Infomotions, Inc.Hegel's doctrine of reflection : being a paraphrase and a commentary interpolated into the text of the second volume of Hegel's larger logic, treating of "essence" / by William T. Harris ... / Harris, William Torrey, 1835-1909

Author: Harris, William Torrey, 1835-1909
Title: Hegel's doctrine of reflection : being a paraphrase and a commentary interpolated into the text of the second volume of Hegel's larger logic, treating of "essence" / by William T. Harris ...
Publisher: New York : Appleton, 1881.
Tag(s): reflection (philosophy); hegel, georg wilhelm friedrich, 1770-1831; essence; identity; negative; unity; annulled; external; reflection; phase; negation; essential; identical; self; activity; external reflection; negative unity; independent; hence; totality; ground; immediate; indifferent; distinction
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This translation and paraphrase of the second volume of Hegel's larger 
Logic is herewith submitted to a small circle of students who sympathize 
with an attempt to interpret in English the subtle and fruitful thoughts 
of Hegel on the subject of the categories of Reflection showing their 
genesis from the experience which the mind makes of the transitoriness 
of the world of sense-objects, and showing, at the same time, the limits 
of the validity of those categories. It is by no means a complete elabora- 
tion of the whole book some parts being less than a fluent translation, 
and lacking commentary altogether, while others are believed to be fairly 
adequate. The translator's commentary is included in parentheses. The 
work was begun and continued under the auspices of the " Kant Club " 
of St. Louis, Missouri, and has been used as a hand-book by that club. 
The translator hopes to add, from time to time, more commentary to 
this volume, and has promised to write for it an introduction which will 
attempt to deduce the point of view for " Essence," from that of " Being," 
which Hegel treats in the first volume. A paraphrase of the third vol- 
ume, treating of the Syllogism, Teleology in Nature, and the absolute 
Ideal of the World or the Personality of the Absolute which Hegel 
discusses under the subjects of " Subjectivitat," " Objectivitat," and 
" Idee " is in progress, and may be given to the same public that this 
volume reaches. 

The reader will find it profitable to study these pages in connection 
with the exposition of " Essence " given in the smaller Logic of the 
Encyclopaedia of Hegel, as found in the elegant and exact rendering of 
Mr. Wallace of Oxford University. 

It is needless to say that this book will in no wise supply the place of a 
continuation of the famous " Secret of Hegel " by Dr. Stirling, which gives 
a translation of, and an exhaustive commentary on, the greater part of the 
first volume of the larger Logic. This paraphrase undertakes a sort of 
auxiliary work that will be unnecessary when we receive the continuation 
of that work from its author. 

May 1, 1S81. 


The truth (L e., the outcome) of being is essence. 

Being is the immediate (t. e.'The first phase of things), since know- 
ing ought to recognize the true, that which being is in and for itself, 
it does not stop with the first phase of things and its determinations 
(its belongings), but it transcends this with the assumption that 
behind this first phase (being) there is something else, something 
deeper than being, that which constitutes the background, the truth 
of being. This investigation is a process of mediating the knowing ; 
for it does not find essence as something direct, a first phase, but it 
begins with something else, with being as a first phase, and has a pre- 
liminary way or road to travel, namely, to proceed beyond being, or 
rather to descend into it. First, upon collecting itself, returning within 
itself (Erinnem, re-collecting itself) from immediate being (first 
phase of things) through this mediation, it finds essence. Language 
has in the verb Seyn (being) adopted for the past tense the word 
gewesen (been) ; ( Wesen denotes essence) ; for Wesen (essence) is 
past being, but a timeless past. 

This movement, represented as the progress of the activity of 
knowing, may appear as an activity that is merely subjective, exter- 
nal to being as such, and in no wise concerning its real nature ; 
but this beginning from being, and this progress which cancels the 
same and arrives at essence as a mediated knowing, is an activity ap- 
pertaining to being itself. It has been already demonstrated (in the 
first book of this logic) that it (being) re-collects itself (erinnerl), 
and, through this return into itself, becomes essence. (Every form 
of beino - every category thereof presents some form of relation 
to the without or the beyond, which, when traced out, as it has been 
done by the author in Volume I., relates back to the beginning, thus 
resulting on every hand in the category of self-relation, whigh is 
essence.) - " 

If, therefore, the absolute was defined on a former occasion as 

being (Seyn), now it is to be defined as essence. The scientific 

knowing (Erkennen) cannot on any account remain at the standpoint 

of the multiplicity of existences (the first phase of particular being, 


2 Essence. 

Daseyn), nor any more at the standpoint of being (pure abstract 
being) ; it is impressed with the conviction that this pure being, the 
negation of eveiything finite, presupposes (implies) an activity of 
re-collection, which has, by abstraction, ascended from immediate ( 
particular existence to pure being. Being b}' this process has come 
to be defined as essence, as such a being from which everything 
definite and finite has been abstracted (removed by negation). Thus 
this being is a somewhat devoid of determination (particularity), a 
simple unity, from which eveiything definite has been removed by an 
external process (i. e., by the abstract reflection of the thinker) ; to 
this unity, definiteness or particularity was already something for- 
eign (external), and it remains as something standing over against it 
after this act of abstraction ; for it has not been annulled absolutely, 
but only in relation to this unity (i*. e., the act of reflection has not 
discovered the nugatoriness in particular things that is, their tran- 
sitory nature but in this analytic process of arriving at pure 
being it arbitrarily separates the determinations from being as a sub- 
strate, and holds them apart). It has alread}^ been mentioned above 
that if the pure essence is defined as the including comprehension of 
all realities {Inbegriff aJler Realitaten') , these realities underlie the na- 
ture of the determinateness and of the abstracting reflection, and this 
including comprehension reduces them to an empty simplicity. 
Essence is, according to this view, only a product, an artificial result. 
This external negation, which is abstraction, merely removes the de- 
terminateness of being from it, and what remains is essence ; it 
merely places them somewhere else, and leaves them existing as 
before. According to such a view, essence would be neither in itself 
nor for itself (i. e., neither an independent being nor a totalitj-, but 
merely a phase of something else, or, what is worse, an arbitrary 
abstraction) ; it would depend on another i. e., on external, abstract- 
ing reflection ; and it would be for another, namely, for the abstrac- 
tion, and, besides this, for the particular existence which had been 
separated from it, and which remained over against it. Taken in 
this sense essence is, therefore, a dead, empty abstraction from all 

Essence, however, as we find it here (as a result of the discussion 
of the categories of being), is what it is, not through an external act of 
negation (abstraction), but through its own negativity, the infinite 
movement of being (" infinite : " that is returning into itself, the cate- 
gories of being have all been traced through relations to others, back 
into relations to themselves. Dependence always implies self-de- 


Introduction. 3 

pendence, which is independence ; because that which depends has 
its being hi another, and really depends on its own being in this other). 
It is being in and for itself (independent and total) ; absolute being 
in itself, since it is indifferent towards all deterrninateness of being 
(i. e., towards all that belongs to the first phases of things), all other- 
being (dependence on others), and relation to another, is entirety an- 
nulled ; it is, however, not merely this being in itself, for as such it 
would be only the abstraction of the pure essence ; but it is likewise 
essentially being for itself (?'. e., a being which realizes itself in others 
dependent upon it others which manifest it), it is itself the negative 
activity which performs for itself this cancelling of the other-being, 
dependence upon others, and the characteristics which it receives 
through others. 

Essence as the perfect return of being into itself (. e., the first 
phase of things traced out through its relations into a totality, so that 
the whole stands in self-relation, is essence) is, at first, undefined, 
for the deterrninateness of being are cancelled in it; it contains 
them in itself but not in a form in which they are explicitly stated. 
Absolute essence, in this simplicity, has no particularity (Daseyn). 
But it must pass over into particularity (i. e., a correct apprehension 
of it will find particularity belonging to it) ; for it is being in and for 
itself that is to say, it distinguishes the determinations which it con- 
tains in itself (for this is an active process whose negative relation to 
itself is an act of distinguishing), since it is a repulsion of itself from 
itself, or indifference towards itself, negative relation to itself, it 
posits itself in self-opposition, and is only infinite being for itself in 
so far as it is the unity of itself with this its difference. Essence is 
the absolute unity of Being within and for itself ; its act of determin- 
ing remains, therefore, wholly within this unity, and, therefore, is not 
a becoming, nor a transition, nor are its determinations something 
other (alien, foreign), nor are its relations directed to another; they 
are independent but only thus while they are in their unity with 
each other. Since essence is in its first aspect simple negativity, the 
deterrninateness which it contains only in itself, in its sphere, is to be 
stated so as to give it its particularity, and its being for itself (its 

Essence is, in the entire compass of logic (that is, in relation to 
the other spheres), the same that quantity was in the sphere of being 
(quantity- as related to quality and to mode). That is to say, essence 
is absolute indifference toward limits. Quantity is this indifference 
in its immediateness or first phase, and the limit as regards it is an 

4 Essence. 

immediate external determinateness ; this passes over into quantum 
(i. e., the particularity of quantity is through an entirely external or 
indifferent limit) ; the external limit is necessary to it, and exists in 
connection with it. On the contrary, determinateness does not exist 
over against essence, it is posited only through essetfce, not free, 
but only in relation to its unity. The negativity of essence is Reflec- 
tion, and the determinations are all reflected, posited through Essence 
and remaining in it as cancelled. 

Essence, in the logic, stands between Being and the Idea i^iegriff), 
and constitutes the middle term, and its activity is the transition 
from being to the idea (from unconscious existence to conscious 
subjectivity). Essence is the being in and for itself, but this rather 
in the form of the being in itself ; for its general characteristic is 
determined through the fact that it is the first phase after being, or 
the first negation of being. Its activity consists in this, that it pos- 
its negation or determination within itself, and through this gives 
itself particularity, and proceeds toward the state of infinite being for 
itself, which it is potentially. Thus it attains its particularity, which 
is identical with its nature, and through this becomes the idea. For 
the idea is the absolute, realizing its absoluteness in the particular de- 
terminations which manifest the internal nature or essence of things. 
The particularity, however, which essence creates, is not yet true par- 
ticularity, such as it is in and for itself, but it is posited, or dependent 
on essence ; and therefore, to be carefully distinguished from the 
particularity of the idea. 

The first phase of essence is appearance, or it is the activity of 
reflection. Secondly, it is a manifestation or phenomenon. Thirdly, 
it is self-ievelation. Its activity, therefore, posits the following deter- 
minations : 

1st. As simple potential essence in its determinations within itself. 
2d. As emerging into particularity, or into existence, or manifest- 

3d. As essence which is one with its manifestation, as actuality. 
(The above is a very general statement of the standpoint and con- 
tents of this second book of the Logic. This book is the most original 
part of Hegel's Philosophy, formulating as it does the nature of 
reflection, and exploring its scope and the genesis of it categories. 
Hegel, in his general statements prefixed to his chapters, does not 
attempt to demonstrate anythii g or show the dialectic of its process, 
although his remarks are made in full tow of the entire compass of 
the treatment which follows. The special treatment begins below 
with the caption, "Essential and Unessential.") 



Essence as Reflection into Itself. 

Essence comes from being (i. e., a consideration of being finds 
essence as a necessary presupposition, the totality, the including pro- 
cess of which being is a phase) ; it is, therefore, not immediately in 
and for itself (independent), but a result of that movement (i. e., 
the process in which being has been proved inadequate). In other 
words, essence, taken as something immediate (that is, as a first phase 
of things), would be a definite, particular existence (bestimmtes 
Daseyn) standing in opposition to another particular existence ; it is, 
in fact, only an essential particular existence opposed to an unessential 
one. But essence, according to its true definition, is the in and for 
itself cancelled being (i. e., being which has shown itself to be a first 
phase of an including process in which it loses its individuality and 
vanishes in other phases, the total process being the annulment of each 
particular phase, and, as such, the essence). It (essence) has only 
appearance opposed to it (*. e., nothing independent or self-existing, 
nothing standing on an equality with essence, but only appearance, 
show, seeming). But appearance is the proper activity of essence 
manifesting itself (das eigene Setzen des Wesens). 

Essence is, in the first place, reflection (i. e., it offers, on first con- 
sideration, this phase of its activit}'). Reflection determines itself 
(i. e., it particularizes itself, comes into the form of self-opposition). 
Its determinations are in the form of posited-being (*'. e., dependent 
phases resulting from a process which transcends them) ; a posited- 
being which is at the same time reflection into itself (completing itself 
to a totality, self-dependent) ; its determinations are 

Secondly, Reflected determinations, or essentialities (*. e., total 
processes ; these reflected determinations are phases of essence, hav- 
ing its form, that is of self-related determination, but each one is a 
special phase, while essence includes them all). 

Thirdly, Essence, as the reflection of the determining activity into 
itself, becomes ground (cause or reason), and passes over into ex- 
istence and phenomenon, or manifestation (N. B. This "becom- 

6 Essence. 

ing and passing over " of categories, is objective in the sense that it is 
demonstrated to be presupposed, as the necessity of things, but it is a 
becoming and passing-over from subjective illusion, or inadequate 
ideas, to true and adequate ideas of what must be in the nature of 

(The above is a mere recapitulation of the contents of this first sec- 
tion, and in no wise offered as a demonstration by the author. The 
following three chapters furnish the demonstration.) 

First Chapter. 


Essence, conceived as a result from being as the presupposition 
of the categories of being seems, at first, to stand in opposition to 
being ; in which case immediate being is regarded as the unessential. 

But it is, secondly, something more than a mere "unessential," 
it is essence-less being, it is appearance. 

Thirdly. This appearance is not something external to essence, 
outside of it, another to essence, but its (essence's) own appearance 
(or manifestation). The appearing of essence as a part of its own 
activity ( das Scheinen des Wesens in ihm selbst), is reflection. 

(This, likewise, is a recapitulation, but only of the present chap- 


The Essential and the Unessential. 

Essence is cancelled or annulled (atifgehobe?ie) being (see pnge 1 
of this translation, explanatory of the general standpoint of this book. 
This paragraph is the first one in this book which is not a recapitula- 
tion of what follows it. It takes up the subject where it was left at 
the close of the first book of this logic, namely: at the doctrine of 
being. Here it attempts to seize the subject in its immediate or 
most obvious aspect the first impressions of thought upon what is 
the true result of the investigation up to this point). It (essence) 
is simple identity (Gleichheit) with itself, but it is this, in so far 
as it is the negation of the entire sphere of being (or first phases 
of things). Essence has, therefore, immediateness opposed to 
it, as something from whence it has originated, and has proved 
itself abiding and persistent under the changes of the former (im- 
mediate being). Essence, itself, regarded in this aspect, is a being 

Essential and Unessential. 7 

also, an immediate essence, and the sphere of being opposed 
to it, is a negative, only in this relation to essence, and not 
otherwise ; essence is, therefore, a particular negation. Being and 
essence, in this respect, stand in relation to each other as somewhat 
and other a reappearance of those categories of being for each 
possesses being, immediateness, indifference towards the other, and 
equal validity as regards being. (Evidently, a very inadequate notion 
of the true results of the investigation of the categories of being. Es- 
sence stands in relation to being, not as something else opposed to 
it, but as its truth, the totality of its process, in which particular 
phases of being appear and disappear). 

But being, as standing in opposition to essence, according to this 
point of view, is the unessential ; it is that which has been annulled, 
cancelled, shown to be a phase of a process. And in so far as this 
stands in relation to essence as another (co-ordinate), it prevents 
essence from being regarded properly, and reduces its concept to 
that of another particular being, an "essential" 1 icing. 

