Infomotions, Inc.The logic of Hegel / translated from the Encyclopaedia of the philosophical sciences by William Wallace. / Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831

Author: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831
Title: The logic of Hegel / translated from the Encyclopaedia of the philosophical sciences by William Wallace.
Publisher: London : Oxford University Press, [1904].
Tag(s): logic; finite; notion; syllogism; philosophy; unity; categories; essence; abstract; identity; doctrine; external
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
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Identifier: logicofhegel00hegeuoft
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Oxford University Press. Amen House, London E.C.4 









I93I, 1950, 1959, 1963, 1965 


The present volume contains a translation, which 
has been revised throughout and compared with the 
original, of the Logic as given in the first part of 
Hegel's Encyclopaedia, preceded by a bibliographical 
account of the three editions and extracts from the 
prefaces of that work, and followed by notes and 
illustrations of a philological rather than a philo- 
sophical character on the text. This introductory 
chapter and these notes were not included in the 
previous edition. 

The volume containing my Prolegomena is under 

revision and will be issued shortly. 

W. W. 


— M 


Bibliographical Notice on the three Editions and three 
Prefaces of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical 
Sciences ^^ 


Introduction 3 

Preliminary Notion 3° 

First Attitude of Thought to Objectivity . . . 60 

Second Attitude of Thought to Objectivity : — 

I. Empiricism ........ 70 

II. The Critical Philosophy 8a 

Third Attitude of Thought to Objectivity : — 

Immediate or Intuitive Knowledge 121 

Logic further Defined and Divided 143 

First Subdivision of Logic : — 

The Doctrine of Being 15^ 



Second Subdivision of Logic : — 

The Doctrine of Essence ao^ 

Third Subdivision of Logic : — 

The Doctrine of the Notion 387 


On Chapter I 383 

,, n 387 

» ,. Ill 395 

» IV 398 

» » V 406 

„ » VI 409 

•> » VII 410 

., VIII 417 

»» » IX r, , 424 





The Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences 
IN Outline is the third in time of the four works which 
Hegel published. It was preceded by the Phenomeno- 
logy of Spirit, in 1807, and the Science of Logic (in 
two volumes), in 1812-16, and was followed by the OuU 
lines of the Philosophy of Law in 1820. The only 
other works which came directly from his hand are a 
few essays, addresses, and reviews. The earliest of 
these appeared in the Critical fournal of Philosophy, 
issued by his friend Schelling and himself, in 1802 — 
when Hegel was one and thirty, which, as Bacon 
thought, ' is a great deal of sand in the hour-glass ' ; 
and the latest were his contributions to the JahrhUcher 
filr wissenschaftliche Kritik, in the year of his death 


This Encyclopaedia is the only complete, matured, 
and authentic statement of Hegel's philosophical system. 
But, as the title-page bears, it is only an outline ; and 
its primary aim is to supply a manual for the guidance 
of his students. In its mode of exposition the free 
flight of speculation is subordinated to the needs of the 
professorial class-room. Pegasus is put in harness. 


Paragraphs concise in form and saturated with mean- 
ing postulate and presuppose the presiding spirit of 
the lecturer to fuse them into continuity and raise them 
to higher lucidity. Yet in two directions the works of 
Hegel furnish a supplement to the defects of the 

One of these aids to comprehension is the Pheno- 
menology of Spirit, published in his thirty-seventh year. 
It may be going too far to say with David Strauss that 
it is the Alpha and Omega of Hegel, and his later 
writings only extracts from it ^ Yet here the Pegasus 
of mind soars free through untrodden fields of air, 
and tastes the joys of first love and the pride of fresh 
discovery in the quest for truth. The fire of young 
enthusiasm has not yet been forced to hide itself 
and smoulder away in apparent calm. The mood is 
Olympian — far above the turmoil and bitterness of 
lower earth, free from the bursts of temper which 
emerge later, when the thinker has to mingle in the 
fray and endure the shafts of controversy. But the 
Phenomenology, if not less than the Encyclopaedia it 
contains the diamond purity of Hegelianism, is a key 
which needs consummate patience and skill to use 
with advantage. If it commands a larger view, it de- 
mands a stronger wing of him who would join its 
voyage through the atmosphere of thought up tO its 
purest empyrean. It may be the royal road to the 
Idea, but only a kingly soul can retrace its course. 

The other commentary on the Encyclopaedia is 
supplied partly by Hegel's other published writings, 
and partly by the volumes (IX-XV in the Collected 
works) in which his editors have given his Lectures 
on the Philosophy of History, on Aesthetic, on the 
Philosophy of Religion, and on the History of Philo- 
* Christian Mdrklin^ cap. 3. 


sophy. All of these lectures, as well as the Philosophy 
of Law, published by himself, deal however only with 
the third part of the philosophic system. That system 
(p. 28) includes (i) Logic, (ii) Philosophy of Nature, and 
(iii) Philosophy of Spirit. It is this third part-or 
rather it is the last two divisions therein (embracing the 
great general interests of humanity, such as law and 
morals, religion and art, as well as the development ot 
philosophy itself) which form the topics of Hegel s most 
expanded teaching. It is in this region that he has 
most appealed to the liberal culture of the century, and 
influenced (directly or by reaction) the progress of 
that philosophical history and historical philosophy of 
which our own generation is reaping the fast-accumu- 
lating fruit. If one may foist such a category into 
systematic philosophy, we may say that the study of the 
'Objective ' and ' Absolute Spirit ' is the most interesting 

part of Hegel. 

Of the second part of the system there is less to be 
said. For nearly half a century the study of nature has 
passed almost completely out of the hands of the philo- 
sophers into the care of the specialists of science. 
There are signs indeed everywhere-and among others 
Helmholtz has lately reminded us-that the higher 
order of scientific students are ever and anon driven by 
the very logic of their subject into the precincts or 
the borders of philosophy. But the name of a Philo- 
sophy of Nature still recalls a time of hasty enthusiasms 
and over-grasping ambition of thought which, in its 
eagerness to understand the mystery of the universe 
jumped to conclusions on insufficient grounds, trusted 
to bold but fantastic analogies, and lavished an unwise 
contempt on the plodding industry of the mere hodman 
of facts and experiments. Calmer retrospection will 
perhaps modify this verdict, and sift the various contn- 


butions (towards a philosophical unity of the sciences) 
which are now indiscriminately damned by the title of 
Naturphilosophie. For the present purpose it need 
only be said that, for the second part of the Hegelian 
system, we are restricted for explanations to the notes 
collected by the editors of Vol. VII. part i. of the 
Collected works — notes derived from the annotations 
which Hegel himself supplied in the eight or more 
courses of lectures which he gave on the Philosophy of 
Nature between 1804 and 1830. 

Quite other is the case with the Logic — the first 
division of the Encyclopaedia. There we have the 
collateral authority of the 'Science of Logic/ the larger 
Logic which appeared whilst Hegel was schoolmaster at 
Ntirnberg. The idea of a new Logic formed the natural 
sequel to the publication of the Phenomenology in 1807. 
In that year Hegel was glad to accept, as a stop-gap and 
pot-boiler, the post of editor of the Bamberg Journal. 
But his interests lay in other directions, and the circum- 
stances of the time and country helped to determine 
their special form. 'In Bavaria,' he says in a letter \ 
* it looks as if organisation were the current business.' 
A very mania of reform, says another, prevailed. 
Hegel's friend and fellow-Swabian, Niethammer, held 
an important position in the Bavarian education office, 
and wished to employ the philosopher in the work of 
carrying out his plans of re-organising the higher edu- 
cation of the Protestant subjects of the crown. He 
asked if Hegel would write a logic for school use, and 
if he cared to become rector of a grammar school. 
Hegel, who was already at work on his larger Logic, was 
only half-attracted by the suggestion. * The traditional 
Logic,' he replied'^, 'is a subject on which there are 
text-books enough, but at the same time it is one which 

* Hegel's Briefe, i. 141. ^ Ibid. i. 17a. 


can by no means remain as it is : it is a thing nobody 
can make anything of: 'tis dragged along like an old 
heirloom, only because a substitute— of which the want 
is universally felt— is not yet in existence. The whole 
of its rules, still current, might be written on two pages : 
every additional detail beyond these two is perfectly 
fruitless scholastic subtlety ;— or if this logic is to get a 
thicker body, its expansion must come from psycho- 
logical paltrinesses.' Still less did he like the prospect of 
instructing in theology, as then rationalised. 'To write 
a logic and to be theological instructor is as bad as to 
be white-washer and chimney-sweep at once.' 'Shall 
he, who for many long years built his eyry on the wild 
rock beside the eagle and learned to breathe the free 
air of the mountains, now learn to feed on the carcases 
of dead thoughts or the still-born thoughts of the 
moderns, and vegetate in the leaden air of mere 
babble ^ ? ' 

At NOrnberg he found the post of rector of the 
'gymnasium' by no means a sinecure. The school 
had to be made amid much lack of funds and general 
bankruptcy of apparatus :— all because of an 'all- 
powerful and unalterable destiny which is called the 
course of business.' One of his tasks was ' by graduated 
exercises"to introduce his pupils to speculative thought,' 
—and that in the space of four hours weekly ^ Of its 
practicability — and especially with himself as instru- 
ment — he had grave doubts. In theory, he held that 
an intelligent study of the ancient classics was the best 
introduction to philosophy ; and practically he preferred 
starting his pupils with the principles of law, morality 
and religion, and reserving the logic and higher 
philosophy for .the highest class. Meanwhile he con- 

' Hegel's Briefe, i. 138. " Ibid. i. 339. 


tinued to work on his great Logic, the first volume of 
which appeared in two parts, 1812, 1813, and the second 
in 1816. 

This is the work which is the real foundation of the 
Hegelian philosophy. Its aim is the systematic re-_ 
organisation of the commonwealth of thought. It gives 
not a criticism, like Kant ; not a principle, like Fichte ; 
not a bird's eye view of the fields of nature and history, 
like Schelling; it attempts the hard work of re-con- 
structing, step by step, into totality the fragments of the 
organism of intelligence. It is scholasticism, if scho- 
lasticism means an absolute and all-embracing system ; 
but it is a protest against the old school-system and 
those who tried to rehabilitate it through their compre- 
hensions of the Kantian theory. Apropos of the logic 
of his contemporary Fries (whom he did not love), 
published in 181 1, he remarks : ' His paragraphs are 
mindless, quite shallow, bald, trivial ; the explanatory 
notes are the dirty linen of the professorial chair, 
utterly slack and unconnected \' Of himself he thus 
speaks : ' I am a schoolmaster who has to teach philo- 
sophy, — who, possibly for that reason, believes that 
philosophy like geometry is teachable, and must no less 
than geometry have a regular structure. But again, a 
knowledge of the facts in geometry and philosophy is 
one thing, and the mathematical or philosophical talent 
which procreates and discovers is another : my province 
is to discover that scientific form, or to aid in the forma- 
tion of it^* So he writes to an old college friend; and 
in a letter to the rationalist theologian Paulus, in 1814', 
he professes : ' You know that I have had too much to 
do not merely with ancient literature, but even with 
mathematics, latterly with the higher analysis, differen- 

' Hegel's Briefe, i. 328. ' Ibid. i. 273. ' Ibid. \. 373. 


tial calculus, chemistry, to let myself be taken in by 
the humbug of SRatur^l^ilofo^j^ic, philosophising without 
knowledge of fact and by mere force of imagination, and 
treating mere fancies, even imbecile fancies, as Ideas.' 

In the autumn of 1816 Hegel became professor of 
philosophy at Heidelberg. In the following year ap- 
peared the first edition of his Encyclopaedia : two 
others appeared in his lifetime (in 1827 and 1830). 
The first edition is a thin octavo volume of pp. xvi. 
288, published (like the others) at Heidelberg. The 
Logic in it occupies pp. 1-126 (of which 12 pp. are 
©inlcitung and 18 pp. 3Sor6egriff ) ; the Philosophy of 
Nature, pp. 127-204 ; and the Philosophy of Mind 
(Spirit), pp. 205-288. 

In the Preface the book is described (p. iv) as 
setting forth 'a new treatment of philosophy on a 
method which will, as I hope, yet be recognised as the 
only genuine method identical with the content.* Con- 
trasting his own procedure with a mannerism of the 
day which used an assumed set of formulas to produce 
in the facts a show of symmetry even more arbitrary 
and mechanical than the arrangements imposed ab 
extra in the sciences, he goes on : ' This wilfulness 
we saw also take possession of the contents of philo- 
sophy and ride out on an intellectual knight-errantry — 
for a while imposing on honest true-hearted workers, 
though elsewhere it was only counted grotesque, and 
grotesque even to the pitch of madness. But oftener 
and more properly its teachings — far from seeming im- 
posing or mad — were found out to be familiar trivialities, 
and its form seen to be a mere trick of wit, easily 
acquired, methodical and premeditated, with its quaint 
combinations and strained eccentricities, — the mien of 
earnestness only covering self deception and fraud upon 
the public. On the other side, again, we saw shallow- 


ness and unintelllgence assume the character of a 
scepticism wise in its own eyes and of a criticism 
modest in its claims for reason, enhancing their vanity 
and conceit in proportion as their ideas grew more vacu- 
ous. For a space of time these two intellectual ten- 
dencies have befooled German earnestness, have tired 
out its profound craving for philosophy, and have been 
succeeded by an indifference and even a contempt for 
philosophic science, till at length a self-styled modesty 
has the audacity to let its voice be heard in controver- 
sies touching the deepest philosophical problems, and 
to deny philosophy its right to that cognition by reason, 
the form of which was what formerly was called 

'The first of these phenomena may be in part ex- 
plained as the youthful exuberance of the new age 
which has risen in the realm of science no less than in 
the world of politics. If this exuberance greeted with 
rapture the dawn of the intellectual renascence, and 
without profounder labour at once set about enjoying 
the Idea and revelling for a while in the hopes and 
prospects which it offered, one can more readily forgive 
its excesses ; because it is sound at heart, and the 
surface vapours which it had suffused around its solid 
worth must spontaneously clear off. But the other 
spectacle is more repulsive ; because it betrays exhaus- 
tion and impotence, and tries to conceal them under a 
hectoring conceit which acts the censor over the philo- 
sophical intellects of all the centuries, mistaking them, 
but most of all mistaking itself 

'So much the more gratifying is another spectacle 
yet to be noted ; the interest in philosophy and the 
earnest love of higher knowledge which in the presence 
of both tendencies has kept itself single-hearted and 
without affectation. Occasionally this interest may have 


taken too much to the language of intuition and feel- 
ing; yet its appearance proves the existence of that 
inward and deeper-reaching impulse of reasonable in- 
telligence which alone gives man his dignity,— proves it 
atove all, because that standpoint can only be gained 
as a result of philosophical consciousness ; so that what 
it seems to disdain is at least admitted and recognised 
as a condition. To this interest in ascertaining the 
truth I dedicate this attempt to supply an introduction 
and a contribution towards its satisfaction.* 

The second edition appeared in 1827. Since the 
autumn of 1818 Hegel had been professor at Berlin : 
and the manuscript was sent thence (from August 1826 
onwards) to Heidelberg, where Daub, his friend — him- 
self a master in philosophical theology — attended to the 
revision of the proofs. 'To the Introduction,' writes 
Hegel S ' I have given perhaps too great an amplitude : 
but it, above all, would have cost me time and trouble 
to bring within narrower compass. Tied down and 
distracted by lectures, and sometimes here in Berlin 
by other things too, I have— without a general survey 
— allowed myself so large a swing that the work has 
grown upon me, and there was a danger of its turn- 
ing into a book. I have gone through it several times. 
The treatment of the attitudes (of thought) which I 
have distinguished in it was to meet an interest of the 
day. The rest I have sought to make more definite, 
and so far as may be clearer; but the main fault is 
not mended — to do which would require me to limit 
the detail more, and on the other hand make the 
whole more surveyable, so that the contents should 
better answer the title of an Encyclopaedia.' Again, in 
Dec. 1826, he writes': 'In the 9Ratur))§ilofo^^ie I have 
made essential changes, but could not help here and 

^ Hegel's Briefe, ji. 204. • Ibid. ii. 230. 



there going too far into a detail which is hardly in 
keeping with the tone of the whole. The second half 
of the ©cifleS^^fjilofoV^ie I shall have to modify entirely.' 
In May 1827, Hegel offers his explanation of delay 
in the preface, which, like the concluding paragraphs, 
touches largely on contemporary theology. By August 
of that year the book was finished, and Hegel off to 
Paris for a holiday. 

In the second edition, which substantially fixed the 
form of the Encyclopaedia, the pages amount to xlii, 
534 — nearly twice as many as the first, which, however, 
as Professor Caird remarks, 'has a compactness, a 
brief energy and conclusiveness of expression, which 
he never surpassed.' The Logic now occupies pp. i- 
214, Philosophy of Nature 215-354, and Philosophy 
of Spirit from 355-534. The second part therefore 
has gained least ; and in the third part the chief single 
expansions occur towards the close and deal with 
the relations of philosophy, art, and religion in the 
State; viz. § 563 (which in the third edition is trans- 
posed to § 552), and § 573 (where two pages are en- 
larged to 18). In the first part, or the Logic, the main 
increase and alteration falls within the introductory 
chapters, where 96 pages take the place of 30. The 
33or6e3riff (preliminary notion) of the first edition had 
contained the distinction of the three logical 'moments' 
(see p. 142), with a few remarks on the methods, first, of 
metaphysic, and then (after a brief section on empiri- 
cism), of the 'Critical Philosophy through which phi- 
losophy has reached its close.' Instead of this the 
second edition deals at length, under this head, with the 
three 'attitudes (or positions) of thought to objectivity;' 
where, besides a more lengthy criticism of the Critical 
philosophy, there is a discussion of the doctrines of 
Jacobi and other Intuitivists. 


The Preface, like much else in this second edition, is 
an assertion of the right and the duty of philosophy to 
treat independently of the things of God, and an em- 
phatic declaration that the result of scientific investiga- 
tion of the truth is, not the subversion of the faith, but 
'the restoration of that sum of absolute doctrine which 
thought at first would have put behind and beneath 
itself — a restoration of it however in the most charac- 
teristic and the freest element of the mind.' Any oppo- 
sition that may be raised against philosophy on religious 
grounds proceeds, according to Hegel, from a religion 
which has abandoned its true basis and entrenched 
itself in formulae and categories that pervert its real 
nature. 'Yet,' he adds (p. vii), 'especially where reli- 
gious subjects are under discussion, philosophy is 
expressly set aside, as if in that way all mischief were 
banished and security against error and illusion at- 
tained;' ... 'as if philosophy— the mischief thus kept 
at a distance— were anything but the investigation of 
Truth, but with a full sense of the nature and value of 
the intellectual links which give unity and form to all 
fact whatever.' ' Lessing,' he continues (p. xvi), ' said 
in his time that people treat Spinoza like a dead 
dog'. It cannot be said that in recent times Spinozism 
and speculative philosophy in general have been better 

The time was one of- feverish unrest and unwhole- 
some irritability. Ever since the so-called Carlsbad 
decrees of 1819 all the agencies of the higher literature 
and education had been subjected to an inquisitorial 
supervision which everywhere surmised political insub- 
ordination and religious heresy. A petty provincialism 
pervaded what was then still the small 3^cft^enJ^Stabt 
Berlin; and the King, Frederick William III, cherished 

' Jacobi's IVerke, iv. A, p. 63. 


to the full that paternal conception of his position which 
has not been unusual in the royal house of Prussia. 
Champions of orthodoxy warned him that Hegelianism 
was unchristian, if not even anti-christian. Franz von 
Baader, the Bavarian religious philosopher (who had 
spent some months at Berlin during the winter of 
1823-4, studying the religious and philosophical teaching 
of the universities in connexion with the revolutionary 
doctrines which he saw fermenting throughout Europe), 
addressed the king in a communication which described 
the prevalent Protestant theology as infidel in its very 
source, and as tending directly to annihilate the foun- 
dations of the faith. Hegel himself had to remind the 
censor of heresy that 'all speculative philosophy on 
religion may be carried to atheism : all depends on who 
carries it ; the peculiar piety of our times and the male- 
volence of demagogues will not let us want carriers \' 
His own theology was suspected both by the Rationa- 
lists and by the Evangelicals. He writes to his wife 
(in 1827) that he had looked at the university buildings 
in Louvain and Liege with the feeling that they might 
one day afford him a resting-place 'when the parsons in 
Berlin make the Kupfergraben completely intolerable 
for him^.' 'The Roman Curia,' he adds, 'would be 
a more honourable opponent than the miserable cabals 
of a miserable boiling of parsons in Berlin.' Hence 
the tone in which the preface proceeds (p. xviii). 

' Religion is the kind and mode of consciousness in 
which the Truth appeals to all men, to men of every 
degree of education ; but the scientific ascertainment 
of the Truth is a special kind of this consciousness, 
involving a labour which not all but only a few under- 
take. The substance of the two is the same ; but as 
Homer says of some stars that they have two names, — 
* Hegel's Brieje, ii. 54. * Ibid. ii. 276. 


the one in the language of the gods, the other in the 
language of ephemeral men — so for that substance there 
are two languages, — the one of feeling, of pictorial 
thought, and of the limited intellect that makes its 
home in finite categories and inadequate abstractions, 
the other the language of the concrete notion. If we 
propose then to talk of and to criticise philosophy from 
the religious point of view, there is more requisite 
than to possess a familiarity with the language of the 
ephemeral consciousness. The foundation of scientific 
cognition is the substantiality at its core, the indwell- 
ing idea with its stirring intellectual life ; just as the 
essentials of religion are a heart fully disciplined, a 
mind awake to self collectedness, a wrought and refined 
substantiality. In modern times religion has more and 
more contracted the intelligent expansion of its contents 
and withdrawn into the intensiveness of piety, or even 
of feeling, — a feeling which betrays its own scantiness 
and emptiness. So long however as it still has a creed, 
a doctrine, a system of dogma, it has what philosophy 
can occupy itself with and where it can find for itself a 
point of union with religion. This however is not to 
be taken in the wrong separatist sense (so dominant in 
our modern religiosity) representing the two as mutually 
exclusive, or as at bottom so capable of separation that 
their union is only imposed from without. Rather, even 
in what has gone before, it is implied that religion may 
well exist without philosophy, but philosophy not with- 
out religion — which it rather includes. True religion ^ 
—intellectual and spiritual religion — must have body 
and substance, for spirit and intellect are above all con- 
sciousness, and consciousness implies an objective body 
and substance. 

'The contracted religiosity which narrows itself to a 
point in the heart must make that heart's softening and 


contrition the essential factor of its new birth ; but it 
must at the same time recollect that it has to do with 
the heart of a spirit, that the spirit is the appointed 
authority over the heart, and that it can only have such 
authority so far as it is itself born again. This new 
birth of the spirit out of natural ignorance and natural 
error takes place through instruction and through that 
faith in objective truth and substance which is due to 
the witness of the spirit. This new birth of the spirit 
is besides ipso facto a new birth of the heart out of that 
vanity of the onesided intellect (on which it sets so 
much) and its discoveries that finite is different from 
infinite, that philosophy must either be polytheism, or, 
in acuter minds, pantheism, &c. It is, in short, a new 
birth out of the wretched discoveries on the strength of 
which pious humility holds its head so high against 
philosophy and theological science. If religiosity per- 
sists in clinging to its unexpanded and therefore un- 
intelligent intensity, then it can be sensible only of the 
contrast which divides this narrow and narrowing form 
from the intelligent expansion of doctrine as such, re- 
ligious not less than philosophical.' 

After an appreciative quotation from Franz von Baader, 
and noting his reference to the theosophy of Bohme, 
as a work of the past from which the present generation 
might learn the speculative interpretation of Christian 
doctrines, he reverts to the position that the only 
mode in which thought will admit a reconciliation with 
religious doctrines, is when these doctrines have learned 
to 'assume their worthiest phase — the phase of the 
notion, of necessity, which binds, and thus also makes 
free everything, fact no less than thought.' But it is 
not from Bohme or his kindred that we are likely to get 
the example of a philosophy equal to the highest theme 
— to the comprehension of divine things. ' If old things 


are to be revived — an old phase, that is ; for the 
burden of the theme is ever young — the phase of the 
Idea such as Plato and, still better, as Aristotle con- 
ceived it, is far more deserving of being recalled, — and 
for the further reason that the disclosure of it, by 
assimilating it into our system of ideas, is, ipso facto, 
not merely an interpretation of it, but a progress of the 
science itself. But to interpret such forms of the Idea 
by no means lies so much on the surface as to get hold ■ 
of Gnostic and Cabbalistic phantasmagorias; and tof 
develope Plato and Aristotle is by no means the sinecure 
that it is to note or to hint at echoes of the Idea in the 

The third edition of the Encyclopaedia, which ap- 
peared in 1,830, consists of pp. Iviii, 600 — a slight 
additional increase. The increase is in the Logic, 
eight pages ; in the Philosophy of Nature, twenty-three 
pages ; and in the Philosophy of Spirit, thirty-four 
pages. The concrete topics, in short, gain most. 

The preface begins by alluding to several criticisms 
on his philosophy, — 'which for the most part have 
shown little vocation for the business ' — and to his dis- 
cussion of them in the Jahrhiichcr of 1829 {Vermischte 
Schriften, ii. 149). There is also a paragraph devoted to 
the quarrel originated by the attack in Hengstenberg's 
Evangelical Journal on the rationalism of certain pro- 
fessors at Halle (notably Gesenius and Wegscheider), — 
(an attack based on the evidence of students' note-books), 
and by the protest of students and professors against 
the insinuations. * It seemed a little while ago,' says 
Hegel (p. xli), 'as if there was an initiation, in a scientific 
spirit and on a wider range, of a more serious inquiry, 
from the region of theology and even of religiosity, 
touching God, divine things, and reason. But the very 
beginning of the movement checked these hopes; the 


issue turned on personalities, and neither the preten- 
sions of the accusing pietists nor the pretensions of the 
free reason they accused, rose to the real subject, still 
less to a sense that the subject could only be discussed 
on philosophic soil. This personal attack, on the basis 
of very special externalities of religion, displayed the 
monstrous assumption of seeking to decide by arbitrary 
decree as to the Christianity of individuals, and to 
stamp them accordingly with the seal of temporal and 
eternal reprobation. Dante, in virtue of the enthusiasm 
of divine poesy, has dared to handle the keys of Peter, 
and to condemn by name to the perdition of hell many 
— already deceased however — of his contemporaries, 
even Popes and Emperors. A modern philosophy has 
been made the subject of the infamous charge that in it 
human individuals usurp the rank of God ; but such a 
fictitious charge — reached by a false logic — pales before 
the actual assumption of behaving like judges of the 
world, prejudging the Christianity of individuals, and 
announcing their utter reprobation. The Shibboleth 
of this absolute authority is the name of the Lord Christ, 
and the assertion that the Lord dwells in the hearts of 
these judges.' But the assertion is ill supported by the 
fruits they exhibit, — the monstrous insolence with which 
they reprobate and condemn. 

But the evangelicals are not alone to blame for the 
bald and undeveloped nature of their religious life ; the 
same want of free and living growth in religion charac- 
terises their opponents. ' By their formal, abstract, 
nerveless reasoning, the rationalists have emptied re- 
ligion of all power and substance, no less than the 
pietists by the reduction of all faith to the Shibboleth 
•of Lord ! Lord ! One is no whit better than the other : 
and when they meet in conflict there is no material on 
which they could come into contact, no common ground, 


and no possibility of carrying on an inquiry which 
would lead to knowledge and truth. " Liberal " theo- 
logy on its side has not got beyond the formalism of 
appeals to liberty of conscience, liberty of thought, 
liberty of teaching, to reason itself and to science. 
Such liberty no doubt describes the infinite right of 
the spirit, and the second special condition of truth, 
supplementary to the first, faith. But the rationalists 
steer clear of the material point : they do not tell us the 
reasonable principles and laws involved in a free and 
genuine conscience, nor the import and teaching of free 
faith and free thought ; they do not get beyond a bare 
negative formalism and the liberty to embody their 
liberty at their fancy and pleasure — whereby in the 
end it matters not how it is embodied. There is a 
further reason for their failure to reach a solid doctrine. 
The Christian community must be, and ought always to 
be, unified by the tie of a doctrinal idea, a confession of 
faith ; but the generalities and abstractions of the stale, 
not living, waters of rationalism forbid the specificality 
of an inherently definite and fully developed body of 
Christian doctrine. Their opponents, again, proud of 
the name Lord ! Lord ! frankly and openly disdain 
carrying out the faith into the fulness of spirit, reality, 
and truth.' 

In ordinary moods of mind there is a long way from 
logic to religion. But almost every page of what Hegel 
has called Logic is witness to the belief in their ultimate 
identity. It was no new principle of later years for 
him. He had written in post-student days to his friend 
Schelling : ' Reason and freedom remain our watch- 
word, and our point of union the invisible church \' 
His parting token of faith with another youthful com- 
rade, the poet Holderlin, had been 'God's kingdom I' 

* Hegel's Briefe, i. 13. ^ Holderlin's Lebcn (Litzmann), p. 183. 


But after 1827 this religious appropriation of philosophy 
becomes more apparent, and in 1829 Hegel seemed 
deliberately to accept the position of a Christian philo- 
sopher which Goschel had marked out for him. 'A 
philosophy without heart and a faith without intellect,' 
he remarks ', ' are abstractions from the true life of 
knowledge and faith. The man whom philosophy 
leaves cold, and the man whom real faith does not 
illuminate may be assured that the fault lies in them, 
not in knowledge and faith. The former is still an 
alien to philosophy, the latter an alien to faith.' 

This is not the place — in a philological chapter — to 
discuss the issues involved in the announcement that 
the truth awaits us ready to hand ^ 'in all genuine con- 
sciousness, in all religions and philosophies.* Yet one 
remark may be offered against hasty interpretations of a 
'speculative' identity. If there is a double edge to the 
proposition that the actual is the reasonable, there is 
no less caution necessary in approaching and studying 
from both sides the far-reaching import of that equation 
to which Joannes Scotus Erigena gave expression ten 
centuries ago: ^ Non alia est philosophia, i.e. sapientiae 
stiidium, et alia religio. Quid est aliud de philosophia 
tractare nisi verae religionis regulas exponere ? ' 

' Verm. Schr. ii. 144. '' Hegel's Brie/e, ii. 80. 

The following Errata in the Edition of the Logic as given 
in the Collected Works {Vol. VI.) are corrected in the trans- 
lation. The references in brackets are to the German text. 

Page 95, line i. Unb Dbjefttcitdt has dropped out after bet ©ubjefti; 
vntdt. [VI. 98, 1. 10 from bottom.] 

P. 97, 1. 2. The and ed. reads (bie ©cbanfcn) nid^t in ©oIcf)cm, 
instead of nid^t a(0 in ©clc^era (3rd ed.). [VI. p. 100, I. 3 from 

P. 169, 1. 13 from bottom. Instead of the reading of the Werke 
and of the 3rd ed. read as in ed. II. SUfo ijl bicfet ©cgcnjianb nid/t^. 
[VI. p. 178, 1. II.] 

P. 177, 1. 3 from bottom. g3er(lanbe«;®cgenfianbe3 is a mistake for 
93eiilanbe3;®e0enfabce, as in edd. II and III. [VI. p. 188, 1. a.] 

P. 331, 1. 19. hjciten should be reeitetn. [VI. p. 251, 1. 3 from 

P. 316, 1. 15. 2)inglid^feit is a misprint for !l)ingf|eit, as in Hegel's 
own editions. [VI. p. 347, 1. i.] 

P. 352, 1. 14 from bottom, for feine Sbealitdt read feiner 3bcalitdt. 
[VI. p. 385,1. 8.] 





By G. W. F. HEGEL 




1.] Philosophy misses an advantage enjoyed by 
the other sciences. It cannot like them rest the 
existence of its objects on the natural admissions of 
consciousness, nor can it assume that its method of 
cognition, either for starting or for continuing, is one 
already accepted. The objects of philosophy, it is true, 
are upon the whole the same as those of religion. In 
both the object is Truth, in that supreme sense in which 
God and God only is the Truth. Both in like manner -<r" 
go on to treat of the finite worlds of Nature and the 
human Mind, with their relation to each other and to 
their truth in God. Some acquamtance with its objects, 
therefore, philosophy may and even must presume, 
that and a certain interest in them to boot, were it for 
no other reason than this : that in point of time the 
mind makes general images of objects, long before it ,^ , 
makes notions of them, and that it is only through these 
mental images, and by recourse to them, that the think- 
ing mind rises to know and comprehend thinkingly. 

But with the rise of this thinking study of things, 
it soon becomes evident that thought will be satisfied 
with nothing short of showing the necessity of its 


facts, of demonstrating the existence of its objects, 
as well as their nature and qualities. Our original 
acquaintance with them is thus discovered to be 
inadequate. We can assume nothing, and assert 
nothing dogmatically ; nor can we accept the assertions 
and assumptions of others. And yet we must make a 
beginning : and a beginning, as primary and underived, 
makes an assumption, or rather is an assumption. It 
seems as if it were impossible to make a beginning 
at all. 

2.] This thinking study of things may serve, in a 
general way, as a description of philosophy. But the 
description is too wide. If it be correct to say, that 
thought makes the distinction between man and the 
lower animals, then everything human is human, for the 
sole and simple reason that it is due to the operation 
of thought. Philosophy, on the other hand, is a peculiar 
mode of thinking — a mode in which thinking becomes 
knowledge, and knowledge through notions. However 
great therefore may be the identity and essential unity 
of the two modes of thought, the philosophic mode gets 
to be different from the more general thought which 
acts in all that is human, in all that gives humanity its 
distinctive character. And this difference connects 
itself with the fact that the strictly human and thought- 
induced phenomena of consciousness do not originally 
appear in the form of a thought, but as a feeling, a 
perception, or mental image — all of which aspects must 
be distinguished from the form of thought proper. 

According to an old preconceived idea, which has 
passed into a trivial proposition, it is thought which 
marks the man off from the animals. Yet trivial as this 
old belief may seem, it must, strangely enough, be 
recalled to mind in presence of certain preconceived 
ideas of the present day. These ideas would put 


feeling and thought so far apart as to make them 
opposites, and would represent them as so antagonistic, 
that feeling, particularly religious feeling, is supposed 
to be contaminated, perverted, and even annihilated by 
thought. They also emphatically hold that religion and 
piety grow out of, and rest upon something else, and 
not on thought. But those who make this separation 
forget meanwhile that only man has the capacity for 
religion, and that animals no more have religion than 
they have law and morality. 

Those who insist on this separation of religion from 
thinking usually have before their minds the sort of 
thought that may be styled after-thought. They mean 
'reflective' thinking, which has to deal with thoughts 
as thoughts, and brings them into consciousness. 
Slackness to perceive and keep in view this distinction 
which philosophy definitely draws in respect of think- 
ing is the source of the crudest objections and re- 
proaches against philosophy. Man,— and that just 
because it is his nature to think, — is the o^ily being 
that possesses law, religion, and morality. In these 
spheres of human life, therefore, thinking, under the 
guise of feeling, faith, or generalised image, has not 
been inactive : its action and its productions are there 
present and therein contained. But it is one thing to 
have such feelings and generalised images that have 
been moulded and permeated by thought, and another 
thing to have thoughts about them. The thoughts, to 
which after-thought upon those modes of consciousness 
gives rise, are what is comprised under reflection, 
general reasoning, and the like, as well as under philo- 
sophy itself. ^' 

The neglect of this distinction between thought in 
general and the reflective thought of philosophy has 
also led to another and more frequent misunderstand- 

VOL. II. c 


ing. Reflection of this kind has been often maintained 
to be the condition, or even the only way, of attaining 
a consciousness and certitude of the Eternal and True. 
The (now somewhat antiquated) metaphysical proofs of 
God's existence, for example, have been treated, as if a 
knowledge of them and a conviction of their truth were 
the only and essential means of producing a belief and 
conviction that there is a God. Such a doctrine would 
find its parallel, if we said that eating was impossible 
before we had acquired a knowledge of the chemical, 
botanical, and zoological characters of our food; and 
that we must delay digestion till we had finished the 
study of anatomy and physiology. Were it so, these 
sciences in their field, like philosophy in its, would gain 
greatly in point of utility; in fact, their utility would 
rise to the height of absolute and universal indispen- 
sableness. Or rather, instead of being indispensable, 
they would not exist at all. 

3.] The Content, of whatever kind it be, with which 
our consciousness is taken up, is what constitutes the 
qualitative character of our feelings, perceptions, fancies, 
and ideas ; of our aims and duties ; and of our thoughts 
and notions. From this point of view, feeling, per- 
ception, &c. are the forms assumed by these contents. 
The contents remain one and the same, whether 
they are felt, seen, represented, or willed, and whether 
they are merely felt, or felt with an admixture of 
thoughts, or merely and simply thought. In any one 
of these forms, or in the admixture of several, the con- 
tents confront consciousness, or are its object. But 
when they are thus objects of consciousness, the modes 
of the several forms ally themselves with the contents; 
and each form of them appears in consequence to give 
rise to a special object. Thus what is the same at 
bottom, may look like a different sort of fact. 


The several modes of feeling, perception, desire, and 
will, so far as we are aware of them, are in general 
called ideas (mental representations) : and it may be 
roughly said, that philosophy puts thoughts, categories, 
or, in more precise language, adequate notions, in the 
place of the generalised images we ordinarily call ideas. 
Mental impressions such as these may be regarded as 
the metaphors of thoughts and notions. But to have 
these figurate conceptions does not imply that we appre- 
ciate their intellectual significance, the thoughts and 
rational notions to which they correspond. Conversely, 
it is one thing to have thoughts and intelligent notions, 
and another to know what impressions, perceptions, 
and feelings correspond to them. 

This difference will to some extent explain what 
people call the unintelligibility of philosophy. Their 
difficulty lies partly in an incapacity — which in itself is 
nothing but want of habit — for abstract thinking; i. e. in 
an inability to get hold of pure thoughts and move about 
in them. In our ordinary state of mind, the thoughts 
are clothed upon and made one with the sensuous 
or spiritual material of the hour; and in reflection, 
meditation, and general reasoning, we introduce a blend 
of thoughts into feelings, percepts, and mental images. 
(Thus, in propositions where the subject-matter is due 
to the senses—^, g. ' This leaf is green ' — we have such 
categories introduced, as being and individuality.) But 
it is a very different thing to make the thoughts pure 
and simple our object. 

Biit their complaint that philosophy is unintelligible 
is as much due to another reason ; and that is an im- 
patient wish to have before them as a mental picture 
that which is in the mind as a thought or notion. When 
people are asked to apprehend some notion, they often 
complain that they do not know what they have to think. 



But the fact is that in a notion there is nothing further 
to be thought than the notion itself. What the phrase 
reveals, is a hankering after an image with which we 
are already familiar. The mind, denied the use of its 
familiar ideas, feels the ground where it once stood firm 
and at home taken away from beneath it, and, when 
transported into the region of pure thought, cannot tell 
where in the world it is. 

One consequence of this weakness is that authors, 
preachers, and orators are found most intelligible, when 
they speak of things which their readers or hearers 
already know by rote, — things which the latter are 
conversant with, and which require no explanation. 

4.] The philosopher then has to reckon with popular 
modes of thought, and with the objects of religion. In 
dealing with the ordinary modes of mind, he will first of 
all, as we saw, have to prove and almost to awaken the 
need for his peculiar method of knowledge. In dealing 
with the objects of religion, and with truth as a whole, 
he will have to show that philosophy is capable of ap- 
prehending them from its own resources ; and should 
a difference from religious conceptions come to light, 
he will have to justify the points in which it diverges. 

5.] To give the reader a preliminary explanation of 
the distinction thus made, and to let him see at the 
same moment that the real import of our consciousness 
is retained, and even for the first time put in its proper 
light, when translated into the form of thought and the 
notion of reason, it may be well to recall another of 
these old unreasoned beliefs. And that is the con- 
viction that to get at the truth of any object or event, 
even of feelings, perceptions, opinions, and mental ideas, 
we must think it over. Now in any case to think things 
over is at least to transform feelings, ordinary ideas, &c. 
into thoughts. 


Nature has given every one a faculty of thought. 
But thought is all that philosophy claims as the form 
proper to her business : and thus the inadequate view 
which ignores the distinction stated in § 3, leads to 
a new delusion, the reverse of the complaint previously 
mentioned about the unintelligibility of philosophy. 
In other words, this science must often submit to the 
slight of hearing even people who have never taken any 
trouble with it talking as if they thoroughly under- 
stood all about it. With no preparation beyond an 
ordinary education they do not hesitate, especially 
under the influence of religious sentiment, to philoso- 
phise and to criticise philosophy. Everybody allows that 
to know any other science you must have first studied 
it, and that you can only claim to express a judg- 
ment upon it in virtue of such knowledge. Everybody 
allows that to make a shoe you must have learned and 
practised the craft of the shoemaker, though every man 
has a model in his own foot, and possesses in his hands 
the natural endowments for the operations required. For 
philosophy alone, it seems to be imagined, such study, 
care, and application are not in the least requisite. 

This comfortable view of what is required for a 
philosopher has recently received corroboration through 
the theory of immediate or intuitive knowledge. 

6.] So much for the form of philosophical knowledge. 
It is no less desirable, on the other hand, that philo- 
sophy should understand that its content is no other 
than actuality, that core of truth which, originally pro- 
duced and producing itself within the precincts of the 
mental life, has become the world, the inward and 
outward world, of consciousness. At first we become 
aware of these contents in what we call Experience. 
But even Experience, as it surveys the wide range of 
inward and outward existence, has sense enough to 


distinguish the mere appearance, which is transient and 
meaningless, from what in itself really deserves the 
name of actuality. As it is only in form that philo- 
sophy is distinguished from other modes of attaining an 
acquaintance with this same sum of being, it must neces- 
sarily be in harmony with actuality and experience. In 
fact, this harmony may be viewed as at least an extrinsic 
means of testing the truth of a philosophy. Similarly it 
may be held the highest and final aim of philosophic 
science to bring about, through the ascertainment of this 
harmony, a reconciliation of the self-conscious reason 
with the reason which is in the world, — in other words, 
with actuality. 

In the preface to my Philosophy of Law, p. xix, are 
found the propositions : 

What is reasonable is actual ; 
and, What is actual is reasonable. 
These simple statements have given rise to expressions 
of surprise and hostility, even in quarters where it 
would be reckoned an insult to presume absence of 
philosophy, and still more of religion. Religion at 
least need not be brought in evidence ; its doctrines of 
the divine government of the world affirm these propo- 
sitions too decidedly. For their philosophic sense, we 
must pre-suppose intelligence enough to know, not only 
that God is actual, that He is the supreme actuality, 
that He alone is truly actual ; but also, as regards the 
logical bearings of the question, that existence is in 
part mere appearance, and only in part actuality. In 
common life, any freak of fancy, any error, evil and 
everything of the nature of evil, as well as every 
degenerate and transitory existence whatever, gets 
in a casual way the name of actuality. But even 
our ordinary feelings are enough to forbid a casual 
(fortuitous) existence getting the emphatic name of an 


actual ; for by fortuitous we mean an existence which 
has no greater value than that of something possible, 
which may as well not be as be. As for the term 
Actuality, these critics would have done well to consider 
the sense in which 1 employ it. In a detailed Logic 
I had treated amongst other things of actuality, and 
accurately distinguished it not only from the fortuitous, 
which, after all, has existence, but even from the cog- 
nate categories of existence and the other modifications 
of being. 

The actuality of the rational stands opposed by the 
popular fancy that Ideas and ideals are nothing but 
chimeras, and philosophy a mere system of such 
phantasms. It is also opposed by the very different 
fancy that Ideas and ideals are something far too 
excellent to have actuality, or something too im- 
potent to procure it for themselves. This divorce 
between idea and reality is especially dear to the 
analytic understanding which looks upon its own 
abstractions, dreams though they are, as something true 
and real, and prides itself on the imperative 'ought,' 
which it takes especial pleasure in prescribing even on 
the field of politics. As if the world had waited on 
it to learn how it ought to be, and was not ! For, 
if it were as it ought to be, what would come of the 
precocious wisdom of that ' ought ' ? When understand- 
ing turns this ' ought ' against trivial external and tran- 
sitory objects, against social regulations or conditions, 
which very likely possess a great relative importance 
for a certain time and special circles, it may often be 
right. In such a case the intelligent observer may meet 
much that fails to satisfy the general requirements of 
right ; for who is not acute enough to see a great deal 
in his own surroundings which is really far from being 
as it ought to be ? But such acuteness is mistaken in 



the conceit that, when it examines these objects and 
pronounces what they ought to be, it is dealing with 
questions of philosophic science. The object of philo- 
sophy is the Idea: and the Idea is not so impotent 
as merely to have a right or an obligation to exist 
without actually existing. The object of philosophy is 
an actuality of which those objects, social regulations 
and conditions, are only the superficial outside. 

7.] Thus reflection — thinking things over — in a 
general way involves the principle (which also means 
the beginning) of philosophy. And when the reflective 
spirit arose again in its independence jn modern times, 
after the epoch of the Lutheran Reformation, it did not, 
as in its beginnings among the Greeks, stand merely 
aloof, in a world of its own, but at once turned its 
energies also upon the apparently illimitable material 
of the phenomenal world. In this way the name philo- 
sophy came to be applied to all those branches of know- 
ledge, which are engaged in ascertaining the standard 
and Universal in the ocean of empirical individualities, 
as well as in ascertaining the Necessary element, or 
Laws, to be found in the apparent disorder of the 
endless masses of the fortuitous. It thus appears that 
modern philosophy derives its materials from our own 
personal observations and perceptions of the external 
and internal world, from nature as well as from the 
mind and heart of man, when both stand in the im- 
mediate presence of the observer. 

This principle of Experience carries with it the un- 
speakably important condition that, in order to accept 
and believe any fact, we must be in contact with it ; or, 
in more exact terms, that we must find the fact united 
and combined with the certainty of our own selves. 
We must be in touch with our subject-matter, whether 
it be by means of our external senses, or, else, by our 


profounder mind and our intimate self-consciousness. 
— This principle is the same as that which has in the 
present day been termed faith, immediate knowledge, 
the revelation in the outward world, and, above all, in 
our own heart. 

Those sciences, which thus got the name of philo- 
sophy, we call mtpirical sciences f for the reason that 
they take their departure from experience. Still the 
essential results which they aim at and provide, are 
laws, general propositions, a theory— the thoughts of 
what is found existing. On this ground the Newtonian 
physics was called Natural Philosophy. Hugo Grotius, 
again, by putting together and comparing the behaviour 
of states towards each other as recorded in history, 
succeeded, with the help of the ordinary methods of 
general reasoning, in laying down certain general prin- 
ciples, and establishing a theory which may be termed 
the Philosophy of International Law. In England this 
is still .the usual signification of the term philosophy. 
Newton continues to be celebrated as the greatest of 
philosophers : and the name goes down as far as the 
price-lists of instrument-makers. All instruments, such 
as the thermometer and barometer, which do not come 
under the special head of magnetic or electric apparatus, 
are styled philosophical instruments '. Surely thought, 
and not a mere combination of wood, iron, &c. ought to 

» The journal, too, edited by Thomson is called ' Annals of Philo- 
sophy; or, Magazine of Chemistry, Mineralogy, Mechanics, Natural 
History, Agriculture, and Arts.' We can easily guess from the title 
what sort of subjects are here to be understood under the term 
'philosophy.' Among the advertisements of books just pubHshed, 
I lately found the following notice in an English newspaper: 'The 
Art of Preserving the Hair, on Philosophical Principles, neatly 
printed in post 8vo, price seven shillings.' By philosophical prin- 
ciples for the preservation of the hair are probably meant chemical 
or physiological principles. 


be called the instrument of philosophy ! The recent 
science of Political Economy in particular, which in 
Germany is known as Rational Economy of the State, 
or intelligent national economy, has in England especi- 
ally appropriated the name of philosophy ^ 

8.] In its own field this empirical knowledge may at 
first give satisfaction ; but in two ways it is seen to 
come short. In the first place there is another circle 
of objects which it does not embrace. These are Free- 
dom, Spirit, and God, They belong to a different 
sphere, not because it can be said that they have 
nothing to do with experience ; for though they are 
certainly not experiences of the senses, it is quite an 
identical proposition to say that whatever is in con- 
sciousness is experienced. The real ground for 
assigning them to another field of cognition is that in 
their scope and content these objects evidently show 
themselves as infinite. 

There is an old phrase often wrongly attributed to 

^ In connexion with the general principles of Political Economy, 
the term ' philosophical ' is frequently heard from the lips of English 
statesmen, even in their public speeches. In the House of Commons, 
on the 2nd Feb. 1825, Brougham, speaking oh the address in reply 
to the speech from the throne, talked of ' the statesman-like and 
philosophical principles of Free-trade, — for philosophical they un- 
doubtedly are — upon the acceptance of which his majesty this day 
congratulated the House.' Nor is this language confined to members 
of the Opposition. At the shipowners' yearly dinner in the same 
month, under the chairmanship of the Premier Lord Liverpool, 
supported by Canning the Secretary of State, and Sir C. Long the 
Paymaster-General of the Army, Canning in reply to the toast which 
had been proposed said : 'A period has Just begun, in which ministers 
have it in their power to apply to the administration of this country 
the sound maxims of a profound philosophy.' Differences there may 
be between English and German philosophy : still, considering that 
elsewhere the name of philosophy is used only as a nickname and 
insult, or as something odious, it is a matter of rejoicing to see it 
still honoured in the mouth of the English Government. 


Aristotle, and supposed to express the general tenor of 
his philosoph}'. ' Nihil est in intelkctti quod nonfuerit in 
sensu ' : there is nothing in thought which has not been 
in sense and experience. If speculative philosophy 
refused to admit this maxim, it can only have done so 
from a misunderstanding. It will, however, on the 
converse side no less assert : ' Nihil est in sensu quod 
nonfuerit in intellectu.' And this may be taken in two 
senses. In the general sense it means that vov<; or 
.spirit (the more profound ideaof voCs in modern thought) 
is the cause of the world. In its special meaning (see 
§ 2) it asserts that the sentiment of right, morals, 
and religion is a sentiment (and in that way an expe- 
rience) of such scope and such character that it can 
spring from and rest upon thought alone. ^ 

9.] But in the second place in point o^ form the 
subjective reason desires a further satisfaction than 
empirical knowledge gives; and this form, is, in the 
widest sense of the term, Necessity (§ i). The method 
of empirical science exhibits two defects. The first is 
that the Universal or general principle contained in it, 
the genus, or kind, &c,, is, on its own account, indeter- 
minate and vague, and therefore not on its own account 
connected with the Particulars or the details. Either 
is external and accidental to the other ; and it is the 
same with the particular facts which are brought into 
. union : each is external and accidental to the others. 
^-■The second defect is that the beginnings are in every 
case data and postulates, neither accounted for nor 
deduced. In both these points the form of necessity 
fails to get its due. Hence reflection, whenever it sets 
itself to remedy these defects, becomes speculative 
thinking, the thinking proper to philosophy. As a 
species of reflection, therefore, which, though it has a 
certain community of nature with the reflection already 



mentioned, is nevertheless different from it, philosophic 
thought thus possesses, in addition to the common 
forms, some forms of its own, of which the Notion may 
be taken as the type. 

The relation of speculative science to the other 
^j sciences may be stated in the following terms. It does 
not in the least neglect the empirical facts contained in 
the several sciences, but recognises and adopts them : 
it appreciates and applies towards its own structure the 
universal element in these sciences, their laws and 
classifications : but besides all this, into the categories 
of science it introduces, and gives currency to, other 
categories. The difference, looked at in this way, is 
only a change of categories. Speculative Logic con- 
tains all previous Logic and Metaphysics : it preserves 
the same forms of thought, the same laws and objects, 
— while at the same time remodelling and expanding 
them with wider categories. 

From notion in the speculative sense we should dis- 
tinguish what is ordinarily called a notion. The phrase, 
that no notion can ever comprehend the Infinite, a 
phrase which has been repeated over and over again 
till it has grown axiomatic, is based upon this narrow 
estimate of what is meant by notions. 

10.] This thought, which is proposed as the instru- 
ment of philosophic knowledge, itself calls for further 
explanation. We must understand in what way it pos- 
sesses necessity or cogency : and when it claims to be 
equal to the task of apprehending the absolute objects 
(God, Spirit, Freedom), that claim must be substan- 
tiated. Such an explanation, however, is itself a lesson 
in philosophy, and properly falls within the scope of 
the science itself A preliminary attempt to make 
matters plain would only be unphilosophical, and con- 
sist of a tissue of assumptions, assertions, and inferen- 



tial pros and cons, i. e. of dogmatism without cogency, 
as against which there would be an equal right of 

A main line of argument in the Critical Philosophy 
bids us pause before proceeding to inquire into God or 
into the true being of things, and tells us first of all to 
examine the faculty of cognition and see whether it is 
equal to such an effort. We ought, says Kant, to 
become acquainted with the instrument, before we 
undertake the work for which it is to be employed ; for 
if the instrument be insufficient, all our trouble will be 
spent in vain. The plausibility of this suggestion has 
won for it general assent and admiration ; the result of 
which has been to withdraw cognition from an interest 
in its objects and absorption in the study of them, and 
to direct it back upon itself ; and so turn it to a ques- 
tion of form. Unless we wish to be deceived bywords, 
it is easy to see what this amounts to. In the case of 
other instruments, we can try and criticise them jn 
other ways than by setting about the special work for 
which they are destined. But the examination of 
knowledge can only be carried out by an act of know- 
ledge. To examine this so-called instrument is the 
same thing as to know it. But to seek to know before 
we know is as absurd as the wise resolution of Scholas- 
ticus, not to venture into the water until he had learned 
to swim. 

Reinhold saw the confusion with which this style of 
commencement is chargeable, and tried to get out of 
the difficulty by starting with a hypothetical and proble- 
matical stage of philosophising. In this way he sup- 
posed that it would be possible, nobody can tell how, to 
get along, until we found ourselves, further on, arrived 
at the primary truth of truths. H is method, when closely 
looked into, will be seen to be identical with a very 



common practice. It starts from a substratum of ex- 
periential fact, or from a provisional assumption which 
has been brought into a definition ; and then proceeds 
to analyse this starting-point. We can detect in Rein- 
hold's argument a perception of the truth, that the 
usual course which proceeds by assumptions and antici- 
pations is no better than a hypothetical and proble- 
matical mode of procedure. But his perceiving this 
does not alter the character of this method ; it only 
makes clear its imperfections. 

11.] The special conditions which call for the exist- 
ence of philosophy may be thus described. The mind 
or spirit, when it is sentient or perceptive, finds its 
object in something sensuous; when it imagines, in a 
picture or image ; when it wills, in an aim or end. But 
in contrast to, or it may be only in distinction from, 
these forms of its existence and of its objects, the mind 
has also to gratify the cravings of its highest and most 
inward life. That innermost self is thought. Thus the 
mind renders thought its object. In the best meaning 
of the phrase, it comes to itself; for thought is its prin- 
ciple, and its very unadulterated self. But while thus 
occupied, thought entangles itself in contradictions, 
/". e. loses itself in the hard-and-fast non-identity of its 
thoughts, and so, instead of reaching itself, is caught 
and held in its counterpart . This result, to which 
honest but narrow thinking leads the mere under- 
standing, is resisted by the loftier craving of which we 
have spoken. That craving expresses the persever- 
ance of thought, which continues true to itself, even 
in this conscious loss of its native rest and independ- 
ence, ' that it may overcome ' and work out in itself the 
solution of its own contradictions. 

nature is dialectical, 
lust fall into contra- 

, i) / To see that thought in its very 
f) -^ 'and that, as understanding, it mi 


diction, — the negative of itself, will form one of the 
main lessons of logic. When thought grows hopeless 
of ever achieving, by its own means, the solution of the 
contradiction which it has by its own action brought 
upon itself, it turns back to those solutions of the 
question with which the mind had learned to pacify 
itself in some of its other modes and forms. Unfor- 
tunately, however, the retreat of thought has led it, as 
Plato noticed even in his time, to a very uncalled-for 
hatred of reason (misology) ; and it then takes up against 
its own endeavours that hostile attitude of which an 
example is seen in the doctrine that 'immediate' 
knowledge, as it is called, is the exclusive form in 
which we become cognisant of truth. 

12.] The rise of philosophy is due to these cravings • 
of thought. Its j)oint of departure is Experience; in- 
cluding under that name both our immediate conscious- 
ness and the inductions from it. Awakened, as it were, 
by this stimulus, thought is vitally characterised by 
raising itself above the natural state of mind, above the 
senses and inferences from the senses into its own 
unadulterated element, and by assuming, accordingly, 
at first a stand-aloof and negative attitude towards the 
point from which it started. Through this state of- 
antagonism to the phenomena of sense its first satis- 
faction is found in itself, in the Idea of the universal 
essence of these phenomena : an Idea (the Absolute, 
or God) which may be more or less abstract. Mean- 
while, on the other hand, the sciences, based on experi- 
ence, exert upon the mind a stimulus to overcome the 
form in which their varied contents are presented, and 
to elevate these contents to the rank of necessary truth. 
For the facts of science have the aspect of a vast con- 
glomerate, one thing coming side by side with another, 
as if they were merely given and presented, — as in 


short devoid of all essential or necessary connexion. 
In consequence of this stimulus thought is dragged out 
of its unrealised universality and its fancied or merely 
possible satisfaction, and impelled onwards to a develop- 
ment from itself. On one hand this development only 
means that thought incorporates the contents of science, 
in all their speciality of detail as submitted. On the 
other it makes these contents imitate the action of the 
original creative thought, and present the aspect of a 
free evolution determined by the logic of the fact alone. 
^~ On the relation between ' immediacy * and ' mediation ' 
\ in consciousness we shall speak later, expressly and 
I with more detail. Here it may be sufficient to premise 
that, though the two ' moments ' or factors present them- 
'-v selves as distinct, still neither of them can be absent, 
nor can one exist apart from the other. Thus the 
knowledge of God, as of every supersensible reality, 
is in its true character an exaltation above sensations 
or perceptions : it consequently involves a negative 
attitude to the initial data of sense, and to that extent 
implies mediation. For to mediate is to take some- 
thing as a beginning and to go onward to a second 
thing; so that the existence of this second thing de- 
pends on our having reached it from something else 
contradistinguished from it. In spite of this, the know- 
ledge of God is no mere sequel, dependent on the 
empirical phase of consciousness : in fact, its indepen- 
dence is essentially secured through this negation and 
exaltation. — No doubt, if we attach an unfair promin- 
ence to the fact of mediation, and represent it as imply- 
ing a state of conditionedness, it may be said — not that 
the remark would mean much — that philosophy is the 
child of experience, and owes its rise to a posteriori 
fact. (As a matter of fact, thinking is always the nega- 
tion of what we have immediately before us.) With 


as much truth however we may be said to owe eating 
to the means of nourishment, so long as we can have 
no eating without them. If we taice this view, eating 
is certainly represented as ungrateful : it devours that 
to which it owes itself. Thinking, upon this view of 
its action, is equally ungrateful. 

But there is also an a priori aspect of thought, where 
by a mediation, not made by anything external but by 
a reflection into self, we have that immediacy which is 
universality, the self-complacency of thought which is 
so much at home with itself that it feels an innate in- 
difference to descend to particulars, and in that way 
to the development of its own nature. It is thus also 
with religion, which, whether it be rude or elaborate, 
whether it be invested with scientific precision of detail 
or confined to the simple faith of the heart, possesses, 
throughout, the same intensive nature of contentment 
and felicity. But if thought never gets further than the 
universality of the Ideas, as was perforce the case in the 
first philosophies (when the Eleatics never got beyond 
Being, or Heraclitus beyond Becoming), it is justly 
open to the charge of formalism. Even in a more ad- 
vanced phase of philosophy, we may often find a doc- 
trine which has mastered merely certain abstract pro- 
positions or formulae, such as, 'In the absolute all is 
one,' ' Subject and object are identical,' — and only re- 
peating the same thing when it comes to particulars. 
Bearing in mind this first period of thought, the period 
of mere generality, we may safely say that experience 
is the real author o{ growth and advance in philosophy. 
For, firstly, the empirical sciences do not stop short 
at the mere observation of the individual features of 
a phenomenon. By the aid of thought, they are able 
to meet philosophy with materials prepared for it, in 
the shape of general uniformities, i. e, laws, and classi- 



fications of the phenomena. When this is done, the 
particular facts which they contain are ready to be 
received into philosophy. This, secondly, implies a 
certain compulsion on thought itself to proceed to these 
concrete specific truths. The reception into philosophy 
of these scientific materials, now that thought has re- 
moved their immediacy and made them cease to be 
mere data, forms at the same time a development of 
thought out of itself. Philosophy, then, owes its de- 
velopment to the empirical sciences. In return it gives 
their contents what is so vital to them, the freedom of 
thought, — gives them, in short, an a priori character. 
These contents are now warranted necessary, and no 
longer depend on the evidence of facts merely, that 
they were so found and so experienced. The fact as 
experienced thus becomes an illustration and a copy 
of the original and completely self-supporting activity 
of thought. 

13.] Stated in exact terms, such is the origin and 
development of philosophy. But the History of Philo- 
sophy gives us the same process from an historical and 
external point of view. The stages in the evolution 
of the Idea there seem to follow each other by accident, 
and to present merely a number of different and un- 
connected principles, which the several systems of 
philosophy carry out in their own way. But it is not 
so. For these thousands of years the same Architect 
has directed the work : and that Architect is the one 
living Mind whose nature is to think, to bring to self- 
consciousness what it is, and, with its being thus set 
as object before it, to be at the same time raised above 
it, and so to reach a higher stage of its own being. 
The different systems which the history of philosophy 
presents are therefore not irreconcilable with unity. 
We may either say, that it is one philosophy at different 


degrees of maturity : or that the particular principle, 
which is the groundwork of each system, is but a branch 
of one and the same universe of thought. In philosophy 
the latest birth of time is the result of all the systems 
thstJia-ve preceded it, and must include their principles ; 
and so, if, on other grounds, it deserve the title of philo- 
sophy, will be the fullest, most comprehensive, and most 
adequate system of all. 

The spectacle of so many and so various systems of 
philosophy suggests the necessity of defining more 
exactly the relation of Universal to Particular. When 
the universal is made a mere form and co-ordinated 
with the particular, as if it were on the same level, it 
sinks into a particular itself. Even common sense in 
every-day matters is above the absurdity of setting a 
universal beside the particulars. Would any one, who 
wished for fruit, reject cherries, pears, and grapes, on 
the ground that they were cherries, pears, or grapes, 
and not fruit ? But when philosophy is in question, 
the excuse of many is that philosophies are so different, 
and none of them is the philosophy, — that each is only 
a philosophy. Such a plea is assumed to justify any 
amount of contempt for philosophy. And yet cherries 
too are fruit. Often, too, a system, of which the prin- 
ciple is the universal, is put on a level with another 
of which the principle is a particular, and with theories 
which deny the existence of philosophy altogether. 
Such systems are said to be only different views of 
philosophy. With equal justice, light and darkness 
might be styled different kinds of light. 

14.J The same evolution of thought which is exhibited 
in the history of philosophy is presented in the System 
of Philosophy itself. Here, instead of surveying the 
process, as we do in history, from the outside, we see 
the movement of thought clearly defined in its native 

24 INTRODUCTION. [14-15. 

medium. The thought, which is genuine and self-sup- 
porting, must be intrinsically concrete ; it must be an 
Idea; and when it is viewed in the whole of its univer- 
sality, it is the Idea, or the Absolute. The science of 
this Idea must form a system. For the truth is con- 
crete ; that is, whilst it gives a bond and principle of 
unity, it also possesses an internal source of develop- 
ment. Truth, then, is only possible as a universe or 
totality of thought ; and the freedom of the whole, as 
well as the necessity of the several sub-divisions, which 
it implies, are only possible when these are discrimi- 
nated and defined. 

Unless it is a system, a philosophy is not a scientific 
production. Unsystematic philosophising can only be 
expected to give expression to personal peculiarities 
of mind, and has no principle for the regulation of its 
contents. Apart from their interdependence and or- 
ganic union, the truths of philosophy are valueless, and 
must then be treated as baseless hypotheses, or personal 
convictions. Yet many philosophical treatises confine 
themselves to such an exposition of the opinions and 
sentim.ents of the author. 

The term system is often misunderstood. It does 
not denote a philosophy, the principle of which is 
narrow and to be distinguished from others. On the 
contrary, a genuine philosophy makes it a principle to 
include every particular principle. 

15.] Each of the parts of philosophy is a philoso- 
phical whole, a circle rounded and complete in itself. • 
In each of these parts, however, the philosophical Idea 
is found in a particular specificality or medium. The 
single circle, because it is a real totality, bursts through 
the limits imposed by its special medium, and gives 
rise to a wider circle. The whole of philosophy in 
this way resembles a circle of circles. The Idea ap- 


pears in each single circle, but, at the same time, the 
whole Idea is constituted by the system of these pecu- 
liar phases, and each is a necessary member of the 

16.] In the form of an Encyclopaedia, the science 
has no room for a detailed exposition of particulars, . 
and must be limited to setting forth the commencement 
of the special sciences and the notions of cardinal im- 
portance in them. 

How much of the particular parts is requisite to con- 
stitute a particular branch of knowledge is so far inde- 
terminate, that the part, if it is to be something true, 
must be not an isolated member merely, but itself an 
organic whole. The entire field of philosophy therefore 
really forms a single science ; but it may also be viewed 
as a total, composed of several particular sciences. 

The encyclopaedia of philosophy must not be con- 
founded with ordinary encyclopaedias. An ordinary 
encyclopaedia does not pretend to be more than an 
aggregation of sciences, regulated by no principle, and 
merely as experience offers them. Sometimes it even 
includes what merely bear the name of sciences, while 
they are nothing more than a collection of bits of 
information. In an aggregate like this, the several 
branches of knowledge owe their place in the ency- 
clopaedia to extrinsic reasons, and their unity is there- 
fore artificial : they are arranged, but we cannot say 
they form a system. For the same reason, especially 
as the materials to be combined also depend upon no 
one rule or principle, the arrangement is at best an 
experiment, and will always exhibit inequalities. 

An encyclopaedia of philosophy excludes three kinds 
of partial science. I. It excludes mere aggregates of 
bits of information. Philology in \is prima facie aspect 
belongs to this class. II. It rejects the quasi-sciences, 


which are founded on an act of arbitrary will alone, 
such as Heraldry. Sciences of this class are positive 
from beginning to end. III. In another class of 
sciences, also styled positive, but which have a rational 
basis and a rational beginning, philosophy claims that 
constituent as its own. The positive features remain 
the property of the sciences themselves. 

The positive element in the last class of sciences is 
of different sorts. (I) Their commencement, though 
rational at bottom, yields to the influence of fortuitous- 
ness, when they have to bring their universal truth into 
contact with actual facts and the single phenomena of 
experience. In this region of chance and change, the 
adequate notion of science must yield its place to 
reasons or grounds of explanation. Thus, e. g. in the 
science of jurisprudence, or in the system of direct 
and indirect taxation, it is necessary to have certain 
points precisely and definitively settled which lie be- 
yond the competence of the absolute lines laid down 
by the pure notion. A certain latitude of settlement 
accordingly is left : and each point may be determined 
in one way on one principle, in another w^y on another, 
and admits of no definitive certainty. Similarly the 
Idea of Nature, when parcelled out in detail, is dissi- 
pated into contingencies. Natural history, geography, 
and medicine stumble upon descriptions of existence, 
upon kinds and distinctions, which are not determined by 
reason, but by sport and adventitious incidents. Even 
history comes under the same category. The Idea is 
its essence and inner nature ; but, as it appears, every- 
thing is under contingency and in the field of voluntary 
action. (II) These sciences are positive also in failing 
to recognise the finite nature of what they predicate, 
and to point out how these categories and their whole 
sphere pass into a higher. They assume their state- 


ments to possess an authority beyond appeal. Here 
the fault lies in the finitude of the form, as in the pre- 
vious instance it lay in the matter. (HI) In close 
sequel to this, sciences are positive in consequence of 
the inadequate grounds on which their conclusions 
rest : based as these are on detached and casual infer- 
ence, upon feeling, faith, and authority, and, generally 
speaking, upon the deliverances of inward and outward 
perception. Under this head we must also class the 
philosophy which proposes to build upon 'anthropo- 
logy,' facts of consciousness, inward sense, or outward 
experience. It may happen, however, that empirical is 
an epithet applicable only to the form of scientific ex- 
position ; whilst intuitive sagacity has arranged what 
are mere phenomena, according to the essential se- 
quence of the notion. In such a case the contrasts 
between the varied and numerous phenomena brought 
together serve to eliminate the external and accidental 
circumstances of their conditions, and the universal 
thus comes clearly into view. Guided by such an in- 
tuition, experimental physics will present the rational 
science of Nature,— as history will present the science 
of human affairs and actions— in an external picture, 
which mirrors the philosophic notion. 

17.] It may seem as if philosophy, in order to start 
on its course, had, like the rest of the sciences, to begin 
with a subjective presupposition. The sciences postu- 
late their respective objects, such as space, number, or 
whatever it be ; and it might be supposed that philo- 
sophy had also to postulate the existence of thought. 
But the two cases are not exactly parallel. It is by 
the free act of thought that it occupies a point of view, 
in which it is for its own self, and thus gives itself an 
object of its own production. Nor is this all. The 
very point of view, which originally is taken on its 

28 INTRODUCTION. [17-18. 

own evidence only, must in the course of the science 
be converted to a result, — the ultimate result in which 
philosophy returns into itself and reaches the point 
with which it began. In this manner philosophy ex- 
hibits the appearance of a circle which closes with 
itself, and has no beginning in the same way as the 
other sciences have. To speak of a beginning of philo- 
sophy has a meaning only in relation to a person who 
% proposes to commence the study, and not in relation 
to the science as science. The same thing may be thus 
expressed. The notion of science — the notion therefore 
with which we start— which, for the very reason that it 
is initial, implies a separation between the thought which 
is our object, and the subject philosophising which is, 
as it were, external to the former, must be grasped and 
comprehended by the science itself. This is in short 
the one single aim, action, and goal of philosophy— to 
arrive at the notion of its notion, and thus secure its 
return and its satisfaction. 

18.] As the whole science, and only the whole, can 
exhibit what the Idea or system of reason is, it is im- 
possible to give in a preliminary way a general impres- 
sion of a philosophy. Nor can a division of philosophy 
into its parts be intelligible, except in connexion with 
the system. A preliminary division, like the limited con- 
ception from which it comes, can only be an anticipation. 
Here however it is premised that the Idea turns out to 
be the thought which is completely identical with itself, 
and not identical simply in the abstract, but also in its 
action of setting itself over against itself, so as to gain 
a being of its own, and yet of being in full possession of 
itself while it is in this other. Thus philosophy is sub- 
divided into three parts : 

I. Logic, the science of the Idea in and for 


II. The Philosophy of Nature: the science of the 
Idea in its otherness. 

III. The Philosophy of Mind : the science of the 
Idea come back to itself out of that otherness. 

As observed in § 15, the differences between the 
several philosophical sciences are only aspects or 
si>ecialisations of the one Idea or system of reason, 
which and which alone is alike exhibited in these 
different media. In Nature nothing else would have to 
be discerned, except the Idea : but the Idea has here 
divested itself of its proper being. In Mind, again, the 
Idea has asserted a being of its own, and is on the way 
to become absolute. Every such form in which the Idea 
is expressed, is at the same time a passing or fleeting 
stage: and hence each of these subdivisions has not 
only to know its contents as an object which has being 
for the time, but also in the same act to expound how 
these contents pass into their higher circle. To repre- 
sent the relation between them as a division, therefore, 
leads to misconception ; for it co-ordinates the several 
parts or sciences one beside another, as if they had no 
innate development, but were, like so many species, 
really and radically distinct. 



10.] Logic is the science of the pure Idea; pure, 
that is, because the Idea is in the abstract medium of 
Thought. '^ 

This definition, and the others which occur in these 
introductory outlines, are derived from a survey of the 
whole system, to which accordingly they are subsequent. 
The same remark applies to all prefatory notions what- 
ever about philosophy. 

Logic might have been defined as the science of 
thought, and of its laws and characteristic forms. But 
thought, as thought, constitutes only the general medium, 
or qualifying circumstance, which renders the Idea dis- 
tinctively logical. If we identify the Idea with thought, 
thought must not be taken in the sense of a method or 
form, but in the sense of the self-developing totality of 
its laws and peculiar terms. These laws are the work 
of thought itself, and not a fact which it finds and must 
submit to. 

From different points of view. Logic is either the 
hardest or the easiest of the sciences. Logic is hard, 
because it has to deal not with perceptions, nor, like 
geometry, with abstract representations of the senses, 
but with pure abstractions ; and because it demands 
a force and facility of withdrawing into pure thought, of 
keeping firm hold on it, and of moving in such an 


element. Logic is easy, because its facts are nothing 
but our own thought and its familiar forms or terms : 
and these are the acme of simplicity, the a b c of everj'- 
thing else. They are also what we are best acquainted 
with: such as, 'Is' and 'Is not': quality and magni- 
tude : being potential and being actual : one, many, and 
so on. But such an acquaintance only adds to the 
difficulties of the study; for while, on the one hand, we 
naturally think it is not worth our trouble to occupy 
ourselves any longer with things so familiar, on the 
other hand, the problem is to become acquainted with 
them in a new way, quite opposite to that in which 
we know them already. 

The utility of Logic is a matter which concerns its 
bearings upon the student, and the training it may give 
for other purposes. This logical training consists in 
the exercise in thinking which the student has to go 
through (this science is the thinking of thinking) : and 
in the fact that he stores his head with thoughts, in their 
native unalloyed character. It is true that Logic, being 
the absolute form of truth, and another name for the 
very truth itself, is something more than merely useful. 
Yet if what is noblest, most liberal and most indepen- 
dent is also most useful. Logic has some claim to the 
latter character. Its utility must then be estimated at 
another rate than exercise in thought for the sake of the 

(i) The first question is: What is the object of our 
science ? The simplest and most intelligible answer to this 
question is that Truth is the object of Logic. Truth is a 1 
noble word, and the thing is nobler still. So long as man 
is sound at heart and in spirit, the search for truth must 
awake all the enthusiasm of his nature. But immediately 
there steps in the objection- Are we able to know truth.' 
There seems to be a disproportion between finite beings 
like ourselves and the truth which is absolute : and doubts 


suggest themselves whether there is any bridge between 
the finite and the infinite. God is truth : how shall we know 
Him ? Such an undertaking appears to stand in contra- 
diction with the graces of lowliness and humility. — Others 
who ask whether we can know the truth have a different 
purpose. They want to justify themselves in living on 
contented with their petty, finite aims. And humility of 
this stamp is a poor thing. 

But the time is past when people asked : How shall I, a 
poor worm of the dust, be able to know the truth ? And in 
its stead we find vanity and conceit : people claim, without 
any trouble on their part, to breathe the very atmosphere of 
truth. The young have been flattered into the belief that 
they possess a natural birthright of moral and religious 
truth. And in the same strain, those of riper years are 
declared to be sunk, petrified, ossified in falsehood. Youth, 
say these teachers, sees the bright hght of dawn : but the 
older generation lies in the slough and mire of the common 
day. They admit that the special sciences are something 
that certainly ought to be cultivated, but merely as the 
means to satisfy the needs of outer life. In all this it is not 
humility which holds back from the knowledge and study 
of the truth, but a conviction that we are already in full 
possession of it. And no doubt the young carry with them 
the hopes of their elder compeers ; on them rests the ad- 
vance of the world and science. But these hopes are set 
upon the j'oung, only on the condition that, instead of re- 
maining as they are, they undertake the stern labour of 

This modesty in truth-seeking has still another phase : 
and that is the genteel indifference to truth, as we see it in 
Pilate's conversation with Christ. Pilate asked 'What is 
truth ? ' with the air of a man who had settled accounts with 
everything long ago, and concluded that nothing particularly 
matters : — he meant much the same as Solomon when he 
says : ' All is vanity.' When it comes to this, nothing is 
left but self-conceit. 

The knowledge of the truth meets an additional obstacle 
in timidity. A slothful mind finds it natural to say : * Don't 


let it be supposed that we mean to be in earnest with our 
philosophy. We shall be glad inter alia to study Logic : but 
Logic must be sure to leave us as we were before.' People 
have a feeling that, if thinking passes the ordinary range of 
our ideas and impressions, it cannot but be on the evil road. 
They seem to be trusting themselves to a sea on which they 
will be tossed to and fro by the waves of thought, till at 
length they again reach the sandbank of this temppral 
scene, as utterly poor as when they left it. What comes of 
such a view, we see in the world. It is possible within these 
limits to gain varied information and many accomplishments, 
to become a master of official routine, and to be trained for 
special purposes. But it is quite another thing to educate 
the spirit for the higher life and to devote our energies to 
its service. In our own day it may be hoped a longing for 
something better has sprung up among the young, so that 
they will not be contented with the mere straw of outer 

(2) It is universally agreed that thought is the object of 
Logic. But of thought our estimate may be very mean, or 
it may be very high. On one hand, people say : ' It is only 
a thought.' In their view thought is subjective, arbitrary 
and accidental— distinguished from the thing itself, from the 
true and the real. On the other hand, a very high estimate 
may be formed of thought; when thought alone is held 
adequate to attain the highest of all things, the nature of 
God, of which the senses can tell us nothing. God is a 
spirit, it is said, and must be worshipped in spirit and in 
truth. But the merely felt and sensible, we admit, is not the 
spiritual ; its heart of hearts is in thought ; and only spirit 
can know spirit. And though it is true that spirit can de- 
mean itself as feeling and sense— as is the case in religion, 
the mere feeling, as a mode of consciousness, is one thing, 
and its contents another. Feeling, as feeling, is the general 
form of the sensuous nature which we have in common 
with the brutes. This^ form, viz. feeling, may possibly seize 
and appropriate the full organic truth : but the form has no 
real congruity with its contents. The form of feeling is the 
lowest in which spiritual truth can be expressed. The 



world of spiritual existences, God himself, exists in proper 
truth, only in thought and as thought. If ^this be so, there- 
fore, thought, far from being a mere thought, is the highest 
and, in strict accuracy, the sole mode of apprehending the 
eternal and absolute. 

As of thought, so also of the science of thought, a very 
high or a very low opinion may be formed. Any man, it is 
supposed, can think without Logic, as he can digest without 
studying physiology. If he have studied Logic, he thinks 
afterwards as he did before, perhaps more methodically, but 
with little alteration. If this were all, and if Logic did no 
more than make men acquainted with the action of thought 
as the faculty of comparison and classification, it would 
produce nothing which had not been done quite as well 
before. And in point of fact Logic hitherto had no other 
idea of its duty than this. Yet to be well-informed about 
thought, even as a mere activity of the subject-mind, is 
honourable and interesting for man. It is in knowing what 
he is and what he does, that man is distinguished from the 
brutes. But we may take the higher estimate of thought — 
as what alone can get really in touch with the supreme and 
true. In that case, Logic as the science of thought occupies 
a high ground. If the science of Logic then considers 
thought in its action and its productions (and thought being 
no resultless energy produces thoughts and the particular 
thought required), the theme of Logic is in general the 
supersensible world, and to deal with that theme is to dwell 
for a while in that world. Mathematics is concerned with 
the abstractions of time and space. But these are still the 
object of sense, although the sensible is abstract and 
idealised. Thought bids adieu even to this last and abstract 
sensible : it asserts its own native independence, renounces 
the field of the external and internal sense, and puts away 
the interests and inclinations of the individual. When Logic 
takes this ground, it is a higher science than we are in the 
habit of supposing. 

(3) The necessity of understanding Logic in a deeper 
sense than as the science of the mere form of thought is 
enforced by the interests of religion and politics, of law and 


morality. In earlier days men meant no harm by thinking : 
they thought away freely and fearlessly. They thought 
about God, about Nature, and the State ; and they felt sure 
that a knowledge of the truth was obtainable through thought 
only, and not through the senses or any random ideas or 
opinions. But while they so thought, the principal ordi- 
nances of life began to be seriously affected by their con- 
clusions. Thought deprived existing institutions of their 
force. Constitutions fell a victim to thought : religion was 
assailed by thought; firm religious beliefs which had been 
always looked upon as revelations were undermined, and in 
many minds the old faith was upset. The Greek philo- 
sophers, for example, became antagonists of the old religion, 
and destroyed its beliefs. Philosophers were accordingly 
banished or put to death, as revolutionists who had sub- 
verted religion and the state, two things which were in- 
separable. Thought, in short, made itself a power in the 
real world, and exercised enormous influence. The matter 
ended by drawing attention to the influence of thought, and 
its claims were submitted to a more rigorous scrutiny, by 
which the world professed to find that thought arrogated too 
much and was unable to perform what it had undertaken. 
It had not— people said— learned the real being of God, of 
Nature and Mind. It had not learned what the truth was. 
What it had done, was to overthrow religion and the state. 
It became urgent therefore to justify thought, with reference 
to the results it had produced : and it is this examination 
into the nature of thought and this justification which in 
recent times has constituted one of the main problems of 

20,] If we take our prima facie impression of 
thought, we find on examination first {a) that, in its 
usual subjective acceptation, thought is one out of many 
activities or faculties of the mind, co-ordinate with such 
others as sensation, perception, imagination, desire, 
volition, and the like. The product of this activity, the l\ 
form or character peculiar to thought, is the universal, 
or, in general, the abstract. Thought, regarded as an 1 


activity, may be accordingly described as the active uni- 
versal, and, since the deed, its product, is the universal 
once more, may be called a self-actualising universal. 
Thought conceived as a subject (agent) is a thinker, and 
the subject existing as a thinker is simply denoted by 
the term ' I.' 

The propositions giving an account of thought in this 
and the following sections are not offered as assertions 
or opinions of mine on the matter. But in these pre- 
liminary chapters any deduction or proof would be 
impossible, and the statements may be taken as matters 
in evidence. In other words, every man, when he 
thinks and considers his thoughts, will discover by the 
experience of his consciousness that they possess the 

(character of universality as well as the other aspects of 
thought to be afterwards enumerated. We assume of 
course that his powers of attention and abstraction have 
undergone a previous training, enabling him to observe 
correctly the evidence of his consciousness and his con- 

This introductory exposition has already alluded to 
the distinction between Sense, Conception, and Thought. 
As the distinction is of capital importance for under- 
standing the nature and kinds of knowledge, it will 
help to explain matters if we here call attention to it. 
For the explanation of Sense, the readiest method cer- 
tainly is, to refer to its external source— the organs of 
sense. But to name the organ does not help much to 
, explain what is apprehended by it. The real distinction 
I I between sense and thought lies in this — that the essen- 
* ' tial feature of the sensible is individuality, and as the 
individual (which, reduced to its simplest terms, is the 
atom) is also a member of a group, sensible existence 
presents a number of mutually exclusive units, — of 
units, to speak in more definite and abstract formulae, 


which exist side by side with, and after, one another. 
Conception or picture-thinking works with materials 
from the same sensuous source. But these materials 
when conceived are expressly characterised as in me and 
therefore mine : and secondly, as universal, or simple, 
because only referred to self Nor is sense the only 
source of materialised conception. There are concep- 
tions constituted by materials emanating from self con- 
scious thought, such as those of law, morality, religion, 
and even of thought itself, and it requires some effort 
to detect wherein lies the difference between such con- 
ceptions and thoughts having the same import. For it 
is a thought of which such conception iS the vehicle, and 
there is no want of the form of universality, without, 
which no content could be in me, or be a conception at 
all. Yet here also the peculiarity of conception is, 
generally speaking, to be sought in the individualism or 
isolation of its contents. True it is that, for example, 
law and legal provisions do not exist in a sensible 
space, mutually excluding one another. Nor as regards- 
time, though they appear to some extent in succession, 
are their contents themselves conceived as affected by 
time, or as transient and changeable in it. The fault in 
conception lies deeper. These ideas, though implicitly 
possessing the organic unity of mind, stand isolated 
here and there on the broad ground of conception, with 
its inward and abstract generality. Thus cut adrift, 
each is simple, unrelated : Right, Duty, God. Concep- 
tion in these circumstances either rests satisfied with 
declaring that Right is Right, God is God : or in a 
higher grade of culture, it proceeds to enunciate the 
attributes ; as, for instance, God is the Creator of the 
world, omniscient, almighty, &c. In this way several 
isolated, simple predicates are strung together : but in 
spite of the link supplied by their subject, the predicates 




never get be3'ond mere contiguity. In this point Con- 
ception coincides with Understanding : the only distinc- 
tion being that the latter introduces relations of universal 
and particular, of cause and effect, &c., and in this way 
supplies a necessary connexion to the isolated ideas of 
conception ; which last has left them side by side in its 
vague mental spaces, connected only by a bare ' and.' 

The difference between conception and thought is of 
special importance : because philosophy may be said to 
do nothing but transform conceptions into thoughts, — 
though it works the further transformation of a mere 
thought into a notion. 

Sensible existence has been characterised by the 
attributes of individuality and mutual exclusion of the 
members. It is well to remember that these very attri- 
butes of sense are thoughts and general terms. It will 
be shown in the Logic that thought (and the universal) 
is not a mere opposite of sense : it lets nothing escape 
it, but, outflanking its other, is at once that other and 
itself. Now language is the work of thought : and 
hence all that is expressed in language must be uni- 
versal. What I only mean or suppose is mine : it 
belongs to me, — this particular individual. But language 
expresses nothing but universality; and so I cannot say 
what I merely mean. And the unutterable, — feeling or 
sensation, — far from being the highest truth, is the most 
unimportant and untrue. If I say 'The individual/ 
'This individual,' 'here,' 'now,' all these are universal 
terms. Everything and anything is an individual, a 
' this,' and if it be sensible, is here and now. Similarly 
when I say, ' I,' I mean my single self to the exclusion 
of all others : but what I say, viz. ' I,' is just every 'I,' 
which in like manner excludes all others from itself. In 
an awkward expression which Kant used, he said that I 
accompany all my conceptions, — sensations, too, desires, 


actions, &c. ' I ' is in essence and act the universal : 
and such partnership is a form, though an external 
form, of universality. All other men have it in common 
with me to be ' I ' : just as it is common to all my sen- 
sations and conceptions to be mine. But ' I,' in the 
abstract, as such, is the mere act of self-concentration 
or self- relation, in which we make abstraction from all 
conception and feeling, from every state of mind and 
every peculiarity of nature, talent, and experience. To 
this extent, ' I ' is the existence of a wholly abstract \ 
I universality, a principle of abstract freedom. Hence ■ 
pthought, viewed as a subject, is what is expressed by 
the word ' \' : and since I am at the same time in all my 
sensations, conceptions, and states of consciousness, 
thought is everywhere present, and is a category that 
runs through all these modifications. 

Our first impression when we use the term thought is of 
a subjective activity — one amongst many similar faculties, 
such as memory, imagination and will. Were thought 
merely an activity of the subject-mind and treated under 
that aspect by logic, logic would resemble the other sciences 
in possessing a well-marked object. It might in that case 
seem arbitrary to devote a special science to thought, whilst 
will, imagination and the rest were denied the same privilege. 
The selection of one faculty however might even in this view 
be very well grounded on a certain authority acknowledged 
to belong to thought, and on its claim to be regarded as the 
true nature of man, in which consists his distinction from the 
brutes. Nor is it unimportant to study thought even as a 
subjective energy'. A detailed analysis of its nature would 
exhibit rules and laws, a knowledge of which is derived 
from experience. A treatment of the laws of thought, from 
this point of view, used once to form the body of logical 
science. Of that science Aristotle was the founder. He 
succeeded in assigning to thought what properly belongs to 
it. Our thought is extremely concrete : but in its composite 
contents we must distinguish the part that properly belongs 



to thought, or to the abstract mode of its action. A subtle 
spiritual bond, consisting in the agency of thought, is what 
gives unity to all these contents, and it was this bond, the 
form as form, that Aristotle noted and described. Up to the 
present day, the logic of Aristotle continues to be the re- 
ceived system. It has indeed been spun out to greater 
length, especially by the labours of the medieval Schoolmen 
who, without making any material additions, merely refined 
in details. The moderns also have left their mark upon this 
logic, partly by omitting many points of logical doctrine due 
to Aristotle and the Schoolmen, and partly by foisting in a 
quantity of psychological matter. The purport of the science 
is to become acquainted with the procedure of finite thought : 
and, if it is adapted to its pre-supposed object, the science is 
entitled to be styled correct. The study of this forrtial logic 
undoubtedly has its uses. It sharpens the wits, as the phrase 
goes, and teaches us to collect our thoughts and to abstract 
— whereas in common consciousness we have to deal with 
sensuous conceptions which cross and perplex one another. 
Abstraction moreover implies the concentration of the mind 
on a single point, and thus induces the habit of attending to 
our inward selves. An acquaintance with the forms of' 
finite thought may be made a means of training the mind 
for the empirical sciences, since their method is regulated by 
these forms : and in this sense logic has been designated 
Instrumental. It is true, we may be still more liberal, and 
say : Logic is to be studied not for its utility, but for its own 
sake ; the super-excellent is not to be sought for the sake of 
mere utility. In one sense this is quite correct : but it may 
be replied that the super-excellent is also the most useful : 
because it is the all-sustaining principle which, having a 
subsistence of its own, may therefore serve as the vehicle of 
special ends which it furthers and secures. And thus, 
special ends, though they have no right to be set first, are. 
still fostered by the presence of the highest good. Religion, 
for instance, has an absolute value of its own ; yet at the 
same time other ends flourish and succeed in its train. As 
Christ says : ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all 
these things shall be added unto you.' Particular ends can 


be attained only in the attainment of what absolutely is and 
exists in its own right. 

21.] [b) Thought was described as active. We now, 
in the second place, consider this action in its bearings • 
upon objects, or as reflection upon something. In, 
this case the universal or product of its operation con- 
tains the value of the thing — is the essential, inward, and 

In § 5 the old belief was quoted that the reality in 
object, circumstance, or event, the intrinsic worth or 
essence, the thing on which everything depends, is not 
a self-evident datum of consciousness, or coincident with 
the first appearance and impression of the object ; that, 
on the contrary, Reflection is required in order to dis-. 
cover the real constitution of the object — and that by 
such reflection it will be ascertained. 

To reflect is a lesson which even the child has to learn. 
One of his first lessons is to join adjectives with substantives. 
This obliges him to attend and distinguish: he has to re- 
member a rule and apply it to the particular case. This rule 
is nothing but a universal : and the child must see that the 
particular adapts itself to this universal. In life, again, we 
have ends to attain. And with regard to these we ponder 
which is the best way to secure them. The end here re- 
presents the universal or governing principle : and we have 
means and instruments whose action we regulate in con- 
formity to the end. In the same way reflection is active in 
questions of conduct. To reflect here means to recollect the 
right, the duty,— the universal which serves as a fixed rule 
to guide our behaviour in the given case. Our particular 
act must imply and recognise the universal law.— We find 
the same thing exhibited in our study of natural phenomena. 
For instance, we observe thunder and lightning. The 
phenomenon is a familiar one, and we often perceive it. 
But man is not content with a bare acquaintance, or with 
the fact as it appears to the senses ; he would like to get 
behind the surface, to know what it is, and to comprehend 



it. This leads him to reflect : he seeks to find out the cause 
as something distinct from the mere phenomenon : he tries 
to know the inside in its distinction from the outside. Hence 
the phenomenon becomes double, it splits into inside and 
outside, into force and its manifestation, into cause and 
effect. Once more we find the inside or the force identified 
with the universal and permanent : not this or that flash of 
lightning, this or that plant— but that which continues the 
same in them all. The sensible appearance is individual 
and evanescent : the permanent in it is discovered by- 
reflection. Nature shows us a countless number of indi- . 
vidual forms and phenomena. Into this variety we feel a, 
need of introducing unity : v/e compare, consequently, and 
try to find the universal of each single case. Individuals are 
born and perish : the species abides and recurs in them all : 
and its existence is only visible to reflection. Under the- 
same head fall such laws as those regulating the motion of 
the heavenly bodies. To-day we see the stars here, and to- 
morrow there: and our mind finds something incongruous, 
in this chaos — something in which it can put no faith, be- , 
cause it believes in order and in a simple, constant, and 
universal law. Inspired by this belief, the mind has directed 
its reflection towards the phenomena, and learnt their laws. 
In other words, it has established the movement of the 
heavenly bodies to be in accordance with a universal law 
from which every change of position may be known and 
predicted. — The case is the same with the influences which 
make themselves felt in the infinite complexity of human 
conduct. There, too, man has the belief in the sway of 
a general principle. — From all these examples it may be 
gathered how reflection is always seeking for something 
fixed and permanent, definite in itself and governing the 
particulars. This universal which cannot be apprehended 
by the senses counts as the true and essential. Thus, duties 
and rights are all-important in the matter of conduct : and 
an action is true when it conforms to those universal 

In thus characterising the universal, we become aware of 
its antithesis to something else. This something else is the 


merely immediate, outward and individual, as opposed to / 
the mediate, inward and universal. The universal does not ' 
exist externally to the outward eye as a universal. The kind 
as kind cannot be perceived : the laws of the celestial motions 
are not written on the sky. The universal is neither seen 1 1 
nor heard, its existence is only for the mind. Religion leads |l 
us to a universal, which embraces all else within itself, to an 
Absolute by which all else is brought into being: and this 
Absolute is an object not of the senses but of the mind and 
of thought. 

22.] [c) By the act of reflection something is altered \ \ 
in the way in which the fact was originally presented 
in sensation, perception, or conception. Thus, as it • 
appears, an alteration of the object must be interposed , 
before its true nature can be discovered. 

What reflection elicits, is a product of our thought. Solon, 
for instance, produced out of his head the laws he gave to 
the Athenians. This is half of the truth: but we must not 
on that account forget that the universal (in Solon's case, 
the laws) is the very reverse of merely subjective, or fail to 
note that it is the essential, true, and objective bemg of 
things. To discover the truth in things, mere attention is 
not enough ; we must call in the action of our own faculties 
to transform what is immediately before us. Now, at first 
sight, this seems an inversion of the natural order, calculated 
to thwart the very purpose on which knowledge is bent. 
But the method is not so irrational as it seems. It has been 
the conviction of every age that the only way of reaching the 
permanent substratum was to transmute the given pheno- 
menon by means of reflection. In modern times a doubt 
has for the first time been raised on this point in connexion 
with the diff"erence alleged to exist between the products of 
our thought and the things in their own nature. This real 
nature of things, it is said, is very different from what we 
make out of them. The divorce between thought and thing 
is mainly the work of the Critical Philosophy, and runs . 
counter to the conviction of all previous ages, that their j 
agreement was a matter of course. The antithesis between 


them is the hinge on which modern philosophy turns. 
Meanwhile the natural belief of men gives the lie to it. In 
common life we reflect, without particularly reminding our- 
selves that this is the process of arriving at the truth, and we 
think without hesitation, and in the firm behef that thought 
coincides with thing. And this belief is of the greatest 
importance. It marks the diseased state of the age when we 
see it adopt the despairing creed that our knowledge is only 
subjective, and that beyond this subjective we cannot go. 
Whereas, rightly understood, truth is objective, and ought 
so to regulate the conviction of every one, that the conviction 
of the individual is stamped as wrong when it does not agree 
with this rule. Modern views, on the contrary, put great 
value on the mere fact of conviction, and hold that to be 
convinced is good for its own sake, whatever be the burden 
of our conviction, — there being no standard by which we 
can measure its truth. 

