

149. I believe that the subdivisions of Force and Manifestation are not only unnecessary, but positively erroneous. The Thesis seems to me unjustified, since it involves a degree of independence between the Force and the Manifestation which is quite inconsistent with the general of Force and Manifestation. The Force, as Hegel ham told us (G. L. ii 170, quoted above, Section 146), is not external or indifferent to its Manifestation. But in this category of the Conditionedness of Force he makes the Manifestation “an existent Something.” Not only is this too independent to be reconciled with the general conception lie has given of Force, but it would even involve a retrogression beyond Whole and Parts. For in Whole and Parts, though the forms of the two sides were indifferent to each other, their content as the same. Here, however, since the Something is conceived as a Thing, or as a Matter, it seems inevitable that it should be conceived as having to some degree a different content from the Force.

It seems curious that Hegel should have introduced this Thesis at all, since he remarks, in the passage quoted above (Section 147) from G. L. ii. 172 that it involves conceptions which have been already transcended. It is probable that he had unconsciously slipped from his own definition of Force to a more common use of the same word. It would be by no means unusual to speak of a heavy body as manifesting the force of gravity, or of a man as manifesting the force of ambition. But they could not be Manifestations of Forces in the Hegelian sense, for they are very far from being mere forms of gravity or ambition. It is this that Hegel seems to have forgotten.

Even if we grant the Thesis, can we defend the Antithesis ? If Force is found on both sides of the relation, can Force, as Hegel has defined it, retain any meaning? Force is for Hegel merely the name of a form, since the content is identical with that of Manifestation. And this form is strictly correlative with Manifestation. If we ask what is the distinction of the form of Force from the form of Manifestation, I do not see that there is any possible answer, except that Force is the form of the Substratum, and that Manifestation is the form of the Surface, and, further, that Force is the unity, and Manifestation the plurality. Now if Force has to be taken so widely as to include the Surface-form (which is the plurality) it has lost both its characteristics, and ought not to be called Force. We cannot have Force without Manifestation, and, if both sides are Forces, there is no Manifestation left.

Here, once more, Hegel seems to have slipped into the ordinary use of Force, in a way which is inconsistent with his own definition. In ordinary language Forces often mean, not moments, but stable realities, which can exist each for itself, and can stand in causal relations to one another. But Force, as defined and demonstrated by Hegel, means the whole of the Substratum of any reality. To reduce the Essence-relation to a relation between two Hegelian Forces is therefore impossible. For hey cannot exist without their Manifestations, and such a relation has no place for Manifestations.

150. I believe that these two categories are unnecessary as well as unjustifiable. We can proceed without any subdivisions from the undivided category of Force and Manifestation to the category of Inner and Outer. We saw that Force and Manifestation differ only in form, and that the two forms are not indifferent to each other, as they were in Whole and Parts, but depend on each other. There can be no Force without Manifestation, nor any Manifestation without Force. Consequently each of them is no longer related to anything merely external to it. The Force is distinguished from the Manifestation, but the difference is not one immediately given to Force, but one which is found in the Force’s own nature. The difference is also to be found in the Manifestation’s own nature.

And thus we reach at once what Hegel calls the Infinity of Force. The Force is not limited by anything outside itself not even a form. For the form of Manifestation is posited in the very nature of Force. Force, therefore, only limits itself, and is, in Hegelian language, Infinite. (This state of things might as well be called Infinity of Manifestation. For the form of Force is involved in the nature of Manifestation.) The Infinity of Force is not an advance on its original conception, as Hegel says that it is, but is its characteristic from the first. He only appears to advance to it because, as we have seen, he first illegitimately falls back.