The distinction between " essential " and " unessential," therefore, 
is a distinction which treats of essence as though it were a category 
of being (and loses sight of the standpoint of essence altogether) ; 
for essence in this regard is an immediate somewhat, and, hence, only 
one as opposed to another, namely, to being. The sphere of being is 
presupposed by this mode of considering it, and what is called being 
in this relation is an independent somewhat, a further external deter- 
mination to being, and conversely, what is called essence is also inde- 
pendent, but only as regards the other, and from a special point of 
view in so far, therefore, as the phases of "essential " and " unes- 
sential " are discriminated in a being, this distinction is an external 
subjective one, one not affecting the being itself, a separation which 
falls in a third (i. e., in the subject making the distinction, but not in 
the being thus separated into "essential" and "unessential"). It 
is left undetermined what belongs to the " essential," or the "unes- 
sential ; " it is some external mode of consideration (some subjective 
interest or point of view) which makes this distinction, and at one 
time looks upon the content as "essential" and, at another, as "un- 

More strictly considered, essence is reduced to the category of 
"essential," as opposed to "unessential," only when taken as can- 
celled being or particularity (Da*eyn). P^ssence is in this manner 
regarded only as the first or the negation, which is determinateness, 
through, and by means of which, being becomes particular being {Da- 

8 Essence. 

seyn), or particular being is opposed to "other" as "other." But 
essence, on the other hand, properly defined, is the absolute negativity 
of being (t. e., it is not "another," to being, but the total process in 
which being is utterly swallowed up, and all of its phases annulled 
nothing of it persisting, as opposed to the negativity of this process, 
which is essence) : it (essence) is being itself, but not in the form 
of particulars, opposed to each other (aZs ein Anderes bestimmt), but 
as being, which has been annulled, not only as immediate being, but 
as immediate negation, that is, as such negation as is involved in the 
categories of otherness. Being, or particularity, persists consequently 
not as "another" for essence exists and that which (being) is 
still an immediate, to be distinguished from essence, is not merely an 
unessential being, but an immediate which is utterly nugatory, it is 
only a no-essence (JJnweseii) appearance. 



(1.) Being is appearance. The being of appearance consists only 
in the annulment (the being cancelled) of being in its nugatoriness ; 
this nugatoriness belongs to essence, and being is appearance in and 
through this nugatoriness, and, therefore, only in and through essence ; 
it (appearance) is the negative posited as negative. 

Appearance is the whole of what is left from the sphere of being ; at 
first, however, it seems as though appearance still possessed a side, or 
a phase, of independence from essence to be in some respect another 
to it. The " other " (as a categoiy) contains two phases (Momente), 
particularity and its negation. The "unessential," since it does not 
possess being, possesses the phase of non-extantness, which belongs 
to the category of otherness. Appearance is this immediate negation 
of particular being, regarded as a being, and as only in relation to 
another, so that it possesses being through the fact that it negates 
particular being; the unessential is, therefore, a dependent some- 
what, which exists only in its negation (throifgh another). There 
remains for it, therefore, only the pure determinateness of immedi- 
ateness (the form of it, without the substance), it is reflected imme- 
diateness: i. e., an immediateness which is only by means of its ne- 
gation, and which is, outside of this mediation, nothing else than 
the empty determination of immediateness of the negation of particu- 
lar being. (Appearance has independence, or immediate validity, 
not as a mediate being a somewhat but through the negating ac- 

Appearance. 9 

tivity which annuls it. This annulling, or negating activity, which 
triumphs over the phase of being, is itself an immediate, and, in fact, 
is the true substance of each and every phase of being succes- 
sively annulled by it; for each phase of being is the negation, or an- 
nulment of a relatively previous phase of being. Hegel, in this 
passage, calls attention to the nature of this immediateness, or inde- 
pendence, as arising from the activity of negation, which triumphs 
in reducing phases of being to appearances)*. 1 

1 Appearance is the "phenomenon" of the skeptics, or the "manifestation" 
of the Idealists such an immediateness as is no somewhat, and no thing; 
in fact, no independent being at all, which would have existence outside of its rela- 
tion to the subject beholding it, or outside of its apparent substance. It exists, is 
a predication which skepticism does not allow itself to make. Modern idealism 
does not allow itself to look upon knowledge as a knowing of the " thing in itself." 
The mentioned " appearance " is to have no foundation whatever of being, and 
the "knowledge" of this idealism is not to be able to attain to the "thing in 
itself." At the same time, however, skepticism attributes many determinations 
to its "appearance," or, rather, its "appearance" possesses the entire manifold 
wealth of the world for its content. ("Appearance " includes all objects of nature 
and history.) Likewise, the "phenomenon" of idealism includes the entire com- 
pass of these determinations. "Appearance" and "phenomenon" are thus con- 
ceived as manifold in their immediateness. It is true that there may be no being, 
nothing, or no "thing in itself," lying at the basis of this content; nevertheless, it 
remains for itself as it is (it manifests independence) ; it has only been transposed 
from being into appearance; and appearance possesses within itself those manifold 
determinations which are immediate existence, and opposed to each other (i. e., the 
determinations of appearance have precisely the form of the determinations of 
being, according to the crude conception of this idealism). Appearance is, there- 
fore, itself an immediate, particular somewhat. It may have this or that content; 
but whatever content it has is not something posited by it (i. e., a result of its ac- 
tivity), but it has it immediately (i. e., not as a result). The idealism of Leibnitz, 
Kant, or Fichte, has not transcended the category of being, nor its form of immedi- 
ateness, any more than the other forms of idealism, or than skepticism (i. e., they 
do not arrive at the concept of process or activity, as underlying immediate things). 
Skepticism admits the content of its "appearance," it finds it given as an immedi- 
ate somewhat (not as a manifestation of an essence). The monad of Leibnitz evolves 
its own representations, but it is not the power which generates and combines 
these representations they arise in it rather like bubbles ; they are independent, 
indifferent toward each other, and likewise toward the monad itself. So, likewise, 
the Kantian " phenomenon " (Erscheinung) is a given content of perception, which 
presupposes affections determinations of the subject independent, as regards 
each other, and as regards the subject (and hence, no manifestation of an essence). 
(The infinite occasion (Anstoss) of Fichtian idealism, it is true, may have no " thing 
in itself" at all for its basis, so that it may be a pure determinateness of the ego, 
but this determinateness is something independent of the ego, a limit of it, which 
the ego assimilates and deprives of its externality, and transcends, although it 
possesses a side < f independence, which remains an immediate negation of the ego 
throughout the c ntire process). 

10 Essence. 

(2.) Appearance, therefore, contains an immediate presupposi- 
tion a side of independence as regards essence. But it is impossible 
to show that appearance, if it is regarded as distinct from essence, is 
cancelled and returns into essence, (t. e., that it is a phase of an in- 
cluding process) ; but the standpoint of being has been entirely an- 
nulled ; appearance is nugatory in itself; it remains onby to show that 
the determinations which distinguish it from essence, are in fact 
nothing but determinations of essence, and, moreover, that this de- 
terminateness of essence, which constitutes appearance, is annulled in 
essence itself. 

It is the immediateness of non-being which constitutes appearance, 
(i. e., the reality of appearance is the reality of the destructive pro- 
cess, a negative activity manifested in the change of things things 
negated, rendered transitory, are mere appearance) ; this non-being 
however, is nothing else but the negativity of essence within itself. 
Being is non-being in the sphere of essence, (i. e., immediateness is 
found only in connection with the negative or destructive phase of the 
activity of a process). Its nugatoriness is the negative nature of 
essence itself. But immediateness, or indifference (independence), 
which contains this non-being, is the absolute self-contained being 
(Ansichseyn) , which belongs to essence. The negativity of essence is 
its identity with itself, or its simple immediateness and independence 
(i. e., its negativity produces its identity etc., by the form of self- 
relation, as will be shown later on). Being is retained in essence in 
so far as the latter comes into identity with itself, through its infinite 
(*". e., self-related) negativity; through this (in this phase) essence 
is, itself, being. Immediateness which, in the category of appearance 
has a determinateness opposed to essence, is, therefore, nothing else 
than the immediateness belonging to essence ; but not the immediate- 
ness of particular existence, but the immediateness which is wholly 
mediated or reflected, namely, as found in the category of appear- 
ance. Being, therefore, as a phase of essence, is not being in its first 
phase, but only as a determinateness opposed to mediation ; being has 
become a moment (i. e., complemental element, or phase, of the pro- 
cess here called essence). 

These two moments (phases), the negativity which takes on the 
form of persistence, and the being which is only a dependent deter- 
minateness (moment) in other words, the self-existent negativity, 
and the reflected immediateness which constitute the elements of 
appearance, are, therefore, the elements of essence itself: it is not 
an appearance of being manifested in essence, nor an appearance of 
essence manifested in being the appearance in essence is not 

Appearance. 11 

appearance of something else (than essence), hut, it is appearance 
as such, the appearance of essence itself (i. e., the elements of a 
process are continually vanishing and reappearing, not in and for 
themselves, but as manifestation of the power acting in the process). 
Appearance is the essence itself in the determinateness of being. 
Essence has appearance through the fact that it is determined (par- 
ticularized), and through this has distinction from itself as abso- 
lute unity. But this particularity is likewise annulled. For essence 
is independent, that which mediates itself, being what it is through 
its negation; it is, therefore, the unity and identity of absolute 
negativity and immediateness. Negativity is the negativity in itself 
is its relation to itself, and, consequently, it is immediateness (because 
a mediation which does not get beyond itself is no mediation, but is 
immediateness) ; but it is negative relation to itself, a negation that 
repels itself, and, therefore, this immediateness is a negative, or a par- 
ticular opposed to it (i. e., the process of self-determination involves 
identity the relation of the same to the same and difference, or 
the negation of the same by the same). But this determinateness is 
itself the absolute negativity, and this act of determination, which is, 
as active determination, the annulment of itself and, at the same 
time, return into itself. 

Appearance is the negative which has a phase of being, but in 
another, viz : in its negation ; it is dependence which is cancelled and 
nugatory. It is, therefore, the negative returning into itself, the 
dependent as dependent on the negative. This relation of the nega- 
tive, or of dependence, to itself, is its immediateness ; it is another 
than itself; it is its determinateness opposed to itself, or it is the 
negation opposed to the negative. But the negation opposed to the 
negative is a self-relating negativity, which is an absolute annulment 
of the determinateness itself. (Relation is negation, self-relation is 
self-negation, in the sense of self-determination; and this, as before 
shown, is both identity and difference.) 

The determinateness, therefore, of essence, which is " appearance," 
is infinite (self-related) determinateness ; it is only the negative di- 
rected against itself ; it is, therefore, determinateness, which, as such, 
is independence and not determined through another (i. e., not de- 
terminateness of another, but self-determination). Conversely, inde- 
pendence, as self-relating immediateness, is likewise simple determi- 
nateness and phase, and negativity only as relating to itself. This 
negativity, which is identical with immediateness, and the immediate- 
ness which is identical with negativity, is essence, (essence is the ac- 

12 Essence. 

tivity of self-relation). Appearance is, therefore, the essence itself, 
but essence, in the phase of detenninateness in which it manifests 
itself to itself (the activity of anything manifests its nature, and 
even the activity directed upon itself musjt manifest itself, though in 
tli form of particularity). 

In the sphere of being the non-being arises, as an immediate in op- 
position to the immediateness of being, and the truth (the unity) of 
these two immediates is becoming (transition is the only form of 
unity in which two immediates may be combined). In the sphere of 
essence we find, first, the categories of essential and unessential op- 
posed to each other, and, next afterwards, the categories of essence 
and appearance ; the unessential and appearance in these antitheses 
stand for what remains of the categories of being. But both, as well 
as the difference of essence from them, have no further independent 
validity than what is given them through the fact that essence is at 
first taken as an immediate somewhat (an utter misconception) not 
as it is in truth, namely, not as that immediateness which arises 
through pure mediation or absolute negativity, (i. e., self-mediation, 
or self-negativity). That first form of immediateness is consequently 
only the detenninateness of immediateness, (i. e., only a phase of true 
immediateness, namely, the phase of self-relation, leaving out of sight 
the self-negation involved in it). The annullment of this detenni- 
nateness of essence consists, therefore, only in this, that the unes- 
sential is shown to be only appearance, and that essential is shown 
to contain (as a negative process or activity) appearance in itself as 
its infinite (self-related) activity, which determines its immediateness 
as negativity, and its negativity as immediateness (its self-distinction 
being its identity, and its self-identity being through its negative rela- 
tion to itself), and, therefore, in this activity is the manifestation of 
itself in itself. Essence in this its self-activity is reflection. 



Appearance is the same as reflection ; or rather it is the immediate 
phase of reflection. We use the word reflection, borrowed from the 
Latin language for the category of appearance turned back into 
plself, and thei-ewith estranged from its immediateness (a foreign word 
to express the category of self-estrangement, as the author suggests). 
Essence is reflection, the movement of becoming and transition which 
remains in itself ; in which the different (the other) is defined as 

Reflection. 13 

appearance, as what is simply negative in itself (i. e., not as an inde- 
pendent other). In the becoming of being, the determinateness 
of being lies at the basis, and becoming is a relation to another. The 
movement of reflection, on the contrary, involves otherness only as 
negation in itself, which has being only as a phase, the self -relation 
of negation. Or, since this relation to itself is this negating of nega- 
tion, the negation as negation is present as something which has its 
being in its being-negated (. e., appearance). Otherness is, there- 
fore, in this place, not being with negation or limit, but negation with 
negation (the form of self-relation involves negation of negation, for 
relation is negation). The first which corresponds to this other, the 
immediate somewhat, or being, opposed to it, is only this identity of 
negation with itself, the negated negation, the absolute negativity. 
This identity with itself, or immediateness, is, therefore, not a first, a 
somewhat from which a beginning was made, and from which a 
transition into its negation was effected (as was the case in the cate- 
gories of "somewhat" and "other" in the logic of being); nor is 
it an existent substrate which underlies the activity of reflection, but 
the immediateness is only this activity itself (t. e., as before explained, 
the immediateness is a result of self -relation, sustained only through 
the persistence of the activity of self-negation, it is a phase, and the 
same phase as identity. 

Becoming, in the sphere of essence, that is, its reflecting movement, 
is therefore, the movement from nothing to nothing, and through this 
a return into itself ('. e., negation of negation is self-return). Tran- 
sition, or becoming, annuls itself in its transition (?". e. ,^t sets out 
from itself but comes to itself, the from and the to, essential to 
becoming, are identical in the sphere of essence, hence transition and 
becoming are said to be annulled) ; the " other" to which a transi- 
tion is made, is not a non-being, as it was in the logic of being, but 
it is the nothing of a nothing (negation of negation), and this nega- 
tion of nothing is what constitutes its being. Being is only the 
movement from nothing to nothing in the sphere of essence, and 
essence does not have this movement in itself, but it is this movement 
as absolute appearance ; pure negativity, which has nothiug outside 
of it that negated it, but which negates only its negative self, and 
exists only in this activity of negation. 

This pure absolute reflection which is the movement from nothiug 
to nothing develops the following phases : 

It is, first, positing reflection. 

Secondly, it begins from a pre-supposed immediate and is, there- 
fore, external reflection. 

14 Essence.. 

Thirdly, it cancels this presupposition, and since it presupposes in 
the very act of annulling presupposition, it is determining reflection. 

(The foregoing paragraphs, commencing with " C," are in the nature 
of a general introduction to the subject of " Reflection," treating of 
its entire scope. The detailed treatment of this subject follows in 
the subdivisions, 1, 2, and 3, below. The first of which subdivisions 
begins properly with the results reached at the close of the discussion 
of Appearance, in Section B. ) 

1. Positing Reflection. 

Appearance is the nugatory (negative), or devoid of essence, (i. 
e., it has no persistence); but the nugatory, or devoid of essence, 
does not have its being in another in which it appears, but its being 
is its own identny with itself ; this exchange or relation ( Wechsel) 
of the negative with itself is defined as the absolute reflection of 

This self-relating negativity is, therefore, the negating of itself. It 
is, consequently, annulled negativity, so far as it is negativitjr at all. 
In other words it is the negative and the simply identity with itself, 
or immediateness. This, therefore, is involved in it, to be itself and 
not itself in one unity. 

In the first place, reflection has been defined as the movement 
from nothing to nothing, and hence, as negation returning to itself. 
This act of returning to itself is nothing but simple identity with 
itself, immediateness. But this return is not transition of negation into 
identity as though into another phase but reflection is transition, 
as cancelling of transition ; for it is immediate return of negation to 
itself. The first phase of this return to itself is identity with itself y 
or immediateness ; but, secondly, this immediateness is the identity 
resulting from the negation of itself, consequently the negation of 
identity ; immediateness, therefore, which is in itself negative and is 
the negative of itself it is what it is not. 

The relation of the negative to itself is, therefore, its return into 
itself; it is immediateness, as the cancelling of the negative; but it 
is immediateness onlv as this relation, or as a return out of a neo-a- 
tive, consequently a self-cancelling immediateness (an immediate- 
ness which is a result, is a contradiction). This is posited-being 
(an immediateness Avhich is a result) immediateness only as deter- 
minateness, or as self-reflecting (result of self-relation). This 
immediateness, which exists onhy as a return of the negative into 
itself, is that immediateness which has already been discussed as 
that which constitutes the determinateness of appearance, and that 

Positing Reflection. 15 

from which the movement of reflection seemed to begin (it would 
seem by all means necessary that an activity should act upon some- 
thing imply something, i. e. , an immediate, but in the realm of 
self-determination, of essence, of true being, we find that immedi- 
ateness is only a phase, or result of the activity of self-relation, and 
not its substrate. Reflection is, therefore, the activity which, while 
it is the return, comes to be what it is, first, in the activity which 
begins or which returns (the beginning and the returning create the 
form whence the movement started!). 