We said above that, according to the old belief, it was the 
characteristic right of the mind to know the truth. If this 
be so, it also implies that everything we know both of out- 
ward and inward nature, in one word, the objective world, 
is in its own self the same as it is in thought, and that to 
think is to bring out the truth of our object, be it what it 
may. The business of philosophy is only to bring into 
explicit consciousness what the world in all ages has 
believed about thought. Philosophy therefore advances 
nothing new ; and our present discussion has led us to a 
conclusion which agrees with the natural belief of mankind. 

23.] {d) The real nature of the object is brought to 
light in reflection ; but it is no less true that this exer- 
tion of thought is my act. If this be so, the real nature 
is a product of my mind, in its character of thinking 
subject — generated by me in my simple universality, 
self-collected and removed from extraneous influences, 
— in one word, in my Freedom. 

Think for yourself, is a phrase which people often 
use as if it had some special significance. The fact 


is, no man can think for another, any more than he can 
eat or drink for him : and the expression is a pleonasm. 
To think is in fact ipso facto to be free, for thought as 
the action of the universal is an abstract relating of 
self to self, where, being at home with ourselves, and 
as regards our subjectivity, utterly blank, our con- 
sciousness is, in the matter of its contents, only in the 
fact and its characteristics. If this be admitted, and 
if we apply the term humility or modesty to an attitude 
where our subjectivity is not allowed to interfere by 
act or quality, it is easy to appreciate the question 
touching the humility or modesty and pride of philo- 
sophy. For in point of contents, thought is only true 
in proportion as it sinks itself in the facts ; and in point 
of foim it is no private or particular state or act of 
the subject, but rather that attitude of consciousness 
where the abstract self, freed from all the special limi- 
tations to which its ordinary states or qualities are 
liable, restricts itself to that universal action in which 
it is identical with all individuals. In these circum- 
stances philosophy may be acquitted of the charge of 
pride. And when Aristotle summons the mind to rise 
to the dignity of that attitude, the dignity he seeks is 
won by letting slip all our individual opinions and pre- 
judices, and submitting to the sway of the fact. 

24.] With these explanations and qualifications, 
thoughts may be termed Objective Thoughts, — among 
which are also to be included the forms which are 
more especially discussed in the common logic, where 
they are usually treated as forms of conscious thought 
only. Logic therefore coincides with Metaphysics, the 
science of things set and held in thoughts, — thoughts ac- 
credited able to express the essential reality of things. 

An exposition of the relation in which such forms 
as notion, judgment, and syllogism stand to others, 


such as causality, is a matter for the science itself. 
But this much is evident beforehand. If thought tries 
to form a notion of things, this notion (as well as its 
proximate phases, the judgment and syllogism) cannot 
be composed of articles and relations which are alien 
and irrelevant to the things. Reflection, it was said 
above, conducts to the universal of things : which uni- 
versal is itself one of the constituent factors of a notion. 
To say that Reason or Understanding is in the world, 
is equivalent in its import to the phrase ' Objective 
Thought.* The latter phrase however has the incon- 
venience that thought is usually confined to express 
^hat belongs to the mind or consciousness only, while 
objective is a term applied, at least primarily, only to 
the non-mental. 

I (i) To speak of thought or objective thought as the heart 
'and soul of the world, may seem to be ascribing conscious- 
ness to the things of nature. We feel a certain repugnance 
against making thought the inward function of things, 
especially as we speak of thought as marking the divergence 
of man from nature. It would be necessary, therefore, if 
we use the term thought at all, to speak of nature as the 
system of unconscious thought, or, to use Schelling's 
expression, a petrified intelligence. And in order to prevent 
misconception, thought-form or thought-type should be 
substituted for the ambiguous term thought. 

From what has been said the principles of logic are to be 
sought in a system of thought-types or fundamental cate- 
gories, in which the opposition between subjective and 
objective, in its usual sense, vanishes. The signification 
thus attached to thought and its characteristic forms may be 
illustrated by the ancient saying that ' voiis governs the 
world,' or by our own phrase that ' Reason is in the 
world-'^ which means that Reason is the soul of the world 
it inhabits, its immanent principle, its most proper and 
inward nature, its universal. Another illustration is offered 
by the circumstance that in speaking of some definite 


animal we say it is (an) animal. Now, the animal, qua 
animal, cannot be shown ; nothing can be pointed out 
excepting some special animal. Animal, qua animal, does 
not exist : it is merely the universal nature of the individual 
animals, whilst each existing animal is a more concretely, 
defined and particularised thing. But to be an animal,— the 
law of kind which is the universal in this case,— is the 
property of the particular animal, and constitutes its definite, 
essence. Take away from the dog its animality, and it be- 
comes impossible to say what it is. All things have a 
permanent inward nature, as well as an outward existence. , 
They live and die, arise and pass away ; but their essential 
and universal part is the kind ; and this means much more 
than something common to them all.. 

If thought is the constitutive substance of external things; 
it is also the universal substance of what is spiritual. In all 
human perception thought is present ; so too thought is the 
universal in all the acts of conception and recollection ; in- 
short, in every mental activity, in willing, wishing and the. 
like. All these faculties are only further, specialisations of 
thought. When it is presented in this light, thought has 
a different part to play from what it has if we speak of a 
faculty of thought, one among a crowd of other faculties, 
such as perception, conception and will, with which it stands 
on the same level. When it is seen to be the true universal 
of all that nature and mind contain, it extends its scope far 
beyond all these, and becomes the basis of everything. From 
this view of thought, in its objective meaning as vov^, we may 
next pass to consider the subjective sense of the term. We 
say first, Man is a being that thinks ; but we also say at the 
same time, Man is a being that perceives and wills. Man is a 
thinker, and is universal: but he is a thinker only because 
he feels his own universality. The animal too is by impli- 
cation universal, but the universal is not consciously felt by 
it to be universal : it feels only the individual. The animal 
sees a singular object, for instance, its food, or a man. For 
the animal all this never goes beyond an individual thing. 
Similarly, sensation has to do with nothing but singulars, 
such as this pain or this sweet taste. Nature does not bring 



its coif into consciousness : it is man who first makes him- 
self double so as to be a universal for a universal. This 
first happens when man knows that he is ' I.' By the term 
' I ' I mean myself, a single and altogether determinate 
person. And yet I really utter nothing peculiar to myself, 
for every one else is an * I ' or ' Ego,' and when I call my- 
i self I,' though I indubitably mean the single person myself, 
1 1 express a thorough universal. ' I,' therefore, is mere_ 
being-for-self, in which everything peculiar or marked is 
i renounced and buried out of sight; it is as it were the ultimate 
I and unanalysable point of consciousness. We may say ' I ' 
and thought are the same, or, more definitely, ' I ' is thought 
as a thinker. What I have in my consciousness, is for me. 
' I ' is the vacuum or receptacle for anything and everything : 
for which everything is and which stores up everything in 
itself Every man is a whole world of conceptions, that lie 
buried in the night of the ' Ego.' It follows that the ' Ego' 
is the universal in which we leave aside all that is particular, 
and in which at the same time all the particulars have a 
latent existence. In other words, it is not a mere universality 
and nothing more, but the universality which includes in it 
everything. Commonly we use the word ' I ' without 
attaching much importance to it, nor is it an object of study 
except to philosophical analysis. In the ' Ego,' we have 
thought before us in its utter purity. While the brute cannot 
say ' I,' man can, because it is his nature to think. Now in 
the ' Ego ' there are a variety of contents, derived both from 
within and from without, and according to the nature of these 
contents our state may be described as perception, or con- 
ception, or reminiscence. But in all of them the ' I ' is 
found : or in them all thought is present. Man, therefore, is 
always thinking, even in his perceptions : if he observes 
anything, he always observes it as a universal, fixes on a 
single point which he places in relief, thus withdrawing his 
attention from other points, and takes it as abstract and uni- 
versal, even if the universality be only in form. 

In the case of our ordinary conceptions, two things may 
happen. Either the contents are moulded by thought, but 
not the form : or, the form belongs to thought and not the 


contents. In using such terms, for instance, as anger, rose, L 
hope, I am speaking of things which I have learnt in the 
way of sensation, but I express these contents in a universal 
mode, that is, in the form of thought. I have left out much 
that is particular and given the contents in their generality : I 
but still the contents remain sense-derived. On the other 
hand, when I represent God, the content is undeniably a 
product of pure thought, but the form still retains the sen- 
suous limitations which it has as I find it immediately 
present in myself In these generalised images the content 
is not merely and simply sensible, as it is in a visual inspec- 
tion ; but either the content is sensuous and the form apper- 
tains to thought, or vice versa. In the first case the material 
is given to us, and our thought supplies the form : in the 
second case the content which has its source in thought is 
by means of the form turned into a something given, which 
accordingly reaches the mind from without, 

(2)_Logic is the study of thought pure and simple, or of jl 
the pure thought-forms. In the ordinary sense of the term, ' 
by thought we generally represent to ourselves something 
more than simple and unmixed thought ; we mean some 
thought, the material of which is from experience. Whereas 
in logic a thought is understood to include nothing else but 
what depends on thinking and what thinking has brought 
into existence. It is in these circumstances that thoughts 
are pure thoughts. The mind is then in its own home-ele- 
ment and therefore free : for freedom means that the other 
thing with which you deal is a second self— so that you 
never leave your own ground but give the law to your- 
self In the impulses or appetites the beginning is from 
something else, from something which we feel to be ex- 
ternal. In this case then we speak of dependence. £25 
freedom it is necessary that we should feel no presence of 
something else which is not ourselves. The natural man, 
whose motions follow the rule only of his appetites, is not 
his own master. Be he as self-willed as he may, the con- 
stituents of his will and opinion are not his own, and his free- 
dom is merely formal. But when we think, we renounce 
our selfish and particular being, sink ourselves in the thing, 


allow thought to follow its own course, and,— if we add any- 
thing of our own, we think ill. 

If in pursuance of the foregoing remarks we consider. 
Logic to be the system of the pure types of thought, we find 
that the other philosophical sciences, the Philosophy of 
Nature and the Philosophy of Mind, take the place, as it 
were, of an Applied Logic, and that Logic is the soul which 
animates them both. Xheir problem in that case is only to-- 
recognise the logical forms under the shap>es they assume • 
in Nature and Mind, — shapes which are only a particular^ 
mode of expression for the forms of pure thought. If for' 
instance we take the syllogism (not as it was understood in 
the old formal logic, but at its real value), we shall find it 
gives expression to the law that the particular is the middle 
term which fuses together the extremes of the universal 
and the singular. The syllogistic form is a universal form 
of all things. Everything that exists is a particular, which-- 
couples together the universal and the singular. But Nature ' 
is weak and fails to exhibit the logical forms in their purity. 
Such a feeble exemplification of the syllogism may be seen 
in the magnet. In the middle or point of indifference of a 
magnet, its two poles, however they may be distinguished, 
are brought into one. Physics also teaches us to see the 
universal or essence in Nature : and the only difference 
between it and the Philosophy of Nature is that the latter 
brings before our mind the adequate forms of the notion in 
the physical world. 

It will now be understood that Logic is the all-animating 
spirit of all the sciences, and its categories the spiritual hier- 
archy. They are the heart and centre of things : and yetat 
the same time they are always on our lips, and, apparently 
at least, perfectly familiar objects. But things thus famJliar 
are usually the greatest strangers. Being, for example, is 
a category of pure thought: but to make 'Is' an object of 
investigation never occurs to us. Common fancy puts the 
Absolute far away in a world beyond. The Absolute is 
rather directly before us, so present that so long as we 
think, we must, though without express consciousness of it, 
always carry it with us and always use it. Language is the 



main depository of these types of thought ; and one use of 
the grammatical instruction which children receive is un- 
consciously to turn their attention to distinctions of thought. 

Logic is usually said to be concerned with forms only and 
to derive the material for them from elsewhere. But this- 
' only,' which assumes that the logical thgughts are nothing . 
in comparison with the rest of the contents, is not the word 
to use about forms which are the absolutely-real ground of 
everything. Everything else rather is an ' only ' compared [ 
with these thoughts. To make such abstract forms a problem 
pre-supposes in the inquirer a higher level of culture than 
ordinary ; and to study them in themselves and for their 
own sake signifies in addition that these thought-types must 
be deduced out of thought itself, and their truth or reality 
examined by the light of their own laws. We do not assume 
them as data from without, and then define them or exhibit 
their value and authority by comparing them with the shape 
they take in our minds. If we thus acted, we should pro- 
ceed from observation and experience, and should, for 
instance, say we habitually employ the term ' force ' in such 
a case, and such a meaning. A definition like that would be 
called correct, if it agreed with the conception of its object 
present in our ordinary state of mind. The defect of this 
empirical method is that a notion is not defined as it is in 
and for itself, but in terms of something assumed, which is 
then used as a criterion and standard of correctness. No 
such test need be applied : we have merely to let the 
thought-forms follow the impulse of their own organic life. 

To ask if a category is true or not, must sound strange 
to the ordinary mind : for a category apparently becomes 
true only when it is applied to a given object, and apart 
from this application it would seem meaningless to inquire 
into its truth. But this is the very question on which 
everything turns. We must however in the first place un- ~| 
derstand clearly what we mean by Truth. In common life \\ 
truth means the agreement of an object with our conception 
of it. We thus pre-suppose an object to which our concep- 
tion must conform. In the philosophical sense of the word, 
on the other hand, truth may be described, in general 

• I 


I i abstract terms, as the agreement of a thought-coment with 
itself. This meaning is quite different from the one given 
above. At the same time the deeper and philosophical 
meaning of truth can be partially traced even in the ordinary- 
usage of language. Thus we speak of a true friend ; by 
which we mean a friend whose manner of conduct accords- 
with the notion of friendship. In the same way we speak 
of a true work of Art. Untrue in this sense means the 
same as bad, or self-discordant. In this sense a bad state is 

j an untrue state ; and evil and untruth may be said to consist 
in the contradiction subsisting between the function or no- 
tion and the existence of the object. Of such a bad object 
we may form a correct representation, but the import of such 
representation is inherently false. Of these correctnesses,' 
which are at the same time untruths, we may have many in 
our heads. — God alone is the thorough harmony of notion 
I and reality. All finite things involve an untruth : they have a 
notion and an existence, but their existence does not meet 
the requirements of the notion. For this reason they must 
perish, and then the incompatibility between their notion 
and their existence becomes manifest. It is in the kind 
that the individual animal has its notion : and the kind 
liberates itself from this individuality by death. 

j The study of truth, or, as it is here explained to mean, 

I consistency, constitutes the proper problem of logic. In our 
every-day mind we are never troubled with questions about 
the truth of the forms of thought. — We may also express the 
problem of logic by saying that it examines the forms of- 
thought touching their capability to hold truth. And the 
question comes to this : What are the forms of the infinite, 
and what are the forms of the finite ? Usually no suspicion 
attaches to the finite forms of thought ; they are allowed to 
pass unquestioned. But it is from conforming to finite cate- 
gories in thought and action that all deception originates. 

(3) Truth may be ascertained by several methods, each 
of which however is no more than a form. Experience is 
the first of these methods. But the method is only a 
form : it has no intrinsic value of its own. For in experience 
everything depends upon the mind we bring to bear upon 


actuality. A great mind is great in its experience; and ink 
the motley play of phenomena at once perceives the point off 
real significance. The idea is present, in actual shape, not 
something, as it were, over the hill and far away. The 
genius of a Goethe, for example, looking into nature or 
history, has great experiences, catches sight of the living 
principle, and gives expression to it. A second method of 
apprehending the truth is Reflection, which defines it by 
intellectual relations of condition and conditioned. But in 
these two modes the absolute truth has not yet found its 
appropriate form. The most perfect method of knowledge 
proceeds in the pure form of thought : and here the attitude 
of man is one of entire freedom. ~' 

That the form of thought is the perfect form, and that< 
it presents the truth as it intrinsically and actually is, is- 
the general dogma of all philosophy. To give a proof of 
the dogma there is, in the first instance, nothing to do 
but show that these other forms of knowledge are finite. 
The grand Scepticism of antiquity accomplished this task 
when it exhibited the contradictions contained in every one 
of these forms. That Scepticism indeed went further : but 
when it ventured to assail the forms of reason, it began by 
insinuating under them something finite upon which it 
might fasten. All the forms of finite thought will make 
their appearance in the course of logical development, the 
order in which they present themselves being determined 
by necessary laws. Here in the introduction they could 
only be unscientifically assumed as something given. In 
the theory of logic itself these forms will be exhibited, not 
only on their negative, but also on their positive side. 

When we compare the different forms of ascertaining 
truth with one another, the first of them, immediate know-, 
ledge, may perhaps seem the finest, noblest and most 
appropriate. It includes everything which the moralists 
term innocence as well as religious feeling, simple trust, 
love, fidelity, and natural faith. The two other forms, first 
reflective, and secondly philosophical cognition, must leave 
that unsought natural harmony behind. And so far as they 
have this in common, the methods which claim to appre- 



hend the truth by thought may naturally be regarded as 
part and parcel of the pride which leads man to trust to his 
own powers for a knowledge of the truth. Such a position 
involves a thorough-going disruption, and, viewed in that 
light, might be regarded as the source of all evil and wicked-- 
ness- the original transgression. Apparently therefore tha 
only way of being reconciled and restored to peace is to 
surrender all claims to think or know. 

This lapse from natural unity has not escaped notice, 
and nations from the earliest times have asked the meaning 
of the wonderful division of the spirit against itself. No 
such inward disunion is found in nature : natural things do 
nothing wicked. 

The Mosaic legend of the Fall of Man has preserved an 
ancient picture representing the origin and consequences of 
this disunion. The incidents of the legend form the basis 
of an essential article of the creed, the doctrine of original 
sin in man and his consequent need of succour. It may be 
well at the commencement of logic to examine the story 
which treats of the origin and the bearings of the very 
knowledge which logic has to discuss. For, though philo- 
sophy must not allow herself to be overawed by religion, 
or accept the position of existence on sufferance, she can- 
not afford to neglect these popular conceptions. The tales 
and allegories of religion, which have enjoyed for thousands 
of years the veneration of nations, are not to be set aside as 
antiquated even now. 

Upon a closer inspection of the story of the Fall we find, 
as was already said, that it exemplifies the universal bearings 
of knowledge upon the spiritual life. In its instinctive and 
natural stage, spiritual life wears the garb of innocence and 
confiding simplicity : but the very essence of spirit implies 
the absorption of this immediate condition in something 
higher. The spiritual is distinguished from the natural, 
and more especially from the animal, life, in the circum- 
stance that it does not continue a mere stream of tendency, 
but sunders itself to self-realisation. But this position of 
severed life has in its turn to be suppressed, and the spirit 
has by its own act to win its way to concord again. The 


final concord then is spiritual ; that is, the principle of re- 
storation is found in thought, and thought only. The hand 
that inflicts the wound is also the hand which heals it. 

We are told in our story that Adam and Eve, the first 
human beings, the types of humanity, were placed in a 
garden, where grew a tree of life and a tree of the know- 
ledge of good and evil. God, it is said, had forbidden them 
to eat of the fruit of this latter tree : of the tree of life for 
the present nothing further is said. These words evidently 
assume that man is not intended to seek knowledge, and 
ought to remain in the state of innocence. Other medita- 
tive races, it may be remarked, have held the same belief 
that the primitive state of mankind was one of innocence 
and harmony. Now all this is to a certain extent correct. 
The disunion that appears throughout humanity is not a 
condition to rest in. 3ut it is a mistake to regard the 
natural and immediate harmony as the right state. The 
mind is not mere instinct : on the contrary, it essentially 
involves the tendency to reasoning and meditation. Child-- 
like innocence no doubt has in it something fascinating and 
attractive : but only because it reminds us of what the spirit 
must win for itself. The harmoniousness of childhood is a 
gift from the hand of nature : the second harmony must 
spring from the labour and culture of the spirit. And so 
the words of Christ, ' Except ye become as little children,' 
&c., are very far from telling us that we must always remain 

Again, we find in the narrative of Moses that the occasion 
which led man to leave his natural unity is attributed to 
solicitation from without. The serpent was the tempter. 
But the truth is, that the step into opposition, the awakening 
of consciousness, follows from the very nature of man : and 
the same history repeats itself in every son of Adam. The 
serpent represents likeness to God as consisting in the 
knowledge of good and evil : and it is just this knowledge in 
which man participates when he breaks with the unity of 
his instinctive being and eats of the forbidden fruit. The 
first reflection of awakened consciousness in men told them 
that they were naked. This is a naive and profound trait. 


For the sense of shame bears evidence to the separation of 
man from his natural and sensuous life. The beasts never 
get so far as this separation, and they feel no shame. And 
it is in the human feeling of shame that we are to seek the 
spiritual and moral origin of dress, compared with which 
the merely physical need is a secondary matter. 

Next comes the Curse, as it is called, which God pro- 
nounced upon man. The prominent point in that curse 
turns chiefly on the contrast between man and nature. Man 
must work in the sweat of his brow : and woman bring forth 
in sorrow. As to work, if it is the result of the disunion, it 
is also the victory over it. The beasts have nothing more to 
do but to pick up the materials required to satisfy their 
wants : man on the contrary can only satisfy his wants by 
himself producing and transforming the necessary means. 
Thus even in these outside things man is dealing with 

The story does not close with the expulsion from Paradise. 
We are further told, God said, ' Behold Adam is become as 
one of us, to know good and evil.' Knowledge is now 
spoken of as divine, and not, as before, as something wrong 
and forbidden. Such words contain a confutation of the 
idle talk that philosophy pertains only to the finitude of the 
mind. Philosophy is knowledge, and it is through know- 
ledge that man first realises his original vocation, to be the 
image of God. When the record adds that God drove men 
out of the Garden of Eden to prevent their eating of the tree 
of life, it only means that on his natural side certainly man 
is finite and mortal, but in knowledge infinite. 

We all know the theological dogma that man's nature is 
evil, tainted with what is called Original Sin. Now while we 
accept the dogma, we must give up the setting of incident 
which represents original sin as consequent upon an acci- 
dental act of the first man. For the very notion of spirit is 
enough to show that man is evil by nature, and it is an error 
to imagine that he could ever be otherwise. To such extent 
as man is and acts like a creature of nature, his whole be- 
haviour is what it ought not to be. For the spirit it is a 
duty to be free, and to realise itself by its own act. Nature 

34-35.] STORY OF THE FALL. 57 

is for man only the starting-point which he has to transform. 
The theological doctrine of original sin is a profound truth ; 
but modern enlightenment prefers to believe that man is 
naturally good, and that he acts right so long as he continues 
true to nature. 

The hour when man leaves the path of mere natural 
being marks the difference between him, a self-conscious 
agent, and the natural world. But this schism, though it 
forms a necessary element in the very notion of spirit, is 
not the final goal of man. It is to this state of inward breach 
that the whole finite action of thought and will belongs. 
In that finite sphere man pursues ends of his own and 
draws from himself the material of his conduct. While he 
pursues these aims to the uttermost, while his knowledge 
and his will seek himself, his own narrow self apart froni 
the universal, he is evil ; and his evil is to be subjective. I 

We seem at first to have a double evil here : but both 
are really the same. Man in so far as he is spirit is not the 
creature of nature : and when he behaves as such, and 
follows the cravings of appetite, he wills to be so. The 
natural wickedness of man is therefore unlike the natural 
life of animals. A mere natural life may be more exactly de- 
fined by saying that the natural man as such is an individual : 
for nature in every part is in the bonds of individualism. 
Thus when man wills to be a creature of nature, he wills in 
the g&me degree to be an individual simply. Yet against 
such impulsive and appetitive action, due to the individualism 
of nature, there also steps in the law or general principle. 
This law may either be an external force, or have the form 
of divine authority. So long as he continues in his natural 
state, man is in bondage to the law. — It is true that among 
the instincts and affections of man, there are social or 
benevolent inclinations, love, sympathy, and others, reach- 
ing beyond his selfish isolation. But so long as these 
tendencies are instinctive, their virtual universality of scope 
and purport is vitiated by the subjective form which always 
allows free play to self-seeking and random action, 

25.] The term ' Objective Thoughts ' indicates the 
truth — the truth which is to be the absolute object of philo- 


sophy, and not merely the goal at which it aims. But 
the very expression cannot fail to suggest an opposi- 
tion, to characterise and appreciate which is the main 
motive of the philosophical attitude of the present time, 
and which forms the real problem of the question about 
truth and our means of ascertaining it. If the thought- 
forms are vitiated by a fixed antithesis, i.e. if they are 
only of a finite character, they are unsuitable for the 
self-centred universe of truth, and truth can find no 
adequate receptacle in thought. Such thought, which^ 
can produce only limited and partial categories and 
proceed by their means, is what in the stricter sense 
. of the word is termed Understanding. The finitude, 
further, of these categories lies in two points. Firstly, 
they are only subjective, and the antithesis of an ob- 
jective permanently clings to them. Secondly, they 
are always of restricted content, and so persist in 
antithesis to one another and still more to the Abso- 
lute. In order more fully to explain the position and 
import here attributed to logic, the attitudes in which 
thought is supposed to stand to objectivity will next be 
examined by way of further introduction. 

In my Phenomenology of the Spirit, which on that 
account was at its publication described as the first part 
of the System of Philosophy, the method adopted was 
to begin with the first and simplest phase of mind, im- 
mediate consciousness, and to show how that stage 
gradually of necessity worked onward to the philoso- 
phical point of view, the necessity of that view being 
proved by the process. But in these circumstances it 
was impossible to restrict the quest to the mere form 
of consciousness. For the stage of philosophical know- 
ledge is the richest in material and organisation, and 
therefore, as it came before us in the shape of a result, 
it pre-supposed the existence of the concrete formations 


of consciousness, such as individual and social morality, 
art and religion. In the development of consciousness,, 
which at first sight appears limited to the point of form 
merely, there is thus at the same time included the- 
development of the matter or of the objects discussed ■ 
in the special branches of philosophy. But the latter 
process must, so to speak, go on behind consciousness,' 
since those facts are the essential nucleus which is raised 
into consciousness. The exposition accordingly is ren- 
dered more intricate, because so much that properly 
belongs to the concrete branches is prematurely dragged 
into the introduction. The survey which follows in the 
present work has even more the inconvenience of being 
only historical and inferential in its method. But it 
tries especially to show how the questions men have 
proposed, outside the school, on the nature of Know- 
ledge, Faith and the like, — questions which they imagine 
to have no connexion with abstract thoughts, — are really 
reducible to the simple categories, which first get cleared 
up in Logic. 



26.] The first of these attitudes of thought is seen in 
the method which has no doubts and no sense of the 
contradiction in thought, or of the hostiHty of thought 
against itself. It entertains an unquestioning belief 
that reflection is the means of ascertaining the truth, 
and of bringing the objects before the mind as they 
really are. And in this belief it advances straight upon 
its objects, takes the materials furnished by sense and 
perception, and reproduces them from itself as facts of 
thought ; and then, believing this result to be the truth, 
the method is content. Philosophy in its earliest stages, 
all the sciences, and even the daily action and move- 
ment of consciousness, live in this faith. 

27,] This method of thought has never become aware . 
of the antithesis of subjective and objective : and to that 
extent there is nothing to prevent its statements from 
possessing a genuinely philosophical and speculative 
character, though it is just as possible that they may 
never get beyond finite categories, or the stage where, 
the antithesis is still unresolved. In the present in-- 
troduction the main question for us, is to observe this- 
attitude of thought in its extreme form ; and we shall 
accordingly first of all examine its second and inferior 
aspect as a philosophic S3'stem. One of the clearest 


instances of it, and one lying nearest to ourselves, may 
be found in the Metaphysic of the Past as it subsisted 
among us previous to the philosophy of Kant. It is 
however only in reference to the history of philosophy 
that this Metaphysic can be said to belong to the past : 
the thing is always and at all places to be found, as the 
view which the abstract understanding takes of the ob- 
jects of reason. And it is in this point that the real and 
immediate good lies of a closer examination of its main 
scope and its modus operandi. 

28.] This metaphysical system took the laws and | 
forms of thought to be the fundamental laws and forms , 
of things. It assumed that to think a thing was the ' 
means of finding its very self and nature : and to that 
extent it occupied higher ground than the Critical i 
Philosophy which succeeded it. But in the first in- 
stance (i) these terms of thought were cut off from their 
connexion, their solidarity; each was believed valid by 
itself and capable of serving as a predicate of the truth. 
It was the general assumption of this metaphysic that 
a knowledge of the Absolute was gained by assigning 
predicates to it. It neither inquired what the terms of 
the understanding specially meant or what they were 
worth, nor did it test the method which characterises 
the Absolute by the assignment of predicates. 

As an example of such predicates may be taken> 
Existence, in the proposition, ' God has existence : ' 
Finitude or Infinity, as in the question, 'Is the world- 
finite or infinite ? ' : Simple and Complex, in the propo- 
sition, ' The soul is simple,' — or again, ' The thing is a 
unity, a whole,' &c. Nobody asked whether such predi- 
cates had any intrinsic and independent truth, or if the 
propositional form could be a form of truth. 

The Metaphysic of the past assumed, as unsophisticated 
belief always does that thought apprehends the very self of 


things, and that things, to become what they truly are, re- 
quire to be thought. For Nature and the human soul are a 
very Proteus in their perpetual transformations ; and it soon 
occurs to the observer that the first crude impression of things 
is not their essential being. — This is a point of view the very 
reverse of the result arrived at by the Critical Philosophy ; 
a result, of which it may be said, that it bade man go and 
feed on mere husks and chaff. 

We must look more closely into the procedure of that old 
metaphysic. In the first place it never went beyond the 
province of the analytic understanding. Without preliminary 
inquiry it adopted the abstract categories of thought and 
let them rank as predicates of truth. But in using the term 
thought we must not forget the difference between finite or 
discursive thinking and the thinking which is infinite and 
rational. The categories, as they meet us prima facie and in 
isolation, are finite forms. But truth is always infinite, and 
cannot be expressed or presented to consciousness in finite 
terms. The phrase infinite thought may excite surprise, if 
we adhere to the modern conception that thought is always 
limited. But it is, speaking rightly, the ve ry essence of 
thought to be infinite. The nominal explanation of calling 
a thing finite is that it has an end, that it exists up to a 
certain point only, where it comes into contact with, and is 
[limited by, its other. The finite therefore .subsists in- 
ireference to its other, which is its negation and presents 
Utself as its limit. Now thought is always in its own sphere ; 
its relations are with itself, and it is its owru object. In 
having a thought for object, I am at home with myself. The 
thinking power, the ' I,' is therefore infinite, because, when 
it thinks, it is in relation to an object which is itself. Gene- 
rally speaking, an object means a something else, a negative 
confronting me. But in the case where thought thinks 
itself, it has an object which is at the same time no object : 
in other words, its objectivity is suppressed and transformed 
into an idea. Thought, as thought, therefore in its unmixed 
nature involves no limits ; it is finite only when it keeps to 
j limited categories, which it believes to be ultimate. Infinite 
lor speculative thought, on the contrary, while it no less 


defines, does in the very act of limiting and defining make 1 1 
that defect vanish. And so infinity is not, as most frequently f ' 
happens, to be conceived as an abstract away and away for ■ 
ever and ever, but in the simple manner previously indicated. 

The thinking of the old metaphysical system was finite. 
Its whole mode of action was regulated by categories, the" " 
limits of which it believed to be permanently fixed and not 
subject to any further negation. Thus, one of its questions- 
was : Has God existence ? The question supposes that^' 
existence is an altogether positive term, a sort of ne plus 
ultra. We shall see however at a later point that existence 
is by no means a merely positive term, but one which is too 
low for the Absolute Idea, and unworthy of God. A second 
question in these metaphysical systems was : Is the world 
finite or infinite ? The very terms of the question assume 
that the finite is a permanent contradictory to the infinite : 
and one can easily see that, when they are so opposed, the 
infinite, which of course ought to be the whole, only appears 
as a single aspect and suffers restriction from the finite. 
But a restricted infinity is itself only a finite. In the same 
way it was asked whether the soul was simple or composite. 
Simpleness was, in other words, taken to be an ultimate 
characteristic, giving expression to a whole truth. Far from 
being so, simpleness is the expression of a half-truth, as ■ 
one-sided and abstract as existence :— a term of thought, - 
which, as we shall hereafter see, is itself untrue and hence 
unable to hold truth. If the soul be viewed as merely and 
abstractly simple, it is characterised in an inadequate and 
finite way. 

It was therefore the main question of the pre-Kantian 
metaphysic to discover whether predicates of the kind 
mentioned were to be ascribed to its objects. Now these 
predicates are after all only limited formulae of the under- 
standing which, instead of expressing the truth, merely 
impose a limit. More than this, it should be noted that the 
chief feature of the method lay in ' assigning ' or ' attributing' 
predicates to the object that was to be cognised, for example, 
to God. But attribution is no more than an external re- 
flection about the object: the predicates by which the 


object is to be determined are supplied from the resources 
of picture-thought, and are appHed in a mechanical way. 
Whereas, if we are to have genuine cognition, the object 
must characterise its own self and not derive its predicates 
from without. Even supposing we follow the method of 
predicating, the mind cannot help feeling that predicates of 
this sort fail to exhaust the object. From the same point of 
view the Orientals are quite correct in calling God the many- 
named or the myriad-named One. One after another of 
these finite categories leaves the soul unsatisfied, and the 
Oriental sage is compelled unceasingly to seek for more and 
more of such predicates. In finite things it is no doubt the 
case that they have to be characterised through finite predi- 
cates : and with these things the understanding finds proper 
scope for its special action. Itself finite, it knows only the 
nature of the finite. Thus, when I call some action a theft, 
I have characterised the action in its essential facts: and 
such a knowledge is sufficient for the judge. Similarly, 
finite things stand to each other as cause and effect, force 
and exercise, and when they are apprehended in these 
categories, they are known in their finitude. But the objects 
of reason cannot be defined by these finite predicates. To 
try to do so was the defect of the old metaphysic. 

29.] Predicates of this kind, taken individually, have 
but a limited range of meaning, and no one can fail to 
perceive how inadequate they are, and how far they fall 
below the fulness of detail which our imaginative thought 
gives, in the case, for example, of God, Mind, or Nature. 
Besides, though the fact of their being all predicates of 
one subject supplies them with a certain connexion, 
their several meanings keep them apart: and conse- 
quently each is brought in as a stranger in relation to^ 
the others. 

The first of these defects the Orientals sought to 
remedy, when, for example, they defined God by attri- 
buting to Him many names; but still they felt that the . 
number of names would have had to be infinite.- 


30.] (2) In the second place, the metaphysical systems 
adopted a wrong criterion. Their objects were no doubt 
totahties which in their own proper selves belong to'' 
reason, — that is, to the organised and systematically- 
developed universe, of thought. But these totalities^- 
God, the Soul, the World, — were taken by the meta-. 
physician as subjects made and ready, to form th^ 
basis for an application of the categories of the under-- 
standing. They were assumed from popular conception* 
Accordingly popular conception was the only canon for 
settling whether or not the predicates were suitable and 

31.] The common conceptions of God, the Soul, the 
World, may be supposed to afford thought a firm and 
fast footing. They do not really do so. Besides having. 
a particular and subjective character clinging to them, 
and thus leaving room for great variety of interpreta- 
tion, they themselves first of all require a firm and fast 
definition by thought. This may be seen in any of 
these propositions where the predicate, or in philo- 
sophy the category, is needed to indicate what the sub- 
ject, or the conception we start with, is. , , 

In such a sentence as ' God is eternal,' we begin with 
the conception of God, not knowing as yet what he is : 
to tell us that, is the business of the predicate. In the 
principles of logic, accordingly, where the terms formu- 
lating the subject-matter are those of thought only, it is 
not merely superfluous to make these categories predi- 
cates to propositions in which God, or, still vaguer, the 
Absolute, is the subject, but it would also have the 
disadvantage of suggesting another canon than the 
nature of thought. Besides, the propositional form P 
(and for proposition, it would be more correct to sub- 
stitute judgment) is not suited to express the concrete 
— and the true is always concrete — or the speculative. 



Every judgment is by its form one-sided and, to that 
extent, false. 

This metaphysic was not free or objective thinking. In- 
stead of letting the object freely and spontaneously expound 
its own characteristics, metaphysic pre-supposed it ready- 
made. If any one wishes to know what free thought means, 
he must go to Greek philosophy: for Scholasticism, like 
these metaphysical systems, accepted its facts, and accepted 
them as a dogma from the authority of the Church. We 
moderns, too, by our whole up-bringing, have been initiated 
into ideas which it is extremely difficult to overstep, on 
account of their far-reaching significance. But the ancient 
philosophers were in a different position. They were men 
who lived wholly in the perceptions of the senses, and who, 
after their rejection of mythology and its fancies, pre-sup- 
posed nothing but the heaven above and the earth around. 
In these material, non-metaphysical surroundings, thought 
is free and enjoys its own privacy,— cleared of everything 
material, and thoroughly at home. This feehng that we are 
all our own is characteristic of free thought — of that voyage 
into the open, where nothing is below us or above us, and 
we stand in solitude with ourselves alone. 

32.] (3) In the third place, ^his system of metaphysic 
turned into Dogmatism. When our thought never 
ranges beyond narrow and rigid terms, we are forced 
to assume that of two opposite assertions, such as were 
the above propositions, the one must be true and the 
other false. 

Dogmatism may be most simply described as the contrary 
of Scepticism. The ancient Sceptics gave the name of 
Dogmatism to every philosophy whatever holding a system 
of definite doctrine. In this large sense Scepticism may 
apply the name even to philosophy which is properly Specu- 
lative. But in the narrower sense, Dogmatism consists in 
the tenacity which draws a hard and fast line between cer- 
tain terms and others opposite to them. We may see this 
clearly in the strict ' Either— or ' : for instance, The world is 

32-33-] ONTOLOGY. 67 

either finite or infinite ; but one of these two it must be. 
The contrary of this rigidity is the characteristic of all 
Speculative truth. There no such inadequate formulae^ 
are allowed, nor can they possibly exhaust it. These for- 
mulae Speculative truth holds in union as a totality, whereas . 
Dogmatism invests them in their isolation with a title to. 
fixity and truth. 

It often happens in philosophy that the half-truth takes 
its place beside the whole truth and assumes on its own 
account the position of something permanent. But the fact 
is that the half-truth, instead of being a fixed or self-sub- 
sistent principle, is a mere element absolved and included 
in the whole. The metaphysic of understanding is dog- 
matic, because it maintains half-truths in their isolation : 
whereas the idealism of speculative philosophy carries out 
the principle of totality and shows that it can reach beyond 
the inadequate formularies of abstract thought. Thus ideal- 
ism would say :— The soul is neither finite only, nor infinite 
only ; it is really the one just as much as the other, and in 
that way neither the one nor the other. - In other words; 
such formularies in their isolation are inadmissible, and 
only come into account as formative elements in a larger 
notion. Such idealism we see even in the ordinary phases of 
consciousness. Thus we say of sensible things, that they 
are changeable : that is, they are, but it is equally true that 
they are not. We show more obstinacy in dealing with 
the categories of the understanding. These are terms 
which we believe to be somewhat firmer— or even abso- 
lutely firm and fast. We look upon them as separated from 
each other by an infinite chasm, so that opposite categories 
can never get at each other. The battle of reason is the 
struggle to break up the rigidity to which the understanding 
has reduced everything. , 

33.] The first part of this metaphysic in its systematic 
form is Ontology, or the doctrine of the abstract 
characteristics of Being. The multitude of these 
characteristics, and the limits set to their applicability, 
are not founded upon any principle. They have in 


consequence to be enumerated as experience and cir- 
cumstances direct, and the import ascribed to them is 
founded only upon common sensuaUsed conceptions, 
upon assertions that particular words are used in a par- 
ticular sense, and even perhaps upon etymology. If 
experience pronounces the list to be complete, and if 
the usage of language, by its agreement, shows the 
analysis to be correct, the metaphysician is satisfied ; 
and the intrinsic and independent truth and necessity 
of such characteristics is never made a matter of inves- 
tigation at all. 

To ask if being, existence, finitude, simplicity, com- 
plexity, &c. are notions intrinsically and independently 
true, must surprise those who believe that a question 
ifabout truth can only concern propositions (as to 
F whether a notion is or is not with truth to be attri- 
buted, as the phrase is, to a subject), and that falsehood 
lies in the contradiction existing between the subject in 
our ideas, and the notion to be predicated of it. Now 
as the notion is concrete, it and every character of it in 
general is essentially a self-contained unity of distinct 
i characteristics. If truth then were nothing more than 
I the absence of contradiction, it would be first of all 
necessary in the case of every notion to examine 
whether it, taken individually, did not contain this sort 
of intrinsic contradiction. 

34.] The second branch of the metaphysical system 
was Rational Psychology or Pneumatology. It dealt 
with the metaphysical nature of the Soul, — that is, of 
the Mind regarded as a thing. It expected to find 
immortality in a sphere dominated by the laws of com- 
position, time, qualitative change, and quantitative 
increase or decrease. 

The name ' rational,' given to this species of psychology, 
served to contrast it with empirical modes of observing 


the phenomena of the soul. Rational psychology viewed 
the soul in its metaphysical nature, and through the cate-- 
gories supphed by abstract thought. The rationalists en- 
deavoured to ascertain the inner nature of the soul as it 
is in itself and as it is for thought.— In philosophy at pre- 
sent we hear little of the soul : the favourite term now is- 
mind (spirit). The two are distinct, soul being as it were 
the middle term between body and spirit, or the bond 
between the two. The mind, as soul, is immersed in 
corporeity, and the soul is the animating principle of the 

The pre-Kantian metaphysic, we say, viewed the soul as 
a thing. 'Thing' is a very ambiguous word. By a thing, 
we mean, firstly, an immediate existence, something we re- 
present in sensuous form : and in this meaning the term 
has been applied to the soul. Hence the question regard- . 
ing the seat of the soul. Of course, if the soul have a seat, 
it is in space and sensuously envisaged. So, too, if the- 
soul be viewed as a thing, we can ask whether the soul is 
simple or composite. The question is important as bear- 
ing on the immortality of the soul, which is supposed to 
depend on the absence of composition. But the fact is, 
that in abstract simplicity we have a category, which as 
little corresponds to the nature of the soul, as that of com- 

One word on the relation of rational to empirical psycho- 
logy. The former, because it sets itself to apply thought 
to cognise mind and even to demonstrate the result of such 
thinking, is the higher ; whereas empirical psychology starts 
from perception, and only recounts and describes what 
perception supplies. But if we propose to think the mind, 
we must not be quite so shy of its special phenomena. 
Mind is essentially active in the same sense as the School- 
men said that God is ' absolute actuosity.' But if the mind 
is active it must as it were utter itself. It is wrong therefore 
to take the mind for a processless ens, as did the old meta- 
physic which divided the processless inward life of the 
mind from its outward life. The mind, of all things, must 
be looked at in its concrete actuality, in its energy ; and 



in such a way that its manifestations are seen to be deter- 
mined by its inward force, 

35.] The third branch of metaphysics was Cosmology. 
The topics it embraced were the world, its contingency, 
necessity, eternity, limitation in time and space : the 
laws (only formal) of its changes : the freedom of man 
and the origin of evil. 

To these topics it applied what were believed to be 
thorough-going contrasts : such as contingency and 
necessity; external and internal necessity; efficient and 
final cause, or causality in general and design ; essence 
or substance and phenomenon ; form and matter ; free- 
dom and necessity; happiness and pain; good and 

The object of Cosmology comprised not merely Nature, 
but Mind too, in its external complication in its pheno- 
menon,— in fact, existence in general, or the sum of finite 
things. This object however it viewed not as a concrete 
whole, but only under certain abstract points of view. Thus 
the questions Cosmology attempted to solve were such as 
these : Is accident or necessity dominant in the world ? Is 
the world eternal or created .? It was therefore a chief con- 
cern of this study to lay down what were called general 
Cosmological laws : for instance, that Nature does not act 
by fits and starts. And by fits and starts {saltus) they 
meant a qualitative difference or qualitative alteration 
showing itself without any antecedent determining mean : 
whereas, on the contrary, a gradual change (of quantity) is 
obviously not without intermediation. 

In regard to Mind as it makes itself felt in the world, the 
questions which Cosmology chiefly discussed turned upon 
the freedom of man and thfe origin of evil. Nobody can 
deny that these are questions of the highest importance. 
But to give them a satisfactory answer, it is above all things 
necessary not to claim finality for the abstract formulae of 
understanding, or to suppose that each of the two terms in 
an antithesis has an independent subsistence or can be 

35-36] COSMOLOGY. 7 1 

treated in its isolation as a complete and self-centred truth. 
This however is the general position taken by the metaphy- 
sicians before Kant, and appears in their cosmological dis- 
cussions, which for that reason were incapable of compassing 
their purpose, to understand the phenomena of the world. 
Observe how they proceed with the distinction between 
freedom and necessity, in their application of these cate- 
gories to Nature and Mind. Nature they regard as subject 
in its workings to necessity ; Mind they hold to be free. 
No doubt there is a real foundation for this distinction in 
the very core of the Mind itself: but freedom and necessity, 
when thus abstractly opposed, are terms applicable only 
in the finite world to which, as such, they belong. A free- 
dom involving no necessity, and mere necessity without 
freedom, are abstract and in this way untrue formulae of 
thought. Freedom is no blank indeterminateness : essentially 
concrete, and unvaryingly self-determinate, it is so far at the 
same time necessary. Necessity, again, in the ordinary 
acceptation of the term in popular philosophy, means deter- 
mination from without only,— as in finite mechanics, where 
a body moves only when it is struck by another body, and 
moves in the direction communicated to it by the impact.- 
This however is a merely external necessity, not the real 
inward necessity which is identical with freedom. 

The case is similar with the contrast of Good and Evil, — 
the favourite contrast of the introspective modem world". 
If we regard Evil as possessing a fixity of its own, apart 
and distinct from Good, we are to a certain extent right : 
there is an opposition between them : nor do those who 
maintain the apparent and relative character of the oppo- 
sition mean that Evil and Good in the Absolute are one, or, 
in accordance with the modern phrase, that a thing first 
becomes evil from our way of looking at it. The error 
arises when we take Evil as a permanent positive, instead 
of— what it really is— a negative which, though it would fain 
assert itself, has no real persistence, and is, in fact, only the 
absolute sham-existence of negativity in itself. 

36.] The fourth branch of metaphysics is Natural or 
Rational Theology. The notion of God, or God as 


a possible being, the proofs of his existence, and his 
properties, formed the study of this branch. 

(o) When understanding thus discusses the Deity, 
its main purpose is to find what predicates correspond 
or not to the fact we have in our imagination as God. 
And in so doing it assumes the contrast between posi- 
tive and negative to be absolute ; and hence, in the long- 
run, nothing is left for the notion as understanding 
takes it, but the empty abstraction of indeterminate 
Being, of mere reality or positivity, the lifeless product 
of modern ' Deism.' 

{b) The method of demonstration employed in finite 
knowledge must always lead to an inversion of the true 
• order. For it requires the statement of some objective 
ground for God's being, which thus acquires the ap- 
pearance of being derived from something else. This 
mode of proof, guided as it is by the canon of mere 
analytical identity, is embarrassed by the difficulty of 
passing from the finite to the infinite. Either the finitude 
of the existing world, which is left as much a fact as it 
was before, clings to the notion of Deity, and God has 
to be defined as the immediate substance of that world, 
— which is Pantheism : or He remains an object set 
over against the subject, and in this way, finite, — which 
is Dualism. 

(c) The attributes of God which ought to be various 
and precise, had, properly speaking, sunk and disap- 
peared in the abstract notion of pure reality, of indeter- 
minate Being. Yet in our material thought, the finite 
world continues, meanwhile, to have a real being, with 
God as a sort of antithesis : and thus arises the further 
picture of different relations of God to the world. 
These, formulated as properties, must, on the one hand, 
as relations to finite circumstances, themselves possess 
a finite character (giving us such properties as just, 


gracious, mighty, wise, &c.) ; on the other hand they 
must be infinite. Now on this level of thought the 
only means, and a hazy one, of reconciling these op- 
posing requirements was quantitative exaltation of the 
properties, forcing them into indeterminateness, — into 
the sensus eminentior. But it was an expedient which 
really destroyed the property and left a mere name. 

The object of the old metaphysical theology was to see 
how far unassisted reason could go in the knowledge of 
God. Certainly a reason-derived knowledge of God is the 
highest problem of philosophy. The earliest teachings of 
religion are figurate conceptions of God. These concep- 
tions, as the Creed arranges them, are imparted to us in 
youth. They are the doctrines of our religion, and in so far 
as the individual rests his faith on these doctrines and feels 
them to be the truth, he has all he needs as a Christian. 
Such is faith : and the science of this faith is Theology. 
But until Theology is something more than a bare enumera- 
tion and compilation of these doctrines ab extra, it has no 
right to the title of science. Even the method so much in 
vogue at present— the purely historical mode of treatment^ 
which for example reports what has been said by this or 
the other Father of the Church — does not invest theology 
with a scientific character. To get that, we must go on to 
comprehend the facts by thought, — which is the business 
of philosophy. Genuine theology is thus at the same time 
a real philosophy of religion, as it was, we may add, in the 
Middle Ages. 

And now let us examine this rational theology more nar- 
rowly. It was a science which approached God not by 
reason but by understanding, and, in its mode of thought, 
employed the terms without any sense of their mutual limi- 
tations and connexions. The notion of God formed the 
subject of discussion ; and yet the criterion of our know- 
ledge was derived from such an extraneous source as the 
materialised conception of God. Now thought must be free 
in its movements. It is no doubt to be remembered, that 
the result of independent thought harmonises with the im- 


port of the Christian religion : — for the Christian religion is 
a revelation of reason. But such a harmony surpassed the 
efforts of rational theology. It proposed to define the figu- 
rate conception of God in terms of thought ; but it resulted 
in a notion of God which was what we may call the abstract 
of positivity or reality, to the exclusion of all negation. 
God was accordingly defined to be the most real of all 
beings. Any one can see however that this most real of 
beings, in which negation forms no part, is the very oppo- 
site of what it ought to be and of what understanding sup- 
poses it to be. Instead of being rich and full above all 
measure, it is so narrowly conceived that it is, on the con- 
trary, extremely poor and altogether empty. It is with 
reason that the heart craves a concrete body of truth ; but 
without definite feature, that is, without negation, contained 
in the notion, there can only be an abstraction. When the 
notion of God is apprehended only as that of the abstract or 
most real being, God is, as it were, relegated to another 
world beyond : and to speak of a knowledge of him would 
be meaningless. Where there is no definite quality, know- 
ledge is impossible. Mere light is mere darkness. 

The second problem of rational theology was to prove the 
existence of God. Now, in this matter, the main point to be 
noted is that demonstration, as the understanding employs 
it, means the dependence of one truth on another. In such 
proofs we have a pre-supposition — something firm and 
fast, from which something else follows ; we exhibit the de- 
pendence of some truth from an assumed starting-point. 
Hence, if this mode of demonstration is applied to the exist- 
ence of God, it can only mean that the being of God is to 
depend on other terms, which will then constitute the 
ground of his being. It is at once evident that this will lead 
to some mistake : for God must be simply and solely the 
ground of everything, and in so far not dependent upon 
anything else. And a perception of this danger has in 
modern times led some to say that God's existence is not 
capable of proof, but must be immediately or intuitively 
apprehended. Reason, however, and even sound common 
sense give demonstration a meaning quite different from 


that of the understanding. The demonstration of reason no 
doubt starts from something which is not God. But, as it- 
advances, it does not leave the starting-point a mere unexr- 
plained fact, vi^hich is what it was. On the contrary it exhibits 
that point as derivative and called into being, and then God' 
is seen to be primary, truly immediate and self-subsisting," 
with the means of derivation wrapt up and absorbed in him- 
self. Those who say: 'Consider Nature, and Nature will- 
lead you to God ; you will find an absolute final cause : ' do' 
not mean that God is something derivative : they mean that 
it is we who proceed to God himself from another ; and in 
this way God, though the consequence, is also the absolute' 
ground of the initial step. The relation of the two things is 
reversed ; and what came as a consequence, being shown to- 
be an antecedent, the original antecedent is reduced to a 
consequence. This is always the way, moreover, whenever 
reason demonstrates. 

If in the light of the present discussion we cast one glance 
more on the metaphysical method as a whoje, we find its 
main characteristic was to make abstract identity its prin- 
ciple and to try to apprehend the objects of reason by the 
abstract and finite categories of the understanding. But 
this infinite of the understanding, this pure essence, is still 
finite : it has excluded all the variety of particular things, 
which thus limit and deny it. Instead of winning a con- 
crete, this metaphysic stuck fast on an abstract, identity. 
Its good point was the perception that thought alone con- 
stitutes the essence of all that is. It derived its materials 
from earlier philosophers, particularly the Schoolmen. In 
speculative philosophy the understanding undoubtedly forms 
a stage, but not a stage at which we should keep for ever 
standing. Plato is no metaphysician of this imperfect 
type, still less Aristotle, although the contrary is generally 




I. Empiricism. 

37.] Under these circumstances a double want began 
to be felt. Partly it was the need of a concrete subject- 
matter, as a counterpoise to the abstract theories of the 
understanding, which is unable to advance unaided 
from its generalities to specialisation and determination. 
Partly, too, it was the demand for something fixed and 
secure, so as to exclude the possibility of proving any- 
thing and everything in the sphere, and according to 
the method, of the finite formulae of thought. Such was 
the genesis of Empirical philosophy, which abandons 
the search for truth in thought itself, and goes to fetch 
it from Experience, the outward and the inward present. 

The rise of Empiricism is due to the need thus stated of 
concrete contents, and a firm footing— needs which the ab- 
stract metaphysic of the understanding failed to satisfy. 
Now by concreteness of contents it is meant that we must 
know the objects of consciousness as intrinsically determinate 
and as the unity of distinct characteristics. But, as we have 
already seen, this is by no means the case with the meta- 
physic of understanding, if it conform to its principle. With 
the mere understanding, thinking is Hmited to the form of 
an abstract universal, and can never advance to the particu- 
larisation of this universal. Thus we find the metaphysicians 
engaged in an attempt to elicit by the instrumentality of 

37-38.] EMPIRICISM. ^^ 

thought, what was the essence or fundamental attribute of 
the Soul. The Soul, they said, is simple. The simplicity 
thus ascribed to the Soul meant a mere and utter simplicity, 
from which difference is excluded : difference, or in other 
words composition, being made the fundamental attribute 
of body, or of matter in general. Clearly, in simplicity of 
this narrow type we have a very shallow category, quite in- 
capable of embracing the wealth of the soul or of the mind. 
When it thus appeared that abstract metaphysical thinking 
was inadequate, it was felt that resource must be had to 
empirical psychology. The same happened in the case of 
Rational Physics. The current phrases there were, for 
instance, that space is infinite, that Nature makes no leap, &c. 
Evidently this phraseology was wholly unsatisfactory in 
presence of the plenitude and life of nature. 

38.] To some extent this source from which Empiri-> 
cism draws is common to it with metaphysic. It is in- 
our materialised conceptions, i.e. in facts which emanate,, 
in the first instance, from experience, that metaphysic 
also finds the guarantee for the correctness of its defini- 
tions (including both its initial assumptions and its more 
detailed body of doctrine). But, on the other hand, it 
must be noted that the single sensation is not the same 
thing as experience, and that the Empirical School 
elevates the facts included under sensation, feeling, and 
perception into the form of general ideas, propositions 
or laws. This, however, it does with the reservation 
that these general principles (such as force), are to have 
no further import or validity of their own beyond that 
taken from the sense-impression, and that no connexion 
shall be deemed legitimate except what can be shown to 
exist in phenomena. And on the subjective side Em- 
pirical cognition has its stable footing in the fact that in 
a sensation consciousness is directly present and certain' 
of itself. 

In Empiricism lies the great principle that whatever 


is true must be in the actual world and present to sen- 
sation. This principle contradicts that 'ought to be' 
on the strength of which ' reflection * is vain enough to 
treat the actual present with scorn and to point to a 
scene beyond — a scene which is assumed to have place 
and being only in the understanding of those who talk of 
it. No less than Empiricism, philosophy (§ 7) recognises 
only what is, and has nothing to do with what merely 
ought to be and what is thus confessed not to exist. 
On the subjective side, too, it is right to notice the 
valuable principle of freedom involved in Empiricism. 
For the main lesson of Empiricism is that man must see 
for himself and feel that he is present in every fact of 
knowledge which he has to accept. 

When it is carried out to its legitimate consequences, 
Empiricism — being in its facts limited to the finite 
sphere — denies the super-sensible in general, or at 
least any knowledge of it which would define its nature ; 
it leaves thought no powers except abstraction and 
formal universality and identity. But there is a funda- 
mental delusion in all scientific empiricism. It employs 
the metaphysical categories of matter, force, those of 
one, many, generality, infinity, &c. ; following the clue 
given by these categories it proceeds to draw conclu- 
sions, and in so doing pre-supposes and applies the 
syllogistic form. And all the while it is unaware that it 
contains metaphysics — in wielding which, it makes use 
of those categories and their combinations in a style 
utterly thoughtless and uncritical. 

From Empiricism came the cry : ' Stop roaming in empty 
abstractions, keep your eyes open, lay hold on man and 
nature as they are here before you, enjoy the present 
moment.' Nobody can deny that there is a good deal of 
truth in these words. The every-day world, what is here, 
and now, was a good exchange for the futile other-world 

38.] EMPIRICISM. 79 

—for the mirages and the chimeras of the abstract under- 
standing. And thus was acquired an infinite principle, — that 
soHd footing so much missed in the old metaphysic. Finite 
principles are the most that the understanding can pick out 
— and these being essentially unstable and tottering, the 
Structure they supported must collapse with a crash. 
Always the instinct of reason was to find an infinite 
principle. As yet, the time had not come for finding it in 
thought. Hence, this instinct seized upon the present, the 
Here, the This,— where doubtless there is implicit infinite q ^ 
form, but not in the genuine existence of that form. The U>2/. 
external world is the truth, if it could but know it: for the 
truth is actual and must exist. The infinite principle, the 
self-centred truth, therefore, is in the world for reason to 
discover: though it exists in an individual and sensible 
shape, and not in its truth. 

Besides, this school makes sense-perception the form in 
which fact is to be apprehended : and in this consists 
the defect of Empiricism. Sense-perception as such is 
always individual, always transient : not indeed that the pro- 
cess of knowledge stops short at sensation : on the contrary, , 
it proceeds to find out the universal and permanent element I 
in the individual apprehended by sense. This is the pro- | 
cess leading from simple perception to experience. 

In order to form experiences. Empiricism makes especial 
use of the form of Analysis. In the impression of sense we | 
have a concrete of many elements, the several attributes 
of which we are expected to peel off one by one, like the 
coats of an onion. In thus dismembering the thing, it is 
understood that we disintegrate and take to pieces these 
attributes which have coalesced, and add nothing but our 
own act of disintegration. Yet analysis is the process from 
the immediacy of sensation to thought : those attributes, 
which the object analysed contains in union, acquire the 
form of universality by being separated. Empiricism there- 
fore labours under a delusion, if it supposes that, while 
analysing the objects, it leaves them as they were : it really 
transforms the concrete into an abstract. And as a conse- . 
quence of this change the living thing is killed : life can , 


exist only in the concrete and one. Not that we can do 
without this division, if it be our intention to comprehend. 
Mind itself is an inherent division. The error lies in for- 
getting that this is only one-half of the process, and that the 
main point is the re-union of what has been parted. And it 
is where analysis never gets beyond the stage of partition 
that the words of the poet are true : 

' Encheiresin Naturae nennt'g bie (5^emie, 
©pottet if)rcr felbfi, unb ttei^ nid^t, toie: 
^at bie Stbeite in if>rer §anb, 
5e^tt (fiber tnir ba3 geiftige SSanb.' 

Analysis starts from the concrete ; and the possession of 
this material gives it a considerable advantage over the 
abstract thinking of the old metaphysics. It establishes the 
differences in things : and this is very important : but these 
very differences are nothing after all but abstract attributes, 
I. e. thoughts. These thoughts, it is assumed, contain the 
real essence of the objects ; and thus once more we see the 
axiom of bygone metaphysics reappear, that the truth of 
things lies in thought. 

Let us next compare the empirical theory with that of 
metaphysics in the matter of their respective contents. We 
find the latter, as already stated, taking for its theme the 
universal objects of the reason, viz. God, the Soul, and the 
World : and these themes, accepted from popular conception, 
it was the problem of philosophy to reduce into the form of 
thoughts. Another specimen of the same method was the 
Scholastic philosophy, the theme pre-supposed by which 
was formed by the dogmas of the Christian Church: and it 
aimed at fixing their meaning and giving them a systematic 
arrangement through thought. — The facts on which Empiri- 
cism is based are of entirely different kind. They are the 
sensible facts of nature and the facts of the finite mind. In 
other words, Empiricism deals with a finite material— and 
the old metaphysicians had an infinite, — though, let us add, 
they made this infinite content finite by the finite form of 
j the understanding. The same finitude of form reappears in 
j Empiricism — but here the facts are finite also. To this ex- 
\,tent, then, both modes of philosophising have the same 

38-39-] EMPIRICISM. 8 1 

I method ; both proceed from data or assumptions, which 
[ they accept as ultimate. Generally speaking, Empiricism 
finds the truth in the outward world ; and even if it allow a 
super-sensible world, it holds knowledge of that world to be 
impossible, and would restrict us to the province of sense- 
perception. This doctrine when systematically carried out 
produces what has been latterly termed Materialism. 
Materialism of this stamp looks upon matter, qua matter, 
as the genuine objective world. But with matter we are 
at once introduced to an abstraction, which as such cannot 
be perceived: and it may be maintained that there is no 
matter, because, as it exists, it is always something definite 
and concrete. Yet the abstraction we term matter is sup- 
posed to lie at the basis of the whole world of sense, and 
expresses the sense-world in its simplest terms as out-and- 
out individualisation, and hence a congeries of points in 
mutual exclusion. So long then as this sensible sphere is 
and continues to be for Empiricism a mere datum, we have 
a doctrine of bondage : for we become free, when we are 
confronted by no absolutely alien world, but depend upon 
a fact which we ourselves are. Consistently with the 
empirical point of view, besides, reason and unreason can 
only be subjective: in other words, we must take what is 
given just as it is, and we have no right to ask whether and 
to what extent it is rational in its own nature. 

39.] Touching this principle it has been justly ob- 
served that in what we call Experience, as distinct 
from mere single perception of single facts, there are 
two elements. The one is the matter, infinite in its 
multiplicity, and as it stands a mere set of singulars : 
the other is the form, the characteristics of universality 
and necessity. Mere experience no doubt offers many, 
perhaps innumerable cases of similar perceptions : but, 
after all, no multitude, however great, can be the same 
thing as universality. Similarly, mere experience 
affords perceptions of changes succeeding each other 
and of objects in juxtaposition ; but it presents no 


necessary connexion. If perception, therefore, is to 
maintain its claim to be the sole basis of what men hold 
for truth, universality and necessity appear something 
illegitimate : they become an accident of our minds, 
a mere custom, the content of which might be otherwise 
constituted than it is. 

It is an important corollary of this theory, that on 
this empirical mode of treatment legal and ethical prin- 
ciples and laws, as well as the truths of religion, are 
exhibited as the work of chance, and stripped of their 
objective character and inner truth. 

The scepticism of Hume, to which this conclusion 
was chiefly due, should be clearly marked off from 
Greek scepticism. Hume assumes the truth of the 
empirical element, feeling and sensation, and proceeds 
to challenge universal principles and laws, because they 
have no warranty from sense-perception. So far was 
ancient scepticism from making feeling and sensation 
the canon of truth, that it turned against the deliverances 
of sense first of all. (On Modern Scepticism as com- 
pared with Ancient, see Schelling and Hegel's Critical 
Journal of Philosophy : 1802, vol. I. i.) 

II. The Critical Philosophy. 

40.] In common with Empiricism the Critical Philo- 
sophy assumes that experience affords the one sole 
foundation for cognitions ; which however it does not 
allow to rank as truths, but only as knowledge of 

The Critical theory starts originally from the distinc- 
tion of elements presented in the analysis of experience, 
viz. the matter of sense, and its universal relations. 
Taking into account Hume's criticism on this distinction 


as given in the preceding section, viz. that sensation 
does not explicitly apprehend more than an individual 
or more than a mere event, it insists at the same time 
on the fact that universality and necessity are seen to 
perform a function equally essential in constituting what 
is called experience. This element, not being derived 
from the empirical facts as such, must belong to the 
spontaneity of thought ; in other words, it is a priori. 
The Categories or Notions of the Understanding con- 
stitute the objectivity of experiential cognitions. In 
every case they involve a connective reference, and 
hence through their means are formed synthetic judg- 
ments a priori, that is, primary and underivative con- 
nexions of opposites. 

Even Hume's scepticism does not deny that the 
characteristics of universality and necessity are found in 
cognition. And even in Kant this fact remains a pre- 
supposition after all ; it may be said, to use the ordinary 
phraseology of the sciences, that Kant did no more than 
offer another explanation of the fact. 

41.] The Critical Philosophy proceeds to test the 
value of the categories employed in metaphysic, as well 
as in other sciences and in ordinary conception. This 
scrutiny however is not directed to the content of these 
categories, nor does it inquire into the exact relation 
they bear to one another : but simply considers them as 
affected by the contrast between subjective and objec- , 
tive. The contrast, as we are to understand it here, j 
bears upon the distinction (see preceding §) of the two 
elements in experience. The name of objectivity is 
here given to the element of universality and necessity, 
i.e. to the categories themselves, or what is called the 
a priori constituent. The Critical Philosophy however 
widened the contrast in such away, that the subjectivity 
comes to embrace the ensemble of experience, including 


both of the aforesaid elements ; and nothing remains on 
the other side but the ' thing-in-itself.' 

The special forms of the a priori element, in other 
words, of thought, which in spite of its objectivity is 
looked upon as a purely subjective act, present them- 
selves as follows in a systematic order which, it may be 
remarked, is solely based upon psychological and his- 
torical grounds. 

(i) A very important step was undoubtedly made, when 
the terms of the old metaphysic were subjected to scrutiny. 
The plain thinker pursued his unsuspecting way in those 
categories which had offered themselves naturally. It never 
occurred to him to ask to what extent these categories had 
a value and authority of their own. If, as has been said, 
it is characteristic of free thought to allow no assumptions 
to pass unquestioned, the old metaphysicians were not 
free thinkers. They accepted their categories as they 
were, without further trouble, as an a priori datum, not yet 
tested by reflection. The Critical philosophy reversed this. 
Kant undertook to examine how far the forms of thought 
were capable of leading to the knowledge of truth. In 
particular he demanded a criticism of the faculty of cogni- 
tion as preliminary to its exercise. That is a fair demand, 
if it mean that even the forms of thought must be made an 
object of investigation. Unfortunately there soon creeps in 
the misconception of already knowing before you know, — 
the error of refusing to enter the water until you have 
learnt to swim. True, indeed, the forms of thought should 
be subjected to a scrutiny before they are used : yet what is 
this scrutiny but ipso facto a cognition ? So that what we 
want is to combine in our process of inquiry the action of 
the forms of thought with a criticism of them. The forms 
of thought must be studied in their essential nature and 
complete development : they are at once the object of 
research and the action of that object. Hence they examine 
themselves : in their own action they must determine their 
limits, and point out their defects. This is that action of 
thought, v/hich will hereafter be specially considered under 

41-] rant's problem. 85 

the name of Dialectic, and regarding which we need only 
at the outset observe that, instead of being brought to bear 
upon the categories from without, it is immanent in their 
own action. 

We may therefore state the first point in Kant's philo- 
sophy as follows : Thought must itself investigate its own 
capacity of knowledge. People in the present day have 
got over Kant and his philosophy : everybody wants to get 
further. But there are two ways of going further— a back-,- 
ward and a forward. The light of criticism soon shows that 
many of our modern essays in philosophy are mere repeti- 
tions of the old metaphysical method, an endless and un- 
critical thinking in a groove determined by the natural bent 
of each man's mind. 

(2) Kant's examination of the categories suffers from the ' 
grave defect of viewing them, not absolutely and for their 
own sake, but in order to see whether they are subjective or 
objective. In the language of common life we mean by 
objective what exists outside of us and reaches us from with- 
out by means of sensation. What Kant did, was to deny 
that the categories, such as cause and effect, were, in this 
sense of the word, objective, or given in sensation, and to 
maintain on the contrary that they belonged to our own 
thought itsel/, to the spontaneity of thought. To that extent 
therefore, they were subjective. And yet in spite of this, 
Kant gives the name objective to what is thought, to the 
universal and necessary, while he describes as subjective 
whatever is merely felt. This arrangement apparently 
reverses the first-mentioned use of the word, and has 
caused Kant to be charged with confusing language. But 
the charge is unfair if we more narrowly consider the 
facts of the case. The vulgar believe that the objects of 
perception which confront them, such as an individual 
animal, or a single star, are independent and permanent 
existences, compared with which, thoughts are unsubstantial 
and dependent on something else. In fact however the 
perceptions of sense are the properly dependent and 
secondary feature, while the thoughts are really inde- 
pendent and primary. This being so, Kant gave the title 



objective to the intellectual factor, to the universal and 
necessary : and he was quite justified in so doing. Our 
sensations on the other hand are subjective ; for sensations 
lack stability in their own nature, and are no less fleeting 
and evanescent than thought is permanent and self-subsist- 
ing. At the present day, the special line of distinction 
established by Kant between the subjective and objective 
is adopted by the phraseology of the educated world. Thus 
the criticism of a work of art ought, it is said, to be not 
subjective, but objective ; in other words, instead of springing 
from the particular and accidental feeling or temper of the 
moment, it should keep its eye on those general points of 
view which the laws of art establish. In the same acceptation 
we can distinguish in any scientific pursuit the objective and 
the subjective interest of the investigation. 

But after all, objectivity of thought, in Kant's sense, is 
again to a certain extent subjective. Thoughts, according to 
Kant, although universal and necessary categories, are only 
our thoughts— separated by an impassable gulf from the 
thing, as it exists apart from our knowledge. But the true 
objectivity of thinking means that the thoughts, far from 
being merely ours, must at the same time be the real essence 
of the things, and of whatever is an object to us. 

Objective and subjective are convenient expressions in 
current use, the employment of which may easily lead t& 
confusion. Up to this point, the discussion has shown three 
meanings of objectivity. First, it means what has external 
existence, in distinction from which the subjective is what 
is only supposed, dreamed, &c. Secondly, it has the mean- 
ing, attached to it by Kant, of the universal and necessary, 
as distinguished from the particular, subjective and occasional 
element which belongs to our sensations. Thirdly, as has been 
just explained, it means the thought-apprehended essence of 
the existing thing, in contradistinction from what is merely 
our thought, and what consequently is still separated from 
the thing itself, as it exists in independent essence. 

42.] (a) The Theoretical Faculty. — Cognition qua 
cognition. The specific ground of the categories is 
declared by the Critical system to lie in the primary 


identity of the 'T in thought,— what 'Kant calls the 
' transcendental unity of self-consciousness.' The im- 
pressions from feeling and perception are, if we look to 
their contents, a multiplicity or miscellany of elements : 
and the multiplicity is equally conspicuous in their form. 
For sense is marked by a mutual exclusion of members ; 
and that under two aspects, namely space and time, 
which, being the forms, that is to say, the universal type 
of perception, are themselves a priori. This congeries, 
afforded by sensation and perception, must however 
be reduced to an identity or primary synthesis. To 
accomplish this the ' I ' brings it in relation to itself and 
unites it there in one consciousness which Kant calls 
' pure apperception.' The specific modes in which the 
Ego refers to itself the multiplicity of sense are the pure 
concepts of the understanding, the Categories. 

Kant, it is well known, did not put himself to much 
trouble in discovering the categories. ' I,' the unity of - 
selfconsciousness, being quite abstract and completely 
indeterminate, the question arises, how are we to get at 
the specialised forms of the ' I,' the categories ? Fortu- 
nately, the common logic offers to our hand an empirical 
classification of the kinds o( judgment. Now, to judge 
is the same as to think of a determinate object. Hence 
the various modes of judgment, as enumerated to our 
hand, provide us with the several categories of thought. 
To the philosophy of Fichte belongs the great merit of 
having called attention to the need of exhibiting the 
necessity of these categories and giving a genuine deduc- 
tion of them. Fichte ought to have produced at least 
one effect on the method of logic. One might have 
expected that the general laws of thought, the usual 
stock-in-trade of logicians, or the classification of no- 
tions, judgments, and syllogisms, would be no longer 
taken merely from observation and so only empirically 


treated, but be deduced from thought itself. If thought 
is to be capable of proving anything at all, if logic must 
insist upon the necessity of proofs, and if it proposes to 
teach the theory of demonstration, its first care should 
be to give a reason for its own subject-matter, and to 
see that it is necessary. 

(i) Kant therefore holds that the categories have their 
source in the * Ego,' and that the ' Ego ' consequently sup- 
plies the characteristics of universality and necessity. If 
we observe what we have before us primarily, we maj"^ de^ 
scribe it as a congeries or diversity : and in the categories 
we find the simple points or units, to which this congeries 
is made to converge. The world of sense is a scene of 
mutual exclusion : its being is outside itself. That is the 
fundamental feature of the sensible. 'Now 'has no mean- 
ing except in reference to a before and a hereafter. Red, 
in the same way, only subsists by being opposed to yellow 
and blue. Now this other thing is outside the sensible ; 
which latter is, only in so far as it is not the other, and only 
in so far as that other is. But thought, or the ' Ego,' occu- 
pies a position the very reverse of the sensible, with its 
mutual exclusions, and its being outside itself. The ' I ' is 
the primary identity — at one with itself and all at home in 
itself. The word 'I' expresses the mere act of bringing-to- 
bear-upon-self : and whatever is placed in this unit or focus, 
is aifected by it and transformed into it. The ' I ' is as it 
were the crucible and the fire which consumes the loose 
plurality of sense and reduces it to unity. This is the pro- 
cess which Kant calls pure apperception in distinction from 
the common apperception, to which the plurality it receives 
is a plurality still ; whereas pure apperception is rather an 
act by which the ' I ' makes the materials ' mine.' 

This view has at least the merit of giving a correct ex- 
pression to the nature of all consciousness. The tendency of 
all man's endeavours is to understand the world, to appro- 
priate and subdue it to himself: and to this end the positive 
reality of the world must be as it were crushed and pounded, 
in other words, idealised. At the same time we must note 


that it is not the mere act of our personal self-consciousness, 
which introduces an absolute unity into the variety of sense. 
Rather, this identity is itself the absolute. The absolute 
is, as it were, so kind as to leave individual things to their 
own enjoyment, and it again drives them back to the abso- 
lute unity. 

(2) Expressions like 'transcendental unity of self-con- 
sciousness ' have an ugly look about them, and suggest a 
monster in the background: but their meaning is not so 
abstruse as it looks, Kant's meaning of transcendental may 
be gathered by the way he distinguishes it from transcen- 
dent. The transcendent may be said to be what steps out 
beyond the categories of the understanding : a sense in. 
which the term is first employed in mathematics. Thus in 
geometry you are told to conceive the circumference of a 
circle as formed of an infinite number of infinitely small 
straight lines. In other words, characteristics which the un- 
derstanding holds to be totally different, the straight line and 
the curve, are expressly invested with identity. Another 
transcendent of the same kind is the self-consciousness 
which is identical with itself and infinite in itself, as distin- 
guished from the ordinary consciousness which derives its 
form and tone from finite materials. That unity of self- 
consciousness, however, Kant called transcendental only ; 
and he meant thereby that the unity was only in our minds 
and did not attach to the objects apart from our knowledge 
of them. 

(3) To regard the categories as subjective only, i.e. as a 
part of ourselves, must seem very odd to the natural mind ; 
and no doubt there is something queer about it. It is quite 
true however that the categories are not contained in the 
sensation as it is given us. When, for instance, we look at 
a piece of sugar, we find it is hard, white, sweet, &c. Alh 
these properties we say are united in one object. Now it isi 
this unity that is not found in the sensation. The same- 
thing happens if we conceive two events to stand in the 
relation of cause and effect. The senses only inform us 
of the two several occurrences which follow each other in 
time. But that the one is cause, the other effect, — in other 


words, the causal nexus between the two, — is not perceived 
by sense ; it is only evident to thought. Still, though the 
categories, such as unity, or cause and effect, are strictly 
the property of thought, it by no means follows that they 
must be ours merely and not also characteristics of the 
objects. Kant however confines them to the subject-mind, 
and his philosophy may be styled subjective idealism : for 
he holds that both the form and the matter of knowledge 
are supplied by the Ego— or knowing subject — the form by 
our intellectual, the matter by our sentient ego. 

So far as regards the content of this subjective idealism, 
not a word need be wasted. It might perhaps at first sight 
be imagined, that objects would lose their reality when 
their unity was transferred to the subject. But neither we 
nor the objects would have anything to gain by the mere 
fact that they possessed being. The main point is not, that 
they are, but what they are, and whether or not their con- 
tent is true. It does no good to the things to say merely 
that they have being. What has being, will also cease to be 
when time creeps over it. It might also be alleged that 
subjective idealism tended to promote self-conceit. But 
surely if a man's world be the sum of his sensible percep- 
tions, he has no reason to be vain of such a world. Laying 
aside therefore as unimportant this distinction between sub- 
jective and objective, we are chiefly interested in knowing 
what a thing is : i.e. its content, which is no more objective 
than it is subjective. If mere existence be enough to make 
objectivity, even a crime is objective : but it is an existence 
which is nullity at the core, as is definitely made apparent 
when the day of punishment comes. 

43.] The Categories may be viewed in two aspects. - 
On the one hand it is by their instrumentality that the- 
mere perception of sense rises to objectivity and ex^i 
perience. On the other hand these notions are unities • 
in our consciousness merely : they are consequently 
conditioned by the material given to them, and having '' 
nothing of their own they can be applied to use only 
within the range of experience. But the other con- 


stituent of experience, the impressions of feeling and 
perception, is not one whit less subjective than the 

To assert that the categories taken by themselves are empty 
can scarcely be right, seeing that they have a content, at all • 
events, in the special stamp and significance which they pos- 
sess. Of course the content of the categories is not percep- 
tible to the senses, nor is it in time and space : but that is 
rather a merit than a defect. A glimpse of this meaning of 
content may be observed to affect our ordinary thinking. A 
book or a speech for example is said to have a great deal in 
it, to be full of content, in proportion to the greater number 
of thoughts and general results to be found in it : whilst, 
on the contrary, we should never say that any book, e.g. a 
novel, had much in it, because it included a great number of 
single incidents, situations, and the like. Even the popular 
voice thus recognises that something more than the facts of 
sense is needed to make a work pregnant with matter. 
And what is this additional desideratum but thoughts, or in 
the first instance the categories? And yet it is not alto- 
gether wrong, it should be added, to call the categories of 
themselves empty, if it be meant that they and the logical 
Idea, of which they are the members, do not constitute the 
whole of philosophy, but necessarily lead onwards in due 
progress to the real departments of Nature and Mind. Only 
let the progress not be misunderstood. The logical Idea 
does not thereby come into possession of a content origin-, 
ally foreign to it : but by its own native action is specialised! 
and developed to Nature and Mind. 

44.] It follows that the categories are no fit terms to 
express the Absolute — the Absolute not being given in 
perception ; — and Understanding, or knowledge by 
means of the categories, is consequently incapable of 
knowing the Things-in-themselves. - 

The Thing-in-itself (and under 'thing' is embraced 
even Mind and God) expresses the object when we 
leave out of sight all that consciousness makes of it, all 


its emotional aspects, and all specific thoughts of it. It 
is easy to see what is left,^ — utter abstraction, total 
emptiness, only described still as an 'other-world' — the 
negative of every image, feeling, and definite thought. 
Nor does it require much penetration to see that this 
caput mortuum is still only a product of thought, such as 
accrues when thought is carried on to abstraction un- 
alloyed : that it is the work of the empty ' Ego,' which 
makes an object out of this empty self-identity of its 
own. The negative characteristic which this abstract 
identity receives as an object, is also enumerated among 
the categories of Kant, and is no less familiar than the 
empty identity aforesaid. Hence one can only read 
with surprise the perpetual remark that we do not know 
the Thing-in-itself On the contrary there is nothing 
we can know so easily. 

45,] It is Reason, the faculty of the Unconditioned, 
which discovers the conditioned nature of the know- 
ledge comprised in experience. What is thus called 
the object of Reason, the Infinite or Unconditioned, is 
nothing but self-sameness, or the primary identity of 
the ' Ego ' in thought (mentioned in § 42). Reason 
itself is the name given to the abstract 'Ego' or thought, 
which makes this pure identity its aim or object (cf note 
to the preceding §). Now this identity, having no 
definite attribute at all, can receive no illumination from 
the truths of experience, for the reason that these refer 
always to definite facts. Such is the sort of Uncon- 
ditioned that is supposed to be the absolute truth of 
Reason, — what is termed the Idea ; whilst the cognitions 
of experience are reduced to the level of untruth and 
declared to be appearances. 

Kant was the first definitely to signalise the distinction be- 
tween Reason and Understanding. The object of the former, 
as he applied the term, was the infinite and unconditioned, of 



the latter the finite and conditioned. Kant did valuable scr- 
\aGe_aLheii he enforced the finite character of the cognitions 
Qf the understanding founded merely upon experience, and 
stamped their contents with the name of appearance. But 
his mistake was to stop at the purely negative point of view, 
and to limit the unconditionality of Reason to an abstract 
self-sameness without any shade of distinction. It degrades 
Reason to a finite and conditioned thing, to identify it with 
a mere stepping beyond the finite and conditioned range of 
understanding. The real infinite, far from being a mere i 
transcendence of the finite, always involves the absorption ' 
of the finite into its own fuller nature. In the same way 
Kant restored the Idea to its proper dignity : vindicating it 
for Reason, as a thing distinct from abstract analytic deter- 
minations or from the merely sensible conceptions which 
usually appropriate to themselves the name of ideas. But 
as respects the Idea also, he never got beyond its negative 
aspect, as what ought to be but is not. 

The view that the objects of immediate consciousness, 
which constitute the body of experience, are mere appear- 
ances (phenomena), was another important result of the 
Kantian philosophy. Common Sense, that mixture of sense 
and understanding, believes the objects of which it has 
knowledge to be severally independent and self-supporting ; 
and when it becomes evident that they tend towards and 
limit one another, the interdependence of one upon another is 
reckoned something foreign to them and to their true nature. 
The very opposite is the truth. The things immediately 
known are mere appearances — in other words, the ground 
of their being is not in themselves but in something else. 
But then comes the important step of defining what this 
something else is. According to Kant, the things that we 
know about are to us appearances only, and we can never 
know their essential nature, which belongs to another 
world we cannot approach. Plain minds have not unreason- 
ably taken exception to this .subjective idealism, with its 
reduction of the facts of consciousness to a purely personal 
world, created by ourselves alone. For the true statement 
of the case is rather as follows. The things of which we 


have direct consciousness are mere phenomena, not for us 
only, but in their own nature ; and the true and proper case 
of these things, finite as they are, is to have their existence 
founded not in themselves but in the universal divine Idea. 
This view of things, it is true, is as idealist as Kant's ; but 
in contradistinction to the subjective idealism of the Critical 
philosophy should be termed absolute idealism. Absolute 
idealism, however, though it is far in advance of vulgar real- 
ism, is by no means merely restricted to philosophy. It lies 
at the root of all rehgion ; for religion too beUeves the actual 
world we see, the sum total of existence, to be created and 
governed by God. 

46.] But it is not enough simply to indicate the 
existence of the object of Reason. Curiosity impels us 
to seek for knowledge of this identity, this empty thing- 
in-itself. Now knowledge means such an acquaintance 
with the object as apprehends its distinct and special 
subject-matter. But such subject-matter involves a 
complex inter-connexion in the object itself, and sup- 
plies a ground of connexion with many other objects. 
In the present case, to express the nature of the features 
of the Infinite or Thing-in-itself, Reason would have 
nothing except the categories : and in any endeavour so 
to employ them Reason becomes over-soaring or ' tran- 

Here begins the second stage of the Criticism of 
Reason — which, as an independent piece of work, is 
more valuable than the first. The first part, as has been 
explained above, teaches that the categories originate in 
the unity of self-consciousness; that any knowledge 
which is gained by their means has nothing objective in 
it, and that the very objectivity claimed for them is only 
subjective. So far as this goes, the Kantian Criticism 
presents that 'common' type of idealism known as 
Subjective Idealism. It asks no questions about the 
meaning or scope of the categories, but simply considers 



the abstract form of subjectivity and objectivity, and that 
even in such a partial way, that the former aspect, that 
of subjectivity, is retained as a final and purely affirma- 
tive term of thought. In the second part, however, 
when Kant examines the application, as it is called, 
which Reason makes of the categories in order to 
know its objects, the content of the categories, at least 
in some points of view, comes in for discussion : 
or, at any rate, an opportunity presented itself for a 
discussion of the question. It is worth while to see 
what decision Kant arrives at on the subject of meta- 
physic, as this application of the categories to the 
unconditioned is called. His method of procedure we 
shall here briefly state and criticise. 

47.] (a) The first of the unconditioned entities which 
Kant examines is the Soul (see above, § 34). ' In my 
consciousness,' he says, 'I always find that I (i) am the 
determining subject : (2) am singular, or abstractly 
simple : (3) am identical, or one and the same, in all 
the variety of what I am conscious of: (4) distinguish 
myself as thinking from all the things outside me.' 

Now the method of the old metaphysic, as Kant cor- 
rectly states it, consisted in substituting for these state- 
ments of experience the corresponding categories or 
metaphysical terms. Thus arise these four new propo- 
sitions : {a) the SoUl is a substance : {b) it is a simple 
substance : (c) it is numerically identical at the various 
periods of existence : {d) it stands in relation to space. 

Kant discusses this translation, and draws attention 
to the Paralogism or mistake of confounding one kind 
of truth with another. He points out that empirical 
attributes have here been replaced by categories : and 
shows that we are not entitled to argue from the former 
to the latter, or to put the latter in place of the former. 

This criticism obviously but repeats the observation 


of Hume (§ 39) that the categories as a whole, — ideas of 
universahty and necessity, — are entirely absent from 
sensation ; and that the empirical fact both in form and 
contents differs from its intellectual formulation. 

If the purely empirical fact were held to constitute the 
credentials of the thought, then no doubt it would be 
indispensable to be able precisely to identify the ' idea ' 
in the 'impression.' 

And in order to make out, in his criticism of the meta- 
physical psychology, that the soul cannot be described 
as substantial, simple, self-same, and as maintaining its 
independence in intercourse with the material world, 
Kant argues from the single ground, that the several 
attributes of the soul, which consciousness lets us feel 
in experience, are not exactly the same attributes as 
result from the action of thought thereon. But we have 
seen above, that according to Kant all knowledge, even 
experience, consists in thinking our impressions — in 
other words, in transforming into intellectual categories 
the attributes primarily belonging to sensation. 

Unquestionably one good result of the Kantian criti- 
cism was that it emancipated mental philosophy from 
the ' soul-thing,' from the categories, and, consequently, 
from questions about the simplicity, complexity, materi- 
ality, &c, of the soul. But even for the common sense 
of ordinary men, the true point of view, from which the 
inadmissibility of these forms best appears, will be, not 
that they are thoughts, but that thoughts of such a stamp 
neither can nor do contain truth. 

If thought and phenomenon do not perfectly corre- 
spond to one another, we are free at least to choose 
which of the two shall be held the defaulter. The 
Kantian idealism, where it touches on the world of 
Reason, throws the blame on the thoughts ; saying that 
the thoughts are defective, as not being exactly fitted to 


the sensations and to a mode of mind wholly restricted 
within the range of sensation, in which as such there 
are no traces of the presence of these thoughts. But as 
to the actual content of the thought, no question is 

Paralogisms are a species of unsound syllogism, the 
especial vice of which consists in employing one and the 
same word in the two premisses with a different meaning. 
According to Kant the method adopted by the rational psy- 
chology of the old metaphysicians, when they assumed that 
the qualities of the phenomenal soul, as given in experi- 
ence, formed part of its own real essence, was based upon 
such a Paralogism. Nor can it be denied that predicates like 
simplicity, permanence, &c., are inapplicable to the soul. 
But their unfitness is not due to the ground assigned by 
Kant, that Reason, by applying them, would exceed its ap- 
pointed bounds. The true ground is that this style of ab- 
stract terms is not good enough for the soul, which is veryi 
much more than a mere simple or unchangeable sort of! 
thing. And thus, for example, while the soul may be ad- 
mitted to be simple self-sameness, it is at the same time 
active and institutes distinctions in its own nature. But 
whatever is merely or abstractly simple is as such also a 
mere dead thing. By his polemic against the metaphysic of 
the past Kant discarded those predicates from the soul or 
mind. He did well ; but when he came to state his reasons, 
his failure is apparent. 

48.] [fi] The second unconditioned object is the 
World (§ 35). In the attempt which reason makes to 
comprehend the unconditioned nature of the World, it 
falls into what are called Antinomies. In other words 
it maintains two opposite propositions about the same 
object, and in such a way that each of them has to be 
maintained with equal necessity. From this it follows 
that the body of cosmical fact, the specific statements 
descriptive of which run into contradiction, cannot be 
a self-subsistent reality, but only an appearance. The 


explanation offered by Kant alleges that the contradic- 
tion does not affect the object in its own proper essence, 
but attaches only to the Reason which seeks to compre- 
hend it. 

In this way the suggestion was broached that the con- 
tradiction is occasioned by the subject-matter itself, or by 
the intrinsic quality of the categories. And to offer the 
idea that the contradiction introduced into the world 
of Reason by the categories of Understanding is in- 
evitable and essential, was to make one of the most 
important steps in the progress of Modern Philosophy. 
But the more important the issue thus raised the more 
trivial was the solution. Its only motive was an excess 
of tenderness for the things of the world. The blemish 
of contradiction, it seems, could not be allowed to mar 
the essence of the world : but there could be no objec- 
tion to attach it to the thinking Reason, to the essence 
of mind. Probably nobody will feel disposed to deny 
that the phenomenal world presents contradictions to 
the observing mind; meaning by 'phenomenal' the 
world as it presents itself to the senses and understand- 
ing, to the subjective mind. But if a comparison is 
instituted between the essence of the world and the 
essence of the mind, it does seem strange to hear how 
calmly and confidently the modest dogma has been ad- 
vanced by one, and repeated by others, that thought or 
Reason, and not the World, is the seat of contradiction. 
It is no escape to turn round and explain that Reason 
falls into contradiction only by applying the categories. 
For this application of the categories is maintained to 
be necessary, and Reason is not supposed to be equipped 
with any other forms but the categories for the purpose 
of cognition. But cognition is determining and deter- 
minate thinking: so that, if Reason be mere empty 
indeterminate thinking, it thinks nothing. And if in the 


end Reason be reduced to mere identity without diver- 
sity (see next §), it will in the end also win a happy 
release from contradiction at the slight sacrifice of all its 
facts and contents. 

It may also be noted that his failure to make a more 
thorough study of Antinomy was one of the reasons why 
Kant enumerated only four Antinomies. These four 
attracted his notice, because, as may be seen in his dis- 
cussion of the so-called Paralogisms of Reason, he 
assumed the list of the categories as a basis of his argu- 
ment. Employing what has subsequently become a 
favourite fashion, he simply put the object under a rubric 
otherwise ready to hand, instead of deducing its charac- 
teristics from its notion. Further deficiencies in the 
treatment of the Antinomies 1 have pointed out, as occa- 
sion offered, in my ' Science of Logic' Here it will be 
sufficient to say that the Antinomies are not confined to 
the four special objects taken from Cosmology : they 
appear in all objects of every kind, in all conceptions, 
notions and Ideas. To be aware of this and to know 
objects in this property of theirs, makes a vital part in a 
philosophical theory. For the property thus indicated 
is what we shall afterwards describe as the Dialectical 
influence in logic. 

The principles of the metaphysical philosophy gave rise 
to the belief that, when cognition lapsed into contradictions, 
it was a mere accidental aberration, due to some subjective 
mistake in argument and inference. According to Kant, 
however, thought has a natural tendency to issue in contra- 
dictions or antinomies, whenever it seeks to apprehend the 
infinite. We have in the latter part of the ab6ve paragraph 
referred to the philosophical importance of the antinomies of 
reason, and shown how the recognition of their existence 
helped largely to get rid of the rigid dogmatism of the meta- 
physic of understanding, and to direct attention to the Dia- 
lectical movement of thought. But here too Kant, as we 


must add, never got beyond the negative result that the 
thing-in-itself is unknowable, and never penetrated to the 
discovery of what the antinomies really and positively mean. 
That true and positive meaning of the antinomies is this: 

I j that every actual thing involves a coexistence of opposed. 
' elements. Consequently to know, or, in other words, to 

comprehend an object is equivalent to being conscious of it 

I I as a concrete unity of opposed determinations. The old. 
metaphysic, as we have already seen, when it studied the 
objects of which it sought a metaphysical knowledge, went 
to work by applying categories abstractly and to the ex- 
clusion of their opposites. Kant, on the other hand, tried to 
prove that the statements, issuing through this method, 
could be met by other statements of contrary import with 
equal warrant and equal necessity. In the enumeration of 
these antinomies he narrowed his ground to the cosmology 
of the old metaphysical system, and in his discussion made 
out four antinomies, a number which rests upon the list of 
the categories. The first antinomy is on the question : 
Whether we are or are not to think the world limited in 
space and time. In the second antinomy we have a discus- 
sion of the dilemma : Matter must be conceived either as 
endlessly divisible, or as consisting of atoms. The third 
antinomy bears upon the antithesis of freedom and neces- 
sity, to such extent as it is embraced in the question. 
Whether everything in the world must be supposed subject 
to the condition of causality, or if we x:an also assume free 
beings, in other words, absolute initial points of action, in 
the world. Finally, the fourth antinomy is the dilemma: 
Either the world as a whole has a cause or it is uncaused. 

The method which Kant follows in discussing these anti- 
nomies is as follows. He puts the two propositions implied 
in the dilemma over against each other as thesis and anti- 
thesis, and seeks to prove both : that is to say he tries to 
exhibit them as inevitably issuing from reflection on the 
question. He particularly protests against the charge of 
being a special pleader and of grounding his reasoning on 
illusions. Speaking honestly, however, the arguments 
which Kant offers for his thesis and antithesis are mere 


shams of demonstration. The thing to be proved is invari- 
ably implied in the assumption he starts from, and the 
speciousness of his proofs is only due to his prolix and 
apagogic mode of procedure. Yet it was, and still is, a great 
achievement for the Critical philosophy, when it exhibited 
these antinomies : for in this way it gave some expression 
(at first certainly subjective and unexplained) to the actual 
unity of those categories which are kept persistently sepa- 
rate by the understanding. The first of the cosmological 
antinomies, for example, implies a recognition of the doc- 
trine that space and time present a discrete as well as a 
continuous aspect : whereas the old metaphysic, laying ex- 
clusive emphasis on the continuity, had been led to treat the 
world as unlimited in space and time. It is quite correct to 
say that we can go beyond every definite space and beyond 
every definite time : but it is no less correct that space and 
time are real and actual only when they are defined or 
specialised into ' here ' and ' now,'— a specialisation which is 
involved in the very notion of them. The same observa- 
tions apply to the rest of the antinomies. Take, for example, 
the antinomy of freedom and necessity. The main gist of it 
is that freedom and necessity as understood by abstract 
thinkers are not independently real, as these thinkers 
suppose, but merely ideal factors (moments) of the true 
freedom and the true necessity, and that to abstract and 
isolate either conception is to make it false. 