151. From the Infinity of Force we can go on, with Hegel, to Inner and Outer. For now all difference between Surface and Substratum disappears. That difference, till Essential Relation was reached, had been a difference of content, so that, wherever the difference of content was eliminated,. the category broke down from tautology. With Essential Relation the content of both sides was admitted to be the same, and the difference was confined to the form. But now even the difference in form has vanished. It is no longer the case that the universe can be taken under one form or tinder the other form, and that this duplicity of form can be relied on for an explanation. To get rid of the contradiction in the category of Whole and Parts, we had to say that the unity has ceased to be “external and indifferent to” the “multiplicity” (G. L. ii. 170). And thus the universe cannot be taken as One and again as Many and an explanation sought in the relation of these two forms. There is only one form in which it can be taken, in which it is both ‘Many and One. When you fake it as Force, you thereby take it as Manifestation. When you take it as Manifestation, you thereby take it as Force. The Surface is involved in the Substratum, and the Substratum in the Surface. “The Externality of Force is identical with its Internality (G. L. ii. 177). With these words Hegel passes to

C. The Relation of Inner and Outer.

(G. L. ii. 177), where the two sides are completely identical. There is no longer even a difference of form. “The Outer is not only equal to the Inner in respect to content, but both are only one Fact (Sache)” (G. L. ii. 178).

The name of the category may not seem very well chosen to express this absolute identity. The terms Inner and Outer are sometimes used to express a considerable difference between the two sides (cp. Enc. Section 140). Again, they are sometimes used to express a closer relation between the two sides, with very little difference. But, in ordinary language, they always imply some difference, whereas Hegel uses them to denote the absence of difference.

It would, however, have been difficult, if not impossible, to find a double name which would have been more appropriate. For when we are clear that we mean only a single reality, we do not naturally use a double name. Any other name, which consisted of two Correlative terms, would have implied at least as much difference as Inner and Outer.

But why, it may be asked, does Hegel want a double name ? The Substance and the Substratum are now absolutely identical. Why, then, require a double name for what is essentially single ? The explanation is, I think, that Inner and Outer is the Synthesis of the previous categories, and that its double name has reference to those earlier stages. The identity of the Substratum and Surface is the result of a gradual and lengthy modification of the view that the are really different. The Synthesis states this in a way which sums up what has been obtained, by mentioning the distinction only to deny it.

With the identity of Inner and Outer we pass from Appearance to Actuality — the third and last division of Essence.

Note on the Difference between the Greater Logic and the Encyclopaedia in the first two divisions of Essence.

152. I have postponed this question till now because, as I pointed out in Chapter V, some categories which are found in one division in the Greater Logic are found in the other in the Encyclopaedia.

The following table will show the different arrangements. For the sake of brevity I omit categories of the fifth order in the Greater Logic, except in the two cases where they correspond to categories in the Encyclopaedia.

Greater Logic.Encyclopaedia.
I. Show.I. Pure Determinations of Reflection.
A. The Essential and Unessential.A. Identity.
B. Show.B. Difference.
 (a) Diversity.
(b) Likeness and Unlikeness.
(c) Positive and Negative.
C. Reflection.C. Ground.
II. The Essentialities.II. Existence.
A. Identity. 
B. Difference. 
(a) Absolute Difference.
(b) Variety.
(c) Opposition.
C. Contradiction. 
III. Ground.III. The Thing.
A. Absolute Ground.A. The Thing and its Properties.
(a) Form and Essence.
(b) Form and Matter.
(c) Form and Content.
B. Determined Ground.B. The Thing and Matters.
C. Condition.C. Matter and Form.
I. Existence.I. The Phenomenal World.
A. The Thing and its Properties. 
B. The Constitution of the Thing out of Matters. 
C. The Dissolution of the Thing. 
II. Appearance.II. Content and Form.
A. The Law of Appearance. 
B. The World of Appearance and the World in itself. 
C. The Dissolution of Appearance. 
III. Essential Relation.III. Relation.
A. The Relation of Whole and Parts.A. Whole and Part.
B. The Relation of Force and its Manifestation.B. Force and its Manifestation.
C. The Relation of Inner and Outer.C. Inner and Outer.

153. Comparing, these two tables, we find the following differences. (1) The whole triad of Show, which is a division of the third order in the Greater Logic, is absent in the Encyclopaedia ; and the Essentialities, under a different name, are the first division of the third order in the Encyclopaedia, while in the Greater Logic they were the second division. (2) Contradiction is not found in the Encyclopaedia, and in its place among the Pure Determinations of Reflection we find Ground, which is here only an undivided category of the fourth order, while in the Greater Logic it was a category of the third order, and was itself divided, and again subdivided. The result of these two differences is that the whole content of the secondary division called, in the Greater Logic, Essence as Reflection into itself, is condensed, in the Encyclopaedia, into a single tertiary division.