It (reflection) is positing in so far as it is immediateness as a re- 
turn. There is, in fact, nothing else extant but the activity of reflec- 
tion ; neither a somewhat from which it returned, nor to which it re- 
turned ; it is, therefore, nothing but return and thus the negative of 
itself, but besides this the immediateness is annulled negation, and 
cancelled return into itself. Reflection, as the annulment of the nega- 
tive, is the annulment of its other, namely, of the immediateness. In 
the fact, therefore, that it is the immediateness as a return, a relating 
of the negative to itself, it is negation of the negative as negative. 
Consequently, it is the activity of presupposition. (Implying some- 
thing already existent as its own condition ; this act of presupposition, 
here as'a phase of self-relation is the second aspect of that activity ; 
while the positing is the first aspect of self-relation, namely, that in 
which the phase of identity, or immediateness, is seen as the result of 
the activity, on the other hand, the negativity of the relation produces 
self-opposition difference ; this dualism, or antithesis, resulting from 
the negative aspect, is a presupposing activity, because its thought 
necessarily involves or implies a first phase against which the opposi- 
tion is directed. The positing activity results in identity, in unity, 
in immediateness, in the annulment of all before and after the utter 
collapse of all determination. The prepositing activity results in 
setting up an antithesis, a dualism, something dependent, something 
opposed to something else, a sharp distinction, or difference. In a 
word, contrast presupposes something immediate or self-identical, as 
the basis of distinction, and this activity of negation, acting upon 
itself, is just as effective in producing contrast as in producing iden- 
tity). In other words, immediateness is as return only the negative 
of itself, the annulment of immediateness ; but reflection, in its ac- 
tivity, annuls the negative of itself, it comes into self-relation (Nl B. 
the negative of reflection is immediateness) ; it therefore, cancels its 
positing, and since it is the annulment of positing, in the very activity 
of positing, it is presupposition '(prepositing). In the activity of 

16 Essence. 

presupposition, reflection turns the return into itself into the negative 
of itself, into that whose annulment is essence (N. B. the pre-sup- 
posing activity also involves the annulment of reflection, and the an- 
nulment of reflection is the annulment of the activity of the process' 
called essence ; and the annulment of presupposition is essence. It 
(this activity) is directed towards itself, but to itself as its negative, 
only in this aspect is it abiding, persistent, negativity relating to 
itself. Immediateness comes from no other source than return, and 
is that negative somewhat which is the beginning or substrate of ap- 
pearance, which is negated through the return. The return of es- 
sence is, consequently, its repulsion from itself. In other words, re- 
flection into itself is essentially the presupposition of that from which 
it is the return.") 

It is the annulment of its identity with itself which constitutes the 
identity of essence with itself. It presupposes itself, and the annul- 
ment of this presupposition is itself ; conversely, this annulment of 
its presupposition, is the presupposition itself. Reflection, therefore, 
finds an immediate already given, beyoud which it proceeds, and 
from which it is the return. But this return is itself the very pre- 
supposition of the immediate which it found given. This presup- 
posed immediate comes to be only through the fact that it is 
abandoned ; its immediateness is the cancelled immediateness. The 
cancelled immediateness, conversely, is the return into itself, the 
arrival of essence at itself, the simple, self-identical being. This 
arrival at itself, consequently, is the annulment of itself, and the 
reflection which repels it from itself and presupposes it ; and, on the 
other hand, its repulsion from itself is the arrival at itself. 

The reflecting movement is, consequentby, as here considered, to 
be taken as the absolute counter-impulse in itself (a pure, self- 
repulsion, always in opposition to itself, its identity being the product 
of an activity which proceeds beyond itself into difference, and yet in 
this difference, or duality, finds again its identity, as shown in the 
text with some prolixity). For the presupposition of the return 
into itself, that from whence the essence proceeds and becomes 
essence through this act of return, is only in the return. The act of 
transcending the immediate, with which reflection begins, is rather 
itself a result of this transcending ; and the transcending of the 
immediate is the arrival at the same. The movement turns itself 
round (inverts itself) as a forward progress, and is thereby self- 
movement (self-activity). Activity which proceeds from itself, in so 
far as the positing reflection, is the prepositing (presupposing), and, 

External Reflection. 17 

likewise, the prepositing reflection is precisely identical with the 
positing reflection. 

Reflection is, therefore, itself and, at the same time, its non-being; 
and is only itself, while it is the negative of it, for only thus is the 
annulment of the negative at the same time the return to itself. 

The immediateness which it presupposes as self-cancelling, is noth- 
ing else than the posited-being, the in-itself- annulled, which is not 
different from the return into itself, and, in fact, is just this return. 
But it is, at the same time, determined as negative, as immediately in 
opposition, and hence producing an antithesis of one and other within 
itself (self-opposition). Therefore, reflection is determined; it is 
in-as-much as, according to this determinateness, it has a presupposi- 
tion, and begins with an immediate opposed to it, as its other (found 
already extant) external reflection. 

(The above exposition has developed for us the insight into the 
ambiguity of reflection ; all relation, when traced out, being found to 
be self-relation. Relation is transcendence, duality, a from and a to, 
negation; self-relation, while it bends back the procedure outward 
to another, and directs it upon itself, differentiates itself, produces 
duality. Self-determination involves determiner and determined, 
active and passive, and, hence, difference from itself, within itself; 
the negation of itself cancels all otherness, and is pure identity ; 
and yet it determines itself in the form of self-opposition, and is 
pure difference. The second of these phases, that of self- opposi- 
tion, or difference, is that of external reflection, now to be consid- 
ered. ) 

2. External Reflection. 

Reflection, as absolute reflection, is the activity of essence in the 
phase of self-appearance, and presupposes only appearance, posited- 
being ; it is as presupposing immediately the same as positing reflec- 
tion. But the external, or real reflection, presupposes itself as 
annulled, as the negative of itself (reflection, it will be remembered, 
as self-return, produces identity, immediateness, as a result ; this is 
positing reflection ; the presupposing reflection implies identity, or 
immediateness, as a pre-existing condition ; thus it is said to pre- 
suppose the positing reflection as annulled). It is in this aspect du- 
plicated : in the first place, as presupposed, or reflection into itself, 
which is the immediate. Secondly, it is reflection, as relating nega- 
tively to itself, and thus to itself as its own non-being. (Thus what 
*s really one activity with two aspects, may be seen as two entirely 

18 Essence. 

different activities, independent of each other, and, in fact, the one- 
succeeding the other in time. This is the maya, or illusion of exter- 
nal reflection.) 

External reflection, therefore, presupposes a being, and this, too, 
not in the sense that its immediateness is a mere posited-being, or 
moment (as it really is, in the positing reflection), but rather, in the 
sense that this immediateness is the relation to itself (i. e., independ- 
ent not a result of some antecedent activity), and the determinate- 
ness (produced by this presupposing activity, which is a negative,, 
determining activity, directed against the immediateness, or identity, 
produced by the positing reflection), is looked upon only as moment 
(i. e., as a modification of an already existent being). It (L e., ex- 
ternal reflection) relates to its presupposition (*'. e., the result of the- 
positing-reflection, viz: immediateness, identity), as though the lat- 
ter were the negative of reflection (/. e., an immediate which needs no- 
antecedent reflecting activity to posit it), and yet this negative were 
cancelled as negative (i. e., utterly indifferent to antecedent positing). 
(Again, in other words) Reflection in its positing, annuls immediately 
its positing, and hence has an immediate presupposition. It, there- 
fore, finds the same already existent before it, as something with 
which it begins, and from which it commences the return into itself 
the negating of this, its negative. But, the fact, that this presupposed 
is a negative, or posited, is not suspected by it. This determinate- 
ness (i. e., "negative, or posited,") belongs only to the positing 
reflection, but in the prepositing reflection it is cancelled (t. e., the 
immediateness is not a posited, not a result). What the external re- 
flection determines and posits on the immediate are, therefore, only 
external determinations (?'. e., external to the immediate, which is the 
result of the positing reflection). An example of this is the category 
of the infinite, as it is found in the logic of being; the finite is taken 
as a real somewhat, already existent before the infinite, and from 
which one begins as a basis for the infinite, to which he proceeds ; 
and the infinite, in this connection, is a reflection into itself, standing 
in opposition to it (. e., the finite as the limited and particular, ought 
to be regarded as the dependent, as a phase merely, while the infinite 
should be the independent, the totality, including the finite as its 
phase. But the imperfect insight which thinks with the categories of 
being, looks npon the finite as one independent sphere, and the infi- 
nite as another, opposed to it. As here pointed out, the only distinc- 
tion between them is that, in the finite the reflection into itself is 
annulled, while in the infinite, it is conceived as active. The imme- 

External Reflection, 19 

diateness which results from the positing reflection, is regarded by 
external reflection as sundered from the positing activity, and as inde- 
pendent this is the finite; the reflection, of self-relation, which 
results in pure identity, is the activity likewise sundered, by external 
reflection, and regarded as the infinite). 

External reflection is the syllogism containing the two extremes, 
the immediate and the reflection into itself; the middle term is the 
relation of the two, the determined immediate conceived in such a 
manner, that the one part of it, viz., the immediateness, belongs ex- 
clusively to one extreme, and the other part, viz., the determinateness, 
or negation, belongs exclusively to the other extreme (i. e., our ex- 
ternal reflection unites the two extremes in a middle term, but it an- 
nuls its own work in the fact that it regards this unity still as a sub- 
jective product, and discriminates the two elements, still as belonging 
to the two extremes, and as not united so as to lose their identity in 
a third. We can still distinguish in a plum-pudding the various in- 
gredients, not become identical, although united). 

If we consider the doings of external reflection more critically, we 
shall find it a positing of the immediate, which, in so far, becomes the 
negative, or the determined ; but it is immediately also the annulment 
of this its positing, for it presupposes the immediate ; it is, therefore, 
a negative activity which negates its own negation (in this critical 
consideration, we discover why external reflection does not suspect 
the identity of immediateness and reflection into itself, but holds them 
asunder as two independent somewhats; it is itself the positing ac- 
tivity, or reflection into itself, and through this it is led to regard the 
positing activity as entirely subjective). It is immediately a positing 
activity, a cancelling of the immediate which is negative to it, and 
this immediate with which it supposed itself to begin as a foreign (i. 
e., independent, already existent) somewhat, comes to be in this ac- 
tivity of beginning. The immediate is thus not only in itself identi- 
cal with reflection and this would mean for us, subjectively or in ex- 
ternal reflection but this identity of the immediate and reflection is. 
posited (established through an objective process). It is, namely,. 
determined through reflection, as its negative, or its other, but it is 
its own activity that negates this very determining. And thus, the ex- 
ternality of reflection to the immediate is annulled ; its self-negating 
positing, unites it with its negative, with the immediate, and this unit- 
ing is the essential immediateness itself. It is, therefore, proved that 
the external reflection is not external, but the immanent reflection of 
immediateness itself ; or, in other words, that that which is through 


20 Essence. 

the positing reflection is the in-and-for-itself existing essence (. e., 
the total process of essence). Hence it is determining reflection. 

(The demonstration of the nature of external reflection in the above 
paragraphs, and as supplemented in the next section " determining 
reflection" forms one of the most wonderful movements of Hegel's 
philosophy. In it he transcends all mere subjective idealism and all 
phases of philosophical nescience. The gist of the demonstration is 
to be found first in his subtle analysis of reflection ; having shown in 
a former book, that all beings, or categories of being, are valid only 
in their relation to each other, and that relation is the truth of being, 
and thus that being is seeming in other words, that particular 
beings are phases of a total, including process it follows that all 
relation is self- relation when traced oat. Self -relation is reflection 
and self-negation. Having discovered this he finds by analysis the 
two aspects in it; a positing aspect resulting in identity and immedi- 
ateness, the prepositing aspect resulting in self-opposition and differ- 
ence. The stage of external reflection takes on itself one of these 
aspects as subjective, and through this the connecting link between 
immediateness and reflection becomes invisible. To see this as maya, 
or illusion, is to have an insight into the dialectic of pure thought.) 


Reflection is taken in a subjective sense, by current usage, as the 
activity. of the faculty of judgment, which transcends a given imme- 
diate representation, and seeks to find general predicates for the 
same, or to compare it with them. Kant contrasts the reflecting 
judgment with the determining judgment. He defines judgment as 
the general faculty which thinks the particular, as contained under 
the universal. If the universalis given as rule, principle, law 
the judgment, which subsumes the particular under it, is determin- 
ing. But, if only the particular is given, for which the universal is 
to be found, the judgment is merely reflecting. Reflection is, conse- 
quently, in the latter instance, the transcending of an immediate, 
and the attaining of a universal. The immediate is parti}'- defined 
as particular, and through this defined as relation of the same to its 
universal; for and by itself, it is only an individual, or something 
immediately existent. And, on the other hand, that to which it is 
related is its universal, its rule, principle, or law ; in any case, it 
is something reflected into itself, relating to itself essence, or 
the essential. (A rule, principle, or law, is said to be reflected into 
itself, because, in its application to a multiplicity of cases, it finds 

Remark. 21 

only confirmation ; that which is peculiar, and belongs only to one 
individual, in contrast with another, relates by that contrast to a 
beyond, to another ; but, if the characteristic applies not only to the 
one, but to its other, and to another, and to all others, it is said to be 
reflected into itself, for it is affirmed, and continued by its others, 
by its limit). 

But, in this place, we are not treating of the reflection of con- 
sciousness (consciousness, in general, has the form of reflection 
it is self-relation, self-knowing) ; nor is it the narrower sphere of 
the reflection of the understanding which deals with the categories 
of particularity and universalit}-. Here we are speaking of reflection 
in general (objective, as well as subjective). That reflection to which 
Kant ascribes the function of finding a universal for a given particu- 
lar, is, evidently, only "external " reflection, which relates to the 
immediate, as something given. But the idea of absolute reflection 
is contained in it implicitly ; for the universal the principle, rule, or 
law which it attains in its determining, is regarded as the essence of 
that immediate with which it began, and, consequently, the imme- 
diate is l'egarded as a nugatory ; and the return from the immediate, 
the determining of reflection, is regarded as the positing of the imme- 
diate, in its true being (even external reflection, in finding the 
essence of an immediate, supposes itself to find the true nature of 
it); therefore, that which reflection predicates of the immediate 
the determinations which it finds in it is not looked upon as some- 
thing external to that immediate, but as its real being. 

External reflection, and in fact reflection in general, had the for- 
tune for a long time to fall under the ban of modern philosoplry; it- 
was the fashion to attribute everything evil to it and to its activity, 
and it was regarded as the antipode and hereditary enemy of the 
" absolute " mode of viewing things. In fact the thinking reflection, 
in so far as it conducts itself externally, sets out from a given some- 
what an immediate, foreign to it and regards its own activity as 
a merely formal affair, which receives its content and matter from 
without, and is for its own part only an activit}' conditioned through 
it. Moreover, as we shall learn in the consideration of the determin- 
ing reflection, reflected determinations are of another kind than the 
merely, immediate determinations of being. The latter are conceded 
to be transitory, merely relative determinations, standing each in rela- 
tion to another ; but the reflected determinations have the form of 
the being in and for itself (i. e., they are independent, because self- 
related) ; they make themselves valid, therefore, as essential, and, 

22 Essence , 

instead of effecting a transition into their opposites, they manifest 
themselves rather as absolute, free and indifferent towards each other. 
They refuse, therefore, stubbornly, to move ; their being is their 
identity with themselves, in their determinateness, in which they are 
held asunder, although the} r reciprocally presuppose each other. 

(Hegel's "remarks" sometimes are explanatory of the strictly 
scientific, or dialectic portions of the text, but more frequently the} 7 
furnish digressions pertaining to matters which have a merely his- 
torical interest.) 

3. Determining Reflection. 

The determining reflection is the unity of the positing and the 
external reflection. This is to be considered more in detail: 

(1). External reflection commences with immediate being; posit- 
ing reflection commences with nothing. External reflection, which 
becomes determining reflection, posits another, viz., the essence, in 
the place of the cancelled being ; but the positing reflection does not 
posit its determination in the place of another it has no presuppo- 
sition. But on this account it is not the completed determining reflec- 
tion ; the determination which it posits, is, therefore, a merely 
posited (i. e., dependent); it is immediate, not, however, as self - 
identical, but as self-negating; it has absolute reference to the return 
into itself, and has existence only in. reflection, although it is not this 
reflection itself. 