49.] (y) The third object of the Reason is God (§36): 
He also must be known and defined in terms of thought. 
But in comparison with an unalloyed identity, every 
defining term as such seems to the understanding to be 
only a limit and a negation : every reality accordingly • 
must be taken as limitless, i.e. undefined. Accordingly 
God, when He is defined to be the sum of all realities, • 
the most real of beings, turns into a mere abstract. 
And the only term under which that most real of real, 
things can be defined is that of Being — itself the height 
of abstraction. These are the two elements, abstract^ 

VOL. ir. I 


identity, on one hand, which is spoken of in this place 
as the notion ; and Being on the other, — which Reason 
seeks to unify. And their union is the Ideal of Reason. ■ 

50.] To carry out this unification two ways or two 
forms are admissible. Either we may begin with Being 
and proceed to the abstradunt of Thought : or the 
movement may begin with the abstraction and end in 

We shall, in the first place, start from Being. But 
Being, in its natural aspect, presents itself to view as 
a Being of infinite- variety, a World in all its plenitude. 
And this world may be regarded in two ways : first, as 
a collection of innumerable unconnected facts ; and 
second, as a collection of innumerable facts in mutual 
relation, giving evidence of design. The first aspect is 
emphasised in the Cosmological proof: the latter in the 
proofs of Natural Theology. Suppose now that this 
fulness of being passes under the agency of thought. 
Then it is stripped of its isolation and unconnectedness, 
and viewed as a universal and absolutely necessary 
being which determines itself and acts by general pur- 
poses or laws. And this necessary and self-determined 
being, different from the being at the commencement, 
is God. 

The main force of Kant's criticism on this process 
attacks it for being a syllogising, i.e. a transition. Per- 
ceptions, and that aggregate of perceptions we call the 
world, exhibit as they stand no traces of that univer- 
sality which they afterwards receive from the purifying 
act of thought. The empirical conception of the world 
therefore gives no warrant for the idea of universality. 
And so any attempt on the part of thought to ascend 
from the empirical conception of the world to God is 
checked by the argument of Hume (as in the para- 
logisms, § 47), according to which we have no right to 


think sensations, that is, to eHcit universaHty and neces- 
sity from them. 

Man is essentially a thinker : and therefore sound 
Common Sense, as well as Philosophy, will not yield 
up their right of rising to God from and out of the 
empirical view of the world. The only basis on which 
this rise is possible is the thinking study of the world, 
not the bare sensuous, animal, attuition of it. Thought 
and thought alone has eyes for the essence, substance, 
universal power, and ultimate design of the world. 
And what men call the proofs of God's existence are, 
rightly understood, ways of describing and analysing the 
native course of the mind, the course of thought think- 
ing the data of the senses. The rise of thought beyond 
the world of sense, its passage from the finite to the 
infinite, the leap into the super-sensible which it takes 
when it snaps asunder the chain of sense, all this tran- 
sition is thought and nothing but thought. Say there 
must be no such passage, and you say there is to be no 
thinking. And in sooth, animals make no such transi- 
tion. They never get further than sensation and the 
perception of the senses, and in consequence they have 
no religion. 

Both on general grounds, and in the particular case, 
there are two remarks to be made upon the criticism of 
this exaltation in thought. The first remark deals with 
the question of form. When the exaltation is exhibited 
in a syllogistic process, in the shape of what we call 
proofs of the being of God, these reasonings cannot 
•but start from some sort of theory of the world, which 
makes it an aggregate either of contingent facts or of 
final causes and relations involving design. The merely 
syllogistic thinker may deem this starting-point a solid 
basis and suppose that it remains throughout in the 
same empirical light, left at last as it was at the first. In 


this case, the bearing of the beginning upon the con- 
clusion to which it leads has a purely affirmative aspect, 
as if we were only reasoning from one thing which is 
and continues to be, to another thing which in like 
manner is. But the great error is to restrict our- 
notions of the nature of thought to its form in under-, 
standing alone. To think the phenomenal world rather, 
means to re-cast its form, and. transmute it into a uni-. 
versal. And thus the action of thought has also a^ 
negative effect upon its basis : and the matter of sensa-. 
tipn, when it receives the stamp of universality, at once 
loses its first and phenomenal shape. 3y the removal * 
and negation of the shell, the kernel within the sense- 
percept is brought to the light (§§ 13 and 23). And it is 
because they do not, with sufficient prominence, express 
the negative features implied in the exaltation of the 
mind from the world to God, that the metaphysical 
proofs of the being of a God are defective interpreta- 
tions and descriptions of the process. If the world is 
only a sum of incidents, it follows that it is also deciduous 
and phenomenal, in esse and posse null. That upward 
spring of the mind signifies, that the being which the 
world has is only a semblance, no real being, no abso- 
lute truth ; it signifies that, beyond and above that 
appearance, truth abides in God, so that true being is 
another name for God. The process of exaltation might 
thus appear to be transition and to involve a means, but 
it is not a whit less true, that every trace of transition 
and means is absorbed ; since the world, which might 
have seemed to be the means of reaching God, is ex- 
plained to be a nullity. Unless the being of the world 
is nullified, the point d'appui for the exaltation is lost. 
In this way the apparent means vanishes, and the pro- 
cess of derivation is cancelled in the very act by which 
it proceeds. It is the affirmative aspect of this rela- 


tion, as supposed to subsist between two things, either 
of which is as much as the other, which Jacobi mainly 
has in his eye when he attacks the demonstrations of the 
understanding. Justly censuring them for seeking con- 
ditions {i.e. the world) for the unconditioned, he remarks 
that the Infinite or God must on such a method be pre- 
sented as dependent and derivative. But that elevation, 
as it takes place in the mind, serves to correct this 
semblance : in fact, it has no other meaning than to 
correct that semblance. Jacobi, however, failed to re- 
cognise the genuine nature of essential thought— by 
which it cancels the mediation in the very act of 
mediating; and consequently, his objection, though it 
tells against the merely ' reflective ' understanding, is 
false when applied to thought as a whole, and in par- 
ticular to reasonable thought. 

To explain what we mean by the neglect of the nega- . 
tive factor in thought, we may refer by way of illustration 
to the charges of Pantheism and Atheism brought 
against the doctrines of Spinoza. The absolute Sub- 
stance of Spinoza certainly falls short of absolute spirit, 
and it is a right and proper requirement that God 
should be defined as absolute spirit. But when the 
definition in Spinoza is said to identify the world with 
God, and to confound God with nature and the finite 
world, it is implied that the finite world possesses a 
genuine actuality and affirmative reality. If this as- 
sumption be admitted, of course a union of God with 
the world renders God completely finite, and degrades 
Him to the bare finite and adventitious congeries of 
existence. But there are two objections to be noted. 
In the first place Spinoza does not define God as the 
unity of God with the world, but as the union of thought 
with extension, that is, with the material world. And 
secondly, even if we accept this awkward popular state- 


ment as to this unity, it would still be true that the 
system of Spinoza was not Atheism but Acosmism, de- 
fining the world to be an appearance lacking in true 
reality. A philosophy, which affirms that God and God 
alone is, should not be stigmatised as atheistic, when even 
those nations which worship the ape, the cow, or images 
of stone and brass, are credited with some religion. 
But as things stand the imagination of ordinary men 
feels a vehement reluctance to surrender its dearest 
conviction, that this aggregate of finitude, which it calls 
a world, has actual reality ; and to hold that there is no 
world is a way of thinking they are fain to believe im- 
possible, or at least much less possible than to entertain 
the idea that there is no God. Human nature, not 
much to its credit, is more ready to believe that a system 
denies God, than that it denies the world. A denial of 
God seems so much more intelligible than a denial of 
the world. 

The second remark bears on the criticism of the 
material propositions to which that elevation in thought 
in the first instance leads. If these propositions have 
for their predicate such terms as substance of the world, 
its necessary essence, cause which regulates and directs 
it according to design, they are certainly inadequate to 
express what is or ought to be understood by God. Yet 
apart from the trick of adopting a preliminary popular 
conception of God, and criticising a result by this as- 
sumed standard, it is certain that these characteristics 
have great value, and are necessary factors in the idea 
of God. But if we wish in this way to bring before 
thought the genuine idea of God, and give its true value 
and expression to the central truth, we must be careful 
not to start from a subordinate level of facts. To 
speak of the ' merely contingent ' things of the world 
is a very inadequate description of the premisses. The 


organic structures, and the evidence they afford of mutual 
adaptation, belong to a higher province, the province of 
animated nature. But even without taking into con- 
sideration the possible blemish which the study of 
animated nature and of the other teleological aspects of 
existing things may contract from the pettiness of the 
final causes, and from puerile instances of them and 
their bearings, merely animated nature is, at the best, 
incapable of supplying the material for a truthful ex- 
pression to the idea of God. God is more than life : 
He is Spirit. And therefore if the thought of the Abso- 
lute takes a starting-point for its rise, and desires to 
take the nearest, the most true and adequate starting- 
point will be found in the nature of spirit alone. 

51.] The other way of unification by which to realise 
the Ideal of Reason is to set out from the abstradum of 
Thought and seek to characterise it : for which purpose 
Being is the only available term. This is the method of 
the Ontological proof. The opposition, here presented 
from a merely subjective point of view, lies between 
Thought and Being; whereas in the first way of junc- 
tion, being is common to the two sides of the antithesis, 
and the contrast lies only between its individualisation 
and universality. Understanding meets this second 
way with what is implicitly the same objection, as it made 
to the first. It denied that the empirical involves the 
universal : so it denies that the universal involves the 
specialisation, which specialisation in this instance is 
being. In other words it says : Being cannot be de- 
duced from the notion by any analysis. 

The uniformly favourable reception and acceptance 
which attended Kant's criticism of the Ontological 
proof was undoubtedly due to the illustration which 
he made use of. To explain the difference between 
thought and being,. he took the instance of a hundred 


sovereigns, which, for anything it matters to the notion, 
are the same hundred whether they are real or only 
possible, though the difference of the two cases is very 
perceptible in their effect on a man's purse. Nothing 
can be more obvious than that anything we only think 
or conceive is not on that account actual : that mental 
representation, and even notional comprehension, always 
falls short of being. Still it may not unfairly be styled 
a barbarism in language, when the name of notion is 
given to things like a hundred sovereigns. And, putting 
that mistake aside, those who perpetually urge against 
the philosophic Idea the difference between Being and 
Thought, might have admitted that philosophers were 
not wholly ignorant of the fact. Can there be any pro- 
position more trite than this ? But after all, it is well 
to remember, when we speak of God, that we have an 
object of another kind than any hundred sovereigns, 
and unlike any one particular notion, representation, 
or however else it may be styled. It is in fact this and 
this alone which marks everything finite : — its being in 
time and space is discrepant from its notion. God, on 
the contrary, expressly has to be what can only be 
'thought as existing'; His notion involves being. It 
is this unity of the notion and being that constitutes 
the notion of God. 

If this were all, we should have only a formal expres- 
sion of the divine nature which would not really go 
beyond a statement of the nature of the notion itself 
And that the notion, in its most abstract terms, involves 
being is plain. For the notion, whatever other deter- 
mination it may receive, is at least reference back on 
itself, which results by abolishing the intermediation, 
and thus is immediate. And what is that reference to 
self, but being ? Certainly it would be strange if the 
notion, the very inmost of mind, if even the 'Ego,' or 



above all, the concrete totality we call God, were not 
rich enough to include so poor a category as being, the 
very poorest and most abstract of all. For, if we look 
at the thought it holds, nothing can be more insignificant 
than being. And yet there may be something still more 
insignificant than being,— that which at first sight is 
perhaps supposed to be, an external and sensible exist- 
ence, like that of the paper lying before me. However, 
in this matter, nobody proposes to speak of the sensible 
existence of a limited and perishable thing. Besides, 
the petty stricture of the Kritik that ' thought and being 
are different ' can at most molest the path of the human 
mind from the thought of God to the certainty that He 
is : it cannot take it away. It is this process of transi- 
tion, depending on the absolute inseparability of the 
thought of God from His being, for which its proper 
authority has been re-vindicated in the theory of faith or 
immediate knowledge, — whereof hereafter. 

52.] In this way thought, at its highest pitch, has to 
go outside for any determinateness : and although it is 
continually termed Reason, is out-and-out abstract think- 
ing. And the result of all is that Reason supplies 
nothing beyond the formal unity required to simplify 
and systematise experiences ; it is a canon, not an 
organon of truth, and can furnish only a criticism of 
knowledge, not a doctrine of the infinite. In its final 
analysis this criticism is summed up in the assertion 
that in strictness thought is only the indeterminate unity 
and the action of this indeterminate unity. 

Kant undoubtedly held reason to be the faculty of the 
unconditioned ; but if reason be reduced to abstract identity 
only, it by implication renounces its unconditionality and is 
in reality no better than empty understanding. For reason 
is unconditioned, only in so far as its character and quality 
are not due to an extraneous and foreign content, only in so 


far as it is self-characterising, and thus, in point of content, 
is its own master. Kant, however, expressly explains that 
the action of reason consists solely in applying the categories 
to systematise the matter given by perception, 1. e. to place 
it in an outside order, under the guidance of the principle ot 
non contradiction. 

53.] {b) The Practical Reason is understood by Kant 
to mean a thinking Will, i.e. b. Will that determines 
itself on universal principles. Its office is to give objec- 
tive, imperative laws of freedom, — laws, that is, which 
state what ought to happen. The warrant for thus 
assuming thought to be an activity which makes itself 
felt objectively, that is, to be really a Reason, is the 
alleged possibility of proving practical freedom by ex- 
perience, that is, of showing it in the phenomenon of 
self-consciousness. This experience in consciousness 
is at once met by all that the Necessitarian produces 
from contrary experience, particularly by the sceptical 
induction (employed amongst others by Hume) from the 
endless diversity of what men regard as right and 
duty, — i.e. from the diversity apparent in those pro- 
fessedly objective laws of freedom. 

64.] What, then, is to serve as the law which the 
Practical Reason embraces and obeys, and as the 
criterion in its act of self-determination ? There is no 
rule at hand but the same abstract identity of under- 
standing as before : There must be no contradiction in 
the act of self-determination. Hence the Practical 
Reason never shakes off the formalism which is repre- 
sented as the climax of the Theoretical Reason. 

But this Practical Reason does not confine the uni- 
versal principle of the Good to its own inward regula- 
tion : it first becomes practical, in the true sense of the 
word, when it insists on the Good being manifested in 
the world with an outward objectivity, and requires that 


the thought shall be objective throughout, and not 
merely subjective. We shall speak of this postulate 
of the Practical Reason afterwards. 

The free self-determination which Kant denied to the 
speculative, he has expressly vindicated for the practical 
reason. To many minds this particular aspect of the 
Kantian philosophy made it welcome ; and that for good 
reasons. To estimate rightly what we owe to Kant in the 
matter, we ought to set before our minds the form of practical 
philosophy and in particular of 'moral philosophy,' which 
prevailed in his time. It may be generally described as a 
system of Eudaemonism, which, when asked what man's 
chief end ought to be, replied Happiness. And by happiness 
Eudaemonism understood the satisfaction of the private 
appetites, wishes and wants of the man: thus raising the 
contingent and particular into a principle for the will and 
its actualisation. To this Eudaemonism, which was desti- 
tute of stability and consistency, and which left the 'door 
and gate ' wide open for every whim and caprice, Kant 
opposed the practical reason, and thus emphasised the need 
for a principle of will which should be universal and lay 
the same obligation on all. The theoretical reason, as has 
been made evident in the preceding paragraphs, is identified 
by Kant with the negative faculty of the infinite ; and as it 
has no positive content of its own, it is restricted to the 
function of detecting the finitude of experiential knowledge. 
To the practical reason, on the contrary, he has expressly 
allowed a positive infinity, by ascribing to the will the power 
of modifying itself in universal modes, i.e. by thought. 
Such a power the will undoubtedly has : and it is well to 
remember that man is free only in so far as he possesses it 
and avails himself of it in his conduct. But a recognition of 
the existence of this power is not enough and does not avail 
to tell us what are the contents of the will or practical 
reason. Hence to say, that a man must make the Good the 
content of his will, raises the question, what that content is, 
and what are the means of ascertaining what good is. Nor 
does one get over the difficulty by the principle that the 


will must be consistent with itself, or by the precept to do 
duty for the sake of duty. 

55.] (c) The Reflective Power of Judgment is in- 
vested by Kant with the function of an Intuitive Under- 
standing. That is to say, whereas the particulars had 
hitherto appeared, so far as the universal or abstract 
identity was concerned, adventitious and incapable of 
being deduced from it, the Intuitive Understanding 
apprehends the particulars as moulded and formed by 
the universal itself. Experience presents such univer- 
salised particulars in the products of Art and of organic 

The capital feature in Kant's Criticism of the Judg- 
ment is, that in it he gave a representation and a name, 
if not even an intellectual expression, to the Idea. Such 
a representation, as an Intuitive Understanding, or an 
inner adaptation, suggests a universal which is at the 
same time apprehended as essentially a concrete unity. 
It is in these aper9us alone that the Kantian philosophy 
rises to the speculative height. Schiller, and others, have 
found in the idea of artistic beauty, where thought and 
sensuous conception have grown together into one, a 
way of escape from the abstract and separatist under- 
standing. Others have found the same relief in the 
perception and consciousness of life and of living things, 
whether that life be natural or intellectual. — The work 
of Art, as well as the living individual, is, it must be 
owned, of limited content. But in the postulated har- 
mony of nature (or necessity) and free purpose, — in the 
final purpose of the world conceived as realised, Kant 
has put before us the Idea, comprehensive even in its 
content. Yet what may be called the laziness of 
thought, when dealing with this supreme Idea, finds 
a too easy mode of evasion in the ' ought to be ' : instead 
of the actual realisation of the ultimate end, it clings 


hard to the disjunction of the notion from reality. Yet 
if thought will not think the ideal realised, the senses 
and the intuition can at any rate see it in the present 
reality of living organisms and of the beautiful in Art. 
And consequently Kant's remarks on these objects were 
well adapted to lead the mind on to grasp and think the 
concrete Idea. 

56.] We are thus led to conceive a different relation 
between the universal of understanding and the par- 
ticular of perception, than that on which the theory of 
the Theoretical and Practical Reason is founded. But 
while this is so, it is not supplemented by a recognition 
that the former is the genuine relation and the very 
truth. Instead of that, the unity (of universal with par- 
ticular) is accepted only as it exists in finite phenomena, 
and is adduced only as a fact of experience. Such ex- 
perience, at first only personal, may come from two 
sources. It may spring from Genius, the faculty which 
produces 'aesthetic ideas'; meaning by aesthetic ideas, 
the picture-thoughts of the free imagination which sub- 
serve an idea and suggest thoughts, although their con- 
tent is not expressed in a notional form, and even admits 
of no such expression. It may also be due to Taste, the 
feeling of congruity between the free play of intuition or 
imagination and the uniformity of understanding. 

57.] The principle by which the Reflective faculty of 
Judgment regulates and arranges the products of ani- 
mated nature is described as the End or final cause, — the 
notion in action, the universal at once determining and 
determinate in itself At the same time Kant is careful 
to discard the conception of external or finite adaptation, 
in which the End is only an adventitious form for the 
means and material in which it is realised. In the living 
organism, on the contrary, the final cause is a mould- 
ing principle and an energy immanent in the matter, 


and every member is in its turn a means as well as an 

58.] Such an Idea evidently radically transforms the 
relation which the understanding institutes between 
means and ends, between subjectivity and objectivity. 
And yet in the face of this unification, the End or 
design is subsequently explained to be a cause which 
exists and acts subjectively, i. e. as our idea only : and 
teleology is accordingly explained to be only a principle 
of criticism, purely personal to our understanding. 

After the Critical philosophy had settled that Reason 
can know phenomena only, there would still have been 
an option for animated nature between two equally sub- 
jective modes of thought. Even according to Kant's 
own exposition, there would have been an obligation to 
admit, in the case of natural productions, a knowledge 
not confined to the categories of quality, cause and 
eflfect, composition, constituents, and so on. The prin- 
ciple of inward adaptation or design, had it been kept to 
and carried out in scientific application, would have led 
to a different and a higher method of observing nature. 
59.] If we adopt this principle, the Idea, when all 
limitations were removed from it, would appear as 
follows. The universality moulded by Reason, and 
described as the absolute and final end or the Good, 
would be realised in the world, and realised moreover 
by means of a third thing, the power which proposes 
this End as well as realises it, — that is, God. Thus in 
Him, who is the absolute truth, those oppositions of 
universal and individual, subjective and objective, are 
solved and explained to be neither self-subsistent nor 

60.] But Good, — which is thus put forward as the final 
cause of the world, — has been already described as only 
ouy good, the moral law of our Practical Reason. This 


being so, the unity in question goes no further than 
make the state of the world and the course of its events 
harmonise with our moral standards '. Besides, even 
with this limitation, the final cause, or Good, is a vague 
abstraction, and the same vagueness attaches to what is 
to be Duty. But, further, this harmony is met by the 
revival and re-assertion of the antithesis, which it by its 
own principle had nullified. The harmony is then de- 
scribed as merely subjective, something which merely 
ought to be, and which at the same time is not real, — a 
mere article of faith, possessing a subjective certainty, 
but without truth, or that objectivity which is proper to 
the Idea, This contradiction may seem to be disguised 
by adjourning the realisation of the Idea to a future, to 
a time when the Idea will also be. But a sensuous con- 
dition like time is the reverse of a reconciliation of the 
discrepancy ; and an infinite progression — which is the 
corresponding image adopted by the understanding— 
on the very face of it only repeats and re-enacts the 

A general remark may still be offered on the result to 
which the Critical philosophy led as to the nature of 
knowledge ; a result which has grown one of the current 
'idols' or axiomatic beliefs of the day. In every 
dualistic system, and especially in that of Kant, the 
fundamental defect makes itself visible in the incon- 

' In Kant's own words (Criticism of the Power of Judgment, 
p. 427) : ' Final Cause is merely a notion of our practical reason. It 
cannot be deduced from any data of experience as a tlieoretical 
criterion of nature, nor can it be applied to know nature. No 
employment of this notion is possible except solely for the practical 
reason, by moral laws. The final purpose of the Creation is that 
constitution of the world which harmonises with that to which alone 
we can give definite expression on universal principles, viz. the final 
purpose of our pure practical reason, and with that in so far as it 
means to be practical.' 


sistency of unifying at one moment, what a moment 
before had been explained to be independent and there- 
fore incapable of unification. And then, at the very 
moment after unification has been alleged to be the 
truth, we suddenly come upon the doctrine that the two 
elements, which, in their true status of unification, had 
been refused all independent subsistence, are only true 
and actual in their state of separation. Philosophising 
of this kind wants the little penetration needed to dis- 
cover, that this shuffling only evidences how unsatisfac- 
tory each one of the two terms is. And it fails simply 
because it is incapable of bringing two thoughts together. 
(And in point of form there are never more than two.) 
It argues an utter want of consistency to say, on the one 
hand, that the understanding only knows phenomena, 
and, on the other, assert the absolute character of this 
knowledge, by such statements as ' Cognition can go no 
further ' ; ' Here is the natural and absolute limit of 
human knowledge.' But 'natural' is the wrong word 
here. The things of nature are limited and are natural 
things oniy to such extent as they are not aware of their 
universal limit, or to such extent as their mode or quality 
is a limit from our point of view, and not from their own. 
No one knows, or even feels, that anything is a limit 
or defect, until he is at the same time above and beyond 
it. Living beings, for example, possess the privilege of 
pain which is denied to the inanimate : even with living 
beings, a single mode or quality passes into the feeling 
of a negative. For living beings as such possess 
within them a universal vitality, which overpasses and 
includes the single mode ; and thus, as they maintain 
themselves in the negative of themselves, they feel the 
contradiction to exist within them. But the contradic- 
tion is within them, only in so far as one and the same 
subject includes both the universality of their sense of 


life, and the individual mode which is in negation with 
it. This illustration will show how a limit or imperfec- 
tion in knowledge comes to be termed a limit or imper- 
fection, only when it is compared with the actually- 
present Idea of the universal, of a total and perfect. 
A very little consideration might show, that to call 
a thing finite or limited proves by implication the very 
presence of the infinite and unlimited, and that our 
knowledge of a limit can only be when the unlimited is 
on this side in consciousness. 

The result however of Kant's view of cognition sug- 
gests a second remark. The philosophy of Kant could 
have no influence on the method of the sciences. It 
leaves the categories and method of ordinary knowledge 
quite unmolested. Occasionally, it may be, in the first 
sections of a scientific work of that period, we find pro- 
positions borrowed from the Kantian philosophy : but 
the course of the treatise renders it apparent that these 
propositions were superfluous decoration, and that the 
few first pages might have been omitted without produc- 
ing the least change in the empirical contents \ 

We may next institute a comparison of Kant with the 
metaphysics of the empirical school. Natural plain 
Empiricism, though it unquestionably insists most upon 
sensuous perception, still allows a super-sensible world 
or spiritual reality, whatever may be its structure and 
constitution, and whether derived from intellect, or from 
imagination, &c. So far as form goes, the facts of this 
super-sensible world rest on the authority of mind, in 

* Even Hermann's ' Handbook of Prosody ' begins with paragraphs 
of Kantian philosophy. In § 8 it is argued that a law of rhythm must 
be (i) objective, (2) formal, and (3) determined a priori. With these 
requirements and with the principles of Causality and Reciprocity 
which follow later, it were well to compare the treatment of the 
various measures, upon which those formal principles do not exercise 
the slightest influence. 



the same way as the other facts, embraced in empirical 
knowledge, rest on the authority of external perception. 
But when Empiricism becomes reflective and logically 
consistent, it turns its arms against this dualism in the 
ultimate and highest species of fact ; it denies the inde- 
pendence of the thinking principle and of a spiritual 
world which developes itself in thought. Materialism 
or Naturalism, therefore, is the consistent and thorough- 
going system of Empiricism. In direct opposition to 
such an Empiricism, Kant asserts the principle of 
thought and freedom, and attaches himself to the first- 
mentioned form of empirical doctrine, the general prin- 
ciples of which he never departed from. There is a 
dualism in his philosophy also. On one side stands the 
world of sensation, and of the understanding which 
reflects upon it. This world, it is true, he alleges to be 
a world of appearances. But that is only a title or 
formal description ; for the source, the facts, and the 
modes of observation continue quite the same as in 
Empiricism. On the other side and independent stands 
a self apprehending thought, the principle of freedom, 
which Kant has in common with ordinary and bygone 
metaphysic, but emptied of all that it held, and without 
his being able to infuse into it anything new. For, in 
the Critical doctrine, thought, or, as it is there called. 
Reason, is divested of every specific form, and thus 
bereft of all authority. The main effect of the Kantian 
philosophy has been to revive the consciousness of 
Reason, or the absolute inwardness of thought. Its 
abstractness indeed prevented that inwardness from de- 
veloping into anything, or from originating any special 
forms, whether cognitive principles or moral laws ; but 
nevertheless it absolutely refused to accept or indulge 
anything possessing the character of an externality. 
Henceforth the principle of the independence of Reason, 


or of its absolute self-subsistence, is made a general 
principle of philosophy, as well as a foregone conclusion 
of the time. 

(i) The Critical philosophy has one great negative merit. 
It has brought home the conviction that the categories of 
understanding are finite in their range, and that any cogni- 
tive process confined within their pale falls short of the 
truth. But Kant had only a sight of half the truth. He 
explained the finite nature of the categories to mean that 
they were subjective only, valid only for our thought, from 
which the thing-in-itself was divided by an impassable gulf. 
In fact, however, it is not because they are subjective, that 
the categories are finite : they are finite by their very nature, 
and it is on their own selves that it is requisite to exhibit 
their finitude. Kant however holds that what we think is 
false, because it is we who think it. A further deficiency in 
the system is that it gives only an historical description of 
thought, and a mere enumeration of the factors of conscious- 
ness. The enumeration is in the main correct : but not a 
word touches upon the necessity of what is thus empirically 
colligated. The observations, made on the various stages 
of consciousness, culminate in the summary statement, that 
the content of all we are acquainted with is only an ap- 
pearance. And as it is true at least that all finite thinking 
is concerned with appearances, so far the conclusion is 
justified. This stage of 'appearance' however — the pheno- 
menal world — is not the terminus of thought: there is 
another and a higher region. But that region was to the 
Kantian philosophy an inaccessible ' other world.' 

(2) After all it was only formally, that the Kantian system 
established the principle that thought is spontaneous and 
self-determining. Into details of the manner and the extent 
of this self-determination of thought, Kant never went. 
It was Fichte who first noticed the omission ; and who, 
after he had called attention to the want of a deduction for 
the categories, endeavoured really to supply something of 
the kind. With Fichte, the 'Ego' is the starting-point in 
the philosophical development : and the outcome of its 
action is supposed to be visible in the categories. But in 


Fichte the ' Ego ' is not really presented as a free, sponta- 
neous energy ; it is supposed to receive its first excitation by 
a shock or impulse from without. Against this shock the 
' Ego ' will, it is assumed, react, and only through this re- 
action does it first become conscious of itself. Meanwhile, 
the nature of the impulse remains a stranger beyond our 
pale : and the ' Ego,' with something else always confronting 
it, is weighted with a condition, Fichte, in consequence, 
never advanced beyond Kant's conclusion, that the finite 
only is knowable, while the infinite transcends the range of 
thought. What Kant calls the thing-by-itself, Fichte calls 
the impulse from without — that abstraction of something 
else than ' I,' not otherwise describable or definable than as 
the negative or non-Ego in general. The ' I ' is thus looked 
at as standing in essential relation with the not-I, through 
which its act of self-determination is first awakened. And 
in this manner the ' I ' is but the continuous act of self- 
liberation from this impulse, never gaining a real freedom, 
because with the surcease of the impulse the ' I,' whose 
being is its action, would also cease to be. Nor is the con- 
tent produced by the action of the ' I ' at all diflerent from 
the ordinary content of experience, except by the supple- 
mentary remark, that this content is mere appearance. 



Immediate or Intuitive Knowledge. 

61.] If we are to believe the Critical philosophy, 
thought is subjective, and its ultimate and invincible 
mode is abstract universality or formal identity. Thought 
is thus set in opposition to Truth, which is no abstrac- 
tion, but concrete universality. In this highest mode of 
thought, which is entitled Reason, the Categories are 
left out of account. — The extreme theory on the oppo- 
site side holds thought to be an act of the particular 
only, and on that ground declares it incapable of appre- 
hending the Truth. This is the Intuitional theory. 

62.] According to this theory, thinking, a private and 
particular operation, has its whole scope and product in 
the Categories. But, these Categories, as arrested by 
the understanding, are limited vehicles of thought, forms 
of the conditioned, of the dependent and derivative. 
A thought limited to these modes has no sense of the 
Infinite and the True, and cannot bridge over the gulf 
that separates it from them. (This stricture refers to 
the proofs of God's existence.) These inadequate modes 
or categories are also spoken of as notions : and to get 
a notion of an object therefore can only mean, in this 
language, to grasp it under the form of being conditioned 
and derivative. Consequently, if the object in question 
be the True, the Infinite, the Unconditioned, we change 


it by our notions into a finite and conditioned; whereby, 
instead of apprehending the truth by thought, we have 
perverted it into untruth. 

Such is the one simple line of argument advanced for 
the thesis that the knowledge of God and of truth must 
be immediate, or intuitive. At an earlier period all sort 
of anthropomorphic conceptions, as they are termed, 
were banished from God, as being finite and therefore 
unworthy of the infinite ; and in this way God had been 
reduced to a tolerably blank being. But in those days 
the thought-forms were in general not supposed to come 
under the head of anthropomorphism. Thought was 
believed rather to strip finitude from the conceptions of 
the Absolute, — in agreement with the above-mentioned 
conviction of all ages, that reflection is the only road to 
truth. But now, at length, even the thought-forms are 
pronounced anthropomorphic, and thought itself is de- 
scribed as a mere faculty of finitisation. 

Jacobi has stated this charge most distinctly in the 
seventh supplement to his Letters on Spinoza, — borrow- 
ing his line of argument from the works of Spinoza 
himself, and applying it as a weapon against knowledge 
in general. In his attack knowledge is taken to mean 
knowledge of the finite only, a process of thought from 
one condition in a series to another, each of which is at 
once conditioning and conditioned. According to such 
a view, to explain and to get the notion of anything, is 
the same as to show it to be derived from something 
else. Whatever such knowledge embraces, conse- 
quently, is partial, dependent and finite, while the 
infinite or true, t. e. God, lies outside of the mechanical 
inter-connexion to which knowledge is said to be con- 
fined. — It is important to observe that, while Kant 
makes the finite nature of the Categories consist mainly 
in the formal circumstance that they are subjective. 


Jacobi discusses the Categories in their own proper 
character, and pronounces them to be in their very 
import finite. What Jacobi chiefly had before his eyes, 
when he thus described science, was the brilHant suc- 
cesses of the physical or ' exact ' sciences in ascertaining 
natural forces and laws. It is certainly not on the finite 
ground occupied by these sciences that we can expect 
to meet the in-dwelling presence of the infinite. Lalande 
was right when he said he had swept the whole heaven 
with his glass, and seen no God. (See note to § 60.) 
In the field of physical science, the universal, which is 
the final result of analysis, is only the indeterminate 
aggregate, — of the external finite, — in one word, Matter: 
and Jacobi well perceived that there was no other issue 
obtainable in the way of a mere advance from one 
explanatory clause or law to another. 

63.] All the while the doctrine that truth exists for 
the mind was so strongly maintained by Jacobi, that 
Reason alone is declared to be that by which man lives. 
This Reason is the knowledge of God. But, seeing 
that derivative knowledge is restricted to the compass 
of finite facts, Reason is knowledge underivative, or 

Knowledge, Faith, Thought, Intuition are the cate- 
gories that we meet with on this line of reflection. 
These terms, as presumably familiar to every one, are 
only too frequently subjected to an arbitrary use, under 
no better guidance than the conceptions and distinctions 
of psychology, without any investigation into their 
nature and notion, which is the main question after all. 
Thus, we often find knowledge contrasted with faith, 
and faith at the same time explained to be an underiva- 
tive or intuitive knowledge : — so that it must be at least 
some s6rt of knowledge. And, besides, it is unquestion- 
ably a fact of experience, firstly, that what we believe is 


in our consciousness, — which implies that we know about 
it; and secondly, that this belief is a certainty in our 
consciousness, ^which implies that we know it. Again, 
and especially, we find thought opposed to immediate 
knowledge and faith, and, in particular, to intuition. 
But if this intuition be qualified as intellectual, we must 
really mean intuition which thinks, unless, in a question 
about the nature of God, we are willing to interpret intel- 
lect to mean images and representations of imagination. 
The word faith or belief, in the dialect of this system, 
comes to be employed even with reference to common 
objects that are present to the senses. We believe, says 
Jacobi, that we have a body, — we believe in the existence 
of the things of sense. But if we are speaking of faith 
in the True and Eternal, and saying that God is given 
and revealed to us in immediate knowledge on intuition, 
we are concerned not with the things of sense, but with 
objects special to our thinking mind, with truths of 
inherently universal significance. And when the indi- 
vidual •' I,* or in other words personality, is under 
discussion — not the * I ' of experience, or a single private 
person — above all, when the personality of God is 
before us, we are speaking of personality unalloyed, — 
of a pei'sonality in its own nature universal. Such per- 
sonality is a thought, and falls within the province of 
thought only. More than this. Pure and simple intui- 
tion is completely the same as pure and simple thought. 
Intuition and belief, in the first instance, denote the 
definite conceptions we attach to these words in our 
ordinary employment of them : and to this extent they 
differ from thought in certain points which nearly every 
one can understand. But here they are taken in a 
higher sense, and must be interpreted to mean a belief 
in God, or an intellectual intuition of God ; in short, we 
must put aside all that especially distinguishes thought 


on the one side from belief and intuition on the other. 
How behef and intuition, when transferred to these 
higher regions, differ from thought, it is impossible for 
any one to say. And yet, such are the barren distinc- 
tions of words, with which men fancy that they assert 
an important truth : even while the formulae they main- 
tain are identical with those which they impugn. 

The term Faith brings with it the special advantage of 
suggesting the faith of the Christian religion ; it seems 
to include Christian faith, or perhaps even to coincide 
with it ; and thus the Philosophy of Faith has a 
thoroughly orthodox and Christian look, on the strength 
of which it takes the liberty of uttering its arbitrary 
dicta with greater pretension and authority. But we 
must not let ourselves be deceived by the semblance 
surreptitiously secured by a merely verbal similarity. 
The two things are radically distinct. Firstly, the 
Christian faith comprises in it an authority of the 
Church : but the faith of Jacobi's philosophy has no 
other authority than that of a personal revelation. And, 
secondly, the Christian faith is a copious body of objec- 
tive truth, a system of knowledge and doctrine : while 
the scope of the philosophic faith is so utterly indefinite, 
that, while it has room for the faith of the Christian, it 
equally admits a belief in the divinity of the Dalai-lama, 
the ox, or the monkey, — thus, so far as it goes, narrowing 
Deity down to its simplest terms, a 'Supreme Being.* 
Faith itself, taken in this professedly philosophical sense, 
is nothing but the sapless abstract of immediate know- 
ledge, — a purely formal category applicable to very 
different facts ; and it ought never to be confused or 
identified with the spiritual fulness of Christian faith, 
whether we look at that faith in the heart of the believer 
and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, or in the system 
of theological doctrine. 


With what is here called faith or immediate know- 
ledge must also be identified inspiration, the heart's 
revelations, the truths implanted in man by nature, and 
also in particular, healthy reason or Common Sense, 
as it is called. All these forms agree in adopting as 
their leading principle the immediacy, or self-evident 
way, in which a fact or body of truths is presented in 

64.] This immediate knowledge consists in knowing 
that the Infinite, the Eternal, the God which is in 
our idea, really is : or, it asserts that in our conscious- 
ness there is immediately and inseparably bound up 
with this idea the certainty of its actual being. 

To seek to controvert these maxims of immediate 
knowledge is the last thing philosophers would think of. 
They may rather find occasion for self-gratulation when 
these ancient doctrines, expressing as they do the 
general tenor of philosophic teaching, have, even in this 
unphilosophical fashion, become to some extent uni- 
versal convictions of the age. The true marvel rather 
is that any one could suppose that these principles were 
opposed to philosophy, — the maxims, viz., that whatever 
is held to be true is immanent in the mind, and that 
there is truth for the mind (§ 63). From a formal point 
of view, there is a peculiar interest in the maxim that 
the being of God is immediately and inseparably bound 
up with the thought of God, that objectivity is bound up 
with the subjectivity which the thought originally pre- 
sents. Not content with that, the philosophy of imme 
diate knowledge goes so far in its one-sided view, as to 
affirm that the attribute of existence, even in perception, 
is quite as inseparably connected with the conception we 
have of our own bodies and of external things, as it is 
with the thought of God. Now it is the endeavour of 
philosophy to prove such a unity, to show that it lies in 


the very nature of thought and subjectivity, to be in- 
separable from being and objectivity. In these circum- 
stances therefore, philosophy, whatever estimate may be 
formed of the character of these proofs, must in any case 
be glad to see it shown and maintained that its maxims 
are facts of consciousness, and thus in harmony with 
experience. The difference between philosophy and 
the asseverations of immediate knowledge rather centres 
in the exclusive attitude which immediate knowledge 
adopts, when it sets itself up against philosophy. 

And yet it was as a self-evident or immediate truth 

that the ' Cogito, ergo sum,' of Descartes, the maxim on 

which may be said to hinge the whole interest of 

Modern Philosophy, was first stated by its author. 

The man who calls this a syllogism, must know little 

more about a syllogism than that the word 'Ergo' 

occurs in it. Where shall we look for the middle term ? 

And a middle term is a much more essential point of a 

syllogism than the word ' Ergo.' If we try to justify the 

name, by calling the combination of ideas in Descartes 

an ' immediate ' syllogism, this superfluous variety of 

syllogism is a mere name for an utterly unmediated 

synthesis of distinct terms of thought. That being so, 

the synthesis of being with our ideas, as stated in the 

maxim of immediate knowledge, has no more and no 

less claim to the title of syllogism than the axiom of 

Descartes has. From Hotho's ' Dissertation on the 

Cartesian Philosophy' (published 1826), I borrow the 

quotation in which Descartes himself distinctly declares 

that the maxim 'Cogito, ergo sum,' is no syllogism. 

The passages are Respons. ad II Object. : De Methodo 

IV: Ep. I. 118. From the first passage I quote the 

words more immediately to the point. Descartes says : 

' That we are thinking beings is *' prima qiiaedam notio 

quae ex nullo syllogismo concluditur" ' (a certain primary 


notion, which is deduced from no syllogism) ; and goes 
on: ' neque cum quis dicit ; Ego cogito, ergo sum sive 
existo, existentiam ex cogitatione per syllogismum deducit.' 
(Nor, when one says, I think, therefore I am or exist, 
does he deduce existence from thought by means of a 
S3'llogism.) Descartes knew what it implied in a syllo- 
gism, and so he adds that, in order to make the maxim 
admit of a deduction by syllogism, we should have to 
add the major premiss : * Illud omne quod cogitat, est sive 
existit! (Everything which thinks, is or exists.) Of 
course, he remarks, this major premiss itself has to be 
deduced from the original statement. 

The language of Descartes on the maxim that the ' I ' 
which thinks must also at the same time be, his saying 
that this connexion is given and implied in the simple 
perception of consciousness, — that this connexion is the 
absolute first, the principle, the most certain and evident 
of all things, so that no scepticism can be conceived so 
monstrous as not to admit it : — all this language is so 
vivid and distinct, that the modern statements of Jacobi 
and others on this immediate connexion can only pass 
for needless repetitions. 

65.] The theory of which we are spealcing is not 
satisfied when it has shown that mediate knowledge 
taken separately is an adequate vehicle of truth. Its 
distinctive doctrine is that immediate knowledge alone, 
to the total exclusion of mediation, can possess a con- 
tent which is true. This exclusiveness is enough to 
show that the theory is a relapse into the metaphysical 
understanding, with its pass-words ' Either — or.' And 
thus it is really a relapse into the habit of external 
mediation, the gist of which consists in clinging to those 
narrow and one-sided categories of the finite, which it 
falsely imagined itself to have left for ever behind. 
This point, however, we shall not at present discuss in 


detail. An exclusively immediate knowledge is asserted 
as a fact only, and in the present Introduction we can 
only study it from this external point of view. The real 
significance of such knowledge will be explained, when 
we come to the logical question of the opposition be- 
tween mediate and immediate. But it is characteristic 
of the view before us to decline to examine the nature 
of the fact, that is, the notion of it ; for such an exami- 
nation would itself be a step towards mediation and 
even towards knowledge. The genuine discussion on 
logical ground, therefore, must be deferred till we come 
to the proper province of Logic itself 

The whole of the second part of Logic, the Doctrine 
of Essential Being, is a discussion of the intrinsic and 
self-affirming unity of immediacy and mediation. 

66.] Beyond this point then we need not go : imme- 
diate knowledge is to be accepted as a fact. Under 
these circums'ances examination is directed to the field 
of experience, to a psychological phenomenon. If that 
be so, we need only note, as the commonest of ex- 
periences, that truths, which we well know to be results 
of complicated and highly mediated trains of thought, 
present themselves immediately and without effort to 
the mind of any man who is familiar with the subject. 
The mathematician, like every one who has mastered 
a particular science, meets any problem with ready-made 
solutions which pre-suppose most complicated analyses : 
and every educated man has a number of general views 
and maxims which he can muster without trouble, but 
which can only have sprung from frequent reflection 
and long experience. The facility we attain in any sort 
of knowledge, art, or technical expertness, consists in 
having the particular knowledge or kind of action pre- 
sent to our mind in any case that occurs, even we may 
say, immediate in our very limbs, in an out-going 


activity. In all these instances, immediacy of know- 
ledge is so far from excluding mediation, that the 
two things are linked together, — immediate knowledge 
being actually the product and result of mediated know- 

It is no less obvious that immediate existence is bound 
up with its mediation. The seed and the parents are 
immediate and initial existences in respect of the off- 
spring which they generate. But the seed and the 
parents, though they exist and are therefore immediate, 
are yet in their turn generated : and the child, without 
prejudice to the mediation of its existence, is immediate, 
because it is. The fact that I am in Berlin, my im- 
mediate presence here, is mediated by my having made 
the journey hither. 

67.] One thing may be observed with reference to 
the immediate knowledge of God, of legal and ethical 
principles (including under the head of immediate know- 
ledge, what is otherwise termed Instinct, Implanted or 
Innate Ideas, Common Sense, Natural Reason, or 
whatever form, in short, we give to the original spon- 
taneity). It is a matter of general experience that 
education or development is required to bring out into 
consciousness what is therein contained. It was so 
even with the Platonic reminiscence ; and the Christian 
rite of baptism, although a sacrament, involves the 
additional obligation of a Christian up-bringing. In 
short, religion and morals, however much they may 
be faith or immediate knowledge, are still on every 
side conditioned by the mediating process which is 
termed development, education, training. 

The adherents, no less than the assailants, of the 
doctrine of Innate Ideas have been guilty throughout 
of the like exclusiveness and narrowness as is here 
noted. They have drawn a hard and fast line between 

6^.] INNATE IDEAS. 131 

the essential and immediate union (as it may be de- 
scribed) of certain universal principles with the soul, 
and another union which has to be brought about in 
an external fashion, and through the channel of given 
objects and conceptions. There is one objection, 
borrowed from experience, which was raised against 
the doctrine of Innate ideas. All men, it was said, 
must have these ideas ; they must have, for example, the 
maxim of contradiction, present in the mind, — they must 
be aware of it ; for this maxim and others like it were 
included in the class of Innate ideas. The objection 
may be set down to misconception ; for the principles 
in question, though innate, need not on that account 
have the form of ideas or conceptions of something 
we are aware of. Still, the objection completely meets 
and overthrows the crude theory of immediate know- 
ledge, which expressly maintains its formulae in so far 
as they are in consciousness. — Another point calls for 
notice. We may suppose it admitted by the intuitive 
school, that the special case of religious faith involves 
supplementing by a Christian or religious education 
and development. In that case it is acting capriciously 
when it seeks to ignore this admission when speaking 
about faith, or it betrays a want of reflection not to 
know, that, if the necessity of education be once ad- 
mitted, mediation is pronounced indispensable. 

The reminiscence of ideas spoken of by Plato is equiva- 
lent to saying that ideas implicitly exist in man, instead of 
being, as the Sophists assert, a foreign importation into his 
mind. But to conceive knowledge as reminiscence does 
not interfere with, or set aside as useless, the development 
of what is implicitly in man ;— which development is another 
word for mediation. The same holds good of the innate 
ideas that we find in Descartes and the Scotch philosophers. 
These ideas are only potential in the first instance, and 


should be looked at as being a sort of mere capacity in 

08.] In the case of these experiences the appeal 
turns upon something that shows itself bound up with 
immediate consciousness. Even if this combination be 
in the first instance taken as an external and empirical 
connexion, still, even for empirical observation, the fact 
of its being constant shows it to be essential and in- 
separable. But, again, if this immediate conscious- 
ness, as exhibited in experience, be taken separately, 
so far as it is a consciousness of God and the divine 
nature, the state of mind which it implies is generally 
described as an exaltation above the finite, above the 
senses, and above the instinctive desires and affections 
of the natural heart : which exaltation passes over into, 
and terminates in, faith in God and a divine order. 
It is apparent, therefore, that, though faith may be 
an immediate knowledge and certainty, it equally im- 
plies the interposition of this process as its antecedent 
and condition. 

It has been already observed, that the so-called 
proofs of the being of God, which start from finite 
being, give an expression to this exaltation. In that 
light they are no inventions of an over-subtle reflection, 
but the necessary and native channel in which the 
movement of mind runs : though it may be that, in 
their ordinary form, these proofs have not their correct 
and adequate expression. 

69.] It is tiie passage (§ 64) from the subjective Idea 
to being which forms the main concern of the doctrine 
of immediate knowledge. " A primary and self-evident 
inter-connexion is declared to exist between our Idea 
and being. Yet precisely this central point of transi- 
tion, utterly irrespective of any connexions which show 
in experience, clearly involves a mediation. And the 

69-7 1 •] MEDIATE AND IMMEDIATE. 1 33 

mediation is of no imperfect or unreal kind, where 
the mediation takes place with and through something 
external, but one comprehending both antecedent and 

70.] For, what this theory asserts is that truth lies 
neither in the Idea as a merely subjective thought, nor 
in mere being on its own account; — that mere being 
per se, a being that is not of the Idea, is the sensible 
finite being of the world. Now all this only affirms, 
without demonstration, that the Idea has truth only 
by means of being, and being has truth only by means 
of the Idea. The maxim of immediate knowledge 
rejects an indefinite empty immediacy (and such is 
abstract being, or pure unity taken by itself), and 
affirms in its stead the unity of the Idea with being. 
And it acts rightly in so doing. But it is stupid not 
to see that the unity of distinct terms or modes is not 
merely a purely immediate unity, i.e. unity empty and 
indeterminate, but that — with equal emphasis— the one 
term is shown to have truth only as mediated through 
the other; — or, if the phrase be preferred, that either 
term is only mediated with truth through the other. 
That the quality of mediation is involved in the very 
immediacy of intuition is thus exhibited as a fact, 
against which understanding, conformably to the funda- 
mental maxim of immediate knowledge that the evi- 
dence of consciousness is infallible, can have nothing 
to object. It is only ordinary abstract understanding 
which takes the terms of mediation and immediacy, 
each by itself absolutely, to represent an inflexible line 
of distinction, and thus draws upon its own head the 
hopeless task of reconciling them. The difficulty, as 
we have shown, has no existence in the fact, and it 
vanishes in the speculative notion. 

71.] The one-sidedness of the intuitional school has 



certain characteristics attending upon it, which we shall 
proceed to point out in their main features, now that 
we have discussed the fundamental principle. The 
first of these corollaries is as follows. Since the crite- 
rion of truth is found, not in the nature of the content, 
but in the mere fact of consciousness, every alleged 
truth has no other basis than subjective certitude and 
the assertion that we discover a certain fact in our 
consciousness. What I discover in my consciousness 
is thus exaggerated into a fact of the consciousness of 
all, and even passed off for the very nature of con- 

Among the so-called proofs of the existence of God, 
there used to stand the consensus gentium, to which 
appeal is made as early as Cicero. The consensus 
gentium is a weighty authority, and the transition is 
easy and natural, from the circumstance that a certain 
fact is found in the consciousness of every one, to the 
conclusion that it is a necessary element in the very 
nature of consciousness. In this category of general 
agreement there was latent the deep-rooted perception, 
which does not escape even the least cultivated mind, 
that the consciousness of the individual is at the same 
time particular and accidental. Yet unless we examine 
the nature of this consciousness itself, stripping it of 
its particular and accidental elements and, by the toil- 
some operation of reflection, disclosing the universal 
in its entirety and purity, it is only a unanimous agree- 
ment upon a given point that can authorize a decent 
presumption that that point is part of the very nature 
of consciousness. Of course, if thought insists on 
seeing the necessity of what is presented as a fact of 
general occurrence, the consensus gentium is certainly 
not sufficient. Yet even granting the universality of 
the fact to be a satisfactory proof, it has been found 


impossible to establish the belief in God on such an 
argument, because experience shows that there are 
individuals and nations without any such faith '. But 
there can be nothing shorter and more convenient than 
to have the bare assertion to make, that we discover 
a fact in our consciousness, and are certain that it is 
true : and to declare that this certainty, instead of 
proceeding from our particular mental constitution only, 
belongs to the very nature of the mind. 

^ In order to judge of the greater or less extent to which Experi- 
ence shows cases of Atheism or of the belief in God, it is all-important 
to know if the mere general conception of deity suffices, or if a more 
definite knowledge of God is required. The Christian world would 
certainly refuse the title of God to the idols of the Hindoos and the 
Chinese, to the fetiches of the Africans, and even to the gods of 
Greece themselves. If so, a believer in these idols would not be a 
believer in God. If it were contended, on the other hand, that such 
a belief in idols implies some sort of belief in God, as the species 
implies the genus, then idolatry would argue not faith in an idol 
merely, but faith in God. The Athenians took an opposite view. 
The poets and philosophers who explained Zeus to be a cloud, and 
maintained that there was only one God, were treated as atheists 
at Athens. 

The danger in these questions lies in looking at what the mind 
may make out of an object, and not what that object actually and 
explicitly is. If we fail to note this distinction, the commonest per- 
ceptions of men's senses will be religion : for every such perception, 
and indeed every act of mind, implicitly contains the principle which, 
when it is purified and developed, rises to religion. But to be 
capable of religion is one thing, to have it another. And religion yet 
implicit is only a capacity or a possibility. 

Thus in modern times, travellers have found tribes (as Captains 
Ross and Parry found the Esquimaux) which, as they tell us, have 
not even that small modicum of religion possessed by African sor- 
cerers, the goetes of Herodotus. On the other hand, an Englishman, 
who spent the first months of the last Jubilee at Rome, says, in his 
account of the modern Romans, that the common people are bigots, 
whilst those who can read and write are atheists to a man. 

The charge of Atheism is seldom heard in modern times : prin- 
cipally because the facts and the requirements of religion are reduced 
to a minimum. (See § 73.) 


72.] A second corollary which results from holding 
immediacy of consciousness to be the criterion of truth 
is that all superstition or idolatry is allowed to be truth, 
and that an apology is prepared for any contents of 
the will, however wrong and immoral. It is because 
he believes in them, and not from the reasoning and 
syllogism of what is termed mediate knowledge, that 
the Hindoo finds God in the cow, the monkey, the 
Brahmin, or the Lama. But the natural desires and 
affections spontaneously carry and deposit their interests 
in consciousness, where also immoral aims make them- 
selves naturally at home : the good or bad character 
would thus express the definite being of the will, which 
would be known, and that most immediately, in the 
interests and aims. 

73.] Thirdly and lastly, the immediate consciousness 
of God goes no further than to tell us that He is : to tell 
us what He is, would be an act of cognition, involving 
mediation. So that God as an object of religion is 
expressly narrowed down to the indeterminate super- 
sensible, God in general : and the significance of re- 
ligion is reduced to a minimum. 

If it were really needful to win back and secure the 
bare belief that there is a God, or even to create it, 
we might well wonder at the poverty of the age which 
can see a gain in the merest pittance of religious con- 
sciousness, and which in its church has sunk so low as 
to worship at the altar that stood in Athens long ago, 
dedicated to the ' Unknown God.' 

74.] We have still briefly to indicate the general 
nature of the form of immediacy. For it is the essential 
one-sidedness of the category, which makes whatever 
comes under it one sided and, for that reason, finite. 
And, first, it makes the universal no better than an 
abstraction external to the particulars, and God a being 


without determinate quality. But God can only be 
called a spirit when He is known to be at once the 
beginning and end, as well as the mean, in the process 
of mediation. Without this unification of elements He 
is neither concrete, nor living, nor a spirit. Thus the 
knowledge of God as a spirit necessarily implies media- 
tion. The form of immediacy, secondly, invests the 
particular with the character of independent or self- 
centred being. But such predicates contradict the very 
essence of the particular,— which is to be referred to 
something else outside. They thus invest the finite 
with the character of an absolute. But, besides, the 
form of immediacy is altogether abstract : it has no 
preference for one set of contents more than another, 
but is equally susceptible of all : it may as well sanction 
what is idolatrous and immoral as the reverse. Only 
when we discern that the content, — the particular, is not 
self-subsistent, but derivative from something else, are 
its finitude and untruth shown in their proper light. 
Such discernment, where the content we discern carries 
with it the ground of its dependent nature, is a know- 
ledge which involves mediation. The only content 
which can be held to be the truth is one not mediated 
with something else, not limited by other things : or, 
otherwise expressed, it is one mediated by itself, where 
mediation and immediate reference-to-self coincide. The 
understanding that fancies it has got clear of finite 
knowledge, the identity of the analytical metaphysicians 
and the old ' rationalists,' abruptly takes again as prin- 
ciple and criterion of truth that immediacy which, as 
an abstract reference-to-self, is the same as abstract 
identity. Abstract thought (the scientific form used 
by ' reflective * metaphysic) and abstract intuition (the 
form used by immediate knowledge) are one and the 


The stereotyped opposition between the form of im- 
mediacy and that of mediation gives to the former a half- 
ness and inadequacy, that affects every content which is 
brought under it. Immediacy means, upon the whole, an 
abstract reference-to-self, that is, an abstract identity or 
abstract universality. Accordingly the essential and real 
universal, when taken merely in its immediacy, is a mere 
abstract universal ; and from this point of view God is con- 
ceived as a being altogether without determinate quality. 
To call God spirit is in that case only a phrase : for the 
consciousness and self-consciousness, which spirit implies, 
are impossible without a distinguishing of it from itself and 
from something else, i.e. without mediation. 

75.] It was impossible for us to criticise this, the 
third attitude, which thought has been made to take 
towards objective truth, in any other mode than what 
is naturally indicated and admitted in the doctrine itself. 
The theory asserts that immediate knowledge is a fact. 
It has been shown to be untrue in fact to say that there 
is an immediate knowledge, a knowledge without media- 
tion either by means of something else or in itself. It 
has also been explained to be false in fact to say that 
thought advances through finite and conditioned cate- 
gories only, which are always mediated by a something 
else, and to forget that in the very act of mediation 
the mediation itself vanishes. And to show that, in 
point of fact, there is a knowledge which advances 
neither by unmixed immediacy nor by unmixed media- 
tion, we can point to the example of Logic and the 
whole of philosophy. 

76.] If we view the maxims of immediate knowledge 
in connexion with the uncritical metaphysic of the past 
from which we started, we shall learn from the com- 
parison the reactionary nature of the school of Jacobi. 
His doctrine is a return to the modern starting-point 
of this metaphysic in the Cartesian philosophy. Both 


Jacobi and Descartes maintain the following three 
points : 

(i) The simple inseparability of the thought and 
being of the thinker. ' Cogito, ergo sum ' is the same 
doctrine as that the being, reality, and existence of the 
' Ego ' is immediately revealed to me in consciousness. 
(Descartes, in fact, is careful to state that by thought 
he means consciousness in general. Princip. Phil. I. 9.) 
This inseparability is the absolutely first and most cer- 
tain knowledge, not mediated or demonstrated. 

(2) The inseparability of existence from the con- 
ception of God : the former is necessarily implied in 
the latter, or the conception never can be without 
the attribute of existence, which is thus necessary and 
eternal \ 

* Descartes, Princip. Phil. I. 15 : Magis hoc {ens summe perfeduni 
existere) credet, si atiendat, nuUius altertus ret ideain apud se inveniri, 
in qua eodem VHodo necessariam existentiant contirteri anintadvertat ; — 
intelliget illayn ideam exhibere veram et immutabilent nalurant, quaeque 
non potest nan existere, cum tiecessaria existentia in ea contineatur. 
(The reader will be more disposed to believe that there exists a being 
supremely perfect, if he notes that in the case of nothing else is 
there found in him an idea, in which he notices necessary existence 
to be contained in the same way. He will see that that idea exhibits 
a true and unchangeable nature, — a nature which cannot but exist, 
since necessary existence is contained in it.) A remark which imme- 
diately follows, and which sounds like mediation or demonstration, 
does not really prejudice the original principle. 

In Spinoza we come upon the same statement that the essence or 
abstract conception of God implies existence. The first of Spinoza's 
definitions, that of the Causa Sui (or Self-Cause), explains it to be 
cujus essentia involvit existentiant , sive id ctijus natura non potest con- 
cipi nisi existens (that of which the essence involves existence, or that 
whose nature cannot be conceived except as existing). The insepa- 
rability of the notion from being is the main point and fundamental 
hypothesis in his system. But what notion is thus inseparable from 
being? Not the notion of finite things, for they are so constituted as 
to have a contingent and a created existence. Spinoza's nth propo- 
sition, which follows with a proof that God exists necessarily, and 


(3) The immediate consciousness of the existence of 
external things. By this nothing more is meant than 
sense-consciousness. To have such a thing is the 
slightest of all cognitions : and the only thing worth 
knowing about it is that such immediate knowledge 
of the being of things external is error and delusion, 
that the sensible world as such is altogether void of 
truth ; that the being of these external things is acci- 
dental and passes away as a show ; and that their very 
nature is to have only an existence which is separable 
from their essence and notion. 

77.] There is however a distinction between the two 
points of view : 

(i) The Cartesian philosophy, from these unproved 
postulates, which it assumes to be unprovable, proceeds 
to wider and wider details of knowledge, and thus gave 
rise to the sciences of modern times. The modern 
theory (of Jacobi), on the contrary, (§ 62) has come to 
what is intrinsically a most important conclusion that 
cognition, proceeding as it must by finite mediations, 
can know only the finite, and never embody the truth ; 
and would fain have the consciousness of God go no 
further than the aforesaid very abstract belief that 
God /s\ 

his 20th, showing that God's existence and his essence are one and 
the same, are really superfluous, and the proof is more in form than 
in reality. To say, that God is Substance, the only Substance, and 
that, as* Substance is Causa Sui, God therefore exists necessarily, is 
merely stating that God is that of which the notion and the being 
are inseparable. 

' Anselm on the contrary says : Negligentiae niihi videiur, si post- 
quant conJirt)iati suntus in fide, non studenius, quod crediinus,irttelligere. 
(Methinks it is carelessness, if, after we have been confirmed in the 
faith, we do not exert ourselves to see the meaning of what we believe.) 
[Tractat. Cur Deus Homo?] These words of Anselm, in connexion 
with the concrete truths of Christian doctrine, offer a far harder 
problem for investigation, than is contemplated by this modern faith. 


(2) The modern doctrine on the one hand makes no 
change in the Cartesian method of the usual scientific 
knowledge, and conducts on the same plan the experi- 
mental and finite sciences that have sprung from it. 
But, on the other hand, when it comes to the science 
which has infinity for its scope, it throws aside that 
method, and thus, as it knows no other, it rejects all 
methods. It abandons itself to wild vagaries of imagin- 
ation and assertion, to a moral priggishness and senti- 
mental arrogance, or to a reckless dogmatising and lust 
of argument, which is loudest against philosophy and 
philosophic doctrines. Philosophy of course tolerates 
no mere assertions or conceits, and checks the free 
play of argumentative see-saw. 

78.] We must then reject the opposition between an 
independent immediacy in the contents or facts of con- 
sciousness and an equally independent mediation, sup- 
posed incompatible with the former. The incompatibility 
is a mere assumption, an arbitrary assertion. All other 
assumptions and postulates must in like manner be left 
behind at the entrance to philosophy, whether they are 
derived from the intellect or the imagination. For philo- 
sophy is the science, in which every such proposition 
must first be scrutinised and its meaning and opposi- 
tions be ascertained. 

Scepticism, made a negative science and systematically 
applied to all forms of knowledge, might seem a suit- 
able introduction, as pointing out the nullity of such 
assumptions. But a sceptical introduction would be 
not only an ungrateful but also a useless course ; 
and that because Dialectic, as we shall soon make 
appear, is itself an essential element of affirmative 
science. Scepticism, besides, could only get hold of 
the finite forms as they were suggested by experience, 
taking them as given, instead of deducing them scientifi- 


cally. To require such a scepticism accomplished is 
the same as to insist on science being preceded by 
universal doubt, or a total absence of presupposition. 
Strictly speaking, in the resolve that wills pure thought, 
this requirement is accomplished by freedom which, 
abstracting from everything, grasps its pure abstraction, 
the simplicity of thought. 



79.] In point of form Logical doctrine has three sides : 
(a) the Abstract side, or that of understanding : (yS) the 
Dialectical, or that of negative reason : (y) the Specula- 
tive, or that of positive reason. 

These three sides do not make three parts of logic, 
but are stages or * moments ' in every logical entity, that 
is, of every notion and truth whatever. They may all 
be put under the first stage, that of understanding, 
and so kept isolated from each other ; but this would 
give an inadequate conception of them. — The state- 
ment of the dividing lines and the characteristic aspects 
of logic is at this point no more than historical and anti- 

80.] (a) Thought, as Understanding, sticks to fixity 
of characters and their distinctness from one another : 
every.„such limited abstract it treats as having a sub- 
sistence and being of its own. 

In our ordinary usage of the term thought and even 
notion, we often have before our eyes nothing more than 
the operation of Understanding. And no doubt thought is 
primarily an exercise of Understanding: — only it goes 
further, and the notion is not a function of Understanding 
merely. Tije action of Understanding may be in general ' 
described as investing its subject-matter with the form of 
universality. But this universal is an abstract universal : , 
that is to say, its opposition to the particular is so rigorously 


maintained, that it is at the same time also reduced to the 

character of a particular again. In this separating and 

abstracting attitude towards its objects, Understanding is the 

j reverse of immediate perception and sensation, which, as 

I such, keep completely to their native sphere of action in 

; the concrete. 

It is by referring to this opposition of Understanding to 
sensation or feeling that we must explain the frequent 
attacks made upon thought for being hard and narrow, and 
for leading, if consistently developed, to ruinous and 
pernicious results. The answer to these charges, in so far 
as they are warranted by their facts, is, that they do not 
touch thinking in general, certainly not the thinking of 
Reason, but only the exercise of Understanding. It must 
be added however, that the merit and rights of the mere 
Understanding should unhesitatingly be admitted. And 
that merit lies in the fact, that apart from Understanding 
there is no fixity or accuracy' in the region either of theory 
or of practice. 

Thus, in theory, knowledge begins by apprehending 
existing objects in their specific differences. In the study of 
nature, for example, we distinguish matters, forces, genera 
and the like, and stereotype each in its isolation. Thought 
is here acting in its analytic capacity, where its canon is 
identity, a simple reference of each attribute to itself. It is 
under the guidance of the same identity that the process in 
knowledge is effected from one scientific truth to another. 
Thus, for example, in mathematics magnitude is the feature 
which, to the neglect of any other, determines our advance. 
Hence in geometry we compare one figure with another, 
so as to bring out their identity. Similarly in other fields of 
knowledge, such as jurisprudence, the advance is primarily 
regulated by identity. In it we argue from one specific law 
or precedent to another : and what is this but to proceed on 
the principle of identity ? 

But Understanding is as indispensable in practice as it is 
in theory. Character is an essential in conduct, and a man 
of character is an understanding man, who in that capacity 
has definite ends in view and undeviatingly pursues them. 


The man who will do something great must learn, as Goethe 
says, to limit himself. The man who, on the contrary, would 
do everything, really would do nothing, and fails. There is 
a host of interesting things in the world : Spanish poetry; 
chemistry, politics, and music are all very interesting, and if 
any one takes an interest in them we need not find fault. 
But for a person in a given situation to accomplish anything, 
he must stick to one definite point, and not dissipate his 
forces in many directions. In every calling, too, the great, 
thing is to pursue it with understanding. Thus the judge 
must stick to the law, and give his verdict in accordance with- 
it, undeterred by one motive or another, allowing no excuses-, 
and looking neither left nor right. Understanding, too, is. 
always an element in thorough training. The trained- 
intellect is not satisfied with cloudy and indefinite impres- 
sions, but grasps the objects in their fixed character : where- 
as the uncultivated man wavers unsettled, and it often costs 
a deal of trouble to come to an understanding with him on 
the matter under discussion, and to bring him to fix his eye 
on the definite point in question. 

It has been already explained that the Logical principle in 1 
general, far from being merely a subjective action in our j 
minds, is rather the very universal, which as such is also 
objective. This doctrine is illustrated in the case of under- 
standing, the first form of logical truths. Understanding in 
this larger sense corresponds to what we call the goodness 
of God, so far as that means that finite things are and sub- 
sist. In nature, for example, we recognise the goodness of 
God in the fact that the various classes or species of animals 
and plants are provided with whatever they need for their 
preservation and welfare. Nor is man excepted, who, both 
as an individual and as a nation, possesses partly in the 
given circumstances of climate, of quality and products of 
soil, and partly in his natural parts or talents, all that is 
required for his maintenance and development. Under this 
shape Understanding is visible in every department of the 
objective world ; and no object in that world can ever be 
wholly perfect which does not give full satisfaction to the 
canons of understanding. A state, for example, is imperfect, 


so long as it has not reached a clear differentiation of orders 
and callings, and so long as those functions of politics and 
government, which are different in principle, have not 
evolved for themselves special organs, in the same way as 
we see, for example, the developed animal organism pro- 
vided with separate organs for the functions of sensation, 
motion, digestion, &c. 

The previous course of the discussion may serve to show, 
that understanding is indispensable even in those spheres 
and regions of action which the popular fancy would deem 
furthest from it, and that in proportion as understanding is 
absent from them, imperfection is the result. This parti- 
cularly holds good of Art, Religion, and Philosophy. In 
Art, for example, understanding is visible where the forms 
of beauty, which differ in principle, are kept distinct and 
exhibited in their purity. The same thing holds good also 
of single works of art. It is part of the beauty and perfection 
of a dramatic poem that the characters of the several 
persons should be closely and faithfully maintained, and 
that the different aims and interests involved should be 
plainly and decidedly exhibited. Or again, take the province 
of Religion. The superiority of Greek over Northern 
mythology (apart from other differences of subject-matter 
and conception) mainly consists in this : that in the former 
the individual gods are fashioned into forms of sculpture-like 
distinctness of outline, while in the latter the figures fade 
away vaguely and hazily into one another. Lastly comes 
Philosophy. That Philosophy never can get on without 
the understanding hardly calls for special remark after what 
has been said. Its foremost requirement is that every 
thought shall be grasped in its full precision, and nothing 
allowed to remain vague and indefinite. 

It is usually added that understanding must not go too 
far. Which is so far correct, that understanding is not an 
ultimate, but on the contrary finite, and so constituted that 
when carried to extremes it veers round to its opposite. It 
is the fashion of youth to dash about in abstractions: but the 
man who has learnt to know life steers clear of the abstract 
' either — or,' and keeps to the concrete. 

8i.] DIALECTIC. 147 

81.] ifi) In the Dialectical stage these finite charac- 
terisations or formulae supersede themselves, and pass 
into their opposites. 

(i) But when the Dialectical principle is employed 
by the understanding separately and independently, — 
especially as seen in its application to philosophical 
theories, Dialectic becomes Scepticism ; in which the 
result that ensues from its action is presented as a 
mere negation. 

(2) It is customary to treat Dialectic as an adven- 
titious art, which for very wantonness introduces con- 
fusion and a mere semblance of contradiction into 
definite notions. And in that light, the semblance is 
the nonentity, while the true reality is supposed to be- 
long to the original dicta of understanding. Often, 
indeed. Dialectic is nothing more than a subjective see- 
saw of arguments pro and con, where the absence of 
sterling thought is disguised by the subtlety wh'ich gives 
birth to such arguments. But in its true and proper 
character, Dialectic is the very nature and essence of 
everything predicated by mere understanding,— the law 
of things and of the finite as a whole. Dialectic is 
different from 'Reflection.' In the first instance, Reflec- 
tion is that movement out beyond the isolated predicate 
of a thing which gives it some reference, and brings out 
its relativity, while still in other respects leaving it its 
isolated validity. But by Dialectic is meant the in- 
dwelling tendency outwards by which the one-sidedness 
and limitation of the predicates of understanding is seen 
in its true light, and shown to be the negation of them. 
For anything to be finite is just to suppress itself and put 
itself aside. Thus understood the Dialectical principle 
constitutes the life and soul of scientific progress, the 
dynamic which alone gives immanent connexion and 
necessity to the body of science ; and, in a word, is seen 


to constitute the real and true, as opposed to the ex- 
ternal, exaltation above the finite. 

(i) It is of the highest importance to ascertain and under- 
stand rightly the nature of Dialectic. Wherever there is 
movement, wherever there is life, wherever anything is 
carried into effect in the actual world, there Dialectic is at 
work. It is also the soul of all knowledge which is ivvAy 
scientific. In the popular way of looking at things, the 
refusal to be bound by the abstract deliverances of under- 
standing appears as fairness, which, according to the proverb 
Live and let live, demands that each should have its turn ; 
we admit the one, but we admit the other also. But when 
we look more closely, we find that the limitations of the 
finite do not merely come from without ; that its own nature 
is the cause of its abrogation, and that by its own act it 
passes into its counterpart. We say, for instance, that man 
is mortal, and seem to think that the ground of his death is 
in external circumstances only ; so that if this way of 
looking were correct, man would have two special properties, 
vitality and — also— mortality. But the true view of the matter 
is that life, as life, involves the germ of death, and that the 
finite, being radically self-contradictor^', involves its own 

Nor, again, is Dialectic to be confounded with mere 
Sophistry'. The essence of Sophistry lies in giving authority 
to a partial and abstract principle, in its isolation, as may 
suit the interest and particular situation of the individual 
at the time. For example, a regard to my existence, and 
my having the means of existence, is a vital motive of conduct, 
but if I exclusively emphasise this consideration or motive 
of my welfare, and draw the conclusion that I may steal or 
betray my country, we have a case of Sophistry. Similarly, 
it is a vital principle in conduct that I should be sub- 
jectively free, that is to say, that I should have an insight 
into what I am doing, and a conviction that it is right. But 
if my pleading insists on this principle alone I fall into 
Sophistry, such as would overthrow all the principles of 
morality. From this sort of party-pleading Dialectic is 

8r.] DIALECTIC. I49 

wholly different ; its purpose is to study things in their own 
being and movement and thus to demonstrate the finitude of 
the partial categories of understanding. 

Dialectic, it may be added, is no novelty in philosophy. 
Among the ancients Plato is termed the inventor ofi 
Dialectic ; and his right to the name rests on the fact, that 
the Platonic philosophy first gave the free scientific, and J 
thus at the same time the objective, form to Dialectic. ' 
Socrates, as we should expect from the general character 
of his philosophising, has the dialectical element in a pre- 
dominantly subjective shape, that of Irony. He used to 
turn his Dialectic, first against ordinary consciousness, and 
then especially against the Sophists. In his conversations 
he used to simulate the wish for some clearer knowledge 
about the subject under discussion, and after putting all 
sorts of questions with that intent, he drew on those with 
whom he conversed to the opposite of what their first im- 
pressions had pronounced correct. If, for instance, the 
Sophists claimed to be teachers, Socrates by a series of 
questions forced the Sophist Protagoras to confess that all 
learning is only recollection. In his more strictly scientific 
dialogues Plato employs the dialectical method to show the • 
finitude of all hard and fast terms of understanding. Thus ( 
in the Parmenides he deduces the many from the one, and 
shows nevertheless that the many cannot but define itself 
as the one. In this grand style did Plato treat Dialectic. In 
modern times it was, more than any other, Kant who re- 
suscitated the name of Dialectic, and restored it to its post 
of honour. He did it, as we have seen (§ 48), by working 
out the Antinomies of the reason. The problem of these 
Antinomies is no mere subjective piece of work oscillating 
between one set of grounds and another ; it really serves 
to show that every abstract proposition of understanding, 
taken precisely as it is given, naturally veers round into its 

However reluctant Understanding may be to admit the 
action of Dialectic, we must not suppose that the recognition 
of its existence is peculiarly confined to the philosopher. 
It would be truer to say that Dialectic gives expression to a 



law which is felt in all other grades of consciousness, and 
in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may 
be viewed as an instance of Dialectic. We are aware that 
everything finite, instead of being stable and ultimate, is 
rather changeable and transient ; and this is exactly what 
we mean by that Dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as 
im plifit lv other than what it is, is forced beyond its own im- 
mediate or natural being to turn suddenly into its opposite. 
We have before this (§ 80) identified Understanding witli 
what is implied in the popular idea of the goodness of God ; 
we may now remark of Dialectic, in the same objective sig- 
nification, that its principle answers to the idea of his power. 
All things, we say,— that is, the finite world as such, — are 
doomed ; and in saying so, we have a vision of Dialectic as 
the universal and irresistible power before which nothing 
can stay, however secure and stable it may deem itself. 
The category of power does not, it is true, exhaust the depth 
of the divine nature or the notion of God ; but it certainly 
forms a vital element in all religious consciousness. 

Apart from this general objectivity of Dialectic, we find 
traces of its presence in each of the particular provinces 
and phases of the natural and the spiritual world. Take as 
an illustration the motion of the heavenly bodies. At this 
moment the planet stands in this spot, but implicitly it is the 
possibility of being in another spot; and that possibility of 
being otherwise the planet brings into existence by moving. 
Similarly the 'physical' elements prove to be Dialectical. 
The process of meteorological action is the exhibition of 
their Dialectic. It is the same dynamic that lies at the root 
of every other natural process, and, as it were, forces nature 
out of itself. To illustrate the presence of Dialectic in the 
spiritual world, especially in the provinces of law and mo- 
rality, we have only to recollect how general experience 
shows us the extreme of one state or action suddenly shift- 
ing into its opposite : a Dialectic which is recognised in 
many ways in common proverbs. Thus summuni jus 
summa injuria: which means, that to drive an abstract 
right to its extremity is to do a wrong. In political life, 
as every one knows, extreme anarchy and extreme despot- 


ism naturally lead to one another. The perception of Dia- 
lectic in the province of individual Ethics is seen in the 
well-known adages, Pride comes before a fall : Too much 
wit outwits itself. Even feeling, bodily as well as mental, 
has its Dialectic. Every one knows how the extremes of 
pain and pleasure pass into each other : the heart overflow- 
ing with joy seeks relief in tears, and the deepest melan- 
choly will at times betray its presence by a smile. 

(2) Scepticism should not be looked upon merely as a 
doctrine of doubt. It would be more correct to say that the 
Sceptic has no doubt of his point, which is the nothingness 
of all finite existence. He who only doubts still clings to 
the hope that his doubt may be resolved, and that one or 
other of the definite views, between which he wavers, will 
turn out solid and true. Scepticism properly so called is a 
very different thing: it is complete hopelessness about all 
which understanding counts stable, and the feeling to which 
it gives birth is one of unbroken calmness and inward re- 
pose. Such at least is the noble Scepticism of antiquity, 
especially as exhibited in the writings of Sextus Empiricus, 
when in the later times of Rome it had been systematised as 
a complement to the dogmatic systems of Stoic and Epi- 
curean. Of far other stamp, and to be strictly distinguished 
from it, is the modern Scepticism already mentioned § (39), 
which partly preceded the Critical Philosophy, and partly 
sprung out of it. That later Scepticism consisted solely in 
denying the truth and certitude of the super-sensible, and in 
pointing to the facts of sense and of immediate sensations as 
what we have to keep to. 

Even to this day Scepticism is oflen spoken of as the 
irresistible enemy of all positive knowledge, and hence of 
philosophy, in so far as philosophy is concerned with posi- 
tive knowledge. But in these statements there is a miscon- 
ception. It is only the finite thought of abstract understand- 
ing which has to fear Scepticism, because unable to with- 
stand it : philosophy includes the sceptical principle as a 
subordinate function of its own, in the shape of Dialectic. 
In contradistinction to mere Scepticism, however, philosophy 
does not remain content with the purely negative result of 



Dialectic. The sceptic mistakes the true value of his result, 
when he supposes it to be no more than a negation pure and 
simple. For the negative, which emerges as the result of 
dialectic, is, because a result, at the same time the positive : 
it contains what it results from, absorbed into itself, and 
made part of its own nature. Thus conceived, however, 
the dialectical stage has the features characterising the third 
grade of logical truth, the speculative form, or form of posi- 
tive reason. 

82.] (y) The Speculative stage, or stage of Positive 
Reason, apprehends the unity of terms (propositions) 
in their opposition, — the affirmative, which is involved 
in their disintegration and in their transition. 

(i) The result of Dialectic is positive, because it has 
a definite content, or because its result is not empty and 
abstract nothing, but the negation of certain specific 
propositions which are contained in the result, — for the 
very reason that it is a resultant and not an immediate no- 
thing. (2) It follows from this that the ' reasonable ' 
result, though it be only a thought and abstract, is still 
a concrete, being not a plain formal unity, but a unity 
of distinct propositions. Bare abstractions or formal 
thoughts are therefore no business of philosophy, which 
has to deal only with concrete thoughts. (3) The logic 
of mere Understanding is involved in Speculative logic, 
and can at will be elicited from it, by the simple process 
of omitting the dialectical and 'reasonable' element. 
When that is done, it becomes what the common logic 
is, a descriptive collection of sundry thought-forms and 
rules which, finite though they are, are taken to be some- 
thing infinite. 

If we consider only what it contains, and not how it con- 
tains it, the true reason-world, so far from being the exclu- 
sive property of philosophy, is the right of every human 
being on whatever grade of culture or mental growth he 


may stand ; which would justify man's ancient title of ra- 
tional being. The general mode by which experience first 
makes us aware of the reasonable order of things is by 
accepted and unreasoned belief; and the character of the 
rational, as already noted (§ 45), is to be unconditioned, and 
thus to be self-contained, self-determining. In this sense 
man above all things becomes aware of the reasonable order, 
when he knows of God, and knows Him to be the completely 
self-determined. Similarly, the consciousness a citizen has 
of his country and its laws is a perception of the reason- 
world, so long as he looks up to them as unconditioned and 
likewise universal powers, to which he must subject his in- 
dividual will. And in the same sense, the knowledge and 
will of the child is rational, when he knows his parents' 
will, and wills it. 

Now, to turn these rational (of course positively-rational) 
realities into speculative principles, the only thing needed is 
that they be thought. The expression ' Speculation ' in 
common life is often used with a very vague and at the 
same time secondary sense, as when we speak of a matri- 
monial or a commercial speculation. By this we only 
mean two things : first, that what is immediately at hand 
has to be passed and left behind ; and secondly, that the 
subject-matter of such speculations, though in the first place 
only subjective, must not remain so, but be realised or 
translated into objectivity. 

What was some time ago remarked respecting the Idea, 
may be applied to this common usage of the term ' specula- 
tion ' : and we may add that people who rank themselves 
amongst the educated expressly speak of speculation even 
as if it were something purely subjective. A certain theory 
of some conditions and circumstances of nature or mind may 
be, say these people, very fine and correct as a matter of 
speculation, but it contradicts experience and nothing of the 
sort is admissible in reality. To this the answer is, that the 
speculative is in its true signification, neither preliminarily 
nor even definitively, something merely subjective : that, on 
the contrary, it expressly rises above such oppositions as 
that between subjective and objective, which the under- 


standing cannot get over, and absorbing them in itself, 
evinces its own concrete and all-embracing nature. A one- 
sided proposition therefore can never even give expression 
to a speculative truth. If we say, for example, that the 
absolute is the unity of subjective and objective, we are 
undoubtedly in the right, but so far one-sided, as we enun- 
ciate the unity only and lay the accent upon it, forgetting 
that in reality the subjective and objective are not merely 
identical but also distinct. 

Speculative truth, it may also be noted, means very much 
the same as what, in special connexion with religious ex- 
perience and doctrines, used to be called Mysticism. The 
term Mysticism is at present used, as a rule, to designate 
what is mysterious and incomprehensible : and in propor- 
tion as their general culture and way of thinking vary, the 
epithet is applied by one class to denote the real and the 
true, by another to name everything connected vdth super- 
stition and deception. On which we first of all remark that 
there is mystery in the mystical, only however for the un- 
j derstanding which is ruled by the principle of abstract 
identity ; whereas the mystical, as synonymous with the 
speculative, is the concrete unity of those propositions, 
which understanding only accepts in their separation and 
opposition. And if those who recognise Mysticism as the 
highest truth are content to leave it in its original utter 
mystery, their conduct only proves that for them too, as 
well as for their antagonists, thinking means abstract iden- 
tification, and that in their opinion, therefore, truth can only 
be won by renouncing thought, or as it is frequently ex- 
pressed, by leading the reason captive. But, as we have 
seen, the abstract thinking of understanding is so far from 
being either ultimate or stable, that it shows a perpetual 
tendency to work its own dissolution and swing round into 
its opposite. Reasonableness, on the contrary, just consists 
in embracing within itself these opposites as unsubstantial 
elements. Thus the reason-world may be equally styled 
mystical, — not however because thought cannot both reach 
and comprehend it, but merely because it lies beyond the 
compass of understanding. 


83.] Logic is subdivided into three parts : — 

I. The Doctrine of Being : 

II. The Doctrine of Essence : 

III. The Doctrine of Notion and Idea. 
That is, into the Theory of Thought : 

I. In its immediacy : the notion implicit and in 

II. In its reflection and mediation : the being-for-self 
and show of the notion. 

III. In its return into itself, and its developed abid- 
ing by itself: the notion in and for itself. 

The division of Logic now given, as well as the whole of 
the previous discussion on the nature of thought, is antici- 
patory : and the justification, or proof of it, can only result 
from the detailed treatment of thought itself. For in philo- 
sophy, to prove means to show how the subject by and from 
itself makes itself what it is. The relation in which these 
three leading grades of thought, or of the logical Idea, stand 
to each other must be conceived as follows. Truth comes ^ 
only with the notion : or, more precisely, the notion is the 
truth of being and essence, both of which, when separately 
maintained in their isolation, cannot but be untrue, the 
former because it is exclusively immediate, and the latter 
because it is exclusively mediate. Why then, it may be 
asked, begin with the false and not at once with the true } 
To which we answer that truth, to deserve the name, must 
authenticate its own truth : which authentication, here within 
the sphere of logic, is given, when the notion demonstrates 
itself to be what is mediated by and with itself, and thus at 
the same time to be truly immediate. This relation be- 
tween the three stages of the logical Idea appears in a real 
and concrete shape thus : God, who is the truth, is known 
by us in His truth, that is, as absolute spirit, only in so far as 
we at the same time recognise that the world which He 
created, nature and the finite spirit, are, in their difference 
from God, untrue. 



84.] Being is the notion implicit only : its special 
forms have the predicate 'is'; when they are distin- 
guished they are each of them an ' other ' : and the shape 
which dialectic takes in them, i.e. their further speciali- 
sation, is a passing over into another. This further 
determination, or specialisation, is at once a forth-put- 
ting and in that way a disengaging of the notion implicit 
in being; and at the same time the withdrawing of 
being inwards, its sinking deeper into itself. Thus the 
explication of the notion in the sphere of being does 
two things:^ brings out the totality of being, and' it 
abolishesjhe immediacy of being, or_tIv e form of being 
as such. 

85.] Being itself and the special sub-categories of it 
which follow, as well as those of logic in general, may 
be looked upon ^s definitions_of_the Absolute, or meta- 
physical definitions^ o£ Cod : at least the first and third 
category in every triad may, — the first, where the 
thought-form of the triad is formulated in its simplicity, 
and the third, being the return from differentiation to a 
simple self-reference. For a metaphysical definition of 
God is the expression of His nature in thoughts as such: 
and logic embraces all thoughts so long as they continue 
in the thought-form. The sec ond su b^ca tegory in eac h 


*'?:i^.4^w]^^^^ the grade of Jhought Ls in its differentiation, j 
gives, on the other hand, a definition of the finite. The 
objection to the form of definition is that it implies a 
something in the mind's eye on which these predicates 
may fasten. Thus even the Absolute (though it pur- 
ports to express God in the style and character of 
thought) in comparison with its predicate (which really 
and distinctly expresses in thought what the subject 
does not), is as yet only an inchoate pretended thought 
— the indeterminate subject of predicates yet to come. 
The thought, which is here the matter of sole import- 
ance, is contained only in the predicate : and hence the 
propositional form, like the said subject, viz. the Abso- 
lute, is a mere superfluity (cf. § 31, and below, on the 

Each of the three spheres of the logical idea proves to be 
a systematic whole of thought-terms, and a phase of the 
Absolute. This is the case with Being, containing the three 
grades of quality, quantity, and measure. Quality is, in the 
first place, the character identical with being: so identical, 
that a thing ceases to be what it is, if it loses its_ quality. 
Quantity, on the contrary, is the character external to being, 
and does not affect the being at all. Thus e.g. a house re- 
mains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller ; and red 
remains red, whether it be brighter or darker. Measure, 
the third grade of being, which is the unity of the first two, 
is a qualitative_quantity. All things have their measure: i.e. 
the quantitative terms of their existence, their being so or so 
great, does not matter within certain limits ; but when these 
limits are exceeded by an additional more or less, the things 
cease to be what they were. From measure follows the 
advance to the second sub-division of the idea, Essence. 

The three forms of being here mentioned, just because 
they are the first, are also the poQrest,_*.e. the most abstract. 
Immediate (sensible) consciousness, in so far as it simul- 
taneously includes an intellectual element, is especially re- 
stricted to the abstract categories of quality and quantity. 


The sensuous consciousness is in ordinary estimation the 
most concrete and thus also the richest ; but that is only 
true as regards materials, whereas, in reference to the thought 
it contains, it is really the poorest and most abstract. 

A. — Quality. 

(a) Being. 

86.] Pure Being makes the beginning : because it is 
on one hand pure thought, and on the other immediacy 
itself, simple and indeterminate ; and the first beginning 
cannot be mediated by anything, or be further deter- 

All doubts and admonitions, which might be brought 
against beginning the science with abstract em^ty being, 
will disappear, if we only perceive what a beginning 
naturally implies. It is possible to define being as 
'1 = 1,' as 'Absolute Indifference' or Identity, and so 
on. Where it is felt necessary to begin either with 
what is absolutely certain, i. e. the certainty of oneself, 
or with a definition or intuition of the absolute truth, 
these and other forms of the kind may be looked on as 
if they must be the first. But each of these forms con- 
tains a mediation, and hence cannot be the real first : 
for all mediation implies advance made from a first on 
to a second, and proceeding from something different. 

j If 1 = 1, or even the intellectual intuition, are really 
taken to mean no more than the first, they are in this 

\ mere immediacy identical with being : while conversely, 
\ pure being, if abstract no longer, but including in it 
I mediation, is pure thought or intuition. 

1 If we enunciate Being as a predicate of the Absolute, . 

we get the first definition of the latter. The Absolute 
is Being. This is (in thought) the absolutely initial 
definition, the most abstract and stinted. It is the defi- 
nition given by the Eleatics, but at the same time is also 

86.] QUALITY — BEING. I59 

the well-known definition of God as the sum of all reali- 
ties. It means, in short, that we are to set aside that 
limitation which is in every reality, so that God shall 
be only the real in all reality, the superlatively real. 
Or, if we reject reality, as implying a reflection, we get 
a more immediate or unreflected statement of the same 
thing, when Jacobi says that the God of Spinoza is the 
principium of being in all existence. 

(i) When thinking is to begin, we have nothing but thought 
in its merest indeterminateness : for we cannot determine 
unless there is both one and another ; and in the beginning 
there is yet no other. The indeterminate, as we here have 
it, is the blank we begin with, not a featurelessness reached 
by abstraction, not the ehmination of all character, but the 
original featurelessness which precedes all definite character 
and is the very first of all. And this we call Being. It is not to 
be felt, or perceived by sense, or pictured in imagination : it is 
only and merely thought, and as such it forms the beginning. 
Essence also is indeterminate, but in another sense : it has 
traversed the process of mediation and contains implicit the 
determination it has absorbed. 

(2) In the history of philosophy the different stages of the 
logical Idea assume the shape of successive systems, each 
based on a particular definition of the Absolute. As the 
logical Idea is seen to unfold itself in a process from the 
abstract to the concrete, so in the history of philosophy the 
earliest systems are the most abstract, and thus at the same 
time the poorest. The relation too of the earlier to the later 
systems of philosophy is much like the relation of the cor- 
responding stages of the logical Idea : in other words, the 
earlier are preserved in the later ; but subordinated and sub- 
merged. This is the true meaning of a much misunderstood 
phenomenon in the history of philosophy— the refutation of 
one system by another, of an earlier by a later. Most com- 
monly the refutation is taken in a purely negative sense to 
mean that the system refuted has ceased to count for any- 
thing, has been set aside and done for. Were it so, the 
history of philosophy would be of all studies most saddening, 


displaying, as it does, the refutation of every system which 
time has brought forth. Now, although it may be admitted 
that every philosophy has been refuted, it must be in an 
equal degree maintained, that no philosophy has been re- 
futed, nay, or can be refuted. And that in two ways. For 
first, every philosophy that deserves the name always em- 
bodies the Idea : and secondly, every system represents one 
particular factor or particular stage in the evolution of the 
Idea. The refutation _of a p hilosophy, therefore, only means^ 
that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced 
to^aTactor in the completer principle that follows. Thus the 
history of philosophy, in its true meaning, deals not with a 
past, but with an eternal and veritable present : and, in its 
results, resembles not a museum of the aberrations of the 
human intellect, but a Pantheon of Godlike figures. These 
figures of Gods are the various stages of the Idea, as they 
come forward one after another in dialectical development. 
To the historian of philosophy it belongs to point out more 
precisely, how far the gradual evolution of his theme coin- 
cides with, or swerves from, the dialectical unfolding of the 
pure logical Idea. It is sufficient to mention here, that logic 
begins where the proper history of philosophy begins. 
Philosophy began in the Eleatic school, especially with Par- 
menides. Parmenides, who conceives the absolute as Being, 
says that ' Being alone is and Nothing is not.' Such was 
the true starting-point of philosophy, which is always know- 
ledge by thought : and here for the first time we find pure 
thought seized and made an object to itself. 

Men indeed thought from the beginning : (for thus only 
were they distinguished from the animals). But thousands 
of years had to elapse before they came to apprehend thought 
in its purity, and to see in it the truly objective. The Elea- 
tics are celebrated as daring thinkers. But this nominal 
admiration is often accompanied by the remark that they 
went too far, when they made Being alone true, and denied 
the truth of every other object of consciousness. We must 
go further than mere Being, it is true : and yet it is absurd to 
speak of the other contents of our consciousness as some- 
what as it were outside and beside Being, or to say that 

86-87-] BEING AND NOTHING. l6l 

there are other things, as well as Being. The true state of 
the case is rather as follows. Being, as Being, is nothing 
fixed or ultimate : it yields to dialectic and sinks into its op- 
posite, which, also taken immediately, is Nothing. After all, 
the point is, that Being is the first pure Thought ; whatever 
else you may begin with (the 1 = 1, the absolute indifference, or 
God Himself), you begin with a figure of materialised concep- 
tion, not a product of thought ; and that, so far as its thought 
content is concerned, such beginning is merely Being. 

87.] But this mere Bein^, as_it isjiiere abstra ction, 
is therefore the absolutely negative : whi ch, in a sim i- 
larTy^ irntnedlate ai^^lL ^^J"^^*- Nothings 

(i) Hence was derived the second definition of the 
Absolute; the Absolute is the Nought. In fact this 
definition is implied in saying that the thing-in-itself 
is the indeterminate, utterly without form and so 
without content, — or in saying that God is only the 
supreme Being and nothing more ; for this is really 
declaring Him to be the same negativity as above. TheN 
Nothing which the Buddhists make the universal prin- 
ciple, as well as the final aim and goal of everything, is 
the same abstraction. 