The gap which is thus left for the Encyclopaedia is filled up by (3) transferring Existence from the second to the first of the secondary divisions; and by (4) dividing it into two, Existence and Thing being taken as two separate divisions of’ the third order, while in the Greater Logic Existence is the name for the division of the third order which contains the categories of Thing as its subdivisions.

This transference of Existence produces the result (5) that the Phenomenal World forms the first division within Appearance In the Encyclopaedia., although its significance is the same as that of Appearance (in the narrower sense) in the Greater Logic, which there forms the second division of Appearance in the wider sense.

The Encyclopaedia (6) takes, as the second division of Appearance, Content and Form, which is thus a division of the third order. In the Greater Logic, on the other hand, Form and Content is a division of the fifth order within Ground. We have now reached, in each Logic, to the categories of Relation, which are treated in the same Way in both works.

In addition to these changes (7) Form and Matter is, in the Greater Logic, a division of the fifth order within Ground, while in the Encyclopaedia it is a division of the fourth order within Thing. Also (8) as was mentioned in Chapter V. (Section 131) the line of argument in the Encyclopaedia passes from Real to Formal Ground, while in the Greater Logic it passes from Formal to Real.

154. The first five of these changes place categories in different places in the chain, and make them of higher or lower orders than before, but do not invert their places. The changes of place are caused only by the omission of certain categories, and by the expansion and contraction of others. But the sixth and seventh do invert the order of categories. In the Encyclopaedia Form and Content comes after Existence, after Thing, and after the Phenomenal World, while it comes before the corresponding categories in the Greater Logic. Form and Matter is not so much displaced, but in the Encyclopaedia it comes after Existence, and as the last division of Thing, while in the Greater Logic it precedes both Thing and Existence.

The first of these differences — the omission of the categories of Show — appears to me an improvement for the reasons which I have given above (Section 103). With regard to Ground, I think, as I have also explained above (Section 131), that the line of argument adopted in the Encyclopaedia is better than that adopted in the Greater Logic in respect of the eighth of our differences — the order in which Formal Ground and Real Ground were taken. On the other hand the greater development given to Ground in the Greater Logic, and the number of subdivisions introduced (the second difference), seems to me to give it an advantage over the Encyclopaedia, where the treatment becomes obscure from its condensation.

The removal of Existence and Thing to the first section, which is the third difference, does not seem to have any great importance[2]. And the fourth change — the separation of Existence and Thing as separate categories — appears to be only a change in the use of names. In each Logic there is, between Ground and Thing, a stage where Ground and Consequent fall together. The only difference is that in the Encyclopaedia this is taken as a stage distinct both from Ground and Thing and called Existence, while in the Greater Logic it falls within Ground, and is called Transition of the Fact into Existence.

Thus in the Greater Logic the name of Existence is left over as the general name for the categories of Thing. The difference is thus simply verbal.

The fifth difference — that the Phenomenal World is a Thesis in the Encyclopaedia, while the corresponding category is an Antithesis in the Greater Logic — may also be dismissed as unimportant. In respect of the sixth and seventh — those which concern Form and Content and Form and Matter, the Greater Logic appears to have the advantage. It treats them as categories of Ground and places them next one another, while the Encyclopaedia puts them well after Ground, and inserts between them the category of the Phenomenal World. Both these changes are for the worse. Both Form and Matter and Form and Content are essentially categories of Ground — of the attempt, that is, to link things together by similarities. (Form and Content is the collapse of Ground into tautology — the end to which it inevitably tends, and which proves its inadequacy.) And by placing them next one another there is a valid transition from one to the other. In the Encyclopaedia, on the other hand, Hegel’s attempt to pass from Thing and Matters to Matter and Form (Enc. Section 128), and, again, his attempt to Pass from the Phenomenal World to Content and Form (Enc. Section 133), are unsatisfactory.


1. It will be remembered that Matters are only Qualities taken as the Essence of Things, while Properties are Qualities of which Things are taken as the Essence.

2. Rosenkrenz, in his Erlauterungen zu Hegel’s Encyclopadie, pp. 30, 31, finds a distinct change for the better in the arrangement of the Encyclopaedia, but I am not convinced by his argument.