That which is posited, is, therefore, another, but in such a manner 
that the identity of reflection with itself is entirely preserved; for 
that which is posited is only annulled relation to the return into 
itself. 1 

If some one says of anything that "it is only a posited-being," 
we may understand this expression in two meanings ; it is this, as 

1 In the sphere of being the category of particular being (Daseyn) was a being 
-which bad negation attached to it, and being was the immediate basis and element 
of this negation, which, therefore, was itself immediate. To particular being 
{Daseyn) corresponds posited-being in the sphere of essence; it too is a particular 
being (Daseyn), but its basis is being as essence, or as pure negativity (pure=self- 
related); it is a determinateness, or negation, not regarded as existent, but as 
directly annulled. Particular being is nothing but posited-being; this is the pro- 
position (principle or maxim) of essence in regard to particular being (in arriving 
at the idea of essence it had been found that particular being was a vanishing 
phase, something posited through a process of essence). Posited-being, therefore, 
stands, in one respect, opposed to particular being, and, in another respect, opposed 
to essence, and is to be looked upon as the middle term which connects particular 
being with essence, and, conversely, essence with particular being. 

Determining Reflection. 23 

opposed to particular being, or, as opposed to essence. In the for- 
mer meaning, particular being is taken as something higher than the 
posited-being, and the latter is ascribed to external reflection as some- 
thing subjective. In fact, however, the posited-being is itself the 
higher of the two; for as posited-being, particular being is taken for 
what it really is in itself as a negative, as something which exists 
only as a relation to the return into itself. Hence, the expression, 
-"it is only a posited-being," should be used in contrast to essence 
i. e., as the negation of the being-returned-into-itself. 

(2). Posited-being does not contain the full thought expressed by 
*' determination of reflection " ; it is determinateness merely as nega- 
tion in general (posited-being expresses mere dependence, that which 
is, but, as being dependent, its being is in and through another ; hence, 
it is annulled. The determinations of reflection are not mere phases 
of reflection like posited-being, but aspects of the totality of reflec- 
tion, as will be seen below). But positing has been found in unity 
with external reflection ; the latter is in this unity absolute presuppo- 
sition, i. e., the repulsion of reflection from itself, or the positing 
of determinateness as the presupposition itself. Posited-being is, 
therefore, as such, negation, but as presupposed, it is reflected into 
itself. In this sense, posited-being is "determination of reflection" 
(as above remarked, posited-being taken in the two aspects of 

Determination (Bestimmung) of reflection is to be discriminated 
from determinateness (Bestimmtlieit) of being, i. e., from quality; 
quality is immediate relation to another, in general ; posited-being, also, 
is relation to another, but to being, as reflected into itself. Negation, 
as quality, is negation as existent ; being constitutes its ground, and 
element. Determination of reflection, on the contrary, has, as its 
basis, being reflected into itself. (Categories of being have validity 
directly in themselves, i. e., independently; or, rather, the)- have 
not this validity, but are thought to have it, by the stage of thinking 
which gives validity to such categories ; but, in essence, every cate- 
gory, or determination, is a result of a self-related process, called 
by Hegel, "reflection into itself"; thus, its determinations are 
posited-being posited by the activity of self-negation; e. g., 
identity is the self- relation of negation; so, also, is difference.) 
Posited-being fixes itself in the aspect of determination, precisely 
for this reason, that reflection is identity with itself in its self-nega- 
tion ; its being negated is, therefore, its very reflection into itself. 
The determination is effected, not through being, but through 

24 Essence. 

identity with itself. Because being, which is the substrate of quality r 
is non-identical with negation, it follows that quality is non-identical 
with itself, and, therefore, transitory, a vanishing phase. (Quality- 
is regarded as consisting of two elements, being and negation, two 
non-identical somewhats, which do not produce a stable result; the 
negation appears in quality as its dependence, the occasion of its 
dissolution; but the determination of reflection is produced through 
self-relation, and its elements, therefore, have no subsistence out- 
side of it it is their subsistence; it is, thus, unlike the determin- 
ateness of being, whose elements have subsistence apart from it.) 
On the contrary, the determination of reflection is posited being, as 
negation negation, which has lying at its basis annulled being, 
and, therefore, is not non-identical with itself, but is essential, and 
not a transitory determinateness. The self-identity of reflection, 
which has the negative, merely as negative, as cancelled or posited, 
is what gives persistence to the same (the negative, as negative, i. e., 
not as another being). 

On account of this reflection into itself, the determinations of 
reflection appear as free essentialities hovering in the empty void, 
without attraction, or repulsion, towards each other; in them, deter- 
minateness has, through relation to itself, been established, and 
infinitely fixed (a firm basis for imperishable individuality is found 
in self-relation, while individuality is impossible in the form of 
being or simple quality) ; it is determination which has subordinated 
its transition and its mere posited-being, or has bent back its reflec- 
tion into another into reflection into itself. These determinations- 
constitute, therefore, the particular appearance, which is the "mani- 
festation " of essence essential appearance. For this reason, deter- 
mining reflection is reflection which has emerged from itself; the 
identity of essence with itself is lost in the negation, which is domi- 

Therefore, in the determination of reflection there are two sides,, 
which are to be distinguished. First, that of posited-being, negation, 
as such ; secondly, reflection into itself. According to the posited- 
being, negation is taken as negation ; this is consequently its unity 
with itself, but it is this at first only potentially (an sich) ; or it is the 
immediate as self-annulling, as the other of itself. Reflection into 
itself is, therefore, an abiding activity of determination ; essence does 
not transcend itself in that activity, its distinctions are merely pos- 
ited taken bnck into essence, but, according to the other phase, 
they are not posited, but reflected into themselves ; negation as nega- 

Essentialities or Determinations of Reflection. 25 

tion is reflected into identity with itself, and not into its other 
not into its non-being. 

(3.) Since now the determination of reflection is both reflected re- 
lation into itself, as well as posited-being, its nature becomes through 
this fact immediately evident to us. As posited-being, namely, it is 
negation as such, a non-being opposed to another, namely, opposed 
to the absolute reflection into itself, or to essence. But as relation 
to itself it is reflected into itself. This, its reflection, and that, its 
posited-being, are different ; its posited-being is rather its being-an- 
nulled ; its being reflected into itself is, however, its persistence. 
In so far as it is the posited-being, which is at the same time reflection 
into itself, the determinateness of reflection is the relation to its alter- 
um (other-being) within itself. It is not as an existent quiescent de- 
terminateness, which would be related to another in such a manner, 
that the related and its relation are different from each other, the 
former a being in itself, a somewhat, which excludes its other, and its 
relation to this other from itself. But the determination of reflec- 
tion, is, in itself, the definite particular side and the relation to this 
definite particular side as definite, i. e., to its negation. Quality 
through its relation makes a transition into another, its change begins 
in its relation. The determination of reflection, on the contrary, has 
taken up its other-being into itself. It is posited-being, negation 
which, however, bends back the relation to another into itself, and 
negation which, as self-identical, is the unity of itself and its other, 
and through this fact alone, essentiality. It is, therefore, posited- 
being, negation, but as reflection into itself, it is at the same time, 
the annulle.i-being of this posited-being, infinite relation to itself. 

(In this first chapter of Essence, Hegel has exhibited the nature of 
reflection, relation, negation as totality ; as self-relation, or totality, 
it has the two phases of identity and difference, of dependence within 
independence i. e., of posited-being, within 'reflection into itself; 
while in the sphere of being, no determinations were found that were 
persistent, abiding, here in Essence we find abiding determinations 
which are such through their self-relation). 

Second Chapter. 

Essentialities or Determinations of Reflection. 

Reflection is determined reflection, consequently essence is de- 
termined, or essentiality (by the expression "determined" is meant 
particularized, since essence is reflection, according to the results of 
the first chapter, it follows that essence is particularized, i. e., its 

26 Essence. 

negative activity determines it, produces self-opposition, gives rise 
to its differences. " Essentiality " ( Wesenheit ) means the state of 
being essential ; it refers to the abstract phase, or general aspect of 
the process to which the term essence is here applied.) 

Reflection is the appearing (Scheinen) of essence in itself. Es- 
sence, as infinite return into itself, is not immediate simplicity, but 
negative simplicity. It is a movement containing different phases 
(durch unlerschiudene Momenle), constituting absolute mediation with 
itself ("absolute mediation," because it is utterly a product of its 
own activity). 

These, its phases, are its manifestation (and since it is reflection), 
therefore, these phases are determinations, which are reflected into 
themselves. (N. B. If they were not reflected determinations they 
would not resemble essence would not manifest it.) 

First. Essence is simple relation to itself pure identity. This 
determination is rather the lack of determinations (pure identity is 
the void of determinations). 

Secondly. The determination properly so-called is distinction. 
Distinction, as external or indifferent to the nature of the somewhats 
distinguised, is called difference ( Verschiedenheit = variety, differ- 
ence between things not essentially related to each other, e. g., a book 
and a lamp-post). But, as essential difference, it is the difference 
of contraries, antithesis the difference of opposition (Gegensatz = 
antithesis a difference or distinction in which the phases distin- 
guished are dependent upon each other e. g., sweet and sour, posi- 
tive and negative, same and different). 

Thirdly. Distinction, as it exists in the form of contradiction 
( WidersprucJi'), reflects (bends back) the antithesis into itself (self- 
difference, self-negation, self-distinction, self-opposition, are forms 
of contradiction, i. e., reflected distinctions). With the category of 
contradiction, distinction passes into that of ground or reason (/. e. y 
self-distinction implies, or presupposes, ground or reason). 


Determinations of reflection are usually given in the form of 
propositions, in which they are predicated as valid of all things. 
These propositions are set up as general laws of thought, which lay 
at the basis of all thinking, which are absolute and indemonstra- 
ble, but which, at the same time, are assumed and acknowledged as 
true by every thinking being who can seize their meaning, and this 
directby and without contradiction. 

Thus the essential determination of identity is expressed in the 

Remark. 27 

proposition : Everything is identical with itself : A = A. Or, ex- 
pressed negatively : A cannot be at the same time A and not-A. 

In the first place, it is not easy to see why these simple determina- 
tions of reflection should be the only ones apprehended in this par- 
ticular form. Why, for instance, should not other categories, say the 
determinatenesses of the sphere of being, take the form of propo- 
sitions (and be laws of thought). There would be, for example, 
such propositions as, everthing is, everything has particular being, 
etc. ; or, everything has quality, quantity, etc. For being, particu- 
larity (Daseyii), etc., are as logical determinations predicates of every- 
thing whatsoever. A " category " is, according to its etymology 
and the definition of Aristotle, that which is predicated of existences. 
But a determinateness of being is essentially a transition into its op- 
posite. The negative of each and every determinateness is as neces- 
sary as itself. As immediate determinatenesses, each one stands in 
opposition to some other. If these categories (i. e., of being), 
therefore, are put in the form of propositions, their corresponding 
antithetic propositions are suggested ; both offer the same degree of 
necessity, and have equal validity as immediate assertions. On this 
account each assertion requires proof as against the other, and hence 
they do not possess the character of immediately or indisputably 
true propositions of thought. 

Determinations of reflection, on the contrary, do not possess a 
qualitative nature (like the categories of being). They are self- 
relating, and on this account their relation to others has been 
removed (i. e., they are self-relating, and, therefore, independent). 
Moreover, since their determinatenesses are self-relations, they 
contain in this fact the form of propositions already. For a 
proposition is to be distinguished from a judgment chiefly through 
this fact, that in the proposition, the content is the relation itself, 
i. e., it is a particularized relation. But a judgment places all of its 
content in the predicate as a general determinateness, which is to 
be distinguished from its relation the simple copula and as pos- 
sessing independence (/r sich). If a proposition is to be changed 
into a judgment, its particular content e. g., if it lies in a verb, 
must be changed into a participle, in order, b} - this means, to sepa- 
rate the determination itself from its relation to a subject. The 
determinations of reflection, as before remarked, take the form of 
the proposition quite naturally, inasmuch as they are posited-being 
reflected into itself (dependence related to itself). Since they are 
expressed as general laws of thought, they require a subject of their 

28 Essence. 

relation, and this is "All," or "A" denoting each and every 

In one respect this form of the proposition is superfluous, for 
determinations of reflection are to be regarded by themselves (and 
not as pertaining to a subject). Moreover, these propositions are 
incorrect in having being (everything, something} as their subjects. 
With this they recall the stand-point of being, and therewith they 
express determinations of reflection, such as identity, etc., in the 
form of mere quality (as though identity were an immediateness). 
B} r such predication in which the subject is posited in a quality' as 
existing in it, the determinations of reflection lose their speculative 
meaning, so that identity, for example, is not predicated as the truth 
and essence into which the subject has passed over. ("Specula- 
tive " applies to the comprehension of things as wholes, or totalities. 
Thus, identity applies to categories of being, viewed in their entire 
process of change, or their transition from one to another, and their 
return from each other). 

Finally, however, determinations of reflection have the form of 
self-identity, and are without relation to each other, and without anti- 
thesis ; and yet, as we shall see upon consideration more in detail, 
or, as will become clear in the discussion of identity, difference, and 
antithesis, the}^ do assume particular forms of opposition to each 
other, and through their form of reflection are not prevented from 
transition and contradiction. The several propositions which are set 
up as absolute laws of thought are, therefore, found, upon examina- 
tion, to be in opposition to each other; they contradict and mutually 
annul each other. If everything is identical with itself, then it is not 
different, not opposed (within itself), and has, therefore, no ground 
(it is evident that a ground or identity-in-difference can exist only 
for what is self-opposed). Or, if it is assumed that there are no two 
things identical, i. e., everything is different from everything else, 
it follows, that A is not identical with A, and that A is not in oppo- 
sition, etc. (i. e., without identity there is no ground for difference, 
and without difference there is no basis for the relation which consti- 
tutes identity). The assumption of universality ("each," "every," 
"all "), made by these propositions, leaves no room for the assump- 
tion of the other. The thoughtless consideration of these proposi- 
tions enumerates them, one after the other, as though they had no 
relation to each other ; it thinks rarely on their form of reflection 
(independence), and does not regard the other aspect their posi- 
ted-being (dependence), t. e., their determinateness, as such, 

Remark. 29 

which impels them into transition and into their negation. (The 
foregoing remark is an "external reflection," or digression, which 
has nothing to do with the logical treatment of the subject here. 
It may, of course, incidentally give one a valuable insight into the 
nature and form of the so-called laws of thought. What precedes 
the remark is the usual definition and division of the subject placed 
at the head of the chapter, and is not put forward as scientific 
demonstration. The demonstration proper begins in the following 
sections, in which are treated Identity, Difference, etc. It is also to 
be noted and this is of the greatest importance to the student of 
Hegel that the first part of the discussion of any and every cate- 
gory treats only its immediate phases ; hence, only its most shallow 
and superficial regards. After this succeed paragraphs treating the 
subject in its forms of antithesis, i. e., of relation, but not yet of 
self- relation. Here, accordingly, come in the antinomies and nega- 
tive, or skeptical, modes of viewing the subject. Finally, the third 
part of the discussion considers the subject in its self-relation, its 
totality, and this part contains the insight into what is universal and 
necessary. Since each subject, in its totality, involves every other 
subject in the universe, it follows that in the third part of each dis- 
cussion, one may find a solution identical with the solutions given 
in the third part of each and every other discussion throughout this 
logic. The chief difficulty met by the students of Hegel everywhere, 
and throughout the entire history of Hegelianism, has been the failure 
to distinguish these three stages in the discussion, and to discrim- 
inate their degrees of validity. One takes, for example, the first part 
as presenting a valid result ; he goes forward to the second part, tak- 
ing for granted that it harmonizes with what precedes. He soon dis- 
covers incongruities, and, as he proceeds, these become more striking 
and numerous. In the third part he loses all trace of logical con- 
nection and consistency. His natural conclusion is that the author 
has, by a high-handed disregard of logical rules, attempted to recon- 
cile these incongruities, leaving each position in its validity and in its 
hostile attitude towards the others. For a notable illustration of 
this procedure see Feuerbach's account of his studies in Hegel's 
Phenomenology. The various attitudes of consciousness towards the 
objects of the senses, as there depicted, are taken as entirely valid. 
Feuerbach attempts to explain them and reconcile them, and failing 
in this, condemns Hegel's dialectic. Not to continue this comment 
farther, it may be said that Hegel's logic is a series of refutations, 
commencing with the emptiest and shallowest category, and refuting 

30 Essence. 

it by finding that it presupposes another category opposed to it, and 
a third one including both. This series of refutations ends, neces- 
sarily, only when a category is discovered whose opposition is entirely 
within itself, and which, therefore, is its own totality. Although 
every category in this logic, except the last one the Idea as con- 
scious personality, is refuted, yet its refutation is accomplished 
through an insight into its totality a "speculative" insight, 
identical in kind with the insight into the category of the Idea. ) 


(1.) Essence is simple immediateness as cancelled immediateness. 
Its negativity is its being. It is self-identical in its absolute nega- 
tivity, and through this, the otherness and relation to another, have 
utterly vanished in its pure self-identity. Essence is, therefore, 
simple identity with itself. 