(2) If the opposition in thought is stated in this im- 
mediacy as Being and Nothing, the shock of its nullity 
is too great not to stimulate the attempt to fix Being and 
secure it against the transition into Nothing. With this 
intent, reflection has recourse to the plan ofdiscovering 
some fixed predicate for Being, to mark it off from 
Nothing. Thus we find Being identified with what 
persists amid all change, with matter, susceptible of 
innumerable determinations, — or even, unreflectingly, 
with a single existence, any chance object of the senses 
or of the mind. But every additional and more concrete 
characterisation causes Being to lose that integrity and 
simplicity it has in the beginning. Only in, and by 
virtue of, this mere generality is it Nothing, something 



inexpressible, whereof the distinction from Nothing is 
a mere intention or meaning. 

All that is wanted is to realise that these beginnings 
are nothing but these empt y abstractions , one as emgt^i^ 
as the otH en The instinct that induces us to attach a 
settled import to Being, or to both, is the very necessity 
which leads to the onward movement of Being and 
Nothing, and gives them a true or concrete significance. 
This advance is the logical deduction and the movement 
of thought exhibited in the sequel. The reflection which 
finds a profounder connotation for Being and Nothing 
is nothing but logical thought, through which such con- 
notation is evolved, not, however, in an accidental, but a 
necessary way. Every signification, therefore, in which 
they afterwards appear, is only a more precise specifica- 
tion and truer definition of the Absolute. And when 
that is done, the mere abstract Being and Nothing are 
replaced by a concrete in which both these elements 
form an organic part. — The supreme form of Nought as 
a separate principle would be Freedom : but Freedom 
is negativity in that stage, when it sinks self-absorbed 
to supreme intensity, and is itself an affirmation, and 
even absolute affirmation. 

The distinction between Being and Nought is, in the first 
place, only implicit, and not yet actually made : they only 
ought to be distinguished. A distinction of course implies 
two things, and that one of them possesses an attribute 
which is not found in the other. Being however is an abso- 
lute absence of attributes, and so is Nought. Hence the 
distinction between the two is only meant to be ; it is a quite 
nominal distinction, which is at the same time no distinction. 
In all other cases of diflference there is some common point 
which comprehends both things. Suppose e.g. we speak of 
two different species : the genus forms a common ground 
for both. But in the case of mere Being and Nothing, dis- 
tinction is without a bottom to stand upon : hence there can be 

87-88.] BEING AND NOTHING. 1 63 

no distinction, both determinations being the same bottom- 
lessness. If it be rephed that Being and Nothing are both 
of them thoughts, so that thought may be reckoned common 
ground, the objector forgets that Being is not a particular 
or definite thought, and hence, being quite indeterminate, is 
a thought not to be distinguished from Nothing.— It is natural 
too for us to represent Being as absolute riches, and No- 
thing as absolute poverty. But if when we view the whole 
world we can only say that everything is, and nothing 
more, we are neglecting all speciality and, instead of abso- 
lute plenitude, we have absolute emptiness. The same stric- 
ture is applicable to those who define God to be mere 
Being ; a definition not a whit better than that of the Bud- 
dhists, who make God to be Nought, and who from that 
principle draw the further conclusion that self-annihilation is 
the means by which man becomes God. 

88.] Nothing, if it be thus immediate and equal to 
itself, is also conversely the same as Being is. The 
truth of Being and of Nothing is accordingly the unity 
of the two : and this unity is Becoming. 

(i) The proposition that Being and Nothing is the 
same seems so paradoxical to the imagination or under- 
standing, that it is perhaps taken for a joke. And in- 
deed it is one of the hardest things thought expects 
itself to do: for Being and Nothing exhibit the funda- 
mental contrast in all its immediacy, — that is, without the 
one term being invested with any attribute which would 
involve its connexion with the other. This attribute 
however, as the above paragraph points out, is implicit 
in them — the attribute which is just the same in both. 
So far the deduction of their unity is completely analy- 
tical : indeed the whole progress of philosophising in 
every case, if it be a methodical, that is to say a neces- 
sary, progress, merely renders explicit what is implicit 
in a notion. — It is as correct however to say that Bein^ 
and Nothing are altogether different, as Jo assert jheiiL 


unity. The one is not what the other is. But since the 
distinctionlTas not at this~poTnF assumed definite shape 
(Being and Nothing are still the immediate), it is, in the 
way that they have it, something unutterable, which we 
merely mean. 

(2) No great expenditure of wit is needed to make 
fun of the maxim that Being and Nothing are the same, 
or rather to adduce absurdities which, it is erroneously 
asserted, are the consequences and illustrations of that 

If Being and Nought are identical, say these objec- 
tors, it follows that it makes no difference whether my 
home, my property, the air I breathe, this city, the sun, 
the law, mind, God, are or are not. Now in some of 
these cases, the objectors foist in private aims, the utility 
a thing has for me, and then ask, whether it be all the 
same to me if the thing exist and if it do not. For that 
matter indeed, the teaching of philosophy is precisely 
what frees man from the endless crowd of finite aims 
and intentions, by making him s*o insensible to them, 
that their existence or non-existence is to him a matter 
of indifference. But it is never to be forgotten that, 
once mention something substantial, and you thereby 
create a connexion with other existences and other pur- 
poses which Sive ex hypotfiesi 'wovih. having: and on such 
hypothesis it comes to depend whether the Being and 
not-Being of a determinate subject are the same or not. 
A substantial distinction is in these cases secretly sub- 
stituted for the empty distinction of Being and Nought. 
In others of the cases referred to, it is virtually absolute 
existences and vital ideas and aims, which are placed 
under the mere category of Being or not-Being. But 
there is more to be said of these concrete objects, than 
that they merely are or are not. Barren abstractions, 
like Being and Nothing— the initial categories which. 

88.] BECOMING. T65 

for that reason, are the scantiest anywhere to be found 
—are utterly inadequate to the nature of these objects. 
Substantial truth is something far above these abstrac- 
tions and their oppositions. — And always when a con- 
crete existence is disguised under the name of Being 
and not-Being, empty-headedness makes its usual mis- 
take of speaking about, and having in the mind an image 
of, something else than what is in question : and in this 
place^h^questijon IS aboutabs^ Nothing, f 

(3) It may perhaps be said that nobody can form 
a notion of the unity of Being and Nought. As for that, 
the notion of the unity is stated in the sections preced- 
ing, and that is all : apprehend that, and you have 
comprehended this unity. What the objector really 
means by comprehension— by a notion— is more than 
his language properly implies : he wants a richer and 
more complex state of mind, a pictorial conception which 
will propound the notion as a concrete case and one 
more familiar to the ordinary operations of thought. 
And so long as incomprehensibility means only the want 
of habituation for the effort needed to grasp an abstract 
thought, free from all sensuous admixture, and to seize 
a speculative truth, the reply to the criticism is, that 
philosophical knowledge is undoubtedly distinct in kind 
from the mode of knowledge best known in common 
life, as well as from that which reigns in the other 
sciences. But if to have no notion merely means that 
we cannot represent in imagination the oneness of Being 
and Nought, the statement is far from being true ; for 
every one has countless ways of envisaging this unity. 
To say that we have no such conception can only mean, 
that in none of these images do we recognise the notion 
in question, and that we are not aware that they exem- 
plify it. The readiest example of it is Becoming.! 
Every one has a mental idea of Becoming, and willj 



even allow that it is one idea : he will further allow that, 
when it is analysed, it involves the attribute of Being, 
and also what is the very reverse of Being, viz. Nothing : 
and that these two attributes lie undivided in the one 
idea : so that Becomiji g is the unity of Beingand_ 
Nothing^j^Another tolerably plain example is a Be- 
ginning. In its beginning, the thing is not yet, but it is 
more than merely nothing, for its Being is already in 
the beginning. Beginning is itself a case of Becoming; 
only the former term is employed with an eye to the 
further advance. — If we were to adapt logic to the more 
usual method of the sciences, we might start with the 
representation of a Beginning as abstractly thought, or 
with Beginning as such, and then analyse this repre- 
sentation ; and perhaps people would more readily 
admit, as a result of this analysis, that Being and 
Nothing present themselves as undivided in unity. 

(4) It remains to note that such phrases as ' Being 
and Nothing are the same,' or ' The unity of Being and 
Nothing' — like all other such unities, that of subject 
and object, and others — give rise to reasonable objec- 
tion. They misrepresent the facts, by giving an exclu- 
sive prominence to the unity, and leaving the difference 
which undoubtedly exists in it (because it is Being and 
Nothing, for example, the unity of which is declared) 
without any express mention or notice. It accordingly 
seems as if the diversity had been unduly put out of 
court and neglected. The fact is, no speculative prin- 
ciple can be correctly expressed by any such proposi-^ 
tional form, for the unity has to be conceived in the 
diversity, which is all the while present and explicit. 
' To become ' is the true expression for the resultant of 
' To be ' and ' Not to be ' ; it is the unity of the two ; but 
not only is it the unity, it is also inherent unrest,— the 
unity, which is no mere reference-to-self and therefore 

88.] BECOMING. 167 

without movement, but which, through the diversity of I 
Being and Nothing that is in it, is at war within itself. ' 
— Determinate being, on the other hand, is this unity, 
or Becoming in this form of unity: hence all that 'is 
there and so,' is one-sided and finite. The opposition 
between the two factors seems to have vanished ; it is 
only implied in the unity, it is not explicitly put in it, 

(5) The maxim of Becoming, that Being is the pas-< 
sage into Nought, and Nought the passage into Being, is | 
controverted by the maxim of Pantheism, the doctrine 
of the eternity of matter, that from nothing comes 
nothing, and that something can only come out of some- 
thing. The ancients saw plainly that the maxim, ' From 
nothing comes nothing, from something something,' 
really abolishes Becoming : for what it comes from and 
what it becomes are one and the same. Thus explained, 
the proposition is the maxim of abstract identity as up- 
held by the understanding. It cannot but seem strange, 
therefore, to hear such maxims as, ' Out of nothing 
comes nothing : Out of something comes something,' 
calmly taught in these days, without the teacher being 
in the least aware that they are the basis of Pantheism, 
and even without his knowing that the ancients have 
exhausted all that is to be said about them. 

Becoming is the first concrete thought, and therefore the 
first notion : whereas Being and Nought are empty abstrac- 
tions. The notion of Being, therefore, of which we some- 
times speak, must mean Becoming ; not the mere point 
of Being, which is empty Nothing, any more than Nothing, 
which is empty Being. In Being then we have Nothing, 
and in Nothing Being : but this Being which does not lose 
itself in Nothing is Becoming. Nor must we omit the dis- 
tinction, while we emphasise the unity of Becoming : with- 
out that distinction we should once more return to abstract 
Being. Becoming is only the explicit statement of what 
Being is in its truth. 



We often hear it maintained that tliought is opposed to 
being. Now in the face of such a statement, our first ques- 
tion ought to be, what is meant by being. If we under- 
stand being as it is defined by reflection, all that we can say 
of it is that it is what is wholly identical and affirmative. And 
if we then look at thought, it cannot escape us that thought 
also is at least what is absolutely identical with itself. Both 
therefore, being as well as thought, have the same attribute. 
This identity of being and thought is not however to be 
taken in a concrete sense, as if we could say that a stone, so 
far as it has being, is the same as a thinking man. A concrete 
thing is always very different from the abstract category as 
such. And in the case of being, we are speaking of nothing 
concrete : for being is the utterly abstract. So far then the 
question regarding the beiitg of God — a being which is in 
itself concrete above all measure— is of slight importance. 

As the first concrete thought-term, Becoming is the first 
adequate vehicle of truth. In the history of philosophy, this 
stage of the logical Idea finds its analogue in the system of 
Heraclitus. When Heraclitus says ' All is flowing ' (rraiTa pel), 
he enunciates Becoming as the fundamental feature of all 
' existence, whereas the Eleatics, as already remarked, saw 
the only truth in Being, rigid processless Being. Glancing 
at the principle of the Eleatics, Heraclitus then goes on 
to say : Being no more is than not-Being (oufieV fxaWov to tv 
Tov fifj ovTos eari) : a Statement expressing the negativity of 
abstract Being, and its identity with not-Being, as made ex- 
plicit in Becoming : both abstractions being alike untenable. 
This maybe looked at as an instance of the real refutation of 
one system by another. To refute a philosophy is to exhibit 
the dialectical movement in its principle, and thus reduce it 
to a constituent member of a higher concrete form of the^ 
Idea. Even Becoming however, taken at its best on its own 
ground, is an extremely poor term : it needs to grow in 
depth and weight of meaning. Such deepened force we 
find e.g. in Life. Life is a Becoming ; but that is not enough 
to exhaust the notion of life. A still higher form is found in 
Mind. Here too is Becoming, but richer and more inten- 
sive than mere logical Becoming. The elements, whose 

88-89.] DETERMINATE BEING. 1 69 

unity constitutes mind, are not the bare abstracts of Being and 
of Nought, but the system of the logical Idea and of Nature. 

{b) Being Determinate. 

89.] In Becoming the Being which is one with 
Nothing, and the Nothing which is one with Being, are 
only vanishing factors; they are and they are not. 
Thus by its inherent contradiction Becoming collapses 
into the unity in which the two elements are absorbed. 
This result is accordingly Being Determinate (Being 
there and so). 

In this first example we must call to mind, once for 
all, what was stated in § 82 and in the note there : the 
only way to secure any growth and progress in know- 
ledge is to hold results fast in their truth. There is 
absolutely nothing whatever in which we cannot and 
must not point to contradictions or opposite attributes ; 
and the abstraction made by understanding therefore 
means a forcible insistance on a single aspect, and a real 
effort to obscure and remove all consciousness of the 
other attribute which is involved. Whenever such con- 
tradiction, then, is discovered in any object or notion, 
the usual inference is, Hence this object is nothing. 
Thus Zeno, who first showed the contradiction native 
to motion, concluded that there is no motion : and the 
ancients, who recognised origin and decease, the two 
species of Becoming, as untrue categories, made use 
of the expression that the One or Absolute neither 
arises nor perishes. Such a style of dialectic looks only 
at the negative aspect of its result, and fails to notice, 
what is at the same time really present, the definite 
result, in the present case a pure nothing, but a Nothing 
which includes Being, and, in like manner, a Being 
which includes Nothing. Hence Being Determinate is 
(i) the unity of Being and Nothing, in which we get rid 


of the immediacy in these determinations, and their 
contradiction vanishes in their mutual connexion, — the 
unity in which they are only constituent elements. And 
(2) since the result is the abolition of the contradiction, 
it comes in the shape of a simple unity with itself: that 
is to say, it also is Being, but Being with negation or 
determinateness : it is Becoming expressly put in the 
form of one of its elements, viz. Being. 

Even our ordinary conception of Becoming implies that 
somewhat comes out of it, and that Becoming therefore has 
a result. But this conception gives rise to the question, how 
Becoming does not remain mere Becoming, but has a re- 
sult.? The answer to this question follows from what Be- 
coming has already shown itself to be. Becoming always 
contains Being and Nothing in such a way, that these two 
are always changing into each other, and reciprocally can- 
celling each other. Thus Becoming stands before us in 
utter restlessness — unable however to maintain itself in 
this abstract restlessness : for since Being and Nothing 
vanish in Becoming (and that is the very notion of Becom- 
ing), the latter must vanish also. Becoming is as it were a 
fire, which dies out in itself, when it consumes its material. 
The result of this process however is not an empty Nothing, 
but Being identical with the negation, —what we call Being 
Determinate (being then and there) : the primary import of 
which evidently is that it has become. 

90.] (a) Determinate Being is Being with a character 
or mode — which simply is ; and such un-mediated 
character is Quality. And as reflected into itself in 
this its character or mode, Determinate Being is a some- 
what, an existent. — The categories, which issue by 
a closer analysis of Determinate Being, need only be 
mentioned briefly. 

Quality may be described as the determinate mode imme- 
diate and identical with Being — as distinguished from Quan- 
tity (to come afterwards), which, although a mode of Being, 

90-9I.] QUALITY. i-ji 

is no longer immediately identical with Being, but a mode 
indifferent and external to it. ..A_Something is what it is in 
virtue of its quality, and losing its quality it'ceases to be what 
'^ i g" Quality, moreover, is completely a category only of 
the finite, and for that reason too it has its proper place in 
Nature, not in the world of Mind. Thus, for example, in 
Nature what are styled the elementary bodies, oxygen, 
nitrogen, &c., should be regarded as existing qualities. But 
in the sphere of rnind, Quality appears in a subordinate way 
only, and not as if its qualitativeness could exhaust any 
specific aspect of mind. If, for example, we consider the 
subjective mind, which forms the object of psychology, we 
may describe what is called (moral and mental) character, as 
in logical language identical with Quality. This however 
does not mean that character is a mode of being which per- 
vades the soul and is immediately identical with it, as is the 
case in the natural world with the elementary bodies before 
mentioned. Yet a more distinct manifestation of Quality as 
such, in mind even, is found in the case of besotted or morbid 
conditions, especially in states of passion and when the pas- 
sion rises to derangement. The state of mind of a deranged 
person, being one mass of jealousy, fear, &c., may suitably 
be described as Quality. 

81.] Quality, as determinateness which is, as con- 
trasted with the Negation which is involved in it but 
distinguished from it, is Reality. Negation is no longer 
an abstract nothing, but, as a determinate being and 
somewhat, is only a form on such being — it is as Other- 
ness. Since this otherness, though a determination 
of Quality itself, is in the first instance distinct from it. 
Quality is Being- for-another — an expansion of the mere 
point of Determinate Being, or of Somewhat. The 
Being as such of Quality, contrasted with this reference 
to somewhat else, is Belng-by-self. 

The foundation of all determinateness is negation (as 
Spinoza says, Omnis determinaiio est negatid). The unre- 
flecting observer supposes that determinate things are merely 


positive, and pins them down under the form of being. 
Mere being howe ver is not the end of the matter : — it is, as 
we have alrea dy seen, utter emptiness and instability besides. 
Still, when abstract bemg is contused in this way with being 
modified and determinate, it implies some perception of the 
fact that, though in determinate being there is involved an 
element of negation, this element is at first wrapped up, as it 
were, and only comes to the front and receives its due in 
Being-for-self.— If we go on to consider determinate Being 
as a determinateness which is, we get in this way what is 
called Reality. We speak, for example, of the reality of a 
plan or a purpose, meaning thereby that they are no longer 
inner and subjective, but have passed into being-there-and- 
then. In the same sense the body may be called the reality 
of the soul, and the law the reality of freedom, and the world 
altogether the reality of the divine idea. The word ' reality ' 
is however used in another acceptation to mean that some- 
thing behaves conformably to its essential characteristic or 
notion. For example, we use the expression : This is a real 
occupation : This is a real man. Here the term does not 
merely mean outward and immediate existence : but rather 
that some existence agrees with its notion. In which sense, 
be it added, reality is not distinct from the ideality which 
we shall in the first instance become acquainted with in the 
shape of Being-for-self. 

92.] (jS) Being, if kept distinct and apart from its deter- 
minate mode, as it is in Being-by-self (Being implicit), 
would be only the vacant abstraction of Being. In Being 
(determinate there and then), the determinateness is 
one with Being ; yet at the same time, when explicitly 
made a negation, it is a Limit, a Barrier. Hence the 
otherness is not something indifferent and outside it, 
but a function proper to it. Somewhat is by its quality, 
— firstly finite,— secondly alterable; so that finitude 
and variability appertain to its being. 

In Being-there-and-then, the negation is still directly one 
with the Being, and this negation is what we call a Limit 


(Boundary). A thing is what it is, only in and by reason o f 
its limit. We cannot ther ^for^ r<>JQrr^ th^ Umif oc r^ piy p^ _ 
ternal to being which is the n and there. It rather goes 
^hronprh pnd thro ugh the whole of such existence. The 
view of limit, as merely an external characteristic of being- 
there-and-then, arises from a confusion of quantitative with 
qualitative limit. Here we are speaking primarily of the 
qualitative limit. If, for example, we observe a piece of 
ground, three acres large, that circumstance is its quantita- 
tive limit. But, in addition, the ground is, it may be, a 
meadow, not a wood or a pond. This is its qualitative limit. 
— Man, if he wishes to be actual, must be-there-and-then, and 
to this end he must set a limit to himself. People who 
are too fastidious towards the finite never reach actuality, 
but linger lost in abstraction, and their light dies away. 

If we take a closer look at what a limit implies, we see i t 
involving a contradiction in itself, and thus e vincing its dia- 
lectical n ature. Qn the one side th e limit makes the reality 
of a thi ng I on the~otHer it is its negation. j 3ut, again, the ' 
limit, as the negation of something, is not an abstract no- 
thing but a nothing which /s,— what we call an ' other.' Given 
something, and up starts an other to us : we know that there 
is not something only, but an other as well. Nor, again, is 
the other of such a nature that we can think something apart 
from it ; a something is implicitly the other of itself , and the 
somewhat sees its limit become objective to it in the other. 
If we now ask for the difference between something and an- 
other, it turns out that they are the same : which sameness is 
expressed in Latin by calling the pair aliud—ahud. The other, 
as opposed to the something, is itself a something, and hence 
we say some other, or something else ; and so on the other 
hand the first something when opposed to the other, also 
defined as something, is itself an other. When we say 
'something else' our first impression is that something 
taken separately is only something, and that the quality of 
being another attaches to it only from outside considerations. 
Thus we suppose that the moon, being something else than 
the sun, might very well exist without the sun. But really 
the moon, as a something, has its other implicit in it : Plats) 

174 ^^^ DOCTRINE OF BEING. [92-94. 

says: God made the world out of the nature of the 'one' 
and the 'other' (toC iripov): having brought these together, 
he formed from them a third, which is of the nature of the 
'one' and the 'other.' In these words we have in general 
terms a statement of the nature of the finite, which, as some- 
thing, does not meet the nature of the other as if it had no 
affinity to it, but, being implicitly the other of itself, thus 
undergoes alteration. Alteration thus eyhihitg thp inheren t 

_.contradiction which originally attaches to determinate bein^ . 
^nd which forces it out of its own bounds. To materialised 

cconception existence stands in the character of something 
solely pos itive, and quietly abiding within its own limits : 

_ thr>n{rh we also know, it is true, that everything finite (such as 
existence ) is subject to change. Such changeableness in 
existence is to the superficial eye a mere possibility, the 
realisation of which is not a consequence of its own nature. 
But tj^e fact is, mutability lies in the notion of exis tence,, and 
change is onl y the m anifestation of what it implicitly is. 
The living die, simply because as living they bear in them- 
selves the germ of death. 

93.] Something becomes an other : this other is itself 
somewhat : therefore it likewise becomes an other, and 
so on ad infinitum. 

94.] This Infinity is the wrong or negative infinit y : 
it is only a negation of a finite : but the finite rises again 
jhe same as ever, and is never got rid of and absorbed . 
In other words, this infinite only expresses the ought-to- 
be elimination of the finite. The progression to infinity 
never gets further than a statement of the contradiction 
involved in the finite, viz. that it is somewhat as well as 
somewhat else. It sets up with endless iteration the 
alternation between these two terms, each of which calls 
up the other. 

If we let somewhat and another, the elements of determi- 
nate Being, fall asunder, the result is that some becomes 
other, and this other is itself a somewhat, which then as 
such changes likewise, and so on ad in/tHitum. This result 


seems to superficial reflection something very grand, the 
grandest possible. But such a progression to infinity is not 
the real infinite. That consists in being at home with itself 
in its other, or, if enunciated as a process, in coming to itself 
in^its other. Much depends on rightly apprehending the 
notion of infinity, and not stopping short at the wrong in- 
finity of endless progression. When time and space, for 
example, are spoken of as infinite, it is in the first place the 
infinite progression on which our thoughts fasten. We say. 
Now, This time, and then we keep continually going for- 
wards and backwards beyond this limit. The case is the 
same with space, the infinity of which has formed the 
theme of barren declamation to astronomers with a talent 
for edification. In the attempt to contemplate such an in- 
finite, our thought, we are commonly informed, must sink 
exhausted. It is true indeed that we must abandon the 
unending contemplation, not however because the occu- 
pation is too sublime, but because it is too tedious. It is 
tedious to expatiate in the contemplation of this infinite pro- 
gression, because the same thing is constantly recurring. 
We lay down a limit : then we pass it : next we have a 
limit once more, and so on for ever. All this is but super- 
ficial alteoiation, which never leaves the region of the finite 
behind.T T o suppose that by stepping out an d away into tha t 
in finity we release onrspjves from "the finite, is i n tnith,biit- 
lo seek the release which comes by flight. \ But the man 
who flees is not yet free : in fl/eeing he is stilTiconditioned by 
that from which he flees./ If i t be also said, that^t^hej^nfiniie 
is unattainable, the statement js true, but oifly because^to 
tTiie idea ot infinity has been attached the circumstance ^ 1 
bemg simpl^^nd solely negativeJjWitTrrsucli empty and 
othejtworld stuff" philosophy has nothing to do. ^hat 
phil osophy has to do w ith w a y s .some t hin g concrp .le 
and in the highest sense presen t.! 

No doubt philosophy has alsoVometimes been set the task 
of finding an answer to the question, how the infinite comes 
to the resolution of issuing out of itself. This question, 
founded, as it is, upon the assumption of a rigid opposition 
between finite and infinite, may be answered by saying that 


the opposition is false, and that in point of fact the infinite 
eternally proceeds out of itself, and yet does not proceed 
out of itself. If w e furt her say that the infinite is the n ot- 
finite, we have in point of fact virtually exp ressed the truth : 

for as the finite itself is the first negative7the not-finite i^ 
the negative o f that negation, the negation which is identica l 
with itself and thus at the '^amp firtie a. true affirmation . 

The infinity of reflection here discussed is only an attempt 
to reach the true Infinity, a wretched neither-one-thing-nor- 
another. Generally speaking, it is the point of view which 
has in recent times been emphasised in Germany. The 
finite, this theory tells us, ought to be absorbed ; the infinite 
ought not to be a negative merely, but also a positive. That 
' ought to be ' betrays the incapacity of actually making good 
a claim which is at the same time recognised to be right. 
This stage was never passed by the systems of Kant and 
Fichte, so far as ethics are concerned. The utmost to which 
this way brings us is only the postulate of a never-ending 
approximation to the law of Reason : which postulate has 
been made an argument for the immortality of the soul, 

95.] (y) What we now in point of fact have before us, 
is that somewhat comes to be an other, and that the 
other generally comes to be an other. Thus essentially 
relative to another, somewhat is virtually an other 
against it : and since what is passed into is quite the 
same as what passes over, since both have one and the 
same attribute, viz. to be an other, it follows that some- 
thing in its passage into other only joins with itself. 
To be thus self-related in the passage, and in the 
other, is the genuine Infinity. Or, under a negative . 
aspect: what is altered is the other, it becomes the 
other of the other. Thus Being, but as negation of the 
negation, is restored again : it is now Being-for-self. 

Dualism, in putting:_an insup erable opposition be- 
tween finite and i nfinite, fails to note the simpl e circum - 
stan ce that the infinite is thereby o nly one of two, and 
is reduced to a particular, to which the finite for mfi ^l^^ 


Other particular. ySuch ^n infinite, which is only a pa r- 
ticular, is co-terminous with the finite which makes for 
Jt_a limit and a barrier : it is not what it ought to be^ 
jhat is, the infinite, but is only finite. In such circum- 
stances, where the finite is on this side, and the infinite 
on that,— this world as the finite and the other world as 
the infinite,— an equal dignity of permanence and inde- 
pendence is ascribed to finite and to infini te.^ The 
being of the finite is made an absolute being, and by this 
dualism gets independence and stability. Touched, so i 
to speak, by the infinite, it would be annihilated. But ' 
it must not be touched by the infinite. There must be 
an abyss, an impassable gulf between the two, with the 
infinite abiding on yonder side and the finite steadfast 
on this.(rThose who attribute to the finite thi s inflpvihlf^'^ 
persistence in compari son with the infinite are not, as I 
they imagine, far above metaph ysic : they are still o n the ( 
level of the most ordinary metaphysic of understanding. \ \ 

For the same thing occurs here as in the infinite pro- 

gression. At one time it is admitted that the finite has 
no independent actuality, no absolute being, no root 
and development of its own, but is only a transient. 
But next moment this is straightway forgotten ; the 
finite, made a mere counterpart to the infinite, wholly 
separated from it, and rescued from annihilatio n, is con - 
ceived to be persistent in its independence. \While 
thought thus imagines itself elevated to the infinite, it 
meets with the opposite fate : it comes to an infinite which 
is only a finite, and the finite, which it had left behind, 
has always to be retained and made into an absol ute^ 

After this examination (with which it were well to 
compare Plato's Philebus), tending to show the nullity 
of the distinction made by understanding between the 
finite and the infinite, we are liable to glide into the 
statement that the infinite and the finite are therefore 


one, and that the genuine infinity, the truth, must be 
defined and enunciated as the unity of the finite and 
infinite. Such a statement would be to some extent 
correct ; but is just as open to perversion and falsehood 
as the unity of Being and Nothing already noticed. 
Besides it may very fairly be charged with reducing the 
infinite to finitude and making a finite infinite. For, so 
far as the expression goes, the finite seems left in its 
place, — it is not expressly stated to be absorbed. Or, 
if we reflect that the finite, when identified with the 
infinite, certainly cannot remain what it was out of such 
unity, and will at least suffer some change in its charac- 
teristics ( — as an alkali, when combined with an acid, 
loses some of its properties), we must see that, the same 
fate awaits the infinite, which, as the negative, will on 
its part likewise have its edge, as it were, taken off on 
the other. And this does really happen with the ab- 
, stract one-sided infinite of understanding. The genuine 
I infinite however is not merely in the position of the one- 
\ sided acid, and so does not lose itself The negation 
— ^p- ' of negation is not a neutralisation : the infinite is the 
i affirmative, and it is only the finite which is absorbed.^ 
In Being-for-self enters the category of Ideality. 
Being-there-and-then, as in the first instance appre- 
hended in its being or affirmation, has reality (§ 91) : 
and thus even finitude in the first instance is in the 
category of reality. But the tru th of the finite is ra ther 
its ideality. Similarly, the infinite of understanding, 
^ which is coordinated with the finite, is itself only one 

nf t ^n finitPR ^ no whole truth, but a non-substantial 
element. Jhis idpallty of the finite is the chief maxim 
QJlphilosophv ; and fo r that reason every genuine philo - 
soph y is iHf^alj t ^r n^ But everything depends upon not 
taking for the infinite what, in the very terms of its 
characterisation, is at the same time made a particular 


and finite. — For this reason we have bestowed a greater 
amount of attention on this distinction. The funda- 
mental notion of philosophy, the genuine infinite, de- 
pends upon it. The distinction is cleared up by the 
simple, and for that reason seemingly insignificant, but 
incontrovertible reflections, contained in the first para- 
graph of this section. 

{c) Being-for-self. 
96.] (a) Being-for self, as reference to itself, is imme- 
diacy, and as reference of the negative to itself, is a 
self-subsistent, the One. This unit, being without dis- 
tinction in itself, thus excludes the other from itself 

To be for self— to be one— is completed Quality, and as 
such, contains abstract Being and Being modified as non- 
substantial elements. As simple Being, the One is simple 
self-reference ; as Being modified it is determinate : but 
the determinateness is not in this case a finite determinate- 
ness— a somewhat in distinction from an other— but infinite, 
because it contains distinction absorbed and annulled in 

The readiest instance of Being-for-self is found in the ' I.' 
We know ourselves as existents, distinguished in the first 
place from other existents, and with certain relations thereto. 
But we also come to know this expansion of existence (in 
these relations) reduced, as it were, to a point in the 
simple form of being-for-self When we say ' I,' we express 
the reference-to-self which is infinite, and at the same time 
negative. Man, it may be said, is distinguished ft-om the 
animal world, and in that way from nature altogether, by 
knowing himself as ' I ' : which amounts to saying that 
natural things never attain a free Being-for-self, but as 
limited to Being-there-and-then, are always and only Being 
for an other. — Again, Being-for-self may be described as 
ideality, just as Being-there-and-then was described as 
reality. It is said, that besides reality there is also an 
ideality. Thus the two categories are made equal and 
parallel. Properly speaking, ideality is not somewhat out- 


side of and beside reality : the notion of ideality just lies in 
its being the truth of reality. Tjiat is to say, when realityj^ 
explicitly put as what it implicitly is, it is at once seen to be 
ideality. Hence ideality has not received its proper estima- 
tion, when you allow that reality is not all in all, but that an 
ideality must be recognised outside of it. Such an ideality, 
external to or it may be even beyond reality, would be no 
better than an empty name. Ideality only has a meaning 
when it is the ideality of something : but this something is 
not a mere indefinite this or that, but existence characterised 
as reality, which, if retained in isolation, possesses no truth. 
The distinction between Nature and Mind is not improperly 
Conceived, when the former is traced back to reality, and the 
latter to ideality as a fundamental category. Nature how^ever 
is far from being so fixed and complete, as to subsist even 
without Mind : in Mind IT first, as it were, attains its go^^l 
and its truth. And similarly, Mind on its part is not merely 
a world b eyond Nature and nothing more : it is really, and 
with full proof, seen to b e mind, only w hen it i nvolves Nature 
as absorbed in itself. — Apropos of this, we should note the 
double meaning of the German word aufheben (to put by, or 
set aside). We mean by it (i) to clear away, or annul : 
thus, we say, a law or a regulation is set aside : (2) to 
keep, or preserve : in which sense we use it when we 
say : something is well put by. This double usage of 
language, which gives to the same word a positive and nega- 
tive meaning, is not an accident, and gives no ground for 
reproaching language as a cause of confusion. We should 
rather recognise in it the speculative spirit of our language 
rising above the mere ' Either— or ' of understanding. 

87.] (/S) The relation of the negative to itself is a 
negative relation, and so a distinguishing of the One 
from itself, the repulsion of the One ; that is, it makes 
Many Ones. So far as regards the immediacy of the 
self-existents, these Many are: and the repulsion of 
every One of them becomes to that extent their repul- 
sion against each other as existing units,— in other 
words, their reciprocal exclusion. 

97-98.] THE ONE AND THE MANY. l8l 

Whenever we speak of the One, the Many usually come t 
into our mind at the same time. Whence, then, we are ' 
forced to ask, do the Many come ? This question is un- 
answerable by the consciousness which pictures the Many as 
a primary datum, and-treats the One as only one among the 
Many. But the philosophic notion teaches, contrariwise, that 
the One forms the pre-supposition of the Many : and in the ' 
thought of the One is implied that it explicitly make itself j 
Many. The self-existing unit is not, like Being, void of all 
connective reference : it is a reference, as well as Being- 
there-and-then was, not however a reference connecting 
somewhat with an other, but, as unity of the some and the 
other, it is a connexion with itself, and this connexion be it 
noted is a negative connexion. Hereby the One manifests 
an ut ter .incompatibility with itself, a self-repulsion : and 
w]Tat,iLJliake§ itself explicitly be, is the Many. We may 
denote this side in the process of Being-for-self by the 
figurative term Repulsion. Repulsion is a term originally 
employed in the study of matter, to mean that matter, as a 
Many, in each of these many Ones, behaves as exclusive to 
all the others. It would be wrong however to view the pro- 
cess of repulsion, as if the One were the repellent and the 
Many the repelled. The One, as already remarked, just is 
self-exclusion and explicit putting itself as the Many. Each 
of the Many however is itself a One, and in virtue of its so 
behaving, this all-round repulsion is by one stroke converted 
into its opposite, — Attraction. 

98.] (y) But the Many are one the same as another : 
each is One, or even one of the Many ; they are con- 
sequently one and the same. Or when we study all 
that Repulsion involves, we see that as a negative 
attitude of many Ones to one another, it is just as 
essentially a connective reference of them to each other ; 
and as those to which the One is related in its act of 
repulsion are ones, it is in them thrown into relation 
with itself. The repulsion therefore has an equal right 
to be called Attraction; and the exclusive One, or 
Being-for-self, suppresses itself. The qualitative cha- 

VOL. II. , o 


racter, which in the One or unit has reached the ex- 
treme point of its characterisation, has thus passed 
over into determinateness (quality) suppressed, /'. e, into 
Being as Quantity. 

The philosophy of the Atomists is the doctrine in 
which the Absolute is formulated as Being- for-self, as 
One, and many ones. And it is the repulsion, which 
shows itself in the notion of the One, which is assumed 
as the fundamental force in these atoms. But instead 
of attraction, it is Accident, that is, mere unintelligence, 
which is expected to bring them together. So long as 
the One is fixed as one, it is certainly impossible to 
regard its congression with others as anything but 
external and mechanical. The Void, which is assumed 
as the complementary principle to the atoms, is repul- 
sion and nothing else, presented under the image of 
the nothing existing between the atoms. — Modern 
Atomism — and physics is still in principle atomistic — 
has surrendered the atoms so far as to pin its faith 
on molecules or particles. In so doing, science has 
come closer to sensuous conception, at the cost of 
losing the precision of thought. — To put an attractive 
by the side of a repulsive force, as the moderns have 
done, certainly gives completeness to the contrast : and 
the discovery of this natural force, as it is called, has 
been a source of much pride. But the mutual impli- 
cation of the two, which makes what is true and con- 
crete in them, would have to be wrested from the 
obscurity and confusion in which they were left even 
in Kant's Metaphysical Rudiments of Natural Science. 
— In modern times the importance of the atomic theory 
is even more evident in political than in physical science. 
According to it, the will of individuals as such is the 
creative principle of the State : the attracting force is 
the special wants and inclinations of individuals ; and 

98.] ATOMISM. 1 83 

the Universal, or the State itself, is the external nexus 
of a compact. 

(i) The Atomic philosophy forms a vital stage in the 
historical evolution of the Idea. The principle of that system 
may be described as Being-for-selfin the shape of the Many. 
At present, students of nature who are anxious to avoid 
metaphysics turn a favourable ear to Atomism. But it is not 
possible to escape metaphysics and cease to trace nature 
back to terms of thought, by throwing ourselves into the 
arms of Atomism. The atom, in fact, is itself a thought ; and 
hence the theory which holds matter tcconsist of atoms is 
a metaphysical theory. Newton gave physics an express 
warning to beware of metaphysics, it is true ; but, to his 
honour be it said, he did not by any means obey his own 
warning. The only mere physicists are the animals : they 
alone do not think: while man is a thinking being and a 
born metaphysician. The real question is not whether v/e 
shall apply metaphysics, but whether our metaphysics are 
of the right kind : in other words, whether we are not, in- 
stead of the concrete logical Idea, adopting one-sided forms 
of thought, rigidly fixed by understanding, and making these 
the basis of our theoretical as well as our practical work. 
It is on this ground that one objects to the Atomic philo- 
sophy. The old Atomists viewed the world as a many, as 
their successors often do to this day. On chance they laid 
the task of collecting the atoms which float about in the 
void. But, after all, the nexus binding the many with one 
another is by no means a mere accident : as we have already 
remarked, the nexus is founded on their verj' nature. To 
Kant we owe the completed theory of matter as the unity 
of repulsion and attraction. The theory is correct, so far 
as it recognises attraction to be the other of the two elements 
involved in the notion of Being-for-self : and to be an element 
no less essential than repulsion to constitute matter. Still 
this dynamical construction of matter, as it is termed, has 
the fault of taking for granted, instead of deducing, attraction 
and repulsion. Had they been deduced, we should then 
have seen the How and the Why of a unity which is merely 
asserted. Kant indeed was careful to inculcate that Matter 


must not be taken to be in existence per se, and then as it 
were incidentally to be provided with the two forces men- 
tioned, but must be regarded as consisting solely in their 
unity. German physicists for some time accepted this pure 
dynamic. But in spite of this, the majority of these physicists 
in modern times have found it more convenient to return to the 
Atomic point of view, and in spite of the warnings of Kastner, 
one of their number, have begun to regard Matter as con. 
sisting of infinitesimally small particles, termed ' atoms ' — 
which atoms have then to be brought into relation with one 
another by the play of forces attaching to them,— attractive, 
repulsive, or whatever they may be. This too is meta- 
physics ; and metaphysics which, for its utter unintelligence, 
there would be sufficient reason to guard against. 

(2) The transition from Quality to Quantity, indicated in 
the paragraph before us, is not found in our ordinary way of 
thinking, which deems each of these categories to exist in- 
dependently beside the other. We are in the habit of say. 
ing that things are not merely qualitatively, but also quanti- 
tatively defined ; but whence these categories originate, and 
how they are related to each other, are questions not further 
examined. Jhe fact is, q uantity Just means quality super- 
seded and absorbed : and it js by the dialectic of quality 
here examined that this supersession is effected. First of all, 
we had Being : as the truth of Being, came Becoming : 
which formed the passage to Being Determinate : and the 
truth of that we found to be Alteration. And in its result 
Alteration showed itself to be Being-for-self, exempt from 
implication of another and from passage into another ; — 
which Being-for-self, finally, in the two sides of its process, 
Repulsion and Attraction, was clearly seen to annul itself, 
and thereby to annul quality in the totality of its stages. 
Still this superseded and absorbed quality is neither an ab- 
stract nothing, nor an equally abstract and featureless being : 
it is only being as indifferent to determinateness or character. 
This aspect of being is also what appears as quantity in our 
ordinary conceptions. We observe things, first of all, with 
an eye to their quality — which we take to be the character 
identical with the being of the thing. If we proceed to con- 

98-99-] QUANTITY. 185 

sider their quantity, we get the conception of an indifferent 
and external character or mode, of such a kind that a thing 
remains what it is, though its quantity is altered, and the 
thing becomes greater or less. 

B, — Quantity. 
{a) Pure Quantity. 

99.] Quantity is pure being, where the mode or 
character is no longer taken as one with the being 
itself, but explicitly put as superseded or indifferent. 

(i) The expression Magnitude especially marks de- 
terminate Quantity, and is for that reason not a suitable 
name for Quantity in general. (2) Mathematics usually 
define magnitude as what can be increased or dimi- 
nished. This definition has the defect of containing 
the thing to be defined over again : but it may serve 
to show that the category of magnitude is explicitly 
understood to be changeable and indifferent, so that, 
in spite of its being altered by an increased extension 
or intension, the thing, a house, for example, does not 
cease to be a house, and red to be red. (3) The Abso- 
lute is pure Quantity. This point of view is upon the 
whole the same as when the Absolute is defined to be 
Matter, in which, though form undoubtedly is present, 
the form is a characteristic of no importance one way 
or another. Quantity too constitutes the main charac- 
teristic of the Absolute, when the Absolute is regarded 
as absolute indifference, and only admitting of quanti- 
tative distinction. — Otherwise pure space, time, &c. may 
be taken as examples of Quantity, if we allow ourselves 
to regard the real as whatever fills up space and time, 
it matters not with what. 

The mathematical definition of magnitude as what may be 
increased or diminished, appears at first sight to be more 


plausible and perspicuous than the exposition of the notion 
in the present section. V/hen closely examined, however, it 
involves,undercoverofpre-suppositions and images, the same 
elements as appear in the notion of quantity reached by the 
method of logical development. In other words, when we 
say that the notion of magnitude lies in the possibility of 
being increased or diminished, we state that magnitude (or 
more correctly, quantity), as distinguished from quality, is a 
characteristic of such kind that the characterised thing is not 
in the least affected by any change in it. What then, it may 
be asked, is the fault which we have to find with this defini- 
tion ? It is that to increase and to diminish is the same 
thing as to characterise magnitude otherwise. If this aspect 
then were an adequate account of it, quantity would be 
described merely as whatever can be altered. But quality 
is no less than quantity open to alteration ; and the distinction 
here given between quantity and quality is expressed by 
saying increase or diminution : the meaning being that, 
towards whatever side the determination of magnitude be 
altered, the thing still remains what it is. 

One remark more. Throughout philosophy we do not seek 
merely for correct, still less for plausible definitions, whose 
correctness appeals directly to the popular imagination ; we 
seek approved or verified definitions, the content of which 
is not assumed merely as given, but is seen and known to 
warrant itself, because warranted by the free self-evolution 
of thought. To apply this to the present case. However 
correct and self-evident the definition of quantity usual in 
Mathematics may be, it will still fail to satisfy the wish to 
see how far this particular thought is founded in universal 
thought, and in that way necessary. This difficulty, how- 
ever, is not the only one. If quantity is not reached through 
the action of thought, but taken uncritically from our general- 
ised image of it, we are liable to exaggerate the range of its 
validity, or even to raise it to the height of an absolute cate- 
gory. And that such a danger is real, we see when the title 
of exact science is restricted to those sciences the objects of 
which can be submitted to mathematical calculation. Here 
we have another trace of the bad metaphysics (mentioned in 


§ 98, note) which replace the concrete idea by partial and in- 
adequate categories of understanding. Our knowledge would 
be in a very awkward predicament if such objects as free- 
dom, law, morality, or even God Himself, because they cannot 
be measured and calculated, or expressed in a mathematical 
formula, were to be reckoned beyond the reach of exact 
knowledge, and we had to put up with a vague generalised 
image of them, leaving their details or particulars to the 
pleasure of each individual, to make out of them what he 
will. The pernicious consequences, to which such a theory 
gives rise in practice, are at once evident. And this mere 
mathematical view, which identifies with the Idea one of its 
special stages, viz. quantity, is no other than the principle of 
Materialism. Witness the history of the scientific modes of 
thought, especially in France since the middleof last century. 
Matter, in the abstract, is just what, though of course there is 
form in it, has that form only as an indiiferent and external 

The present explanation would be utterly misconceived if 
it were supposed to disparage mathematics. By calling the 
quantitative characteristic merely external and indifterent, 
we provide no excuse for indolence and superficiality, nor do 
we assert that quantitative characteristics may be left to mind 
themselves, or at least require no very careful handling. 
Quantity, of course, is a stage of the Idea : and as such it 
must have its due, first as a logical category, and then in the 
world of objects, natural as well as spiritual. Still even so, 
there soon emerges the different importance attaching to the 
category of quantity according as its objects belong to the 
natural or to the spiritual world. For in Nature, where the 
form of the Idea is to be other than, and at the same time out- 
side, itself, greater importance is for that very reason attached 
to quantity than in the spiritual world, the world of free in- 
wardness. No doubt we regard even spiritual facts under a 
quantitative point of view ; but it is at once apparent that in 
speaking of God as a Trinity, the number three has by no 
means the same prominence, as when we consider the three 
dimensions of space or the three sides of a triangle ; — the 
fundamental feature of which last is just to be a surface 

l88 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [99-100. 

bounded by three lines. Even inside the realm of Nature 
we find the same distinction of greater or less importance of 
quantitative features. In the inorganic world, Quantity plays, 
so to say, a more prominent part than in the organic. Even 
in organic nature when we distinguish mechanical functions 
from what are called chemical, and in the narrower sense, 
physical, there is the same difference. Mechanics is of all 
branches of science, confessedly, that in which the aid of 
mathematics can be least dispensed with, — where indeed we 
cannot take one step without them. On that account me- 
chanics is regarded next to mathematics as the science par 
excellence ; which leads us to repeat the remark about the 
coincidence of the materialist with the exclusively mathe- 
matical point of view. After all that has been said, we can- 
not but hold it, in the interest of exact and thorough know- 
ledge, one of the most hurtful prejudices, to seek all dis- 
tinction and determinateness of objects merely in quantitative 
considerations. Mind to be sure is more than Nature and 
the animal is more than the plant : but we know very little 
of these objects and the distinction between them, if a more 
and less is enough for us, and if we do not proceed to com- 
prehend them in their peculiar, that is their qualitative 

100.] Quantity, as we saw, has two sources : the 
exclusive unit, and the identification or equalisation 
of these units. When we look therefore at its imme- 
diate relation to self, or at the characteristic of self- 
sameness made explicit by attraction, quantity is Con- 
tinuous magnitude ; but when we look at the other 
characteristic, the One implied in it, it is Discrete 
magnitude. Still continuous quantity has also a certain 
discreteness, being but a continuity of the Many : and 
discrete quantity is no less continuous, its continuity 
being the One or Unit, that is, the self-same point of 
the many Ones. 

(i) Continuous and Discrete magnitude, therefore, 
must not be supposed two species of magnitude, as 


if the characteristic of the one did not attach to the 
other. The only distinction between them is that the 
same whole (of quantity) is at one time explicitly put 
under the one, at another under the other of its cha- 
racteristics. (2) The Antinomy of space, of time, or of 
matter, which discusses the question of their being divi- 
sible for ever, or of consisting of indivisible units, just 
means that we maintain quantity as at one time Dis- 
Crete, at another Continuous. If we explicitly invest 
time, space, or matter with the attribute of Continuous 
quantity alone, they are divisible ad infinitum. When, 
on the contrary, they are invested with the attribute 
of Discrete quantity, they are potentially divided al- 
ready, and consist of indivisible units. The one view 
is as inadequate as the other. 

Quantity, as the proximate result of Being-for-self, in- 
volves the two sides in the process of the latter, attraction 
and repulsion, as constitutive elements of its own idea. It is 
consequently Continuous as well as Discrete. Each of these 
two elements involves the other also, and hence there is no 
such thing as a merely Continuous or a merely Discrete i 
quantity. We may speak of the two as two particular and 
opposite species of magnitude ; but that is merely the result 
of our abstracting reflection, which in viewing definite magni- 
tudes waives now the one, now the other, of the elements 
contained in inseparable unity in the notion of quantity. 
Thus, it may be said, the space occupied by this room is a 
continuous magnitude, and the hundred men, assembled in 
it, form a discrete magnitude. And yet the space is con- 
tinuous and discrete at the same time ; hence we speak of 
points of space, or we divide space, a certain length, into so 
many feet, inches, &c., which can be done only on the hypo- 
thesis that space is also potentially discrete. Similarly, on 
the other hand, the discrete magnitude, made up of a 
hundred men, is also continuous : and the circumstance on 
which this continuity depends, is the common element, the 

190 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [100-102. 

species man, which pervades all the individuals and unites 
them with each other. 

{b) Quantum {How Much). 

101.] Quantity, essentially invested with the exclu- 
sionist character which it involves, is Quantum (or 
How Much): i.e. limited quantity. 

Quantum is, as it were, the determinate Being of quantity: 
whereas mere quantity corresponds to abstract Being, and 
the Degree, which is next to be considered, corresponds to 
Being-for-self. As for the details of the advance from mere 
quantity to quantum, it is founded on this: that whilst in 
mere quantity the distinction, as a distinction of continuity 
and discreteness, is at first only implicit, in a quantum the 
distinction is actually made, so that quantity in general now 
appears as distinguished or limited. But in this way the 
quantum breaks up at the same time into an indefinite 
multitude of Quanta or definite magnitudes. Each of these 
definite magnitudes, as distinguished from the others, forms 
a unity, while on the other hand, viewed per se, it is a many. 
And, when that is done, the quantum is described as 

102.] In Number the quantum reaches its develop- 
ment and perfect mode. Like the One, the medium 
in which it exists, Number involves two qualitative 
factors or functions ; Annumeration or Sum, which 
depends on the factor discreteness, and Unity, which 
depends on continuity. 

In arithmetic the several kinds of operation are 
usually presented as accidental modes of dealing with 
numbers. If necessity and meaning is to be found 
in these operations, it must be by a principle : and 
that must come from the characteristic elements in the 
notion of number itself. (This principle must here be 
briefly exhibited.) These characteristic elements are 
Annumeration on the one hand, and Unity on the 

loa.] NUMBER. X91 

Other, which together constitute number. But Unity, 
when applied to empirical numbers, is only the equality 
of these numbers : hence the principle of arithmetical 
operations must be to put numbers in the ratio of Unity 
and Sum (or amount), and to elicit the equality of these 
two modes. 

The Ones or the numbers themselves are indifferent 
towards each other, and hence the unity into which 
they are translated by the arithmetical operation takes 
the aspect of an external colligation. All reckoning 
is therefore making up the tale : and the difference 
between the species of it lies only in the qualitative 
constitution of the numbers of which we make up the 
tale. The principle for this constitution is given by 
the way we fix Unity and Annumeration. 

Numeration comes first: what we may call, making 
number; a colligation of as many units as we please. 
But to get a species of calculation, it is necessary that 
what we count up should be numbers already, and no 
longer a mere unit. 

First, and as they naturally come to hand. Numbers 
are quite vaguely numbers in general, and so, on the 
whole, unequal. The colligation, or telling the tale 
of these, is Addition. 

The second point of view under which we regard 
numbers is as equal, so that they make one unity, and 
of such there is an annumeration or sum before us. 
To tell the tale of these is Multiplication. It makes 
no matter in the process, how the functions of Sum 
and Unity are distributed between the two numbers, 
or factors of the product; either may be Sum and 
either may be Unity. 

The third and final point of view is the equality of 
Sum (amount) and Unity. To number together num- 
bers when so characterised is Involution; and in the 

192 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [ioa-103. 

first instance raising them to the square power. To 
raise the number to a higher power means in point 
of form to go on multiplying a number with itself an 
indefinite amount of times. — Since this third type of 
calculation exhibits the complete equality of the sole 
existing distinction in number, viz. the distinction be- 
tween Sum or amount and Unity, there can be no 
more than these three modes of calculation. Corre- 
sponding to the integration we have the dissolution of 
numbers according to the same features. Hence besides 
the three species mentioned, which may to that extent 
be called positive, there are three negative species of 
arithmetical operation. 

Number, in general, is the quantum in its complete spe- 
cialisation. Hence we may employ it not only to determine 
what we call discrete, but what are called continuous magni- 
tudes as well. For that reason even geometry must call in 
the aid of number, when it is required to specify definite 
figurations of space and their ratios. 

(c) Degree. 

103.] The limit (in a quantum) is identical with the 
whole of the quantum itself. As in itself multiple, the 
limit is Extensive magnitude ; as in itself simple deter- 
minateness (qualitative simplicity), it is Intensive mag- 
nitude or Degree. 

The distinction between Continuous and Discrete 
magnitude differs from that between Extensive and 
Intensive in the circumstance that the former apply 
to quantity in general, while the latter apply to the 
limit or determinateness of it as such. Intensive and 
Extensive magnitude are not, any more than the other, 
two species, of which the one involves a character not 
possessed by the other : what is Extensive magnitude 
is just as much Intensive, and vice versa. 


Intensive magnitude or Degree is in its notion distinct 
from Extensive magnitude or tiie Quantum. It is therefore 
inadmissible to refuse, as many do, to recognise this dis- 
tinction, and without scruple to identify the two forms of 
magnitude. They are so identified in physics, when differ- 
ence of specific gravity is explained by saying, that a body, 
with a specific gravity twice that of another, contains within 
the same space twice as many material parts (or atoms) as 
the other. So with heat and light, if the various degrees of 
temperature and brilliancy were to be explained by the 
greater or less number of particles (or molecules) of heat and 
light. No doubt the physicists, who employ such a mode of 
explanation, usually excuse themselves, when they are re- 
monstrated with on its untenableness, by saying that the ex- 
pression is without prejudice to the confessedly unknowable 
essence of such phenomena, and employed merely for greater 
convenience. This greater convenience is meant to point to 
the easier application of the calculus : but it is hard to see 
why Intensive magnitudes, having, as they do, a definite 
numerical expression of their own, should not be as con- 
venient for calculation as Extensive magnitudes. If con- 
venience be all that is desired, surely it would be more con- 
venient to banish calculation and thought altogether. A 
further point against the apology offered by the physicists is, 
that, to engage in explanations of this kind, is to overstep the 
sphere of perception and experience, and resort to the realm 
of metaphysics and of what at other times would be called 
idle or even pernicious speculation. It is certainly a fact of 
experience that, if one of two purses filled with shillings is 
twice as heavy as the other, the reason must be, that the one 
contains, say two hundred, and the other only one hundred 
shillings. These pieces of money we can see and feel with 
our senses : atoms, molecules, and the like, are on the con- 
trary beyond the range of sensuous perception ; and thought 
alone can decide whether they are admissible, and have a 
meaning. But (as already noticed in § 98, note) it is abstract 
understanding which stereotypes the factor of multeity 
(involved in the notion of Being-for-self) in the shape of 
atoms, and adopts it as an ultimate principle. It is the same 

194 T^^ DOCTRINE OF BEING. [103-104. 

abstract understanding which, in the present instance, at 
equal variance with unprejudiced perception and with real 
concrete thought, regards Extensive magnitude as the sole 
form of quantity, and, where Intensive magnitudes occur, does 
not recognise them in their own character, but makes a vio- 
lent attempt by a wholly untenable hypothesis to reduce 
them to Extensive magnitudes. 

Among the charges made against modern philosophy, one 
is heard more than another. Modern philosophy, it is said, 
reduces everything to identity. Hence its nickname, the 
Philosophy of Identity. But the present discussion may 
teach that it is philosophy, and philosophy alone, which insists 
on distinguishing what is logically as well as in experience 
different ; while the professed devotees of experience are the 
people who erect abstract identity into the chief principle 
of knowledge. It is their philosophy which might more ap- 
propriately be termed one of identity. Besides it is quite cor- 
rect that there are no merely Extensive and merely Intensive 
magnitudes, just as little as there are merely continuous and 
merely discrete magnitudes. The two characteristics of 
quantity are not opposed as independent kinds. Every In- 
tensive magnitude is also Extensive, and vice versa. Thus a 
certain degree of temperature is an Intensive magnitude, 
which has a perfectly simple sensation corresponding to it 
as such. If we look at a thermometer, we find this degree 
of temperature has a certain expansion of the column of 
mercury corresponding to it ; which Extensive magnitude 
changes simultaneously with the temperature or Intensive 
magnitude. The case is similar in the world of mind : a 
more intensive character has a wider range with its effects 
than a less intensive. 

104.] In Degree the notion of quantum is explicitly 
put. It is magnitude as indifferent on its own account 
and simple : but in such a way that the character (or 
modal being) which makes it a quantum lies quite 
outside it in other magnitudes. In this contradiction, 
where the independent indifferent limit is absolute ex- 
ternality, the Inflnite Quantitative Progression is made 


explicit— an immediacy which immediately veers round 
into its counterpart, into mediation (the passing beyond 
and over the quantum just laid down), and vice versa. 

Number is a thought, but thought in its complete 
self-externalisation. Because it is a thought, it does 
not belong to perception : but it is a thought which is 
characterised by the externality of perception. — Not 
only therefore may the quantum be increased or dimi- 
nished without end : the very notion of quantum is 
thus to push out and out beyond itself. The infinite 
quantitative progression is only the meaningless repeti- 
tion of one and the same contradiction, which attaches 
to the quantum, both generally and, when explicitly in- 
vested with its special character, as degree. Touching 
the futility of enunciating this contradiction in the form 
of infinite progression, Zeno, as quoted by Aristotle, 
rightly says, ' It is the same to say a thing once, and 
to say it for ever,' 

(i) If we follow the usual definition of the mathematicians, 
given in § 99, and say that magnitude is what can be in- 
creased or diminished, there may be nothing to urge against 
the correctness of the perception on which it is founded ; but 
the question remains, how we come to assume such a 
capacity of increase or diminution. If we simply appeal for 
an answer to experience, we try an unsatisfactory course ; 
because apart from the fact that we should merely have a 
material image of magnitude, and not the thought of it, 
magnitude would come out as a bare possibility (of increas- 
ing or diminishing) and we should have no key to the neces- 
sity for its exhibiting this behaviour. _la..the_way .of qui:- 
logical evolut ion, on the contrary, quantity is obviously a 
grade in the process of self-determining thought ; and it has 
been shown that it lies in the very notion of quantity to 
shoot out beyond itself. In that way, the increase or dimi- 
nution (of which we have heard) is not merely possible, but 


(2) The quantitative infinite progression is what the re- 
flective understanding usually relies upon when it is en- 
gaged with the general question of Infinity. Xhe-saifie^jng 
however holds good of this progression, as was already 
remarked on the occasion of the qualitatively infinite pro; 
gression. As was then said, it is not the expression of a 
true, but of a wrong infinity ; it never gets further than a 
bare ' ought,' and thus really remains within the limits of 
finitude. The quantitative form of this infinite progression, 
which Spinoza rightly calls a mere imaginary infinity 
(infinitum imaginationis), is an image often employed by 
poets, such as Haller and Klopstock, to depict the infinity, 
not of Nature merely, but even of God Himself. Thus we 
find Haller, in a famous description of God's infinity, 
saj'ing : 

3(^ l^diife ungcljeiire Bal^ten, 

©ebirge SWillionen auf, 

2>^ fe|e 3eit auf 3ett 

Wnb aiVlt auf SBelt ju ^auf, 

llnb wenn id) tton bet graufen ^6^' 

SWit ©durtnbet >ricber \u^ Div fe^: 

3fl af(e 5)?a^t bet 3at)l, 

33ennet)vt ju Saufeiibraal, 

9Jo(f> ni(^t ein Sfjeit »ou !Dir. 

[I heap up monstrous numbers, mountains of millions ; I 
pile time upon time, and world on the top of world ; and 
when from the awful height 1 cast a dizzy look towards 
Thee, all the power of number, multiplied a thousand times, 
is not yet one part of Thee.] 

Here then we meet, in the first place, that continual ex- 
trusion of quantity, and especially of number, beyond itself, 
which Kant describes as 'eery.' The only really 'eery* 
thing about it is the wearisomeness of ever fixing, and anon 
unfixing a limit, without advancing a single step. The same 
poet however well adds to that description of false infinity 
the closing line : 

3i^ jict) fie a\), nnb J)u fiegft gattj wot nttr. 

[These I remove, and Thou liest all before me.] 


Which means, that the true infinite is more than a mere 
world beyond the finite, and that we, in order to become 
conscious of it, must renounce thdii progressus in infinitum. / 

(3) Pythagoras, as is well known, philosophised in nuh'i- 
bers, and conceived number as the fundamental principle of 
things. To the ordinary mind this view must at first glance 
seem an utter paradox, perhaps a mere craze. What, then, 
are we to think of it ? To answer this question, we must, 
in the first place, remember that the problem of philosophy 
consists in tracing back things to thoughts, and, of course, to 
definite thoughts. Now, number is undoubtedly a thought : 
it is the thought nearest the sensible, or, more precisely 
expressed, it is the thought of the sensible itself, if we take 
the sensible to mean what is many, and in reciprocal ex- 
clusion. The attempt to apprehend the universe as number 
is therefore the first step to metaphysics. In the history of 
philosophy, Pythagoras, as we know, stands between the 
Ionian philosophers and the Eleatics. While the former, as 
Aristotle says, never get beyond viewing the essence of 
things as material {vXtJ), and the latter, especially Parmenides, 
advanced as far as pure thought, in the shape of Being, the 
princip le of the Pythagorean philosophy forms, as it were, 
the bridge from the sensible to the super-sensible. 

We may gather from this, what is to be said of those who 
suppose that Pythagoras undoubtedly went too far, when he 
conceived the essence of things as mere number. It is true, 
they admit, that we can number things ; but, they contend, 
things are far more than mere numbers. But in what re- 
spect are they more ? The ordinary sensuous conscious- 
ness, from its own point of view, would not hesitate to 
answer the question by handing us over to sensuous per- 
ception, and remarking, that things are not merely numer- 
able, but also visible, odorous, palpable, &c. In the phrase 
of modern times, the fault of Pythagoras would be described 
as an excess of idealism. As may be gathered from what 
has been said on the historical position of the Pythagorean 
school, the real state of the case is quite the reverse. Let 
it be conceded that things are more than numbers ; but 
the meaning of that admission must be that the bare 

VOL. II. p 

198 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [104-105. 

thought of number is still insufficient to enunciate the 
definite notion or essence of things. Instead, then, of say- 
ing that Pythagoras went too far with his philosophy of 
number, it would be nearer the truth to say that he did not 
go far enough ; and in fact the Eleatics were the first to take 
the further step to pure thought. 

Besides, even if there are not things, there are states of 
things, and phenomena of nature altogether, the character of 
which mainly rests on definite numbers and proportions. This 
is especially the case with the difference of tones and their 
harmonic concord, which, according to a well-known 
tradition, first suggested to Pythagoras to conceive the 
essence of things as number. Though it is unquestionably 
important to science to trace back these phenomena to the 
definite numbers on which they are based, it is wholly in- 
admissible to view the characterisation by thought as a 
whole, as merely numerical. We may certainly feel our- 
selves prompted to associate the most general characteristics 
of thought with the first numbers : saying, i is the simple 
and immediate ; 2 is difference and mediation ; and 3 the 
unity of both of these. Such associations however are 
purely external : there is nothing in the mere numbers to 
make them express these definite thoughts. With every step 
in this method, the more arbitrary grows the association of 
definite numbers with definite thoughts. Thus, we may 
view 4 as the unity of i and 3, and of the thoughts associated 
with them, but 4 is just as much the double of 2 ; similarly 9 
is not merely the square of 3, but also the sum of 8 and i, of 
7 and 2, and so on. To attach, as do some secret societies of 
modern times, importance to all sorts of numbers and 
figures, is to some extent an innocent amusement, but it is 
also a sign of deficiency of intellectual resource. These 
numbers, it is said, conceal a profound meaning, and suggest 
a deal to think about. But the point in philosophy is, not 
what 3'ou may think, but what you do think : and the genuine 
air of thought is to be sought in thought itself, and not in 
arbitrarily selected symbols. 

105.] That the Quantum in its independent character 
is external to itself, is what constitutes its quality. In 

I05-106.] NUMBER AND RATIO. I99 

that externality it is itself and referred connectively to 
itself. There is a union in it of externality, i.e. the 
quantitative, and of independency (Being-for-self),— the 
qualitative. The Quantum when explicitly put thus 
in its own self, is the Quantitative Ratio, a mode of 
being which, while, in its Exponent, it is an immediate 
quantum, is also mediation, viz. the reference of some 
one quantum to another, forming the two sides of the 
ratio. But the two quanta are not reckoned at their 
immediate value : their value is only in this relation. 

The quantitative infinite progression appears at first as a 
continual extrusion of number beyond itself. On looking 
closer, it is, however, apparent that in this progression 
quantity returns to itself: for the meaning of this progres- 
sion, so far as thought goes, is the fact that number is detei-- 
mined by number. And this gives the quantitative ratio. 
Take, for example, the ratio 2:4. Here we have two 
magnitudes (not counted in their several immediate values) 
in which we are only concerned with their mutual relations. 
This relation of the two terms (the exponent of the ratio) is 
itself a magnitude, distinguished from the related magni- 
tudes by this, that a change in it is followed by a change of 
the ratio, whereas the ratio is unaffected by the change of 
both its sides, and remains the same so long as the exponent 
is not changed. Consequently, in place of 2 : 4, we can put 
3:6 without changing the ratio ; as the exponent 2 remains 
the same in both cases. 

106.] The two sides of the ratio are still immediate 
quanta : and the qualitative and quantitative character- 
istics still external to one another. But in their truth, 

V. ... . . . . 

seeing that the quantitative itself in its externality is 
relation to self, or seeing that the independence and 
the indifference of the character are combined, it is 

Thus quantity by means of the dialectical movement so far 
studied through its several stages, turns out to be a return to 


quality. The first notion of quantity presented to us was 
that of quahty abrogated and absorbed. That is to say, 
quantity seemed an external character not identical with 
Being, to which it is quite immaterial. This notion, as we 
have seen, underlies the mathematical definition of magni- 
tude as what can be increased or diminished. At first sight 
this definition may create the impression that quantity is 
merely whatever can be altered : — increase and diminution 
alike implying determination of magnitude otherwise — and 
may tend to confuse it with determinate Being, the second 
stage of quality, which in its notion is similarly conceived as 
alterable. We can, however, complete the definition by 
adding, that in quantity we have an alterable, which in spite 
of alterations still remains the same. Tite-flation of quantity^ 
it thus turns out, implies an inherent contradiction. This 
contradiction is what forms the dialectic of quantity. The 
result of the dialectic however is not a mere return to 
quality, as if that were the true and quantity the false notion, 
but an advance to the unity and truth of both, to qualitative 
quantity, or Measure. 

It may be well therefore at this point to observe that 
whenever in our study of the objective world we are engaged 
in quantitative determinations, it is in all cases Measure 
which we have in view, as the goal of our operations. 
This is hinted at even in language, when the ascertainment 
of quantitative features and relations is called measuring. We 
measure, e.g. the length of different chords that have been 
put into a state of vibration, with an eye to the qualitative 
difference of the tones caused by their vibration, correspond- 
ing to this difference of length. Similarly, in chemistry, we 
try to ascertain the quantity of the matters brought into 
combination, in order to find out the measures or pro- 
portions conditioning such combinations, that is to say, those 
quantities which give rise to definite qualities. In statistics, 
too, the numbers with which the study is engaged are im- 
portant only from the qualitative results conditioned by them. 
Mere collection of numerical facts, prosecuted without re- 
gard to the ends here noted, is justly called an exercise of 
idle curiosity, of neither theoretical nor practical interest. 


20 r 


107.] Measure is the qualitative quantum, in the 
first place as immediate, — a quantum, to which a deter- 
minate being or a quality is attached, 

pleasure, where quality and quantity are in one, is thus 
the completion of Being. Being, as we first apprehend it, is 
something utterly abstract and characterless : but it is the 
very essence of Being to characterise itself, and its complete 
characterisation is reached in Measure. Measure, like the 
other stages of Being, may serve as a definition of the 
Absolute : Qod, it has been said, is the Measure of all things. 
It is this idea which forms the ground-note of many of the 
ancient Hebrew hymns, in which the glorification of God 
tends in the main to show that He has appointed to every- 
thing its bound : to the sea and the solid land, to the rivers 
and mountains ; and also to the various kinds of plants and 
animals. To the religious sense of the Greeks the divinity 
of measure, especially in respect of social ethics, was re- 
presented by Nemesis. That conception implies a general 
theory that all human things, riches, honour, and power, as 
well as joy and pain, have their definite measure, the trans- 
gression of which brings ruin and destruction. In the world 
of objects, too, we have measure. We see, in the first place, 
existences in Nature, of which measure forms the essential 
structure. This is the case, for example, with the solar 
system, which may be described as the realm of free 
measures. As we next proceed to the study of inorganic 
nature, measure retires, as it were, into the background ; 
at least we often find the quantitative and qualitative 
characteristics showing indifference to each other. Thus the 
quality of a rock or a river is not tied to a definite magni- 
tude. But even these objects when closely inspected are 
found not to be quite measureless : the water of a river, and 
the single constituents of a rock, when chemically analysed, 
are seen to be qualities conditioned by quantitative ratios 
between the matters they contain. In organic nature, how- 
ever, measure again rises full into immediate perception. 

202 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [107-108. 

The various kinds of plants and animals, in the whole as 
well as in their parts, have a certain measure : though it is 
worth noticing that the more imperfect forms, those which 
are least removed from inorganic nature, are partly dis- 
tinguished from the higher forms by the greater indefinite- 
ness of their measure. Thus among fossils, we find some 
ammonites discernible only by the microscope, and others 
as large as a cart-wheel. The same vagueness of measure 
appears in several plants, which stand on a low level of 
organic development, — for instance, ferns. 

108.] In so far as in Measure quality and quantity 
are only in immediate unity, to that extent their differ- 
ence presents itself in a manner equally immediate. 
Two cases are then possible. Either the specific quan- 
tum or measure is a bare quantum, and the definite 
being (there-and-then) is capable of an increase or a 
diminution, without Measure (which to that extent is 
a Rule) being thereby set completely aside. Or the 
alteration of the quantum is also an alteration of the 

The identity between quantity and quality, which is found 
in Measure, is at first only impHcit, and not yet explicitly 
realised. In other words, these two categories, which unite 
in Measure, each claim an independent authority. On the 
one hand, the quantitative features of existence may be 
altered, without affecting its quality. On the other hand, this 
increase and diminution, immaterial though it be, has its 
limit, by exceeding which the quality suffers change. Thus 
the temperature of water is, in the first place, a point of no 
consequence in respect of its liquidity : still with the increase 
or diminution of the temperature of the liquid water, there 
comes a point where this state of cohesion suffers a quali- 
tative change, and the water is converted into steam or ice. 
A quantitative change takes place, apparently without any 
further significance : but there is something lurking behind, 
and a seemingly innocent change of quantity acts as a 
kind of snare, to catch hold of the quality. The antinomy 

io8.] MEASURE. 203 

of Measure which this implies was exemphfied under more 
than one garb among the Greeks. It was asked, for example, 
whether a single grain makes a heap of wheat, or whether 
it makes a bald-tail to tear out a single hair from the horse's 
tail. At first, no doubt, looking at the nature of quantity as 
an indifferent and external character of Being, we are dis- 
posed to answer these questions in the negative. And yet, 
as we must admit, this indifferent increase and diminution 
has its limit: a point is finally reached, where a single 
additional grain makes a heap of wheat ; and the bald-tail 
is produced, if we continue plucking out single hairs. These 
examples find a parallel in the storj' of the peasant who, as 
his ass trudged cheerfully along, went on adding ounce after 
ounce to its load, till at length it sunk under the unendurable 
burden. It would be a mistake to treat these examples as 
pedantic futility ; they really turn on thoughts, an acquain- 
tance with which is of great importance in practical life, 
especially in ethics. Thus in the matter of expenditure, there 
is a certain latitude within which a more or less does not 
matter ; but when the Measure, imposed by the individual 
circumstances of the special case, is exceeded on the one 
side or the other, the qualitative nature of Measure (as in the 
above examples of the different temperature of water) makes 
itself felt, and a course, which a moment before was held 
good economy, turns into avarice or prodigality. The same 
principle may be applied in politics, when the constitution of 
a state has to be looked at as independent of, no less than as 
dependent on, the extent of its territory, the number of its 
inhabitants, and other quantitative points of the same kind. 
If we look e.g. at a state with a territory of ten thousand 
square miles and a population of four millions, we should, 
without hesitation, admit that a few square miles of land or 
a few thousand inhabitants more or less could exercise no 
essential influence on the character of its constitution. But, 
on the other hand, we must not forget, that by the continual 
increase or diminishing of a state, we finally get to a point 
where, apart from all other circumstances, this quantitative 
alteration alone necessarily draws with it an alteration in the 
quality of the constitution. The constitution of a little Swiss 

204 THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. [io8 no. 

canton does not suit a great kingdom ; and, similarly, the 
constitution oi the Roman republic was unsuitable when 
transferred to the small imperial towns of Germany. 

109.] In this second case, when a measure through 
its quantitative nature has gone in excess of its qualita- 
tive character, we meet, what is at first an absence of 
measure, the Measureless. But seeing that the second 
quantitative ratio, which in comparison with the first is 
measureless, is none the less qualitative, the measureless 
is also a measure. These two transitions, from quality 
to quantum, and from the latter back again to quality, 
may be represented under the image of an infinite 
progression — as the self-abrogation and restoration of 
measure in the measureless. 

Quantity, as we have seen, is not only capable of alteration, 
f. e. of increase or diminution : it is naturally and necessarily 
a tendency to exceed itself. This tendency is maintained 
even in measure. But if the quantity present in measure 
exceeds a certain limit, the quality corresponding to it is 
also put in abeyance. This however is not a negation of 
quality altogether, but only of this definite quality, the place 
of which is at once occupied by another. This process of 
measure, which appears alternately as a mere change in 
quantity, and then as a sudden revulsion of quantity into 
quality, may be envisaged under the figure of a nodal (knotted) 
line. Such lines we find in Nature under a variety of forms. 
We have already referred to the qualitatively different 
states of aggregation water exhibits under increase or 
diminution of temperature. The same phenomenon is pre- 
sented by the different degrees in the oxidation of metals. 
Even the difference of musical notes may be regarded as an 
example of what takes place in the process of measure, — 
the revulsion from what is at first merely quantitative into 
qualitative alteration. 

110.] What really takes place here is that the imme- 
diacy, which still attaches to measure as such, is set 
aside. In measure, at first, quality and quantity itself 

no -1 1 1,] MEASURE. 205 

are immediate, and measure is only their ' relative ' 
identity. But measure shows itself absorbed and super- 
seded in the measureless : yet the measureless, although 
it be the negation of measure, is itself a unity of quantity 
and quality. Thus in the measureless the measure is 
still seen to meet only with itself. 

111.] Instead of the more abstract factors, Being and 
Nothing, some and other, &c., the Infinite, which is 
affirmation as a negation of negation, now finds its 
factors in quality and quantity. These ( -) have in the 
first place passed over, quality into quantity, (§ 98), and 
quantity into quality (§ 105), and thus are both shown 
up as negations, (i?) But in their unity, that is, in 
measure, they are originally distinct, and the one is 
only through the instrumentality of the other. And 
(y) after the immediacy of this unity has turned out 
to be self-annulling, the unity is explicitly put as what 
it implicitly is, simple relation-to-self, which contains 
in it being and all its forms absorbed. — Being or imme- 
diacy, which by the negation of itself is a mediation 
with self and a reference to self, — which consequently 
is also a mediation which cancels itself into reference- 
to-self, or immediacy, — is Essence. 

The process of measure, instead of being only the wrong 
infinite of an endless progression, in the shape of an ever- 
recurrent recoil from quality to quantity, and from quantity to 
quality, is also the true infinity of coincidence with self in 
another. In measure, quality and quantity originally confront 
each other, like some and other. But quality is implicitly 
quantity, and conversely quantity is implicitly quality. In the 
process of measure, therefore, these two pass into each other : 
each of them becomes what it already was implicitly : and 
thus we get Being thrown into abeyance and absorbed, with 
its several characteristics negatived. Such Being is Essence. 
Measure is implicitly Essence ; and its process consists in 
realising what it is implicitly.— The ordinary consciousness 


conceives things as being, and studies them in quality, 
quantity, and measure. These immediate characteristics how- 
ever soon show themselves to be not fixed but transient ; 
and Essence is the result of their dialectic. In the sphere of 
Essence one category does not pass into another, but refers 
to another merely. In Being, the form of reference is 
purely due to our reflection on what takes place : but it is 
the special and proper characteristic of Essence. In the 
sphere of Being, when somewhat becomes another, the 
somewhat has vanished. Not so in Essence : here there is 
no real other, but only diversity, reference of the one to its 
other. The transition of Essence is therefore at the same 
time no transition : for in the passage of different into 
different, the different does not vanish : the different terms 
remain in their relation. When we speak of Being and 
Nought, Being is independent, so is Nought. The case is 
otherwise with the Positive and the Negative. No doubt 
these possess the characteristic of Being and Nought. But 
the positive by itself has no sense ; it is wholly in reference 
to the negative. And it is the same with the negative. In 
the sphere of Being the reference of one term to another is 
only implicit ; in Essence on the contrary it is explicit And 
this in general is the distinction between the forms of Being 
I and Essence : in Being everything is immediate, in Essence 
everything is relative. 




112.] The terms in Essence are always mere pairs of 
correlatives, and not yet absolutely reflected in them- 
selves : hence in essence the actual unity of the notion 
is not realised, but only postulated by reflection. Es- ! 
sence,— which is Being coming into mediation with itself 
through the negativity of itself— is self-relatedness, only 
in so far as it is relation to an Other, — this Other how- • 
ever coming to view at first not as something which 
is, but as postulated and hypothetised. — Being has not 
vanished : but, firstly, Essence, as simple self-relation, 
is Being, and secondly as regards its one-sided charac- 
teristic of immediacy, Being is deposed to a mere nega- 
tive, to a seeming or reflected light — Essence accordingly 
is Being thus reflecting light into itself. 

The Absolute is the Essence. This is the same defi- 
nition as the previous one that the Absolute is Being, in 
so far as Being likewise is simple self-relation. But it I 
is at the same time higher, because Essence is Being l 
that has gone into itself: that is to say, the simple self- 
relation (in Being) is expressly put as negation of the 
negative, as immanent self-mediation. — Unfortunately 
when the Absolute is defined to be the Essence, the 
negativity which this implies is often taken only to mean 
the withdrawal of all determinate predicates. This 



negative action of withdrawal or abstraction thus falls 
outside of the Essence — which is thus left as a mere 
result apart from its premisses,— the caput mortimm of 
abstraction. But as this negativity, instead of being 
external to Being, is its own dialectic, the truth of the 
latter, viz. Essence, will be Being as retired within 
itself, — immanent Being. That reflection, or light 
thrown into itself, constitutes the distinction between 
Essence and immediate Being, and is the peculiar 
characteristic of Essence itself. 

Any mention of Essence implies that we distinguish it 
from Being : the latter is immediate, and, compared with the 
Essence, we look upon it as mere seeming. But this seem- 
ing is not an utter nonentity and nothing at all, but Being 
1 superseded and put by. The point of view given by the 
* Essence is in general the standpoint of * Reflection.' This 
word ' reflection ' is originally applied, when a ray of light in 
a straight line impinging up<in the surface of a mirror is 
thrown back from it. In this phenomenon we have two 
things,— first an immediate fact which is, and secondly the 
deputed, derivated, or transmitted phase of the same. — 
Something of this sort takes place when we reflect, or think 
upon an object ; for here we want to know the object, not in 
its immediacy, but as derivative or mediated. The problem 
or aim of philosophy is often represented as the ascertain- 
ment of the essence of things : a phrase which only means 
that things instead of being left in their immediacy, must be 
shown to be mediated by, or based upon, something else. 
The immediate Being of things is thus conceived under the 
image of a rind or curtain behind which the Essence lies 

Everything, it is said, has an Essence ; that is, things 
really are not what they immediately show themselves. 
There is therefore something more to be done than merely 
rove from one quality to another, and merely to advance 
from qualitative to quantitative, and vice versa : there is 
a permanent in things, and that permanent is in the first 

112.] ESSENCE. 


instance their Essence. With respect to other meanings 
and uses of the category of Essence, we may note that in 
the German auxiliary verb ' sein ' the past tense is expressed 
by the term for Essence (W?5^«) : we designate past being 
as gewesen. This anomaly of language implies to some ex- 
tent a correct perception of the relation between Being and 
Essence. Essence we may certainly regard as past Being, 
remembering however meanwhile that the past is not 
utterly denied, but only laid aside and thus at the same time 
preserved. Thus, to say, Caesar was in Gaul, only denies 
the immediacy of the event, but not his sojourn in Gaul 
altogether. That sojourn is just what forms the import of 
the proposition, in which however it is represented as over 
and gone.—' Wesen' in ordinary life frequently means only 
a collection or aggregate : Zeitungswesen (the Press), Post- 
wesen (the Post-Office), Steuerwesen (the Revenue). All 
that these terms mean is that the things in question are not to 
be taken single, in their immediacy, but as a complex, and then, 
perhaps, in addition, in their various bearings. This usage 
of the term is not very different in its implication from ourown. 

People also speak oi finite Essences, such as man. But | 
the very term Essence implies that we have made a step 1 
beyond finitude : and the title as applied to man is so far in- 
exact. It is often added that there is a supreme Essence 
(Being) : by which is meant God. On this two remarks 
may be made. In the first place the phrase 'there is' 
suggests a finite only : as when we say, there are so many 
planets, or, there are plants of such a constitution and 
plants of such an other. In these cases we are speaking of i 
something which has other things beyond and beside it. 
But God, the absolutely infinite, is not something outside 
and beside whom there are other essences. All else outside 1 
God, if separated from Him, possesses no essentiality : in its 1 
isolation it becomes a mere show or seeming, without stay or 
essence of its own. But, secondly, it is a poorway of talking 
to call God the highest or supreme Essence. The category 
of quantity which the phrase employs has its proper place 
within the compass of the finite. When we call one mountain 
the highest on the earth, we have a vision of other high 


mountains beside it. So too when we call any one the 
richest or most learned in his country. But God, far from 
being a Being, even the highest, is the Being. This definition, 
however, though such a representation of God is an important 
and necessary stage in the growth of the religious conscious- 
ness, does not by any means exhaust the depth of the 
ordinary Christian idea of God. If we consider God as the 
Essence only, and nothing more, we know Him only as the 
universal and irresistible Power ; in other words, as the 
Lord. Now the fear of the Lord is, doubtless, the beginning, 
— but only the beginning, of wisdom. To look at God in this 
light, as the Lord, and the Lord alone, is especially character- 
istic of Judaism and also of Mohammedanism. The defect of 
these religions lies in their scant recognition of the finite, 
which, be it as natural things or as finite phases of mind, it is 
characteristic of the heathen and (as they also for that reason 
are) polytheistic religions to maintain intact. Another not 
uncommon assertion is that God, as the supreme Being, 
cannot be known. Such is the view taken by modern 
* enlightenment ' and abstract understanding, which is con- 
tent to say, II y a un etre supreme : and there lets the matter 
rest. To speak thus, and treat God merely as the supreme 
other-world Being, implies that we look upon the world 
before us in its immediacy as something permanent and 
positive, and forget that true Being is just the superseding of 
all that is immediate. If God be the abstract super-sensible 
Being, outside whom therefore lies ail difference and all 
specific character. He is only a bare name, a mere caput 
fnoriuum of abstracting understanding. The true knowledge 
of God begins when we know that things, as they im- 
mediately are, have no truth. 

In reference also to other subjects besides God the category 
of Essence is often liable to an abstract use, by which, in the 
study of anything, its Essence is held to be something unaf- 
fected by, and subsisting in independence of, its definite pheno- 
menal embodiment. Thus we say, for example, of people, 
that the great thing is not what they do or how they behave, 
but what they are. This is correct, if it means that a man's 
conduct should be looked at, not in its immediacy, but only 

112-114.] ESSENCE — REFLECTION. 211 

as it is explained by his inner self, and as a revelation of 
that inner self. Still it should be remembered that the only 
means by which the Essence and the inner self can be 
verified, is their appearance in outward reality ; whereas 
the appeal which men make to the essential life, as distinct 
from the material facts of conduct, is generally prompted by 
a desire to assert their own subjectivity and to elude an 
absolute and objective judgment. 

113.] Self-relation in Essence is the form of Identity 
or of reflection-into-self, which has here taken the place 
of the immediacy of Being. They are both the same 
abstraction, — self-relation. 

The unintelligence of sense, to take everything limited 
and finite for Being, passes into the obstinacy of under- 
standing, which views the finite as self-identical, not in- 
herently self-contradictory. 

114.] This identity, as it has descended from Being, 
appears in the first place only charged with the charac- 
teristics of Being, and referred to Being as to something 
external. This external Being, if taken in separation 
from the true Being (of Essence), is called the Unessen- 
tial. But that turns out a mistake. Because Essence 
is Being-in-self, it is essential only to the extent that it 
has in itself its negative, t. e. reference to another, or 
mediation. Consequently, it has the unessential as its 
own proper seeming (reflection) in itself. But in seem- 
ing or mediation there is distinction involved : and since 
what is distinguished (as distinguished from the identity 
out of which it arises, and in which it is not, or lies as 
seeming,) receives itself the form of identity, the sem- 
blance is still in the mode of Being, or of self-related 
immediacy. The sphere of Essence thus turns out to be 
a still imperfect combination of immediacy and mediation. 
In it every term is expressly invested with the character of 
self-relatedness, while yet at the same time one is forced 

212 THE DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. [114- 115. 

beyond it. It has Being, — reflected being, a being in 
which another shows, and which shows in another. 
And so it is also the sphere in which the contradiction, 
still implicit in the sphere of Being, is made explicit. 

As the one notion is the common principle underlying 
all logic, there appear in the development of Essence 
the same attributes or terms as in the development of 
Being, but in a reflex form. Instead of Being and 
Nought we have now the forms of Positive and Nega- 
tive ; the former at first as Identity corresponding to 
pure and uncontrasted Being, the latter developed 
(showing in itself) as Difference. So also, we have 
Becoming represented by the Ground of determinate 
Being: which itself, when reflected upon the Ground, 
is Existence. 

The theory of Essence is the most difficult branch 
of Logic. It includes the categories of metaphysic and 
of the sciences in general. These are products of re- 
flective understanding, which, while it assumes the 
differences to possess a footing of their own, and at 
the same time also expressly affirms their relativity, 
still combines the two statements, side by side, or one 
after the other, by an 'Also,' without bringing these 
thoughts into one, or unifying them into the notion. 

A. — Essence as Ground of Existence. 

(a) The pure principles or categories of Reflection. 

(a) Identity. 

' 115.] The Essence lights up in itself or is mere reflec- 
tion : and therefore is only self-relation, not as imme- 
diate but as reflected. And that reflex relation is 

This Identity becomes an Identity in form only, or of 


5-] IDENTITY. 213 

the understanding, if it be held hard and fast, quite aloof 
from difference. Or, rather, abstraction is the imposi- 
tion of this Identity of form, the transformation of some- 
thing inherently concrete into this form of elementary 
simplicity. And this may be done in two ways. Either 
we may neglect a part of the multiple features which are 
found in the concrete thing (by what is called analysis) 
and select only one of them ; or, neglecting their variety, 
we may concentrate the multiple characters into one. 

If we associate Identity with the Absolute, making 
the Absolute the subject of a proposition, we get : The 
Absolute is what is identical with itself. However true 
this proposition may be, it is doubtful whether it be 
meant in its truth : and therefore it is at least imperfect 
in the expression. For it is left undecided, whether it 
means the abstract Identity of understanding, — abstract, 
that is, because contrasted with the other characteristics 
of Essence, or the Identity which is inherently concrete. 
In the latter case, as will be seen, true Identity is first 
discoverable in the Ground, and, with a higher truth, in 
the Notion. — Even the word Absolute is often used to 
mean no more than 'abstract.' Absolute space and 
absolute time, for example, is another way of saying 
abstract space and abstract time. 

When the principles of Essence are taken as essen- 
tial principles of thought they become predicates of 
a presupposed subject, which, because they are essen- 
tial, is ' Everything.' The propositions thus arising 
have been stated as universal Laws of Thought. Thus 
the first of them, the maxim of Identity, reads : Every- 
thing is identical with itself, A=A: and, negatively, A 
cannot at the same time be A and not A. — This maxim, 
instead of being a true law of thought, is nothing but 
the law of abstract understanding. The propositional 
form itself contradicts it : for a proposition always pro- 



mises a distinction between subject and predicate ; while 
the present one does not fulfil what its form requires. 
But the Law is particularly set aside by the following 
so-called Laws of Thought, which make laws out of its 
opposite. — It is asserted that the maxim of Identity, 
though it cannot be proved, regulates the procedure of 
every consciousness, and that experience shows it to be 
accepted as soon as its terms are apprehended. To 
this alleged experience of the logic-books may be op- 
posed the universal experience that no mind thinks or 
forms conceptions or speaks, in accordance with this 
law, and that no existence of any kind whatever con- 
forms to it. Utterances after the fashion of this pre- 
tended law (A planet is — a planet; Magnetism is — 
magnetism ; Mind is — mind) are, as they deserve to be, 
reputed silly. That is certainly matter of general ex- 
perience. The logic which seriously propounds such 
laws and the scholastic world in which alone they are 
valid have long been discredited with practical common 
sense as well as with the philosophy of reason. 

Identity is, in the first place, the repetition of what we 
had earlier as Being, but as become, through supersession of 
its character of immediateness. It is therefore Being as 
Ideality.— It is important to come to a proper understanding 
on the true meaning of Identity : and, for that purpose, we 
must especially guard against taking it as abstract Identity, 
to the exclusion of all Difference. That is the touch-stone 
for distinguishing all bad philosophy from what alone 
deserves the name of philosophy. Identity in its truth, as 
an Ideality of what immediately is, is a high category for our 
religious modes of mind as well as all other forms of thought 
and mental activity. The true knowledge of God, it may be 
said, begins when we know Him as identity, — as absolute 
identity. To know so much is to see that all the power and 
glory of the world sinks into nothing in God's presence, 
and subsists only as the reflection of His power and His 


glory. In the same way, Identity, as self-consciousness, is 
what distinguishes man from nature, particularly from the 
brutes which never reach the point of comprehending 
themselves as ' I,' that is, pure self-contained unity. So . 
again, in connexion with thought, the main thing is not to I 
confuse the true Identity, which contains Being and its 
characteristics ideally transfigured in it, with an abstract 
Identity, identity of bare form. All the charges of narrow- 
ness, hardness, meaninglessness, which are so often directed 
against thought from the quarter of feeling and immediate 
perception, rest on the perverse assumption that thought 
acts only as a faculty of abstract Identification. The Formal 
Logic itself confirms this assumption by laying down the 
supreme law of thought (so-called) which has been discussed 
above. If thinking were no more than an abstract Identity, 
we could not but own it to be a most futile and tedious 
business. No doubt the notion, and the idea too, are iden- 
tical with themselves : but identical only in so far as they 
at the same time involve distinction. 

(fi) Difference. 

116.] Essence is mere Identity and reflection in itself ' 
only as it is self-relating negativity, and in that way 
self-repulsion. It contains therefore essentially the | I 
characteristic of Diflference. 

Other-being is here no longer qualitative, taking the 
shape of the character or limit. It is now in Essence, 
in self-relating essence, and therefore the negation is at 
the same time a relation, — is, in short. Distinction, Re- 
lativity, Mediation. 

To ask, 'How Identity comes to Difference,' assumes [ 
that Identity as mere abstract Identity is something of 
itself, and Difference also something else equally inde- 
pendent. This supposition renders an answer to the 
question impossible. If Identity is viewed as diverse from 
Difference, all that we have in this way is but Difference; 
and hence we cannot demonstrate the advance to difference, 
because the person who asks for the How of the progress 


thereby implies that for him the starting-point is non- 
existent. The question then when put to the test has 
obviously no meaning, and its proposer may be met with 
the question what he means by Identity ; whereupon we 
should soon see that he attaches no idea to it at all, and 
that Identity is for him an empty name. As we have seen, 
besides, Identity is undoubtedly a negative,— not however an 
abstract empty Nought, but the negation of Being and its 
characteristics. Being so. Identity is at the same time self- 
relation, and, what is more, negative self-relation ; in other 
words, it draws a distinction between it and itself. 

117.] Difference is, first of all, (i) immediate differ- 
ence, i.e. Diversity or Variety. In Diversity the dif- 
ferent things are each individually what they are, and 
unaffected by the relation in which they stand to each 
other. This relation is therefore external to them. In 
consequence of the various things being thus indifferent 
to the difference between them, it falls outside them into 
a third thing, the agent of Comparison. This external 
difference, as an identity of the objects related, is Like- 
ness; as a non-identity of them, is Unlikeness. 

The gap which understanding allows to divide these 
characteristics, is so great, that although comparison 
has one and the same substratum for likeness and un- 
likeness, which are explained to be different aspects and 
points of view in it, still likeness by itself is the first of 
the elements alone, viz. identity, and unlikeness by itself 
is difference. 

Diversity has, like Identity, been transformed into a 
maxim: 'Everything is various or different': or, 'There 
are no two things completely like each other.' Here 
Everything is put under a predicate, which is the re- 
verse of the identity attributed to it in the first maxim ; 
and therefore under a law contradicting the first. How- 
ever there is an explanation. As the diversity is sup- 
posed due only to external comparison, anything taken 

117.] LIKE AND UNLIKE. 21 7 

per se is expected and understood always to be identical 
with itself, so that the second law need not interfere 
with the first. But, in that case, variety does not belong 
to the something or everything in question : it constitutes 
no intrinsic characteristic of the subject : and the second 
maxim on this showing does not admit of being stated at 
all. If, on the other hand, the something itself is as the 
maxim says diverse, it must be in virtue of its own proper 
character: but in this case the specific difference, and 
not variety as such, is what is intended. And this is 
the meaning of the maxim of Leibnitz. 