(This category of identity might be considered as the beginning of 
this second part of the Logic, and all of the previous portion treating 
of Appearance, Reflection, etc., might be omitted as an investigation 
belonging to the third part of this Logic. Hegel died just before 
revising this part of the work. From the extensive alterations and 
additions made to the first part, it may be supposed that many 
changes and additions would have been made in this part. In the 
Logic of the Encyclopaedia, the part treating of Essence is relatively 
much fuller than in this work, and it begins properly with the cate- 
gory of Identity). 

Identity with itself is the immediateness of reflection (the only 
immediateness that we shall find after transcending the categories of 
being). It is not that identity with itself which being, or naught, 
is, but the identity with itself which consists in the restoring of itself 
to unity ; not a restoration from something else, or by something 
else, but the pure restoration from, and by, and of, itself. This is 
essential identity. It is in so far not an abstract identity not an 
identity that has its origin in a relative, or partial negation a nega- 
tion which precedes and conditions identity, i. e., separates from it 
all distinctions, leaving them, however, still extant as they were. 
But being, and every determination of being (others and otherness), 
has been annulled, not relatively or partially, but wholly. This 
simple negativity of being in itself is identity. 

It (identity) is in so far still the same as essence. 

Remark. 31 


The thinking activity, which is on the plane of external reflection, 
and which knows no other kind of thinking than that on this plane, 
never attains the ability to comprehend identity as it has been above 
defined, or, which is the same thing, to comprehend essence. Such 
thinking has always before itself abstract identity and difference, and 
it holds the two thoughts side by side, and independent of each other. 
It supposes that the faculty of reason is nothing but a loom upon 
which the warp is placed " identity " and then the woof " dif- 
ference " is introduced and woven, thus making a texture com- 
posed of different threads (externally combined but still independ- 
ent i. e., not become one as in a chemical unity, or vital unity in 
which the identity or individuality of the elements is lost). And so 
it happens that external reflection analyzing its result may unravel it 
and draw out first "identity" and afterwards " difference," and 
place them side by side ; finding at one time the identity of objects 
and at another time their non-identity their identity when one ab- 
stracts their difference their non-identity when one abstracts their 
identity. One must forget all these assertions and hypotheses as to 
what reason does, since they are merely historical in their character 
("historical," i. e., descriptive i. e., without characterizing the 
logical necessity which connects the subject and its determina- 
tions). A consideration of everything that exists shows that it is in 
its very identity non-identical and contradictory, and, in its differ- 
ence, in its contradiction, it is self- identical ; it is within itself this 
movement of transition from one determination into another, and it 
is this because each determination is within itself its own opposite. 
The idea of identity its definition according to which it is sim- 
ple self-related negativity, is not a product of external reflection, but 
has arisen in the consideration of being (out of its dialectical inves- 
tigation). On the contrary, that identity which contains no differ- 
ence, and that difference which contains no identity, are products of 
external reflection and abstraction which hold asunder in an arbitrary 
manner these predicates, and attribute to them independence (ab- 
stract identity and difference are conceived by external reflection as 
possessing permanent exclusion toward each other, and, though they 
mingle in the formation of concrete things, they are still as distinct as 
the threads in cloth; but the speculative idea of identity and differ- 
ence makes them both to be phases of the same activity of self-ne- 
gation or self-relation an activity which produces identity in pro- 
ducing difference, and difference in producing identity). 

32 Essence. 

(2.) This identity is in the first place essence itself, and not a 
determination of it the entire movement of reflection, and not a 
part of that movement. As absolute negation, it is negation which 
immediately negates itself a non-being and difference which van- 
ishes in its beginning, or an act of distinguishing through which 
nothing is distinguished. The act of distinguishing is the positing of 
a non-being as the non-being of another. But the non-being of 
another is the cancelling of another, and consequently of the very 
act of distinguishing. The act of distinguishing is, therefore, nega- 
tivity relating to itself a non-being which is the non-being of itself; 
a non-being which has its own non-being not in something else, but 
in itself. It is, therefore, that which relates to itself reflected 
difference or pure, absolute difference (or " distinction "). 

In other words, identity is reflection into itself, and this is nothing 
but internal repulsion, and it is this repulsion as reflection into itself, 
a repulsion which immediately recoils upon itself. It is conse- 
quently identity as self-identical difference. Difference is, however, 
identical with itself onlj' in so far as it is not identity, but absolute 
non-identity. But non-identit\>' is "absolute" only in so far as it 
contains nothing derived from anything else, but is only itself, i. e. 
in so far as it is absolute identity with itself. 

Identity is, therefore, in itself (i. e., involves in its definition) 
absolute non-identity. But it is also the determination of identit}' 
(as a contrast to itself as the entire movement, it is the special form 
of identity). For as reflection into itself it posits itself as its own 
non-being ; it is the entire movement, but as reflection it posits itself 
in this movement as a single phase of itself, as posited-being 
(dependent being) from which it returns into itself (dependent 
being manifests that upon which it depends, and is the appearance 
of the same. In this it points towards the independent being, and 
is its reflection; i. e., the independent being reflects itself in what 
depends on it, or to use the words of the text, it is the return into 
itself from what depends on it, or is " posited " b}' it). Therefore, 
as a phase of its movement, it is first identity, as such, in the form 
of simple self-sameness, as opposed to absolute (<'. e., self-related) 


In this remark I will consider more in detail the question of iden- 
tity, as found in the principle of identity which is set up as the first 
law of thought. 

This principle in its positive expression, Ar=A, is, in the first 

Laws of Thought. 33 

place nothing else but the expression of empty tautology. It has, 
therefore, been truly said that this law of thought is without a con- 
tent, and adds nothing to our knowledge. Thus the empty identity 
to which those adhere who are accustomed to regard it as true, and 
<}uote it on all occasions this identity excludes all difference, and is 
different from difference. They do not see that in this they have 
already conceived identity as possessing difference ; for they say that 
identity is different from difference. Now, since this must be con- 
ceded to be the nature of identity, the conclusion must be that iden- 
tity does not possess difference externally but in its own nature 
(identity cannot exclude difference without possessing it as its very 
nature). Moreover, when they conceive it strictly as an unmoved 
identity (. e., devoid of activity), which is, therefore, the opposite of 
difference, they do not see that by this they conceive identity as a 
one-sided determinateness, which as such has no truth ("truth" 
means here actuality). It is conceded that the principle of identity 
expresses only a one-sided determinateness, that it contains only 
formal, abstract, imperfect truth. In this concession, which is cor- 
rect, is contained the admission that the truth is to be found only in 
the unity of identity and difference. When it is asserted that "iden- 
tity " (as here conceived) is imperfect, there hovers before the mind 
this totality (?'. e., of identity and difference), compared with which 
-"identity" is something incomplete. The totality is the complete. 
When, however, identity is separated from difference, and regarded 
as absolute being held as something essential, valid, and true in 
this state of isolation there is nothing to be seen in these contra- 
dictory assumptions but the inability of thought to bring together and 
reconcile the idea of abstract identity conceived as essential with the 
idea of its incompleteness, its want of totality, or wholeness. It is 
an inability of consciousness to grasp identity as a negative activity 
(i. e., self- relation of the negative), although in these very assertions 
identity is indirectly assumed to be such an activity ; in other words, 
since identity is expressly stated to be such only as separated from 
difference, or that its essence consists in this separation, we have 
its truth expressed directhy as consisting in separation, its essen- 
tial characteristic is separation, without separation it could not be ; 
therefore, this "identity" is nothing, considered for and by itself, 
but its existence lies wholty in this relation expressed in its separation 
from difference. 

As regards that confidence which was expressed in the principle of 
of identity as absolute truth, it was founded on experience, 

34 Essence. 

that is to say, the experience of every conscious being was appealed 
to, and the assertion made that in this proposition, A is A, or a tree 
is a tree, there is a direct concession and a complete conviction that 
the proposition is true and self-evident, and requires no proof what- 
ever. This appeal to experience, that every conscious being acknowl- 
edges the truth of the principle of identity, is merely a rhetorical 
statement. For no one will say that he has ever made the experi- 
ment of testing every conscious being in regard to the abstract prop- 
osition that Az=A. There is no serious attempt made at an appeal 
to real experience, but only an assurance that if such an appeal were 
made a universal assent would be the result. Bat, if the abstract- 
proposition, as such, is not meant, but rather a concrete application 
of it, from which the abstract proposition could be deduced, then it 
follows that the assertion of its universal validity for every conscious- 
being would amount to no more than this: that the principle of iden- 
tity lies at the basis, implicitly, of every act of predication by a con- 
scious being. But a concrete application is precisely the relation of 
simple identity to a multiplicity different from it. (Identity, as it 
appears in a concrete proposition, is in union with difference: i. e., 
every proposition expresses in the act of predication a relation of its- 
subject to some other subject, hence predication in its very nature 
asserts relation to others, and thus involves difference ; in this predi- 
cation the fact that the subject is posited as identical with the predi- 
cate signifies that the subject is dependent upon others. Dependence 
involves identity and difference. If a concrete proposition is reduced 
to the form of identity, or simple self-relation, the element of otherness 
is intentionally ignored, and the subject placed in the form of inde- 
pendence, or simple self-identity. It is evident in this that the reduc- 
tion of concrete propositions to identical ones does violence to their 
nature, what is dependent is stated as independent. "A is B," 
means that the totality of B involves A, or that A is dependent upon 
the totality of B ; this is the type of the concrete proposition. To 
change this to " A is A " is to omit entirely the totality of B, in so 
far as it transcends A; for the proposition, "A is B," means that A 
is in a totality consistingof A-f-X, which equals B. "The Earth is a 
planet," asserts the dependence of the Earth [upon a sun] ; the solar 
system is the totality, containing this relation of dependence within it. 
"The Earth is the Earth," although having the form of a proposition, 
and thus involving difference, really expresses only self-identity and 
independence. This, in the case of the Earth, is not its truth ; it is 
partial only.) Expressed in the form of a proposition, that which is 
concrete requires a synthetical proposition ; and the abstract propo- 

Laws of Thought. 35 

sition of identity may be derived, through analysis, from the con- 
crete itself, or from its synthetic proposition. But such derivation, 
through analysis or abstraction, does not leave experience as it found 
it, but changes it. For experience contains identity in unity with 
difference, and this fact refutes at once the assertion that abstract 
identity, as such, is something true (i. e., actually existing), for 
experience finds exactly the opposite to be true, it finds, viz., 
identit}' only in union with difference in every example. 

On the other hand, experience often enough learns the true charac- 
ter of this proposition of pure identity, and ascertains what truth it 
has. If, for example, to the question, " What is a plant?" the answer 
is given, "A plant is a plant," while the truth of such an 
answer would doubtless be conceded at once by the entire company 
present, yet there would be an equal unanimity on this point, viz. T 
that such a proposition had said nothing. If one opens his mouth 
for the purpose of announcing what God is, and says, "God is 
God," the expectation of the listener finds itself deceived, for it 
looked for a different predicate. If such a proposition is called 
" absolute truth," such predications of " absolute " will be held very 
cheap. Nothing is more tedious and unendurable than a conversa- 
tion which travels round and round the same point, or than such 
identity-predication which is offered as truth. 

Upon analyzing the conditions of this tediousness, we find that the 
beginning of the proposition, "the plant is," leads us to expect 
something else for a predicate. But when the subject recurs in the 
predicate, we find the opposite of what we had expected, and noth- 
ing is the result. Such identity-predication, therefore, contradicts 
its own form. Identity, instead of being the absolute truth, is there- 
fore the opposite of the truth. Instead of being the unmoved sim- 
ple, it has the form of transcending itself and resulting in self-dissolu- 
tion. (If it states a dependent being in the form of the proposition 
of identity, it attributes to it independence ; if it states independent 
being in the form of the proposition of identity, it puts it in the form 
of dependence, but does not exhibit its reflection into itself by pre- 
dicating of the subject its dependent phases ; such dependent phases 
reflect it into itself, and thus "manifest" the independence of the 

Therefore, in the form of the proposition in which identity is 
expressed there is involved something else than simple abstract. 
identity (i. e., the form of the proposition involves difference, anti- 
thesis, dependence). The form of the proposition involves the move- 
ment of reflection, in which movement otherness enters only as 

36 Essence. 

"appearance," i. e., as a vanishing. " A is " is a beginning, in 
which difference hovers before the mind as the end to be reached ; 
but in the identity-proposition we do not arrive at the different: "A 
is A ; " the difference is only a vanishing, the movement returns to 
itself. The form of the proposition may be looked upon as a latent 
necessity to add to the abstract identity something else through its 
movement. Therefore the predicate adds to the empty form of the 
subject, which has no meaning on account of its emptiness, an "A," 
or a "plant," or some substrate; and this addition of the predicate 
makes the difference to be seemingly an accidental increment. If 
identity itself is taken as the subject, instead of " A," or any other 
substrate "identity is identity" still it is conceded that, instead 
of this, any other substrate may be used. The significance of all this 
is that difference makes its appearance in the expression of identity ; 
or, in other words, as shown, this identity is negativity, which is ab- 
solute distinction from itself. 

The other expression of the principle of identity "A cannot be 
at the same time A and not-A " is its negative form; it is called 
the principle of contradiction. It is customary to regard this propo- 
sition as self-evident, and as requiring no explanation of its connec- 
tion with the principle of identity through the form of negation. But 
the form of the principle of contradiction arises necessarily from the 
fact that identity, as the pure movement of reflection, is the simple 
negativity ; and this negativity is expressed more explicitly in the 
principle of contradiction. There is "A," and "a not-A," the 
pure other of "A," expressed in this principle, but the difference 
vanishes as soon as it appears. Identity is, therefore, expressed in 
this principle as the negation of negation. "A" and "not-A" are 
distinguished, and these distinct somewhats are related to one and 
the same "A." Identity is, therefore, exhibited as this distinction 
of somewhats, which are in one unity, or as the simple distinction 
in itself (?". e., a distinction of itself from itself through its negative 
self-relation i. e., through the relation of its negative activity to 
itself; self-determination is self-negation, or negative self-relation). 

It is evident, from this, that the principle of identity, and still 
more the principle of contradiction, is not merely an analytic prin- 
ciple, but that it possesses a synthetic nature. For the principle of 
contradiction contains in its very expression not merely the empty, 
simple identity with itself, nor merely its opposite, but absolute 
non-identity, contradiction of itself. The principle of identity con- 
tains, as has been shown, the movement of reflection, identity as 
the vanishing of otherness. 

Distinction. 37 


What, therefore, this investigation establishes, is this: first, the 
principle of identity, or that of contradiction, held abstractly in 
order to express truth by separating identity from difference, is no 
law of thought, but rather the opposite of it ; secondly, that these 
principles contain more than is intended, viz., their opposite, which 
is absolute distinction itself. 


1. Absolute Distinction. 

Distinction ( Unterschied) is negativity as found in reflection. It is 
the "nothing" which is expressed in identity-predication ("the 
plant is a plant," etc.). The essential movement of identity itself 
is the negating of itself ; through this it determines itself, and dis- 
tingnishes itself from difference. 