When understanding sets itself to study Identity, it has 
already passed beyond it, and is looking at Difference in the 
shape of bare Variety. If we follow the so-called law of 
Identity, and say, — The sea is the sea, The air is the air, 
The moon is the moon, these objects pass for having no 
bearing on one another. What we have before us therefore 
is not Identity, but Difference. We do not stop at this 
point however, or regard things merely as different. We 
compare them one with another, and thus discover the 
features of likeness and unlikeness. The work of the finite 
sciences lies to a great extent in the application of these 
categories, and the phrase 'scientific treatment' generally 
means no more than the method which has for its aim com- 
parison of the objects under examination. This method has 
undoubtedly led to some important results ;— we may par- 
ticularly mention the great advance of modern times in the 
provinces of comparative anatomy and comparative lin- 
guistic. But it is going too far to suppose that the compara- 
tive method can be employed with equal success in all 
branches of knowledge. Nor— and this must be emphasised 
— can mere comparison ever ultimately satisfy the require- 
ments of science. Its results are indeed indispensable, but 
they are still labours only preliminary to truly intelligent 

If it be the office of comparison to reduce existing differ- 
ences to Identity, the science, which most perfectly fulfils 
that end, is mathematics. The reason of that is, that quan- 


titative difference is only the difference which is quite ex- 
ternal. Thus, in geometry, a triangle and a quadrangle, 
figures qualitatively different, have this qualitative difference 
discounted by abstraction, and are equalised to one another 
in magnitude. It follows from what has been formerly said 
about the mere Identity of understanding that, as has also 
been pointed out (§ 99, note), neither philosophy nor the 
empirical sciences need envy this superiority of Mathe- 

The story is told that, when Leibnitz propounded the 
maxim of Variety, the cavaliers and ladies of the court, as 
they walked round the garden, made efforts to discover two 
leaves indistinguishable from each other, in order to confute 
the law stated by the philosopher. Their device was un- 
questionably a convenient method of dealing with meta- 
physics,— one which has not ceased to be fashionable. All 
the same, as regards the principle of Leibnitz, difference 
must be understood to mean not an external and indifferent 
diversity merely, but difference essential. Hence the very 
nature of things implies that they must be different. 

118.] Likeness is an Identity only of those things 
which are not the same, not identical with each other : 
and Unlikeness is a relation of things unlike. The two 
therefore do not fall on different aspects or points of 
view in the thing, without any mutual affinity : but one 
throws light into the other. Variety thus comes to be 
reflexive difference, or difference (distinction) implicit 
and essential, determinate or specific difference. 

While things merely various show themselves unaffected 
by each other, likeness and unlikeness on the contrary are 
a pair of characteristics which are in completely reciprocal 
relation. The one of them cannot be thought without the 
other. This advance from simple variety to opposition ap- 
pears in our common acts of thought, when we allow that 
comparison has a meaning only upon the hypothesis of 
an existing difference, and that on the other hand we can 
distinguish only on the hypothesis of existing similarity. 


Hence, if the problem be the discovery of a difference, we 
attribute no great cleverness to the man v^^ho only distin- 
guishes those objects, of which the difference is palpable, 
e.g. a pen and a camel: and similarly, it implies no very 
advanced faculty of comparison, when the objects compared, 
e.g. a beech and an oak, a temple and a church, are near 
akin. In the case of difference, in short, we like to see 
identity, and in the case of identity we like to see difference. 
Within the range of the empirical sciences however, the one 
of these two categories is often allowed to put the other out 
of sight and mind. Thus the scientific problem at one time 
is to reduce existing differences to identity; on another 
occasion, with equal one-sidedness, to discover new differ- 
ences. We see this especially in physical science. There 
the problem consists, in the first place, in the continual 
search for new * elements,' new forces, new genera, and 
species. Or, in another direction, it seeks to show that all 
bodies hitherto believed to be simple are compound : and 
modern physicists and chemists smile at the ancients, who 
were satisfied with four elements, and these not simple. 
Secondly, and on the other hand, mere identity is made the 
chief question. Thus electricity and chemical affinity are 
regarded as the same, and even the organic processes of 
digestion and assimilation are looked upon as a mere chemical 
operation. Modern philosophy has often been nicknamed 
the Philosophy of Identity. But, as was already remarked 
(§ 103, note), it is precisely philosophy, and in particular 
speculative logic, which lays bare the nothingness of the 
abstract, undifferentiated identity, known to understanding ; 
though it also undoubtedly urges its disciples not to rest 
at mere diversity, but to ascertain the inner unity of all 

119.] Difference implicit is essential difference, the 1 
Positive and the Negative : and that is this way. The 
Positive is the identical self-relation in such a way as 
not to be the Negative, and the Negative is the different 
by itself so as not to be the Positive. Thus either has 
an existence of its own in proportion as it is not the 


Other. The one is made visible in the other, and is only 
in so far as that other is. Essential difference is there- 
fore Opposition ; according to which the different is not 
confronted by any other but by its other. That is, either 
of these two (Positive and Negative) is stamped with a 
characteristic of its own only in its relation to the other : 
the one is only reflected into itself as it is reflected into 
the other. And so with the other. Either in this way 
is the other's own other. 

Difference implicit or essential gives the maxim, 
Everything is essentially distinct ; or, as it has also 
been expressed. Of two opposite predicates the one 
only can be assigned to anything, and there is no third 
possible. This maxim of Contrast or Opposition most 
expressly controverts the maxim of Identity : the one 
says a thing should be only self-relation, the other says 
that it must be an opposite, a relation to its other. The 
native unintelligence of abstraction betrays itself by 
setting in juxtaposition two contrary maxims, like these, 
as laws, without even so much as comparing them. — 
The Maxim of Excluded Middle is the maxim of the 
definite understanding, which would fain avoid contra- 
diction, but in so doing falls into it. A must be either 
+ A or — A, it says. It virtually declares in these 
words a third A which is neither + nor — , and which 
at the same time is yet invested with + and — characters. 
If + W mean 6 miles to the West, and — W mean 
6 miles to the East, and if the + and — cancel each 
other, the 6 miles of way or space remain what they 
were with and without the contrast. Even the mere 
plus and minus of number or abstract direction have, if 
we like, zero, for their third : but it need not be denied 
that the empty contrast, which understanding institutes 
between plus and minus, is not without its value in such 
abstractions as number, direction, &c. 



In the doctrine of contradictory concepts, the one 
notion is, say, blue (for in this doctrine even the 
sensuous generalised image of a colour is called a 
notion) and the other not-blue. This other then would 
not be an affirmative, say, yellow, but would merely be 
kept at the abstract negative.— That the Negative in its 
own nature is quite as much Positive (see next §), is 
implied in saying that what is opposite to another is its 
other. The inanity of the opposition between what are 
called contradictory notions is fully exhibited in what we 
may call the grandiose formula of a general law, that 
Everything has the one and not the other of all predi- 
cates which are in such opposition. In this way, mind 
is either white or not-white, yellow or not-yellow, &c., 
ad infinitum. 

It was forgotten that Identity and Opposition are 
themselves opposed, and the maxim of Opposition was 
taken even for that of Identity, in the shape of the 
principle of Contradiction. A notion, which possesses 
neither or both of two mutually contradictory marks, 
e.g. a quadrangular circle, is held to be logically false. 
Now though a multangular circle and a rectilineal arc 
no less contradict this maxim, geometers never hesitate 
to treat the circle as a polygon with rectilineal sides. 
But anything like a circle (that is to say its mere character 
or nominal definition) is still no notion. In the notion of 
a circle, centre and circumference are equally essen- 
tial ; both marks belong to it : and yet centre and 
circumference are opposite and contradictory to each 

The conception of Polarity, which is so dominant in 
physics, contains by implication the more correct defini- 
tion of Opposition. But physics for its theory of the 
laws of thought adheres to the ordinary logic ; it might 
therefore well be horrified in case it should ever work 


out the conception of Polarity, and get at the thoughts 
which are implied in it. 

(i) With the positive we return to identity, but in its 
higher truth as identical self-relation, and at the same time 
with the note that it is not the negative. The negative 
per se is the same as difference itself The identical as such 
is primarily the yet uncharacterised : the positive on the 
other hand is what is self-identical, but with the mark of 
antithesis to an other. And the negative is difference as 
such, characterised as not identity. This is the difference 
of difference within its own self. 

Positive and negative are supposed to express an absolute 
difference. The two however are at bottom the same : the 
name of either might be transferred to the other. Thus, for 
example, debts and assets are not two particular, self-sub- 
sisting species of property. What is negative to the debtor, 
is positive to the creditor. A way to the east is also a way 
to the west. Positive and negative are therefore intrinsically 
conditioned by one another, and are only in relation to each 
other. The north pole of the magnet cannot be without the 
south pole, and vice versa. If we cut a magnet in two, we 
have not a north pole in one piece, and a south pole in the 
other. Similarly, in electricity, the positive and the negative 
are not two diverse and independent fluids. In opposition, 
the different is not confronted by any other, but by its other. 
Usually we regard different things as unaffected by each 
other. Thus we say : I am a human being, and around me 
are air, water, animals, and all sorts of things. Everything 
is thus put outside of every other. But the aim of philo- 
sophy is to banish indifference, and to ascertain the neces- 
sity of things. By that means the other is seen to stand 
over against its other. Thus, for example, inorganic nature 
is not to be considered merely something else than organic 
nature, but the necessary antithesis of it. Both are in 
essential relation to one another ; and the one of the two is, 
only in so far as it excludes the other from it, and thus 
relates itself thereto. Nature in like manner is not without 
mind, nor mind without nature. An important step has 
been taken, when we cease in thinking to use phrases like ; 

119-iao.] LAPy OF EXCLUDED MIDDLE. 223 

Of course something else is also possible. While we so 
speak, we are still tainted with contingency : and all true 
thinking, we have already said, is a thinking of necessity. 

In modern physical science the opposition, first observed 
to exist in magnetism as polarity, has come to be regarded 
as a universal law pervading the whole of nature. This 
would be a real scientific advance, if care were at the same 
time taken not to let mere variety revert without explana- 
tion, as a valid category, side by side with opposition. Thus 
at one time the colours are regarded as in polar opposition 
to one another, and called complementary colours : at an- 
other time they are looked at in their indifferent and merely 
quantitative difference of red, yellow, green, &c. 

(2) Instead of speaking by the maxim of Excluded Middle 
(which is the maxim of abstract understanding) we should 
rather say : Everything is opposite. Neither in heaven nor 
in earth, neither in the world of mind nor of nature, is there 
anywhere such an abstract 'Either — or' as the understand- 
ing maintains. Whatever exists is concrete, with difference I 
and opposition in itself. The finitude of things will then lie in I 
the want of correspondence between their immediate being, 
and what they essentially are. Thus, in inorganic nature, 
the acid is implicitly at the same time the base : in other 
words, its only being consists in its relation to its other. 
Hence also the acid is not something that persists quietly in 
the contrast : it is always in effort to realise what it poten- 
tially is. Contradiction is the very moving principle of the / / 
world : and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction is un- 
thinkable. The only thing correct in that statement is that 
contradiction is not the end of the matter, but cancels itself. 
But contradiction, when cancelled, does not leave abstract 
identity ; for that is itself only one side of the contrarietj'. 
The proximate result of opposition (when realised as con- 
tradiction) is the Ground, which contains identity as well as 
difference superseded and deposed to elements in the com- 
pleter notion. 

120.] Contrariety then has two forms. The Positive 
is the aforesaid various (different) which is understood 
to be independent, and yet at the same not to be 


unaffected by its relation to its other. The Negative is 
to be, no less independently, negative self-relating, self- 
subsistent, and yet at the same time as Negative must 
on every point have this its self-relation, i.e. its Positive, 
only in the other. Both Positive and Negative are 
therefore explicit contradiction ; both are potentially 
the same. Both are so actually also ; since either is the 
abrogation of the other and of itself. Thus they fall to 
the Ground. — Or as is plain, the essential difference, as 
a difference, is only the difference of it from itself, and 
thus contains the identical : so that to essential and 
actual difference there belongs itself as well as iden- 
tity. As self-relating difference it is likewise virtually 
enunciated as the self-identical. And the opposite is in 
general that which includes the one and its other, itself 
and its opposite. The immanence of essence thus de- 
fined is the Ground. 

(y) The Ground. 

121.] The Ground is the unity of identity and differ- 
ence, the truth of what difference and identity have 
turned out to be, — the reflection-into-self, which is 
equally a reflection-into-an-other, and vice versa. It is 
essence put explicitly as a totality. 

The maxim of the Ground runs thus : Everything has 
its Sufficient Ground : that is, the true essentiality of 
any thing is not the predication of it as identical with 
itself, or as different (various), or merely positive, or 
merely negative, but as having its Being in an other, 
which, being its self-same, is its essence. And to this 
extent the essence is not abstract reflection into self, but 
into an other. The Ground is the essence in its own 
inwardness ; the essence is intrinsically a ground ; and 
it is a ground only when it is a ground of somewhat, of 
an other. 


We must be careful, when we say that the ground is the 
unity of identity and difference, not to understand by this 
unity an abstract identity. Otherwise we only change the 
name, while we still think the identity (of understanding) 
already seen to be false. To avoid this misconception we 
may say that the ground, besides being the unity, is also 
the difference of identity and difference. In that case in thel 
ground, which promised at first to supersede contradiction, a 
new contradiction seems to arise. It is however a contra- 
diction which, so far from persisting quietly in itself, is / 
rather the expulsion of it from itself. The ground is a I 
ground only to the extent that it affords ground : but the 
result which thus issued from the ground is only itself. In 
this lies its formalism. The ground and what is grounded 
are one and the same content : the difference between the 
two is the mere difference of form which separates simple 
self-relation^ on the one hand, from mediation or derivativc- 
Dess on the other. Inquiry into the grounds of things goes' 
with the pointof view which, as already noted (note to .§ 112) 
is adopted by Reflection. We wish, as it were, to see the 
matter double, first in its immediacy, and secondly in its 
ground, where it is no longer immediate. This is the plain 
meaning of the law of sufficient ground, as it is called ; it 
asserts that things should essentially be viewed as mediated. 
The manner in which Formal Logic establishes this law of 
thought, sets a bad example to other sciences. Formal 
Logic asks these sciences not to accept their subject-matter 
as it is immediately given ; and yet herself lays down a law 
of thought without deducing it,— in other words, without 
exhibiting its mediation. With the same justice as the 
logician maintains our faculty of thought to be so consti- 
tuted that we must ask for the ground of everything, might 
the physicist, when asked why a man who falls into water is 
drowned, reply that man happens to be so organised that he 
cannot live under water; or the jurist, when asked why a 
criminal is punished, reply that civil society happens to be 
so constituted that crimes cannot be left unpunished. 

Yet even if logic be excused the duty of giving a ground 
for the law of the sufficient ground, it might at least explain 


what is to be understood by a ground. The common ex- 
planation, which describes the ground as what has a conse- 
quence, seems at the first glance more lucid and intelligible 
than the preceding definition in logical terms. If you ask 
however what the consequence is, you are told that it is 
what has a ground ; and it becomes obvious that the expla- 
nation is intelligible only because it assumes what in our 
case has been reached as the termination of an antecedent 
movement of thought. And this is the true business of 
logic: to show that those thoughts, which as usually em- 
ployed merely float before consciousness neither understood 
nor demonstrated, are really grades in the self-determination 
of thought. It is by this means that they are understood and 

In common life, and it is the same in the finite sciences, 
this reflective form is often employed as a key to the secret 
of the real condition of the objects under investigation. So 
long as we deal with what may be termed the household 
needs of knowledge, nothing can be urged against this method 
of study. But it can never afford definitive satisfaction, 
either in theory or practice. And the reason why it fails is 
that the ground is yet without a definite content of its own ; 
so that to regard anything as resting upon a ground merely 
gives the formal difference of mediation in place of imme- 
diacy. We see an electrical phenomenon, for example, and 
we ask for its ground (or reason) : we are told that electricity 
is the ground of this phenomenon. What is this but the 
same content as we had immediately before us, only trans- 
lated into the form of inwardness ? 

The ground however is not merely simple self-identity, 
but also different : hence various grounds may be alleged 
for the same sum of fact. This variety of grounds, again, 
following the logic of difference, culminates in opposition of 
grounds pro and contra. In any action, such as a theft, there 
is a sum of fact in which several aspects may be distin- 
guished. The theft has violated the rights of property : it 
has given the means of satisfying his wants to the needy 
thief: possibly too the man, from whom the theft was made, 
misused his property. The violation of property is unques- 


tionably the decisive point of view before which the others 
must give way : but the bare law of the ground cannot settle 
that question. Usually indeed the law is interpreted to 
speak of a sufficient ground, not of any ground whatever : 
and it might be supposed therefore, in the action referred 
to, that, although other points of view besides the violation 
of property might be held as grounds, yet they would not be 
sufficient grounds. But here comes a dilemma. If we use 
the phrase ' sufficient ground,' the epithet is either otiose, 
or of such a kind as to carry us past the mere category 
of ground. The predicate is otiose and tautological, if it 
only states the capability of giving a ground or reason : fpr 
the ground is a ground, only in so far as it has this capa- 
bility. If a soldier runs away from battle to save his life, his 
conduct is certainly a violation of duty : but it cannot be 
held that the ground which led him so to act was insuffi- 
cient, otherwise he would have remained at his post. Be- 
sides, there is this also to be said. On one hand any ground 
suffices: on the other no ground suffices as mere ground ; 
because, as already said, it is yet void of a content objec- 
tively and intrinsically determined, and is therefore not self- 
acting and productive. A content thus objectively and 
intrinsically determined, and hence self-acting, will herealter 
come before us as the notion : and it is the notion which 
Leibnitz had in his eye when he spoke of sufficient ground, 
and urged the study of things under its point of view. His 
remarks were originally directed against that merely me- 
chanical method of conceiving things so much in vogue 
even now; a method which he justly pronounces insufficient. 
We may see an instance of this mechanical theory of inves- 
tigation, when the organic process of the circulation of the 
blood is traced back merely to the contraction of the heart ; 
or when certain theories of criminal law explain the pur- 
pose of punishment to lie in deterring people from crime, in 
rendering the criminal harmless, or in other extraneous 
grounds of the same kind. It is unfair to Leibnitz to sup- 
pose that he was content with anything so poor as this 
formal law of the ground. The method of investigation 
which he inaugurated is the very reverse of a formalism 


which acquiesces in mere grounds, where a full and concrete 
knowledge is sought. Considerations to this effect led Leib- 
nitz to contrast causae efficienles and causae Jinales, and to 
insist on the place of final causes as the conception to which 
the efficient were to lead up. If we adopt this distinction, 
light, heat, and moisture would be the causae efficientes, not 
the causa finalis of the growth of plants: the causa Jinalis is 
the notion of the plant itself. 

To get no further than mere grounds, especially on ques- 
tions of law and morality, is the position and principle of the 
Sophists. Sophistry, as we ordinarily conceive it, is a 
method of investigation which aims at distorting what is 
just and true, and exhibiting things in a false light. Such 
hov^ever is not the properor primary tendency of Sophistry : 
the standpoint of which is no other than that of Raisonne- 
ment.' The Sophists came on the scene at a time when the 
Greeks had begun to grow dissatisfied with mere authority 
and tradition and felt the need of intellectual justification for 
what they were to accept as obligatory. That desideratum 
the Sophists supplied by teaching their countrymen to seek 
for the various points of view under which things may be 
considered : which points of view are the same as grounds. 
But the ground, as we have seen, has no essential and 
objective principles of its own, and it is as easy to discover 
grounds for what is wrong and immoral as for what is moral 
and right. Upon the observer therefore it depends to decide 
what points are to have most weight. The decision in such 
circumstances is prompted by his individual views and sen- 
timents. Thus the objective foundation of what ought to 
have been of absolute and essential obligation, accepted by 
all, was undermined : and Sophistry by this destructive 
action deservedly brought upon itself the bad name pre- 
viously mentioned. Socrates, as we all know, met the 
Sophists at every point, not by a bare re-assertion of autho- 
rity and tradition against their argumentations, but by show- 
ing dialectically how untenable the mere grounds were, and 
by vindicating the obligation of justice and goodness,— by re- 
instating the universal or notion of the will. In the present 
day such a method of argumentation is not quite out of fashion. 


Nor is that the case only in the discussion of secular matters. 
It occurs even in sermons, such as those where every pos- 
sible ground of gratitude to God is propounded. To such 
pleading Socrates and Plato would not have scrupled to 
apply the name of Sophistry. For Sophistry has nothing 
to do with what is taught :— that may very possibly be true. 
Sophistry lies in the formal circumstance of teaching it by 
grounds which are as available for attack as for defence. 
In a time so rich in reflection and so devoted to raisoine- 
ment as our own, he must be a poor creature who cannot 
advance a good ground for everything, even for what is 
worst and most depraved. Everything in the world that 
has become corrupt has had good ground for its corruption. 
An appeal to grounds at first makes the hearer think of 
beating a retreat : but when experience has taught him the 
real state of these matters, he closes his ears against them, 
and refuses to be imposed upon any more. 

122.] As it first comes, the chief feature of Essence is 
show in itself and intermediation in itself. But when it 
has completed the circle of intermediation, its unity with 
itself is explicitly put as the self-annulling of difference, 
and therefore of intermediation. Once more then we 
come back to immediacy or Being, — but Being in so far, 
as it is intermediated by annulling the intermediation. 
And that Being is Existence. 

The ground is not yet determined by objective prin- 
ciples of its own, nor is it an end or final cause : hence 
it is not active, nor productive. An Existence only 
proceeds from the ground. The determinate ground is 
therefore a formal matter : that is to say, any point will 
do, so long as it is expressly put as self-relation, as 
affirmation, in correlation with the immediate existence 
depending on it. If it be a ground at all, it is a good 
ground : for the term ' good ' is employed abstractly as 
equivalent to affirmative ; and any point (or feature) is 
good which can in any way be enunciated as confessedly 




aflRrmative. So it happens that a ground can be found 
and adduced for everything : and a good ground (for 
example, a good motive for action) may effect some- 
thing or may not, it may have a consequence or it may 
not. It becomes a motive (strictly so called) and effects 
something, e.g. through its reception into a will; there 
and there only it becomes active and is made a cause. 

[b) Existence, 

123.] Existence is the immediate unity of reflection- 
into-self and reflection-into-another. It follows from 
this that existence is the indefinite multitude of existents 
as reflected-into-themselves, which at the same time 
equally throw light upon one another, — which, in short, 
are co-relative, and form a world of reciprocal depend- 
ence and of infinite interconnexion between grounds and 
consequents. The grounds are themselves existences : 
and the existents in like manner are in many directions 
grounds as well as consequents. 

The phrase ' Existence ' (derived from existere) suggests 
the fact of having proceeded from something. Existence is 
Being which has proceeded from the ground, and been 
reinstated by annulling its intermediation. The Essence, as 
Being set aside and absorbed, originally came before us as 
shining or showing in self, and the categories of this re- 
flection are identity, difference and ground. The last is the 
unity of identity and difference ; and because it unifies them 
it has at the same time to distinguish itself from itself. But 
that which is in this way distinguished from the ground is 
as little mere difference, as the ground itself is abstract same- 
ness. The ground works its own suspension : and when 
suspended, the result of its negation is existence. Having 
issued from the ground, existence contains the ground in it 
'the ground does not remain, as it were, behind existence, 
but by its very nature supersedes itself and translates itself 
into existence. This is exemplified even in our ordinary 

133-134-] EXISTENCE. 231 

mode of thinking, when we look upon the ground of a thing, 
not as something abstractly inward, but as itself also an 
existent. For example, the Hghtning-flash which has set a 
house on fire would be considered the ground of the con- 
flagration : or the manners of a nation and the condition of 
its life would be regarded as the ground of its constitution. 
Such indeed is the ordinary aspect in which the existent 
world originally appears to reflection,— an indefinite crowd 
of things existent, which being simultaneously reflected on 
themselves and on one another are related reciprocally as 
ground and consequence. In this motley play of the world, 
if we may so call the sum of existents, there is nowhere 
a firm footing to be found : everything bears an aspect of 
relativity, conditioned by and conditioning something else. 
The reflective understanding makes it its business to elicit 
and trace these connexions running out in every diiection; 
but the question touching an ultimate design is so far left un- 
answered, and therefore the craving of the reason after 
knowledge passes with the further development of the 
logical Idea beyond this position of mere relativity. 

124.] The reflection-on-another of the existent is 
however inseparable from the reflection-on-self: the 
ground is their unity, from which existence has issued. 
The existent therefore includes relativity, and has on 
its own part its multiple interconnexions with other 
existents : it is reflected on itself as its ground. The 
existent is, when so described, a Thing. 

The 'thing-by-itself (or thing in the abstract), so 
famous in the philosophy of Kant, shows itself here in 
its genesis. It is seen to be the abstract reflection-on- 
self, which is clung to, to the exclusion of reflection-on- 
other-things and of all predication of difference. The 
thing-by-itself therefore is the empty substratum for these 
predicates of relation. 

If to know means to comprehend an object in its concrete 
character, then the thing-by-itself, which is nothing but the 
quite abstract and indeterminate thing in general, must 


certainly be as unknowable as it is alleged to be. With as 
much reason however as we speak of the thing-by-itself, 
we might speak of quality-by-itself or quantity-by-itself, and 
of any other category. The expression would then serve to 
signify that these categories are taken in their abstract 
immediacy, apart from their development and inward 
character. It is no better than a whim of the understanding, 
therefore, if we attach the qualificatory 'in or by-itself to 
the thing only. But this ' in or by-itself is also applied to 
the facts of the mental as well as the natural world : as we 
speak of electricity or of a plant in itself, so we speak of 
man or the state in itself By this ' in-itself ' in these objects 
we are meant to understand what they strictly and properly 
are. This usage is liable to the same criticism as the phrase 
I ' thing-in-itself.' For if we stick to the mere ' in-itself ' of an 
1 object, we apprehend it not in its truth, but in the inadequate 
J form of mere abstraction. Thus the man, by or in himself, 
j is the child. And what the child has to do is to rise out of 
' this abstract and undeveloped ' in-himself,' and become ' for 
.himself what he is at first only 'in-himself,' — a free and 
(reasonable being. Similarly, the state-in-itself is theyet im- 
mature and patriarchal state, where the various political 
functions, latent in the notion of the state, have not received 
the full logical constitution which the logic of political princi- 
ples demands. In the same sense, the germ may be called 
the plant-in-itself. These examples may show the mistake 
of supposing that the ' thing-in-itself or the 'in-itself of 
things is something inaccessible to our cognition. All 
things are originally in-themselves, but that is not the end 
of the matter. As the germ, being the plant-in-itself, means 
self-development, so the thing in general passes beyond its 
in-itself, (the abstract reflection on self,) to manifest itself 
further as a reflection on other things. It is in this sense 
that it has properties. 

(c) The Thing. 

125.] (a) The Thing is the totality — the development 
in explicit unity — of the categories of the ground and 
of existence. On the side of one of its factors, viz. 


reflection-on-other-things, it has in it the differences, in 
virtue of which it is a characterised and concrete thing. 
These characteristics are different from one another; 
theyhave their reflection-into-self not on their own part, 
but on the part of the thing. They are Properties of' 
the thing : and their relation to the thing is expressed 
by the word ' have.' 

As a term of relation, ' to have ' takes the place of ' to 
be.' True, somewhat has qualities on its part too : but 
this transference of ' Having ' into the sphere of Being 
is inexact, because the character as quality is directly 
one with the somewhat, and the somewhat ceases to be 
when it loses its quality. But the thing is reflection- 
into-self: for it is an identity which is also distinct from 
the difference, i.e. from its attributes* — \r\ many lan- 
guages ' have ' is employed to denote past time. And 
with reason : for the past is absorbed or suspended 
being, and the mind is its reflection-into-self; in the 
mind only it continues to subsist, — the mind however 
distinguishing from itself this being in it which has 
been absorbed or suspended. 

In the Thing all the characteristics of reflection recur as 
existent. Thus the thing, in its initial aspect, as the thing- 
by-itself, is the self-same or identical. But identity, it was 
proved, is not found without difference : so the properties, 
which the thing has, are the existent difference in the form 
of diversity. In the case of diversity or variety each diverse 
member exhibited an indifference to every other, and they 
had no other relation to each other, save what was given by 
a comparison external to them. But now in the thing we 
have a bond which keeps the various properties in union. 
Property, besides, should not be confused with quality. 
No doubt, we also say, a thing has qualities. But the 
phraseology is a misplaced one: 'having' hints at an in- 
dependence, foreign to the 'Somewhat,' which is still 
directly identical with its quality. Somewhat is what it is 

234 7"//^ DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. [125-126. 

only by its quality : whereas, though the thing indeed exists 
only as it has its properties, it is not confined to this or that 
definite property, and can therefore lose it, without ceasing 
to be what it is. 

126.] (^) Even in the ground, however, the reflection- 
on-something-else is directly convertible with reflection- 
on-self. And hence the properties are not merely dif- 
ferent from each other ; they are also self-identical, in- 
dependent, and relieved from their attachment to the 
thing. Still, as they are the characters of the thing 
distinguished from one another (as reflected-into-self), 
they are not themselves things, if things be concrete ; 
but only existences reflected into themselves as abstract 
■' characters. They are what ar€ called Matters. 

Nor is the name ' things ' given to Matters, such as 
magnetic and electric matters. They are qualities pro- 
per, a reflected Being,— one with their Being, — they are 
the character that has reached immediacy, existence : 
they are 'entities.' 

To elevate the properties, which the Thing has, to the in- 
dependent position of matters, or materials of which it con- 
sists, is a proceeding based upon the notion of a Thing : 
and for that reason is also found in experience. Thought 
and experience however alike protest against concluding 
from the fact that certain properties of a thing, such as 
colour, or smell, may be represented as particular colour- 
ing or odorific matters, that we are then at the end of the 
inquiry, and that nothing more is needed to penetrate to the 
true secret of things than a disintegration of them into their 
component materials. This disintegration into independent 
matters is properly restricted to inorganic nature only. The 
chemist is in the right therefore when, for example, he 
analyses common salt or gypsum into its elements, and finds 
that the former consists of muriatic acid and soda, the latter of 
sulphuric acid and calcium. So too the geologist does well 
to regard granite as a compound of quartz, felspar, and 
mica. These matters, again, of which the thing consists, are 

126-127.] MATTER. 235 

themselves partly things, which in that way may be once 
more reduced to more abstract matters. Sulphuric acid, for 
example, is a compound of sulphur and oxygen. Such 
matters or bodies can as a matter of fact be exhibited as 
subsisting by themselves: but frequently we find other 
properties of things, entirely wanting this self-subsistence, 
also regarded as particular matters. Thus we hear caloric, 
and electrical or magnetic matters spoken of Such matters 
are at the best figments of understanding. And we see here 
the usual procedure of the abstract reflection of under- 
standing. Capriciously adopting single categories, whose 
value entirely depends on their place in the gradual evolution 
of the logical idea, it employs them in the pretended interests 
of explanation, but in the face of plain, unprejudiced percep- 
tion and experience, so as to trace back to them every object 
investigated. Nor is this all. The theory, which makes things 
consist of independent matters, is frequently applied in a 
region where it has neither meaning nor force. For within 
the limits of nature even, wherever there is organic life, this 
category is obviously inadequate. An animal may be said 
to consist of bones, muscles, nerves, <S:c. : but evidently we 
are here using the term 'consist' in a very different sense 
from its use when we spoke of the piece of granite as con- 
sisting of the above-mentioned elements. The elements of 
granite are utterly indifferent to their combination : they 
could subsist as well without it. The different parts and 
members of an organic body on the contrary subsist only in 
their union : they cease to exist as such, when they are 
separated from each other. 

127.] Thus Matter is the mere abstract or indetermi- 
nate reflection-into-something-else, or reflection-into-self 
at the same time as determinate ; it is consequently 
Thinghood which then and there is, — the subsistence 
of the thing. By this means the thing has on the part | 
of the matters its reflection-into-self (the reverse of 
§ 125) ; it subsists not on its own part, but consists of J 
the matters, and is only a superficial association between 
them, an external combination of them. 



128.] (y) Matter, being the immediate unity of exist- 
ence with itself, is also indFffei-ent towards specific 
character. Hence the numerous diverse matters coa- 
lesce into the one Matter, or into existence under the 
reflective characteristic of identity. In contrast to this 
one Matter these distinct properties and their external 
relation which they have to one another in the thing, 
constitute the Form, — the reflective category of differ- 
ence, but a difference which exists and is a totality. 

This one featureless Matter is also the same as the 
Thing-by-itself was : only the latter is intrinsically quite 
abstract, while the former essentially implies relation to 
something else, and in the first place to the Form. 

The various matters of which the thing consists are 
potentially the same as one another. Thus we get one 
Matter in general to which the difference is expressly 
attached externally and as a bare form. This theory which 
holds things all round to have one and the same matter at 
bottom, and merely to differ externally in respect of form, 
is much in vogue with the reflective understanding. Matter 
in that case counts for naturally indeterminate, but susceptible 
of any determination.; while at the same time it is perfectly 
permanent, and continues the same amid all change and 
alteration. And in finite things at least this disregard of 
matter for any determinate form is certainly exhibited. For 
example, it matters not to a block of marble, whether it 
receive the form of this or that statue or even the form of a 
pillar. Be it noted however that a block of marble can disre- 
gard form only relatively, that is, in reference to the sculptor: 
it is by no means purely formless. And so the minera- 
logist considers the relatively formless marble as a special 
formation of rock, differing from other equally special form- 
ations, such as sandstone or porphyry. Therefore we say it 
is an abstraction of the understanding which isolates matter 
into a certain natural formlessness. For properly speaking 
the thought of matter includes the principle of form through- 
out, and no formless matter therefore appears anywhere 

ta8-i3o.] MATTER AND FORM. 237 

even in experience as existing. Still the conception of matter 
as original and pre-existent, and as naturally formless, is a 
very ancient one ; it meets us even among the Greeks, at 
first in the mythical shape of Chaos, which is supposed to 
represent the unformed substratum of the existing world. 
Such a conception must of necessity tend to make God not 
the Creator of the world, but a mere world-moulder or 
demiurge. A deeper insight into nature reveals God as 
creating the world out of nothing. And that teaches two 
things. On the one hand it enunciates that matter, as such, 
has no independent subsistence, and on the other that the 
form does not supervene upon matter from without, but as a 
totality involves the principle of matter in itself. This free 
and infinite form will hereafter come before us as the 

129,] Thus the Thing suffers a disruption into Matter 
and Form. Each of these is the totality of thinghood 
and subsists for itself. But Matter, which is meant to 
be the positive and indeterminate existence, contains, 
as an existence, reflection-on-another, every whit as 
much as it contains self-enclosed being. Accordingly 
as uniting these characteristics, it is itself the totality 
of Form. But Form, being a complete whole of char- 
acteristics, ipso facto involves reflection-into-self; in 
other words, as self-relating Form it has the very 
function attributed to Matter. Both are at bottom the 
same. Invest them with this unity, and you have the 
relation of Matter and Form, which are also no less 

130.] The Thing, being this totality, is a contradiction. 
On the side of its negative unity it is Form in which 
Matter is determined and deposed to the rank of pro- 
perties (§ 125). At the same time it consists of Matters, 
which in the reflection-of-the-thing-into-itself are as much 
independent as they are at the same time negatived. 
Thus the thing is the essential existence, in such a way 


as to be an existence that suspends or absorbs itself in 
itself. In other words, the thing is an Appearance or 

The negation of the several matters, which is insisted 
on in the thing no less than their independent existence, 
occurs in Physics as porosity. Each of the several mat- 
ters (colouring matter, odorific matter, and if we believe 
some people, even sound-matter, — not excluding caloric, 
electric matter, &c.) is also negated : and in this nega- 
tion of theirs, or as interpenetrating their pores, we find 
the numerous other independent matters, which, being 
similarly porous, make room in turn for the existence 
of the rest. Pores are not empirical facts ; they are 
figments of the understanding, which uses them to re- 
present the element of negation in independent matters. 
The further working-out of the contradictions is con- 
cealed by the nebulous imbroglio in which all matters 
are independent and all no less negated in each other. 
— If the faculties or activities are similarly hypostatised 
in the mind, their living unity similarly turns to the 
imbroglio of an action of the one on the others. 

These pores (meaning thereby not the pores in an 
organic body, such as the pores of wood or of the skin, 
but those in the so-called 'matters,' such as colouring 
matter, caloric, or metals, crystals, &c.) cannot be veri- 
fied by observation. In the same way matter itself, — 
furthermore form which is separated from matter, — 
whether that be the thing as consisting of matters, or the 
view that the thing itself subsists and only has proper 
ties, — is all a product of the reflective understanding 
which, while it observes and professes to record only 
what it observes, is rather creating a metaphysic, brist- 
ling with contradictions of which it is unconscious. 

131-] APPEARANCE. 239 

B. —Appearance. 

131.] The Essence must appear or shine forth. Its 
shining or reflection in it is the suspension and trans- 
lation of it to immediacy, which, whilst as reflection- 
on-self it is matter or subsistence, is also form, reflec- 
tion-on-something-else, a subsistence which sets itself 
aside. To show or shine is the characteristic by which 
essence is distinguished from being, — by which it is 
essence ; and it is this show which, when it is developed, 
shows itself, and is Appearance. Essence accord- 
ingly is not something beyond or behind appearance, 
but just because it is the essence which exists — the 
existence is Appearance (Forth-shining). 

Existence stated explicitly in its contradiction is Appear- 
ance. But appearance (forth-shining) is not to be confused 
with a mere show (shining). Show is the proximate truth 
of Being or immediacy. The immediate, instead of being, 
as we suppose, something independent, resting on its 
own self, is a mere show, and as such it is packed or 
summed up under the simplicity of the immanent essence. 
The essence is, in the first place, the sum total of the show- 
ing itself, shining in itself (inwardly) ; but, far from abiding 
in this inwardness, it comes as a ground forward into 
existence ; and this existence being grounded not in itself, 
but on something else, is just appearance. In our imagination 
we ordinarily combine with the term appearance or pheno- 
menon the conception of an indefinite congeries of things 
existing, the being of which is purely relative, and which 
consequently do not rest on a foundation of their own, but 
are esteemed only as passing stages. But in this conception 
it is no less implied that essence does not linger behind or 
beyond appearance. Rather it is, we may say, the infinite 
kindness which lets its own show freely issue into immediacy, 
and graciously allows it the joy of existence. The appear- 
ance which is thus created does not stand on its own feet, 
and has its being not in itself but in something else. God 


who is the essence, when He lends existence to the passing 
stages of His own show in Himself, may be described as the 
goodness that creates a world : but He is also the power 
above it, and the righteousness, which manifests the merely 
phenomenal character of the content of this existing world, 
whenever it tries to exist in independence. 

Appearance is in every way a very important grade of the 
logical idea. It may be said to be the distinction of philo- 
sophy from ordinary consciousness that it sees the merely 
phenomenal character of what the latter supposes to have a 
self-subsistent being. The significance of appearance how- 
ever must be properly grasped, or mistakes will arise. To 
say that anything is a w^r? appearance maybe misinterpreted 
to mean that, as compared with what is merely phenomenal, 
there is greater truth in the immediate, in that which is. 
Now in strict fact, the case is precisely the reverse. Appear- 
ance is higher than mere Being, — a richer category because 
it holds in combination the two elements of reflection-into- 
self and reflection-into-another : whereas Being (or imme- 
diacy)is still mere relationlessness,and apparently rests upon 
itself alone. Still, to say that anything is only Siix appearance 
suggests a real flaw, which consists in this, that Appearance 
is still divided against itself and without intrinsic stability. 
Beyond and above mere appearance comes in the first place 
Actuality, the third grade of Essence, of which we shall 
afterwards speak. 

In the history of Modern Philosophy, Kant has the merit 
of first rehabilitating this distinction between the common 
and the philosophic modes of thought. He stopped half-way 
however, when he attached to Appearance a subjective 
meaning only, and put the abstract essence immovable out- 
side it as the thing-in-itself beyond the reach of our cogni- 
tion. For it is the very nature of the world of immediate 
objects to be appearance only. Knowing it to be so, we 
know at the same time the essence, which, far from staying 
behind or beyond the appearance, rather manifests its own 
essentiality by deposing the world to a mere appearance. 
One can hardly quarrel with the plain man who, in his 
desire for totality, cannot acquiesce in the doctrine of sub- 



jective idealism, that we are solely concerned with pheno- 
mena. The plain man, however, in his desire to save the 
objectivity of knowledge, may very naturally return to 
abstract immediacy, and maintain that immediacy to be true 
and actual. In a little work published under the title, 'A 
Report, clear as day, to the larger Public touching the proper 
nature of the Latest Philosophy : an Attempt to force the reader 
to understand' Fichte examined the opposition between 
subjective idealism and immediate consciousness in a popular 
form, under the shape of a dialogue between the author and 
the reader, and tried hard to prove that the subjective 
idealist's point of view was right. In this dialogue the 
reader complains to the author that he has completely failed 
to place himself in the ideahst's position, and is inconsolable 
at the thought that things around him are no real things but 
mere appearances. The affliction of the reader can scarcely 
be blamed when he is expected to consider himself hemmed 
in by an impervious circle of purely subjective conceptions. 
Apart from this subjective view of Appearance, however, we 
have all reason to rejoice that the things which environ us 
are appearances and not steadfast and independent existences ; 
since in that case we should soon perish of hunger, both 
bodily and mental. 

[a) The World of Appearance. 

132.] The Apparent or Phenomenal exists in such a 
way, that its subsistence is ipso facto thrown into abe^-- 
ance or suspended and is only one stage in the form 
itself. The form embraces in it the matter or subsist- 
ence as one of its characteristics. In this way the phe- 
nomenal has its ground in this (form) as its essence, its 
reflection-into-self in contrast with its immediacy, but, 
in so doing, has it only in another aspect of the form. 
This ground of its is no less phenomenal than itself, and 
the phenomenon accordingly goes on to an endless me- 
diation of subsistence by means of form, and thus equally 
by non-subsistence. This endless inter-mediation is at 


the same time a unity of self-relation ; and existence is 
developed into a totality, into a world of phenomena, — 
of reflected finitude. 

{b) Content and Form. 

133.] Outside one another as the phenomena in this 
phenomenal world are, they form a totality, and are 
wholly contained in their self-relatedness. In this way 
the self-relation of the phenomenon is completely speci- 
fied, it has the Form in itself: and because it is in this 
identity, has it as essential subsistence. So it comes 
about that the form is Content : and in its mature phase 
is the Law of the Phenomenon. When the form, on 
the contrary, is not reflected into self, it is equivalent 
to the negative of the phenomenon, to the non-inde- 
pendent and changeable : and that sort of form is the 
indifferent or External Form. 

The essential point to keep in mind about the oppo- 
sition of Form and Content is that the content is not 
formless, but has the form in its own self, quite as much 
as the form is external to it. There is thus a doubling of 
form. At one time it is reflected into itself; and then 
is identical with the content. At another time it is not 
reflected into itself, and then is the external existence, 
which does not at all affect the content. We are here 
in presence, implicitly, of the absolute correlation of 
content and form : viz. their reciprocal revulsion, so that 
content is nothing but the revulsion of form into con- 
tent, and form nothing but the revulsion of content into 
form. This mutual revulsion is one of the most impor- 
tant laws of thought. But it is not explicitly brought 
out before the Relations of Substance and Causality. 

Form and content are a pair of terms frequently employed 
by the reflective understanding, especially with a habit of 
looking on the content as the essential and independent, the 

133-] CONTENT AND FORM. 243 

form on the contrary as the unessential and dependent. 
Against this it is to be noted that both are in fact equally 
essential ; and that, while a formless content can be as little 
found as a formless matter, the two (content and matter) 
are distinguished by this circumstance, that matter, though 
implicitly not without form, still in its existence manifests a 
disregard of form, whereas the content, as such, is what it is 
only because the matured form is included in it. Still the 
form comes before us sometimes as an existence indifferent 
and external to content, and does so for the reason that the 
whole range of Appearance still suffers from externality. 
In a book, for instance, it certainly has no bearing upon the 
content, whether it be written or printed, bound in paper or 
in leather. That however does not in the least imply that 
apart from such an indifferent and external form, the content 
of the book is itself formless. There are undoubtedly books 
enough which even in reference to their content may Vv^ell be 
styled formless : but want of form in this case is the same as 
bad form, and means the defect of the right form, not the 
absence of all form whatever. So far is this right form from 
being unaffected by the content that it is rather the content 
itself. A work of art that wants the right form is for that 
very reason no right or true work of art : and it is a bad way 
of excusing an artist, to say that the content of his works is 
good and even excellent, though they want the right form. 
Real works of art are those where content and form exhibit 
a thorough identity. The content of the Iliad, it may be 
said, is the Trojan war, and especially the wrath of Achilles. 
In that we have everything, and yet very little after all ; for 
the Iliad is made an Iliad by the poetic form, in which that 
content is moulded. The content of Romeo and Juliet may 
similarly be said to be the ruin of two lovers through the 
discord between their families : but something more is 
needed to make Shakespeare's immortal tragedy. 

In reference to the relation of form and content in the 
field of science, we should recollect the difference between 
philosophy and the rest of the sciences. The latter are finite, 
because their mode of thought, as a merely formal act, de- 
rives its content from without. Their content therefore is 

244 ^^^ DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. [133-134. 

not known as moulded from within through the thoughts 
which he at the ground of it, and form and content do not 
thoroughly interpenetrate each other. This partition dis- 
appears in philosophy, and thus justifies its title of infinite 
knowledge. Yet even philosophic thought is often held to 
be a merely formal act ; and that logic, which confessedly 
deals only with thoughts qua thoughts, is merely formal, is 
especially a foregone conclusion. And if content means no 
more than what is palpable and obvious to the senses, all 
philosophy and logic in particular must be at once acknow- 
ledged to be void of content, that is to say, of content per- 
ceptible to the senses. Even ordinary forms of thought 
however, and the common usage of language, do not in the 
least restrict the appellation of content to what is perceived 
by the senses, or to what has a being in place and time. A 
book without content is, as every one knows, not a book 
with empty leaves, but one of which the content is as good 
as none. We shall find as the last result on closer analysis, 
that by what is called content an educated mind means no- 
thing but the presence and power of thought. But this is to 
admit that thoughts are not empty forms without affinity to 
their content, and that in other spheres as well as in art the 
truth and the sterling value of the content essentially depend 
on the content showing itself identical with the form. 

134.] But immediate existence is a character of the 
subsistence itself as well as of the form : it is conse- 
quently external to the character of the content; but in 
an equal degree this externality, which the content has 
through the factor of its subsistence, is essential to it. 
When thus explicitly stated, the phenomenon is rela- 
tivity or correlation : where one and the same thing, 
viz. the content or the developed form, is seen as the 
externality and antithesis of independent existences, 
and as their reduction to a relation of identity, in which 
identification alone the two things distinguished are 
what they are. 


{c) Relation or Correlation. 


135.] («) The immediate relation is that of the Whole 
and the Parts. The content is the whole, and consists 
of the parts (the form), its counterpart. The parts are 
diverse one from another. It is they that possess in- 
dependent being. But they are parts, only when they 
are identified by being related to one another ; or, in so 
far as they make up the whole, when taken together. 
But this 'Together 'is the counterpart and negation of 
the part. 

Essential correlation is the specific and completely uni- 
versal phase in which things appear. Everything that exists 
stands in correlation, and this correlation is the veritable 
nature of every existence. The existent thing in this way 
has no being of its own, but only in something else : in this 
other however it is self-relation ; and correlation is the unity 
of the self- relation and relation-to-others. 

The relation of the whole and the parts is untrue to this 
extent, that the notion and the reality of the relation are not 
in harmony. The notion of the whole is to contain parts : 
but if the whole is taken and made what its notion implies, 
i.e. if it is divided, it at once ceases to be a whole. Things 
there are, no doubt, which correspond to this relation : but 
for that very reason they are low and untrue existences. 
We must remember however what ' untrue ' signifies. When 
it occurs in a philosophical discussion, the term ' untrue ' 
does not signify that the thing to which it is applied is 
non-existent. A bad state or a sickly body may exist all 
the same ; but these things are untrue, because their notion 
and their reality are out of harmony. 

The relation of whole and parts, being the immediate 
relation, comes easy to reflective understanding; and for 
that reason it often satisfies when the question really turns 
on profounder ties. The limbs and organs, for instance, of 
an organic body are not merely parts of it : it is only in 
their unity that they are what they are, and they arc un- 



questionably affected by that unity, as they also in turn affect 
it. These limbs and organs become mere parts, only when 
they pass under the hands of the anatomist, whose occupa- 
tion, be it remembered, is not with the living body but with 
the corpse. Not that such analysis is illegitimate : we only 
mean that the external and mechanical relation of whole 
and parts is not sufficient for us, if we want to study organic 
life in its truth. And if this be so in organic life, it is the 
case to a much greater extent when we apply this relation to 
the mind and the formations of the spiritual world. Psycho- 
logists may not expressly speak of parts of the soul or mind, 
but the mode in which this subject is treated by the analytic 
understanding is largely founded on the analogy of this 
finite relation. At least that is so, when the different forms 
of mental activity are enumerated and described merely in 
their isolation one after another, as so-called special powers 
and faculties. 

136.] (3) The one-and-same of this correlation (the 
self-relation found in it) is thus immediately a negative 
self-relation. The correlation is in short the mediating 
process whereby one and the same is first unaffected 
towards difference, and secondly is the negative self- 
relation, which repels itself as reflection-into-self to differ- 
ence, and invests itself (as reflection-into-something-else) 
with existence, whilst it conversely leads back this re- 
flection-into-other to self-relation and indifference. This 
gives the correlation of Force and its Expression. 

The relationship of whole and part is the immediate 
and therefore unintelligent (mechanical) relation, — a 
revulsion of self-identity into mere variety. Thus we 
pass from the whole to the parts, and from the parts 
to the whole : in the one we forget its opposition to the 
other, while each on its own account, at one time the 
whole, at another the parts, is taken to be an indepen- 
dent existence. In other words, when the parts are 
declared to subsist in the whole, and the whole to con- 
sist of the parts, we have either member of the relation 


'36.] FORCE. 247 

at different times taken to be permanently subsistent, 
while the other is non-essential. In its superficial form 
the mechanical nexus consists in the parts being inde- 
pendent of each other and of the whole. 

This relation may be adopted for the progression ad 
infinitum, in the case of the divisibility of matter : and 
then it becomes an unintelligent alternation with the 
two sides. A thing at one time is taken as a whole : 
then we go on to specify the parts : this specifying is 
forgotten, and what was a part is regarded as a whole : 
then the specifying of the part comes up again, and so 
on for ever. But if this infinity be taken as the negative 
which it is, it is the negative self-relating element in 
the correlation,— Force, the self-identical whole, or im- 
manency; which yet supersedes this immanency and 
gives itself expression ;— and conversely the expression 
which vanishes and returns into Force. 

Force, notwithstanding this infinity, is also finite : for 
the content, or the one and the same of the Force and 
its out-putting, is this identity at first only for the ob- 
server : the two sides of the relation are not yet, each 
on its own account, the concrete identity of that one 
and same, not yet the totality. For one another they 
are therefore different, and the relationship is a finite 
one. Force consequently requires solicitation from 
without: it works blindly: and on account of this de- 
fectiveness of form, the content is also limited and ac- 
cidental. It is not yet genuinely identical with the 
form : not yet is it as a notion and an end ; that is to say, 
it is not intrinsically and actually determinate. This 
difference is most vital, but not easy to apprehend : it will 
assume a clearer formulation when we reach Design. 
If it be overlooked, it leads to the confusion of con- 
ceiving God as Force, a confusion from which Herder's 
God especially suffers. 


It is often said that the nature of Force itself is un- 
known and only its manifestation apprehended. But, 
in the first place, it may be replied, every article in the 
import of Force is the same as what is specified in the 
Exertion : and the explanation of a phenomenon by a 
Force is to that extent a mere tautology. What is sup- 
posed to remain unknown, therefore, is really nothing 
but the empty form of reflection-into-self, by which alone 
the Force is distinguished from the Exertion, — and that 
form too is something familiar. It is a form that does 
not make the slightest addition to the content and to 
the law, which have to be discovered from the pheno- 
menon alone. Another assurance always given is that 
to speak of forces implies no theory as to their nature : 
and that being so, it is impossible to see why the 
form of Force has been introduced into the sciences 
at all. In the second place the nature of Force is un- 
doubtedly unknown : we are still without any necessity 
binding and connecting its content together in itself, 
as we are without necessity in the content, in so far as 
it is expressly limited and hence has its character by 
means of another thing outside it. 

(i) Compared with the immediate relation of whole and 
parts, the relation between force and its putting-forth may 
be considered infinite. In it that identity of the two sides is 
realised, which in the former relation only existed for the 
observer. The whole, though we can see that it consists of 
parts, ceases to be a whole when it is divided : whereas force 
is only shown to be force when it exerts itself, and in its 
exercise only comes back to itself. The exercise is only 
force once more. Yet, on further examination even this 
relation will appear finite, and finite in virtue of this me- 
diation : just as, conversely, the relation of whole and parts 
is obviously finite in virtue of its immediacy. The first 
and simplest evidence for the finitude of the mediated re- 
lation of force and its exercise is, that each and every force 

136.] FORCE. 249 

is conditioned and requires something else tiian itself for its 
subsistence. For instance, a special vehicle of magnetic 
force, as is well known, is iron, the other properties of which, 
such as its colour, specific weight, or relation to acids, are 
independent of this connexion with magnetism. The same 
thing is seen in all other forces, which from one end to the 
other are found to be conditioned and mediated by some- 
thing else than themselves. Another proof of the finite 
nature of force is that it requires solicitation before it can 
put itself forth. That through which the force is solicited, is 
itself another exertion of force, which cannot put itself forth 
without similar solicitation. This brings us either to a 
repetition of the infinite progression, or to a reciprocity of 
soliciting and being solicited. In either case we have no 
absolute beginning of motion. Force is not as yet, like the 
final cause, inherently self-determining : the content is given 
to it as determined, and force, when it exerts itself, is, 
according to the phrase, blind in its working. That phrase 
implies the distinction between abstract force-manifestation 
and teleological action. 

(2) The oft-repeated statement, that the exercise of the 
force and not the force itself admits of being known, must be 
rejected as groundless. It is the very essence of force to 
manifest itself, and thus in the totality of manifestation, con- 
ceived as a law, we at the same time discover the force itself. 
And yet this assertion that force in its own self is unknow- 
able betrays a well-grounded presentiment that this relation 
is finite. The several manifestations of a force at first meet 
us in indefinite multiplicity, and in their isolation seem acci- 
dental : but, reducing this multiplicity to its inner unity, 
which we term force, we see that the apparently contingent is 
necessary, by recognising the law that rules it. But the dif- 
ferent forces themselves are a multiplicity again, and in their 
mere juxtaposition seem to be contingent. Hence in em- 
pirical physics, we speak of the forces of gravity, magnetism, 
electricity, &c., and in empirical psychology of the forces 
of memory, imagination, will, and all the other faculties. 
All this multiplicity again excites a craving to know these 
different forces as a single whole, nor would this craving be 


appeased even if the several forces were traced back to 
one common primary force. Such a primary force would 
be really no more than an empty abstraction, with as little 
content as the abstract thing-in-itself. And besides this, 
the correlation of force and manifestation is essentially a 
mediated correlation (of reciprocal dependence), and it must 
therefore contradict the notion of force to view it as primary 
or resting on itself. 

Such being the case with the nature of force, though we 
may consent to let the world be called a manifestation of 
divine forces, we should object to have God Himself viewed 
as a mere force. For force is after all a subordinate and 
finite category. At the so-called renascence of the sciences, 
when steps were taken to trace the single phenomena of 
nature back to underlying forces, the Church branded the 
enterprise as impious. The argument of the Church was as 
follows. If it be the forces of gravitation, of vegetation, &c. 
which occasion the movements of the heavenly bodies, the 
growth of plants, «S:c., there is nothing left for divine pro- 
vidence, and God sinks to the level of a leisurely onlooker, 
surveying this play of forces. The students of nature, it is 
true, and Newton more than others, when they employed 
the reflective category of force to explain natural pheno- 
mena, have expressly pleaded that the honour of God, as 
the Creator and Governor of the world, would not thereby 
be impaired. Still the logical issue of this explanation by 
means of forces is that the inferential understanding pro- 
ceeds to fix each of these forces, and to maintain them in 
their finitude as ultimate. And contrasted with this de- 
infinitised world of independent forces and matters, the only 
terms in which it is possible still to describe God will pre- 
sent Him in the abstract infinity of an unknowable supreme 
Being in some other world far away. This is precisely the 
position of materialism, and of modern 'free-thinking,' 
whose theology ignores what God is and restricts itself to 
the mere fact that He is. In this dispute therefore the 
Church and the religious mind have to a certain extent the 
right on their side. The finite forms of understanding 
certainly fail to fulfil the conditions for a knowledge either 


136-137-] FORCE. 251 

of Nature or of the formations in the world of Mind as they 
truly are. Yet on the other side it is impossible to overlook 
the formal right which, in the first place, entitles the empi- 
rical sciences to vindicate the right of thought to know the 
existent world in all the speciality of its content, and to seek 
something further than the bare statement of mere abstract 
faith that God creates and governs the world. When our 
religious consciousness, resting upon the authority of the 
Church, teaches us that God created the world by His 
almighty will, that He guides the stars in their courses, and 
vouchsafes to all His creatures their existence and their well- 
being, the question Why ? is still left to answer. Now it is 
the answer to this question which forms the common task of 
empirical science and of philosophy. When religion refuses 
to recognise this problem, or the right to put it, and appeals 
to the unsearchableness of the decrees of God, it is taking 
up the same agnostic ground as is taken by the mere En- 
lightenment of understanding. Such an appeal is no better 
than an arbitrary dogmatism, which contravenes the express 
command of Christianity, to know God in spirit and in truth, 
and is prompted by a humility which is not Christian, but 
born of ostentatious bigotry. 

137.] Force is a whole, which is in its own self nega- 
tive self-relation ; and as such a whole it continually 
pushes itself off from itself and puts itself forth. But 
since this reflection-into-another (corresponding to the 
distinction between the Parts of the Whole) is equally 
a reflection-into-self, this out-putting is the way and 
means by which Force that returns back into itself is 
as a Force. The very act of out-putting accordingly 
sets in abeyance the diversity of the two sides which 
is found in this correlation, and expressly states the 
identity which virtually constitutes their content. The 
truth of Force and utterance therefore is that relation, 
in which the two sides are distinguished only as Outward 
and Inward. 


138.] (y) The Inward (Interior) is the ground, when 
it stands as the mere form of the one side of the Ap- 
pearance and the Correlation, — the empty form of re- 
flection-into-self. As a counterpart to it stands the 
OutwaTd (Exterior), — Existence, also as the form of 
the other side of the correlation, with the empty char- 
acteristic of reflection-into-something-else. But Inward 
and Outward are identified : and their identity is iden- 
tity brought to fulness in the content, that unity of 
reflection-into-self and reflection-into-other which was 
forced to appear in the movement of force. Both are 
the same one totality, and this unity makes them the 

139.] In the first place then. Exterior is the same 
content as Interior. What is inwardly is also found 
outwardly, and vice versa. The appearance shows no- 
thing that is not in the essence, and in the essence there 
is nothing but what is manifested. 

140.] In the second place. Inward and Outward, as 
formal terms, are also reciprocally opposed, and that 
thoroughly. The one is the abstraction of identity with 
self; the other, of mere multiplicity or reality. But as 
stages of the one form, they are essentially identical : 
so that whatever is at first explicitly put only in the 
one abstraction, is also as plainly and at one step only 
in the other. Therefore what is only internal is also 
only external : and what is only external, is so far only 
at first internal. 

It is the customary mistake of reflection to take the 
essence to be merely the interior. If it be so taken, 
even this way of looking at it is purely external, and that 
sort of essence is the empty external abstraction. 

3nS 3iincre ber ^^atur 
2)i:in9t tm evfc^affher ©eift, 


3» glucftic^ irenn er nut 

I)ie du^ere ®cljaale treifi.* 
It ought rather to have been said that, if the essence 
of nature is ever described as the inner part, the person 
who so describes it only knows its outer shell. In 
Being as a whole, or even in mere s^nse-perception, 
the notion is at first only an inward, and for that very 
reason is something external to Being, a subjective 
thinking and being, devoid of truth. — In Nature as well 
as in Mind, so long as the notion, design, or law are at 
first th6 inner capacity, mere possibilities, they are first 
only an external, inorganic nature, the knowledge of a 
third person, alien force, and the like. As a man is 
outwardly, that is to say in his actions (not of course in 
his merely bodily outwardness), so is he inwardly : and 
if his virtue, morality, &c. are only inwardly his,— that 
is if they exist only in his intentions and sentiments, 
and his outward acts are not identical with them, the 
one half of him is as hollow and empty as the other. 

The relation of Outward and Inward unites the two rela- 
tions that precede, and at the same time sets in abeyance 
mere relativity and phenomenality in general. Yet so long 
as understanding keeps the Inward and Outward fixed in 
their separation, they are empty forms, the one as null as 
the other. Not only in the study of nature, but also of the 
spiritual world, much depends on a just appreciation of the 
relation of inward and outward, and especially on avoiding 
the misconception that the former only is the essential point 
on which everything turns, while the latter is unessential 
and trivial. We find this mistake made when, as is often 
done, the difference between nature and mind is traced back 

' Compare Goethe's indignant outcry— 'To Natural Science,' 

vol. i. pt. 3 

2)03 f>ot' xij fcd>jig 3a^te ii>icbert|D(en, 
Unb flu^e brauf, abcr tjetflof)len,— 
9Jatur Ijat wcber .^ern no^ ^Sc^aale, 
ma ifi f« mit einm 3)Jatf. 

254 ^^^ DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. [140. 

to the abstract difference between inner and outer. As for 
nature, it certainly is in the gross external, not merely to 
the mind, but even on its own part. But to call it external 
'in the gross' is not to imply an abstract externality— for 
there is no such thing. It means rather that the Idea which 
forms the common content of nature and mind, is found in 
nature as outward only, and for that very reason only in- 
ward. The abstract understanding, with its * Either— or,' 
may struggle against this conception of nature. It is none 
the less obviously found in our other modes of consciousness, 
particularly in religion. It is the lesson of religion that 
nature, no less than the spiritual world, is a revelation of 
God : but with this distinction, that while nature never gets 
so far as to be conscious of its divine essence, that conscious- 
ness is the express problem of the mind, which in the matter 
of that problem is as yet finite. Those who look upon the 
essence of nature as mere inwardness, and therefore inacces- 
sible to us, take up the same line as that ancient creed which 
regarded God as envious and jealous ; a creed which both 
Plato and Aristotle pronounced against long ago. All that 
God is, He imparts and reveals ; and He does so, at first, in 
and through nature. 

Any object indeed is faulty and imperfect when it is only 
inward, and thus at the same time only outward, or, (which 
is the same thing,) when it is only an outward and thus only 
an inward. For instance, a child, taken in the gross as 
human being, is no doubt a rational creature ; but the reason 
of the child as child is at first a mere inward, in the shape of 
his natural ability or vocation, &c. This mere inward, at the 
same time, has for the child the form of a more outward, in 
the shape of the will of his parents, the attainments of his 
teachers, and the whole world of reason that environs him. 
The education and instruction of a child aim at making him 
actually and for himself what he is at first potentially and 
therefore for others, viz. for his grown-up friends. The 
reason, which at first exists in the child only as an inner 
possibility, is actualised through education : and conversely, 
the child by these means becomes conscious that the good- 
ness, religion, and science which he had at first looked upon 


as an outward authority, are his own and inward nature. 
As with the child so it is in this matter with the adult, when, 
in opposition to his true destiny, his intellect and will remain 
in the bondage of the natural man. Thus, the criminal sees 
the punishment to which he has to submit as an act of 
violence from without : whereas in fact the penalty is only 
the manifestation of his own criminal will. 

From what has now been said, we may learn what to 
think of a man who, when blamed for his shortcomings, 
it may be, his discreditable acts, appeals to the (professedly) 
excellent intentions and sentiments of the inner self he dis- 
tinguishes therefrom. There certainly may be individual 
cases, where the malice of outward circumstances frustrates 
well-meant designs, and disturbs the execution of the best- 
laid plans. But in general even here the essential unity be- 
tween inward and outward is maintained. We are thus 
justified in saying that a man is what he does; and the 
lying vanity which consoles itself with the feeling of inward 
excellence, may be confronted with the words of the gospel : 
' By their fruits ye shall know them.' That grand saying 
applies primarily in a moral and religious aspect, but it also 
holds good in reference to performances in art and science. 
The keen eye of a teacher who perceives in his pupil 
decided evidences of talent, may lead him to state his opinion 
that a Raphael or a Mozart lies hidden in the boy : and the 
result will show how far such an opinion was well-founded. 
But if a daub of a painter, or a poetaster, soothe themselves 
by the conceit that their head is full of high ideals, their 
consolation is a poor one ; and if they insist on being judged 
not by their actual works but by their projects, we may 
safely reject their pretensions as unfounded and unmeaning. 
The converse case however also occurs. In passing judg- 
ment on men who have accomplished something great and 
good, we often make use of the false distinction between 
inward and outward. All that they have accomplished, we 
say, is outward -merely ; inwardly they were acting from 
some very different motive, such as a desire to gratify their 
vanity or other unworthy passion. This is the spirit of 
envy. Incapable of any great action of its own, envy tries 



hard to depreciate greatness and to bring it down to its own 
level. Let us, rather, recall the fine expression of Goethe, 
that there is no remedy but Love against great superiorities 
of others. We may seek to rob men's great actions of their 
grandeur, by the insinuation of hypocrisy ; but, though it is 
possible that men in an instance now and then may dis- 
semble and disguise a good deal, they cannot conceal the 
whole of their inner self, which infallibly betrays itself in 
the decursus vitae. Even here it is true that a man is nothing 
but the series of his actions. 

What is called the 'pragmatic' writing of history has in 
modern times frequently sinned in its treatment of great 
historical characters, and defaced and tarnished the true con- 
ception of them by this fallacious separation of the outward 
from the inward. Not content with telling the unvarnished 
tale of the great acts which have been wrought by the 
heroes of the world's histoiy, and with acknowledging that 
their inward being corresponds with the import of their 
acts, the pragmatic historian fancies himself justified and 
even obliged to trace the supposed secret motives that lie 
behind the open facts of the record. The historian, in that 
case, is supposed to write with more depth in proportion as 
he succeeds in tearing away the aureole from all that has 
been heretofore held grand and glorious, and in depressing 
it, so far as its origin and proper significance are concerned, 
to the level of vulgar mediocrity. To make these prag- 
matical researches in history easier, it is usual to recom- 
mend the study of psychology, which is supposed to make 
us acquainted with the real motives of human actions. The 
psychology in question however is only that petty know- 
ledge of men, which looks away from the essential and 
permanent in human nature to fasten its glance on the 
casual and private features shown in isolated instincts and 
passions. A pragmatical psychology ought at least to leave 
the historian, who investigates the motives at the ground of 
great actions, a choice between the * substantial ' interests of 
patriotism, justice, religious truth and the like, on the one 
hand, and the subjective and ' formal ' interests of vanity, 
ambition, avarice and the like, on the other. The latter 

140-142.] ACTUALITY. 257 

however are the motives which must be viewed by the 
pragmatist as really efficient, otherwise the assumption of a 
contrast between the inward (the disposition of the agent) 
and the outward (the import of the action) would fall to the 
ground. But inward and outward have in truth the same 
content ; and the right doctrine is the very reverse of this 
pedantic judiciality. If the heroes of history had been ac- 
tuated by subjective and formal interests alone, they would 
never have accomplished what they have. And if we have 
due regard to the unity between the inner and the outer, we 
must own that great men willed what they did, and did what 
they willed. 

141.] The empty abstractions, by means of which the 
one identical content perforce continues in the two cor- 
relatives, suspend themselves in the immediate transi- 
tion, the one in the other. The content is itself nothing 
but their identity (§ 138) : and these abstractions are 
the seeming of essence, put as seeming. By the mani- 
festation of force the inward is put into existence : but 
this putting is the mediation by empty abstractions. In 
its own self the intermediating process vanishes to the 
immediacy, in which the inward and the outward are 
absolutely identical and their difference is distinctly no 
more than assumed and imposed. This identity is Ac- 

C. — Actuality. 

142.] Actuality is the unity, become immediate, of 
essence with existence, or of inward with outward, j 
The utterance of the actual is the actual itself: so that 
in this utterance it remains just as essential, and only 
is essential, in so far as it is in immediate external 

We have ere this met Being and Existence as forms 
of the immediate. Being is, in general, unreflected im- 
mediacy and transition into another. Existence is im- 
mediate unity of being and reflection ; hence appearance : 


it comes from the ground, and falls to the ground. In 
actuality this unity is explicitly put, and the two sides 
of the relation identified. Hence the actual is exempted 
from transition, and its externality is its energising. 
In that energising it is reflected into itself: its exist- 
ence is only the manifestation of itself, not of an other. 

f Actuality and thought (or Idea) are often absurdly opposed. 
How commonly we hear people saying that, though no 
objection can be urged against the truth and correctness of 
a certain thought, there is nothing of the kind to be seen 
in actuality, or it cannot be actually carried out ! People 
who use such language only prove that they have not pro- 
perly apprehended the nature either of thought or of actu- 
ality. Thought in such a case is, on one hand, the synonym 
for a subjective conception, plan, intention or the like, just as 
actuality, on the other, is made synonymous with external 
and sensible existence. This is all very well in common 
life, where great laxity is allowed in the categories and the 
names given to them : and it may of course happen that 
e.g. the plan, or so-called idea, say of a certain method of 
taxation, is good and advisable in the abstract, but that no- 
thing of the sort is found in so-called actuality, or could . 
possibly be carried out under the given conditions. But 
when the abstract understanding gets hold of these cate- 
gories and exaggerates the distinction they imply into a 
hard and fast line of contrast, when it tells us that in this 
actual world we must knock ideas out of our heads, it is 
necessary energetically to protest against these doctrines, 
alike in the name of science and of sound reason. For on 
the one hand Ideas are not confined to our heads merely, 
nor is the Idea, upon the whole, so feeble as to leave the 
question of its actualisation or non-actualisation dependent 
1 on our will. The Idea is rather the absolutely active as well 
I as actual. And on the other hand actuality is not so bad and 
irrational, as purblind or wrong-headed and muddle-brained 
would-be reformers imagine. So far is actuality, as dis- 
tinguished from mere appearance, and primarily present- 
ing a unity of inward and outward, from being in contrariety 

142-143] ACTUALITY. 259 

with reason, that it is rather thoroughly reasonable, and 
everything which is not reasonable must on that very ground 
cease to be held actual. The same view may be traced in 
the usages of educated speech, which declines to give the 
name of real poet or real statesman to a poet or a statesman 
who can do nothing really meritorious or reasonable. 

In that vulgar conception of actuality which nnstakes for 
it what is palpable and directly obvious to the senses, we 
must seek the ground of a wide-spread prejudice about the 
relation of the philosophy of Aristotle to that of Plato. 
Popular opinion makes the difference to be as follows. 
While Plato recognises the idea and only the idea as the 
truth, Aristotle, rejecting the idea, keeps to what is actual, 
and is on that account to be considered the founder and 
chief of empiricism. On this it may be remarked : that 
although actuality certainly is the principle of the Aristotelian 
philosophy, it is not the vulgar actuality of what is imme- 
diately at hand, but the idea as actuality. Where then lies 
the controversy of Aristotle against Plato ? It lies in this. 
Aristotle calls the Platonic idea a mere fliVa^y, and estab- 
lishes in opposition to Plato that the idea, which both 
equally recognise to be the only truth, is essentially to be 
viewed as an ivipyna, in other words, as the inward which 
is quite to the fore, or as the unity of inner and outer, or as 
actuahty, in the emphatic sense here given to the word. 

143.] Such a concrete category as Actuality includes 
the characteristics aforesaid and their difference, and 
is therefore also the development of them, in such a 
way that, as it has them, they are at the same time 
plainly understood to be a show, to be assumed or im- 
posed (§ 141). 

(a) Viewed as an identity in general, Actuality is first 
of all Possibility — the reflection-into-self which, as in 
contrast with the concrete unity of the actual, is taken 
and made an abstract and unessential essentiality. 
Possibility is what is essential to reality, but in such a 
way that it is at the same time only a possibility. 


It was probably the import of Possibility which in- 
duced Kant to regard it along with necessity and ac- 
tuality as Modalities, 'since these categories do not in 
the least increase the notion as object, but only express 
its relation to the faculty of knowledge.' For Possi- 
bility is really the bare abstraction of reflection-into-self, 
— what was formerly called the Inward, only that it is 
now taken to mean the external inward, lifted out of 
reality and with the being of a mere supposition, and 
is thus, sure enough, supposed only as a bare modality, 
an abstraction which comes short, and, in more con- 
crete terms, belongs only to subjective thought. It 
is otherwise with Actuality and Necessity. They are 
anything but a mere sort and mode for something else : 
in fact the very reverse of that. If they are supposed, 
it is as the concrete, not merely supposititious, but intrin- 
sically complete. 

As Possibility is, in the first instance, the mere form 
of identity-with-self (as compared with the concrete 
which is actual), the rule for it merely is that a thing 
must not be self-contradictory. Thus everything is 
possible ; for an act of abstraction can give any content 
this form of identity. Everything however is as impos- 
sible as it is possible. In every content, — which is and 
must be concrete, — the speciality of its nature may be 
viewed as a specialised contrariety and in that way as a 
contradiction. Nothing therefore can be more mean- 
ingless than to speak of such possibility and impossi- 
bility. In philosophy, in particular, there should never 
be a word said of showing that 'It is possible,' or ' There 
is still another possibility,' or, to adopt another phrase- 
ology, ' It is conceivable.' The same consideration 
should warn the writer of history against employing a 
category which has now been explained to be on its 
own merits untrue : but the subtlety of the empty un- 

143-] POSSIBILITY. a6l 

derstanding finds its chief pleasure in the fantastic inge- 
nuity of suggesting possibilities and lots of possibilities. 

Our picture-thought is at first disposed to see in possi- 
bihty the richer and more comprehensive, in actuality the 
poorer and narrower category. Everything, it is said, is 
possible, but everything which is possible is not on that 
account actual. In real truth, however, if we deal with 
them as thoughts, actuality is the more comprehensive, 
because it is the concrete thought which includes possibility 
as an abstract element. And that superiority is to some 
extent expressed in our ordinary mode of thought when we 
speak of the possible, in distinction from the actual, as only 
possible. Possibility is often said to consist in a thing's 
being thinkable. ' Think,' however, in this use of the word, 
only means to conceive any content under the form of an 
abstract identity. Now every content can be brought under 
this form, since nothing is required except to separate it 
from the relations in which it stands. Hence any content, 
however absurd and nonsensical, can be viewed as possible. 
It is possible that the moon might fall upon the earth to- 
night ; for the moon is a body separate from the earth, - 
and may as well fall down upon it as a stone thrown into 
the air does. It is possible that the Sultan may become 
Pope ; for, being a man, he may be converted to the Chris- 
tian faith, may become a Catholic priest, and so on. In lan- 
guage like this about possibilities, it is chiefly the law of the 
sufficient ground or reason which is manipulated in the 
style already explained. Everything, it is said, is possible, 
for which you can state some ground. The less education a 
man has, or, in other words, the less he knows of the specific 
connexions of the objects to which he directs his observa- 
tions, the greater is his tendency to launch out into all sorts 
of empty possibilities. An instance of this habit in the 
political sphere is seen in the pot-house politician. In prac- 
tical life too it is no uncommon thing to see ill-will and 
indolence slink behind the category of possibility, in order 
to escape definite obligations. To such conduct the same 
remarks apply as were made in connexion with the law 



of sufficient ground. Reasonable and practical men refuse 
to be imposed upon by the possible, for the simple ground 
that it is possible only. They stick to the actual (not mean- 
ing by that word merely whatever immediately is now and 
here). Many of the proverbs of common life express the 
same contempt for what is abstractly possible. ' A bird in 
the hand is worth two in the bush.' 

After all there is as good reason for taking everything to 
be impossible, as to be possible: for every content (a content 
is always concrete) includes not only diverse but even oppo- 
site characteristics. Nothing is so impossible, for instance, 
as this, that I am : for ' I ' is at the same time simple self- 
relation and, as undoubtedly, relation to something else. 
The same may be seen in every other fact in the natural or 
spiritual world. Matter, it may be said, is impossible : for it 
is the unity of attraction and repulsion. The same is true of 
life, law, freedom, and above all, of God Himself, as the true, 
i. e. the triune God, — a notion of God, which the abstract 
'Enlightenment' of Understanding, in conformity with its 
canons, rejected on the allegation that it was contradictory in 
thought. Generally speaking, it is the empty understanding 
which haunts these empty forms : and the business of philo- 
sophy in the matter is to show how null and meaningless 
they are. Whether a thing is possible or impossible, de- 
pends altogether on the subject-matter : that is, on the sum 
total of the elements in actuality, which, as it opens itself 
out, discloses itself to be necessity. 

144.] (iS) But the Actual in its distinction from possi- 
bility (which is reflection-into-self) is itself only the out- 
ward concrete, the unessential immediate. In other 
words, to such extent as the actual is primarily (§ 142) 
the simple merely immediate unity of Inward and Out- 
ward, it is obviously made an unessential outward, and 
thus at the same time (§ 140) it is merely inward, the 
abstraction of reflection-into-self. Hence it is itself 
characterised as a merely possible. When thus valued 
at the rate of a mere possibility, the actual is a Con- 

J44-I45-] CONTINGENCY. 263 

tingent or Accidental, and, conversely, possibility is 
mere Accident itself or Chance. 

145.] Possibility and Contingency are the two factors 
of Actuality, — Inward and Outward, put as mere forms 
which constitute the externality of the actual. They 
have their reflection-into-self on the body of actual fact, 
or content, with its intrinsic definiteness which gives 
the essential ground of their characterisation. The 
finitude of the contingent and the possible lies, there- 
fore, as we now see, in the distinction of the form-deter- 
mination from the content : and, therefore, it depends 
on the content alone whether anything is contingent 
and possible. 

As possibility is the mere itiside of actuality, it is for that 
reason a mere outside actuality, in other words, Contingency. 
The contingent, roughly speaking, is what has the ground of 
its being not in itself but in somewhat else. Such is the 
aspect under which actuality first comes before conscious- 
ness, and which is often mistaken for actuality itself. But the 
contingent is only one side of the actual, — the side, namely, 
of reflection on somewhat else. It is the actual, in the 
signification of something merely possible. Accordingly we 
consider the contingent to be what may or may not be, 
what may be in one way or in another, whose being or 
not-being, and whose being on this wise or otherwise, 
depends not upon itself but on something else. To over- 
come this contingency is, roughly speaking, the problem of 
science on the one hand ; as in the range of practice, on the 
other, the end of action is to rise above the contingency of 
the will, or above caprice. It has however often happened, 
most of all in modern times, that contingency has been un- 
warrantably elevated, and had a value attached to it, both in 
nature and the world of mind, to which it has no just claim. 
Frequently Nature— to take it first,— has been chiefly admired 
for the richness and variety of its structures. Apart, how- 
ever, from what disclosure it contains of the Idea, this rich- 
ness gratifies none of the higher interests of reason, and in 


its vast variety of structures, organic and inorganic, affords 
us only the spectacle of a contingency losing itself in 
vagueness. At any rate, the chequered scene presented by 
the several varieties of animals and plants, conditioned as it 
is by outward circumstances,— the complex changes in the 
figuration and grouping of clouds, and the like, ought not to 
be ranked higher than the equally casual fancies of the mind 
which surrenders itself to its own caprices. The wonder- 
ment with which such phenomena are welcomed is a most 
abstract frame of mind, from which one should advance to a 
closer insight into the innerharmony and uniformity of nature. 
Of contingency in respect of the Will it is especially im- 
portant to form a proper estimate. The Freedom of the Will 
is an expression that often means mere free-choice, or the 
will in the form of contingency. Freedom of choice, or the 
capacity of determining ourselves towards one thing or 
another, is undoubtedly a vital element in the will (which in 
its very notion is free) ; bui. instead of being freedom itself, 
it is only in the first instance a freedom in form. The 
genuinely free will, which includes free choice as sus- 
pended, is conscious to itself that its content is intrinsically 
firm and fast, and knows it at the same time to be thoroughly 
its own. A will, on the contrary, which remains standing 
on the grade of option, even supposing it does decide in 
favour of what is in import right and true, is always haunted 
by the conceit that it might, if it had so pleased, have decided 
in favour of the reverse course. When more narrowly ex- 
amined, free choice is seen to be a contradiction, to this 
extent that its form and content stand in antithesis. The 
matter of choice is given, and known as a content dependent 
not on the will itself, but on outward circumstances. In 
reference to such a given content, freedom lies only in the 
form of choosing, which, as it is only a freedom in form, may 
consequently be regarded as freedom only in supposition. 
On an ultimate analysis it will be seen that the same out- 
wardness of circumstances, on which is founded the content 
that the will finds to its hand, can alone account for the will 
giving its decision for the one and not the other of the two 

145-146] CHANCE AND FREEWILL. 265 

Although contingency, as it has thus been shown, is only 
one aspect in the whole of actuality, and therefore not to be 
mistaken for actuality itself, it has no less than the rest of 
the forms of the idea its due office in the world of objects. 
This is, in the first place, seen in Nature. On the surface of 
Nature, so to speak, Chance ranges unchecked, and that 
contingency must simply be recognised, without the pre- 
tension sometimes erroneously ascribed to philosophy, of 
seeking to find in it a could-only-be-so-and-not-otherwise. 
Nor iscontingency less visible in theworld of Mind. The will, 
as we have already remarked, includes contingency under 
the shape of option or free-choice, but only as a vanishing and 
abrogated element. In respect of Mind and its works, just 
as in the case of Nature, we must guard against being so far 
misled by a well-meant endeavour after rational knowledge, 
as to try to exhibit the necessity of phenomena which are 
marked by a decided contingency, or, as the phrase is, to 
construe them a priori. Thus in language (although it be, as 
it were, the body of thought) Chance still unquestionably 
plays a decided part ; and the same is true of the creations 
of law, of art, &c. The problem of science, and especially 
of philosophy, undoubtedly consists in eliciting the necessity 
concealed under the semblance of contingency. That how- 
ever is far from meaning that the contingent belongs to our 
subjective conception alone, and must therefore be simply 
set aside, if we wish to get at the truth. All scientific re- 
searches which pursue this tendency exclusively, lay them- 
selves fairly open to the charge of mere jugglery and an 
over-strained precisianism. 

146.] When more closely examined, what the afore- 
said outward side of actuality implies is this. Con- 
tingency, which is actuality in its immediacy, is the 
self-identical, essentially only as a supposition which 
is no sooner made than it is revoked and leaves an 
existent externality. In this way, the external con- 
tingency is something pre-supposed, the immediate 
existence of which is at the same time a possibility, 
and has the vocation to be suspended, to be the pos- 


sibility of something else. Now this possibility is the 

The Contingent, as the immediate actuality, is at the same 
time the possibility of somewhat else,— no longer however 
that abstract possibility which we had at first, but the possi- 
bility which is. And a possibility existent is a Condition. 
By the Condition of a thing we mean first, an existence, in 
short an immediate, and secondly the vocation of this im- 
mediate to be suspended and subserve the actualising of 
something else. — Immediate actuality is in general as such 
never what it ought to be ; it is a finite actuality with an 
inherent flaw, and its vocation is to be consumed. But the 
other aspect of actuality is its essentiality. This is primarily 
the inside, which as a mere possibility is no less destined to 
be suspended. Possibility thus suspended is the issuing of 
a new actuality, of which the first immediate actuality was 
the pre-supposition. Here we see the alternation which is 
involved in the notion of a Condition. The Conditions of a 
thing seem at first sight to involve no bias any way. Really 
however an immediate actuality of this kind includes in it 
the germ of something else altogether. At first this some- 
thing else is only a possibility : but the form of possibility is 
soon suspended and translated into actuality. This new 
actuality thus issuing is the very inside of the immediate 
actuality which it uses up. Thus there comes into being 
quite an other shape of things, and yet it is not an other: for 
the first actuality is only put as what it in essence was. The 
conditions which are sacrificed, which fall to the ground and 
are. spent, only unite with themselves in the other actuality. 
Such in general is the nature of the process of actuality. 
The actual is no mere case of immediate Being, but, as 
essential Being, a suspension of iti own immediacy, and 
thereby mediating itself with itself. 

147.] {y) When this externality (of actuality) is thus 
developed into a circle of the two categories of possi- 
bility and immediate actuality, showing the intermedia- 
tion of the one by the other, it is what is called Keal 

M7-] NECESSITY. 267 

Possibility. Being such a circle, further, it is the 
totality, and thus the content, the actual fact or affair 
in its all-round definiteness. Whilst in like manner, if 
we look at the distinction between the two characteristics 
in this unity, it realises the concrete totality of the form, 
the immediate self-translation of inner into outer, and 
of outer into inner. This self-movement of the form is 
Activity, carrying into effect the fact or affair as a 
real ground which is self-suspended to actuality, and 
carrying into effect the contingent actuality, the condi- 
tions; i.e. it is their reflection-in-self, and their self- 
suspension to an other actuality, the actuality of the 
actual fact. If all the conditions are at hand, the fact 
(event) must be actual ; and the fact itself is one of the 
conditions : for being in the first place only inner, it is 
at first itself only pre-supposed. Developed actuality, t 
as the coincident alternation of inner and outer, the I 
alternation of their opposite motions combined into a j 
single motion, is Necessity. 

Necessity has been defined, and rightly so, as the 
union of possibility and actuality. This mode of ex- 
pression, however, gives a superficial and therefore 
unintelligible description of the very diflficult notion of 
necessity. It is difficult because it is the notion itself, 
only that its stages or factors are still as actualities, 
which are yet at the same time to be viewed as forms 
only, collapsing and transient. In the two following 
paragraphs therefore an exposition of the factors which 
constitute necessity must be given at greater length. 

When anything is said to be necessary, the first question 
we ask is, Why ? Anything necessary accordingly comes 
before us as something due to a supposition, the result of 
certain antecedents. If we go no further than mere deri- 
vation from antecedents however, we have not gained a 
complete notion of what necessity means. What is merely 


derivative, is what it is, not through itself, but through some- 
thing else ; and in this way it too is merely contingent. What 
is necessary, on the other hand, we would have be what it is 

1 through itself; and thus, although derivative, it must still 
contain the antecedent whence it is derived as a vanishing 
element in itself. Hence we say of what is necessary, ' It is.' 
We thus hold it to be simple self-relation, in which all de- 
pendence on something else is removed. 

Necessity is often said to be blind. If that means that in 
the process of necessity the End or final cause is not explicitly 
and overtly present, the statement is correct. The process 
of necessity begins with the existence of scattered circum- 
stances which appear to have no inter-connexion and no 
concern one with another. These circumstances are an 
immediate actuality which collapses, and out of this negation 
a new actuality proceeds. Here we have a content which in 
point of form is doubled, once as content of the final realised 
fact, and once as content of the scattered circumstances 
which appear as if they were positive, and make themselves 
at first felt in that character. The latter content is in itself 
nought and is accordingly inverted into its negative, thus be- 
coming content of the realised fact. The immediate circum- 
stances fall to the ground as conditions, but are at the same 
time retained as content of the ultimate reality. From such 
circumstances and conditions there has, as we say, proceeded 
quite another thing, and it is for that reason that we call this 
process of necessity blind. If on the contrary we consider 
teleological action, we haVe in the end of action a content 
which is already fore-known. This activity therefore is not 
blind but seeing. To say that the world is ruled by Pro- 
vidence imphes that design, as what has been absolutely 
pre-determined, is the active principle, so that the issue 
corresponds to what has been fore-known and fore-willed. 

The theory however which regards the world as deter- 
mined through necessity and the belief in a divine provi- 
dence are by no means mutually excluding points of view. 
The intellectual principle underlying the idea of divine 
providence will hereafter be shown to be the notion. But 
I the notion is the truth of necessity, which it contains in sus- 


pension in itself; just as, conversely, necessity is the notion 
implicit. Necessity is blind only so long as it is not under- 
stood. There is nothing therefore more mistaken than the 
charge of blind fatalism made against the Philosophy of 
History, when it takes for its problem to understand the 
necessity of every event. The philosophy of history rightly 
understood takes the rank of a Theodicee ; and those, who 
fancy they honour Divine Providence by excluding necessity 
from it, are really degrading it by this exclusiveness to a blind 
and irrational caprice. In the simple language of the religious 
mind which speaks of God's eternal and immutable decrees, 
there is implied an express recognition that necessity forms 
part of the essence of God. In his difference from God, man, 
with his own private opinion and will, follows the call of 
caprice and arbitrary humour, and thus often finds his acts 
turn out something quite different from what he had meant 
and willed. But God knows what He wills, is determmed in 
His eternal will neither by accident from within nor from 
without, and what He wills He also accomplishes, irresistibly. 
Necessity gives a point of view which has important bear- 
ings upon our sentiments and behaviour. When we look upon 
events as necessary, our situation seems at first sight to lack 
freedom completely. In the creed of the ancients, as we know, 
necessity figured as Destiny. The modern point of view, on 
the contrary, is that of Consolation. And Consolation means 
that, if we renounce our aims and interests, we do so only in 
prospect of receiving compensation. Destiny, on the contrary', 
leaves no room for Consolation. But a close examination of 
the ancient feeling about destiny, will not by any means 
reveal a sense of bondage to its power. Rather the reverse. 
This will clearly appear, if we remember, that the sense 
of bondage springs from inability to surmount the antithesis, 
and from looking at what is, and what happens, as contra- 
dictory to what ought to be and happen. In the ancient mind 
the feeling was more of the following kind : Because such a 
thing is, it is, and as it is, so ought it to be. Here there is no 
contrast to be seen, and therefore no sense of bondage, no 
pain, and no sorrow. True, indeed, as already remarked, this 
attitude towards destiny is void of consolation. But then, on 


the other hand, it is a frame of mind which does not need 
consolation, so long as personal subjectivity has not acquired 
its infinite significance. It is this point on which special 
stress should be laid in comparing the ancient sentiment with 
that of the modern and Christian world. 

By Subjectivity, however, we may understand, in the first 
place, only the natural and finite subjectivity, with its con- 
tingent and arbitrary content of private interests and in- 
clinations,— all, in short, that we call person as distinguished 
from thing : taking ' thing ' in the emphatic sense of the 
word (in which we use the (correct) expression that it is a 
question oi things and not oi persons). In this sense of sub- 
jectivity we cannot help admiring the tranquil resignation of 
the ancients to destiny, and feeling that it is a much higher 
and worthier mood than that of the moderns, who obstinately 
pursue their subjective aims, and when they find themselves 
constrained to resign the hope of reaching them, console 
themselves with the prospect of a reward in some other 
shape. But the term subjectivity is not to be confined merely 
to the bad and finite kind of it which is contrasted with the 
thing (fact). In its truth subjectivity is immanent in the fact, 
and as a subjectivity thus infinite is the very truth of the fact. 
Thus regarded, the doctrine of consolation receives a newer 
and a higher significance. It is in this sense that the 
Christian religion is to be regarded as the religion of conso- 
lation, and even of absolute consolation. Christianity, we 
know, teaches that God wishes all men to be saved. That 
teaching declares that subjectivity has an infinite value. 
And that consoling power of Christianity just lies in the fact 
that God Himself is in it known as the absolute subjectivity, 
so that, inasmuch as subjectivity involves the element of 
particularity, our particular personality too is recognised 
not merely as something to be solely and simply nullified, 
but as at the same time something to be preserved. The gods 
of the ancient world were also, it is true, looked upon as 
personal ; but the personality of a Zeus and an Apollo is 
not a real personality : it is only a figure in the mind. In 
other words, these gods are mere personifications, which, 
being such, do not know themselves, and are only known. 


An evidence of this defect and this powerlessness of the old 
gods is found even in the religious beliefs of antiquity. In 
the ancient creeds not only men, but even gods, were repre- 
sented as subject to destiny {n(npu>fiivovOT tlfjiiipfitvri), a destiny 
which we must conceive as necessity not unveiled, and thus 
as something wholly impersonal, selfless, and blind. On the 
other hand, the Christian God is God not known merely, but 
also self-knowing ; He is a personality not merely figured in 
our minds, but rather absolutely actual. 

We must refer to the Philosophy of Religion for a further 
discussion of the points here touched. But we may note in 
passing how important it is for any man to meet everything 
that befalls him with the spirit of the old proverb which de- 
scribes each man as the architect of his own fortune. That 
means that it is only himself after all of which a man has 
the usufruct. The other way would be to lay the blame of 
whatever we experience upon other men, upon unfavourable 
circumstances, and the like. And this is a fresh example of 
the language of unfreedom, and at the same time the spring 
of discontent. If man saw, on the contrary, that whatever 
happens to him is only the outcome of himself, and that he 
only bears his own guilt, he would stand free, and in every- 
thing that came upon him would have the consciousness 
that he suffered no wrong. A man who lives in dispeace 
with himself and his lot, commits much that is perverse and 
amiss, for no other reason than because of the false opinion 
that he is wronged by others. No doubt too there is a great 
deal of chance in what befalls us. But the chance has its 
root in the 'natural' man. So long however as a man is 
otherwise conscious that he is free, his harmony of soul and 
peace of mind will not be destroyed by the disagreeables that 
befall him. It is their view of necessity, therefore, which is 
at the root of the content and discontent of men, and which 
in that way determines their destiny itself. 

148.] Among the three elements in the process of 
necessity— the Condition, the Fact, and the Activity— 

a. The Condition is (") what is pre-supposed or ante- 
stated, i. e. it is not only supposed or stated, and so only 


a correlative to the fact, but also prior, and so inde- 
pendent, a contingent and external circumstance which 
exists without respect to the fact. While thus contin- 
gent, however, this pre-supposed or ante-stated term, 
in respect withal of the fact, which is the totality, is a 
complete circle of conditions. (3) The conditions are 
passive, are used as materials for the fact, into the 
content of which they thus enter. They are likewise 
intrinsically conformable to this content, and already 
contain its whole characteristic. 

b. The Fact is also (a) something pre-supposed or 
ante-stated, i.e. it is at first, and as supposed, only inner 
and possible, and also, being prior, an independent con- 
tent by itself. (jS) By using up the conditions, it receives 
its external existence, the realisation of the articles of its 
content, which reciprocally correspond to the conditions, 
so that whilst it presents itself out of these as the fact, it 
also proceeds from them. 

c. The Activity similarly has (a) an independent 
existence of its own (as a man, a character), and at the 
same time it is possible only where the conditions are 
and the fact. (/3) It is the movement which translates 
the conditions into fact, and the latter into the former 
as the side of existence, or rather the movement which 
educes the fact from the conditions in which it is poten- 
tially present, and which gives existence to the fact by 
abolishing the existence possessed by the conditions. 

In so far as these three elements stand to each other 
in the shape of independent existences, this process has 
the aspect of an outward necessity. Outward necessity 
has a limited content for its fact. For the fact is this 
whole, in phase of singleness. But since in its form 
this whole is external to itself, it is self-externalised 
even in its own self and in its content, and this exter- 
nality, attaching to the fact, is a limit of its content. 