(1.) This phase of distinction is absolute distinction (i. e., self- 
distinction), distinction as a phase of Essence. It is distinction in 
and for itself, not distinction through an external somewhat, but 
through its relation to itself, and, therefore, simple distinction (*'. e., 
"simple" in the sense of not-involved-with-others). It is essen- 
tial to apprehend absolute distinction as simple. In the absolute 
distinction of "A" and " not-A " from each other, it is the sim- 
ple "not" which constitutes this (absolute distinction). Distinction 
itself is a simple idea ; one expresses it thus: " two things are to be 
distinguished in this, that the}', etc." " In this," that is to say, in 
one and the same respect, in the same ground of determination. It 
is distinction as a phase of Reflection, not " otherness" as a category 
of Being. One particular being and another particular being are 
posited as excluding each other ; each one of the two has immediate 
being (*'. e., not through each other, or through an}" other. The 
category of dependence belongs to the phase of Essence, and not to 
the phase of Being). The " other" in the sphere of Essence is the 
"other" of itself, not the "other" as existing independent, outside 
of it; it (the " other " in Essence) is a simple determinateness in 
itself {an sich sometimes means "in itself," in the sense of " poten- 
tial," that which is contained in it implicitly, i. e., in an undeveloped 
form; at other times an sich means "in itself" in the sense of in- 
dependence, of not-being-involved-with-others, simple identity 
with itself). Likewise, in the sphere of Being, "otherness" and 
determinateness of this character proved to be simple determinate- 

38 Essence. 

ness, identity in opposition; but this identity (in the sphere of 
Being) was only transition from one determinateness into the other. 
Here, in the sphere of Reflection, distinction enters as reflected, 
as that which is posited to be what it is in itself (i. e., distinction is 
reflected when it is distinction not from another, but distinction from 
itself, and made by itself, as in human consciousness ; a distinction 
from another forms only a transition to that other, and shows up 
the limit or the non-being of the determinatenesses distinguished ; 
self-distinction, on the contrary, posits the true nature, the "in 
itself" of the activity, which' has the form of reflection). 

(2.) Distinction in itself is distinction in the form of self-relation ; 
hence the negativity of itself, distinction not from another, but of 
itself from itself. It is not itself, but its other. But that which is 
distinguished from distinction is identity. (" Distinction " and " dis- 
tinguished " are used for the German words, Unterschied, unterschie- 
dene, etc; these might be translated by "difference," "different," 
etc., but "difference " is reserved as the equivalent of Verschiedenheit, 
and "distinction" is used as the general category, including the 
three phases of difference, antithesis, or contrariety, and contradiction; 
the use of "distinction" in this sense is, of course, at times some- 
what awkward, and the word " difference " has occasionally been 
.substituted for it.) It (Distinction) is, therefore, itself and identity; 
the two together constitute Distinction. It (Distinction) is, therefore, 
the whole and a phase of it (in the "external reflection " it was 
shown that the presupposing activity included the positing activity, 
in other words, that the relation of the negative to itself produced 
identity or iramediateness as one result, while at the same time it 
negated and determined the identity or immediateness as another 
result; the first result was called "positing," the second result was 
called " pre-positing ; " the total activity is this process of "distinc- 
tion," but the pre-positing activity within the total is also the pro- 
cess of distinction; hence, "Distinction is the whole and a phase 
of it"). 

It can likewise be said that distinction, as simple, is no distinc- 
tion. It becomes distinction through relation to identity ; therefore 
it contains distinction and this relation to identity. Distinction is the 
whole and one of its own phases. And so, also, identity is the whole 
and a phase of itself. We must consider this as the essential nature 
of reflection, and as the primitive source of all activity and self- 
movement. Both identity and distinction are processes in which each 
becomes a moment as well as the total movement, and as a moment 
(reciprocally complemental element) it is a posited-being (i. e., a 

Distinction. 39 

result, a dependent somewhat) ; inasmuch as identity and distinction 
both involve the activity of reflection (in fact, are constituted by it as 
the self-relation makes the identity, and relation being negation, the 
self-negation makes distinction,) they are both negative relation to 

Distinction, inasmuch as it is the unity of itself and identity, is 
distinction which is particularized within itself (/. e., containing con- 
trast within itself). It is not transition into another, not a relation 
to another outside of it. .It has its other within itself; its other, 
namely, is identity (and identity is a phase of its own movement). 
And so, likewise, with identity; while it possesses the determination 
of distinction, it does not, for that reason, lose itself in distinction as 
its " other," but it preserves itself in its other, and finds it's reflection 
or return in it: Distinction is a moment of identity. ("To pre- 
serve itself in its other " means that it meets with its own activit}' in 
what should be its other or negation. For example, in the action of 
cause and effect, we mviy turn our attention first to the phase of 
Identity : The cause reappears in the effect, the activity in the cause 
transplants itself into the effect; the cause determines or modifies the 
effect so as to bring it into identity with itself, -that is, to assimilate 
the effect to the cause. Turning our attention to the aspect of dis- 
tinction or difference, we note that the activity of the cause utters 
itself, expresses itself. Utterance and expression proceed out from 
the cause, and in obtaining independent subsistence external realiza- 
tion in an effect, they produce distinction. The original unity in the 
activity of the cause, conceived before its utterance or expression, is 
dualized, dirempted by its causal activity ; and through its self- 
related negation results the distinction or contrast of cause and effect. 
In the simple, precise, technical language with which Hegel analyzes 
the categories of reflection, such as cause and effect, force and man- 
ifestation, identity and distinction, essence and phenomenon, etc., 
the underlying movement is characterized as negative self-relation, 
self-relation having two aspects, the first one of identity, the second 
one of self-negation, contrast, or distinction). 

(3.) Distinction has two moments, identit}' and distinction (or 
difference). The two moments are, therefore, posited-being, deter- 
minateness (*. e., as moments each determines the other, and the 
unity of both is the resultant determinateness). But in this posited- 
being each is self-relation (as explained in the next sentence, each 
moment is a self-determining activity, which evolves the other within 
itself; one activit}', A, evolves another activity, viz., B; but the 
activity B evolves again the activity A ; such a process is called 

40 Essence. 

self-relation). The one, namely, identity is in its first aspect a. 
phase of the movement of reflection into itself. In like manner, the 
other movement, viz., distinction, is distinction within itself (self- 
distinction), reflected distinction ("reflected," i. e., an activity 
which produces another, but another which, in Us activity, produces 
the first activity. For example, the generic process of life: the 
activity of reproduction propagates the species ; the vital activity in 
the parents produces an independent vital activit}' having the same 
character. The species is identical in parents and offspring. The in- 
dividuals are different on the plane of life, " The species lives, and 
the individual dies." But on a higher plane, that of thinking-activity, 
for another example, the universal reproduces itself in the same indi- 
vidual, and not in different individuals. This is consciousness. The 
ego, as universal subject, is an activity of knowing and willing ; di- 
rected upon itself, it makes itself its own object ; this is the stage of 
specialization; in its specialization it recognizes itself; hence in its 
third phase the activity returns into itself generically just as it did 
on the plane of life in the propagation of the species and also as 
particular individual; and this is personal, conscious identity). 
Distinction, inasmuch as it has two such moments within itself,, 
both of which are reflections into themselves, is Difference (dis-par- 
ateness, i. e., the reader will have noted that reflection into itself gives 
independence through the fact that it gives totality ; the activity 
proceeds to its other, a'id through its other returns to itself; this 
totality or reflection-into-itself does not stand in contrast to another 
outside of it, all of its contrast is within itself as self-distinction; 
now [N. B.], the two moments which are each a reflection into itself 
are necessarily independent of each other, beir.g total processes ; 
such independent moments of Distinction are indifferent to each 
other; this phase of distinction between independent, indifferent 
objects is called "difference," "disparateness," \_VerscliiedenlitiQ 
"variety." The ordinary consciousness views distinction from this 
standpoint, but does not know that reflection-into-itself is presup- 
posed by it). 

2. Difference. 

(1.) Identity is dirempted within itself in the category of differ- 
ence, inasmuch as it (identity) has absolute distinction within itself, 
posits itself as the negative of itself, and these its moments, viz., 
itself and its negative (i. e., identity and distinction), are reflections 
into themselves, and hence self-identities ; in other words, pre- 
cisely because the identity immediately annuls its negative activit}^ 

Difference. 41 

and is reflected into itself in its determination (?'. e., the determina- 
tion produced upon itself Ity self-negation). The moments which 
are distinguished are contrasted with each other as different or dis- 
parate, because each is identical with itself i. e., because identity 
constitutes the ground and element of each. (N. B. Identity is 
always to be regarded as the product of self-relation.) In other 
words, the different or disparate is what it is only in its opposite, 
i. e., in identity. 

Difference or disparateness constitutes what may be regarded as 
the otherness (other-being Andersseyn = that phase of a being 
which exists in it because of external limitation) of reflection. The 
other, as a category of particular being, has for its ground immediate 
being and in this immediate being, the negative inheres (7. e., "the 
oilier " is a negative category, but a category to which negativity is 
onty incidental and not essential; the "other," as opposed to 
the "somewhat," is itself an independent existence as much as 
the "somewhat," and its relation to the "somewhat" as "other" 
is a mere external, subjective distinction; the "other" may itself 
be regarded as the "somewhat," and what was regarded as the 
"somewhat" may be its "other"). But in Reflection, self-iden- 
tity reflected immediateness constitutes the ground in which 
the negative inheres, and the basis of its indifference. (Self-relation, 
as the true ground of individuality, is not a relation founded 
on a being; being is, rather, founded on self-relation; being is the 
result of the process of self-relation or self-negation ; but being is 
not the only result of this process ; determination, or negation, in its 
annulling activity is likewise a result of self-negation. In the sphere 
of Being, in which the mind looks upon objects as essentially inde- 
pendent of each other, and regards each as having a substrate of 
being, all relation is considered to be incidental, or an external dis- 
tinction made by the observer. But the result of the investigation 
of Being has shewn that every phase of Being that can be conceived 
is necessarily transitory, and passes away into some other phase 
equally transitory. The entire system of the categories of Being 
forms a circular movement. The whole persists, but the parts con- 
tinually vanish. Any one part, in vanishing into another, is on its way 
back to itself, just as the movement onward in a circle is a return to 
the starting-point. The process in which the parts vanish is a negat- 
ing one ; hence the return, which is self-relation, is self-negation. 
Self-relation, self-negation, is all that persists .in the annulment of 
the categories of Being. Hence, the mode of view which regards 
objects as beings gives way, in the course of experience, to the view 

42 Essence. 

which regards objects as appearances, that is to say, as phases 
occurring in the course of the activity of a process of self-relation or 
self-negation. This view is able to understand the being and the 
annulment of objects. The aspect of the process wherein it is related 
to itself results in immediateness, or phases of being ; the aspect 
wherein the process is negative results in determination, annulment, 
and transition. Both being and negation are seen as results. They 
have the same activity for their basis, but neither one of them is an' 
ultimate basis or element itself. Thus the text in this paragraph 
draws attention again as on former occasions to the difference 
between Being and Essence, and to the negative as found in cate- 
gories of Being as contrasted with the negative in the sphere of 
Essence. "Other" is a category of Being, has a basis of being, 
and is negative only in a superficial aspect. Difference is a category 
of Essence, and consists in pure relation, having no being as its 
basis, but arising in and persisting in self-negation, solely. For 
difference, whether subjective or objective, is necessarily in the last 
analysis based on self-distinction ; and self-distinction is identity as 
well as distinction, and, in fact, all distinction is between identity as 
the one factor and difference as the other. An illustration in a 
more concrete sphere is found in the doctrine of the correlation of 
forces. A "thing" is regarded like "somewhat" in the sphere 
of Being as an independent existence; science shows the transi- 
toriness of " things," and finds them to be phases in the activity 
of "forces;" "forces," like "appearance" in the sphere of 
Essence, are taken as the abiding, and, being found to constitute 
phases of a process of return, i. e., to pass over into each other 
reciprocally, the entire process of force is seized as the persistent. 
Persistent force is a negative self- relation, producing particular 
forces ; these are its distinctions and differences, and through the 
annulment of these distinctions, the vanishing of the individual^ of 
the particular forces, the Persistent Force comes to identity with 
itself. Its distinctions as particular forces constituted its "other- 
ness" \_Andersseyn~] ; the vanishing of these distinctions constitutes its 
return into identity with itself. Since the return into identit}- is at 
the same time the act of further determination or particularization, it 
is the occasion for the continuance of the process. In this is found 
the idea or conception of an eternal activity). 

("The basis of its indifference " the category of Difference, or 
Disparateness, is spoken of as possessing " indifference." This re- 
fers to the fact that " Difference," as an undeveloped, implicit cate- 
gory of "Distinction," a crude, first phase of distinction, 

Difference. 43 

regards the objects between which difference exists as independent 
of each other, that is to sa} T , as indifferent. For example, it com- 
pares disparate objects, as a lamp-post and a lead-pencil, and finds 
* ' difference ;" the relation is an arbitrary one, the objects are in- 
different towards each other. On the contrary, siveet is not indiffer- 
ent to sour, light to dark, nor heat to cold, nor the planet to its sun. 
The relation of dependence cancels indifference. The thoughtless 
consideration of objects discovers no dependence, no essential rela- 
tion. It discovers only difference, variousness, disparateness, i. e., 
external, " indifferent " distinction. " Indifference," as the char- 
acteristic of true independence, arises from self-relation. Inasmuch 
as distinction is a phase of the process of self-relation, indifference 
appertains to it. Tliere are all degrees of insight ; the degrees of 
insight which perceive objects as phases of Being are superficial ; 
the degrees of insight which perceive the processes of Essence are 
more profound ; but the first or crude phases of each and every 
category are the results of equally crude and imperfect insight. 
The category of Difference, e. g., is used by a stage of insight which 
is unconscious of some of the phases of Distinction implied by the 
phases included in the term "Difference." To use a figure: identity, 
difference, antithesis, etc., are portions of the total process of Dis- 
tinction, above the surface of consciousness ; other portions of the 
process of Distinction lie below the surface of consciousness, or, 
when brought to the surface, are not perceived to be identical with 
the former. So this phase, viz., the "indifference," which is inci- 
dental to the self-relation underlying Distinction, is, first of all, 
above the surface of consciousness, when it begins to reflect on 
things. "The basis of its indifference" is, therefore, explained in 
the text to be the general form of self-relation, i. e., of independ- 
ence, underlying the category of Distinction.) 

(" Indifference " has been predicated of Essence in general. [See 
above, page 3, line 4.] The same category [indifference] is used in 
expounding the categoiy of quantity in the sphere of Being. As 
above explained, indifference is the aspect of independence. Inde- 
pendence is a predicate applying only to a totality ; hence only to 
what has the form of self-relation. In the sphere of Being, quality 
is finitude, i. e., transitoriness, change; that which has its being in 
another finds its quality determined for it by what lies be3 r ond it. 
The category of quality is transcended by the discovery that determi- 
nation through another is, in the last analysis, determination through 
itself because its determinateness being its character, its whatness 
[quiddity] is its being, and since this is derived from another being 

44 Essence. 

lying beyond it, it follows that its being is outside of itself. The 
being of what is dependent lies in the independent; the being of that 
which is determined through another lies in this "other," and that 
same ''other," in the act of determination, determines only itself; 
that which is dependent is only a determinateness of the independ- 
ent, or self-determined. With this insight, all particular beings, as 
qualitative determinations, must be looked upon as parts of total 
processes of determination, which total processes are ones identical 
with each other independent, and hence "indifferent" towards 
each other. This conception of indifferent ones is the insight 
into quantity. Hence the point of view of quantity is directed 
towards the aspect of indifference. The distinctions of quantity 
are indifferent as regards quality. Seven oxen are oxen as well as- 
fourteen oxen ; one house is as much a qualitative being as a mil- 
lion houses; the quantitative distinction of multiplicity is indifferent 
to quality. It has been remarked by acute lexicographers [e. g. r 
Noah Webster in his "Unabridged," 1st edition] that "quantity 
is undefinable ;" that they have been unable to find its genus and 
differentia. But there will be no difficulty for us here to define 
"quantity;" "quantity' 1 and "quality" are species of determi- 
nateness which is the genus; "quality" is the determinateness 
which is immediately one with being change the quality or " what- 
ness " of an object, and you change it; "quantity" is the de- 
terminateness indifferent to being change the quantity of some- 
thing, and you do not change its being. Hence the transition from 
quantity to a new category, through the idea of maxima and minima, 
as limits within which quantitative indifference prevails, and beyond 
which there results a qualitative change, or change in the being. 
Indifference appertains universally to the categories of Essence, but 
chiefly to one category of Being, viz., quantity. All the categories of 
Essence are founded on self-relation, the form of self-relation 
being essential to every totality, to every independent being. "Quan- 
tity" is the second of the three phases of Being, or Lnmediateness. 
Essence is the second of the three parts of Logic, or the system of 
Pure Thought. Being is the first part, and Idea the third part. The 
second part of any dialectic or exhaustive consideration expounds its 
subject in the form of self-antitheses. Quantity is the self-antithesis 
of Being; Essence the self-antithesis of the Idea [personality]. 
Indifference recurs, therefore, in every second phase of considera- 
tion in this Logic as an aspect of the categories introduced, but 
affecting them with various degrees of validity. For instance, even 
in the category of Becoming, the second phase of its consideration 

Difference. 45 

finds two species of it, viz., beginning and ceasing, each of which 
contains the other as its own moment, and is thus the totality of Be- 
coming [a reflection-into-itself, in the language of Essence], and 
thus each is indifferent to the other ; as sundered from the other, 
excluding it, its lack of the other would annul itself; but as con- 
taining the other, it reflects [bends back] its dependence upon an- 
other, thereby converting it into dependence upon itself, or independ- 
ence and indifference of others). 