149.] Necessity, then, is potentially the one essence, 
self-same but now full of content, in the reflected light 
of which its distinctions take the form of independent 
realities. This self-sameness is at the same time, as 
absolute form, the activity which reduces into depen- 
dency and mediates into immediacy. — Whatever is 
necessary is through an other, which is broken up into 
the mediating ground (the Fact and the Activity) and 
an immediate actuality or accidental circumstance, which 
is at the same time a Condition. The necessary, being 
through an other, is not in and for itself: hypothetical, 
it is a mere result of assumption. But this inter- 
mediation is just as immediately however the abrogation 
of itself. The ground and contingent condition is trans- 
lated into immediacy, by which that dependency is now 
lifted up into actuality, and the fact has closed with 
itself. In this return to itself the necessary simply and 
positively is, as unconditioned actuality. The necessary 
is so, mediated through a circle of circumstances : it is 
so, because the circumstances are so, and at the same 
time it is so, unmediated : it is so, because it is. 

{a) Relationship of Substantiality. 

150.J The necessary is in itself an absolute correlation 
of elements, i.e. the process developed (in the preceding 
paragraphs), in which the correlation also suspends itself 
to absolute identity. 

In its immediate form it is the relationship of Sub- 
stance and Accident. The absolute self-identity of this 
relationship is Substance as such, which as necessity 
gives the negative to this form of inwardness, and thus 
invests itself with actuality, but which also gives the 
negative to this outward thing. In this negativity, the 
actual, as immediate, is only an accidental which through 
this bare possibility passes over into another actuality. 


This transition is the identity of substance, regarded as 
form-activity (§§ 148, 149). 

151.] Substance is accordingly the totality of the Ac- 
cidents, revealing itself in them as their absolute nega- 
tivity, (that is to say, as absolute power,) and at the 
same time as the wealth of all content. This content 
however is nothing but that very revelation, since the 
character (being reflected in itself to make content) is 
only a passing stage of the form which passes away in the 
power of substance. Substantiality is the absolute form- 
activity and the power of necessity : all content is but 
a vanishing element which merely belongs to this pro- 
cess, where there is an absolute revulsion of form and 
content into one another. 

In the history of philosophy we meet with Substance as 
the principle of Spinoza's system. On the import and value 
of that much-praised and no less decried philosophy there 
has been great misunderstanding and a deal of talking since 
the days of Spinoza. The atheism and, as a further charge, 
the pantheism of the system has formed the commonest 
ground of accusation. These cries arise because of Spinoza's 
conception of God as substance, and substance only. What 
we are to think of this charge follows, in the first in- 
stance, from the place which substance takes in the sys- 
tem of the logical idea. Though an essential stage in the 
evolution of the idea, substance is not the same with abso- 
lute Idea, but the idea under the still limited form of neces- 
sity. It is true that God is necessity, or, as we may also put 
it, that He is the absolute Thing : He is however no less the 
absolute Person. That He is the absolute Person however 
is a point which the philosophy of Spinoza never reached : 
and on that side it falls short of the true notion of God 
which forms the content of religious consciousness in Chris- 
tianity. Spinoza was by descent a Jew ; and it is upon the 
whole the Oriental way of seeing things, according to which 
the nature of the finite world seems frail and transient, that 
has found its intellectual expression in his system. This 


Oriental view of the unity of substance certainly gives the 
basis for all real further development. Still it is not the final 
idea. It is marked by the absence of the principle of the 
Western World, the principle of individuality, which first 
appeared under a philosophic shape, contemporaneously 
with Spinoza, in the Monadology of Leibnitz. 

From this point we glance back to the alleged atheism of 
Spinoza. The charge will be seen to be unfounded if we 
remember that his system, instead of denying God, rather 
recognises that He alone really is. Nor can it be main- 
tained that the God of Spinoza, although he is described as 
alone true, is not the true God, and therefore as good as no 
God. If that were a just charge, it would only prove that 
all other systems, where speculation has not gone beyond 
a subordinate stage of the idea,— that the Jews and Moham- 
medans who know God only as the Lord, — and that even the 
many Christians for whom God is merely the most high, 
unknowable, and transcendent being, are as much atheists 
as Spinoza. The so-called atheism of Spinoza is merely an 
exaggeration of the fact that he defrauds the principle of 
difference or finitude of its due. Hence his system, as it 
holds that there is properly speaking no world, at any rate 
that the world has no positive being, should rather be styled 
Acosmism. These considerations will also show what is to 
be said of the charge of Pantheism. If Pantheism means, 
as it often does, the doctrine which takes finite things in 
their finitude and in the complex of them to be God, we 
must acquit the system of Spinoza of the crime of Pan- 
theism. For in that system, finite things and the world as 
a whole are denied all truth. On the other hand, the 
philosophy which is Acosmism is for that reason certainly 

The shortcoming thus acknowledged to attach to the con- 
tent turns out at the same time to be a shortcoming in 
respect of form. Spinoza puts substance at the head of his 
system, and defines it to be the unity of thought and exten- 
sion, without demonstrating how he gets to this distinction, 
or how he traces it back to the unity of substance. The 
further treatment of the subject proceeds in what is called 


the mathematical method. Definitions and axioms are first 
laid down : after them comes a series of theorems, which 
are proved by an analytical reduction of them to these un- 
proved postulates. Although the system of Spinoza, and 
that even by those who altogether reject its contents and 
results, is praised for the strict sequence of its method, such 
unqualified praise of the form is as little justified as an un- 
qualified rejection of the content. The defect of the content 
is that the form is not known as immanent in it, and there- 
fore only approaches it as an outer and subjective form. 
As intuitively accepted by Spinoza without a previous me- 
diation by dialectic. Substance, as the universal negative 
power, is as it were a dark shapeless abyss which engulfs 
all definite content as radically null, and produces from 
itself nothing that has a positive subsistence of its own. 

152,] At the stage, where substance, as absolute power, 
is the self-relating power (itself a merely inner possibility) 
which thus determines itself to accidentality, — from which 
power the externality it thereby creates is distinguished 
— necessity is a correlation strictly so called, just as in 
the first form of necessity, it is substance. This is the 
correlation of Causality. 

(b) Relationship of Causality. 

153.] Substance is Cause, in so far as substance re- 
flects into self as against its passage into accidentality 
and so stands as the primary fact, but again no less 
suspends this reflection-into-self (its bare possibility), 
lays itself down as the negative of itself, and thus pro- 
duces an Effect, an actuality, which, though so far only 
assumed as a sequence, is through the process that 
effectuates it at the same time necessary. 

As primary fact, the cause is qualified as having 
absolute independence and a subsistence maintained in 
face of the effect : but in the necessity, whose identity 

153-] CAUSE AND EFFECT. 277 

constitutes that primariness itself, it is wholly passed 
into the effect. So far again as we can speak of a 
definite content, there is no content in the effect that 
is not in the cause. That identity in fact is the absolute 
content itself: but it is no less also the form-character- 
istic. The primariness of the cause is suspended in the 
effect in which the cause makes itself a dependent being. 
The cause however does not for that reason vanish and 
leave the effect to be alone actual. For this dependency 
is in like manner directly suspended, and is rather the 
reflection of the cause in itself, its primariness: in short, 
it is in the effect that the cause first becomes actual and 
a cause. The cause consequently is in its full truth 
causa sui. — Jacobi, sticking to the partial conception of 
mediation (in his Letters on Spinoza, second edit. p. 416), 
has treated the causa sui (and the cffcctus sui is the 
same), which is the absolute truth of the cause, as a 
mere formalism. He has also made the remark that 
God ought to be defined not as the ground of things, 
but essentially as cause. A more thorough considera- 
tion of the nature of cause would have shown that 
Jacobi did not by this means gain what he intended. 
Even in the finite cause and its conception we can see 
this identity between cause and effect in point of con- 
tent. The rain (the cause) and the wet (the effect) are 
the self-same existing water. In point of form the cause 
(rain) is dissipated or lost in the effect (wet): but in that 
case the result can no longer be described as effect; for 
without the cause it is nothing, and we should have only 
the unrelated wet left. 

In the common acceptation of the causal relation the 
cause is finite, to such extent as its content is so (as is 
also the case with finite substance), and so far as cause 
and effect are conceived as two several independent exist- 
ences: which they are, however, only when we leave the 

VOL. IT. u 


causal relation out of sight. In the finite sphere we never 
get over the difference of the form-characteristics in their 
relation : and hence we turn the matter round and 
define the cause also as something dependent or as an 
effect. This again has another cause, and thus there 
grows up a progress from effects to causes ad infinitum. 
There is a descending progress too : the effect, looked 
at in its identity with the cause, is itself defined as a 
cause, and at the same time as another cause, which 
again has other effects, and so on for ever. 

The way understanding bristles up against the idea 
of substance is equalled by its readiness to use the re- 
lation of cause and effect. Whenever it is proposed to 
view any sum of fact as necessary, it is especially the 
relation of causality to which the reflective understand- 
ing makes a point of tracing it back. Now, although this 
relation does undoubtedly belong to necessity, it forms 
only one aspect in the process of that category. That 
process equally requires the suspension of the media- 
tion involved in causality and the exhibition of it as simple 
self-relation. If we stick to causality as such, we have it 
not in its truth. Such a causality is merely finite, and its 
finitude lies in retaining the distinction between cause and 
effect unassimilated. But these two terms, if they are dis- 
tinct, are also identical. Even in ordinary consciousness 
that identity may be found. We say that a cause is a cause, 
only when it has an effect, and vice versa. Both cause and 
effect are thus one and the same content : and the distinc- 
tion between them is primarily only that the one lays down, 
and the other is laid down. This formal difference however 
again suspends itself, because the cause is not only a cause 
of something else, but also a cause of itself ; while the effect 
is not only an effect of something else, but also an effect of 
itself. The finitude of things consists accordingl}'^ in this. 
While cause and effect are in their notion identical, the two 
forms present themselves severed so that, though the cause 
is also an effect, and the effect also a cause, the cause is not 
an effect in the same connexion as it is a cause, nor the 

153-154-] CAUSE AND EFFECT. 


effect a cause in the same connexion as it is an effect. This 
again gives the infinite progress, in the shape of an endless 
series of causes, which shows itself at the same time as an 
endless series of effects. 

154.] The effect is different from the cause. The 
former as such has a being dependent on the latter. 
But such a dependence is likewise reflection-into-self 
and immediacy : and the action of the cause, as it con- 
stitutes the effect, is at the same time the pre-constitution 
of the effect, so long as effect is kept separate from 
cause. There is thus already in existence another 
substance on which the effect takes place. As imme- 
diate, this substance is not a self related negativity and 
active, but passive. Yet it is a substance, and it is there- 
fore active also : it therefore suspends the immediacy it 
was originally put forward with, and the effect which 
was put into it : it reacts, i e. suspends the activity of 
the first substance. But this first substance also in the 
same way sets aside its own immediacy, or the effect 
which is put into it; it thus suspends the activity of the 
other substance and reacts. In this manner causality 
passes into the relation of Action and Reaction, or 

In Reciprocity, although causality is not yet invested 
with its true characteristic, the rectilinear movement out 
from causes to effects, and from effects to causes, is bent 
round and back into itself, and thus the progress ad in- 
finitum of causes and effects is, as a progress, really and 
truly suspended. This bend, which transforms the in- 
finite progression into a self-contained relationship, is 
here as always the plain reflection that in the above 
meaningless repetition there is only one and the same 
thing, viz. one cause and another, and their connexion 
with one another. Reciprocity — which is the develop- 
ment of this relation -itself however only distinguishes 


turn and turn about ( — npt causes, but) factors of causa- 
tion, in each of which — just because they are inseparable 
(on the principle of the identity that the cause is cause 
in the effect, and vice versa) — the other factor is also 
equally supposed. 

(c) Reciprocity or Action and Reaction. 

155.] The characteristics which in Reciprocal Action 
are retained as distinct are (a) potentially the same. 
The one side is a cause, is primary, active, passive, &c., 
just as the other is. Similarly the pre-supposition of 
another side and the action upon it, the immediate 
primariness and the dependence produced by the alter- 
nation, are one and the same on both sides. The cause 
assumed to be first is on account of its immediacy 
passive, a dependent being, and an effect. The dis- 
tinction of the causes spoken of as two is accordingly 
void : and properly speaking there is only one cause, 
which, while it suspends itself (as substance) in its effect, 
also rises in this operation only to independent exist- 
ence as a cause. 

156.] But this unity of the double cause is also (0) 
actual. All this alternation is properly the cause in act 
of constituting itself and in such constitution lies its 
being. The nullity of the distinctions is not only po- 
tential, or a reflection of ours (§ 155). Reciprocal 
action just means that each characteristic we impose is 
also to be suspended and inverted into its opposite, and 
that in this way the essential nullity of the 'moments ' is 
explicitly stated. An effect is introduced into the pri- 
mariness; in other words, the primariness is abolished : 
the action of a cause becomes reaction, and so on. 

Reciprocal action realises the causal relation in its com- 
plete development. It is this relation, therefore, in which 
reflection usually takes shelter when the conviction grows that 


things can no longer be studied satisfactorily from a causal 
point of view, on account of the infinite progress already 
spoken of. Thus in historical research the question may 
be raised in a first form, whether the character and manners 
of a nation are the cause of its constitution and its laws, or 
if they are not rather the effect. Then, as the second step, 
the character and manners on one side and the constitu- 
tion and laws on the other are conceived on the principle 
of reciprocity : and in that case the cause in the same 
connexion as it is a cause will at the same time be an effect, 
and vice versa. The same thing is done in the study of 
Nature, and especially of living organisms. There the 
several organs and functions are similarly seen to stand to 
each other in the relation of reciprocity. Reciprocity is un- 
doubtedly the proximate truth of the relation of cause and 
effect, and stands, so to say, on the threshold of the notion ; 
but on that very ground, supposing that our aim is a 
thoroughly comprehensive idea, we should not rest content 
with applying this relation. If we get no further than study- 
ing a given content under the point of view of reciprocity, 
we are taking up an attitude which leaves matters utterly 
incomprehensible. We are left with a mere dry fact ; and 
the call for mediation, which is the chief motive in applying 
the relation of causality, is still unanswered. And if we 
look more narrowly into the dissatisfaction felt in applying 
the relation of reciprocity, we shall see that it consists in the 
circumstance, that this relation, instead of being treated as an 
equivalent for the notion, ought, first of all, to be known and 
understood in its own nature. And to understand the rela- 
tion of action and reaction we must not let the two sides rest 
in their state of mere given facts, but recognise them, as has 
been shown in the two paragraphs preceding, for factors of 
a third and higher, which is the notion and nothing else. 
To make, for example, the manners of the Spartans the 
cause of their constitution and their constitution conversely 
the cause of their manners, may no doubt be in a way cor- 
rect. But, as we have comprehended neither the manners 
nor the constitution of the nation, the result of such reflec- 
tions can never be final or satisfactory. The satisfactory 


point will be reached only when these two, as well as all 
other, special aspects of Spartan life and Spartan history are 
seen to be founded in this notion. 

157.] This pure self-reciprocation is therefore Neces- 
sity unveiled or realised. The link of necessity qua 
necessity is identity, as still inward and concealed, 
because it is the identity of what are esteemed actual 
things, although their very self-sutsistence is bound to 
be necessity. The circulation of substance through 
causality and reciprocity therefore only expressly makes 
out or states that self-subsistence is the infinite negative 
self-relation — a relation negative, in general, for in it the 
act of distinguishing and intermediating becomes a pri- 
mariness of actual things independent one against the 
other, — and infinite self -relation, because their indepen- 
dence only lies in their identity, 

158.] This truth of necessity, therefore, is Freedom: 
and the truth of substance is the Notion, — an indepen- 
dence which, though self-repulsive into distinct inde- 
pendent elements, yet in that repulsion is self-identical, 
and in the movement of reciprocity still at home and 
conversant only with itself. 

Necessity is often called hard, and rightly so, if we keep 
only to necessity as such, i.e. to its immediate shape. Here 
we have, first of all, some state or, generally speaking, 
fact, possessing an independent subsistence : and necessity 
primarily implies that there falls upon such a fact something 
else by which it is brought low. This is what is hard and 
sad in necessity immediate or abstract. The identity of the 
two things, which necessity presents as bound to each other 
and thus bereft of their independence, is at first only inward, 
and therefore has no existence for those under the yoke of 
necessity. Freedom too from this point of view is only ab- 
stract, and is preserved only by renouncing all that we 
immediately are and have. But, as we have seen already. 

158- 159- ] NECESSITY AND FREEDOM. 283 

the process of necessity is so directed that it overcomes 
the rigid externality which it first had and reveals its 
inward nature. It then appears that the members, linked 
to one another, are not really foreign to each other, but only 
elements of one whole, each of them, in its connexion with 
the other, being, as it were, at home, and combining with 
itself. In this way necessity is transfigured into freedom, 
— not the freedom that consists in abstract negation, but free- 
dom concrete and positive. From which we may learn 
what a mistake it is to regard freedom and necessity as 
mutually exclusive. Necessity indeed qua necessity is far 
from being freedom : yet freedom pre-supposes necessity, 
and contains it as an unsubstantial element in itself. A good 
man is aware that the tenor of his conduct is essentially 
obligatory and necessary. But this consciousness is so far 
from making any abatement from his freedom, that without 
it real and reasonable freedom could not be distinguished 
from arbitrary choice, — a freedom which has no reality and 
is merely potential. A criminal, when punished, may look 
upon his punishment as a restriction of his freedom. Really 
the punishment is not foreign constraint to which he is sub- 
jected, but the manifestation of his own act : and if he recog- 
nises this, he comports himself as a free man. In short, 
man is most independent when he knows himself to be 
determined by the absolute idea throughout. It was this 
phase of mind and conduct which Spinoza called Amor 
intellectualis Dei. 

159.] Thus the Notion is the truth of Being and 
Essence, inasmuch as the shining or show of self- 
reflection is itself at the same time independent im- 
mediacy, and this being of a different actuality is im- 
mediately only a shining or show on itself. 

The Notion has exhibited itself as the truth of Being 
and Essence, as the ground to which the regress of 
both leads. Conversely it has been developed out of 
being as its ground. The former aspect of the advance 
may be regarded as a concentration of being into its 


depth, thereby disclosing its inner nature : the latter 
aspect as an issuing of the more perfect from the less 
perfect. When such development is viewed on the 
latter side only, it does prejudice to the method of 
philosophy. The special meaning which these super- 
ficial thoughts of more imperfect and more perfect have 
in this place is to indicate the distinction of being, as an 
immediate unity with itself, from the notion, as free 
mediation with itself. Since being has shown that it 
is an elernent in the notion, the latter has thus exhibited 
itself as the truth of being. As this its reflection in 
itself and as an absorption of the mediation, the notion 
is the pre-supposition of the immediate — a pre-sup- 
position which is identical with the return to self; and 
in this identity lie freedom and the notion. If the 
partial element therefore be called the imperfect, then 
the notion, or the perfect, is certainly a development 
from the imperfect; since its very nature is thus to 
suspend its pre-supposition. At the same time it 
is the notion alone which, in the act of supposing 
itself, makes its pre-supposition ; as has been made 
apparent in causality in general and especially in re- 
ciprocal action. 

Thus in reference to Being and Essence the Notion 
is defined as Essence reverted to the simple immediacy 
of Being,— the shining or show of Essence thereby hav- 
ing actuality, and its actuality being at the same time 
a free shining or show in itself. In this manner the 
notion has being as its simple self-relation, or as the 
immediacy of its immanent unity. Being is so poor 
a category that it is the least thing which can be shown 
to be found in the notion. 

The passage from necessity to freedom, or from 
actuality into the notion, is the very hardest, because it 
proposes that independent actuality shall be thought as 


having all its substantiality in the passing over and iden- 
tity with the other independent actuality. The notion, 
too, is extremely hard, because it is itself just this very 
identity. But the actual substance as such, the cause, 
which in its exclusiveness resists all invasion, is ipso facto 
subjected to necessity or the destiny of passing into de- 
pendency: and it is this subjection rather where the 
chief hardness Hes. To think necessity, on the con- 
trary, rather tends to melt that hardness. For thinking 
means that, in the other, one meets with one's self — 
It means a liberation, which is not the flight of ab- 
straction, but consists in that which is actual having 
itself not as something else, but as its own being and 
creation, in the other actuality with which it is bound 
up by the force of necessity. As existing in an in- 
dividual form, this liberation is called I : as developed 
to its totality, it is free Spirit ; as feeling, it is Love ; 
and as enjoyment, it is Blessedness. — The great vision 
of substance in Spinoza is only a potential liberation 
from finite exclusiveness and egoism : but the notion 
itself realises for its own both the power of necessity 
and actual freedom. 

When, as now, the notion is called the truth of Being and 
Essence, we must expect to be asked, why we do not begin 
with the notion ? The answer is that, where knowledge by 
thought is our aim, we cannot begin with the truth, because 
the truth, when it forms the beginning, must rest on mere 
assertion. The truth when it is thought must as such 
verify itself to thought. If the notion were put at the head 
of Logic, and defined, quite correctly in point of content, as 
the unity of Being and Essence, the following question would 
come up : What are we to think under the terms * Being ' 
and ' Essence,' and how do they come to be embraced in 
the unity of the Notion ? But if we answered these ques- 
tions, then our beginning with the notion would be merely 
nominal. The real start would be made with Being, as we 


have here done : with this difference, that the characteristics 
of Being as well as those of Essence would have to be ac- 
cepted uncritically from figurate conception, whereas we 
have observed Being and Essence in their own dialectical 
development and learnt how they lose themselves in the 
unity of the notion. 



160.] The Notion is the principle of freedom, the ; 
power of substance self-reaHsed. It is a systematic 
whole, in which each of its constituent functions is 
the very total which the notion is, and is put as in- 
dissolubly one with it. Thus in its self-identity it has J 
original and complete determinateness. 

The position taken up by the notion is that of absolute 
idealism. Philosophy is a knowledge through notions be- 
cause it sees that what on other grades of consciousness is 
taken to have Being, and to be naturally or immediately 
independent, is but a constituent stage in the Idea. In the 
logic of understanding, the notion is generally reckoned a 
mere form of thought, and treated as a general conception. 
It is to this inferior view of the notion that the assertion 
refers, so often urged on behalf of the heart and sentiment, 
that notions as such are something dead, empty, and ab-^ 
stract. The case is really quite the reverse. The notion is, on ; 
the contrary, the principle of all life, and thus possesses at 
the same time a character of thorough concreteness. That , 
it is so follows from the whole logical movement up to this 
point, and need not be here proved. The contrast between . 
form and content, which is thus used to criticise the notion 
when it is alleged to be merely formal, has, like all the other j 
contrasts upheld by reflection, been already left behind and ) 
overcome dialectically or through itself The notion, in \ 
short, is what contains all the earlier categories of thought 
merged in it. It certainly is a form, but an infinite and ( 


creative form, which inchides, but at the same time releases 
from itself, the fulness of all content. And so too the notion 
may, if it be wished, be styled abstract, if the name concrete 
is restricted to the concrete facts of sense or of immediate 
perception. For the notion is not palpable to the touch, 
and when we are engaged with it, hearing and seeing must 
quite fail us. And yet, as it was before remarked, the no- 
tion is a true concrete ; for the reason that it involves Being 
and Essence, and the total wealth of these two spheres with 
them, merged in the unity of thought. 

If, as was said at an earlier point, the different stages of 
the logical idea are to be treated as a series of definitions of 
\ the Absolute, the definition which now results for us is that 
the Absolute is the Notion. That necessitates a higher 
estimate of the notion, however, than is found in formal 
conceptualist Logic, where the notion is a mere form of 
our subjective thought, with no original content of its own. 
But if Speculative Logic thus attaches a meaning to the 
term notion so very different from that usually given, it may 
be asked why the same word should be employed in two 
contrary acceptations, and an occasion thus given for con- 
fusion and misconception. The answer is that, great as the 
interval is between the speculative notion and the notion of 
Formal Logic, a closer examination shows that the deeper 
meaning is not so foreign to the general usages of language 
as it seems at first sight. We speak of the deduction of a 
content from the notion, e. g. of the specific provisions of the 
law of property from the notion of property ; and so again 
we speak of tracing back these material details to the notion. 
We thus recognise that the notion is no mere form without 
a content of its own : for if it were, there would be in the 
one case nothing to deduce from such a form, and in the 
other case to trace a given body of fact back to the empty 
form of the notion would only rob the fact of its specific 
character, without making it understood. 

161.] The onward movement of the notion is no 
longer either a transition into, or a reflection on some- 
thing else, but Development. For in the notion, the 

i6i.] DEVELOPMENT. 289 

elements distinguished are without more ado at the 
same time declared to be identical with one another 
and with the whole, and the specific character of each 
is a free being of the whole notion. 

Transition into something else is the dialectical process 
within the range of Being: reflection (bringing something 
else into light), in the range of Essence. The movement of 
the Notion is development: by which that only is explicit 
which is already implicitly present. In the world of nature 
it is organic life that corresponds to the grade of the notion. 
Thus e.g. the plant is developed from its germ. The germ 
virtually involves the whole plant, but does so only ideally 
or in thought : and it would therefore be a mistake to regard 
the development of the root, stem, leaves, and other different 
parts of the plant, as meaning that they were realiter pre- 
sent, but in a very minute form, in the germ. That is the 
so-called * box-within-box ' hypothesis ; a theory which 
commits the mistake of supposing an actual existence of 
what is at first found only as a postulate of the completed 
thought. The truth of the hypothesis on the other hand 
lies in its perceiving that in the process of development the 
notion keeps to itself and only gives rise to alteration of 
form, without making any addition in point of content. It 
is this nature of the notion— this manifestation of itself in its 
process as a development of its own self,— which is chiefly 
in view with those who speak of mnate ideas, or who, 
like Plato, describe all learning merely as reminiscence. Of 
course that again does not mean that everything which is 
embodied in a mind, after that mind has been formed by 
instruction, had been present in that mind beforehand, in 
its definitely expanded shape. 

The movement of the notion is as it were to be looked 
upon merely as play : the other which it sets up is in 
reality not an other. Or, as it is expressed in the teaching \ 
of Christianity : not merely has God created a world which , 
confronts Him as an other ; He has also from all eternity 1 
begotten a Son in whom He, a Spirit, is at homr with ' 


162.] The doctrine of the notion is divided into three 
parts, (i) The first is the doctrine of the Subjective 
or Formal Notion. (2) The second is the doctrine of 
the notion invested with the character of immediacy, or 
of Objectivity. (3) The third is the doctrine of the 
Idea, the subject-object, the unity of notion and ob- 
jectivity, the absolute truth. 

The Common Logic covers only the matters which 
come before us here as a portion of the third part of 
the whole system, together with the so-called Laws of 
Thought, which we have already met ; and in the Ap- 
plied Logic it adds a little about cognition. This is 
combined with psychological, metaphysical, and all sorts 
of empirical materials, which were introduced because, 
when all was done, those forms of thought could not 
be made to do all that was required of them. But with 
these additions the science lost its unity of aim. Then 
there was a further circumstance against the Common 
Logic. Those forms, which at least do belong to the 
proper domain of Logic, are supposed to be categories 
of conscious thought only, of thought too in the character 
of understanding, not of reason. 

The preceding logical categories, those viz. of Being 
and Essence, are, it is true, no mere logical modes or 
entities : they are proved to be notions in their trans- 
ition or their dialectical element, and in their return into 
themselves and totality. But they are only in a modified 
form notions (cp. §§ 84 and 112), notions rudimentary, 
or, what is the same thing, notions for us. The anti- 
thetical term into which each category passes, or in 
which it shines, so producing correlation, is not charac- 
terised as a particular. The third, in which they return 
to unity, is not characterised as a subject or an indi- 
vidual : nor is there any explicit statement that the cate- 
gory is identical in its antithesis, — in other words, its 

i6a-i63.] SUBJECTIVE NOTION. 291 

freedom is not expressly stated : and all this because the 
category is not universality.— What generally passes 
current under the name of a notion is a mode of under- 
standing, or, even, a mere general representation, and 
therefore, in short, a finite mode of thought (op. § 62). 

The Logic of the Notion is usually treated as a science 
of form only, and understood to deal with the form of 
notion, judgment, and syllogism as form, without in the 
least touching the question whether anything is true. 
The answer to that question is supposed to depend on 
the content only. If the logical forms of the notion 
were really dead and inert receptacles of conceptions 
and thoughts, careless of what they contained, know- 
ledge about them would be an idle curiosity which the 
truth might dispense with. On the contrary they 
really are, as forms of the notion, the vital spirit of the 
actual world. That only is true of the actual which is 
true in virtue of these forms, through them and in them. 
As yet, however, the truth of these forms has never 
been considered or examined on their own account any 
more than their necessary interconnexion. 

A. — The Subjective Notion. > 

{a) The Notion as Notion. 
163.] The Notion as Notion contains the three fol- 
lowing 'moments 'or functional parts, (i) The first is 
Universality — meaning that it is in free equality with 
itself in its specific character. (2) The second is Parti- 
cularity — that is, the specific character, in which the uni- 
versal continues serenely equal to itself (3) The third 
is Individuality — meaning the reflection-into-self of the 
specific characters of universality and particularity ; 
— which negative self-unity has complete and original 
determinateness, without any loss to its self identity or 


Individual and actual are the same thing : only the 
former has issued from the notion, and i thus, as a 
universal, stated expressly as a negativ- identity with 
itself The actual, because it is at first no more than a 
potential or immediate unity of essence and existence, 
may possibly have effect : but the individuality of the 
notion is the very source of effectiveness, effective more- 
over no longer as the cause is, with a show of effecting 
something else, but effective of itself. — Individuality, 
however, is not to be understood to mean the immediate 
or natural individual, as when we speak of individual 
things or individual men : for that special phase of 
individuality does not appear till we come to the judg- 
ment. Every function and 'moment' of the notion is 
itself the whole notion (§ 160) ; but the individual or 
subject is the notion expressly put as a totality. 

(i) The notion is generally associated in our minds with 
abstract generality, and on that account it is often described 
as a general conception. We speak, accordingly, of the 
notions of colour, plant, animal, &c. They are supposed 
to be arrived at by neglecting the particular features which 
distinguish the different colours, plants, and animals from 
each other, and by retaining those common to them all. 
This is the aspect of the notion which is familiar to under- 
standing ; and feeling is in the right when it stigmatises 
such hollow and empty notions as mere phantoms and 
shadows. But the universal of the notion is not a mere 
sum of features common to several things, confronted by a 
particular which enjoys an existence of its own. It is, on 
the contrary, self-particularising or self-specifying, and with 
undimmed clearness finds itself at home in its antithesis. 
For the sake both of cognition and of our practical conduct, 
it is of the utmost importance that the real universal should 
not be confused with what is merely held in common. All 
those charges which the devotees of feeling make against 
thought, and especially against philosophic thought, and 
the reiterated statement that it is dangerous to carry thought 



to what they call too great lengths, originate in the confusion 
of these two things. 

The universal in its true and comprehensive meaning is a 
thought which, as we know, cost thousands of years to make 
it enter into the consciousness of men. The thought did 
not gain its full recognition till the days of Christianity. The 
Greeks, in other respects so advanced, knew neither God 
nor even man in their true universality. The gods of the 
Greeks were only particular powers of the mind ; and the 
universal God, the God of all nations, was to the Athenians 
still a God concealed. They believed in the same way that 
an absolute gulf separated themselves from the barbarians. 
Man as man was not then recognised to be of infinite worth 
and to have infinite rights. The question has been asked, 
why slavery has vanished from modern Europe. One 
special circumstance after another has been adduced in 
explanation of this phenomenon. But the real ground why 
there are no more slaves in Christian Europe is only to be 
found in the very principle of Christianity itself, the religion 
of absolute freedom. Only in Christendom is man respected 
as man, in his infinitude and universality. What the slave 
is without, is the recognition that he is a person : and the 
principle of personality is universality. The master looks 
upon his slave not as a person, but as a selfless thing. The 
slave is not himself reckoned an 'I'; — his 'I* is his 

The distinction referred to above between what is merely 
in common, and what is truly universal, is strikingly ex- 
pressed by Rousseau in his famous ' Contrat Social,' when 
he says that the laws of a state must spring from the 
universal will {volonte gmerale), but need not on that account 
be the will of all {volonte de ious). Rousseau would have 
made a sounder contribution towards a theory of the state, 
if he had always keep this distinction in sight. The general 
will is the notion of the will : and the laws are the special 
clauses of this will and based upon the notion of it. 

(2) We add a remark upon the account of the origin and 
formation of notions which is usually given in the Logic of 
Understanding. It is not we who frame the notions. The 


294 ^^^ DOCTRINE OF THE NOTION. [163-164. 

notion is not something which is originated at all. No 
doubt the notion is not mere Being, or the immediate : it 
involves mediation, but the mediation lies in itself. In other 
words, the notion is what is mediated through itself and 
with itself. It is a mistake to imagine that the objects 
which form the content of our mental ideas come first 
and that our subjective agency then supervenes, and by 
the aforesaid operation of abstraction, and by colligating 
the points possessed in common by the objects, frames 
notions of them. Rather the notion is the genuine first; and 
things are what they are through the action of the notion, 
immanent in them, and revealing itself in them. In re- 
ligious language we express this by saying that God created 
the world out of nothing. In other words, the world and 
finite things have issued from the fulness of the divine 
thoughts and the divine decrees. Thus religion recognises 
thought and (more exactly) the notion to be the infinite 
form, or the free creative activity, which can realise itself 
without the help of a matter that exists outside it. 

164.] The notion is concrete out and out : because the 
negative unity with itself, as characterisation pure and 
entire, which is individuality, is just what constitutes 
its self-relation, its universality. The functions or 
* moments * of the notion are to this extent indissoluble. 
The categories of 'reflection' are expected to be severally 
apprehended and separately accepted as current, apart 
from their opposites. But in the notion, where their 
identity is expressly assumed, each of its functions can 
be immediately apprehended only from and with the 
I ' Universality, particularity, and individuality are, taken 
in the abstract, the same as identity, difference, and 
ground. But the universal is the self-identical, with the 
express qualification, that it simultaneously contains the 
particular and the individual. Again, the particular is 
the different or the specific character, but with the 
qualification that it is in itself universal and is as an 


individual. Similarly-the individual must be understood 
to be a subject or substratum, which involves the genus 
and species in itself and possesses a substantial exist- 
ence. Such is the explicit or realised inseparability of 
the functions of the notion in their difference (§ 160) — 
urhat may be called the clearness of the notion, in which 
each distinction causes no dimness or interruption, but 
is quite as much transparent. 

No complaint is oftener made against the notion than 
that it is abstract. Of course it is abstract, if abstract 
means that the medium in which the notion exists is 
thought in general and not the sensible thing in its 
empirical concreteness. It is abstract also, because the 
notion falls short of the idea. To this extent the sub- 
jective notion is still formal. This however does not 
mean that it ought to have or receive another content 
than its own. It is itself the absolute form, and so is all 
specific character, but as that character is in its truth. 
Although it be abstract therefore, it is the concrete, con- 
crete altogether, the subject as such. The absolutely 
concrete is the mind (see end of § 159) — the notion when 
it exists as notion distinguishing itself from its objectivity, 
which notwithstanding the distinction still continues to 
be its own. Everything else which is concrete, however 
rich it be, is not so intensely identical with itself and 
therefore not so concrete on its own part, — least of all 
what is commonly supposed to be concrete, but is only 
a congeries held together by external influence. — 
What are called notions, and in fact specific notions, 
such as man, house, animal, &c., are simply denotations 
and abstract representations. These abstractions re- 
tain out of all the functions of the notion only that of 
universality; they leave particularity and individuality 
out of account and have no development in these 
directions. By so doing they just miss the notion. 


165.] It is the element of Individuality which first 
explicitly differentiates the elements of the notion. In- 
dividuality is the negative reflection of the notion into 
itself, and it is in that way at first the free differentiating 
of it as the first negation, by which the specific character 
of the notion is realised, but under the form of particu- 
larity. That is to say, the different elements are in 
the first place only qualified as the several elements 
of the notion, and, secondly, their identity is no less 
explicitly stated, the one being said to be the other. 
This realised particularity of the notion is the Judgment. 

The ordinary classification of notions, as clear, distinct 
and adequate, is no part of the notion ; it belongs to 
psychology. Notions, in fact, are here synonymous 
with mental representations ; a clearnoHon is an abstract 
simple representation : a distinct notion is one where, 
in addition to the simplicity, there is one ' mark ' or 
character emphasised as a sign for subjective cognition. 
There is no more striking mark of the formalism and 
decay of Logic than the favourite category of the 'mark.' 
The adequate notion comes nearer the notion proper, or 
even the Idea : but after all it expresses only the formal 
circumstance that a notion or representation agrees 
with its object, that is, with an external thing, — The 
division into what are called subordinate and co-ordinate 
notions implies a mechanical distinction of universal 
from particular which allows only a mere correlation of 
them in external comparison. Again, an enumeration 
of such kinds as contrary and contradictory, affirmative 
and negative notions, <S:c., is only a chance-directed 
gleaning of logical forms which properly belong to the 
sphere of Being or Essence, (where they have been 
already examined,) and which have nothing to do with 
the specific notional character as such. The true dis- 
tinctions in the notion, universal, particular, and in- 

165-166.] JUDGMENT. 


dividual, may be said also to constitute species of it, but 
only when they are kept severed from each other by 
external reflection. The immanent differentiating and 
specifying of the notion come to sight in the judgment : 
for to judge is to specify the notion. 

{b) The Judgment. 

166.] The Judgment is the notion in its particularity, 
as a connexion which is also a distinguishing of its 
functions, which are put as independent and yet as 
identical with themselves, not with one another. 

One's first impression about the Judgment is the in- 
dependence of the two extremes, the subject and the 
predicate. The former we take to be a thing or term 
per se, and the predicate a general term outside the said 
subject and somewhere in our heads. The next point 
is for us to bring the latter into combination with the 
former, and in this way frame a Judgment. The copula 
' is ' however enunciates the predicate 0/ the subject, 
and so that external subjective subsumption is again 
put in abeyance, and the Judgment taken as a deter- 
mination of the object itself.— The etymological meaning 
of the Judgment {Uriheil) in German goes deeper, as it 
were declaring the unity of the notion to be primary, 
and its distinction to be the original partition. And 
that is what the Judgment really is. 

In its abstract terms a Judgment is expressible in the 
proposition: 'The individual is the universal.' These 
are the terms under which the subject and the predi- 
cate first confront each other, when the functions of the 
notion are taken in their immediate character or first 
abstraction. [Propositions such as, 'The particular is 
the universal,' and 'The individual is the particular,' 
belong to the further specialisation of the judgment,] It 


shows a strange want of observation in the logic-books, 
that in none of them is the fact stated, that in every 
judgment there is such a statement made, as. The indi- 
vidual is the universal, or still more definitely, The sub- 
ject is the predicate : {e.g. God is absolute spirit). No 
doubt there is also a distinction between terms like 
individual and universal, subject and predicate : but it 
is none the less the universal fact, that every judgment 
states them to be identical. 

The copula 'is' springs from the nature of the notion, 
to be self-identical even in parting with its own. The in- 
dividual and universal are its constituents, and therefore 
characters which cannot be isolated. The earlier cate- 
gories (of reflection) in their correlations also refer to 
one another: but their interconnexion is only 'having' 
and not 'being,' i.e. it is not the identity which is 
realised as identity or universality. In the judgment, 
therefore, for the first time there is seen the genuine 
particularity of the notion : for it is the speciality or 
distinguishing of the latter, without thereby losing 

Judgments are generally looked upon as combinations of 
notions, and, be it added, of heterogeneous notions. This 
theory of judgment is correct, so far as it implies that it is 
the notion which forms the presupposition of the judgment, 
and which in the judgment comes up under the form of 
difference. But on the other hand, it is false to speak of 
notions diflfering in kind. The notion, although concrete, is 
still as a notion essentially one, and the functions which it 
contains are not different kinds of it. It is equally false to 
speak of a combination of the two sides in the judgment, if 
we understand the term ' combination ' to imply the inde- 
pendent existence of the combining members apart from the 
combination. The same external view of their nature is 
more forcibly apparent when judgments are described as 
produced by the ascription of a predicate to the subject. 

166-167.] JUDGMENT. 299 

Language like this looks upon the subject as self-subsistent 
outside, and the predicate as found somewhere in our head. 
Such a conception of the relation between subject and 
predicate however is at once contradicted by the copula ' is.' 
By saying 'This rose is red,' or 'This picture is beautiful,' 
we declare, that it is not we who from outside attach beauty 
to the picture or redness to the rose, but that these are the 
characteristics proper to these objects. An additional fault 
in the way in which Formal Logic conceives the judgment 
is, that it makes the judgment look as if it were something 
merely contingent, and does not offer any proof for the 
advance from notion on to judgment. For the notion does 
not, as understanding supposes, stand still in its own immo- 
bility. It is rather an infinite form, of boundless activity, as 
it were the puttctum saliens of all vitality, and thereby self- 
diiferentiating. This disruption of the notion into the differ- 
ence of its constituent functions, — a disruption imposed by 
the native act of the notion, is the judgment. A judgment 
therefore means the particularising of the notion. No doubt 
the notion is implicitly the particular. But in the notion as 
notion the particular is not yet explicit, and still remains in 
transparent unity with the universal. Thus, for example, as 
we remarked before (§ 160, note), the germ of a plant 
contains its particular, such as root, branches, leaves, &c. : 
but these details are at first present only potentially, and are 
not realised till the germ uncloses. This unclosing is, as it 
were, the judgment of the plant. The illustration may also 
serve to show how neither the notion nor the judgment are 
merelj' found in our head, or merely framed by us. The 
notion is the very heart of things, and makes them what they 
are. To form a notion of an object means therefore to 
become aware of its notion : and when we proceed to a 
criticism or judgment of the object, we are not performing a 
subjective act, and merely ascribing this or that predicate to 
the object. We are, on the contrary, observing the object in 
the specific character imposed by its notion. 

167.] The Judgment is usually taken in a subjective 
sense as an operation and a form, occurring merely in 
self-conscious thought. This distinction, however, has no 


existence on purely logical principles, by which the 
judgment is taken in the quite universal signification 
that ali things are a judgment. That is to say, they are 
individuals, which are a universality or inner nature in 
themselves, — a universal which is individualised. Their 
universality and individuality are distinguished, but the 
one is at the same time identical with the other. 

The interpretation of the judgment, according to 
which it is assumed to be merely subjective, as if we 
ascribed a predicate to a subject, is contradicted by the 
decidedly objective expression of the judgment. The 
rose is red ; Gold is a metal. It is not by us that some- 
thing is first ascribed to them. — A judgment is however 
distinguished from a proposition. The latter contains 
a statement about the subject, which does not stand to 
it in any universal relationship, but expresses some 
single action, or some state, or the like. Thus, ' Caesar 
was born at Rome in such and such a year, waged war 
in Gaul for ten years, crossed the Rubicon, «S:c.,' are 
propositions, but not judgments. Again it is absurd to 
say that such statements as, ' I slept well last night,* or 
' Present arms ! ' may be turned into the form of a judg- 
ment. ' A carriage is passing by ' — would be a judgment, 
and a subjective one at best, only if it were doubtful, 
whether the passing object was a carriage, or whether it 
and not rather the point of observation was in motion : 
— in short, only if it were desired to specify a conception 
which was still short of appropriate specification. 

168.] The judgment is an expression of finitude. 
Things from its point of view are said to be finite, 
because they are a judgment, because their definite 
being and their universal nature, (their body and their 
soul,) though united indeed (otherwise the things would 
be nothing), are still elements in the constitution which 
are already different and also in any case separable. 

169-170.] JUDGMENT. 301 

169.] The abstract terms of the judgment, 'The in- 
dividual is the universal,' present the subject (as nega- 
tively self-relating) as what is immediately concrete, 
while the predicate is what is abstract, indeterminate, in 
short, the universal. But the two elements are connected 
together by an 'is': and thus the predicate (in its 
universality) must also contain the speciality of the 
subject, must, in short, have particularity : and so is 
realised the identity between subject and predicate ; 
which, being thus unaffected by this difference in form, 
is the content. 

It is the predicate which first gives the subject, which 
till then was on its own account a bare mental repre- 
sentation or an empty name, its specific character and 
content. In judgments like 'God is the most real of 
all things,' or 'The Absolute is the self-identical,' God 
and the Absolute are mere names ; what they are we 
only learn in the predicate. What the subject may be 
in other respects, as a concrete thing, is no concern of 
//»5 judgment. (Cp. §31.) 

To define the subject as that of which something is said, 
and the predicate as what is said about it, is mere trifling. 
It gives no information about the distinction between the 
two. In point of thought, the subject is primarily the in- 
dividual, and the predicate the universal. As the judgment 
receives further development, the subject ceases to be 
merely the immediate individual, and the predicate merely 
the abstract universal : the former acquires the additional 
significations of particular and universal,— the latter the 
additional significations of particular and individual. Thus 
while the same names are given to the two terms of the 
judgment, their meaning passes through a series of changes. 

170.] We now go closer into the speciality of sub- 
ject and predicate. The subject as negative self-rela- 
tion (§§ 163, 166) is the stable substratum in which the 
predicate has its subsistence and where it is ideally 


present. The predicate, as the phrase is, inheres in the 
subject. Further, as the subject is in general and 
immediately concrete, the specific connotation of the 
predicate is only one of the numerous characters of the 
subject. Thus the subject is ampler and wider than the 

Conversely, the predicate as universal is self-sub- 
sistent, and indifferent whether this subject is or not. 
The predicate outflanks the subject, subsuming it under 
itself: and hence on its side is wider than the subject. 
The specific content of the predicate (§ 169) alone con- 
stitutes the identity of the two. 

171.] 'At first, subject, predicate, and the specific con- 
tent or the identity are, even in their relation, still put 
in the judgment as different and divergent. By implica- 
tion, 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 is 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 specifica- 

171.] JUDGMENT. 303 

tion of the judgment, we can see a meaning and an 
interconnexion 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 judg- 
ments follow necessarily from one another, and present 
the continuous specification of the notion ; for the judg- 
ment 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 judg- 
ments are reproductions of these spheres, but put in the 
simplicity of relation peculiar to the notion. 

The various kinds of judgment are no empirical aggre- 
gate. They are a systematic whole based on a principle ; 
and it was one of Kant's great merits to have first empha- 
sised 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, can 
not 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 this sys- 
tematisation of judgments in the circumstance that when the 
Notion, which is the unity of Being and Essence in a com- 
prehensive 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 signifi- 
cance of the predicate. That judgments differ in value is 
evident even 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 univer- 
sality as its predicate, which is an immediate, and 
therefore a sensible quality. It may be (i) 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 con- 
stitution 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 com- 
mitted 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 pre- 
dicated 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 

We may add that the untruth of the immediate iudsrment 
lies m 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 connexion 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 in- 
dividual 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 judg- 
ments 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 ex- 
press 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 rela- 
tion — 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, be- 
cause 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, whilst law in general is so far acknowledged. 
Such a dispute is precisely paralleled by a negative judg- 
ment, 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. 

(/3) Judgment of Reflection. 

174.] The individual put as individual (/. e. as re- 
flected-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 inter-connexion 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, in- 
stinct ; are examples of such relative predicates). 

The Judgment of Reflection is distinguished from the 
Qualitative judgment bj' 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 connexion 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 raisonnenient 
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 ex- 

175.] (i) 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 judg- 
ment, 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 uni- 
versal 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, &c.). By means of 
particularity the immediate individual comes to lose its inde- 
pendence, and enters into an inter-connexion 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 en- 
countered 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 how- 
ever unreal : for the universal is the ground and foundation, 
the root, and substance of the individual. If ^. ^. 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 m.eans 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, &c. 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 re- 
flection. It is what permeates and includes in it everything 

176.] The 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 im- 
portance. This unity of the content (the content being 
the universality which is identical with the negative 
reflection-in-self of the subject) makes the connexion 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. 

(y) Judgment of Necessity. 

177.] The Judgment of Necessity, i.e. of the identity 
of the content in its difference (i), contains, in the pre- 
dicate, 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 


Difitjunctive 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 un-mediated judgment of necessity, 
and finds within the sphere of Essence its parallel in the 
relation of substance. All things are a Categorical judg- 
ment. 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 connexion 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. Metal- 
leity, 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 ele- 
ment 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 circum- 
stances we must advance from the Categorical to the Hypo- 
thetical 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 Dis- 
junctive judgment. A is either B ov 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 

(S) 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, (i) 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 

Judgments, such as whether an object, action, &c. is 
good, bad, true, beautiful, &c., 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, &c. 

The Assertory judgment, although rejected by society 
as out of place when it claims authority on its own show- 
ing, has however been made the single and all-essential 
form of doctrine, even in philosophy, through the in- 
fluence of the principle of immediate knowledge and 
faith. In the so-called philosophic works which main- 
tain this principle, we may read hundreds and hundreds 
of assertions about reason, knowledge, thought, &c. 


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 un-mediated 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 sub- 
jective 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 con- 
stitutive feature of its existence, the subject (3) then ex- 
presses the connexion 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 gemis), 
being so and so constituted {particularity), is good or 
bad.] This is the Apodictic 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 con- 
stituent elements are at the same time distinguished as 
subject and predicate, the notion is put as their unity, as 
the connexion which serves to intermediate them: in 
short, as the Syllogism. 


(c) The Syllogism. 

181.] The Syllogism brings the notion and the judg- 
ment into one. It is notion, — being the simple identity 
into which the distinctions of form in the judgment have 
retired. It is judgment, — because it is at the same time 
set in reality, that is, put in the distinction of its terms. 
The Syllogism is the reasonable, and everything 

Even the ordinary theories represent the Syllogism 
to be the form of reasonableness, but only a subjective 
form ; and no inter-connexion whatever is shown to 
exist between it and any other reasonable content, such 
as a reasonable principle, a reasonable action, idea, &c. 
The name of reason is much and often heard, and 
appealed to : but no one thinks of explaining its specific 
character, or saying what it is, — least of all that it has 
any connexion with Syllogism. But formal Syllogism 
really presents what is reasonable in such a reasonless 
way that it has nothing to do with any reasonable 
matter. But as the matter in question can only be 
rational in virtue of the same quality by which thought 
is reason, it can be made so by the form only : and that 
form is Syllogism. And what is a Syllogism but an 
exphcit putting, i.e. realising of the notion, at first in 
form only, as stated above ? Accordingly the Syllogism 
is the essential ground of whatever is true : and at the 
present stage the definition of the Absolute is that it is 
the Syllogism, or stating the principle in a proposition : 
Everything is a Syllogism. Everything is a notion, the 
existence of which is the differentiation of its members 
or functions, so that the universal nature of the Notion 
gives itself external reality by means of particularity, 
and thereby, and as a negative reflection-into-self, makes 
itself an individual. Or, conversely: the actual thing is 

i8i-i82.] SYLLOGISM. 315 

an individual, which by means of particularity rises to 
universality and makes itself identical with itself — The 
actual is one : but it is also the divergence from each 
other of the constituent elements of the notion; and the 
Syllogism represents the orbit of intermediation of its 
elements, by which it realises its unity. 

The Syllogism, like the notion and the judgment, is usually 
described as a form merely of our subjective thinking. The 
Syllogism, it is said, is the process of proving the judgment. 
And certainly the judgment does in every case refer us to 
the Syllogism. The step from the one to the other however 
is not brought about by our subjective action, but by the 
judgment itself which puts itself as Syllogism, and in the 
conclusion returns to the unity of the notion. The precise 
point by which we pass to the Syllogism is found in the 
Apodictic judgment. In it we have an individual which by 
means of its qualities connects itself with its universal or 
notion. Here we see the particular becoming the mediating 
mean between the individual and the universal. This gives 
the fundamental form of the Syllogism, the gradual specifica- 
tion of which, formally considered, consists in the fact that 
universal and individual also occupy this place of mean. 
This again paves the way for the passage from subjectivity 
to objectivity. 

182.] In the 'immediate' Syllogism the several as- 
pects of the notion confront one another abstractly, and 
stand in an external relation only. We have first the 
two extremes, which are Individuality and Universality ; 
and then the notion, as the mean for locking the two 
together, is in like manner only abstract Particularity. 
In this way the extremes are put as independent and 
without affinity either towards one another or towards 
their mean. Such a Syllogism contains reason, but in 
utter notionlessness, — the formal Syllogism of Under- 
standing. In it the subject is coupled with an other 
character ; or the universal by this mediation subsumes 


a subject external to it. In the rational Syllogism, on 
the contrary, the subject is by means of the mediation 
coupled with itself. In this manner it first comes to be 
a subject : or, in the subject we have the first germ of 
the rational Syllogism. 

In the following examination, the Syllogism of Under- 
standing, according to the interpretation usually put 
upon it, is expikissed in its subjective shape ; the shape 
which it has when we are said to make such Syllogisms. 
And it really is only a subjective syllogising. Such 
Syllogism however has also an objective meaning; it 
expresses only the finitude of things, but does so in the 
specific mode which the form has here reached. In 
the case of finite things their subjectivity, being only 
thinghood, is separable from their properties or their 
particularity, but also separable from their universality : 
not only when the universality is the bare quality of the 
thing and its external inter-connexion with other things, 
but also when it is its genus and notion. 

On the above-mentioned theory of syllogism, as the ra- 
tional form par excellence, reason has been defined as the 
faculty of syllogising, whilst understanding is defined as the 
faculty of forming notions. We might object to the con- 
ception on which this depends, and according to which the 
mind is merely a sum of forces or faculties existing side by 
side. But apart from that objection, we may observe in 
regard to the parallelism of understanding with the notion, 
as well as of reason with syllogism, that the notion is as 
little a mere category of the understanding as the syllogism 
is without qualification definable as rational. For, in the 
first place, what the Formal Logic usually examines in its 
theory of syllogism, is really nothing but the mere syllogism 
of understanding, which has no claim to the honour of being 
made a form of rationality, still less to be held as the em- 
bodiment of all reason. The notion, in the second place, so 
far from being a form of understanding, owes its degradation 


to such a place entirely to the influence of that abstract mode 
of thought. And it is not unusual to draw such a distinction 
between a notion of understanding and a notion of reason. 
The distinction however does not mean that notions are of 
two kinds. It means that our own action often stops short 
at the mere negative and abstract form of the notion, when 
we might also have proceeded to apprehend the notion in its 
true nature, as at once positive and concrete. It is f>.g. the 
mere understanding, which thinks liberty to be the abstract 
contrary of necessity, whereas the adequate rational notion 
of liberty requires the element of necessity to be merged 
in it. Similarly the definition of God, given by what is called 
Deism, is merely the mode in which the understanding 
thinks God : whereas Christianity, to which He is known as 
the Trinity, contains the rational notion of God. 

(a) Qualitative Syllogism. 

183.] The first syllogism is a syllogism of definite 
being, — a Qualitative Syllogism, as stated in the last 
paragraph. Its form (i) is I — P— U : i.e. a subject 
as Individual is coupled (concluded) with a Universal 
character by means of a (Particular) quality. 

Of course the subject {terminus minor) has other 
characteristics besides individuality, just as the other 
extreme (the predicate of the conclusion, or termimis 
major) has other characteristics than mere universality. 
But here the interest turns only on the characteristics 
through which these terms make a syllogism. 

The syllogism of existence is a syllogism of understanding 
merely, at least in so far as it leaves the individual, the 
particular, and the universal to confront each other quite 
abstractly. In this syllogism the notion is at the very 
height of self-estrangement. We have in it an immediately 
individual thing as subject : next some one particular aspect 
or property attaching to this subject is selected, and by 
means of this property the individual turns out to be a 
universal. Thus we may say, This rose is red : Red is a 


colour : Therefore, this rose is a coloured object. It is this 
aspect of the syllogism which the common logics mainly 
treat of There was a time when the syllogism was regarded 
as an absolute rule for all cognition, and when a scientific 
statement was not held to be valid until it had been shown 
to follow from a process of syllogism. At present, on the 
contrary, the different forms of the syllogism are met no- 
where save in the manuals of Logic ; and an acquaintance 
with them is considered a piece of mere pedantry, of no 
further use either in practical life or in science. It would 
indeed be both useless and pedantic to parade the whole 
machinery of the formal syllogism on every occasion. And 
yet the several forms of syllogism make themselves con- 
stantly felt in our cognition. If any one, when awaking on 
a winter morning, hears the creaking of the carriages on the 
street, and is thus led to conclude that it has frozen hard in 
the night, he has gone through a syllogistic operation : — an 
operation which is every day repeated under the greatest 
variety of conditions. The interest, therefore, ought at least 
not to be less in becoming expressly conscious of this daily 
action of our thinking selves, than confessedly belongs to 
the study of the functions of organic life, such as the pro- 
cesses of digestion, assimilation, respiration, or even the 
processes and structures of the nature around us. We do 
not, however, for a moment deny that a study of Logic is no 
more necessary to teach us how to draw correct conclusions, 
than a previous study of anatomy and physiology is required 
in order to digest or breathe. 

Aristotle was the first to observe and describe the dif- 
ferent forms, or, as they are called, figures of syllogism, in 
their subjective meaning : and he performed his work so 
exactly and surely, that no essential addition has ever been 
required. But while sensible of the value of what he has 
thus done, we must not forget that the forms of the syllogism 
of understanding, and of finite thought altogether, are not 
what Aristotle has made use of in his properly philosophical 
investigations. (See § 189.) 

184.] This syllogism is completely contingent (a) in the 
matter of its terms. The Middle Term, being an abstract 


particularity, is nothing but any quality whatever of 
the subject : but the subject, being immediate and thus 
empirically concrete, has several others, and could there- 
fore be coupled with exactly as many other universalities 
as it possesses single qualities. Similarly a single par- 
ticularity may have various characters in itself, so that 
the same medius terminus would serve to connect the 
subject with several different universals. 

It is more a caprice of fashion, than a sense of its in- 
correctness, which has led to the disuse of ceremonious 
syllogising. This and the following section indicate 
the uselessness of such syllogising for the ends of truth. 

The point of view indicated in the paragraph shows 
how this style of syllogism can ' demonstrate ' (as the 
phrase goes) the most diverse conclusions. All that is 
requisite is to find a medius terminus from which the 
transition can be made to the proposition sought. An- 
other medius terminus would enable us to demonstrate 
something else, and even the contrary of the last. And 
the more concrete an object is, the more aspects it has, 
which may become such middle terms. To determine 
which of these aspects is more essential than another, 
again, requires a further syllogism of this kind, which 
fixing on the single quality can with equal ease discover 
in it some aspect or consideration by which it can make 
good its claims to be considered necessary and im- 

Little as we usually think on the Syllogism of Under- 
standing in the daily business of life, it never ceases to play 
its part there. In a civil suit, for instance, it is the duty of 
the advocate to give due force to the legal titles which make 
in favour of his client. In logical language, such a legal title 
is nothing but a middle term. Diplomatic transactions afford 
another illustration of the same, when, for instance, different 
powers lay claim to one and the same territory. In such a 
case the laws of inheritance, the geographical position of the 


country, the descent and the language of its inhabitants, or 
any other ground, may be emphasised as a mediiis terminus- 

185.] (/3) This syllogism, if it is contingent in point 
of its terms, is no less contingent in virtue of the form 
of relation which is found in it. In the syllogism, 
according to its notion, truth lies in connecting two 
distinct things by a Middle Term in which they are 
one. But connexions of the extremes with the Middle 
Term (the so-called premisses, the major and the minor 
premiss) are in the case of this syllogism much 
more decidedly immediate connexions. In other words, 
they have not a proper Middle Term. 

This contradiction in the syllogism exhibits a new 
case of the infinite progression. Each of the premisses 
evidently calls for a fresh syllogism to demonstrate it : 
and as the new syllogism has two immediate premisses, 
like its predecessor, the demand for proof is doubled at 
every step, and repeated without end. 

186.] On account of its importance for experience, 
there has been here noted a defect in the syllogism, 
to which in this form absolute correctness had been 
ascribed. This defect however must lose itself in the 
further specification of the syllogism. For we are now 
within the sphere of the notion ; and here therefore, as 
well as in the judgment, the opposite character is not 
merely present potentially, but is explicit. To work 
out the gradual specification of the syllogism, therefore, 
there need only be admitted and accepted what is at 
each step realised by the syllogism itself. 

Through the immediate syllogism I — P— U, the In- 
dividual is mediated (through a Particular) with the 
Universal, and in this conclusion put as a universal. It 
follows that the individual subject, becoming itself a 
universal, serves to unite the two extremes, and to form 
their ground of intermediation. This gives the second 


figure of the syllogism, (2) U — I — P. It expresses the 
truth of the first ; it shows in other words that the inter- 
mediation has taken place in the individual, and is thus 
something contingent. 

187.] The universal, which in the first conclusion 
was specified through individuality, passes over into the 
second figure and there now occupies the place that 
belonged to the immediate subject. In the second 
figure it is concluded with the particular. By this con- 
clusion therefore the universal is explicitly put as 
particular — and is now made to mediate between the 
two extremes, the places of which are occupied by the 
two others (the particular and the individual). This is 
the third figure of the syllogism : (3) P — U — I. 

What are called the Figures of the syllogism (being 
three in number, for the fourth is a superfluous and even 
absurd addition of the Moderns to the three known to 
Aristotle) are in the usual mode of treatment put side 
by side, without the slightest thought of showing their 
necessity, and still less of pointing out their import and 
value. No wonder then that the figures have been in 
later times treated as an empty piece of formalism. 
They have however a very real significance, derived 
from the necessity for every function or characteristic 
element of the notion to become the whole itself, and 
to stand as mediating ground. — But to find out what 
' moods ' of the propositions (such as whether they may 
be universals, or negatives) are needed to enable us to 
draw a correct conclusion in the different figures, is 
a mechanical inquiry, which its purely mechanical nature 
and its intrinsic meaninglessness have very properly 
consigned to oblivion. And Aristotle would have been 
the last person to give any countenance to those who 
wish to attach importance to such inquiries or to the 
syllogism of understanding in general. It is true that 


he described these, as well as numerous other forms of 
mind and nature, and that he examined and expounded 
their specialities. But in his metaphysical theories, as 
well as his theories of nature and mind, he was very far 
from taking as basis, or criterion, the syllogistic forms 
of the 'understanding.' Indeed it might be maintained 
that not one of these theories would ever have come into 
existence, or been allowed to exist, if it had been com- 
pelled to submit to the laws of understanding. With 
all the descriptiveness and analytic faculty which Aris- 
totle after his fashion is substantially strong in, his 
ruling principle is always the speculative notion ; and 
that syllogistic of 'understanding' to which he first gave 
such a definite expression is never allowed to intrude in 
the higher domain of philosophy. 

In their objective sense, the three figures of the syllogism 
declare that everything rational is manifested as a triple 
syllogism ; that is to say, each one of the members takes in 
turn the place ot the extremes, as well as of the mean which 
reconciles them. Such, for example, is the case with the 
three branches of philosophy ; the Logical Idea, Nature, 
and Mind. As we first see them, Nature is the middle term 
which links the others together. Nature, the totality im- 
mediately before us, unfolds itself into the two extremes of 
the Logical Idea and Mind. But Mind is Mind only when 
it is mediated through nature. Then, in the second place, 
Mind, which we know as the principle of individuality, or as 
the actualising principle, is the mean ; and Nature and the 
Logical Idea are the extremes. It is Mind which cognises 
the Logical Idea in Nature and which thus raises Nature to 
its essence. In the third place again the Logical Idea itself 
becomes the mean : it is the absolute substance both of mind 
and of nature, the universal and all-pervading principle. 
These are the members of the Absolute Syllogism. 

188.] In the round by which each constituent function 
assumes successively the place of mean and of the two 


extremes, their specific difference from each other has 
been superseded. In this form, where there is no dis- 
tinction between its constituent elements, the syllogism 
at first has for its connective link equality, or the external 
identity of understanding. This is the Quantitative or 
Mathematical Syllogism : if two things are equal to 
a third, they are equal to one another. 

Everybody knows that this Quantitative syllogism appears 
as a mathematical axiom, which like other axioms is said to 
be a principle that does not admit of proof, and which in- 
deed being self-evident does not require such proof. These 
mathematical axioms however are really nothing but logical 
propositions, which, so far as they enunciate definite and 
particular thoughts, are deducible from the universal and 
self-characterising thought. To deduce them, is to give their 
proof That is true of the Quantitadve syllogism, to which 
mathematics gives the rank of an axiom. It is really the 
proximate result of the qualitative or immediate syllogism. 
Finally, the Quantitative syllogism is the syllogism in utter 
formlessness. The difference between the terms which is 
required by the notion is suspended. Extraneous circum- 
stances alone can decide what propositions are to be pre- 
misses here : and therefore in applying this syllogism we 
make a pre-supposition of what has been elsewhere proved 
and established. 

189.] Two results follow as to the form. In the first 
place, each constituent element has taken the place and 
performed the function of the mean and therefore of the 
whole, thus implicitly losing its partial and abstract 
character (§ 182 and § 184); secondly, the mediation 
has been completed (§ 185), though the completion too 
is only implicit, that is, only as a circle of mediations 
which in turn pre-suppose each other. In the first 
figure I— P— U the two premisses I is P and P is U are 
yet without a mediation. The former premiss is mediated 
in the third, the latter in the second figure. But each 


of these two figures, again, for the mediation of its pre- 
misses pre-supposes the two others. 

In consequence of this, the mediating unity of the 
notion must be put no longer as an abstract particularity, 
but as a developed unity of the individual and universal 
— and in the first place a reflected unity of these 
elements. That is to say, the individuality gets at the 
same time the character of universality. A mean of 
this kind gives the Syllogism of Reflection. 

(3) Syllogism of Reflection. 

190.] If the mean, in the first place, be not only an 
abstract particular character of the subject, but at the 
same time all the individual concrete subjects which 
possess that character, but possess it only along with 
others, (i) we have the Syllogism of Allness. The 
major premiss, however, which has for its subject the 
particular character, the terminus medius, as allness, 
pre-supposes the very conclusion which ought rather to 
have pre-supposed it. It rests therefore (2) on an 
Induction, in which the mean is given by the complete 
list of individuals as such, — a, b, c, d, &c. On account 
of the disparity, however, between universality and an 
immediate and empirical individuality, the list can never 
be complete. Induction therefore rests upon (3) Analogy. 
The middle term of Analogy is an individual, which 
however is understood as equivalent to its essential 
universality, its genus, or essential character. — The 
first syllogism for its intermediation turns us over to the 
second, and the second turns us over to the third. But 
the third no less demands an intrinsically determinate 
Universality, or an individuality as type of the genus, 
after the round of the forms of external connexion 
between individuality and universality has been run 
through in the figures of the Reflective Syllogism. 


By the Syllogism of Allness the defect in the first 
form of the Syllogism of Understanding, noted in § 184, 
is remedied, but only to give rise to a new defect. This 
defect is that the major premiss itself pre-supposes what 
really ought to be the conclusion, and pre-supposes it as 
what is thus an 'immediate' proposition. All men are 
mortal, therefore Caius is mortal : All metals conduct 
electricity, therefore e.g. copper does so. In order to 
enunciate these major premisses, which when they say 
'all ' mean the ' immediate ' individuals and are properly 
intended to be empirical propositions, it is requisite that 
the propositions about the individual man Caius, or the 
individual metal copper, should previously have been 
ascertained to be correct. Everybody feels not merely 
the pedantry, but the unmeaning formalism of such 
syllogisms as : All men are mortal, Caius is a man, 
therefore Caius is mortal. 

The syllogism of Allness hands us over to the syllogism 
of Induction, in which the individuals form the coupling 
mean. ' All metals conduct electricity,' is an empirical pro- 
position derived from experiments made with each of the 
individual metals. We thus get the syllogism of Induction 

in the following shape P — I — U. 


Gold is a metal : silver is a metal : so is copper, lead, &c. 
This is the major premiss. Then comes the minor premiss : 
All these bodies conduct electricity ; and hence results the 
conclusion, that all metals conduct electricity. The point 
which brings about a combination here is individuality in the 
shape of allness. But this syllogism once more hands us 
over to another syllogism. Its mean is constituted by the 
complete list of the individuals. That pre-supposes that 
over a certain region observation and experience are com- 
pleted. But the things in question here are individuals ; and 
VOL. II. z 


so again we are landed in the progression ad injinitum 
(i, i, i, &c.). In other words, in no Induction can we ever 
exhaust the individuals. The 'all metals,' 'all plants,' of our 
statements, mean only all the metals, all the plants, which 
we have hitherto become acquainted with. Every Induction 
is consequently imperfect. One and the other observation, 
many it may be, have been made : but all the cases, all the 
individuals, have not been observed. By this defect of In- 
duction we are led on to Analogy. In the syllogism of 
Analogy we conclude from the fact that some things of a 
certain kind possess a certain quality, that the same quality 
is possessed by other things of the same kind. It would be 
a syllogism of Analogy, for example, if we said : In all 
planets hitherto discovered this has been found to be the 
law of motion, consequently a newly discovered planet will 
probably move according to the same law. In the experiential 
sciences Analogy' deservedly occupies a high place, and has 
led to results of the highest importance. Analogy is the in- 
stinct of reason, creating an anticipation that this or that 
characteristic, which experience has discovered, has its root 
in the inner nature or kind of an object, and arguing on the 
faith of that anticipation. Analogy it should be added may 
be superficial or it may be thorough. It would certainly be 
a very bad analogy to argue that since the man Caius is 
a scholar, and Titus also is a man, Titus will probably be a 
scholar too: and it would be bad because a man's learning 
is not an unconditional consequence of his manhood. Super- 
ficial analogies of this kind however are very frequently met 
with. It is often argued, for example : The earth is a celestial 
body, so is the moon, and it is therefore in all probability 
inhabited as well as the earth. The analogy is not one whit 
better than that previously mentioned. That the earth is 
inhabited does not depend on its being a celestial body, but 
on other conditions, such as the presence of an atmosphere, 
and of water in connexion with the atmosphere, &c. : and 
these are precisely the conditions which the moon, so far as 
we know, does not possess. What has in modern times been 
called the Philosophy of Nature consists principally in a 
frivolous play with empty and external analogies, which, 


however, claim to be considered profound results. The 
natural consequence has been to discredit the philosophical 
study of nature. 

(y) Syllogism of Necessity. 

191.] The Syllogism of Necessity, if we look to its 
purely abstract characteristics or terms, has for its mean 
the Universal in the same way as the Syllogism of 
Reflection has the Individual, the latter being in the 
second, and the former in the third figure (§ 187). The 
Universal is expressly put as in its very nature intrinsic- 
ally determinate. In the first place (r) the Particular, 
meaning by the particular the specific genus or species, 
is the term for mediating the extremes — as is done in 
the Categorical syllogism. (2) The same office is per- 
formed by the Individual, taking the individual as 
immediate being, so that it is as much mediating as 
mediated :— as happens in the Hypothetical syllogism. 
(3) We have also the mediating Universal explicitly put 
as a totality of its particular members, and as a single 
particular, or exclusive individuality :— which happens 
in the Disjunctive syllogism. It is one and the same 
universal which is in these terms of the Disjunctive 
syllogism ; they are only different forms for express- 
ing it. 

192.J The syllogism has been taken conformably to 
the distinctions which it contains ; and the general 
result of the course of their evolution has been to show 
tha,t these differences work out their own abolition and 
destroy the notion's outwardness to its own self. And, 
as we see, in the first place, (i) each of the dynamic 
elements has proved itself the systematic whole of these 
elements, in short a whole syllogism, — they are conse- 
quently implicitly identical. In the second place, (2) the 
negation of their distinctions and of the mediation of 


one through another constitutes independency; so that 
it is one and the same universal which is in these forms, 
and which is in this way also explicitly put as their 
identity. In this ideality of its dynamic elements, the 
syllogistic process may be described as essentially in- 
volving the negation of the characters through which its 
course runs, as being a mediative process through the 
suspension of mediation, — as coupling the subject not 
with another, but with a suspended other, in one word, 
with itself. 

In the common logic, the doctrine of syllogism is supposed 
to conclude the first part, or what is called the ' elementary ' 
theory. It is followed by the second part, the doctrine of 
Method, which proposes to show how a body of scientific 
knowledge is created by applying to existing objects the 
forms of thought discussed in the elementary part. Whence 
these objects originate, and what the thought of objectivity 
generally speaking implies, are questions to which the Logic 
of Understanding vouchsafes no further answer. It believes 
thought to be a mere subjective and formal activity, and the 
objective fact, which confronts thought, to have a separate 
and permanent being. But this dualism is a half-truth : and 
there is a want of intelligence in the procedure which at once 
accepts, without inquiring into their origin, the categories of 
subjectivity and objectivity. Both of them, subjectivity as 
well as objectivity, are certainly thoughts — even specific 
thoughts : which must show themselves founded on the 
universal and self-determining thought. This has here been 
done— at least for subjectivity. We have recognised it, or 
the notion subjective (which includes the notion proper, the 
judgment, and the syllogism) as the dialectical result of the 
first two main stages of the Logical Idea, Being and Essence. 
To say that the notion is subjective and subjective only, is so 
far quite correct : for the notion certainly is subjectivity itself 
Not less subjective than the notion are also the judgment 
and syllogism : and these forms, together with the so-called 
Laws of Thought (the Laws of Identity, Difference, and 


Sufficient Ground), make up the contents of what is called 
the ' Elements ' in the common logic. But we may go a 
step further. This subjectivity, with its functions of notion, 
judgment, and syllogism, is not like a set of empty compart- 
ments which has to get filled from without by separately- 
existing objects. It would be truer to say that it is sub- 
jectivity itself which, as dialectical, breaks through its own 
barriers and opens out into objectivity by means of the 

193.] This ' realisation ' of the notion,— a realisation 
in which the universal is this one totality withdrawn 
back into itself (of which the different members are no 
less the whole, and) which has given itself a character 
of 'immediate ' unity by merging the mediation: — this 
realisation of the notion is the Object, 

This transition from the Subject, the notion in general, 
and especially the syllogism, to the Object, may, at the 
first glance, appear strange, particularly if we look only 
at the Syllogism of Understanding, and suppose syllo- 
gising to be only an act of consciousness. But that 
strangeness imposes on us no obligation to seek to 
make the transition plausible to the image-loving con- 
ception. The only question which can be considered 
is, whether our usual conception of what is called an 
' object ' approximately corresponds to the object as 
here described. By ' object ' is commonly understood 
not an abstract being, or an existing thing merely, or 
any sort of actuality, but something independent, con- 
crete, and self-complete, this completeness being the 
totality of the notion. That the object [Objekt) is also 
an object to us {Gegenstand) and is external to some- 
thing else, will be more precisely seen, when it puts 
itself in contrast with the subjective. At present, as that 
into which the notion has passed from its mediation, it 
is only immediate object and nothing more, just as the 


notion is not describable as subjective, previous to the 
subsequent contrast with objectivity. 

Further, the Object in general is the one total, in 
itself still unspecified, the Objective World as a whole, 
God, the Absolute Object. The object, however, has 
also difference attaching to it : it falls into pieces, in- 
definite in their multiplicity (making an objective world); 
and each of these individualised parts is also an object, 
an intrinsically concrete, complete, and independent 

Objectivity has been compared with being, existence, 
and actuality ; and so too the transition to existence and 
actuality (not to being, for /'/ is the primary and quite 
abstract immediate) may be compared with the transition 
to objectivity. The ground from which existence pro- 
ceeds, and the reflective correlation which is merged in 
actuality, are nothing but the as yet imperfectly realised 
notion. They are only abstract aspects of it, — the 
ground being its merely essence-bred unity, and the 
correlation only the connexion of real sides which are 
supposed to have only self reflected being. The notion 
is the unity of the two; and the object is not a merely 
essence-like, but inherently universal unity, not only 
containing real distinctions, but containing them as 
totalities in itself 

It is evident that in all these transitions there is a 
further purpose than merely to show the indissoluble 
connexion between the notion or thought and being. 
It has been more than once remarked that being is 
nothing more than simple self relation, and this meagre 
category is certainly implied in the notion, or even in 
thought. But the meaning of these transitions is not to 
accept characteristics or categories, as only implied; — 
a fault which mars even the Ontological argument for 
God's existence, when it is stated that being is one 

193-] NOTION AND OBJECT. 33 1 

among realities. What such a transition does, is to take 
the notion, as it ought to be primarily characterised per 
se as a notion, with which this remote abstraction of 
being, or eve of objectivity, has as yet nothing to do, 
and looking at its specific character as a notional 
character alone, to see when and whether it passes over 
into a form which is different from the character as it 
belongs to the notion and appears in it. 

If the Object, the product of this transition, be brought 
into relation with the notion, which, so far as its special 
form is concerned, has vanished in it, we may give a 
correct expression to the result, by saying that notion 
(or, if it be preferred, subjectivity) and object are im- 
plicitly the same. But it is equally correct to say that 
they are different. In short, the two modes of expres- 
sion are equally correct and incorrect. The true state 
of the case can be presented in no expressions of this 
kind. The 'implicit' is an abstraction, still more 
partial and inadequate than the notion itself, of which 
the inadequacy is upon the whole suspended, by suspend- 
ing itself to the object with its opposite inadequacy. 
Hence that implicitness also must, by its negation, give 
itself the character of explicitness. As in every case, 
speculative identity is not the above-mentioned triviality 
of an implicit identity of subject and object. This has 
been said often enough. Yet it could not be too 
often repeated, if the intention were really to put an 
end to the stale and purely malicious misconception in 
regard to this identity: — of which however there can be 
no reasonable expectation. 

Looking at that unity in a quite general way, and 
raising no objection to the one-sided form of its implicit- 
ness, we find it as the well-known pre-supposition of 
the ontological proof for the existence of God. There, 
it appears as supreme^perfection. Anselm, in whom the 


notable suggestion of this proof first occurs, no doubt 
originally restricted himself to the question whether 
a certain content was in our thinking only. His 
words are briefly these : ' Certe id quo majus cogitari 
nequit, non potest esse in intellectu solo. Si enim vel in 
solo intellectu est, potest cogitari esse et in re : quod majus 
est. Si ergo id quo majus cogitari non potest, est in solo 
intellectu ; id ipsum quo majus cogitari non potest, est quo 
majus cogitari potest. Sed certe hoc esse non potest.' 
(Certainly that, than which nothing greater can be 
thought, cannot be in the intellect alone. For even if it 
is in the intellect alone, it can also be thought to exist 
in fact: and that is greater. If then that, than which 
nothing greater can be thought, is in the intellect alone; 
then the very thing, which is greater than anything 
which can be thought, can be exceeded in thought. 
But certainly this is impossible.) The same unity 
received a more objective expression in Descartes, 
Spinoza and others : while the theory of immediate cer- 
titude or faith presents it, on the contrary, in somewhat 
the same subjective aspect as Anselm. These Intui- 
tionalists hold that in our consciousness the attribute of 
being is indissolubly associated with the conception of 
God. The theory of faith brings even the conception of 
external finite things under the same inseparable nexus 
between the consciousness and the being of them, on 
the ground that perception presents them conjoined with 
the attribute of existence : and in so saying, it is no 
doubt correct. It would be utterly absurd, however, to 
suppose that the association in consciousness between 
existence and our conception of finite things is of the 
same description as the association between existence 
and the conception of God. To do so would be to 
forget that finite things are changeable and transient, 
/. e. that existence is associated with them for a season, 


but that the association is neither eternal nor insepar- 
able. Speaking in the phraseology of the categories 
before us, we may say that, to call a thing finite, means 
that its objective existence is not in harmony with the 
thought of it, with its universal calling, its kind and its 
end. Anselm, consequently, neglecting any such con- 
junction as occurs in finite things, has with good reason 
pronounced that only to be the Perfect which exists 
not merely in a subjective, but also in an objective 
mode. It does no good to put on airs against the On- 
tological proof, as it is called, and against Anselm thus 
defining the Perfect. The argument is one latent in 
every unsophisticated mind, and it recurs in every 
philosophy, even against its wish and without its 
knowledge — as may be seen in the theory of immediate 

The real fault in the argumentation of Anselm is one 
which is chargeable on Descartes and Spinoza, as well 
as on the theory of immediate knowledge. It is this. 
This unity which is enunciated as the supreme perfec- 
tion or, it may be, subjectively, as the true knowledge, 
is pre-supposed, i. e. it is assumed only as potential. 
This identity, abstract as it thus appears, between the 
two categories may be at once met and opposed by their 
diversity; and this was the very answer given to Anselm 
long ago. In short, the conception and existence of the 
finite is set in antagonism to the infinite ; for, as pre- 
viously remarked, the finite possesses objectivity of 
such a kind as is at once incongruous with and difterent 
from the end or aim, its essence and notion. Or, the 
finite is such a conception and in such a way subjective, 
that it does not involve existence. This objection and 
this antithesis are got over, only by showing the finite 
to be untrue and these categories in their separation to 
be inadequate and null. Their identity is thus seen to 

334 T^^ DOCTRINE OF THE NOTION. [193-194. 

be one into which they spontaneously pass over, and in 
which they are reconciled. 

B. — The Object. 

194.] The Object is immediate being, because in- 
sensible to difference, which in it has suspended itself. 
It is, further, a totality in itself, whilst at the same time 
(as this identity is only the implicit identity of its dynamic 
elements) it is equally indifferent to its immediate unity. 
It thus breaks up into distinct parts, each of which is 
\ itself the totality. Hence the object is the absolute 
contradiction between a complete independence of the 
multiplicity, and the equally complete non-independence 
of the different pieces. 

The definition, which states that the Absolute is the 
Object, is most definitely implied in the Leibnitzian 
Monad. The Monads are each an object, but an object 
implicitly ' representative,' indeed the total representa- 
tion of the world. In the simple unity of the Monad, all 
difference is merely ideal, not independent or real. 
Nothing from without comes into the monad : It is the 
whole notion in itself, only distinguished by its own 
greater or less development. None the less, this simple 
totality parts into the absolute multeity of differences, 
each becoming an independent monad. In the monad 
of monads, and the Pre-established Harmony of their 
inward developments, these substances are in like 
manner again reduced to 'ideality' and unsubstantiality. 
The philosophy of Leibnitz, therefore, represents con- 
tradiction in its complete development. 

As Fichte in modern times has especially and with justice 
insisted, the theory which regards the Absolute or God as 
the Object and there stops, expresses the point of view taken 
by superstition and slavish fear. No doubt God is the 
Object, and, indeed, the Object out and out, confronted with 

194-] THE OBJECT. 335 

which our particular or subjective opinions and desires have 
no truth and no vahdity. As absolute object however, 
God does not therefore take up the position of a dark and 
hostile power over against subjectivity. He rather involves 
it as a vital element in Himself Such also is the meaning of 
the Christian doctrine, according to which God has willed 
that all men should be saved and all attain blessedness. The 
salvation and the blessedness of men are attained when they 
come to feel themselves at one with God, so that God, on the 
other hand, ceases to be for them mere object, and, in that 
way, an object of fear and terror, as was especially the case 
with the religious consciousness of the Romans. But God 
in the Christian religion is also known as Love, because in 
His Son, who is one with Him, He has revealed Himself to 
men as a man amongst men, and thereby redeemed them. 
All which is only another way of saying that the antithesis 
of subjective and objective is implicitly overcome, and that it 
is our affair to participate in this redemption by laying aside 
our immediate subjectivity (putting off the old Adam), and 
learning to know God as our true and essential self. 

Just as religion and religious worship consist in overcom- 
ing the antithesis of subjectivity and objectivity, so science 
too and philosophy have no other task than to overcome this 
antithesis by the medium of thought. The aim of knowledge 
is to divest the objective world that stands opposed to us of 
its strangeness, and, as the phrase is, to find ourselves at 
home in it : which means no more than to trace the objective 
world back to the notion,— to our innermost self. We may 
learn from the present discussion the mistake of regarding 
the antithesis of subjectivity and objectivity as an abstract 
and permanent one. The two are wholly dialectical. The 
notion is at first only subjective : but without the assistance 
of any foreign material or stuff it proceeds, in obedience to 
its own action, to objectify itself. So, too, the object is not 
rigid and processless. Its process is to show itself as what 
is at the same time subjective, and thus form the step onwards 
to the idea. Any one whoj from want of familiarity with the 
categories of subjectivity and objectivity, seeks to retain them 
in their abstraction, will find that the isolated categories slip 


through his fingers before he is aware, and that he says the 
exact contrary of what he wanted to say. 

(2) Objectivity contains the three forms of Mechanism, 
Chemism, and Teleology. The object of mechanical type is 
the immediate and undifferentiated object. No doubt it con- 
tains difference, but the different pieces stand, as it were, 
without affinity to each other, and their connexion is only 
extraneous. In chemism, on the contrary, the object exhibits 
an essential tendency to differentiation, in such a way that 
the objects are what they are only by their relation to each 
other: this tendency to difference constitutes their quality. 
The third type of objectivity, the teleological relation, is the 
unity of mechanism and chemism. Design, like the me- 
chanical object, is a self-contained totality, enriched however 
by the principle of differentiation which came to the fore in 
chemism, and thus referring itself to the object that stands 
over against it. Finally, it is the realisation of design which 
forms the transition to the Idea. 

(a) Mechanism. 

195.] The object (i) in its immediacy is the notion 
only potentially ; the notion as subjective is primarily 
outside it ; and all its specific character is imposed from 
without. As a unity of differents, therefore, it is a com- 
posite, an aggregate ; and its capacity of acting on any- 
thing else continues to be an external relation. This is 
Formal Mechanism. — Notwithstanding, and in this con- 
nexion and non-independence, the objects remain inde- 
pendent and offer resistance, external to each other. 

Pressure and impact are examples of mechanical 
relations. Our knowledge is said to be mechanical or 
by rote, when the words have no meaning for us, but 
continue external to sense, conception, thought; and 
when, being similarly external to each other, they form 
a meaningless sequence. Conduct, piety, &c. are in the 
same way mechanical, when a man's behaviour is settled 
for him by ceremonial laws, by a spiritual adviser, &c. ; 

195-] MECHANISM. 337 

in short, when his own mind and will are not in his 
actions, which in this way are extraneous to himself. 

Mechanism, the first form of objectivity, is also the category 
which primarily offers itself to reflection, as it examines the 
objective world. It is also the category beyond which re- 
flection seldom goes. It is, however, a shallow and super- 
ficial mode of observation, one that cannot carry us through 
in connexion with Nature and still less in connexion with 
the world of Mind. In Nature it is only the veriest abstract 
relations of matter in its inert masses which obey the law of 
mechanism. On the contrary the phenomena and operations 
of the province to which the term ' physical ' in its narrower 
sense is applied, such as the phenomena of light, heat, mag- 
netism, and electricity, cannot be explained by any mere 
mechanical processes, such as pressure, impact, displace- 
ment of parts, and the like. Still less satisfactory is it to 
transfer these categories and apply them in the field of 
organic nature ; at least if it be our aim to understand the 
specific features of that field, such as the growth and nourish- 
ment of plants, or, it may be, even animal sensation. It is 
at any rate a very deep-seated, and perhaps the main, defect 
of modern researches into nature, that, even where other and 
higher categories than those of mere mechanism are in 
operation, they still stick obstinately to the mechanical 
laws ; although they thus conflict with the testimony of 
unbiassed perception, and foreclose the gate to an- adequate 
knowledge of nature. But even in considering the formations 
in the world of Mind, the mechanical theory has been re- 
peatedly invested with an authority which it has no right to. 
Take as an instance the remark that man consists of soul 
and body. In this language, the two things stand each self- 
subsistent, and associated only from without. Similarly we 
find the soul regarded as a mere group of forces and faculties, 
subsisting independently side by side. 

Thus decidedly must we reject the mechanical mode of in- 
quiry when it comes forward and arrogates to itself the place 
of rational cognition in general, and seeks to get mechanism 
accepted as an absolute category. But we must not on that 
account forget expressly to vindicate for mechanism the 


right and import of a general logical category. It would be, 
therefore, a mistake to restrict it to the special physical 
department from which it derives its name. There is no 
harm done, for example, in directing attention to mechanical 
actions, such as that of gravity, the lever, &c., even in de- 
partments, notably in physics and in physiology, beyond the 
range of mechanics proper. It must however be remembered, 
that within these spheres the laws of mechanism cease to be 
final or decisive, and sink, as it were, to a subservient 
position. To which may be added, that, in Nature, when the 
higher or organic functions are in any way checked or dis- 
turbed in their normal efficiency, the otherwise subordinate 
categorj^ of mechanism is immediately seen to take the upper 
hand. Thus a sufferer from indigestion feels pressure on the 
stomach, after partaking of certain food in slight quantity ; 
whereas those whose digestive organs are sound remain free 
from the sensation, although they have eaten as much. The 
same phenomenon occurs in the general feeling of heaviness 
in the limbs, experienced in bodily indisposition. Even in 
the world of Mind, mechanism has its place ; though there, 
too, it is a subordinate one. We are right in speaking of 
mechanical memory, and all sorts of mechanical operations, 
such as reading, writing, playing on musical instruments, 
&c. In memory, indeed, the mechanical quality of the 
action is essential : a circumstance, the neglect of which has 
not unfrequently caused great harm in the training of the 
young, from the misapplied zeal of modern educationalists 
for the freedom of intelligence. It would betray bad 
psychology, however, to have recourse to mechanism for an 
explanation of the nature of memory, and to apply mechanical 
laws straight off to the soul. The mechanical feature in 
memory lies merely in the fact that certain signs, tones, &c. 
are apprehended in their purely external association, and 
then reproduced in this association, without attention being 
expressly directed to their meaning and inward association. 
To become acquainted with these conditions of mechanical 
memory requires no further study of mechanics, nor would 
that study tend at all to advance the special inquiry of 

196-198.J MECHANISM. 339 

loe.] The want of stability in itself which allows the 
object to suffer violence, is possessed by it (see preced- 
ing §) only in so far as it has a certain stability. Now 
as the object is implicitly invested with the character of 
notion, the one of these characteristics is not merged 
into its other ; but the object, through the negation of 
itself (its lack of independence), closes with itself, and 
not till it so closes, is it independent. Thus at the same 
time in distinction from the outwardness, and negativing 
that outwardness in its independence, does this inde- 
pendence form a negative unity with self, — Centrality 
(subjectivity). So conceived, the object itself has direc- 
tion and reference towards the external. But this 
external object is similarly central in itself, and being so, 
is no less only referred towards the other centre ; so that 
it no less has its centrality in the other. This is (2) 
Mechanism with Affinity (with bias, or 'difference'), 
and may be illustrated by gravitation, appetite, social 
instinct, &c. 

197.] This relationship, when fully carried out, forms 
a syllogism. In that syllogism the immanent negativity, 
as the central individuality of an object, (abstract centre,) 
relates itself to non-independent objects, as the other 
extreme, by a mean which unites the centrality with the 
non-independence of the objects, (relative centre.) This 
is (3) Absolute Mechanism. 

198.] The syllogism thus indicated (I — P — U) is a 
triad of syllogisms. The wrong individuality of non- 
independent objects, in which formal Mechanism is at 
home, is, by reason of that non-independence, no less 
universality, though it be only external. Hence these 
objects also form the mean between the absolute and 
the relative centre (the form of syllogism being U — I — P) : 
for it is by this want of independence that those two are 
kept asunder and made extremes, as well as related to 


one another. Similarly absolute centrality, as the per- 
manently-underlying universal substance (illustrated by 
the gravity which continues identical), which as pure 
negativity equally includes individuality in it, is what 
mediates between the relative centre and the non-inde- 
pendent objects (the form of syllogism being P — U — I). 
It does so no less essentially as a disintegrating force, 
in its character of immanent individuality, than in virtue 
of universality, acting as an identical bond of union and 
tranquil self-containedness. 

Like the solar system, so for example in the practical 
sphere the state is a system of three syllogisms, (i) The 
Individual or person, through his particularity or physi- 
cal or mental needs (which when carried out to their 
full development give civil society), is coupled with the 
universal, i. e. with society, law, right, government. 
(2) The will or action of the individuals is the inter- 
mediating force which procures for these needs satis- 
faction in society, in law, &c., and which gives to society, 
law, &c. their fulfilment and actualisation. (3) But the 
universal, that is to say the state, government, and law, 
is the permanent underlying mean in which the indi- 
viduals and their satisfaction have and receive their 
fulfilled reality, inter-mediation, and persistence. Each 
of the functions of the notion, as it is brought by inter- 
mediation to coalesce with the other extreme, is brought 
into union with itself and produces itself: which pro- 
duction is self-preservation. — It is only by the nature of 
this triple coupling, by this triad of syllogisms with the 
!?ame termini, that a whole is thoroughly understood in 
its organisation. 

199.] The immediacy of existence, which the objects 
have in Absolute Mechanism, is implicitly negatived by 
the fact that their independence is derived from, and due 
to, their connexions with each other, and therefore to 

I99-300-J CHEMISM. 34I 

their own want of stability. Thus the object must be 
explicitly stated as in its existence having an Affinity 
(or a bias) towards its other, — as not-indifferent. 

[b) Chemism. 

200.] The not-indifferent (biassed) object has an 
immanent mode which constitutes its nature, and in 
which it has existence. But as it is invested with the 
character of total notion, it is the contradiction between 
this totality and the special mode of its existence. 
Consequently it is the constant endeavour to cancel this 
contradiction and to make its definite being equal to the 

Chemism is a category of objectivity which,^ as a rule, is 
not particularly emphasised, and is generally put under the 
head of mechanism. The common name of mechanical 
relationship is apphed to both, in contra-distinction to the 
teleological. There is a reason for this in the common 
feature which belongs to mechanism and chemism. In them 
the notion exists, but only implicit and latent, and they are 
thus both marked off from teleology where the notion 
has real independent existence. This is true : and yet 
chemism and mechanism are very decidedly distinct. The 
object, in the form of mechanism, is primarily only an in- 
different reference to self, while the chemical object is seen 
to be completely in reference to something else. No doubt 
even in mechanism, as it develops itself, there spring up 
references to something else : but the nexus of mechanical 
objects with one another is at first only an external nexus, 
so that the objects in connexion with one another still retain 
the semblance of independence. In nature, for example; 
the several celestial bodies, which form our solar system, 
compose a kinetic system, and thereby show that they are 
related to one another. Motion, however, as the unity of 
time and space, is a connexion which is purely abstract and 
external. And it seems therefore as if these celestial bodies, 
which are thus externally connected with each other, would 

VOL. II. A a 


continue to be what they are, even apart from this reciprocal 
relation. The case is quite different with chemism. Objects 
chemically biassed are what they are expressly by that bias 
alone. Hence they are the absolute impulse towards in- 
tegration by and in one another. 

201.] The product of the chemical process conse- 
quently is the Neutral object, latent in the two extremes, 
each on the alert. The notion or concrete universal, 
by means of the bias of the objects (the particularity), 
coalesces with the individuality (in the shape of the 
product), and in that only with itself. In this process 
too the other syllogisms are equally involved. The 
place of mean is taken both by individuality as activity, 
and by the concrete universal, the essence of the 
strained extremes ; which essence reaches definite 
being in the product. 

202.] Chemism, as it is a reflectional nexus of objec- 
tivity, has pre-supposed, not merely the bias or non- 
indifferent nature of the objects, but also their immediate 
independence. The process of chemism consists in 
passing to and fro from one form to another; which 
forms continue to be as external as before. — In the 
neutral product the specific properties, which the ex- 
tremes bore towards each other, are merged. But 
although the product is conformable to the notion, the 
inspiring principle of active differentiation does not exist 
in it ; for it has sunk back to immediacy. The neutral 
body is therefore capable of disintegration. But the 
discerning principle, which breaks up the neutral body 
into biassed and strained extremes, and which gives to 
the indifferent object in general its affinity and anima- 
tion towards another; — that principle, and the process 
as a separation with tension, falls outside of that first 

The chemical process does not rise above a conditioned 


-204.] TELEOLOGY. 343 

and finite process. The notion as notion is only the heart 
and core of the process, and does not in this stage come to 
an existence of its own. In the neutral product the process 
is extinct, and the existing cause falls outside it. 

203.] Each of these two processes, the reduction of 
the biassed (not-indifferent) to the neutral, and the 
differentiation of the indifferent or neutral, goes its own 
way without hindrance from the other. But that want 
of inner connexion shows that they are finite, b}' their 
passage into products in which they are merged and lost. 
Conversely the process exhibits the nonentity of the 
pre-supposed immediacy of the not-indifferent objects. 
— By this negation of immediacy and of externalism in 
which the notion as object was sunk, it is liberated and 
invested with independent being in face of that exter- 
nalism and immediacy. In these circumstances it is the 
End (Final Cause). 

The passage from chemism to the teleological relation is 
implied in the mutual cancelling of both of the forms of the 
chemical process. The result thus attained is the liberation 
of the notion, which in chemism and mechanism was present 
only in the germ, and not yet evolved. The notion in the 
shape of the aim or end thus comes into independent 

(c) Teleology. 

204.] In the End the notion has entered on free 
existence and has a being of its own, by means of the 
negation of immediate objectivity. It is characterised 
as subjective, seeing that this negation is, in the first 
place, abstract, and hence at first the relation between 
it and objectivity still one of contrast. This character 
of subjectivity, however, compared with the totality of 
the notion, is one-sided, and that, be it added, for the 
End itself, in which all specific characters have been 
put as subordinated and merged. For it therefore even 

344 ^^-^ DOCTRINE OF THE NOTION. [204. 

the object, which it pre-supposes, has only hypothetical 
(ideal) reality, — essentially no-reality. The End in 
short is a contradiction of its self-identity against the 
negation stated in it, i.e. its antithesis to objectivity, and 
being so, contains the eliminative or destructive activity 
which negates the antithesis and renders it identical 
with itself. This is the realisation of the End : in 
which, while it turns itself into the other of its subjec- 
tivity and objectifies itself, thus cancelling the distinc- 
tion between the two, it has only closed with itself, and 
retained itself. 

The notion of Design or End, while on one hand 
called redundant, is on another justly described as the 
rational notion, and contrasted with the abstract uni- 
versal of understanding. The latter only subsumes the 
particular, and so connects it with itself: but has it not 
in its own nature. — The distinction between the End or 
final cause, and the mere efficient cause (which is the 
cause ordinarily so called), is of supreme importance. 
Causes, properly so called, belong to the sphere of 
necessity, blind, and not yet laid bare. The cause 
therefore appears as passing into its correlative, and 
losing its primordiality there by sinking into dependency. 
It is only by implication, or for us, that the cause is in 
the effect made for the first time a cause, and that 
it there returns into itself. The End, on the other 
hand, is expressly stated as containing the specific 
character in its own self, — the effect, namely, which in 
the purely causal relation is never free from otherness. 
The End therefore in its efficiency does not pass over, 
but retains itself, i.e. it carries into effect itself only, and 
is at the end what it was in the beginning or primordial 
state. Until it thus retains itself, it is not genuinely 
primordial. — The End then requires to be specula- 
tively apprehended as the notion, which itself in the 

ao4.] TELEOLOGY. 345 

proper unity and ideality of its characteristics contains 
the judgment or negation, — the antithesis of subjective 
and objective, — and which to an equal extent suspends 
that antithesis. 

By End however we must not at once, nor must we 
ever merely, think of the form which it has in conscious- 
ness as a mode of mere mental representation. By 
means of the notion of Inner Design Kant has resusci- 
tated the Idea in general and particularly the idea of 
life. Aristotle's definition of hfe virtually implies inner 
design, and is thus far in advance of the notion of design 
in modern Teleology, which had in view finite and out- 
ward design only. 

Animal wants and appetites are some of the readiest 
instances of the End. They are the felt contradiction, 
which exists within the living subject, and pass into the 
activity of negating this negation which mere subjec- 
tivity still is. The satisfaction of the want or appetite 
restores the peace between subject and object. The 
objective thing which, so long as the contradiction 
exists, /■. e. so long as the want is felt, stands on the 
other side, loses this quasi-independence, by its union 
with the subject. Those who talk of the permanence 
and immutability of the finite, as well subjective as 
objective, may see the reverse illustrated in the opera- 
tions of every appetite. Appetite is, so to speak, the 
conviction that the subjective is only a half-truth, no 
more adequate than the objective. But appetite in the 
second place carries out its conviction. It brings about 
the supersession of these finites : it cancels the antithesis 
between the objective which would be and stay an ob- 
jective only, and the subjective which in like manner 
would be and stay a subjective only. 

As regards the action of the End, attention may be 
called to the fact, that in the syllogism, which represents 


that action, and shows the end closing with itself by the 
means of realisation, the radical feature is the negation 
of the termini. That negation is the one just mentioned 
both of the immediate subjectivity appearing in the End 
as such, and of the immediate objectivity as seen in the 
means and the objects pre-supposed. This is the same 
negation, as is in operation when the mind leaves the 
contingent things of the world as well as its own sub- 
jectivity and rises to God. It is the ' moment ' or factor 
which (as noticed in the Introduction and § 192) was 
overlooked and neglected in the analytic form of syllo- 
gisms, under which the so-called proofs of the Being of 
a God presented this elevation. 

205.] In its primary and immediate aspect the Teleo- 
logical relation is external design, and the notion con- 
fronts a pre-supposed object. The End is consequently 
finite, and that partly in its content, partly in the cir- 
cumstance that it has an external condition in the object, 
which has to be found existing, and which is taken as 
material for its realisation. Its self-determining is to 
that extent in form only. The un-mediatedness of the 
End has the further result that its particularity or con- 
tent — which as form-characteristic is the subjectivity of 
the End — is reflected into self, and so different from the 
totahty of the form, subjectivity in general, the notion. 
This variety constitutes the finitude of Design within its 
own nature. The content of the End. in this way, is 
quite as limited, contingent, and given, as the object is 
particular and found ready to hand. 

Generally speaking, the final cause is taken to mean 
nothing more than external design. In accordance with this 
view of it,, things are supposed not to carry their vocation in 
themselves, but merely to be means employed and spent in 
realising a purpose which lies outside of them. That may 
be said to be the point of view taken by Utility, which once 

205-ao6.] MEANS AND ENDS. 347 

played a great part even in the sciences, but of late has 
fallen into merited disrepute, now that people have begun 
to see that it failed to give a genuine insight into the nature 
of things. It is true that finite things as finite ought in justice 
to be viewed as non-ultimate, and as pointing beyond them- 
selves. This negativity of finite things however is their own 
dialectic, and in order to ascertain it we must pay attention 
to their positive content. 

Teleological observations on things often proceed from 
a well-meant wish to display the wisdom of God as it is 
especially revealed in nature. Now in thus trying to dis- 
cover final causes for which the things serve as means, we 
must remember that we are stopping short at the finite, and 
are liable to fall into trifling reflections : as, for instance, if we 
not merely studied the vine in respect of its well-known use 
for man, but proceeded to consider the cork-tree in con- 
nexion with the corks which are cut from its bark to put into 
the wine-bottles. Whole books used to be written in this 
spirit. It is easy to see that they promoted the genuine 
interest neither of religion nor of science. External design 
stands immediately in front of the idea : but what thus 
stands on the threshold often for that reason is least ade- 

206.] The teleological relation is a syllogism in 
which the subjective end coalesces with the objectivity 
external to it, through a middle term which is the unity 
of both. This unity is on one hand the purposive action, 
on the other the Means, i.e. objectivity made directly 
subservient to purpose. 

The development from End to Idea ensues by three 
stages, first, Subjective End ; second, End in process of 
accomplishment; and third, End accomplished. First of all 
we have the Subjective End ; and that, as the notion in 
independent being, is itself the totality of the elementary 
functions of the notion. The first of these functions is that 
of self-identical universality, as it were the neutral first 
water, in which everything is involved, but nothing as yet 
discriminated. The second of these elements is the particu- 


larising of this universal, by which it acquires a specific con- 
tent. As this specific content again is realised by the 
agency of the universal, the latter returns by its means back 
to itself, and coalesces with itself. Hence too when we set 
some end before us, we say that we ' conclude ' to do some- 
thing: a phrase which implies that we were, so to speak, 
open and accessible to this or that determination. Similarly 
we also at a further step speak of a man ' resolving ' to do 
something, meaning that the agent steps forward out of his 
self-regarding inwardness and enters into dealings with the 
environing objectivity. This supplies the step from the merely 
Subjective End to the purposive action which tends outwards. 

207.] (i) The first syllogism of the final cause repre- 
sents the Subjective End. The universal notion is 
brought to unite with individuality by means of particu- 
larity, so that the individual as self-determination acts 
as judge. That is to say, it not only particularises 
or makes into a determinate content the still indeter- 
minate universal, but also explicitly puts an antithesis 
of subjectivity and objectivity, and at the same time is in 
its own self a return to itself; for it stamps the subjec- 
tivity of the notion, pre-supposed as against objectivity, 
with the mark of defect, in comparison with the complete 
and rounded totality, and thereby at the same time turns 

208.] (2) This action which is directed outwards is 
the individuality, which in the Subjective End is identical 
with the particularity under which, along with the con- 
tent, is also comprised the external objectivity. It 
throws itself in the first place immediately upon the 
object, which it appropriates to itself as a Means. The 
notion is this immediate power; for the notion is the 
self-identical negativity, in which the being of the object 
is characterised as wholly and merely ideal. — The whole 
Means then is this inward power of the notion, in the 
shape of an agency, with which the object as Means is 

308-209.] MEANS AND ENDS. 349 

* immediately * united and in obedience to which it 

In finite teleology the Means is thus broken up into 
two elements external to each other, {a) the action and 
[b) the object which serves as Means. The relation of 
the final cause as power to this object, and the subjuga- 
tion of the object to it, is immediate (it forms the first 
premiss in the syllogism) to this extent, that in the 
teleological notion as the self-existent ideality the object 
is put as potentially null. This relation, as represented 
in the first premiss, itself becomes the Means, which at 
the same time involves the syllogism, that through this 
relation — in which the action of the End is contained 
and dominant — the End is coupled with objectivity. 

The execution of the End is the mediated mode of realising 
the End ; but the immediate realisation is not less needful. 
The End lays hold of the object immediately, because it is 
the power over the object, because in the End particularity, 
and in particularity objectivity also, is involved.— A living 
being has a body ; the soul takes possession of it and with- 
out intermediary has objectified itself in it. The human soul 
has much to do, before it makes its corporeal nature into a 
means. Man must, as it were, take possession of his body, 
so that it may be the instrument of his soul. 

209.] (3) Purposive action, with its Means, is still 
directed outwards, because the End is also not identical 
with the object, and must consequently first be mediated 
with it. The Means in its capacity of object stands, in 
this second premiss, in direct relation to the other 
extreme of the syllogism, namely, the material or ob- 
jectivity which is pre-supposed. This relation is the 
sphere of chemism and mechanism, which have now 
become the servants of the Final Cause, where lies 
their truth and free notion. Thus the Subjective End, 
which is the power ruling these processes, in which the 


objective things wear themselves out on one another, 
contrives to keep itself free from them, and to preserve 
itself in them. Doing so, it appears as the Cunning of 

Reason is as cunning as it is powerful. Cunning may be 
said to lie in the inter-mediative action which, while it 
permits the objects to follow their own bent and act upon 
one another till they waste away, and does not itself 
directly interfere in the process, is nevertheless only work- 
ing out its own aims. With this explanation, Divine Provi- 
dence may be said to stand to the world and its process in 
the capacity of absolute cunning. God lets men do as they 
please with their particular passions and interests ; but the 
result is the accomplishment of— not their plans, but His, and 
these differ decidedly from the ends primarily sought by 
those whom He employs. 

210.] The realised End is thus the overt unity of 
subjective and objective. It is however essentially 
characteristic of this unity, that the subjective and 
objective are neutralised and cancelled only in the point 
of their one-sidedness, while the objective is subdued 
and made conformable to the End, as the free notion, 
and thereby to the power above it. The End maintains 
itself against and in the objective : for it is no mere 
one-sided subjective or particular, it is also the concrete 
universal, the implicit identity of both. This universal, 
as simply reflected in itself, is the content which remains 
unchanged through all the three termini of the syllogism 
and their movement. 

211.] In finite design, however, even the executed 
End has the same radical rift or flaw as had the Means 
and the initial End. We have got therefore only a form 
extraneously impressed on a pre-existing material : and 
this form, by reason of the limited content of the End, 
is also a contingent characteristic. The End achieved 


-aia.] MEANS AND ENDS. 351 

consequently is only an object, which again becomes 
a Means or material for other Ends, and so on for 

212.] But what virtually happens in the realising of the 
End is that the one-sided subjectivity and the show of ob- 
jective independence confronting it are both cancelled. 
In laying hold of the means, the notion constitutes itself 
the very implicit essence of the object. In the mechani- 
cal and chemical processes the independence of the 
object has been already dissipated implicitly, and in the 
course of their movement under the dominion of the 
End, the show of that independence, the negative which 
confronts the notion, is got rid of. But in the fact that 
the End achieved is characterised only as a Means and 
a material, this object, viz. the teleological, is there and 
then put as implicitly null, and only ' ideal.' This being 
so, the antithesis between form and content has also 
vanished. While the End by the removal and absorp- 
tion of all form-characteristics coalesces with itself, the 
form as self-identical is thereby put as the content, so 
that the notion, which is the action of form, has only 
itself for content. Through this process, therefore, 
there is made explicitly manifest what was the notion of 
design : viz. the implicit unity of subjective and objec- 
tive is now realised. And this is the Idea. 

This finitude of the End consists in the circumstance, that, 
in the process of realising it, the material, which is employed 
as a means, is only externally subsumed under it and made 
conformable to it. But, as a matter of fact, the object is the 
notion implicitly : and thus when the notion, in the shape of 
End, is realised in the object, we have but the manifestation 
of the inner nature of the object itself. Objectivity is thus, 
as It were, only a covering under which the notion lies con- 
cealed. Within the range of the finite we can never see or 
experience that the End has been really secured. The con- 
summation of the infinite End, therefore, consists merely in 


removing the illusion which makes it seem yet unaccom- 
plished. The Good, the absolutely Good, is eternally 
accomplishing itself in the world : and the result is that it 
needs not wait upon us, but is already by implication, as 
well as in full actuality, accomplished. This is the illusion 
under which we live. It alone supplies at the same time 
the actualising force on which the interest in the world 
reposes. In the course of its process the Idea creates 
that illusion, by setting an antithesis to confront it ; and its 
action consists in getting rid of the illusion which it has 
created. Only out of this error does the truth arise. In 
this fact lies the reconciliation with error and with finitude. 
Error or other-being, when superseded, is still a necessary 
dynamic element of truth : for truth can only be where it 
makes itself its own result. 

C— The Idea. 

213.] The Idea is truth in itself and for itself, — the 
absolute unity of the notion and objectivity. Its 'ideal ' 
content is nothing but the notion in its detailed terms : 
its ' real ' content is only the exhibition which the notion 
gives itself in the form of external existence, whilst yet, 
by enclosing this shape in its ideality, it keeps it in its 
power, and so keeps itself in it. 

The definition, which declares the Absolute to be the 
Idea, is itself absolute. All former definitions come 
back to this. The Idea is the Truth : for Truth is the 
correspondence of objectivity with the notion : — not of 
course the correspondence of external things with my 
conceptions, — for these are only correct conceptions 
held by me, the individual person. In the idea we have 
nothing to do with the individual, nor with figurate con- 
ceptions, nor with external things. And yet, again, 
everything actual, in so far as it is true, is the Idea, and 
has its truth by and in virtue of the Idea alone. Every 
individual being is some one aspect of the Idea : for 

213.] THE IDEA. 353 

which, therefore, yet other actualities are needed, which 
in their turn appear to have a self-subsistence of their 
own. It is only in them altogether and in their relation 
that the notion is realised. The individual by itself 
does not correspond to its notion. It is this limitation 
of its existence which constitutes the finitude and the 
ruin of the individual. 

The Idea itself is not to be taken as an idea of some- 1 
thing or other, any more than the notion is to be taken 
as merely a specific notion. The Absolute is the uni- 
versal and one idea, which, by an act of 'judgment,' 
particularises itself to the system of specific ideas ; 
which after all are constrained by their nature to come 
back to the one idea where their truth lies. As issued 
out of this 'judgment' the Idea is in the first place only 
the one universal substance: but its developed and 
genuine actuality is to be as a subject and in that way as 

Because it has no existence for starting-point and point 
(Tappui, the Idea is frequently treated as a mere logical 
form. Such a view must be abandoned to those theories, 
which ascribe so-called reality and genuine actuality to 
the existent thing and all the other categories which 
have not yet penetrated as far as the Idea. It is no 
less false to imagine the Idea to be mere abstraction. 
It is abstract certainly, in so far as everything untrue is 
consumed in it : but in its own self it is essentially con- 
crete, because it is the free notion giving character to 
itself, and that character, reality. It would be an 
abstract form, only if the notion, which is its principle, 
were taken as an abstract unity, and not as the nega- 
tive return of it into self and as the subjectivity which 
it really is. 

Truth is at first taken to mean that I know how something 
is. This is truth, however, only in reference to conscious- 


ness ; it is formal truth, bare correctness. Truth in the 
deeper sense consists in the identity between objectivity and 
the notion. It is in this deeper sense of truth that we speak 
of a true state, or of a true work of art. These objects 
are true, if they are as they ought to be, i.e. if their reality 
corresponds to their notion. When thus viewed, to be untrue 
means much the same as to be bad. A bad man is an 
untrue man, a man who does not behave as his notion or his 
vocation requires. Nothing however can subsist, if it be 
wholly devoid of identity between the notion and reality. 
Even bad and untrue things have being, in so far as their 
reality still, somehow, conforms to their notion. What- 
ever is thoroughly bad or contrary to the notion, is for that 
very reason on the way to ruin. It is by the notion 
alone that the things in the world have their subsistence ; 
or, as it is expressed in the language of religious conception, 
things are what they are, only in virtue of the divine and 
thereby creative thought which dwells within them. 

When we hear the Idea spoken of, we need not imagine 
something far away beyond this mortal sphere. The idea is 
rather what is completely present : and it is found, however 
confused and degenerated, in every consciousness. We 
conceive the world to ourselves as a great totality which is 
created by God, and so created that in it God has manifested 
Himself to us. We regard the world also as ruled by 
Divine Providence : implying that the scattered and divided 
parts of the world are continually brought back, and made 
conformable, to the unity from which they have issued. 
The purpose of philosophy has always been the intellec- 
tual ascertainment of the Idea ; and everything deserving 
the name of philosophy has constantly been based on 
the consciousness of an absolute unity where the under- 
standing sees and accepts only separation. — It is too 
late now to ask for proof that the Idea is the truth. The 
proof of that is contained in the whole deduction and 
development of thought up to this point. The idea is the 
result of this course of dialectic. Not that it is to be sup- 
posed that the idea is mediate only, i.e. mediated through 
something else than itself. It is rather its own result, and 


3-ai4.] THE IDEA. 355 

being so, is no less immediate than mediate. The stages 
hitherto considered, viz. those of Being and Essence, as well 
as those of Notion and of Objectivity, are not, when so 
distinguished, something permanent, resting upon them- 
selves. They have proved to be dialectical ; and their only 
truth is that they are dynamic elements of the idea. 

214.] The Idea may be described in many ways. It 
may be called reason (and this is the proper philo- 
sophical signification of reason); subject-object; the 
unity of the ideal and the real, of the finite and the in- 
finite, of soul and body ; the possibility which has its 
actuality in its own self; that of which the nature can 
be thought only as existent, &c. All these descriptions 
apply, because the Idea contains all the relations of 
understanding, but contains them in their infinite self- 
return and self-identity. 

It is easy work for the understanding to show that 

everything said of the Idea is self-contradictory. But 

that can quite as well be retaliated, or rather in the 

Idea the retaliation is actually made. And this work, 

which is the work of reason, is certainly not so easy 

as that of the understanding. Understanding may 

demonstrate that the Idea is self-contradictory : because 

the subjective is subjective only and is always confronted 

by the objective, — because being is different from notion 

and therefore cannot be picked out of it, — because the 

finite is finite only, the exact antithesis of the infinite, 

and therefore not identical with it ; and so on with every 

term of the description. The reverse of all this however 

is the doctrine of Logic. Logic shows that the subjec- , 

tive which is to be subjective only, the finite which ' 

would be finite only, the infinite which would be infinite 

only, and so on, have no truth, but contradict them- ! 

selves, and pass over into their opposites. Hence this I 

transition, and the unity in which the extremes are 


merged and become factors, each with a merely reflected 
existence, reveals itself as their truth. 

The understanding, which addresses itself to deal 
with the Idea, commits a double misunderstanding. It 
takes yirsi the extremes of the Idea (be they expressed 
as they will, so long as they are in their unity), not as 
they are understood when stamped with this concrete 
unity, but as if they remained abstractions outside of it. 
It no less mistakes the relation between them, ever 
when it has been expressly stated. Thus, for example 
it overlooks even the nature of the copula in the judg 
ment, which affirms that the individual, or subject, is 
after all not individual, but universal. But, in the 
second place, the understanding believes ?/s 'reflection,' — 
that the self-identical Idea contains its own negative, or 
contains contradiction, — to be an external reflection 
which does not lie within the Idea itself. But the 
reflection is really no peculiar cleverness of the under- 
standing. The Idea itself is the dialectic which for 
ever divides and distinguishes the self-identical from 
the differentiated, the subjective from the objective, the 
finite from the infinite, soul from body. Only on these 
terms is it an eternal creation, eternal vitality, and 
eternal spirit. But while it thus passes or rather trans- 
lates itself into the abstract understanding, it for ever 
remains reason. The Idea is the dialectic which again 
makes this mass of understanding and diversity under- 
stand its finite nature and the pseudo-independence in 
its productions, and which brings the diversity back to 
unity. Since this double movement is not separate or 
distinct in time, nor indeed in any other way — otherwise 
it would be only a repetition of the abstract understand- 
ing — the Idea is the eternal vision of itself in the other, 
— notion which in its objectivity has carried out itse//, — 
object which is inward design, essential subjectivity. 

214-215.] THE IDEA. f 357' 

The different modes of apprehending the Idea as 
unity of ideal and real, of finite and infinite, of identity 
and difference, &c. are more or less formal. They 
designate some one stage of the specific notion. Only 
the notion itself, however, is free and the genuine uni- 
versal : in the Idea, therefore, the specific character of 
the notion is only the notion itself, — an objectivity, viz. 
into which it, being the universal, continues itself, and 
in which it has only its own character, the total character. 
The Idea is the infinite judgment, of which the terms 
are severally the independent totality ; and in which, as 
each grows to the fulness of its own nature, it has 
thereby at the same time passed into the other. None 
of the other specific notions exhibits this totality 
complete on both its sides as the notion itself and 

215.] The Idea is essentially a process, because its ] { J 
identity is the absolute and free identity of the notion, 
only in so far as it is absolute negativity and for that 
reason dialectical. It is the round of movement, in 
which the notion, in the capacity of universality which 
is individuality, gives itself the character of objectivity 
and of the antithesis thereto ; and this externality which 
has the notion for its substance, finds its way back to 
subjectivity through its immanent dialectic. 

As the idea is (a) a process, it follows that such an ex- 
pression for the Absolute as unity of thought and 
being, of finite and infinite, &c. is false ; for unity 
expresses an abstract and merely quiescent identity. 
As the Idea is (b) subjectivity, it follows that the expres- 
sion is equally false on another account. That unity of 
which it speaks expresses a merely virtual or underlying 
presence of the genuine unity. The infinite would thus 
seem to be merely neutralised by the finite, the subjective 
by the objective, thought by being. But in the negative 

VOL. II. B b 




unity of the Idea, the infinite overlaps and includes the 
finite, thought overlaps being, subjectivity overlaps ob- 
jectivity. The unity of the Idea is thought, infinity, and 
subjectivity, and is in consequence to be essentially dis- 
tinguished from the Idea as substance, just as this over- 
lapping subjectivity, thought, or infinity is to be distin- 
guished from the one-sided subjectivity, one-sided 
thought, one-sided infinity to which it descends in 
judging and defining. 

The idea as a process runs through three stages in its 
development. The first form of the idea is Life: that is, the 
idea in the form of immediacy. The second form is that of 
mediation or differentiation ; and this is the idea in the form 
of Knowledge, which appears under the double aspect of the 
Theoretical and Practical idea. The process of knowledge 
eventuates in the restoration of the unity enriched by differ- 
ence. This gives the third form of the idea, the Absolute 
Idea : which last stage of the logical idea evinces itself to be 
at the same time the true first, and to have a being due to 
itself alone. 

(a) Life. 

216.] The immediate idea is Life. As soul, the notion 
is realised in a body of whose externality the soul is 
the immediate self-relating universality. But the soul is 
also its particularisation, so that the body expresses no 
other distinctions than follow from the characterisations 
of its notion. And finally it is the Individuality of the 
body as infinite negativity, — the dialectic of that bodily 
objectivity, with its parts lying out of one another, con- 
veying them away from the semblance of independent 
subsistence back into subjectivity, so that all the mem- 
bers are reciprocally momentary means as well as 
momentary ends. Thus as life is the initial particu- 
larisation, so it results in the negative self-asserting unity: 
in the dialectic of its corporeity it only coalesces with 



6-218.] LIFE. 359 

itself. In this way life is essentially something alive, 
and in point of its immediacy this individual living thing. 
It is characteristic of finitude in this sphere that, by 
reason of the immediacy of the idea, body and soul are 
separable. This constitutes the mortality of the living 
being. It is only, however, when the living being is 
dead, that these two sides of the idea are different 

The single members of the body are what they are only 
by and in relation to their unity. A hand e.g. when hewn 
off from the body is, as Aristotle has observed, a hand in 
name only, not in fact. From the point of view of under- 
standing, Hfe is usually spoken of as a mystery, and in 
general as incomprehensible. By giving it such a name, 
however, the Understanding only confesses its own finitude 
and nullity. So far is life from being incomprehensible, that 
in it the very notion ispresented to us, or rather the imme- 
diate idea existing as a notion. And having said this, we have 
indicated the defect of life. Its notion and reality do not 
thoroughly correspond to each other. The notion of life is 
the soul, and this notion has the body for its reality. The 
soul is, as it were, infused into its corporeity ; and in that 
way it is at first sentient only, and not yet freely self- 
conscious. The process of life consists in getting the better 
of the immediacy with which it is still beset : and this pro- 
cess, which is itself threefold, results in the idea under the 
form of judgment, i.e. the idea as Cognition. 

217.] A living being is a syllogism, of which the very 
elements are in themselves systems and syllogisms 
(§§ 198, 201, 207). They are however active syllogisms 
or processes ; and in the subjective unity of the vital 
agent make only one process. Thus the living being is 
the process of its coalescence with itself, which runs on 
through three processes. 

218.] (i) The first is the process of the living being 
inside itself. In that process it makes a split on its own 


self, and reduces its corporeity to its object or its in- 
organic nature. This corporeity, as an aggregate of 
correlations, enters in its very nature into difference and 
opposition of its elements, which mutually become each 
other's prey, and assimilate one another, and are re- 
tained by producing themselves. Yet this action of the 
several members (organs), is only the living subject's 
one act to which their productions revert ; so that in 
these productions nothing is produced except the sub- 
ject : in other words, the subject only reproduces itself. 

The process of the vital subject within its own limits has 
in Nature the threefold form of Sensibility, Irritability, and 
Reproduction. As Sensibility, the living being is immedi- 
ately simple self-relation— it is the soul omnipresent in its 
body, the outsideness of each member of which to others 
has for it no truth. As Irritability, the living being appears 
split up in itself; and as Reproduction, it is perpetually 
restoring itself from the inner distinction of its members 
and organs. A vital agent only exists as this continually 
self-renewing process within its own limits. 

210.] (2) But the judgment of the notion proceeds, as 
free, to discharge the objective or bodily nature as an 
independent totality from itself; and the negative rela- 
tion of the living thing to itself makes, as immediate 
individuality, the pre-supposition of an inorganic nature 
confronting it. As this negative of the animate is no 
less a function in the notion of the animate itself, it 
exists consequently in the latter (which is at the same 
time a concrete universal) in the shape of a defect or 
want. The dialectic by which the object, being implicitly 
null, is merged, is the action of the self-assured living 
thing, which in this process against an inorganic nature 
thus retains, develops, and objectifies itself. 

The living being stands face to face with an inorganic 
nature, to which it comports itself as a master and which it 

219-221.] LIFE. 361 

assimilates to itself. The result of the assimilation is not, as 
in the chemical process, a neutral product in which the inde- 
pendence of the two confronting sides is merged ; but the 
living being shows itself as large enough to embrace its 
other which cannot withstand its power. The inorganic 
nature which is subdued by the vital agent suffers this fate, 
because it is virtually the same as what life is actually. Thus 
in the other the living being only coalesces with itself. But 
when the soul has fled from the body, the elementary 
powers of objectivity begin their play. These powers are, 
as it were, continually on the spring, ready to begin their 
process in the organic body ; and life is the constant battle 
against them. 

220.] (3) The living individual, which in its first 
process comports itself as intrinsically subject and 
notion, through its second assimilates its external objec- 
tivity and thus puts the character of reality into itself. 
It is now therefore implicitly a Kind, with essential 
universality of nature. The particularising of this Kind 
is the relation of the living subject to another subject of 
its Kind: and the judgment is the tie of Kind over 
these individuals thus appointed for each other. This 
is the Affinity of the Sexes. 

221.] The process of Kind brings it to a being of its 
own. Life being no more than the idea immediate, the 
product of this process breaks up into two sides. On 
the one hand, the living individual, which was at first 
pre-supposed as immediate, is now seen to be mediated 
and generated. On the other, however, the living indi- 
viduality, which, on account of its first immediacy, stands 
in a negative attitude towards universality, sinks in the 
superior power of the latter. 

The living being dies, because it is a contradiction. Im- 
plicitly it is the universal or Kind, and yet immediately it 
exists as an individual only. Death shows the Kind to be 
the power that rules the immediate individual. For the 


animal the process of Kind is the highest point of its vitality. 
But the animal never gets so far in its Kind as to have a 
being of its own ; it succumbs to the power of Kind. In the 
process of Kind the immediate living being mediates itself 
with itself, and thus rises above its immediacy, only however 
to sink back into it again. Life thus runs away, in the 
first instance, only into the false infinity of the progress ad 
infinitum. The real result, however, of the process of life, 
in the point of its notion, is to merge and overcome that 
immediacy with which the idea, in the shape of life, is still 

222.] In this manner however the idea of life has 
thrown off not some one particular and immediate 
'This,' but this first immediacy as a whole. It thus 
comes to itself, to its truth : it enters upon existence as a 
free Kind self-subsistent. The death of merely immediate 
and individual vitality is the ' procession ' of spirit. 

[b) Cognition in general, 

223.] The idea exists free for itself, in so far as it has 
universality for the medium of its existence, — as objec- 
tivity itself has notional being, — as the idea is its own 
object. Its subjectivity, thus universalised, is pure self- 
contained distinguishing of the idea, — intuition which 
keeps itself in this identical universality. But, as 
specific distinguishing, it is the further judgment of 
repelling itself as a totality from itself, and thus, in the 
first place, pre-supposing itself as an external universe. 
There are two judgments, which though implicitly iden- 
tical are not yet explicitly put as identical. 

224.] The relation of these two ideas, which implicitly 
and as life are identical, is thus one of correlation : and 
it is that correlativity which constitutes the characteristic 
of finitude in this sphere. It is the relationship of re- 
flection, seeing that the distinguishing of the idea in its 

234-225.] KNOWLEDGE AND WILL. 363 

own self is only the first judgment — presupposing the 
other and not yet supposing itself to constitute it. And 
thus for the subjective idea the objective is the immediate 
world found ready to hand, or the idea as life is in the 
phenomenon of individual existence. At the same time, 
in so far as this judgment is pure distinguishing within 
its own limits (§ 223), the idea realises in one both itself 
and its other. Consequently it is the certitude of the 
virtual identity between itself and the objective world. — 
Reason comes to the world with an absolute faith in its 
ability to make the identity actual, and to raise its certi- 
tude to truth ; and with the instinct of realising explicitly 
the nullity of that contrast which it sees to be implicitly 

225.] This process is in general terms Cognition. 
In Cognition in a single act the contrast is virtually 
superseded, as regards both the one-sidedness of sub- 
jectivity and the one-sidedness of objectivity. At first, 
however, the supersession of the contrast is but implicit. 
The process as such is in consequence immediately in- 
fected with the finitude of this sphere, and splits into the 
twofold movement of the instinct of reason, presented as 
two different movements. On the one hand it supersedes 
the one-sidedness of the Idea's subjectivity by receiving 
the existing world into itself, into subjective conception 
and thought ; and with this objectivity, which is thus 
taken to be real and true, for its content it fills up the 
abstract certitude of itself On the other hand, it super- 
sedes the one-sidedness of the objective world, which is 
now, on the contrary, estimated as only a mere sem- 
blance, a collection of contingencies and shapes at 
bottom visionary. It modifies and informs that world 
by the inward nature of the subjective, which is here 
taken to be the genuine objective. The former is the 
instinct of science after Truth, Cognition properly so 


called : — the Theoretical action of the idea. The latter 
is the initinct of the Good to fulfil the same — the 
Practical activity of the idea or Volition. 

(n) Cognition proper. 

226.] The universal finitude of Cognition, which lies 
in the one judgment, the pre-supposition of the contrast 
(§ 224), — a pre-supposition in contradiction of which its 
own act lodges protest, specialises itself more precisely 
on the face of its own idea. The result of that speciali- 
sation is, that its two elements receive the aspect of 
being diverse from each other, and, as they are at least 
complete, they take up the relation of ' reflection,* not 
of 'notion,' to one another. The assimilation of the 
matter, therefore, as a datum, presents itself in the light 
of a reception of it into categories which at the same time . 
remain external to it, and which meet each other in the 
same style of diversity. Reason is active here, but it is 
reason in the shape of understanding. The truth 
which such Cognition can reach will therefore be only 
finite : the infinite truth (of the notion) is isolated and 
made transcendent, an inaccessible goal in a world of 
its own. Still in its external action cognition stands 
under the guidance of the notion, and notional principles 
form the secret clue to its movement. 

The finitude of Cognition lies in the pre-supposition of a 
world already in existence, and in the consequent view of the 
knowing subject as a tabula rasa. The conception is one 
attributed to Aristotle ; but no man is further than Aristotle 
from such an outside theory of Cognition. Such a style of 
Cognition does not recognise in itself the activity of the 
notion— an activity which it is implicitly, but not consciously. 
In its own estimation its procedure is passive. Really that 
procedure is active. 

227.] Finite Cognition, when it pre-supposes what is 


distinguished from it to be something already existing 
and confronting it, — to be the various facts of external 
nature or of consciousness — has, in the first place, 
(i) Formal identity or the abstraction of universality 
for the form of its action. Its activity therefore consists 
in analysing the given concrete object, isolating its 
differences, and giving them the form of abstract univer- 
sality. Or it leaves the concrete thing as a ground, and 
by setting aside the unessential-looking particulars, 
brings into relief a concrete universal, the Genus, or 
Force and Law. This is the Analytical Method. 

People generally speak of the analytical and synthetical 
methods, as if it depended solely on our choice which we 
pursued. This is far from the case. It depends on the form 
of the objects of our investigation, which of the two methods, 
that are derivable from the notion of finite cognition, ought 
to be applied. In the first place, cognition is analytical. 
Analytical cognition deals with an object which is presented 
in detachment, and the aim of its action is to trace back to a 
universal the individual object before it. Thought in such 
circumstances means no more than an act of abstraction or 
of formal identity. That is the sense in which thought is 
understood by Locke and all empiricists. Cognition, it is 
often said, can never do more than separate the given 
concrete objects into their abstract elements, and then con- 
sider these elements in their isolation. It is, however, at 
once apparent that this turns things upside down, and that 
cognition, if its purpose be to take things as they are, thereby 
falls into contradiction with itself. Thus the chemist e.g. 
places a piece of flesh in his retort, tortures it in many ways, 
and then informs us that it consists of nitrogen, carbon, 
hydrogen, &c. True: but these abstract matters have 
ceased to be flesh. The same defect occurs in the reason- 
ing of an empirical psychologist when he analyses an 
action into the various aspects which it presents, and then 
sticks to these aspects in their separation. The object which 
is subjected to analysis is treated as a sort of onion from 
which one coat is peeled off" after another. 


228.] This universality is (2) also a specific univer- 
sality. In this case the line of activity follows the three 
' moments ' of the notion, which (as it has not its infinity 
in finite cognition) is the specific or definite notion of 
understanding. The reception of the object into the 
forms of this notion is the Synthetic Method. 

The movement of the Synthetic method is the reverse of 
the Analytical method. The latter starts from the indi- 
vidual, and proceeds to the universal ; in the former the 
starting-point is given by the universal (as a definition), 
from which we proceed by particularising (in division) to 
the individual (the theorem). The Synthetic method thus 
presents itself as the developmen the ' moments ' of the 
notion on the object. 

229.] {") When the object has been in the first in- 
stance brought by cognition into the form of the specific 
notion in general, so that in this way its genus and its 
universal character or speciality are explicitly stated, we 
have the Deflnition. The materials and the proof of 
Definition are procured by means of the Analytical 
method (§ 227). The specific character however is 
expected to be a ' mark ' only : that is to say it is to be 
in behoof only of the purely subjective cognition which 
is external to the object. 

Definition involves the three organic elements of the 
notion : the universal or proximate genus {genus proximum), 
the particular or specific character of the genus {qualitas 
specified), and the individual, or object defined. — The first 
question that definition suggests, is where it comes from. 
The general answer to this question is to say, that definitions 
originate by way of analysis. This will explain how it 
happens that people quarrel about the correctness of pro- 
posed definitions ; for here everything depends on what 
perceptions we started from, and what points of view we 
had before our eyes in so doing. The richer the object to 

329-230.] SCIENTIFIC METHODS. 367 

be defined is, that is, the more numerous are the aspects 
which it offers to our notice, the more various are the defini- 
tions we may frame of it. Thus there are quite a host of 
definitions of life, of the state, &c. Geometry, on the con- 
trary, dealing with a theme so abstract as space, has an easy 
task in giving definitions. Again, in respect of the matter or 
contents of the objects defined, there is no constraining 
necessity present. We are expected to admit that space 
exists, that there are plants, animals, &c., nor is it the busi- 
ness of geometry, botany, &c. to demonstrate that the objects 
in question necessarily are. This very circumstance makes 
the synthetical method of cognition as little suitable for 
philosophy as the analytical : for philosophy has above all 
things to leave no doubt of the necessity of its objects. And 
yet several attempts have been made to introduce the syn- 
thetical method into philosophy. Thus Spinoza, in par- 
ticular, begins with definitions. He says, for instance, that 
substance is the causa sui. His definitions are unquestionably 
a storehouse of the most speculative truth, but it takes the 
shape of dogmatic assertions. The same thing is also true 
of Schelling. 

230.] (^) The statement of the second element of the 
notion, i. e. of the specific character of the universal as 
particularising, is given by Division in accordance with 
some external consideration. 

Division we are told ought to be complete. That requires 
a principle or ground of division so constituted, that the 
division based upon it embraces the whole extent of the 
region designated by the definition in general. But, in 
division, there is the further requirement that the principle 
of it must be borrowed from the nature of the object in 
question. If this condition be satisfied, the division is 
natural and not merely artificial, that is to say, arbitrary. 
Thus, in zoology, the ground of division adopted in the 
classification of the mammalia is mainly afforded by their 
teeth and claws. That is so far sensible, as the mammals 
themselves distinguish themselves from one another by these 
parts of their bodies ; back to which therefore the general 


type of their various classes is to be traced. In every case 
the genuine division must be controlled by the notion. To 
that extent a division, in the first instance, has three 
members : but as particularity exhibits itself as double, the 
division may go to the extent even of four members. In 
the sphere of mind trichotomy is predominant, a circum- 
stance which Kant has the credit of bringing into notice. 

231.] (y) In the concrete individuality, where the mere 
unanalysed quality of the definition is regarded as a cor- 
relation of elements, the object is a synthetical nexus of 
distinct characteristics. It is a Theorem. Being different, 
these characteristics possess but a mediated identity. 
To supply the materials, which form the middle terms, 
is the office of Construction : and the process of media- 
tion itself, from which cognition derives the necessity of 
that nexus, is the Demonstration. 

As the difference between the analytical and synthetical 
methods is commonly stated, it seems entirely optional 
which of the two we employ. If we assume, to start 
with, the concrete thing which the synthetic method 
presents as a result, we can analyse from it as conse- 
quences the abstract propositions which formed the pre- 
suppositions and the material for the proof. Thus, alge- 
braical definitions of curved lines are theorems in the 
method of geometry. Similarly even the Pythagorean 
theorem, if made the definition of a right-angled 
triangle, might yield to analysis those propositions 
which geometry had already demonstrated on its be- 
hoof. The optionalness of either method is due to 
both alike starting from an external pre-supposition. So 
far as the nature of the notion is concerned, analysis is 
prior; since it has to raise the given material with its 
empirical concreteness into the form of general abstrac- 
tions, which may then be set in the front of the synthe- 
tical method as definitions. 


That these methods, however indispensable and bril- 
liantly successful in their own province, are unservice- 
able for philosophical cognition, is self-evident. They 
have pre-suppositions ; and their style of cognition is 
that of understanding, proceeding under the canon of 
formal identity. In Spinoza, who was especially ad- 
dicted to the use of the geometrical method, we are at 
once struck by its characteristic formalism. Yet his 
ideas were speculative in spirit ; whereas the system of 
Wolf, who carried the method out to the height of 
pedantry, was even in subject-matter a metaphysic of the 
understanding. The abuses which these methods with 
their formalism once led to in philosophy and science 
have in modern times been followed by the abuses of 
what is called ' Construction.* Kant brought into vogue 
the phrase that mathematics 'construes' its notions. 
All that was meant by the phrase was that mathematics 
has not to do with notions, but with abstract qualities of 
sense-perceptions. The name 'Construction {constru- 
ing) of notions * has since been given to a sketch or 
statement of sensible attributes which were picked up 
from perception, quite guiltless of any influence of the 
notion, and to the additional formalism of classifying 
scientific and philosophical objects in a tabular form on 
some pre-supposed rubric, but in other respects at the 
fancy and discretion of the observer. In the back- 
ground of all this, certainly, there is a dim conscious- 
ness of the Idea, of the unity of the notion and objec- 
tivity, — a consciousness, too, that the idea is concrete. 
But that play of what is styled ' construing ' is far from 
presenting this unity adequately — a unity which is none 
other than the notion properly so called : and the sen- 
suous concreteness of perception is as little the concrete- 
ness of reason and the idea. 

Another point calls for notice. Geometry works with 


the sensuous but abstract perception of space ; and in 
space it experiences no difficulty in isolating and defin- 
ing certain simple analytic modes. To geometry alone 
therefore belongs in its perfection the synthetical method 
of finite cognition. In its course, however (and this is 
the remarkable point), it finally stumbles upon what are 
tei ned irrational and incommensurable quantities ; and 
in their case any attempt at further specification drives 
it beyond the principle of the understanding. This is 
only one of many instances in terminology, where the 
title rational is perversely applied to the province of 
understanding, while we stigmatise as irrational that 
which shows a beginning and a trace of rationality. 
Other sciences, removed as they are from the simplicity 
of space or number, often and necessarily reach a point 
where understanding permits no further advance : but 
they get over the difficulty without trouble. They make 
a break in the strict sequence of their procedure, and 
assume whatever they require, though it be the reverse 
of what preceded, from some external quarter, — opinion, 
perception, conception or any other source. Its inob- 
servancy as to the nature of its methods and their rela- 
tivity to the subject-matter prevents this finite cognition 
from seeing that, when it proceeds by definitions and 
divisions, &c., it is really led on by the necessity of the 
laws of the notion. For the same reason it cannot see 
when it has reached its limit ; nor, if it have trans- 
gressed that limit, does it perceive that it is in a sphere 
where the categories of understanding, which it still 
continues rudely to apply, have lost all authority. 

232.] The necessity, which finite cognition produces 
in the Demonstration, is, in the first place, an external 
necessity, intended for the subjective intelligence alone. 
But in necessity as such, cognition itself has left behind 
its presupposition and starting-point, which consisted in 

232-234-] WILL. 371 

accepting its content as given or found. Necessity qua 
necessity is implicitly the self-relating notion. The sub- 
jective idea has thus implicitly reached an original and 
objective determinateness, — a something not-given, and 
for that reason immanent in the subject. It has passed 
over into the idea of Will. 

The necessity which cognition reaches by means of the 
demonstration is the reverse of what formed its starting- 
point. In its starting-point cognition had a given and a con- 
tingent content ; but now, at the close of its movement, it 
knows its content to be necessary. This necessity is reached 
by means of subjective agency. Similarly, subjectivity at 
starting was quite abstract, a bare tabula rasa. It now shows 
itself as a modifying and determining principle. In this way 
we pass from the idea of cognition to that of will. The 
passage, as will be apparent on a closer examination, means 
that the universal, to be truly apprehended, must be appre- 
hended as subjectivity, as a notion self-moving, active, and 

(yS) Volition. 

233.] The subjective idea as original and objective 
determinateness, and as a simple uniform content, is 
the Good. Its impulse towards self-realisation is in its 
behaviour the reverse of the idea of truth, and rather 
directed towards moulding the world it finds before it 
into a shape conformable to its purposed End. — This 
Volition has, on the one hand, the certitude of the 
nothingness of the pre-supposed object; but, on the 
other, as finite, it at the same time pre-supposes the 
purposed End of the Good to be a mere subjective idea, 
and the object to be independent. 

234.] This action of the Will is finite : and its finitude 
lies in the contradiction that in the inconsistent terms 
applied to the objective world the End of the Good 
is just as much not executed as executed, — the end 


in question put as unessential as much as essential, 
— as actual and at the same- time as merely possible. 
This contradiction presents itself to imagination as an 
endless progress in the actualising of the Good ; which 
is therefore set up and fixed as a mere 'ought,' or goal 
of perfection. In point of form however this contra- 
diction vanishes when the action supersedes the sub- 
jectivity of the purpose, and along with it the objectivity, 
with the contrast which makes both finite ; abolish- 
ing subjectivity as a whole and not merely the one- 
sidedness of this form of it. {For another new sub- 
jectivity of the kind, that is, a new generation of the 
contrast, is not distinct from that which is supposed to be 
past and gone.) This return into itself is at the same 
time the content's own ' recollection ' that it is the 
Good and the implicit identity of the two sides, — it is 
a ' recollection ' of the pre-supposition of the theoretical 
attitude of mind (§ 224) that the objective world is its 
own truth and substantiality. 

While Intelligence merely proposes to take the world as 
it is, Will takes steps to make the world what it ought to be. 
Will looks upon the immediate and given present not as 
solid being, but as mere semblance without reality. It is 
here that we meet those contradictions which are so be- 
wildering from the standpoint of abstract morality. This 
position in its * practical ' bearings is the one taken by the 
philosophy of Kant, and even by that of Fichte. The Good, 
say these writers, has to be realised : we have to work in 
order to produce it : and Will is only the Good actualising 
itself. If the world then were as it ought to be, the action of 
Will would be at an end. The Will itself therefore requires 
that its End should not be realised. In these words, a 
correct expression is given to the finitude of Will. But 
finitude was not meant to be the ultimate point : and it is 
the process of Will itself which abolishes finitude and the 
contradiction it involves. The reconciliation is achieved, 

234 236.] IVILL. 373 

when Will in its result returns to the pre-supposition made 
by cognition. In other words, it consists in the unity of the 
theoretical and practical idea. Will knows the end to be its 
own, and Intelligence apprehends the world as the notion 
actual. This is the right attitude of rational cognition. 
Nullity and transitoriness constitute only the superficial 
features and not the real essence of the world. That 
essence is the notion in posse and in esse : and thus the 
world is itself the idea. All unsatisfied endeavour ceases, 
when we recognise that the final purpose of the world is 
accomplished no less than ever accomplishing itself. Gene- 
rally speaking, this is the man's way of looking ; while the 
young imagine that the world is utterly sunk in wickedness, 
and that the first thing needful is a thorough transformation. 
The religious mind, on the contrary, views the world as 
ruled by Divine Providence, and therefore correspondent 
with what it ought to be. But this harmony between the 
' is ' and the ' ought to be ' is not torpid and rigidly stationary. 
Good, the final end of the world, has being, only while it 
constantly produces itself. And the world of spirit and the 
world of nature continue to have this distinction, that the 
latter moves only in a recurring cycle, while the former 
certainly also makes progress. 

235.] Thus the truth of the Good is laid down as the ' 
unity of the theoretical and practical idea in the doc- j 
trine that the Good is radically and really achieved, ! 
that the objective world is in itself and for itself the 
Idea, just as it at the same time eternally lays itself 
down as End, and by action brings about its actuality. 
This life which has returned to itself from the bias and 
finitude of cognitipn, and which by the activity of the 
notion has become identical with it, is the Speculative 
or Absolute Idea. 

(c) The Absolute Idea. 

236.] The Idea, as unity of the Subjective and Objec- 
tive Idea, is the notion of the Idea, — a notion whose 
object [Gcgenstand] is the Idea as such, and for which , 

VOL. II. c c 

374 7"i/£: DOCTRINE OF THE NOTION. [236-237. 

the objective {Objckt) is Idea, — an Object which embraces 
all characteristics in its unity. This unity is consequently 
I the absolute and all truth, the Idea which thinks itself, 
— and here at least as a thinking or Logical Idea. 

The Absolute Idea is, in the first place, the unity of the 
theoretical and practical idea, and thus at the same time the 
unity of the idea of life with the idea of cognition. In cog- 
nition we had the idea in a biassed, one-sided shape. The 
process of cognition has issued in the overthrow of this bias 
and the restoration of that unity, which as unity, and in its 
immediacy, is in the first instance the Idea of Life. The 
defect of life lies in its being only the idea implicit or 
natural : whereas cognition is in an equally one-sided way 
the merely conscious idea, or the idea for itself The unity 
» and truth of these two is the Absolute Idea, which is both in 
I itself and for itself Hitherto we have had the idea in 
I development through its various grades as our object, but 
' now the idea comes to be its own object. This is the v6r}<ni 
poT](Tea)s which Aristotle long ago termed the supreme form 
of the idea. 

237.] Seeing that there is in it no transition, or pre- 
supposition, and in general no specific character other 
than what is fluid and transparent, the Absolute Idea is 
for itself the pure form of the notion, which contem- 
plates its content as its own self. It is its own content, 
in so far as it ideally distinguishes itself from itself, and 
the one of the two things distinguished is a self-identity 
in which however is contained the totality of the form 
as the system of terms describing its content. This 
content is the system of Logic. All that is at this stage 
left as form for the idea is the Method of this content, 
— the specific consciousness of the value and currency of 
the ' moments ' in its development. 

To speak of the absolute idea may suggest the conception 
that we are at length reaching the right thing and the sum 
of the whole matter. It is certainly possible to indulge in a 

337-238-] THE ABSOLUTE IDEA. 375 

vast amount of senseless declamation about the idea abso- 
lute. But its true content is only the whole system of 
which we have been hitherto studying the development. It 
may also be said in this strain that the absolute idea is the 
universal, but the universal not merely as an abstract form 
to which the particular content is a stranger, but as the 
absolute form, into which all the categories, the whole full- 
ness of the content it has given being to, have retired. The 
absolute idea may in this respect be compared to the old 
man who utters the same creed as the child, but for whom it 
is pregnant with the significance of a lifetime. Even if the 
child understands the truths of religion, he cannot but 
imagine them to be something outside of which lies the 
whole of life and the whole of the world. The same may be 
said to be the case with human life as a whole and the 
occurrences with which it is fraught. All work is directed 
only to the aim or end ; and when it is attained, people are 
surprised to find nothing else but just the very thing which 
they had wished for. The interest lies in the whole move- 
ment. When a man traces up the steps of his life, the end 
may appear to him very restricted : but in it the whole 
decursus vitae is comprehended. So, too, the content of the 
absolute idea is the whole breadth of ground which has 
passed under our view up to this point. Last of all comes 
the discovery that the whole evolution is what constitutes 
the content and the interest. It is indeed the prerogative of 
the philosopher to see that everything, which, taken apart, is 
narrow and restricted, receives its value by its connexion 
with the whole, and by forming an organic element of the 
idea. Thus it is that we have had the content already, and 
what we have now is the knowledge that the content is the 
living development of the idea. This simple retrospect is 
contained in the form of the idea. Each of the stages | \ 
hitherto reviewed is an image of the absolute, but at first in j 1 
a limited mode, and thus it is forced onwards to the whole, 
the evolution of which is what we termed Method. 

238.] The several steps or stages of the Speculative 
Method are, first of all, (a) the Beginning, which is 


Being or Immediacy : self-subsistent, for the simple 
reason that it is the beginning. But looked at from 
the speculative idea, Being is its self-specialising act, 
which as the absolute negativity or movement of the 
notion makes a judgment and puts itself as its own 
negative. Being, which to the beginning as beginning 
seems mere abstract affirmation, is thus rather negation, 
dependency, derivation, and pre-supposition. But it is 
the notion, of which Being is the negation : and the 
notion is completely self-identical in its otherness, and is 
the certainty of itself. Being therefore is the notion 
implicit, before it has been explicitly put as a notion. 
This Being therefore, as the still unspecified notion, — a 
notion that is only implicitly or 'immediately' specified 
— is equally describable as the Universal. 

When it means immediate being, the beginning is 
taken from sensation and perception— the initial stage 
in the analytical method of finite cognition. When it 
means universality, it is the beginning of the synthetic 
method. But since the Logical Idea is as much a 
universal as it is in being — since it is pre-supposed by 
the notion as much as it itself immediately is, its 
beginning is a synthetical as well as an analytical 

Philosophical method is analytical as well as synthetical, 
not indeed in the sense of a bare juxtaposition or mere 
alternating employment of these two methods of finite 
cognition, but rather in such a way that it holds them 
merged in itself. In every one of its movements therefore 
it displays an attitude at once analytical and synthetical. 
Philosophical thought proceeds analytically, in so far as it 
only accepts its object, the Idea, and while allowing it its own 
way, is only, as it were, an on-looker at its movement and 
development. To this extent philosophising is wholly 
passive. Philosophic thought however is equally synthetic, 
and evinces itself to be the action of the notion itself. To that 

238-341.] THE ABSOLUTE IDEA. 377 

end, however, there is required an effort to keep back the 
incessant impertinence of our own fancies and private 

239.] {b) The Advance renders explicit the judgment 
implicit in the Idea. The immediate universal, as the 
notion implicit, is the dialectical force which on its own 
part deposes its immediacy and universality to the 
level of a mere stage or 'moment.' Thus is put the 
negative of the beginning, its specific character : it 
supposes a correlative, a relation of different terms, — 
the stage of Reflection. 

Seeing that the immanent dialectic only states ex- 
plicitly what was involved in the immediate notion, this 
advance is Analytical ; but seeing that in this notion this 
distinction was not yet stated, — it is equally Synthetical. 

In the advance of the idea, the beginning exhibits itself as 
what it is implicitly. It is seen to be mediated and deriva- 
tive, and neither to have proper being nor proper imme- 
diacy. It is only for the consciousness which is itself 
immediate, that Nature forms the commencement or im- 
mediacy, and that Spirit appears as what is mediated by 
Nature. The truth is that Nature is the creation of Spirit, 
and it is Spirit itself which gives itself a pre-supposition in 

240.] The abstract form of the advance is, in Being, 
an other and transition into an other; in Essence 
showing or reflection in the opposite ; in Notion, the 
distinction of individual from universality, which con- 
tinues itself as such into, and is as an identity with, 
what is distinguished from it. 

241.] In the second sphere the primarily implicit 
notion has come as far as shining, and thus is already 
the idea in germ. The development of this sphere 
becomes a regress into the first, just as the de- 
velopment of the first is a transition into the second. 


It is only by means of this double movement, that the 
difference first gets its due, when each of the two 
members distinguished, observed on its own part, 
completes itself to the totality, and in this way works 
out its unity with the other. It is only by both merging 
their one-sidedness on their own part, that their unity is 
kept from becoming one-sided. 

242.] The second sphere developes the relation of 
the differents to what it primarily is, — to the contradic- 
tion in its own nature. That contradiction which is 
seen in the infinite progress is resolved {c) into the end 
or terminus, where the differenced is explicitly stated 
as what it is in notion. The end is the negative of the 
first, and as the identity with that, is the negativity of 
itself. It is consequently the unity in which both of 
these Firsts, the immediate and the real First, are made 
constituent stages in thought, merged, and at the same 
time preserved in the unity. The notion, which from 
its implicitness thus comes by means of its differentiation 
and the merging of that differentiation to close with 
itself, is the realised notion, — the notion which contains 
the relativity or dependence of its special features in its 
own independence. It is the idea which, as absolutely 
first (in the method), regards this terminus as merely the 
disappearance of the show or semblance, which made 
the beginning appear immediate, and made itself seem 
a result. It is the knowledge that the idea is the one 
systematic whole. 

243.] It thus appears that the method is not an ex- 
traneous form, but the soul and notion of the content, 
from which it is only distinguished, so far as the 
dynamic elements of the notion even on their own part 
come in their own specific character to appear as the 
totality of the notion. This specific character, or the 
content, leads itself with the form back to the idea ; 

243-244.] THE ABSOLUTE IDEA. 379 

and thus the idea is presented as a systematic totality 
which is only one idea, of which the several elements 
are each implicitly the idea, whilst they equally by the 
dialectic of the notion produce the simple independence 
of the idea. The science in this manner concludes by 
apprehending the notion of itself, as of the pure idea 
for which the idea is, 

244.] The Idea which is independent or for itself, 
when viewed on the point of this its unity with itself, is 
Perception or Intuition, and the percipient Idea is 
Nature. But as intuition the idea is, through an ex- 
ternal 'reflection,' invested with the one-sided charac- 
teristic of immediacy, or of negation. Enjoying how- 
ever an absolute liberty, the Idea does not merely pass 
over into life, or as finite cognition allow life to show 
in it : in its own absolute truth it resolves to let the 
'moment' of its particularity, or of the first charac- 
terisation and other-being, the immediate idea, as its 
reflected image, go forth freely as Nature. 

We have now returned to the notion of the Idea with 
which we began. This return to the beginning is also an 
advance. We began with Being, abstract Being : where we 
now are we also have the Idea as Being : but this Idea which 
has Being is Nature. 




Page 5, § 2. After-thought = 5«ad^bcnfcn, /. e. thought which 
retraces and reproduces an original, but submerged, thought (cf. 
mZ ^m)! "■ '■ "^ ' '' '' "'^^^"^"'^hed from I^flexfon (cf. 

P- 7, § 3. On the blending of universal (thought) and indi- 

^«^/Tr''"^ " "'^^ " ^^"^^ P^^^^P'-" (SBa^rne^men see 
t.ncycl. \\ 420, 421. ' / / 

mn^n' ^'i ^; . ^^' ^'''^'^' ^'''^'' ''• 454 : ' Hence for the com- 
mon sort of hearers and readers the uncommon intelligibility of 
certam sermons and lectures and writings, not one word of which 
s mte hg:ble to the man who thinks for himself, -because there 
s really no mtelhgence in them. The old woman who frequents 
the church-for whom by the way I cherish all possible respect- 
loK of TT"" 7"^ '"^^"igible and very edifying which contains 
lots of texts and verses of hymns she knows by rote and can 
repeat. In the same way readers, who fancy themselves far 
superior to her, find a work very instructive and clear which 
tells them what they already know, and proofs very stringent 
which demonstrate what they already believe. The pleasure the 
reader takes ,n the writer is a concealed pleasure in himself. 
What a great man ! (he says to himself) ; it is as if I heard or 
read myself.' 

,I\ ^\ ^ ^' ^^- "^^^'' ^'''^'^ ^'"- ^7 : 'In this conviction 
(tha what is reasonable is actual, and what is actual is reason- 
able) stands every plain man, as weU as the philosopher; and 
from It philosophy starts in the study both of the spiritual and 


of the natural universe The great thing however is, in the 

show of the temporal and the transient to recognise the sub- 
stance which is immanent and the eternal which is present. 
For the work of reason (which is synonymous with the Idea), 
when in its actuality it simultaneously enters external existence, 
emerges with an infinite wealth of forms, phenomena and 
phases, and envelopes its kernel with the motley rind with 
which consciousness is earliest at home,— a rind which the 
notion must penetrate before it can find the inward pulse and 
feel it still beating even in the outward phases. But the infinite 
variety of circumstance which is formed in this externality by 
the light of the essence shining in it,— all this infinite material, 
with its regulations,— is not the object of philosophy. ... To 
comprehend what is, is the task of philosophy : for what is is 
reason. As regards the individual, each, whatever happens, 
is a son of his time. So too philosophy is its time apprehended 
in thoughts. It is just as foolish to fancy that a philosophy can 
overleap its present world as that an individual can overleap 
his time. If his theory really goes beyond actualities, if it 
constructs an ideal, a world as it ought to be, then such exist- 
ence as it has is only in his intentions — a yielding element in 
which anything you please may be fancy-formed.' Cf. Schelling, 
Werke, iv. 390 : ' There are very many things, actions, &c. of 
which we may judge, after vulgar semblance, that they are 
unreasonable. All the same we presuppose and assume that 
everything which is or which happens is reasonable, and that 
reason is, in one word, the prime matter and the real of all 

P. 11, § 6. Actuality (©irfli^fcit) in Werke, iv. 178 seqq. 
P. 12, § 7. Cf. Fichte, Werke, ii. 333 : ' Man has nothing at 
all but experience; and everything he comes to he comes to 
only through experience, through life itself. All his thinking, 
be it loose or scientific, common or transcendental, starts from 
experience and has experience ultimately in view. Nothing has 
unconditional value and significance but life ; all other thinking, 
conception, knowledge has value only in so far as in some way 
or other it refers to the fact of life, starts from it, and has in 
view a subsequent return to it.' 

P. 13, § 7 (note). Thomas Thomson (1773-1852), Professor 
of Chemistry at Glasgow, distinguished in the early history of 
chemistry and allied sciences. The Annals of Philosophy 

CHAPTER I, §§ 6-13. 385 

appeared from 1813 to 1826.-7:^^ art of preserving the hair 
was published (anonymous) at London in 1825. 

P. 14, § 7 (note). The speech from the throne was read on 
Feb. 3rd, 1825. 

The shipowners' dinner was on Feb. 12. The Times of 
Feb. 14 gives as Canning's the words ' the just and wise maxims 
ot sound not spurious philosophy.' 

P. 17, § 10. ' Scholasticus ' is the guileless ' freshman,' hero 
of certam Facetiae (attributed to the Pythagorean philosopher 
Hierocles) which used occasionally to form part of the early 
Greek reading of schoolboys. 

K. L. Reinhold (i 754-1 823) presents in his intellectual history 
a picture of the development of ideas in his age. At the be- 
ginnmg his Attempt of a new theory of the human representa- 
tive faculty (1789) is typical of the tendency to give a subjective 
psychological interpretation of Kant's theory of knowledge 
But the period of Reinhold's teaching here referred to is that of 
th& Contributions to an easier siirvey of the condition of philo- 
sophy at the beginning of the nineteenth century (Scitrd^e 1801) • 
the tendency which Hegel, who reviewed him in the 'critical 
Journal of Philosophy ( Werke, i. 267 seqq.\ calls ' philosophising 
before phi!osophy.'-A similar spirit is operative in Krugs pro- 
posal (in his Fundamental Philosophy, 1803) to start with what 
he called 'philosophical problematics.' 

P. 19, § II. Plato, Phaedo, p. 89, where Socrates protests 
against the tendency to confound the defect of a particular piece 
of reasoning with the incompetence of human reason altogether, 
P. 22, § 13. The dictum that the historical succession of 
philosophical systems is identical with their logical sequence 
should not be taken too literally and mechanically. Its essential 
point is simply the theorem that history is not a casual series of 
unconnected events,-the deeds of particular persons, but is an 
evolution under laws and uniformities : -it is this theorem ap- 
plied to philosophies. But difficulties may easily arise in the 
application of the general principle: e.g. it will be seen (by 
comparison of § 86 and § 104) that though Pythagoras precedes 
Parmenides, and number is a stepping-stone to pure thought 
still pure Being comes at an earlier stage than Quantity. 

P. 23, § 13. There is a silent reference to" what Reinhold 
professed to make the subject of his teaching at Jena— 'philo- 
sophy without surnames ' (cf)iie «einamcii),-/. e. not a ' critical ' 


philosophy ;— or to the ' Philosophy which may not bear any 
man's name' of Beck. As Hegel says, IVerke, xvi. 138, 'The 
solicitude and apprehension against being one-sided is only too 
often part of the weakness which is capable only of many-sided 
illogical superficiality.' 

P. 27, § 16. By ' anthropology ' is meant not the anthropology 
of modem writers, who use the name to denote mainly the his- 
tory of human culture in its more rudimentary stages, and as 
exhibited chiefly in material products, but the study of those 
aspects of psychology which are most closely allied with physio- 
logical conditions. 

With the power of the intuition of genius to give almost all 
that logical synthesis can produce, cf. Werke, I, 331 : ' In this 
way a grand and pure intuition is able, in the purely architec- 
tonic features of its picture, though the inter-connection of neces- 
sity and the mastery of form does not come forward into visibility, 
to give expression to the genuine ethical organism— like a 
building which silently exhibits the spirit of its author in the 
several features of its mass, without the image of that spirit being 
set forth anywhere in one united shape. In such a delinea- 
tion, made by help of notions, it is only a want of technical skill 
which prevents reason from raising the principle it embraces 
and pervades into the " ideal " form and becoming aware of it as 
the Idea. If the intuition only remains true to itself and does 
not let analytic intellect disconcert it, it will probably— just 
because it cannot dispense with notions for its expression — 
behave awkwardly in dealing with them, assume distorted shapes 
in its passage through consciousness, and be (to the speculative 
eye) both incoherent and contradictory : but the arrangement of 
the parts and of the self-modifying characters betray the inward 
spirit of reason, however invisible. And so far as this appear- 
ance of that spirit is regarded as a product and a result, it will 
as product completely harmonise with the Idea.' Probably 
Goethe is before Hegel's mind. 

P. 28, § 17. The triplicity in unity of thought— its forthgoing 
(' procession,' cf. p. 362 seqq.) and its return, which is yet an 
abiding in itself (*-Bfi;ft^;feiu) was first explicitly schematised by 
Proclus, the consummator of Neo-Platonism. In his Institutio 
Theologica he lays it down that the essential character of all 
spiritual reality (ao-w/xaroi') is to be Trpos kavro finaTpcrrTiKou, i. e. 
to return upon itself, or to be a unity in and with difference, — 

CHAPTER I, § l-^— CHAPTER H, % 20. 387 

to be an original and spontaneous principle of movement (c. 15) : 
or, as in C. 31 : tiav ro npoiop ano rivos kot oiktiuv €Trt.(TTpe(})eTai npos 
fKf'ivo d<^' 01- npoeiaiv. Its rnovement, therefore, is circular 
{KVKXiKqv €;(fi Trjf ('v(pyfiav) (c. 33) : for everything must at the 
same time remain altogether in the cause, and proceed from it, 
and revert to it (c. 35). Such an essence is self-subsistent 
avOvnocTTaTov) ,^is at once agent (rrapayov) and patient (napayo- 
fifvou). This ' mysticism ' (of a trinity which is also unity of 
motion which is also rest), with its np6o8os, enia-Tpocfyr], and novrj, 
is taken up, in his own way, by Scotus Erigena (De Divisione 
Naturae) as processio (or divisio), reditus, and adunatio. From 
God ' proceed ' — by an eternal creation — the creatures, who 
however are not outside the divine nature ; and to God all things 
created eternally return. 


P. 31, § 19. Truth:— as early as Werke, i. 82, i.e. 1801, 
Hegel had come — perhaps influenced by the example of Jacobi — 
to the conclusion that ' Truth is a word which, in philosophical 
discourse, deserves to be used only of the certainty of the Eternal 
and non-empirical Actual.' (And so Spinoza, ii. 310.) 

P. 32. ' The young have been flattered ' — e. g. by Fichte, 
Werke, i. 435 : ' Hence this science too promises itself few 
proselytes amongst men already formed : if it can hope for any 
at all, it hopes for them rather from the young world, whose 
inborn force has not yet been ruined in the laxity of the age.' 

P. 38, § 20. What Kant actually said {Kritik der reinen 
Vemunft : Elementarlehre, § 16), was 'The I think must be 
able to accompany all my conceptions ' (^Sorf^eKungcn). Here, as 
often elsewhere, Hegel seems to quote from memory, — with 
some shortcoming from absolute accuracy. 

From this point Fichte's idealism takes its spring, e. g. 
Werke, ii. 505 : 'The ground of all certainty, — of all conscious- 
ness of fact in life, and of all demonstrative knowledge in 
science, is this : In and inith the single thing we affirm (fc^en) 
(and whatever we affirm is necessarily something single) we also 
affirm the absolute totality as such. . . . Only in so far as we 
have so affirmed anything, is it certain for us,— from the single 
unit we have comprehended under it away to every single thing 
in the infinity we shall comprehend under it,— from the one 


individual who has comprehended it, to all individuals who will 
comprehend it. . . . Without this absolute " positing " of the abso- 
lute totality in the individual, we cannot (to employ a phrase of 
Jacobi's) come to bed and board.' 

' Obviously therefore you enunciate not the judgment of a 
single observation, but you embrace and " posit " the sheer infini- 
tude and totality of all possible observations : — an infinity which 
is not at all compounded out of finites, but out of which, con- 
versely, the finites themselves issue, and of which finite things 
are the mere always-uncompleted analysis. This — how shall 
I call it, procedure, positing, or whatever you prefer — this " mani- 
festation " of the absolute totality, I call intellectual vision 
(Jtiifdjauung). I regard it — ^just because I cannot in any way get 
beyond intelligence— as immanent in intelligence, and name it 
so far egoity (^"sdiljcit), — not objectivity and not subjectivity, but 
the absolute identity of the two: — an egoity, however, which it 
was to be hoped would not be taken to mean individuality. 
There lies in it, what you ' (he is addressing Reinhold, who here 
follows Bardili) ' call a repetibility ad infinitu7n. For me, there- 
fore, the essence of the finite is composed of an immediate vision 
of the absolutely timeless infinite (with an absolute identity of 
subjectivity and objectivity), and of a separation of the two latter, 
and an analysis {continued ad z'n^m'/um) of the infinite. In that 
analysis consists the temporal life: and the starting-point of 
this temporal life is the separation into subject and object, which 
through the intellectual vision (intuition) are still both held 

P. 44, § 22, /^e mere fact of conviction. Cf. Rechtsphilosophie, 
§ 140 {IVerke, viii. 191): 'Finally the mere conviction which 
holds something to be right is given out as what decides the 
morality of an action. The good we will to do not yet having 
any content, the principle of conviction adds the information 
that the subsumption of an action under the category of good is 
purely a personal matter. If this be so, the very pretence of an 
ethical objectivity is utterly lost. A doctrine like this is closely 
allied with the self-styled philosophy which denies that the true 
is cognoscible : because for the Will, truth— z. e. the rationality 
of the Will — lies in the moral laws. Giving out, as such a 
system does, that the cognition of the true is an empty vanity, 
far transcending the range of science (which recognises only 
appearance), it must, in the matter of conduct, also find its 

CHAPTER II, §§ 20-22. 389 

principle in the apparent ; whereby moral distinctions are re- 
duced to the peculiar theory of life held by the individual and 
to his private conviction. At first no doubt the degradation 
into which philosophy has thus sunk seems an affair of supreme 
indifference, a mere incident in the futilities of the scholastic 
world: but the view necessarily makes itself a home in ethics, 
which is an essential part of philosophy ; and it is then in the 
actual world that the world learns the true meaning of such 

' As the view spreads that subjective conviction, and it alone, 
decides the morality of an action, it follows that the charge of 
hypocrisy, once so frequent, is now rarely heard. You can only 
qualify wickedness as hypocrisy on the assumption that certain 
actions are inherently and actually misdeeds, vices, and crimes, 
and that the defaulter necessarily is aware of them as such, 
because he is aware of and recognises the principles and out- 
ward acts of piety and honesty, even in the pretence to which 
he misapplies them. In other words, it was generally assumed 
as regards immorality that it is a duty to know the good, and 
to be aware of its distinction from the bad. In any case it 
was an absolute injunction which forbade the commission of 
vicious and criminal acts, and which insisted on such actions 
being imputed to the agent, so far as he was a man, not a beast. 
But if the good heart, the good intention, the subjective con- 
viction, are set forth as the true sources of moral worth, then 
there is no longer any hypocrisy, or immorality at all: for 
whatever one does, he can always justify it by the reflection 
on it of good aims and motives; and by the influence of that 
conviction it is good. There is no longer anything i7iherently 
vicious or criminal : instead of the frank and free, hardened 
and unperturbed sinner, comes the person whose mind is com- 
pletely justified by intention and conviction. My good intention 
in my act, and my conviction of its goodness, make it good. 
We speak of judging and estimating an act. But on this prin- 
ciple it is only the aim and conviction of the agent— his faith— 
by which he ought to be judged. And that not in the sense in 
which Christ requires faith in objective truth, so that for one 
who has a bad faith, i. e. a conviction bad in its content, the 
judgment to be pronounced must be bad, /. e. conformable to this 
bad content. But faith here means only fidelity to conviction. 
Has the man (we ask) in acting kept true to his conviction .? It 
VOL. II. D d 


is formal subjective conviction on which alone the obligation of 
duty is made to depend. 

' A principle like this, where conviction is expressly made 
something subjective, cannot but suggest the thought of pos- 
sible error, with the further implied presupposition of an abso- 
lutely-existing law. But the law is no agent : it is only the 
actual human being who acts ; and in the aforesaid principle 
the only question in estimating human actions is how far he has 
received the law into his conviction. If, therefore, it is not the 
actions which are to be estimated and generally measured by 
that law, it is impossible to see what the law is for, and what 
end it can serve. Such a law is degraded to a mere outside 
letter, in fact an empty word ; which is only made a law, i. e. 
invested with obligatory force, by my conviction. 

' Such a law may claim its authority from God or the State : 
it may even have the authority of tens of centuries during which 
it served as the bond that gave men, with all their deed and 
destiny, subsistence and coherence. And these are authorities 
in which are condensed the convictions of countless individuals. 
And for me to set against that the authority of my single con- 
viction—for as my subjective conviction its sole validity is 
authority — that self-conceit, monstrous as it at first seems, is, 
in virtue of the principle that subjective conviction is to be 
the rule, pronounced to be no self-conceit at all. 

' Even if reason and conscience^which shallow science and 
bad sophistry can never altogether expel — admit, with a noble 
illogicality, that error is possible, still by describing crime and 
wickedness as only an error we minirnise the fault. For to 
err is human : — Who has not been mistaken on one point or 
another, whether he had fresh or pickled cabbage for dinner, 
and about innumerable things more or less important 1 But the 
difference of more or less importance disappears if everything 
turns on the subjectivity of conviction and on persistency in it. 
But the said noble illogicality which admits error to be possible, 
when it comes round to say that a wrong conviction is only an 
error, really only falls into a further illogicality— the illogicality 
of dishonesty. One time conviction is made the basis of morality 
and of man's supreme value, and is thus pronounced the supreme 
and holy. Another time all we have to do with is an error : 
my conviction is something trivial and casual, strictly speaking 
something outside, that may turn out this way or that. And, 

CHAPTER II, §§ 22-23. 391 

really, my being convinced is something supremely trivial : if 
1 cannot know truth, it is indifferent how I think ; and all that 
IS left to my thmking is that empty good,-a mere abstraction 
ot generalisation. 

'It follows further that, on this principle of justification by 
conviction, logic requires me, in dealing with the way others 
act against my action, to admit that, so far as they in their 
belief and conviction hold my actions to be crimes, they are 
quite m the right. On such logic not merely do I gain nothing, 
I am even deposed from the post of liberty and honour into 
a situation of slavery and dishonour. Justice— which in the 
abstract is mine as well as theirs- 1 feel only as a foreign sub- 
jective conviction, and in the execution of justice I fancy myself 
to be only treated by an external force.' 

P. 44, § 23. @elb|lt)eiifen-to think and not merely to read or 
listen is the recurrent cry of Fichte {e.g. Werke, ii. 329). Ac- 
cording to the editors of Werke, xv. 582, the reference here is 
to Schleiermacher and to his Monologues. Really it is to the 
Komantic principle in general, especially F. Schlegel. 
ill f"' ^ ^^' ^^' ^'^^^^^ Werke, ii. 404 : ' Philosophy (2Biffen- 
Smm^xi), besides (for the reason above noted that it has no 
auxiliary, no vehicle of the intuition at all, except the intuition 
Itself), elevates the human mind higher than any geometry can 
It gives the mind not only attentiveness, dexterity, stability, but 
at the same time absolute independence, forcing it to be alone 
with Itself, and to live and manage by itself. Compared with 
It, every other mental operation is infinitely easy ; and to one 
who has been exercised in it nothing comes hard. Besides 
as It prosecutes all objects of human lore to the centre it 
accustoms the eye to hit the proper point at first glance' in 
everything presented to it, and to prosecute it undeviatingly. 
For such a practical philosopher therefore there can be nothing 
dark, complicated, and confused, if only he is acquainted with 
the object of discussion. It comes always easiest to him to 
construct everything afresh and ab initio, because he carries 
within him plans for every scientific edifice. He finds his way 
easily, therefore, in any complicated structure. Add to this 
the security and confidence of glance which he has acquired in 
philosophy,-the guide which conducts in all raisonnement , and 
the imperturbability with which his eye meets every divergence 
from the accustomed path and every paradox. It would be 


quite different with all human concerns, if men could only 
resolve to believe their eyes. At present they inquire at 
their neighbours and at antiquity what they really see, and by 
this distrust in themselves errors are eternalised. Against this 
distrust the possessor of philosophy is for ever protected. In a 
word, by philosophy the mind of man comes to itself, and from 
henceforth rests on itself without foreign aid, and is completely 
master of itself, as the dancer of his feet, or the boxer of his 

P. 45, § 23. Aristotle, Metaph. i. 2, 19 (cf. Eth. x. 7). See 
also Werke, xiv. 280 seqq. 

P. 46, § 24. Schelling's expression, 'petrified intelligence.' 
The reference is to some verses of Schelling in Werke, iv. 546 
(first published in Zeitschrift fiir speculative Physik, 1800). We 
have no reason to stand in awe of the world, he says, which is 
a tame and quiet beast — 

(Stcrft jtrar fin 9Ricfcngcifl bariniicii, 
r^ft abcr verf^cinert wit alien ©innen ; 
3n tobten nnb (ebcnbigen !l)in9en 
!£^ut nac^ 2?c»u^tfct)n mdc^tig ringcn. 

In human shape he at length awakes from the iron sleep, from 
the long dream : but as man he feels himself a stranger and 
exile ; he would fain return to great Nature ; he fears what 
surrounds him and imagines spectres, not knowing he might 
say of Nature to himself — 

2>^ tin bet @ott, ben fie im 95ufcn tjcgt, 
2)et ©eiji, ber fid^ in adent bctocgt : 
93om friil^fien OJingcn bunfler .ffrdfte 
©i^ jum 6'rgu§ ber sri^cn Sebengfdftf, 

Jperauf jn bee ©efcanfene Sugenbfvaft 
2Ccbur(^ SJiatur verjiingt fic^ rtieber fc^afft, 
3fi eine ^raft, cin SBec^felfviel unb SBeben, 
Gin 3;rteb unb I)rang nad^ immcr %c\^tvm. Seben. 

Cf. O'ktn, Natttrphtlosophie, § 2913: *A natural body is a 
thought of the primal act, turned rigid and cr>'stallised,— a word 
of God.' 

Phrases of like import are not infrequent in Schelling's works 
(about 1800-1), e.g. Werke, i. Abth. iii. 341 : * The dead and 

CHAPTER II, §§ 23-24. 393 

unconscious products of nature are only unsuccessful attempts 
to "reflect" itself; so-called dead nature is in all cases an 
immature intelligence' (umcife Sntflliijen^), or iv. 77, 'Nature 
itself is an intelligence, as it were, turned to rigidity (erfiarvte)^ 
with all its sensations and perceptions ' ; and ii. 226 {Ideen 
zu einer Philosophie der Natur, 1797), 'Hence nature is only 
intelligence turned into the rigidity of being ; its qualities are 
sensations extinguished to being; bodies are its perceptions, so 
to speak, killed.' 

A close approach to the phrase quoted is found in the words 
of another of the ' Romantic ' philosophers : ' Nature is a petri- 
fied magic-city ' (ucvllcincrte Bauberjlabt). (Novalis, Schrt/ten, 
ii. 149.) 

P. 48, § 24. Cf. Fichte to Jacobi : (Jacobi's Briefwechsel, ii. 
208) ' My absolute Ego is obviously not the individual : that ex- 
planation comes from injured snobs and peevish philosophers, 
seeking to impute to me the disgraceful doctrine of practical 
egoism. But the individual imtst be deduced from the absolute 
ego. To that task my philosophy will proceed in the " Natural 
Law." A finite being — it may be deductively shown — can only 
think itself as a sense-being in a sphere of sense-beings, — on one 
part of which (that which has no power of origination) it has 
causality, while with the other part (to which it attributes a sub- 
jectivity like its own) it stands in reciprocal relations. In such 
circumstances it is called an individual, and the conditions of 
individuality are called rights. As surely as it affirms its indivi- 
duality, so surely does it affirm such a sphere — the two concep- 
tions indeed are convertible. So long as we look upon ourselves 
as individuals — and we always so regard ourselves in life, though 
not in philosophy and abstract imagination — we stand on what 
I call the " practical " point of view in our reflections (while 
to the standpoint of the absolute ego I give the name "specula- 
tive "). From the former point of view there exists for us a world 
independent of us,— a world we can only modify; whilst the 
pure ego (which even on this altitude does not altogether dis- 
appear from us,) is put outside us and called God. How else 
could we get the properties we ascribe to God and deny to our- 
selves, did we not after all find them within us, and only refuse 
them to ourselves in a certain respect, i.e. as individuals ? When 
this " practical " point of view predominates in our reflections, 
realism is supreme : when speculation itself deduces and re- 


cognises that standpoint, there results a complete reconciliation 
between philosophy and common sense as premised in my 

' For what good, then, is the speculative standpoint and the 
whole of philosophy therewith, if it be not for life ? Had 
humanity not tasted of this forbidden fruit, it might dispense 
with all philosophy. But in humanity there is a wish implanted 
to behold that region lying beyond the individual ; and to be- 
hold it not merely in a reflected light but face to face. The first 
who raised a question about God's existence broke through the 
barriers, he shook humanity in its main foundation pillars, and 
threw it out of joint into an intestine strife which is not yet 
settled, and which can only be settled by advancing boldly to 
that supreme point from which the speculative and the prac- 
tical appear to be at one. We began to philosophise from pride 
of heart, and thus lost our innocence : we beheld our naked- 
ness, and ever since we philosophise from the need of our 

P. 50. Physics and Philosophy of Nature: cf. Werke, vii. i, 
p. l8 : ' The Philosophy of Nature takes up the material, pre- 
pared for it by physics out of experience, at the point to which 
physics has brought it, and again transforms it, without basing 
it ultimately on the authority of experience. Physics therefore 
must work into the hands of philosophy, so that the latter may 
translate into a true comprehension (^^egriff) the abstract uni- 
versal transmitted to it, showing how it issues from that com- 
prehension as an intrinsically necessary whole. The philosophic 
way of putting the facts is no mere whim once in a way, by 
way of change, to walk on the head, after walking a long while 
on the legs, or once in a way to see our every-day face be- 
smeared with paint. No ; it is because the method of physics 
does not satisfy the comprehension, that we have to go on 

P. 51, § 24. The distinction of ordinary and speculative 
Logic is partly like that made by Fichte (i. 68) between Logic 
and 2Bifitcnfc^aft^tfl)«. ' The former,' says Fichte, ' is conditioned 
and determined by the latter.' Logic deals only with form ; 
epistomology with import as well. 

P. 54, § 24. The Mosaic legend of the Fall ; cf. similar inter- 
pretations in Kant : Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blossen 
Vemunfiy \^* Stiick ; and Schelling, Werke, i. (i. Abth.) 34. 

CHAPTER IT, § 24 — CHAPTER HI, §31. 395 


P. 61, § 28. Fichte — to emphasise the experiential truth of 
his system— says {Werke, ii. 331): 'There was a philosophy 
which professed to be able to expand by mere inference the 
range thus indicated for philosophy. According to it, thinking 
was— not, as we have described it, the analysis of what was 
given and the recombining of it in other forms, but at the same 
time — a production and creation of something quite new. In 
this system the philosopher found himself in the exclusive pos- 
session of certain pieces of knowledge which the vulgar under- 
standing had to do without. In it the philosopher could reason 
out for himself a God and an immortality and talk himself into 
the conclusion that he was wise and good.' 

Wolfs definition of philosophy is ' the Science of the possible 
in so far as it can be ' ; and the possible = the non-contra- 

P. 64, § 29. The oriental sage corresponds (cf. Hegel, Werke, 
xii. 229) to the writer known as Dionysius the Areopagite {De 
Mystica Theologia, and De Divinis Nominibus). — The same 
problem as to the relation of the Infinite (God) to the Finite 
(world) is discussed in Jewish speculation (by Saadia, Mamuni, 
&c.) as the question of the divine names, — a dogma founded on 
the thirteen names (or attributes) applied to God in Exodus 
xxxiv. 6. (Cf. D. Kaufmann, Geschichte der Attribtitenlehre.) 
The same spirit has led to the list of ninety-nine ' excellent 
names' of Allah in Islam, a list which tradition derives from 

P. 65, § 31. Cf. Werke, ii. 47 seqq.: 'The nature of the 
judgment or proposition— involving as it does a distinction of 
subject and predicate — is destroyed by the " speculative " pro- 
position. This conflict of the propositional form with the unity 
of comprehension which destroys it is like the antagonism in 
rhythm between metre and accent. The rhythm results from 
the floating "mean" and unification of the two. Hence even in 
the "philosophical" proposition the identity of subject and pre- 
dicate is not meant to annihilate their difference (expressed 
by the propositional fonn) : their unity is meant to issue as a 
harmony. The propositional form lets appear the definite shade 
or accent pointing to a distinction in its fulfilment : whereas in 


the predicate giving expression to the substance, and the sub- 
ject itself falling into the universal, we have the unity in which 
that accent is heard no more. Thus in the proposition " God is 
Being" the predicate is Being; it represents the substance in 
which the subject is dissolved away. Being is here meant not 
to be predicate but essence : and in that way God seems to cease 
to be what he is— by his place in the proposition — viz. the 
permanent subject. The mind — far from getting further forward 
in the passage from subject to predicate — feels itself rather 
checked, through the loss of the subject, and thrown back, from 
a sense of its loss, to the thought of the subject. Or,— since the 
predicate itself is enunciated as a subject (as Being or as Es- 
sence) which exhausts the nature of the subject, it again comes 
face to face with the subject even in the predicate. — Thought 
thus loses its solid objective ground which it had on the sub- 
ject : yet at the same time in the predicate it is thrown back 
upon it, and instead of getting to rest in itself it returns upon 
the subject of the content. — To this unusual check and arrest 
are in the main due the complaints as to the unintelligibility of 
philosophical works, — supposing the individual to possess any 
other conditions of education needed for understanding them.' 

P. 66, § 32. On the relation of dogmatism and scepticism 
see the introduction to Kant's Criticism of Pure Reason, and 
compare Caird's Critical Philosophy of I. Kant, vol. i. chap. i. 

P- 67, § 33. The subdivision of 'theoretical' philosophy or 
metaphysics into the four branches. Ontology, Cosmology, Psy- 
chology (rational and empirical), and Natural Theology, is more 
or less common to the whole Wolfian School. Wolf's special 
addition to the preceding scholastic systems is found in the 
conception of a general Cosmology. Metaphysics precedes 
physics, and the departments of practical philosophy. In 
front of all stands logic or rational philosophy. Empirical 
psychology belongs properly to physics, but reasons of practical 
convenience put it elsewhere. 

P. 69, § 34. The question of the ' Seat of the Soul ' is well 
known in the writings of Lotze {e.g. Metaphysic, § 291). 

Absolute actuosity. The Notio Dei according to Thomas 
Aquinas, as well as the dogmatics of post-Reformation times, is 
actus purus (or actus purissimus). For God nihil potentiali- 
tatis habet. Cf. Werke, xii. 228 : ' Aristotle especially has con- 
ceived God under the abstract category of activity. Pure acti- 

CHAPTER III, §§ 31-36. 397 

vity is knowledge (aBifTen)— in the scholastic age, actus purus— : 
but in order to be put as activity, it must be put in its 
" moments." For knowledge we require another thing which is 
known ; and which, when knowledge knows it, is thereby appro- 
priated. It is implied in this that God — the eternal and self- 
subsistent— eternally begets himself as his Son,— distinguishes 
himself from himself. But what he thus distinguishes from 
himself, has not the shape of an otherness : but what is distin- 
guished is ipso facto identical with what it is parted from. God 
is spirit : no darkness, no colouring or mixture enters this pure 
light. The relationship of father and son is taken from organic 
life and used metaphorically — the natural relation is only pic- 
torial and hence does not quite correspond to what is to be 
expressed. We say, God eternally begets his Son, God distin- 
guishes himself from himself: and thus we begin from God, 
saying he does this, and in the other he creates is utterly with 
himself (the form of Love) : but we must be well aware that 
God is this whole action itself. God is the beginning ; he does 
this: but equally is he only the end, the totality: and as such 
totality he is spirit. God as merely the Father is not yet the 
true (it is the Jewish religion where he is thus without the 
Son) : He is rather beginning and end : He is his presupposi- 
tion, makes himself a presupposition (this is only another form 
of distinguishing) : He is the eternal process.' 

Nicolaus Cusanus speaks of God {De docta Ignorantia, ii. i) 
as infinita actualitas quae est actu omnis essendi possibilitas. 
The term ' actuosity ' seems doubtful. 

P. 73, § 36. Sensus efnifientior. Theology distinguishes 
three modes in which the human intelligence can attain a 
knowledge of God. By the via causalitatis it argues that God 
is ; by the via negationis, what he is not ; by the via eminen- 
tiae, it gets a glimpse of the relation in which he stands to us. 
It regards God i.e. as the cause of the finite universe ; but as 
God is infinite, all that is predicated of him must be taken as 
merely approximative {sensti etmnentiori) and there is left a 
vast remainder which can only be filled up with negations 
[Durandus de S. Porciano on the Sentent. i. 3. i]. The sensus 
eminentior is the subject of Spinoza's strictures, Ep. 6 (56 in 
Opp. ii. 202) : while Leibniz adopts it in the preface to Tht^odiiee, 
' Les perfections de Dieu sont celles de nos imes, mais il les 
poss^de sans homes : il est un ocean, dont nous n'avons re^u 


que les gouttes ; il y a en nous quelque puissance, quelque con- 
naissance, quelque bont^ ; mais elles sont toutes enti^res en Dieu.' 
The via causalitatis infers e.g., from the existence of morality 
and intelligence here, a Being whose will finds expression 
therein : the 7>ia eminentiae infers that that will is good, and 
that intelligence wise in the highest measure, and the via nega- 
tionis sets aside in the conception of God all the limitations 
and conditions to which human intelligence and will are subject. 


P. 80, § 38. The verses (forming part of the advice which 
Mephistopheles, personating Faust, gives to the recently-arrived 
pupil) stand in the original in a different order : beginning 
„!r)ann t)at cr bie X^eile in feincr Jpaiib," &c. The meaning of these 
and the two preceding lines is somewhat as follows, in versifica- 
tion even laxer than Goethe's : — 

If you want to describe life and gather its meaning, 

To drive out its spirit must be your beginning, 

Then tliough fast in your hand lie the parts one by one 

The spirit that linked them, alas! is gone. 

And ' Nature's Laboratory ' is only a name 

That the chemist bestows on't to hide his own shame. 

One may compare Wilhelm Meister's IVanderjahre, iii. 3, where 
it is remarked, in reference to some anatomical exercises : ' You 
will learn ere long that building-up is more instructive than 
tearing-down, combining more than separating, animating the 
dead more than killing again what was killed already. . . . 
Combining means more than separating : reconstructing more 
than onlooking.' The first part of Faust appeared 1808: the 
IVanderjahre, 1828-9. 

P. 82, § 39. The article on the ' Relation of scepticism to 
philosophy, an exposition of its various modifications, and com- 
parison of the latest with the ancient ' — in form a review of G. E. 
Schulze's Criticism of Theoretical Philosophy— 'wa.s republished 
in vol. xvi. of Hegel's Werke (vol. i. of the Ver?mschte Schriften). 

P. 87, § 42. In an earlier review of Kant's work {Werke, i. 
83) on (S)laubcu unb ©iffen (an article in Schelling and Hegel's 
Journal) Hegel attaches more weight to a factor in the critical 
theory of knowledge, here neglected. Kant, he says, has — 

CHAPTER III, § 36 — CHAPTER IV, § 42. 399 

within the limits allowed by his psychological terms of thought 
— 'put (in an excellent way) the d priori of sensibility into the 
original identity and multiplicity, and that as transcendental 
imagination in the "higher power" of an immersion of unity in 
multiplicity : whilst Understanding (33erftanb) he makes to con- 
sist in the elevation to universality of this ^ priori synthetic 
unity of sensibility, — whereby this identity is invested with a 
comparative antithesis to the sensibility : and Reason (!!i>emimft) 
is presented as a still higher power over the preceding compara- 
tive antithesis, without however this universality and infinity 
being allowed to go beyond the stereotyped formal pure in- 
finity. This genuinely rational construction by which, though 
the bad name "faculties" is left, there is in truth presented a 
single identity of them all, is transformed by Jacobi into a 
series of faculties, resting one upon another.' 

P. 87, § 42. Fichte : cf. Werke, i. 420 : ' I have said before, 
and say it here again, that my system is no other than the 
Kantian. That means : it contains the same view of facts, but 
in its method is quite independent of the Kantian exposition.' 
' Kant, up to now, is a closed book.' — i. 442. There are two 
ways of critical idealism. 'Either' (as Fichte) 'it actually de- 
duces from the fundamental laws of intelligence, that system of 
necessary modes of action, and with it, at the same time, the 
objective conceptions thus arising, and thus lets the whole com- 
pass of our conceptions gradually arise under the eyes of the 
reader or hearer ; or ' (like Kant and his unprogressive dis- 
ciples) ' it gets hold of these laws from anywhere and anyhow, 
as they are immediately applied to objects, therefore on their 
lowest grade (—on this grade they are called categories), and 
then asseverates that it is by these that objects are determined 
and arranged.' And i. 478 : ' I know that the categories which 
Kant laid down are in no way proved by him to be conditions 
of self-consciousness, but only said to be so : I know that space 
and time and what in the original consciousness is inseparable 
from them and fills them both, are still less deduced as such 
conditions, for of them it is not even said expressly — as of the 
categories— that they are so, but only inferentially. But I believe 
quite as surely that I know that Kant had the thought of such 
a system : that everything he actually propounds are fragments 
and results of this system; and that his statements have meaning 
and coherence only on this presupposition.' Cf. viii. 362. 