The moments of Distinction are Identity and Distinction itself. 
They are different, disparate, inasmuch as they are reflected into 
themselves, self-relating; in the determination (or category) of 
Identity they are relations exclusively to themselves ; Identity does 
not relate to Distinction, nor does Distinction relate to Identity ; for 
since each one of these moments is exclusively self-related, they are 
not determined in opposition to each other. And since this is the 
fact the distinction is external to them ; the different moments do 
not stand in relation to each other as Identity and Distinction, but 
only as different ones in general, which are indifferent towards each 
other and towards their determinateness. 

(2.) In the category of Difference (variousness or disparateness) 
as the phase of indifference, of Distinction, the reflection (which lies 
at the basis of the category) is " external reflection." Distinction is 
only a posited-being, or as annulled, but it is also the entire move- 
ment of reflection. If we take this into careful consideration we 
shall see that both its moments Identity and distinction, as above 
determined are reflections. Each one is a unity of itself and of the 
other each is the total movement. Therefore the exclusiveness of 
the determinateness of Identity or of Distinction, according to which 
each was only itself and not the other, is annulled. They are, 
therefore, no Qualities {quiddities, i. e., particular beings, deter- 
mined through each other) ; but, on the contrary, their determinate- 
ness consists solely in reflection into itself, i. e., solely in self- 
negation. Therefore we have this duplication, viz., reflection into 
itself as such, and determinateness as negation or posited-being. 
Posited-being is the self-external reflection. It is negation as nega- 
tion. Hence, potentially, it is the self-relating negation and reflection 
into itself, but only potentially ; for it is the relation to it as to an ex- 
ternal (posited-being is the result of reflection considered as result, 
and, therefore, as dependent ; dependence is not reflection into itself, 
but a portion of its cycle. Hence, as it implies reflection, it is poten- 
tially or implicitly self-relation) . 

Reflection into itself and external reflection are consequently the 

46 Essence. 

two determinations in which are posited the moments of Distinction 
i. e., Identity and Distinction. Thej T are these moments just as they 
are defined here. Reflection into itself is Identity, but defined as- 
indifferent to Distinction, not as having no distinction at all, but as 
standing in relation to it as self-identical ; it is difference or disparate- 
ness. It is Identity, which has therefore reflected its movement into 
itself in such a manner that it is really the one reflection of the two 
moments into themselves, the two being reflections into themselves. 
Identity is this one reflection of the two which has distinction within 
it as an indifferent somewhat, and is difference or disparateness. On 
the other hand, external reflection is the particularized distinction of 
the same, not as absolute reflection into itself, but as determination, 
opposed to which the in-itself-existent reflection is indifferent. Its 
two moments, Identity and Distinction, are, therefore, posited exter- 
nally, not as inherent determinations. (It will be noticed that ex- 
ternal reflection looks upon the distinction between identity and dif- 
ference as something arising outside of the activity which constitutes 
them ; in fact, it does not recognize either as an activity ; it looks 
upon them as dead results.) 

This external identity (as result of external reflection) is equality, 
likeness, or sameness (Gleichheit), and the external distinction is un- 
likeness, inequality (or non-identity Ungleichheit). "Sameness" or 
"likeness" is identity, but only as a posited-being, an identity 
which is not in-and-for-itself (i. e., not essential, not appertaining to 
the nature of the things themselves). In like manner, unlikeness or 
inequality is distinction, but as an external one, not belonging to 
the objects themselves. It does not concern the objects themselves 
whether they are like or different (it is only a comparison made by 
the observer). Each object is self-related, and what it is is its own 
affair (there is in it no relation to another, and no occasion for the 
comparison which we make) ; the identity or non-identity, considered 
as likeness and unlikeness, is the result of an act of comparison, and 
is an external affair as regards the objects. 

(3.) External reflection compares objects in regard to likeness and 
difference, and the act of comparison deals with no other categories 
than these, and it flits to and fro between objects, in order to ascer- 
tain points of resemblance or of difference. But its flitting to and fro 
is an external affair, even to these very distinctions. They are not 
related to themselves, but each only to a third (the observer). Each 
makes its appearance in this interchange prima facie for itself (inde- 
pendent). External reflection is, as such, self-external. Particular- 
ized distinction is absolute distinction as annulled ; it is consequently 

Difference. 47 

not simple, not reflection into itself, but external to the reflection into 
itself. (It is unconscious of the phases of the activity which unite 
the two sides.) Its elements (or " moments") fall asunder (iden- 
tity and difference are not seized as the same activity), and they 
relate, as opposed to each other, to the reflection-into-itself (the ob- 
jects ai-e regarded as independent, " reflection-into-itself, " and 
yet are compared with each other to discover likenesses and differ- 
ences which have nothing to do with the dependence of the objects 
upon each other). 

To reflection, estranged from itself (producing what is exactly the 
opposite of its own activity, it being return-to-itself as identity, 
while its product is a relation of an alien to an alien, and hence no 
return, but only a going abroad), likeness and difference, therefore, 
appear as utterly without connection, and it separates them by the use 
of such categories as "in so far," " sides," and "points of view," 
when they relate to the same thing. Thus, different things, which 
are one and the same as regards the fact that likeness and unlikeness 
are attributed to both, are according to one side like, and according 
to another side unlike ; and in so far as they are like, they are not 
unlike. Likeness, therefore, relates only to itself (is not dependent on 
unlikeness), and unlikeness is, in like manner, only unlikeness. 

Through this separation of the categories of likeness and unlikeness 
from each other they mutually annul themselves. Precisely the very 
distinction which has been introduced to prevent them from contra- 
diction and dissolution, namely, that something is like another in one 
respect and different from it in another respect this isolation of 
likeness from unlikeness is their destruction. For both likeness 
and unlikeness are determinations of distinction. They are rela- 
tions to each other the one is defined to be what the other is 
not: Like is not unlike, and unlike is not like. The two have 
essentially the same relation, and outside of it have no meaning 
at all. As determinations of distinction (i. e., as subordinate 
phases of the category of Distinction), each one is what it is in 
distinction from its other. But through their indifference to each 
other, likeness or equality is only a self-relation, and so also is 
unlikeness its own "point of view" and a "reflection " (t. e., when 
likeness and difference are predicated of the same subject, but are 
explained through different " points of view," the "point of view " 
belongs essentially to the predication, and must be added to the 
category predicated ; "likeness" predicated with a " point of view" 
is thereby conditioned, and its meaning is limited through the impli- 
cation of unlikeness thereby conveyed; likewise, "difference" predi- 

48 Essence. 

cated in a certain "point of view" implies as its conditioning limit 
the "likeness," which is not expressly stated. An}? - category in the 
form of not-A is dependent wholly upon the extension and compre- 
hension of A for its signification ; in the separation of likeness and 
unlikeness by different "points of view," the essential limit is ex- 
pressed which is common to both, and hence their indissoluble unity 
is posited). Each one of these categories thus isolated (by 
"points of view") is self-identical (in the "point of view" is con- 
tained its own difference from itself, which really belongs to the 
totality of its thought ; " external reflection " is always trying to save 
its thoughts from contradiction ; therefore it places their essential 
self-opposition in something else outside of them, which it regards as 
subjective and unessential ; " a point of view" for example, is a merely 
subjective distinction, the self-difference having been removed, 
nothing but abstract identity remains). The distinction between 
likeness and unlikeness has vanished, for they have no determinate- 
ness remaining in which they can be contrasted (all determinateness 
has been placed in the " point of view " a mere external consider- 
ation) ; hence each is a mere abstract identity. 

This aspect of indifference in other words, this external distinc-. 
tion annuls itself, therefore, and is the negativity of itself through 
itself. (This refers to the contradiction involved in placing all of 
the determinateness in the " points of view," and in holding the same 
to be subjective and unessential ; the veiy distinction between likeness 
and unlikeness which external reflection thinks it necessary to pre- 
serve from annulment, and, thex*efore, seeks to prevent self-contra- 
diction by such devices as "points of view" and "in so far," is 
annulled by this very procedure ; for the distinction between likeness 
and unlikeness vanishes when their characteristic determinatenesses 
are removed and placed in something else. Hence this activity of 
distinguishing is a self-negating activity.) It is that negativity 
which, in the act of comparison, belongs to the objects compared. 
The act of comparing passes to and fro from likeness to unlikeness, 
and from the latter to the former ; it lets one vanish in the other, 
and is in fact the negative unity of both. The act of comparison is 
an external affair a subjective performance outside of the objects 
compared, and outside of the aspects in which they are compared. 
But this negative unity is in fact the very nature of likeness and 
unlikeness, as we have seen above. This independent " point of 
view," which constitutes the validity of likeness in contrast to unlike- 
ness, and which in the same manner gives validity to unlikeness, is 
precisely the respect in which they lose their distinction from each 

Difference. 49 

other, and become self-identical and identical with each other. (Their 
difference is posited in the point of view, and outside of their differ- 
ence i. e., except wherein they differ they are the same; but 
their difference is posited in the " point of view," i. e., it is in a 
unity ; hence this external reflection contradicts itself by doing pre- 
cisely what it attempts to avoid, viz., it brings together the contra- 
diction in a " point of view " in order to save likeness and difference 
from unity and consequent contradiction.) 

Accordingly, likeness and difference as moments of external reflec- 
tion, and as excluding each other, vanish in their identity. But this 
negative unit} 7 of likeness and difference is posited (explicitly con- 
tained) in them, namely, the activit}- of reflection is stated as belong- 
ing to them, but as external to them ; in other words they are the like- 
ness and difference of a third somewhat i. e., of something differ- 
ent from them. Thus likeness is not the likeness of itself, nor is 
unlikeness the unlikeness of itself, but of a somewhat unlike it, and 
the unlike is self-identical. Likeness and unlikeness are, therefore, 
each a self-contradiction. Each one is consequently an activity of 
reflection (a return into itself through its opposite), inasmuch as 
likeness is the identity of itself and unlikeness, and unlikeness is the 
identity of itself and likeness. 

Likeness and difference were seen to constitute the sides or phases 
of posited-being, as opposed to the objects compared, i. e., the ob- 
jects held as different, and these objects were regarded as an objec- 
tively existent reflection opposed to the distinction of likeness and 
unlikeness (i. e., the objects were regarded as independent* and their 
relation to each other only an external act of comparison). But this 
independence has been lost. Likeness and unlikeness, the deter- 
minations of external reflection, are determinations of the objectively- 
existing reflection, which reflection the different objects are supposed 
to be likeness and unlikeness are only the undefined distinction 
between the existing objects. The objectively-existing Reflection 
(an sicli seyende Reflexion =z implicit or potential reflection ; the 
expression is used throughout this logic to characterize whatever is 
apprehended as independently existing, without stating, however, its 
mediation as return through the annulment of its other), is the relation 
to itself without negation (i. e., without the annulment of its other), 
the abstract identity with itself. Consequently, it is nothing but the 
posited-being itself. The mere difference passes over, through 
posited-being, into the negative reflection (/. e., the " posited-being " 

bnmediateness as a result; hence dependent; hence self-negative) ; 

50 Essence. 

hence that phase of reflection which negates or determines the 
immediate. Difference is nothing but the posited distinction ; hence, 
distinction which is none ; hence a self-negation of distinction. Thus 
likeness and difference posited-being return through their indif- 
ference, or the objectively existing reflection, into negative unity 
with themselves ; they return into the reflection which is potentially 
the distinction of likeness and difference. The difference (dispar- 
ateness) whose indifferent sides are mere moments and also negative 
unities, is Antithesis. 


Difference, like Identity, has been expressed in a principle of its 
own ; these two principles are held in a relation of indifference to- 
wards each other, each one having independent validity. 

"Everything is different from everything else" (Atte Dinge shirt 
vei'schiedeny, or in another form: " there are no two things which are 
identical with each other." This principle is, in fact, the opposite of 
the principle of Identity, for it states that A is something different; 
therefore that A is also not-A ; in another form, A is non-identical 
with another, and therefore it is not A-in-general, but rather a defi- 
nite, particular A. (" A is something different" L e. it has no mean- 
ing except a negative one of dependence upon some other term ; i. e., 
the predication made of A is limited or conditioned through the other 
term of the relation posited in the predicate " different; " since dif- 
ference posits relation and dependence, its predication of A amounts 
in fact to the predication of not-A, as stated in the text, viz : "There- 
fore A is also not-A." If A were a universal existence, i. e., " true " 
in the Hegelian sense, it would not stand in opposition to something 
else, but would possess only self-distinction. Hence, if " A is some- 
thing different," it is partial and complementary and, as a "definite 
particular," demands another to complete the totality of its sphere of 
being): In the place of A in the principle of Identity any other sub- 
strate may be substituted, but for A in the principle of Difference 
there can be no such exchange. It is not intended by this principle 
to affirm of something that it is different from itself, but only that it 
is different from another ; but this difference is (in truth) its own de- 
termination. As self-identical, A is an indeterminate somewhat; 
but, as determinate or particular, it is the opposite of this ; it has not 
only identity with itself, but also negation, and, consequently, differ- 
ence of itself from itself. 

That everything is different from everything else, is a superfluous 

Difference. 51 

principle, for in the plural "things," involving multiplicity, there is 
implied unparticularized difference. But the principle : " There are 
no two things perfectly identical with each other," expresses more 
than this, to-wit: particularized difference. Two things are not 
merely two ; numerical multiplicity implies sameness of quality, but 
the two spoken of are different through a " qualitative " determina- 
tion. The principle which states, that there are no two things identi- 
cal with each other, calls to mind the anecdote in which Leibnitz sug- 
gested to the ladies at the court, the impossibility of finding two leaves- 
in the forest that were just alike. Those were happy times for meta- 
physics, when people at court busied themselves with it, and when it 
needed no greater exertion to prove its principles, than to compare 
the leaves of trees ! The reason why the mentioned principle at- 
tracts attention, lies in the explanation given that "two," or num- 
erical multiplicity, contains no definite, or particularized difference ; 
and, that difference, as such, in its abstraction, is indifferent as regards 
likeness and unlikeness. For the imagination, (Vorstelleii) since 
it attains only to qualitative determination, (Bestimmung) these 
moments (the "two"), are presented as indifferent towards each 
other, so that the one or the other the mere likeness of things ob- 
tains determination without unlikeness, or that things are different if 
they have mere numerical multiplicity, difference in general, and are 
not unlike. On the contrary, the principle of difference asserts that 
things are different through unlikeness, from each other (qualitative 
opposition), that the determination of unlikeness belongs to them as 
well as the determination of likeness, for it requires the two to make 
a definite distinction. 

Now, this principle that the determination of unlikeness belongs 
to each and everything, requires a proof. It cannot be appealed 
to as a self-evident truth, (unmittelbarer Salz) ; for the ordinary 
stage of consciousness demands a proof for every combination of 
different predicates in a synthetical proposition ; it asks for a third 
term in which they are mediated. This proof must show the 
transition of Identity into Difference, and likewise the transition of 
the latter into particularized (bestimmte qualitatively determined) 
difference, i. e. into unlikeness. But this is not usually attempted. 
For it is evident that difference, or external distinction, is, in truth, 
reflected into itself ; it is distinction in itself ; the indifferent attitude 
of the different ones towards each other is a mere posited-being, and 
hence not an external, indifferent distinction, but one (including) 
relation of the two moments. 

There is also involved in this, the dissolution and nugatoriness 

52 Essence. 

of the principle of Difference. Two things are perfectly like 
(equal) : then they are like and unlike at the same time ; like, in the 
fact that the}' are both " things," or that they are " two ; " for each 
one is a "thing" and a one of two; each is, therefore, the same as 
the other ; but they are assumed as unlike. Consequently the two 
moments, likeness and unlikeness, are different in one and the same 
respect, or in that their distinction is one and the same relation. 
Consequently they have passed over into Antithesis (Entgegensetzung 
= opposition, or contrariety). 