P. 89, §42. Transcendental unity of self-consciousness. Kant's 
Kritik der reinen Vcrnunft, § 16 : ' The / think must be able to 
accompany all my ideas. . . . This idea is an act of spontaneity. 
... I name it pure apperception ... or original apperception . . . 
because it is that self-consciousness which can be accompanied 
by none further. The unity of it I also call the transcendental 
unity of self-consciousness, in order to denote the possibility of 
cognition ci priori from it.' 

P. 92, § 44. Caput mortuum : a term of the Alchemists to 
denote the non-volatile precipitate left in the retort after the spirit 
had been extracted : the fixed or dead remains, ' quando spiritus 
animam sursum vexit.' 

P. 92, § 45. Reason and Understanding. In the Wolfian 
School {e.g. in Baumgarten's Metaphysik, § 468) the term intel- 
lect (Scrftaiib) is used of the general faculty of higher cognition, 
while ratio (iBermuift) specially denotes the power of seeing 
distinctly the connexions of things. So Wolff ( Verniinftige 
Gedanken von Gott, &c. § 277) defines 93crftanb as ' the faculty 
of distinctly representing the possible,' and 3Scrnunft (§ 368) as 
'the faculty of seeing into the connexion of truths.' It is on 
this use of Reason as the faculty of inference that Kant's use of 
the term is founded : though it soon widely departs from its 
origin. For upon the ' formal ' use of reason as the faculty of 
syllogising, Kant superinduces a transcendental use as a ' faculty 
ol principles,^ while the understanding is only ' a faculty of rules' 
* Reason,' in other words, ' itself begets conceptions,' and 
' maxims, which it borrows neither from the senses nor from the 
understanding.' {Kritik d. r. Vern., Dialektik, Einleit. ii. A.) 
And the essential aim of Reason is to give unity to the various 
cognitions of understanding. While the unity given by under- 
standing is ' unity of a possible experience,' that sought by 
reason is the discovery of an unconditioned which will com- 
plete the unity of the former {Dial. Einleit. iv), or of 'the 
totality of the conditions to a given conditioned.' {Dial, vii.) 

It is this distinction of the terms which is dominant in Fichte 
and Hegel, where ajerftanb is the more practical intellect which 
seeks definite and restricted results and knowledges, while 
^^ernunft is a deeper and higher power which aims at complete- 
ness. In Goethe's more reflective prose we see illustrations of 
this usage : e.g. With. Meister^s Wanderjahre, i. it is said to be 
the object of the 'reasonable' man ' bag eutcjc^cngcfc^te ju uberf^auen 

CHAPTER IV, §§ 42-45. 40 r 

iiiib in Ucbercinllimniung git bringen ' : or Bk. ii. Reasonable men 
when they have devised something tteriidnbig to get this or that 
difficulty out of the way, &c. Goethe, in his Spriiche in Prosa 
(896), Werke, iii. 281, says 'Reason has for its province the 
thing in process (ba3 SBcrbenbe), understanding the thing com- 
pleted (bai« ©ciroibene) : the former does not trouble itself about 
the purpose, the latter asks not whence. Reason takes delight 
in developing; understanding wishes to keep everything as it 
is, so as to use it.' (Similarly in Eckermann's Convers. Feb. 13, 
1829.) Cf. Oken, 9iatutpt)ilcfop^ie, § 2914. 'iBevfianb ift a»icioco(5mu^, 
i'err.unft aKacrocogmu^. 

Kant's use of the term Reason, coupled with his special 
view of Practical Reason and his use of the term Faith ((Sjlaitbe), 
leads on to the terminology of Jacobi. In earlier writings 
Jacobi had insisted on the contrast between the superior au- 
thority of feeling and faith (which are in touch with truth) and 
the mechanical method of intelligence and reasoning (^Bevftanb 
and a3crnuiift). At a later period however he changed and fixed 
the nomenclature of his distinction. What he had first called 
©laubc he latterly called 3Sevnmift,— which is in brief a ' sense for 
the supersensible ' — an intuition giving higher and complete or 
total knowledge— an immediate apprehension of the real and the 
true. As contrasted with this reasonable faith or feeling, he 
regards Sjertlanb as a mere faculty of inference or derivative 
knowledge, referring one thing to another by the rule of identity. 

This distinction which is substantially reproduced by Coleridge 
(though with certain clauses that show traces of Schellingian 
influence) has connexions— like so much else in Jacobi —with 
the usage of Schopenhauer, 'Nobody,' says Jacobi, 'has ever 
spoken of an animal a3eruunft : a mere animal Sjcvflanb however 
we all know and speak of.' (Jacobi's IVerke, iii. 8.) Schopen- 
hauer repeats and enforces the remark. All animals possess, 
says Schopenhauer, the power of apprehending causality, of cog- 
nising objects : a power of immediate and intuitive knowledge 
of real things : this is *i5evfiaiib. But ajcriiuuft, which is peculiar 
to man, is the cognition of truth (not of reality) : it is an abstract 
judgment with a sufficient reason ( IVeli als W. i. § 6). 

One is tempted to connect the modem distinction with an 
older one which goes back in its origin to Plato and Aristotle, 
but takes form in the Neo-Platonist School, and enters the Latin 
world through Boethius. Consol. Phil. iv. 6 : Igitur utt est ad 


intellectum ratiocinatio, ad id quod est id quodgignitur, ad aeter- 
nitatem tevipus, and in v. 4 there is a full distinction of sensus, 
imagination ratio and intelligentia in ascending order. Ratio 
is the discursive knowledge of the idea {universali consideratione 
perpendii) : intelligentia apprehends it at once, and as a simple 
forma (pura mentis acie co?ttuetur): [cf Stob. Eel. i. 826-832: 
Porphyr. Sentent. 15]. Reasoning belongs to the human species, 
just as intelligence to the divine alone. Yet it is assumed— in 
an attempt to explain divine foreknowledge and defend freedom 
- -that man may in some measure place himself on the divine 
standpoint (v. 5). 

This contrast between a higher mental faculty (mens) and a 
lower (ratio) which even Aquinas adopts from the interpretation 
of Aristotle [Summa Theol. \. 79, 9) is the favourite weapon in 
the hands of mysticism. After the example of Dionysius Areop., 
Nicolaus of Cusa, Reuchlin, and other thinkers of the Renais- 
sance depreciate mere discursive thought and logical reasoning. 
It is the inner mens — like a simple ray of light — penetrating by 
an immediate and indivisible act to the divine — which gives us 
access to the supreme science. This simplex intelligentia, — 
superior to imagination or reasoning — as Gerson says, Consid. 
de Th. 10, is sometimes named mens, sometimes spiritus, the light 
of intelligence, the shadow of the angelical intellect, the divine 
light. From Scotus Erigena to Nicolas of Cusa one tradition is 
handed down : it is taken up by men like Everard Digby (in his 
Theoria Analytica) and the group of Cambridge Platonists and 
by S pinoza in t he seventeenth century, and it reappears, profoundly 
modihed, in the German idealism between 1790 and 1820. 

P. 99, § 48. 'Science of Logic' ; Hegel's large work on the 
subject, published between 1812-16. The discussions on the 
Antinomies belong chiefly to the first part of it. 

P. 102, § 50. ' Natural Theology,' here to be taken in a 
narrower sense than in p. 73, where it is equivalent to Rational 
Theology in general. Here it means ' Physico-theology ' — the 
argument from design in nature. 

P. 103, § 50. Spinoza — defining God as 'the union of thought 
with extension.' This is not verbally accurate ; for according to 
Ethica, i. pr. 11, God, or the substance, consists of infinite attri- 
butes, each of which expresses the eternal and infinite essence. 
But Spinoza mentions of ' attributes ' only two : Ethica, ii. pr. i. 
Thought is an attribute of God : pr. 2, Extension is an attribute 

CHAPTER IV, §§ 45-54. 403 

of God. And he adds, Ethica, i. pr. 10, Schol. * All the attributes 
substance has were always in it together, nor can one be pro- 
duced by another.' And in Ethica, ii. 7. Sch. it is said : ' Think- 
ing substance and extended substance is one and the same 
substance which is comprehended now under this, now under 
that attribute.' 

P. 110, § 54. 'Practical in the true sense of the word.' Cf. 
Kant, Werke, Ros. and Sch. i. 581 : 'A great misunderstanding, 
exerting an injurious influence on scientific methods, prevails 
with regard to what should be considered "practical" in such 
sense as to justify its place in practical philosophy. Diplomacy 
and finance, rules of economy no less than rules of social inter- 
course, precepts of health and dietetic of the soul no less than the 
body, have been classed as practical philosophy on the mere 
ground that they all contain a collection of practical propositions. 
But although such practical propositions differ in mode of state- 
ment from the theoretical propositions which have for import 
the possibility of things and the exposition of their nature, they 
have the same content. " Practical," properly so called, are only 
those propositions which relate to Liberty under laws. All 
others whatever are nothing but the theory of what pertains to 
the nature of things— only that theory is brought to bear on the 
way in which the things may be produced by us in conformity 
with a principle ; /. e. the possibility of the things is presented 
as the result of a voluntary action which itself too may be 
counted among physical causes.' And Kant, Werke, iv. 10. 
* Hence a sum of practical precepts given by philosophy does 
not form a special part of it (co-ordinate with the theoretical) 
merely because they are practical. Practical they might be, 
even though their principle were wholly derived from the theo- 
retical knowledge of nature, — as technico-practical rules. They 
are practical in the true sense, when and because their principle 
is not borrowed from the nature-conception (which is always 
sensuously conditioned) and rests therefore on the supersensible, 
which the conception of liberty alone makes knowable by formal 
laws. They are therefore ethico-practical, i.e. not merely 
precepts and rules with this or that intention, but laws without 
antecedent reference to ends and intentions.' 

P. Ill, § 54. Eudaemonism. But there is Eudaemonism and 
Eudaemonism ; as Cf. Hegel, Werke, i. 8. * The time had come 
when the infinite longing away beyond the body and the world 


had reconciled itself with the reality of existence. Yet the 
reality which the soul was reconciled to— the objective which 
the subjectivity recognised — was actually only empirical exist- 
ence, common world and actuality. . . . And though the recon- 
ciliation was in its heart and ground sure and fast, it still needed 
an objecti\ e form for this ground : the very necessity of nature 
made the blind certitude of immersion in the reality of empirical 
existence seek to provide itself with a justification and a good 
conscience. This reconciliation for consciousness was found in 
the Happiness-doctrine : the fixed point it started from being 
the empirical subject, and what it was reconciled to, the vulgar 
actuality, whereon it might now confide, and to which it might 
surrender itself without sin. The profound coarseness and utter 
vulgarity, which is at the basis of this happiness-doctrine, has 
its only elevation in its striving after justification and a good 
conscience, which however can get no further than the objec- 
tivity of mere intellectualism. 

' The dogmatism of eudaemonism and of popular philosophy 
(Slufflanm^) therefore did not consist in the fact that it made 
happiness and enjoyment the supreme good. For if Happiness 
be comprehended as an Idea, it ceases to be something empirical 
and casual— as also to be anything sensuous. In the supreme 
existence, reasonable act (X^uu) and supreme enjoyment are 
one. So long as supreme blessedness is supreme Idea it matters 
not whether we try to apprehend the supreme existence on the 
side of its ideality, — which, as isolated may be first called reason- 
able act — or on the side of its reality — which as isolated may be 
first called enjoyment and feeling. For reasonable act and supreme 
enjoyment, ideality and reality are both alike in it and identical. 
Every philosophy has only one problem — to construe supreme 
blessedness as supreme Idea. .So long as it is by reason that 
supreme enjoyment is ascertained, the distinguishability of the 
two at once disappears : for this comprehension and the infinity 
which is dominant in act, and the reality and finitude which is 
dominant in enjoyment, are taken up into one another. The 
controversy with happiness becomes a meaningless chatter, 
when happiness is known as the blessed enjoyment of the eternal 
intuition. But what was called eudaemonism meant— it must 
be said— an empirical happiness, an enjoyment of sensation, not 
the eternal intuition and blessedness.' 

P. 112, § 55. Schiller. Ueber die aesthetische Erziehung des 

CHAPTER IV, §§ 54-60. 405 

Menschen (1795), i8th letter. 'Through beauty the sensuous 
man is led to form and tc thought ; through beauty the intel- 
lectual man is led back to matter and restored to the sense- 
world. Beauty combines two states which are opposed to one 
another.' Letter 25. ' We need not then have any difficulty 
about finding a way from sensuous dependence to moral 
liberty, after beauty has given a case where liberty can com- 
pletely co-exist with dependence, and where man in order to 
show himself an intelligence need not make his escape from 
matter. If— as the fact of beauty teaches — man is free even in 
association with the senses, and if — as the conception necessarily 
involves — liberty is something absolute and supersensible, there 
can no longer be any question how he comes to elevate himself 
from limitations to the absolute : for in beauty this has already 
come to pass.' Cf. Uebcr Anmuth und Wiirdc (1793). ' ^t is 
in a beautiful soul, then, that sense and reason, duty and inclina- 
tion harmonize ; and grace is their expression in the appearance. 
Only in the service of a beautiful soul can nature at the same 
time possess liberty.' (See Bosanquet's History of Aesthetic.) 

P. 115, § 60. The quotation in the note comes from § ?>'] of 
the Kritik der Urtheilskraft {Werke, ed. Ros. and Sch. iv. 


P. 120, § 60. Fichte, Werke, i. 279. 'The principle of life 
and consciousness, the ground of its possibility, is (as has been 
shown) certainly contained in the Ego : yet by this means there 
arises no actual life, no empirical life in time — and another life 
is for us utterly unthinkable. If such an actual life is to be 
possible, there is still needed for that a special impulse (?lii|lc§) 
striking the Ego from the Non-ego. According to my system, 
therefore, the ultimate ground of all actuality for the Ego is an 
original action and re-action between the Ego and something 
outside it, of which all that can be said is that it must be com- 
pletely opposed to the Ego. In this reciprocal action nothing 
is brought into the Ego, nothing foreign imported ; everything 
that is developed from it ad ittjinitum is developed from it 
solely according to its own laws. The Ego is merely put in 
motion by that opposite, so as to act ; and without such a first 
mover it would never have acted ; and, as its existence consists 
merely in action, it would not even have existed. But the 
source of motion has no further attributes than to set in motion, 
to be an opposing force which as such is only felt. 

VOL. II. E e 


" My philosophy therefore is realistic. It shows that the con- 
sciousness of finite natures cannot at all be explained, unless we 
assume a force existing independently of them, and completely 
opposed to them; — on which as regards their empirical exist- 
ence they are dependent. But it asserts nothing further than 
such an opposed force, which is merely felt, but not cognised, 
by finite beings. All possible specifications of this force or 
non-ego, which may present themselves ad infinitum in our 
consciousness, my system engages to deduce from the specify- 
ing faculty of the Ego. . . . 

'That the finite mind must necessarily assume outside it some- 
thing absolute (a SDing^aiufic^), and yet must on the other hand 
acknowledge that this something only exists for the mind (is 
a necessary noiimenon) : this is the circle which may be in- 
finitely expanded, but from which the finite mind can never 
issue." Cf. Fichte's Werke, i. 248, ii. 478. 


P. 121, § 62. F. H. Jacobi {Werke, v. 82) in his Woldemar 
(a romance contained in a series of letters, first published as 
a whole in 1781) writes: 'The philosophical understanding 
(Sierftanb) is jealous of everything unique, everything immediately 
certain which makes itself true, without proofs, solely by its 
existence. It persecutes this faith of reason even into our 
inmost consciousness, where it tries to make us distrust the 
feeling of our identity and personality.' ' What is absolutely 
and intrinsically true,' he adds (v. 122), 'is not got by way of 
reasoning and comparison : both our immediate consciousness 
(ffliffen) — I am — and our conscience (©ettiifyen) are the work of a 
secret something in which heart, understanding, and sense 
combine.' 'Notions (33eij,rifte), far from embalming the living, 
really turn it into a corpse ' (v. 380). 

Cf. Fichte's words ( Werke, ii. 255), Slug bem ©etriffen aflein ftammt 
bie 2Bal)rr)eit, &c. 

P. 122, § 62. The Letters on the doctrine of Spinoza, pub- 
lished in 1785, were re-issued in 1789 with eight supplements. 

*A science,' says Jacobi in his latest utterance {Werke, 
iv. pref. XXX.) ' is only a systematic register of cognitions 
mutually referring to one another — the first and last point 
in the series is wanting.' 

CHAPTER IV, § 60 — CHAPTER V, § 63. 407 

P. 123, § 62. Lalande's dictum is referred to by Fries 
{Populdre Vorlesungen iiber Sternkunde, 1 81 3) quoted by Jacobi 
in his Werke, ii. 55. What Lalande has actually written in the 
preface to his work on astronomy is that the science as he 
understands it has no relation to natural theology— in other 
words, that he is not writing a Bridgewater treatise. 

P. 123, § 63. Jacobi, Werke, ii. 222. 'For my part, I regard 
the principle of reason as all one with the principle of life.' And 
ii. 343 : ' Evidently reason is the true and proper life of our 
nature.' It is in virtue of our inner tendency and instinct towards 
the eternal (jRid}tmi9 uiib Xrieb auf bag ©icigc),— of our sense for the 
supersensible — that we, human beings, really subsist (iv. 6. 152). 
And this Dvgan ber a3ernc^mung beg llebetftnnlic^cii is Reason (iii. 
203, &c.). 

The language of Jacobi fluctuates, not merely in words, but 
in the intensity of his intuitionalism. Thus, e.g. iii. 32: 'The 
reason man has is no faculty giving the science of the true, but 
only a presage ' (9lf)nbung beg a3al)ven). ' The belief in a God,' he 
says, at one time (iii. 206) ' is as natural to man as his upright 
position ' : but that belief is, he says elsewhere, only ' an inborn 
devotion (iJlnbac^t) before an unknown God.' Thus, if we have 
an immediate awareness (SBiJTcn) of God, this is not knowledge 
or science (2Difl'cnf(^aft). Such intuition of reason is described 
(ii. 9) as ' the faculty of presupposing the intrinsically (an ftc^) 
true, good, and beautiful, with full confidence in the objective 
validity of the presupposition.' But that object we are let see 
only in feeling (ii. 61). 'Our philosophy,' he says (iii. 6) 'starts 
from feeling — of course an objective and pure feeling.' 

P. 124, § 63. Jacobi {IVerke, iv. a, p. 211) : 'Through faith 
(®laube) we know that we have a body.' Such immediate know- 
ledge of our own activity — 'the feeling of I am, I act ' (iii. 411) 
— the sense of ' absolute self-activity ' or freedom (of which the 
' possibility cannot be cognised,' because logically a contradic- 
tion) is what Jacobi calls 3lnfcf)auung (Intuition). He distinguishes 
a sensuous, and a rational intuition (iii. 59). 

P. 125, § 63. Jacobi expressly disclaims identification of his 
©laubewith the faith of Christian doctrine (IVerke, iv. a, p. 210). 
In defence he quotes from Hume, Inquiry V, and from Reid, 
passages to illustrate his usage of the term 'belief— by the 
distinction between which and faith certain ambiguities are no 
doubt avoided. 


P. 129, § 66. Kanf had said ^Concepts without intuitions are 
empty.' It is an exaggeration of this half-truth (the other half 
is Intuitions without concepts are blind) that is the basis of 
these statements of Jacobi (and of Schopenhauer) — a view of 
which the following passage from Schelling (IVerke, ii. 125) is 
representative. ' Concepts (^fc\riffc) are only silhouettes of reality. 
They are projected by a serviceable faculty, the understanding, 
which only comes into action when reality is already on the 
scene,— which only comprehends, conceives, retains what it re- 
quired a creative faculty to produce. . . . The mere concept is 
a word without meaning. ... All reality that can attach to it is 
lent to it merely by the intuition (Slnfdjauung) which preceded it. 
. . . Nothing is real for us except what is immediately given us, 
without any mediation by concepts, without our feeling at 
liberty. But nothing reaches us immediately except through 
intuition.' He adds, however, * Intuition is due to the activity 
of mind (®cirt) : it demands a disengaged sense (frcicr (Stiiii) and 
an intellectual organ (geiiiigeS Dr^an).' 

P. 134. Cicero: De Natura Deorum, i. 16; ii. 4, De quo 
autem omnium natura consentit, id verum esse necesse est ; cf. 
Seneca, Epist. cxvii. 6. The principle is common to Stoics 
and Epicureans : it is the maxim of Catholic truth Quod semper, 
quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditujn est — equivalent to 
Aristotle's oTrao-i 8o«t, tovt dvai ^afxtv. — But as Aristotle remarks 
{An. Post. i. 31) TO KaQokov Ka\ (it\ naaiv nbiudTou alaOavicrBai. 

Jacobi : Werke, vi. 145. ' The general opinion about what is 
true and good must have an authority equal to reason.' 

P. 136, § 72. Cf. Encyclop. § 400: 'That the heart and the 
feeling is not the form by which anything is justified as religious, 
moral, true, and just, and that an appeal to heart and feeling 
either "means nothing or means something bad, should hardly 
need enforcing. Can any experience be more trite than that 
hearts and feelings are also bad, evil, godless, mean, &c. ? Ay, 
that the heart is the source of such feelings only, is directly said 
in the words : Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, &c. In 
times when the heart and the sentiment are, by scientific 
theology and philosophy, made the criterion of goodness, 
religion, and morality, it is necessary to recall these trivial 

CHAPTER V, § 66 — CHAPTER VI, § 82. 409 


P. 145, § 80. Goethe ; the reference is to Werke, ii. 268 
(Dlatur unb ^unft) : 

Set @ro^c(3 »i((, tttuf fid^ jufammcnraffcn : 
3n ber 33cfd)idnfutig jcigt fic^ crji ber 9Weifter, 
Unb bag @cfc| nur fann uii3 5icei()cit geben. 

Such ' limitation ' of aim and work is a frequent lesson in 
Wilhelm Meistet's Wanderjahre, e.g. i. ch. 4. ' Manysidedness 
prepares, properly speaking, only the element in which the one- 
sided can act. . . . The best thing is to restrict oneself to a handi- 
work.' And i. ch. 12 : 'To be acquainted with and to exercise 
one thing rightly gives higher training than mere tolerableness 
(halfness) in a hundred sorts of things.' And ii. ch. 12 : 'Your 
general training and all establishments for the purpose are 
fool's farces.' 

P. 147, § 81. Cf. Fichte, Werke, ii. 37. 'Yet it is not we who 
analyse : but knowledge analyses itself, and can do so, because 
in all its being it is ^ for-self {^\xx:'\\i))^ &c. 

P. 149, § 81. Plato, the inventor of Dialectic. Sometimes 
(on the authority of Aristotle, as reported by Diog. Laert. ix. 25), 
Zeno of Elea gets this title ; but Hegel refers to such statements 
as Diog. Laert. ii. 34 rpWov hk Tl\a.Ta>v npodfdijKf t6v diaXfKTiKov 
Xo-yov, Koi fTfXfCTiovpyrjcre ttjv (f)iXocro(piaP, 

Protagoras. But it is rather in the dialogue Meno, pp. 81-97, 
that Plato exhibits this view of knowledge. Cf. Phaedo, 72 E, 
and Phaedrus, 245. 

Parmenides; especially see Plat. Parmen. pp. 142, 166; cf. 
Hegel, Werke, xiv. 204. 

With Aristotle dialectic is set in contrast to apodictic, and 
treated as (in the modern sense) a quasi-inductive process (Ar. 
Top. Lib. viii.) : with the Stoics, dialectic is the name of the 
half-rhetorical logic which they, rather than Aristotle, handed 
on to the schoolmen of the Middle Ages. 

P. 150, § 81. The physical elements are fire, air, earth, and 
water. Earthquakes, storms, &c., are examples of the ' meteoro- 
logical process.' Cf. Encychp. §§ 281-289. 

P. 152, § 82. Dialectic; cf; Werke, v. 326 seqq. 

P. 154, § 82. Mysticism ; cf. Mill's Logic, bk. v, ch. 3, § 4 : 
' Mysticism is neither more nor less than ascribing objective 


existence to the subjective creations of the mind's own faculties, 
to mere ideas of the intellect ; and believing that by watching 
and contemplating these ideas of its own making, it can read in 
them what takes place in the world without.' Mill thus takes 
it as equivalent to an ontological mythology — probably a rare 
use of the term. 


P. 156, § 85. The Absolute. The term, in something like 
its modem usage, is at least as old as Nicolaus Cusanus. God, 
according to him, is the absoluta omnium qtddditas {Apol. 406), 
the esse absolutum, or ipsum esse in existentibus {De ludo Globi, 
ii. 161 a), the unum absolutum^ the vis absoluta, or possibilitas 
absoluta, or valor absolutus : absoluta vita, absoluta ratio : ab- 
soluta essendi forma. On this term and its companion injinitus 
he rings perpetual changes. But its distinct employment to 
denote the ' metaphysical God ' is much more modern. In 
Kant, e.g. the 'Unconditioned' (2)a3 Unbebingte) is the meta- 
physical, corresponding to the religious, conception of deity ; and 
the same is the case with Fichte, who however often makes use 
of the adjective 'absolute.' It is with Schelling that the term is 
naturalised in philosophy : it already appears in his works of 
1793 and 1795 : and from him apparently it finds its way into 
Fichte's Darstellung der Wissenschaftslehre of 1801 (IVerke, ii. 
13) ' The absolute is neither knowing nor being ; nor is it iden- 
tity, nor is it indifference of the two ; but it is throughout merely 
and solely the absolute.' 

The term comes into English philosophical language through 
Coleridge and later borrowers from the German. See Ferrier's 
Institutes of Metaphysic, Prop, xx, and Mill's Examination of 
Hamilton, chap. iv. 

P. 158, § 86. Cf. Schelling, iii. 372: 1 = 1 expresses the 
identity between the 'I,' in so far as it is the producing, and 
the ' I ' as the produced ; the original synthetical and yet iden- 
tical proposition : the cogito = sum of Schelling. 

P. 159. Definition of God as Ens realissimum, e.g. Meier's 
Baumgarten's Metaphysic, § 605. 

Jacobi, Werke, iv. 6, thus describes Spinoza's God. 

As to the beginning cf. Fichte, Werke, ii. 14 (speaking of 
' absolute knowing ') : 'It is not a knowing of something, nor is 

CHAPTER VI, § 82 — CHAPTER VH, § 87. 41 1 

it a knowing of nothing (so that it would be a knowing of some- 
what, but this somewhat be nothing) : it is not even a knowing 
of itself, for it is no knowledge at all of; — nor is it a knowing 
(quantitatively and in relation), but it is (the) knowing (abso- 
lutely qualitatively). It is no act, no event, or that somewhat 
is in knowing ; but it is just the knowing, in which alone all 
acts and all events, which are there set down, can be set 

History of Philosophy ; cf Hegel, Werke, i. 165. ' If the Ab- 
solute, like its phenomenon Reason, be (as it is) eternally one 
and the same, then each reason, which has turned itself upon 
and cognised itself, has produced a true philosophy and solved 
the problem which, like its solution, is at all times the same. 
The reason, which cognises itself, has in philosophy to do only 
with itself: hence in itself too lies its whole work and its 
activity ; and as regards the inward essence of philosophy 
there are neither predecessors nor successors. 

' Just as little, as of constant improvements, can there be talk 
of " peculiar views " of philosophy. . . . The true peculiarity of 
a philosophy is the interesting individuality, in which reason has 
organised itself a form from the materials of a particular age ; 
in it the particular speculative reason finds spirit of its spirit, 
flesh of its flesh ; it beholds itself in it as one and the same, as 
another living being. Each philosophy is perfect in itself, and 
possesses totality, like a work of genuine art. As little as the 
works of Apelles and Sophocles, if Raphael and Shakespeare 
had known them, could have seemed to them mere preliminary 
exercises for themselves — but as cognate spiritual powers;— so 
little can reason in its own earlier formations perceive only useful 
preparatory exercises.' Cf. Schelling, iv. 401. 

P. 160, § 86. Parmenides (ap. Simplic. Phys.) : of the two 
ways of investigation the first is that // is, and that not-to-be 
is not. 

Tj niv OTTCOi f<TTl t€ Kol WS OVK eCTt fir] €luai. 

P. 161, § 87. The Buddhists. Cf. Hegel, IVerJte, xi. 387. 
Modern histories of Buddhism insist upon the purely ethico-re- 
ligious character of the teaching. Writers like von Hartmann 
{Religionsphilosophie, p. 320) on the contrary hold that Buddhism 
carried out the esoteric theory of Brahmanism to the consequence 
that the abstract one is nothing. According to Vassilief, Le 
Bouddhtsme, p. 318 seqq., one of the Buddhist metaphysical 


schools, the Madhyamikas, founded by Ndgardjuna 400 years 
after Buddha, taught that All is Void. — Such metaphysics were 
probably reactions of the underlying Brahmanist idea. 

But generally Buddhism (as was not unnatural 60 years ago) 
is hardly taken here in its characteristic historical features. 

P. 167, § 88. Aristotle, P/tjys. i. 8 (191 a. 26) : ' Those philo- 
sophers who first sought the truth and the real substance of 
things got on a false track, like inexperienced travellers who fail 
to discover the way, and declared that nothing can either come 
into being or disappear, because it is necessary that what comes 
into being should come into being either from what is or from 
what is not, and that it is from both of these impossible : for 
what is does not become (it already is), and nothing would 
become from what is not.' 

(5) is an addition of ed. 3 (1830) ; cf. IVerke, xvii. 181. 

P. 168, § 88. The view of Heraclitus here taken is founded 
on the interpretation given by Plato (in the Theaetetus, 152; 
Cratylus, 401) and by Aristotle, of a fundamental doctrine of 
the Ephesian — which however is expressed in the fragments 
by the name of the everliving fire. The other phrase (Ar. Alet. 
i. 4) is used by Aristotle to describe the position, not of Hera- 
clitus, but of Leucippus and Democritus. Cf. Plutarch, adv. 

Colotem, 4. 2 AriyLoiHiiTOi Stopi'fernt firj fmWov to 8ev fj to firj^fv 

(ivai ; cf. Simplic. in Ar. Phys. fol. 7. 

P. 169, § 89. !Dafei)n: Determinate being. Cf. Schelling, i. 
209. ' Being (Set)!!) expresses the absolute, Determinate being 
(Tafcnn) a conditional, 'positing': Actuality, one conditioned in 
a definite sort by a definite condition. The single phenomenon 
in the whole system of the world has actuality ; the world of 
phenomena in general has !Dafct)n ; but the absolutely-posited, 
the Ego, ;.$•. I am is all the Ego can say of itself 

P. 171, § 91. Being-by-self: ?lii;ftc^ifn)u. 

Spinoza, Epist. 50, figura non aliud quam determitiatio et 
determinatio negatio est. 

P. 172, § 92. @iciijc (limit or boundary), and ©c^ranfe (barrier 
or check) are distinguished in Werke^ iii. 128-139 (see Stirling's 
Secret of Hegel, i. 377 seqq.). Cf. Kant's remark, Krit. d. r. 
Veniun/t, p. 795, that Hume only ciiifc^vdiift our intellect, o^ne 
i^n ju bcgvenjcn. 

P. 173, § 92. Plato, Ti/naeus, c. 35 (formation of the world- 
soul) : ' From the individual and ever-identical essence {ovaia) 

CHAPTER VII, §§ 87-95. 413 

and the divisible which is corporeal, he compounded a third 
intermediate species of essence. . . . And taking these, being 
three, he compounded them all into one form {i^ea), adjusting 
perforce the unmixable nature of the other and the same, and 
mingling them all with the essence, and making of three one 
again, he again distributed this total into as many portions as 
were fitting, but each of them mingled out of the same and the 
other and the essence.' 

P. 175, § 94. Philosophy. Cf. Schelling, ^^/v^^, ii. 377. 'A 
various experience has taught me that for most men the greatest 
obstacle to the understanding and vital apprehension of philo- 
sophy is their invincible opinion that its object is to be sought 
at an infinite distance. The consequence is, that while they 
should fix their eye on what is present (baS ©cgcmrdvtigc), every 
effort of their mind is called out to get hold of an object which 
is not in question through the whole inquiry.' . . . ' The aim of 
the sublimest science can only be to show the actuality,— in the 
strictest sense the actuality, the presence, the vital existence 
("Dafct)!!) — of a God in the whole of things and in each one. . . . 
Here we deal no longer with an extra-natural or supernatural 
thing, but with the immediately near, the alone-actual to which 
we ourselves also belong, and in which we are.' 

P. 177, § 95. Plato's P/iilebus, ch. xii-xxiii (pp. 23-38) : cf. 
Werke, xiv. 214 seqq. : ' The absolute is therefore what in one 
unity is finite and infinite.' 

P. 178. Idealism of Philosophy : cf. Schelling, ii. 67. ' Every 
philosophy therefore is and remains Idealism ; and it is only 
under itself that it embraces realism and idealism ; only that 
the former Idealism should not be confused with the latter, 
which is of a merely relative kind.' 

Hegel, Werke, iii. 163. 'The proposition that the finite is 
" ideal " constitutes Idealism. In nothing else consists the Ideal- 
ism of philosophy than in recognising that the finite has no 
genuine being. . . . The contrast of idealistic and realistic 
philosophy is therefore of no importance. A philosophy that 
attributed to finite existences as such a genuine ultimate absolute 
being would not deserve the name philosophy. ... By "ideal" 
is meant existing as a representation in consciousness : what- 
ever is in a mental concept, idea or imagination is " ideal " : 
" ideal " is just another word for " in imagination,"— something 
not merely distinct from the real, but essentially not real. The 


mind indeed is the great idealist: in the sensation, representa- 
tion, thought of the mind the fact has not what is called real 
existence ; in the simplicity of the Ego such external being is 
only suppressed, existing /<?/- me, and "ideally" in me. This 
subjective idealism refers only to the representational form, by 
which an import is mine.' 

P. 180, § 96. The distinction of nature and mind as real and 
ideal is especially Schelling's : See e.g: his Einleitung, &c. iii. 
272. * If it is the problem of Transcendental Philosophy to 
subordinate the real to the ideal, it is on the contrary the problem 
of the philosophy of nature to explain the ideal from the real.' 

P. 183, § 98. Newton : see Scholium at the end of the Prtn- 
cipia, and cf. Optics, iii. qu. 28. 

Modern Atomism, besides the conception of particles or 
molecules, has that of mathematical centres of force. 

Kant, Werke, v. 379 (ed. Rosenk.). ' The general principle of 
the dynamic of material nature is that all reality in the objects of 
the external senses must be regarded as moving force : whereby 
accordingly so-called solid or absolute impenetrability is banished 
from natural science as a meaningless concept, and repellent 
force put in its stead ; whereas true and immediate attraction 
is defended against all the subtleties of a self-misconceiving 
metaphysic and declared to be a fundamental force necessary 
for the very possibility of the concept of matter.' 

P. 184, § 98. Abraham GotthelfKastner (17 19- 1800), professor 
forty-four years at Gottingen, enjoyed in the latter half of 
the eighteenth century a considerable repute, both in literature 
and in mathematical science. Some of, his epigrams are still 

P. 190, § 102. The two 'moments' of number Unity, and 
Sum (Slnjafil), may be compared with the Greek distinction 
between one and dpidfiot (cf. Arist. Phys. iv. 12 ^Xaxncrroi apid/xos 
T) 8vds). According to Rosenkranz {Leben Hegeh) the classifica- 
tion of arithmetical operations often engaged Hegel's research. 
Note the relation in Greek between Xo-yi/coi/ and \oYfr-r^*^^v. Qi. 
Kant's view of the ' synthesis ' in arithmetic. 

P. 193, § 103. Intensive magnitude. Cf. Kant, Kritik der 
reinen Vernunft, p. 207, on Anticipation of Perception (2Ba^rs 
nt()muna), and p. 414, in application to the question of the soul's 

P. 195, § 104. Not Aristotle, but rather Simplicius on the 

CHAPTER VII, §§ 95-104. 415 

Physics of Aristotle, fol. 306 : giving Zeno's argument against 
the alleged composition of the line from a series of points. What' 
you can say of one supposed small real unit, you can say of a 
smaller, and so on ad itifitiitum, (Cf. Burnet's Early Greek 
Philosophy, p. 329.) 

P. 196, § 104. The distinction between imagination and 
intellect made by Spinoza in Ep. xii. (olim xxix.) in 0pp. ed. 
Land vol. ii. 40 seqq. is analogous to that already noted (p. 402) 
between ratio and intellegentia, and is connected, as by Boethius, 
with the distinction which Plato, Timaeus, 37, draws between 
eternity [nliav) and time. 

The infinite {Eth. i. prop. 8. Schol. l) is the * absolute affirma- 
tion of a certain nature's existence,' as opposed to finitude 
which is really ex parte negatio. ' The problem has always been 
held extremely difficult, if not inextricable, because people did 
not distinguish between what is concluded to be infinite by its 
own nature and the force of its definition, and what has no ends, 
not in virtue of its essence, but in virtue of its cause. It was 
difficult also because they did not distinguish between what is 
called infinite because it has no ends, and that whose parts 
(though we may have a maximum and minimum of it) we 
cannot equate or explicate by any number. Lastly because they 
did not distinguish between what we can only understand 
{intelligere), but not imagine, and what we can also imagine.' 

To illustrate his meaning, Spinoza calls attention to the 
distinction of substance from mode, of eternity from duration. 
We can ' explicate ' the existence only of modes by duration : 
that of substance, ' by eternity, i. e. by an infinite fruition of 
existence or being ' (per aeternitatem, hoc est, infinitam existendi, 
sive, invita latinitate, essendi fruitionem). The attempt there- 
fore to show that extended substance is composed of parts is 
an illusion, — which arises because we look at quantity ' ab- 
stractly or superficially, as we have it in imagination by means 
of the senses.' So looking at it, as we are liable to do, a 
quantity will be found divisible, finite, composed of parts and 
manifold. But if we look at it as it really is, — as a Substance 
— as it is in the intellect alone — (which is a work of difficulty), 
it will be found infinite, indivisible, and unique. * It is only 
therefore when we abstract duration and quantity from sub- 
stance, that we use time to determine duration and measure 
to determine quantity, so as to be able to imagine them. 


Eternity and substance, on the other hand, are no objects of 
imagination but only of intellect ; and to try to explicate them 
by such notions as measure, time, and number — which are only 
modes of thinking or rather of imagining — is no better than 
to fall into imaginative raving.' ' Nor will even the modes of 
Substance ever be rightly understood, should they be con- 
founded with this sort of enii'a rationis ' (/. e. modi cogitandi 
subserving the easier retention, explication and imagination 
of things understood) ' or aids to imagination. For when we do 
so, we separate them from substance, and from the mode in 
which they flow from eternity, without which they cannot be 
properly understood.' (Cf Hegel's Werke, i. 63.) 

The verses from Albr. von Haller come from his poem on 
Eternity (1736). Hegel seems to quote from an edition before 
1776, when the fourth line was added in the stanza as it thus 
finally stood : — 

3c6 f)dufe uni^e^eure 3a^(en, 

©cbur^e 9JJiIlioncn auf, 

5(^ U'ct^e 3cit auf 3ctt utib 3Bett auf aSelten t)iii, 

Unb ircnn ic^ auf fcer SJJar^ be3 eublic^cn nun bin, 

Unb ijon bet fiirc^tertid^en §p^e 

9Wit (Sc^ivinbelu tticber nac^ bit fef|e, 

3ft ode 2Wa^t ber 3al)l, t»crme^tt mit taufenb SKalen, 

9Jcd) nid)t cin 5£^cil ijon bir. 

3(^ tilge fie, unb bu liegft ganj »or mir. 

Kant, Kritik d. r. Vernunft, p. 641. * Even Eternity, however 
eerily sublime may be its description by Haller,' &c. 

P. 197, § 104. Pythagoras in order of time probably comes 
between Anaximenes (of Ionia) and Xenophanes (of Elea). But 
the mathematical and metaphysical doctrines attributed to the 
Pythagorean are known to us only in the form in which they 
are represented in Plato and Aristotle, i.e. in a later stage of 
development. The Platonists (cf. Arist. Met. i. 6 ; xi. i. 12 ; xii. 
1.7; cf. Plat. Rep. p. 510) treated mathematical fact as mid-way 
between 'sensibles' and 'ideas'; and Aristotle himself places 
mathematics as a science between physical and metaphysical 
(theological) philosophy. 

The tradition (referred to p. 198) about Pythagoras is given 
by lamblichus. Vita Pyth. § 115 seqq. : it forms part of the later 
Neo-Pythagorean legend, which entered literature in the first 
centuries of the Christian era. 

CHAPTER VII, § 104 — CHAPTER VIII, § II9. 417 

P. 201, § 107. Hebrew hymns : e.g. Psalms Ixxiv. and civ. ; 
Proverbs viii. and Job xxxviii. Vetus verbitm est, says Leibniz 
(ed. Erdmann, p. 162), Deum omnia pondere, mensura,numero, 

P. 202, § 108. The antinomy of measure. These logical 
puzzles are the so-called fallacy of Sorites (a different thing from 
the chain-syllogism of the logic-books) ; cf. Cic. Acad. ii. 28, 29 ; 
De Divin. ii. 4 — and the (f>a\aKp6s ; cf Horace, Epist. ii. 1-45- 


P. 211, § 113. Self-relation— (fic^) auf ftd^ Bcj^icljot. 

P. 213, § 115. The *laws of thought' is the magniloquent 
title given in the Formal Logic since Kant's day to the prin- 
ciples or maxims {principia, ©runbfd^e) which Kant himself de- 
scribed as * general and formal criteria of truth.' They include 
the so-called principle of contradiction, with its developments, 
the principle of identity and excluded middle: to which, with 
a desire for completeness, eclectic logicians have .added the 
Leibnitian principle of the reason. Hegel has probably an eye 
to Krug and Fries in some of his remarks. The three laws 
may be. compared and contrasted with the three principles, 
— homogeneity, specification, and continuity of forms, in Kant's 
Kritik d. r. Vern. p. 686. 

P. 217, § 117. Leibniz, Nojweaux Essats, Liv. ii. ch. 27, § 3 
(ed. Erdmann, p. 273: cf fourth Letter to Clarke). // ny a 
point deux individus indiscernables. Un gentilhotnme d" esprit 
de mes amis, en parlant avec moi en presence de Madame 
V Electrice dans le jar din de Herrenhausen, crut qu'il trouverait 
Men deux feuilles entierement setnblables. Madame V Electrice 
Ven dSfia, et il courut longtems en vain pour en chercher. 

The principle of individuation or indiscemibility is : 'If two 
individuals were perfectly alike and equal and, in a word, indis- 
tinguishable by themselves, there would be no principle of indivi- 
duation : (Leibniz, ed. Erdm. p. 277) Poser deux choses indis- 
cernables est poser la meme chose sous deux noms (p. 756). Prin- 
cipiujn individuationis idem est quod absolutae specificationis 
qud res ita sit delerminata, tit ab aliis omnibus distingui possit. 
P. 221, § 119. Polarity. Schelling, ii. 489. 'The law of 
Polarity is a universal law of nature ' ; cf. ii. 459: 'It is a first 
principle of a philosophic theory of nature to have a view (in 


the whole of nature), on polarity and dualism.' But he adds 
(476), ' It is time to define more accurately the concept of 
polarity.' So Oken, Naturphilosophie : § 76 : * A force consist- 
ing of two principles is called Polarity.' \ ^^ '• '' Polarity is the 
first force which makes its appearance in the world.' § 81 : ' The 
original movement is a result of the original polarity.' 

P. 223, § 119. Cf. Fichte, ii. 53. * To everything but this the 
logically trained thinker can rise. He is on his guard against 
contradiction. But, in that case, how about the possibility of 
the maxim of his own logic that we can think no contradic- 
tion ? In some way he must have got hold of contradiction 
and thought it, or he could make no communications about it. 
Had such people only once regularly asked themselves how they 
came to think the merely possible or contingent (the not-neces- 
sary), and how they actually do so ! Evidently they here leap 
through a not-being, not-thinking, &c., into the utterly un- 
mediated, self-initiating, free, — into beent non-being, — in short, 
the above contradiction, as it was laid down. With consistent 
thinkers the result of this incapacity is nothing but the utter 
abolition of freedom, — the most absolute fatalism and Spinozism. 

P. 227, §121. Leibniz (ed.Erdmann, p. 515). ' The principle 
of la raison ddterminante is that nothing ever occurs without 
there being a cause for it, or at least a determinant reason, /. e. 
something which may serve to render a reason d. priori why 
that is existent rather than in any other way. This great 
principle holds good in all events.' Cf. p. 707. ' The principle 
of " sufficient reason " is that in virtue of which we consider 
that no fact could be found true or consistent, no enunciation 
truthful, without there being a sufficient reason why it is so 
and not otherwise. . . . When a truth is necessary, we can find 
the reason of it by analysis, resolving it into simpler ideas and 
truths, until we come to primitive ideas. . . . But the sufficient 
reason ought also to be found in contingent truths or truths of 
fact, i.e. in the series of things spread through the universe of 
creatures, or the resolution into particular reasons might go 
into a limitless detail : . . . and as all this detail embraces only 
other antecedent, or more detailed contingencies, . . . the 
sufficient or final {derniire) reason must be outside the succes- 
sion or series of this detail of contingencies, however infinite it 
might be. And it is thus that the final reason of things must 
be in a " necessary substance," in which the detail of the changes 

CHAPTER Fill, §§ 119-126. 419 

exists only eminenter, as in the source,— and it is what we call 
God.' {Monadology, §§ 32-38.) 

Hence the supremacy of final causes. Thus 0pp. ed. Erd- 
mann, p. 678 : Itajit tit efficientes causae pendeant a finalibus, 
et spiritualia sint natura priora materialibus. Accordingly he 
urges, p. 155, that final cause has not merely a moral and 
religious value in ethics and theology, but is useful even in 
physics for the detection of deep-laid truths. Cf. p. 106: 
Cest sanctifier la Philosophic que de faire couler ses ruisseaux 
de la fontaine des attributs de Dieu. Rien loin d'exclure les 
causes finales et la consideration d'un etre agissant avec sagesse^ 
c'est de Id qu'ilfaut tout ddduire en Physique. Cf. also Prin- 
cipes de la Nature (Leibn. ed. Erdm. p. 716) : ' It is surprising 
that by the sole consideration of efficient causes or of matter, 
we could not render a reason for those laws of movement dis- 
covered in our time. 11 y faut recourir aux causes finales: 

P. 228, § 121 Socrates. The antitheses between Socrates and 
the Sophists belongs in the main to the Platonic dialogues,— not 
to the historical Socrates. It is the literary form in which the 
philosophy of Plato works out its development through the 
criticism of contemporary opinions and doctrines. And even in 
Plato's writings the antagonism is very unlike what later inter- 
pretations have made out of it. 

P. 231, § 124. Thing by itself (thing in itself) the !l)in9;an;Tie^. 

P. 235, § 126. Cf. Encycl. § 334 ( Werke, viii. i. p. 41 1). ' In 
empirical chemistry the chief object is the particularity of the 
matters and products, which are grouped by superficial abstract 
features which make impossible any system in the special detail. 
In these lists, metals, oxygen, hydrogen, &c.— metalloids, sulphur, 
phosphorus appear side by side as simple chemical bodies on 
the same level. The great physical variety of these bodies 
must of itself create a prepossession against such coordina- 
tion ; and their chemical origin, the process from which 
they issue, is clearly no less various. But in an equally chaotic 
way, more abstract and more real processes are put on the same 
level. If all this is to get scientific form, every product ought to 
be determined according to the grade of the concrete and com- 
pletely developed process from which it essentially issues, and 
which gives it its peculiar significance ; and for that purpose it 
is not less essential to distinguish grades in abstractness or 
reality of the process. Animal and vegetable substances in any 


case belong to a quite other order: so little can their nature be 
understood from the chemical process, that they are rather 
destroyed in it, and only the way of their death is apprehended. 
These substances, however, ought above all to serve to counter- 
act the metaphysic predominant in chemistry as in physics,— the 
ideas or rather wild fancies of the unalterability of matters under 
all circumstances, as well as the categories of the composition 
and the consistence of bodies from such matters. We see it 
generally admitted that chemical matters lose in combination 
X^& properties which they show in separation : and yet we find 
the idea prevailing that they are the same things without the 
properties as they are with them, — so that as things with these 
properties they are not results of the process.' — Cf. IVerke, vii. 
a. 372 : ' Air does not consist of oxygen and nitrogen : but these 
are the forms under which air is put,' cf. ib. 403. 

P. 241, § 131. Fichte's Sonnenklarer Bericht a.^'p&a.rtdim 1801. 

P. 247, § 136. Herder's Gott : Gesprdche iiber Spinoza! s 
System, 1787, 2nd ed. 1800. * God is, in the highest and unique 
sense of the word. Force, /. e. the primal force of all forces, the 
soul of all souls ' (p. 63), ' All that we call matter, therefore, 
is more or less animate : it is a realm of efficient forces. One 
force predominates : otherwise there were no one, no whole ' 
(p. 207), ' The supreme being (25afci}n) could give its creatures 
nothing higher than being. {Theophron.) But, my friend, 
being and being, however simple in the concept, are in their 
estate very different ; and what do you suppose, Philolaus, 
marks its grades and differences ? {Phil.) Nothing but forces. 
In God himself we found no higher conception ; but all his forces 
were only one. The supreme force could not be other than su- 
preme goodness and wisdom, ever-living, ever-active. ( Theoph!) 
Now you yourself see, Philolaus, that the supreme, or rather the 
All (for God is not a supreme unit in a scale of beings like him- 
self), could not reveal himself otherwise than in the universe 
as active. In him nothing could slumber, and what he expressed 
was himself. He is before everything, and everything subsists 
in him : the whole world an expression, an appearance of his 
ever-living, ever-acting forces ' (p. 200). 

'It was the mistake of Spinoza,' says Herder, 'to be unduly 
influenced by the Cartesian phraseology. Had he chosen the 
conception of force and effect, everything would have gone 
easier, and his system become much more distinct and coherent. 

CHAPTER VIII, §§ 126-140. 421 

*Had he developed the conception of power, and the con- 
ception of matter, he must in conformity with his system, neces- 
sarily have come to the conception of forces, which work as 
well in matter as in organs of thinking : he would in that case 
have regarded power and thought as forces, i. e. as one ' (Cf H 
Spencer, ' Force, the Ultimate of Ultimates.' First Princ p 169 ) 
According to Rosenkranz {Leben Hegels, p. 223) there exists 
in a criticism by Hegel on the second edition of 
Herders God. Herder's Dialogue belongs to the controversy 
aroused by Jacobi's letters on Spinoza. 

P. 250, § 136. Newton. Leibniz charges him with the view 
that God needs from time to time remonter sa montre, other- 
wise It would cease going : that his machine requires to be 
cleaned {d^crasser) by extraordinary aid' (ed. Erdm. p. 746). 

P. 252, § 140. The verses quoted occur in Goethe's Werke 
". 376, under the heading Sllievbingg. Originally the first four 
lines appeared in Haller's poem Die menschlichcn Tu^enden 
thus— ' 

3neJ 3nnrc b«t 9lutiir bringt fein erfd^affncr @et|l : 
3u gturflic^, trenn fie ncc^ bie aiifre (5(^a(c h)cijl ! 
(To nature's heart there penetrates no mere created mind ■ 
Too happy if she but display the outside of her rind.) 
[Hegel— reading irei^t for »eifl— takes the second line as 

Too happy, if he can but know the outside of her rind.] ' 
Goethe's attack upon a vulgar misuse of the lines belongs to 
his dispute with the scientists. His verses appeared in 1820 
as Heiteres Retms/iick at the end of Heft 3 zur Morphologie,^o{ 
which the closing section is entitled Freundlicher Zurufi Werke 
xxvii. 161), as follows :— * 

„3n« 3nnte bet Diatur," 

D bu «P^iIijier !— 
„2)rinflt feiii erfc^affnct ®fifi/' 

„®lii(ffeli9 ! tcetit fte nnr 

!Dte dufrc <S(f>a(e toeif t.-" 

35<W W t(^ fe£f)jig Sa^re tineber^olcn, 

3d) Puc^e brauf, abet ocrfio^Ien : 

©age mit taufcnb taufetibmalc : 

SJiKee gicbt fie retc^lid^ uiib gmi; 

fl7«itur f)at ttitber ^ern 
VOL. II F f 


?lllc0 ifi fie mit cincm SKale. 

[The last seven lines may be thus paraphrased in con- 
tinuation : 

I swear — of course but to myself— as rings within my ears 
That same old warning o'er and o'er again for sixty years, 
And thus a thousand thousand times I answer in my mind : — 
With gladsome and ungrudging hand metes nature from her store: 
She keeps not back the core, 
Nor separates the rind. 
But all in each both rind and core has evermore combined.] 

P. 254, § 140. Plato and Aristotle: cf. Plato, Phaedrus, 
247 A ((pdovos yap f^o) dfinv xopov t«7TaTa«) ; Tz'waeus, 29 E; and 
Aristotle, Metaph. i. 2. 22. 

P. 256, § 140. Goethe : Sanii/ttl. Werke, iii. 203 {Maxime 
und Reflexionen). ©c^cn grc^c 33or5iigc einf^ Jlnbern gifbt ii fein 
Jllcttungemittfl a(« bie ?iebc. Cf. Schiller to Goethe, 2 July, 1796. 
' How vividly I have felt on this occasion . . . that against surpas- 
sing merit nothing but Love gives liberty ' (ba^ c^bcm ^?crtreffli(^«n 
gcgcniibcr fcinc greificit giebt at^ t>ie I'ifbc). 

' Pragmatic' This word, denoting a meddlesome busybody in 
older English and sometimes made a vague term of abuse, has 
been in the present century used in English as it is here 
employed in German. 

According to Polybius, ix. I. 2, the npayfiaTixos Tponoi Trjs 
laropiai is that which has a directly utilitarian aim. So Kant, 
Foundation of Metaph. of Ethic {Werke, viii. 41, note): 'A 
history is pragmatically composed when it renders prudent, /. e. 
instructs the world how it may secure its advantage better or at 
least as well as the ages preceding.' Schelling (v. 308) quotes 
in illustration of pragmatic history-writing the words of Faust 
to Wagner (Goethe, xi. 26) : 

9Ba« i^r ben @eifi bet Sfiten "^etft, 

5)a« ill im @ntnb bet Jpctren cigner ®ci|l, 

3n bem bie Seiten fic^ befpiegeln. 

Cf. also Hegel, Werke, ix. 8. *A second kind of reflectional 
history is the pragmatic. W hen we have to do with the past 
and are engaged with a distant world, the mind sees rising before 
it a present, which it has from its own action as a reward for its 
trouble. The events are different ; but their central and uni- 

CHAPTER VIII, §§ 140-153. 423 

versal fact, their structural plan is identical. This abolishes the 
past and makes the event present. Pragmatic reflections, how- 
ever abstract they be, are thus in reality the present, and vivify 
the tales of the past with the life of to-day. — Here too a word 
should specially be given to the moralising and the moral 
instructions to be gained through history,— for which it was 
often studied. . . . Rulers, statesmen, nations, are especially 
bidden learn from the experience of history. But what experi- 
ence and history teach is that nations and governments never 
have learned anything from history, or acted upon teaching 
which could have been drawn from it.' 

Cf. Froude : Divorce of Catherine, p. 2. * The student (of 
history) looks for an explanation (of political conduct) in elements 
which he thinks he understands — in pride, ambition, fear, avarice, 
jealousy, or sensuality.' 

P. 257, § 141. Cf Goethe, xxiii, 298. ' What is the outside of 
an organic nature but the ever- varied phenomenon of the inside? 
This outside, this surface is so exactly adapted to a varied, com- 
plex, delicate, inward structure that it thus itself becomes an 
inside : both aspects, the outside and the inside, standing in 
most direct correlation alike in the quietest existence and in the 
most violent movement.' 

P. 260, § 143. Kant, Kritik der reineti Vernunfi, 2nd ed. 
p. 266. 

P. 269, § 147. Cf. Schelling, Werke, v. 290 (cf. iii. 603). ' There 
are three periods of history, that of nature, of destiny, and of 
providence. These three ideas express the same identity, but 
in a different way. Destiny too is providence, but recognised in 
the real, as providence, is also destiny, but beheld (augefc^aut) 
in the ideal.' 

P. 275, § 151. On the relation between Spinoza and Leibniz 
cf. Hegel, Werke, iv. 187-193. It would be a mistake, however, 
to represent Leibniz as mainly engaged in a work of conscious 
antagonism to Spinoza. 

P. 277, § 153. Jacobi. — Jacobi (like Schopenhauer) insists 
specially on the distinction between grounds (©riinbe) — which 
are formal, logical, and verbal, and causes (Urfac^cu)— which 
carry us into reality and life and nature. To transform the 
mere Because into the cause we must (he says) pass from 
logic and the analytical understanding to experience and the 
inner life. Instead of the timelessness of simultaneity which 


characterises the logical relation cf ground and consequent, 
the nexus of cause and effect introduces the element of time, 
—thereby acquiring reality (Jacobi, Werke, iii. 452). The con- 
ception of Cause — meaningless as a mere category of abstract 
thought— gets reality as a factor in experience, ein (Svfa^runc^abcciriff, 
and is immediately given to us in the consciousness of our own 
causality (Jacobi, Werke, iv. 145-158). Cf. Kant, Kritik der 
reineti Vern. p. 116. 

P. 283, § 158. The Amor intellectualis Dei (Spinoza, Eth. 
V. 32) is described as a consequence of the third grade of cogni- 
tion, viz. the scientia intiiitiva which ' proceeds from an ade- 
quate idea of the formal essence of certain attributes of God to 
the adequate cognition of the essence of things (ii. 40, Schol. 2). 
From it arises (v. 27), the highest possible acquiescentia mentis, 
in which the mind contemplates all things sub specie aeternitatis 
(v. 29), knows itself to be in God and sees itself and all things 
in their divine essence. But this intellectual love of mind 
towards God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves 
himself (v. 36) ' From these things we clearly understand in 
what our salvation or blessedness or liberty consists: to wit, in 
the constant and eternal love towards God, or in the love of 
God towards men ' (Schol. to v. 36). 


Page 289, § 161. Evolution and development in the stricter 
sense in which these terms were originally used in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries imply a theory of preformation, 
according to which the growth of an organic being is simply 
a process of enlarging and filling out a miniature organism, 
actual but invisible, because too inconspicuous. Such was the 
doctrine adopted by Leibniz {Considerations sur le principe 
de vie; Systhne nouveau de la Nature \ &c.). According to 
it development is no real generation of new parts, but only an 
augmentation into bulk and visibility of parts already outlined. 
This doctrine of preformation (as opposed to epigenesis) is 
carried out by Charles Bonnet, who in his Considerations sur 
les corps organises (1762) propounds the further hypothesis 
that the * germs ' from which living beings proceed contain, 
enclosed one within another, the germs of all creatures yet to 
be. This is the hypothesis of * Emboiiement.' ' The system 

CHAPTER VIII. § IS'^—CHAPTER IX, § i6l. 425 

which regards generations as mere educts' says Kant {Kritik 
der Urthedskraft, § 80; Werke, iv. 318) 'is called that of 
tndtvtdual preformation or the evolution theory: the system 
which regards them as products is called Epigenesis,-which 
nught also be called the theory oi generic preformation, con- 
sidering that the productive powers of the generants follow 
the inherent tendencies belonging to the family characteristics, 
and that the specific form is therefore a 'virtual' preformation, 
m this way the opposing theory of individual preformation 

I^'^i' *w T ""^"^"^ '^^ involution theory, or theory of 
©mfc^ac^telung {EmboUement). Cf. Leibniz {Werke, Erdmann 
715). 'As animals generally are not entirely "bom at conception 
ox generation, no more do they entirely perish at what we 
call death; for it is reasonable that what does not commence 
naturally, does not finish either in the ordpr of nature. Thus 
quitting their mask or their rags, they only return to a 
subtler theatre, where however they can be as sensible and 

well regulated as in the greater Thus not only the souls, 

but even the animals are neither generable nor perishable • they 
are only developed, enveloped, re-clothed, unclothed, -trans- 
formed. The souls never altogether quit their body, and do not 
pass from one body into another body which is entirely new to 
them. There is therefore no metempsychosis, but there is 
metamorphosis. The animals change, take and quit only parts : 
which takes place little by little and by small imperceptible 
parcels, but continually, in nutrition : and takes place suddenly 
notably but rarely, at conception, or at death, which make them 
gain or lose much all at once.' 

The theory of Emboitement or Enveloppement, according to 
Bonnet {Considerations, &c. ch. i) is that ' the germs of all the 
organised bodies of one species were inclosed {renfermds) one in 
another, and have been developed successively.' So according 
to Haller {Physiology, Tome vii. § 2) ' it is evident that in plants 
the mother-plant contains the germs of several generations ; and 
there is therefore no inherent improbability in the view that 
tous les enfans, excepts un, fussent renfenties dans rovaire de 
la premilre Fille d'Eve.' Cf. Weismann's Continuity of the 
Genn-plasma. Yet Bonnet {Contemplation de la Nature, part 
vn. ch. 9, note 2), says, ' The germs are not enclosed like boxes 
or cases one in another, but a germ forms part of another germ, 
as a gram forms part of the plant in which it is developed.' 


p. 293, § 163. Rousseau, Contrat Social, liv. ii. ch. 3. 

P. 296, § 165. The 'adequate' idea is a sub-species of the 
'distinct.' When an idea does not merely distinguish a thing 
from others (when it is clear), or in addition represent the 
characteristic marks belonging to the object so distinguished 
(when it is distinct), but also brings out the farther characteristics 
of these characteristics, the idea is adequate. Thus adequate is 
a sort of second power of distinct. (Cf. Baumeister's Instil. 
Philos. Ration. 1765, §§ 64-94.) Hegel's description rather 
agrees with the ' complete idea ' ' by which I put before my mind 
singly marks sufficient to discern the thing represented from 
all other things in every case, state, and time ' (Baumeister, ib. 
§ 88). But cf. Leibniz, ed. Erdm. p. 79 : notitia adaequata. 

P. 298, § 166. Cf. Baumeister, Instit. Phil. Rat. § 185: 
Judicium est idearutn conjunctio vet separatio. 

P. 299, § 166. Punctum saliens: th^ punctum sanguineum 
saliens of Harvey {de General. Animal, exercit. 17), or first 
appearance of the heart : the a-nyfif] aniarivr] in the egg, of which 
Aristotle {Hist. Anim. vi. 3) says tovto to aijfiflov irtjda kui Kiveirai 
Sxr-ntp (fj.^j/'vxov. 

P. 301, § 169. Cf. Whately, Logic (Bk. ii. ch. i, § 2), 'Of 
these terms that which is spoken of is called the subject ; that 
which is said of it, ihe. predicate.' 

P. 303, § 171. Kant, Kritik der reiiien Vemunft (p. 95, 2nd 
ed.) § 9. 

P. 304, § 172. Cf. Jevons, Principles of Science, ch. 3, 'on 
limited identities' and 'negative propositions.' 

P. 309. Ear-lobes. The remark is due to Blumenbach : cf. 
Hegel's Werke, v. 285. 

P. 312. Colours, i.e. painters' colours; cf. Werke, vii. i. 
314 (lecture-note). 'Painters are not such fools as to be 
Newtonians: they have red, yellow, and blue, and out of these 
they make their other colours.' 

P. 315, § 181. For the genetic classification of judgments and 
syllogisms and the passage from the former to the latter 
compare especially Lotze's Logic, Book i. And for the compre- 
hensive exhibition of the systematic process of judgment and 
inference see B. Bosanquet's Logic, or the Morphology of Know- 
ledge. The passage from Hegel's Werke, v. 139, quoted at the 
head of that work is parallel to the sentence in p. 318, 'The 
interest, therefore,' »S:c. 

CHAPTER IX, §§ 163-193. 427 

P. 320, § 186. The letters I-P-U, of course, stand for 
Individual, Particular, and Universal. 

P. 321, § 187. Fourth figure. This so-called Galenian figure 
was dififerentiated from the first figure by the separation of the 
five moods, which (after Arist. An. pr. i. 7 and ii. 1) Theo- 
phrastus and the later pupils, down at least to Boethius, had 
subjoined to the four recognised types of perfect syllogism. But 
its Galenian origin is more than doubtful. 

P. 325, § 190. Cf. Mill's Logic, Bk. ii. ch. 3. 'In every 
syllogism considered as an argument to prove the conclusion 
there is ■a^ petitio principii.' 

Hegel's Induction is that strictly so called or complete in- 
duction, the argument from the sum of actual experiences— that 
per enutneraiionem simplicem, and bia navrav. Of course except 
by accident or by artificial arrangement such completeness is 
impossible in rerum natura. 

P. 326, § 190. The ' philosophy of Nature ' referred to here is 
probably that of Oken and the Schellingians ; but later critics 
{e.g. Riehl, Philosoph. Criticisjnus, iii. 120) have accused Hegel 
himself of even greater enormities in this department. 

P. 328, § 192. Elemeniarlehre : Theory of the Elements, 
called by Hamilton {Lectures on Logic, i. 65) Stoicheiology as 
opposed to methodology. Cf. the Port Royal Logic. Kant's 
Kritik observes the same division of the subject. 

P. 332, § 193. Anselm, Proslogixan, c. 2. In the Monologium 
Anselm expounds the usual argument from conditioned to un- 
conditioned {Est igitur unttm aliquid, quod solum tnaxime et 
summe omnium est; per quod est quidquid est bonutn vel 
magnum, et omnino quidquid aliquid est. Monol. c. 3). But 
in the Proslogium he seeks an argument quod nullo ad se pro- 
bandum quam se solo tndigeret,— i.e. from the conception of 
(God as) the highest and greatest that can be {aliquid quo 
nihil majus cogitari potest) he infers its being {sic ergo vere 
EST aliquid quo majus cogitari non potest, ut nee cogitari pos sit 
non esse). The absolute would not be absolute if the idea of it 
did not ipso facto imply existence. 

Gaunilo of Marmoutier in the Liber pro insipiente msidt the 
objection that the fact of such argument being needed showed 
that idea and reality were prima facie different. And in fact 
the argument of Anselm deals with an Absolute which is object 
rather than subject, thought rather than thinker ; in human 


consciousness realised, but not essentially self-affirming — im- 
plicit (anTid*) only, as said in pp. 331, 333. And Anselm 
admits c. 15 Domine, non solum es,guo majus cogitari neguit, 
sed £S quiddatn majus quam cogitari potest (transcending our 

P. 333, line 2. This sentence has been transposed in the 
translation. In the original it occurs after the quotation- from 
the Latin in p. 332. 

P. 334, § 194. Leibniz : for a brief account of the Monads 
see Caird's Crit. Philosophy of I. Kant, i. 86-95. 

A monad is the simple substance or indivisible unity cor- 
responding to a body. It is as simple what the world is as 
a multiplicity: it 'represents,' i.e. concentrates into unity, the 
variety of phenomena : is the expression of the material in the 
immaterial, of the compound in the simple, of the extended 
outward in the inward. Its unity and its representative capacity 
go together (cf. Lotze, Mikrokosmus). It is the ' present which is 
full of the future and laden with the past' (ed. Erdm. p. 197); 
the point which is all-embracing, the totality of the universe. 
And yet there are monads — in the plural. 

P. 334, § 194. Fichte, Werke, i. 430. ' Every thorough-going 
dogmatic philosopher is necessarily a fatalist.' 

P. 338, § 195. Cf. Encyclop. § 463. 'This supreme inward- 
ising of ideation (SorfteUung) is the supreme self-divestment of 
intelligence, reducing itself to the mere being, the general 
space of mere names and meaningless words. The ego, which 
is this abstract being, is, because subjectivity, at the same time 
the power over the different names, the empty link which fixes 
in itself series of them and keeps them in fixed order.' 

Contemporaneously with Hegel, Herbart turned psychology 
in the line of a ' statics and dynamics of the mind.' See (be- 
sides earlier suggestions) his De Attentionis mensura causisque 
primariis (1822) and his Ueber die Moglichkeit und Nothwen- 
digkeit, Mathematik auf Psychologic anzuwenden (1822). 

P. 340, § 198. Civil society : distinguished as the social and 
economical organisation of the bourgeoisie, with their particu- 
larist-universal aims, from the true universal unity of citoyens 
in the state or ethico-political organism. 

P. 345, § 204. Inner design : see Kant's Kritik der Urtheils- 
kraft, § 62. 

Aristotle, De Anima, ii. 4 (415. b. 7) (f)avepbv 8' wy koi ov 

CHAPTER IX, §§ 193-230. 429 

IvtKa x] •^v\r] alria : ii. 2 fcoijv Xtyo/ufc rrjv fii' avrov Tpo<f>fjv T€ 
Kai av^Tjaiv koI (pdiaiu. 

P. 347, § 206. Neutral first water, cf. Encyclop. § 284, ' with- 
out independent individuality, without rigidity and intrinsic 
determination, a thorough-going equihbrium.' Cf. Werke, vii. 
6. 168. 'Water is absolute neutrality, not like salt, an indi- 
vidualised neutrality; and hence it was at an early date called 
the mother of everything particular.' 'As the neutral it is the 
solvent of acids and alkalis.' Cf. Oken's Lehrbuch der Natur- 
philosophte, §§ 294 and 432. 

P. 348, § 206. Conclude = bffc^tie^cn : Resolve = entfci^ticfcn. 
Cf. Chr. Sigwart, Kleine Schriften, ii. 115, seqq. 

P. 359, § 216. Aristotle, De Anim. Generat. i. (726. b. 24) 
T] yfip av(v yj/^v^iKtis dvvaiifois oiiK tort Xfip dWa fiovov 6pu>vvixov. 

Arist. Metaph. viii. 6 (1045, b. 11) 01 fit (Xt'youcrt) (TvvBiuiv 
f] (rwdfafjiov yj/v^^rjs crafiaTi to ^p. 

P. 360, § 218. Sensibility, &c. This triplicity (as partly 
distinguished by Haller after Glisson) of the functions of organic 
life is largely worked out in Schelling, ii, 491, 

P. 361, § 219. Cf. Schelling, ii. 540. As walking is a 
constantly prevented falling, so life is a constantly prevented 
extinction of the vital process. 

P. 367, § 229. Spinoza (E/h. i. def. I) defines causa sui as 
id cujus essentia involvit existentiam, and (in def. 3) defines 
substantia as id quod in se est et per se concipitur. 

Schelling : e. g. Darstellung meines Systems der Philosophie 
(1801), {Werke, iv. I14): 'I call reason the absolute reason, 
or reason, in so far as it is thought as total indifference of sub- 
jective and objective.' 

P. 367, § 230. 'Mammals distinguish themselves': untevi 
fd^fibcn, instead of fc^cibcn: cf. Werke, ii. 181. 'The dis- 
tinctive marks of animals, e.g. are taken from the claws and 
teeth : for in fact it is not merely cognition which by this 
means distinguishes one animal from another : but the animal 
thereby separates itself off: by these weapons it keeps itself to 
itself and separate from the universal.' Cf. Werke, vii, a. 651 
seqq. {Encycl. § 370) where reference is made to Cuvier, Re- 
cherches sur les ossementsfossiles des quadrupides (18 12), &c. 

P. 368, § 230. Kant, Kritik der Urtheilskraft : Einleitung, 
§ 9 (note), ( Werke, ed. Ros. iv. 39) ; see Caird's Critical Philo- 
sophy of I. Kant, Book i. ch. 5 ; also Hegel's Werke, ii. 3. 



P. 369, § 231. An example of Wolfs pedantry is given in 
Hegel, IVerJte, v. 307, from Wolfs Rudiments 0/ Architecture, 
Theorem viii. ' A window must be broad enough for two persons 
to recline comfortably in it, side by side. Proof. It is customary 
to recline with another person on the window to look about. But 
as the architect ought to satisfy the main views of the owner 
(§ i) he must make the window broad enough for two persons 
to recline comfortably side by side.' 

' Construction ' : cf. IVerke, ii. 38. ' Instead of its own internal 
life and spontaneous movement, such a simple mode (as subject, 
object, cause, substance, &c.) has expression given to it by per- 
ception (here = sense-consciousness) on some superficial analogy : 
and this external and empty application of the formula is called 
" Construction." The procedure shares the qualities of all such 
formalism. How stupid-headed must be the man, who could 
not in a quarter of an hour master the theory of asthenic, 
sthenic and indirectly asthenic diseases ' (this is pointed at 
Schelling's Werke, iii. 236) * and the three corresponding cura- 
tive methods, and who, when, no long time since, such in- 
struction was sufficient, could not in this short period be trans- 
formed from a mere practitioner into a " scientific " physician ? 
The formalism of Naturphilosophie may teach e. g. that under- 
standing is electricity, or that the animal is nitrogen, or even 
that it is like the South or the North, or that it represents it, — 
as baldly as is here expressed or with greater elaboration in 
terminology. At such teachings the inexperienced may fall 
into a rapture of admiration, may reverence the profound 
genius it implies, — may take delight in the sprightliness of 
language which instead of the abstract concept gives the more 
pleasing perceptual image, and may congratulate itself on 
feeling its soul akin to such splendid achievement. The trick 
of such a wisdom is as soon learnt as it is easy to practice ; its 
repetition, when it grows familiar, becomes as intolerable as the 
repetition of juggling once detected. The instrument of this 
monotonous formalism is not harder to manipulate than a 
painter's palette with two colours on it, say red and green, the 
former to dye the surface if a historic piece, the latter if a land- 
scape is asked for.' 

Kant ( Werke, iii. 36) in the ' Prolegomena to every future 
Metaphysic,' § 7, says: *We find, however, it is the peculiarity 
of mathematical science that it must first exhibit its concept in a 

CHAPTER IX, §§ 231-244. 431 

percept, and do so d pn'on',— hence in a pure percept. This 
observation with regard to the nature of mathematics gives a 
hint as to the first and supreme condition of its possibility : it 
must be based on some pure percept in which it can exhibit all 
its concepts m concrete and yet d. priori, or, as it is called, 
construe them.' 

The phrase, and the emphasis on the doctrine, that 'per- 
ception must be taken as an auxiliary in mathematics,' belong 
specially to the_ second edition of the Kritik, e.g. Pref. xii. To 
learn the properties of the isosceles triangle the mathematical 
student must ' produce (by ' construction ') what he himself 
thought into it and exhibited ci priori according to concepts.' 

' Construction, in general,' says Schelling ( Werke, v. 252 : cf. 
iv. 407) * is the exhibition of the universal and particular in 
unity':— 'absolute unity of the ideal and the real.' v. 225. 
SDarftefding in intcacftuoller Slnfdjauung ifl }:)t)iIcfopf)if*e Scnftiutticii. 

P. 372. * Recollection ' ■= (Srinnerutig : /. e. the return from 
difTerentiation and externality to simplicity and inwardness: 
distinguished from (3ibdcl?tiii§ = memory (specially of words). 

P. 373, § 236. Cf. Schelling, Werke, iv. 405. 'Every 
particular object is in its absoluteness the Idea; and accordingly 
the Idea is also the absolute object (©cgcnflanb) itself,— as the 

absolutely ideal also the absolutely real.' 

P. 374, § 236. Aristotle, Metaphys. xi. 9 (1074. 6. 34) avrov 

apa vo(l (6 vovs =^eof), fintp f'trrl to KpdTicrTov, Kai icmv rj vnTjais 

voTj<Tf(os vorjais. Cf. Arist. Metaph. xii. 7. 

P. 377, §239. ' Supposes a correlative ' = iftfiir(5tiie«. On Sci^n? 

fuv^eincg, cf. Werke, iii. 168. !Dae 3becl(c ift not()tt>cnbig fur--@infe<, 

abcr c^ ift nid)t fiir ein 9liibercg : bag ©iitc fiir rt'c(d)cg c^ ift, ift nur eg fclbft. 

. . . God is therefore for-self (to himself) in so far as he himself 

is that which is for him. 

P. 379, § 244. The percipient idea (anfc^auenbe 3bcc), of 

course both object and subject of intuition, is opposed to the 

Idea (as logical) in the element of Thought: but still as Idea 

and not— to use Kant's phrase {Kritik der r. Vern. § 26)— as 

natura tnaierialittr spectata. 



Absolute (the), 19, 50, 410; re- 
lation to God, 156; absolute 
idea, 374 (cf. 431); definitions 
of, 156, 161, 185, 206, 213, 
288, 314, 352. 
Abstract (and concrete), 295, 301. 
Abstraction, 293. 
Accidents (of substance), 273 seqq. 
Activity (bringing condition to 

fact), 267. 
Actuality, 257 seqq.; its relations 

to reason, 10, 258, 383. 
Affinity (in chemism), 341. 
Agnosticism, 250. 
All (quasi-universal), 308. 
Alteration, 172. 
Analogy, 324 seqq. 
Analysis, 79 ; its dangers, 80, 

398 ; analytical method, 365. 
Animals and men, 4, 47. 
Anselm, 140, 331 seqq. (cf. 427). 
Anthropomorphism, 122. 
Antinomies (^of reason), 97, 99, 

Apodictic judgment, 313. 
Appearance, 93, 339 seqq. 
Apperception (pure), 88, 400. 
Appetite, 345. 
A priori (the), 83. 
Aristotle, his idealism, 15, 75, 
259> 364 ; as a logician, 39 
seqq., 318, 322; on the dignity 
of philosophy, 45 ; compared 
with Plato, 259 ; on the Idea, 
374 ; 01 life, 345, 359. 
Arithmetic (logic of), 163. 

Art, 146, 

Assertory judgments, 312. 

Atheism, what it implies, 135 ; 
charged against Spino/a, 105, 

Atomic philosophy, 182. 

Atoms, 193. 

Attraction (as constructive prin- 
ciple), 181. 

Attribution (of predicates), 63, 

^?^^i5^«, explained, 180. 

Axioms (mathematical), 323. 


Becoming, 163. 

Beginning, what it implies, 166. 

Being (doctrine of), 156 seqq. ; 
being and nothing, 161 ; con- 
trasted with thought, 102, 107 
seqq.; determinate being, 167 
seqq. ; being in or by self, 171 ; 
being-for-self, 176 seqq. 

Body (and soul), 360. 

Boethius, 402. 

Buddhist metaphysics, i6r, 163, 


Caput Mortuum, 400. 

Cartesianism, 127. 

Categorical judgment, 310; syl- 
logism, 327. 

Categories (the), 50, 57, 399; 
their finitude, 58, 121 ; criticism 
of, 91. 

Cause and effect, 276; efficient 
and final, 228, 344. 



Chance, 263 seqq. 

Chaos, 237. 

Chemism, 341 seqq.; chemical 

principles, 235, 419. 
Christianity, a religion of reason, 

74; its faith, 125; religion of 

consolation, 270 ; of personality, 

393 ; its philosophical precept, 

Cognition, as analysed by Kant, 

86 seqq. ; its nature and methods, 

Coleridge, 401, 410. 
Common sense, 126. 
Comparison, 216. 
Conceivable (the), 260. 
Concept : see Notion. 
Conception ( = Representation) , 

37; preliminary to thought, i. 
Condition, 266. 
Conditioned (the), 121. 
Conscience (rights of), 44, 388. 
Consciousness (appeal to), 134. 
Consensus gentium, 134, 408. 
Consolation (Christian), 269. 
Construction (method of), 368 

(cf. 430). 
Content (and form), 243 seqq. 
Contingency, 263. 
Continuous quantity, 188. 
Contradiction (principle of), 221 

seqq., 35^, 4^8. 
Contrariety, 223. 

Conviction (right of) : see Con- 
Copula (of a judgment), 298 seqq. 
Correctness (and truth), 304 seqq., 

Correlation, 245. 

Cosmology, 70 ; cosmological 

proof, 102. 
Critical philosophy, its thesis, 

17, 43; examined at length, 82 



Deduction of categories, 87, 399 

Definiteness, its value, 1 70. 
Definition, 366 ; criterion of, 186. 
Degree, 192. 
Deism, 72, 125, 136, aio. 

Demonstration, 368 seqq. 

Descartes, 127 seqq., 333; com- 
pared with Jacobi, 139. 

Design (argument from), 347 (cf. 

Destiny, 369. 

Determinate being, 169. 

Development, 288 seqq.; in rela- 
tion to innate ideas, 130. 

Dialectic, innate in thought, 18; 
its operation explained, 147 
seqq. ; in Plato and Kant, 149 
(cf. 409) ; in Aristotle, 409 ; dis- 
tinguished from Scepticism, 151 ; 
and from Reflection, 147. 

Difference, 215. 

Discrete quantity, 189. 

Disjunctive judgment, 311 ; syl- 
logism, 337. 

Diversity, 216. 

Division (logical), 367 (cf. 429). 

Dogmatic philosophy, 60, 66. 

Dualism in theology, 72 ; in philo- 
sophy, 113. 

Eden (Garden of), 54 seqq. 
Education, its office, 100 ; mistake 

in, 338- 

Effect (and Cause), 276 seqq. 

Ego (the absolute), 393. 

Eleatic philosophy, 159 seqq., 198. 

' Elements ' of logic, 329. 

Eniboitement, 289, 425. 

Empiricism, 14, 76 seqq. ; its rela- 
tive value, 77. 

Encyclopaedia of science, 25 ; of 
philosophy, 38. 

End ( = final cause), ^■^■>>, IM seqq. 

Essence (opposed to Being), 302 

Eudaemonism (before Kant), III, 

403- . . , 

Evil (Good and), 71 ; ongm of, 

Evolution, old technical sense, 

Existence, 229 seqq. 
Experience, principle of, 12, 21, 

384 ; elements in, 81. 
Explanation (limits of), 255. 




Faculties (in psychology), 238. 
Faith, as philosophic principle, 

124 seqq. 
Fall of man, interpreted, 54. 
Fate, 269. 
Feeling, as cognitive form, 136, 

Fichte, deduction of categories, 87, 

387, 399 ; the Anstoss, 119, 405 ; 

Somietiklarer Bcricht, 241 ; 

characteristics of, 176, 372 ; on 

the Object, 334; the Ego, 393. 
Figures of syllogism, 321. 
Final cause, 3435^(7(7., 419. 
Finite (and infinite), 100, 173. 
Force, 246 seqq. 
Form (and content), 6, 242 seqq. ; 

form of thought, 48 ; form and 

matter, 236. 
Fortuitous (the), 264. 
Freedom, 44, 50, 282 ; as cha- 
racter of all thought, 19, 118; 

as Nihilism, 162; of will, 264. 


Generality, 309. 

Genius (defined by Kant), 113. 

Geometrical method, 369. 

Glauhe,\o\, 407. 

God, logical definition of, 156, 
161, 206 ; how knowable, 65, 
74, 125 ; proofs of his being ex- 
amined, 6, 20, 72, 74, 10^ seqq., 
"5. 346; as activity, 69, 396; 
as spirit, 107, 137 > as creator, 
237> 294; as force, 247, 250; 
as trinity, 187, 262, 311 ; as ab- 
solute cunning, 350 ; not jealous, 
254 ; his goodness, 145, 240 ; 
his power, 150, 210; his names, 

64) 395- 
Goethe, 53, 80 (cf. 398), 145 (cf. 

409). 253 (cf. 421), 256 (cf. 

422), 400, 423. 
Good (,the), 71, 114. 
Greek philosophers, 35 ; gods, 

Grenze and Schranke, 412. 
Ground (and consequent), 224 seqq. 


Haller (A. v.), quoted, 196, 252, 

Have (and be), 233, 298. 

Heraclitus (and the Eleatics), 168, 

Herder, 247 (cf 420). 

History, pragmatic, 256 (cf. 422) ; 
psychological, ib. ; history of 
philosophy, 159. 

Hume (on ideas of necessity), 82, 
96, no. 

Hypothetical judgment, 311; syl- 
logism, 327. 

I (Ego), its universality, 38, 48 ; 

source of the categories, 88 ; 

as self- reference, 179 ; 1 = 1, 158, 

Idea (the), 92, 352 seqq. ; aesthetic 

ideas, 113; innate ideas, 130; 

clear and distinct, 296, 426. 
Ideal, II ; of reason, 102. 
Idealism, subjective, 90, 94 ; ab- 
solute, 67, 286. 
Ideality (of the finite), 178, 413. 
Identity, philosophy of, 194, 219; 

its meaning, 211 ; law of, 213. 
Imagination (in Spinoza), 196, 

415; in Kant, 399. 
Immediacy (and mediation), 20; 

immediate knowledge, 53, 129 

Indifference (absolute), 158, i6r. 
Individuality, 291 seqq. 
Induction, 324, 427. 
Infinite (and finite), 62 ; wrong 

infinite, 174; infinite progress, 

175. 194.415- 
Innate ideas, 130. 
Intuition (and thought), 121, 386, 

Inward (and outward), 252 seqq. 


Jacobi (F. H.), 401, 406 seqq. ; 
against demonstration, 105; 
agnostic, 121 s^qq.; on cause, 
277 (cf. 423). 



Judaism, 210, 275. 

Judgment, defined, 397 ; classi- 
fication of, 303 seqq. (cf. 426) ; 
Kant's criticism of the faculty, 



Kant: his standpoint, 17, 83; his 
doctrine of categories, 83 seqq. ; 
examination of his system, 81 
seqq. ; theory of matter, 183 ; on 
'construction' in mathematics, 
369 (cf. 430) ; on teleolog\', 343; 
on modality, 260; his ethics, 
1 10, 372 ; defects of his system, 

"9. 372. 387, 399- 
Kastner (A. G.). 184, 414. 
Kind (genus), 361. 
Knowledge, 94; immediate, 123. 

Lalande, 123, 407. 

Law (of thought), 213 seqq. (cf. 
417), 290; of a phenomenon, 242. 

Leibniz : maxim of indiscernibles, 
217 (cf. 417) ; of sufficient rea- 
son, 227 (cf. 418); on final 
cause, 228 (cf. 419); his mo- 
nadology, 275, 334 (cf. 428). 

Life (as a logical category), 358 
seqq. ; example of becoming, 168. 

Like (and unlike), 218. 

Limit (barrier), 172. 

Locke (as empiricist), 365. 

Logic, defined, 30 ; its utility, 31, 
34, 40; in Aristotle, 39; ap- 
plied, 50 ; subdivided, 155 ; 
formal, 214, 226, 288, 316. 

Magnitude, 185 ; intensive, 192, 


Man (as an universal), 293, 

Many (and one), 181. 

Marks (in concept), 296. 

Materialism (as logical result of 
empiricism), 81, 118; of a 
mathematical system, 187. 

Mathematics : place in science, 
187 seqq.; mathematical syl- 
logism, 323. 

Matter (and form), 123, 235. 

Mean ( = middle term), 318 seqq. 

Means (and end\ 347 seqq. 

Measure (logical category), 199 
seqq. ; its antinomy, 202. 

Mechanism, 336 seqq. ; in ethics 
and politics, 340. 

Mediation (and immediacy), 133 

Memory (mechanical), 338. 

Metaphysics, as logic, 45 ; pre- 
Kantian, 61 ; pseudo-metaphy- 
sics in science, 184; categories, 

Methods : different, 53 ; metaphy- 
sical, 61, 75 ; analytic, 365 ; 
synthetic, 366 ; speculative, 375; 
methodology, 328. 

Middle (law of excluded), 220; 
middle term, 318 seqq. 

Mind (and nature), 70 seqq., 180, 
18S, 414. 

Modality, 260. 

Mohammedanism, 210, 275. 

Monads, 334, 428. 

Moods (of syllogism), 334. 

Mysticism, 154,410; mystic num- 
bers, 198. 


Nature (philosophy of), 50, 326, 
394; and spirit, 180, 1S8, 263 
seqq., 377. 4i4. 43i ; nature and 
the logical idea, 379. 

Natural (or physico-) theology, 
162 seqq., 402. 

Naturalism, 118. 

Necessity (and freedom), 71, 100, 
282; and universality, 12, 15, 
82 ; its nature analysed, 267 

Necessitarian, no. 

Negation, 171, 219. 

Nemesis (measure as), 201. 

Neutralisation, 342. 

Newton, 13, 183, 250, 414, 421, 

Nicolaus Cusanus, 410. 

Nodal lines, 204. 

Nothing (and being), 161. 

Notion : contrasted with being, 
102, 331 ; theory of, 286 seqq. ; 



classifications of, 296 ; opposed 
to representative concept, 3, 16, 

Novalis, quoted, 393. 

Number, 190 seqq. 


Object (and subject), 329 5^^^. ; ob- 
jective (and subjective), 83 seqq. ; 
objective thought, 45, 57, 1^5. 

Oken, quoted, 392,401, 418. 

One (and many), 179 seqq. 

Ontology, 67; ontological proof 
in theology, 107, 331. 

Opposition (logical), 221, 

Organism, 246, 281, 360 seqq. 

Oriental theosophy, 64. 

Ought (the), II, 115, 372. 

Outward (and inward), 252. 

Pantheism, 72 ; in Spinoza, 105, 
275 ; its principle, 167. 

Paralogism (in rational psycho- 
logy). 95. 97- 

Parmenides, 160, 411. 

Particular, 291 seqq. 

Parts (and whole), 245 ; distinct 
from organs, 246. 

Personality, 124, 274. 

Phenomenalism (Kant's), 93, 240. 

Phenomenology of Spirit : place in 
Hegel's system, 58. 

Philosophy: general definition, 4; 
its scope and aim, 28, 38, 44, 
73, 127, 164, 262, 354, 376, 
391 ; history of, 22, 159, 385, 
411 ; in England, 12 ; rise of, 
18; its branches, 28, 322; me- 
thod of, 375 ; philosophy and 

life, 384, 393- 

Physicists, 193. 

Plato: reminiscence of ideas, 130, 
289 ; his dialectic, 149 ; on the 
Other, 173; Philebus, 177; com- 
pared with Aristotle, 259. 

Pneumatology, 68 seqq. 

Polarity, 221 (cf. 418). 

Porosity, 238. 

Positive (and negative), 219 seqq. ; 

positive element in Science, 

Possibility, 259. 
Practical Reason, no, 403. 
Predication, 300 seqq. 
Preformation, 289, 425. 
Problematical judgment, 313. 
Proclus, 386. 

Progress : its meaning, 169. 
Properties (of a thing), 233. 
Proposition, 65, 300, 395. 
Protagoras, 149 (cf. 409). 
Proverbs quoted, 150. 
Providence, 268. 
Psychology, 68 seqq., 95 seqq.,iiS 

(cf. 428). 
Pttnctum Saliens, 426. 
Pure thought, 30, 49. 
Pythagoras, 197, 416. 


Qualitative judgment, 304 ; syl- 
logism, 317. 
Quality, 158 seqq., 170. 
Quantity, 185. 
Quantum, 190. 


Raisonnement , 229. 

Ratio (quantitative), 199. 

Reality : opposed to negation ,171; 
to ideality, 180. 

Reason : faculty of the uncondi- 
tioned, 92, 400 seqq. ; as merely 
critical, 109; practical, no; 
negative, 152 seqq.; as syllogism, 

Reciprocity, 279. 
Reflection, 5, 8, 41, 53, 208, 275 ; 

distinct from dialectic, 147; 

judgments of, 30". 
Reinhold: his method, 17, 385. 
Religion (and philosophy), 3, 43, 

64; its nature, 132 seqq. 
Reminiscence (Platonic), 130, 2S9. 
Repulsion, 181. 
Roman religion, 335. 
Rousseau, 293. 
Rule, 202. 



Scepticism : ancient, 53 ; opposed 
to dogmatism, 66 ; modem, 82 ; 
its function in philosophy, 141, 

Schelling, 46 (cf. 39J, 393). 1^1 

(of. 429)- , , 

Schiller, 112 (cf. 405). 

Scholasticism, 40, 66, 75, 80; de- 
finition of God, 69. 

Schopenhauer, 401, 408, 424. 

Sciences and philosophy, 19, 22 ; 
science and religion, 250. 

Scotch philosophers, 131. 

Scotus Erigena, 387. 

Self-determination, iii. 

Self-identity, 212. 

Sensation, 36 seqq. 

Settsus eminent ior, 73, 397- 

Sex, 361. 

Sin (original), 55. 

Slavery (abolition of), 293. 

Socrates, his dialectic, 149, 228. 

Solon, 43. 

Somewhat, 171. 

Sophists : theory of education, 
131 ; essence of sophistry, 148, 
228; opposed to Socrates, 149, 

Sorites, 203, 417. 

Soul : as object of psychology, 69, 
77 ; (rationalist theory of,) cri- 
ticised by Kant, 96 ; soul and 
Spirit, 69. 

Speculation, 16; as opposed to 
dogmatism, 67 ; speculative rea- 
son, 152 seqq. 

Spinoza, his alleged atheism and 
pantheism, 105 seqq.., 275; causa 
sui, 139, 277; his God, 159, 
402 ; on determination, 171 ; 
amor intellectualis , 283 fcf. 
424); on imagination, 196 (cf. 
415); his method, 367 J^^^. (cf. 
Spirit, see Mind. 
State (mechanical theories of the), 

182, 340. 
Subject (and predicate), 301, 395, 

Subjective (and objective), 85, 

Substance, 273 seqq. 

Sufficient Reason (principle of), 
224 seqq. (cf. 418). 

Syllogism, 314 seqq. ; as a uni- 
versal form of things, 314 ; in 
mechanism, 340 ; in teleology, 

Synthetic method, 366. 
System (in philosophy), 23 seqq, 


Taste, defined by Kant, 113. 
Teleology, 343 seqq. 
Terms (of syllogism), 317. 
Theology (natural), 71 seqq., lor 

seqq., 191- 

Theorem, 368. 

Theoretical Reason (Kant on), 86 
seqq. I 

Thing, 6q, 233 ; thing in or by it- 
self, 91, 231. 

Thought, its meaning and activity, 
35 seqq. ; subjective, 36 ; ob- 
jective, 45, 47 ; distinguished 
from pictorial representation, 3, 

Transcendent, 89 ; transcendental, 

87, 400. 
Truth, object of philosophy, 3; and 
of logic, 32; its meaning, 51, 
387; distinguished from correct- 
ness, 395, 352, 354. 


Unconditioned (the), 92, 410. 

Understanding, as faculty of the 
conditioned, 58, 92 ; as a prin- 
ciple of limitation, 143 seqq., 

Unessential, 211. 

Universal (the), 35, 42, 143 ; ' mo- 
ment 'of the notion, 291 seqq.; 
universality and necessity, 12, 

Untrue, 245. 

Urtheil, 297. 

Utilitarianism in Science, 346. 



Variety, 215. 

Verstand and Vernunft, 400 seqq. 

Volition, 364, 371 seqq. 


Wesen, 209. 

Whole (and parts), 245. 

Will, 371 ; as practical reason, 
110; its freedom, 264. 

Wolff (Christian), his philosophy, 
60 seqq., 395, 396; method, 

World (the), as object of Cos- 
mology, 97. 


Zeno (of Elea), 169, 195,415, 









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