When the two predicates are affirmed at the same time, contradic- 
tion is prevented by the reservation, "in so far." Two things are 
like in so far as they are not unlike ; or, they are like according to 
one side, or respect, and unlike according to another, etc. By such a 
process the unity of likeness and unlikeness is supposed to be re- 
moved from the things, and this unity held to be an external reflec- 
tion. This is, however, a process in which the two sides of likeness 
and unlikeness are distinguished, although they are contained in one 
and the same activity, and it is one and the same activity which dis- 
tinguishes them each one reflects the other, and manifests itself in it. 
That kind considerateness for the welfare of "things," which 
sees to it that they are not allowed to contradict themselves, is utterly 
oblivious here as elsewhere of the fact that it does not do away with 
the contradiction, but it only places it in another, viz. : in the subject- 
ive or external reflection, and leaves in this external reflection both 
moments (of the contradiction) which are expressed by this removal 
or transposition as mere posited-oeing, as annulled, and as related to 
each other in one unity (annulled, because posited in one unity be- 
ino" negative toward each other). 

3. Antithesis. 

In Antithesis the particularized reflection as found in the category of 
Distinction is perfected. It (antithesis) is the unity of identity and 
difference. Its moments are in one identity, but in this identity are 
differentiated. Being different and yet identical, they are contraries 
(opposites antithetic). 

Identity and distinction arc the moments of distinction as found 
within it. They are reflected moments of its unity ("reflected " in 
that each is a return to itself through the other ; each moment devel- 
ops its " other " within itself). Likeness and unlikeness (sameness 
and difference), however, belong to reflection as externalized ('. e., 
are a distinction supposed to be subjective and arbitrary). Their 
identity with themselves is not only the indifference of each towards the 

Antithesis. 53 

other, but it is the indifference towards being in-and-for-itself (i. e., 
towards essence towards the independent being or totality). Their 
identity is an identity of each as opposed to the identity reflected 
into itself; it is, therefore, immediateness which is not reflected into 
itself. The posited-being of the sides (opposite phases) of external 
reflection is, therefore, a being while its not-posited-being is a non- 

The moments (elements or terms) of Antithesis when examined 
carefully, prove to be posited-being or determination reflected into 
itself. The posited-being takes the form of likeness and unlikeness, 
(sameness and difference). The two, as reflected into themselves, 
constitute the determinations of antithesis. Their reflection into 
themselves consists in this, that each is in itself the unity of same- 
ness and difference. Sameness, for example, is found only in the 
movement of reflection, which makes comparison of different some- 
whats ; consequent^, sameness is mediated through its other moment, 
which is indifferent to it (i. e., not dependent upon it, for difference 
seems to be independent of sameness). Likewise, also, difference is 
found only in the same activity of reflection, which makes comparison 
and involves sameness as one of its results. Each of these moments 
is, therefore, in its determinateness the entire process. It is the 
whole, because it contains its other moment, (its opposite) ; but this, 
its other, exists indifferently, or independent of it ; and so each con- 
tains a relation to its own non-being; and, in fact, is only reflection 
into itself, or the total process in its relation to its own non-being. 

This "sameness " (identity) which is reflected into itself which 
contains within itself relation to difference is the Positive; and, in 
like manner, difference which contains within itself its relation to its 
non-being, to sameness, is the Negative. In other words, the two are 
posited-being. In so fur as the determinateness of distinction is taken 
as the relation of posited-being to itself, in a particularizing (differ- 
entiating) form of relation, the antithesis is reflected into its self- 
sameness as one aspect of its posited-being ; in another aspect it is 
reflected into self-difference. Thus arises the distinction of positive 
and negative. The positive is the posited-being, reflected into itself 
as self-sameness. But what is reflected is the posited-being, i. e. y 
negation as negation ; therefore, this reflection into itself contains 
relation to another as its own determination. The negative, on 
the other hand, is posited-being, as difference reflccted-into-itself. 
But the posited-being is difference itself; hence this reflection (in- 
volved ir the "negative") is the identity of difference with itself, 
or its absolute self-relation. Therefore, each contains the other ; 

54 Essence. 

the posited-being reflected into itself as sameness contains difference ; 
and reflected into itself as difference contains sameness. 

(The reader must not fail to remember that we are treating here of 
relation. Sameness is relation, and difference is relation. The dis- 
tinction of sameness and difference belongs to posited-being. In 
"posited-being" the distinction made is regarded as an external or 
arbitrary one. Sameness and difference are distinguished in it, and 
are referred to independently-existing somewhats between which 
comparison is instituted. The Maya of reflection the illusion of 
abstract knowing is found right here. It sees the distinctions of 
sameness and difference, but sees no essential inter-dependence ex- 
isting between the objects which it compares. It, therefore, in its 
impotencv, supposes the individuality of the objects compared to be 
perfect without reference of each to the other. But all distinction 
which it makes, rests upon, and presupposes objectively-existent dis- 
tinction. And, in general, every existence possesses individuality and 
preserves the same through such distinction. But this distinguish- 
ing is a process of relation, essential to the existence of things, 
and hence the arbitrary subjective distinguishing of external reflec- 
tion, explains no real process of distinguishing, and in so far as it 
supposes all relations to belong to external reflection, it completely 
shuts its eyes to the fact that all real existence is such through rela- 
tion essential relation. Since the individuality of objects depends 
on distinction, such objects are, in reality, terms of a process ; 
in relating to another distinguishing itself from another an 
object is obtaining its own individuality. In this process the rela- 
tion is first an expression of its own dependence: the object seems 
to depend upon another seems to point out or manifest the 
other directing us, so to speak, to the other as its essence. But 
the other in the process manifests the first somewhat, depends upon 
it in like manner ; hence the total process re-affirms our first object. 
The total process is a reflection into itself made up of two positings 
the positing of the other by the first, and the positing of the first by 
the other. The two positings are two manifestations two expres- 
sions of dependence ; and, hence, the positing phases are negative, 
and express the nugatoriness, or lack of essentiality of the depend- 
ent somewhats. A somewhat, regarded as through another, is regarded 
as a posited-being, a somewhat regarded as positing another is a pre- 
supposed-being, i. e., presupposed by that which it posits. In the 
total process which contains two positings or two negations, i. e., 
expressions of dependence there results identity, self-relation, but 
self-relation which contains self-distinction, viz., the two-fold nega- 

Antithesis. 55 

tive expression contained in the double-positing. Tiie total process 
which as a whole, is identity, has been shown to be a two-fold differ- 
entiation. The differentiation or negative aspect of the process is 
essential to the identity. Unless the two negative movements are of 
equal value, the return into itself or reflection is not realized. But 
if it is realized, the equality of the movements named is presupposed, 
and with this the validity of the distinction and the independence 
of its moments. This contradiction has its solution only in the 
fact pointed out, namely the mutual reflection into themselves 
of the two moments, each through the other. This reflection into 
itself makes each moment a total movement, and elevates each 
one to independence in short, makes each an identity with itself, 
containing distinction between itself and its other, within itself. This 
is the idea of Antithesis or self-opposition, the moments whereof are 
"contraries." But external reflection, while it discovers sameness 
and difference in objects, and vainly supposes these distinctions to be 
due to its own exploits, in this conduct does both too much and too 
little. In one respect, it is modest in regarding its distinctions as un- 
essential to the existence of things. But in another respect, it is the 
height of presumption on its part to den}' the objectivity of sameness 
and difference, as essential relations. In other words, to deny that 
relation has more validity than immediate being has. For relation is 
the essence of particular things. They exist only as moments of total 
processes, and whatever identity the} 7 have is derived solely from the 
process of self-relation. But the self-relation, being a process of 
self-determination, is a process of self-particularization, or self-dis- 
tinction. In the text, Hegel has shown the implication of this ex- 
ternal reflection, which treats sameness and difference as subjective 
distinctions. He has shown that in all cases sucli distinctions imply 
each other, and that each contains w T ithin itself the contrary of itself. 
They are distinctions of posited-being, and each involves duality a 
duality of dependence and independence, of identity and distinction, 
of self-relation and self-negation.) 

The Positive and the Negative are thus the two extremes of the an- 
tithesis which have become independent. They are independent 
through this fact, that each one of them is the reflection of the whole, 
of the totality, into itself, and they belong to the antithesis in so far 
as it is the determinateness which is reflected into itself as the total- 
ity (the positive is within itself the antithesis of identity and distinc- 
tion, i. e., it is itself as the opposite of something which is negative ; 
so likewise the negative. Hence, since each is the antithesis, each is 
the totality including the other, and each is reflected into itself through 

56 Essence. 

the totality, and the totality is the " determinateness, which is 
reflected into itself as totality "). On account of their independence 
they constitute an antithesis which is particularized in itself. Each is 
itself and its other, and through this each has its determinateness, not 
in and through another, but in itself. Each relates to itself, and is 
only self-relation when it relates to its other (for the other relates 
back to the first, and thereby produces a return or reflection). This 
has two aspects ; each is relation to its non-being as a cancelling of 
this other-being in itself; therefore, its non-being is only an element 
within it. But, on the other hand, the posited-being has here become 
a being, and possesses an aspect of indifference. Its other, which each 
contains, is, therefore, the non-being of that in which it is supposed 
to be contained as a mere element. Each, therefore, is only in so far 
as its non-being is, and therefore its being as a totality is the being 
of its non-being (ztcar in einer identischen Beziehung"). 

The determinations which constitute the positive and negative, sus- 
tain themselves, therefore, through this fact, that the positive and the 
negative are, in the first place, absolute moments or elements of the 
antithesis. Their existence is one undivided reflection ; it is one act 
of mediation in which each exists through the non-being of its other, 
and, hence, through its other, or through its own non-being. Therefore 
they are contraries in general ; in other words, each is only the con- 
trary of its other, and, in this respect, one is not positive and the other 
negative, but both are negative to each other. Each, therefore, ex- 
ists in so far as the other does. It is, through the other through 
its own non-being what it is ; it is only posited-being. But, on the 
other hand, it is in so far as the other is not ; it is through the non- 
being of its other that it exists ; it is reflection into itself. These two 
phases are, however, the one mediation of the antithesis, and in this 
they are only posited somewhats. 

But, besides this, the mere posited-being is reflected into itself. 
The positive and the negative are, in this respect according to ex- 
ternal reflection indifferent to the first identity in which they are 
only moments. In other words, since that first reflection belongs to 
the positive and the negative as their own reflection into themselves, 
each is within itself its own posited-being, and, therefore, each is in- 
different towards (independent of) its reflection into its non-being 
and towards its own posited-being. The two sides are, therefore 
merely different (a. e., are distinguished from each other, without rela- 
tion of dependence), and in so far as their determinateness of posi- 
tive and negative constitutes their posited-being (relation of mutual 
dependence), each is not determined in itself in that manner, but is 

Antithesis. 57 

only determinateness in general. To each side belongs, therefore, 
one of the determinatenesses of positive and negative ; but they could 
be interchanged, and each side is of such a kind that it can be taken 
as positive or as negative. 

But the positive and the negative are in the third place not merely 
a posited-being, nor merely an indifferent being, but their posited- 
being or the relation which each has to the other within one unity 
which unity neither one is is recalled from each. Each is within 
itself both positive and negative ; the positive and the negative are 
determinations of reflection, each per se ; in this reflection of the con- 
traries into themselves they first become positive and negative, prop- 
erly so called. The positive possesses relation to the other within its 
own being, in as much as the other contains the determinateness of 
the positive. Likewise the negative is not negative, as the opposite 
of another : but it has the determinateness throusrh which it is nega- 
tive, within itself. 

Therefore, each one is an independent, for-itself existing unity 
with itself. Although the positive is a posited-being, it is this in 
such a manner, that the posited-being for it is such only as annulled. 
It is the not-opposed (not in an antithesis, not a contrary), the 
annulled antithesis, but as a term of its own antithesis (e. g. the 
positive, containing as it does identity and distinction, is totality 
and, therefore, exists as its own element or as part and whole at the 
same time. So also exists the negative as its own negative and posi- 
tive, or totality. The nature of this process to be whole and part of 
itself, is the nature of the universal as a process of self-determination, 
to be general or generic, and special or particular as a result of its 
own process, at the same time. All self-activity dirempts or dua- 
lizes itself in the form of antithesis, and this dualizing process is the 
origin of all particularity. But the process which produces particu- 
larity by its self-determination, is the total generic universal). 
As a positive, something is described as in relation to another but in 
such a relation to this other, that it is not a posited (dependent) ; it 
is within itself the activity of reflection which negates otherness. 
But its other, the negative, is also no posited-being or dependent ele- 
ment, but an independent being. Hence the negating reflection which 
belongs to the positive, must exclude from itself, this, its non-being. 
Therefore the negative as absolute reflection is not the immediate 
negative, but the negative as a cancelled posited-being. The nega- 
tive is in and for itself, and the positive rests upon itself alone. As 
reflection into itself it negates its relation to another; its other is the 
positive, an independent being. Its negative relation to the latter is, 

58 Essence. 

therefore, one of exclusion. The negative is an opposite, or contrary, 
which exists independently, although opposed to the positive which is 
the determination of the annulled antithesis, the entire antithesis op- 
posed to the self-identical posited being. 

The positive and the negative are, consequent^, not only in them- 
selves positive and negative, but in and for themselves positive and 
negative (L e., not only by nature, but as realized through the ac- 
tivity of a process). "/n themselves " they are positive and nega- 
tive in so far as their excluding their other is not considered, but each 
is taken only in its own determination. Something is positive or 
negative " in itself" when it is thus described as not merely in opposi- 
tion to another. But the positive or negative not as a posited-being, 
and, consequently, not as antithetic, would be the immediate being 
or non-being. But the positive and the negative are the elements of 
antithesis; their nature consists only in this form of reflection into 
themselves. Something is positive ''in itself " outside of its relation 
to the negative, and somethino; is neo-ative in itself outside of its re- 
lation to the positive. In this predication a close regard is had to the 
abstract phases of this reflected-being. But the positive or negative, 
as existing in itself, is understood to be that which is opposed to 
another, and not merely as dependent moment nor as belonging to 
the comparison (i. e., objectively relative), but to be the determina- 
tion which belongs to the sides of the antithesis. They are, therefore, 
positive or negative in themselves, not outside of the relation to 
another, but this relation to another constitutes their very nature, or 
the function of their process, and in fact as excluding. In this pro- 
cess they are, therefore, positive or negative in and for themselves (/. 
., and at the same time independent). 


This is the proper place to refer to the terms "positive and nega- 
tive," as they are used in mathematics. They are employed as well- 
known expressions needing no definition. But for the reason that 
they are not defined accurately, their treatmont does not escape inso- 
luble difficulties. There occur, first, the two concepts of positive and 
neo-ative as real distinctions apart from their distinction as contra- 
ries. In this sense, there lies at the basis an immediate particular 
beino-, taken thus, in the first place, as mere difference dispar- 
ateness: the simple reflection into itself is distinguished from its 
posited-being the relation of opposition. The relation of opposi- 
tion is, therefore, taken as an arbitrary distinction, as something 

Antithesis. 59 

"which does not objectively exist, and does not belong to the disparate 
somewhats. In that case, each one may be regarded as an opposite, 
or, on the other hand, as existing independent]}'. And it is a matter 
of indifference which of the two things is regarded as positive or as 
negative. The second view which one may take of the positive and 
negative, regards each of these terms as essentially antithetic ; the posi- 
tive as in-itself positive, and the negative as in-ilself negative, in such 
a manner that the two different somewhats stand in essential relation 
to each other. These two views of the positive and negative are 
found in the first definitions given of the positive and negative in 

The -|- a and a are in the first place opposite magnitudes ; a lies 
at the basis of each, and is an independent unity which is indifferent 
to the antithetic relation ; a lifeless substrate if no further determina- 
tion is added. The a is characterized as the negative, the -f- as 
the positive, and each is treated as antithetic. 

Moreover, a itself is not only the simple unity which lies at the 
basis, but, as -\- a and a, it is the reflection into-self of these con- 
traries. There are two different a's, and it is indifferent which of the 
two is characterized as positive or as negative. Each has a particular 
phase of persistence, and is positive. 

According to the first view, -\-y y = ; or in the expression 8 
-f- 3, the three is positive, but negative as regards 8. The contra- 
ries cancel each other in the combination. An hour's journey towards 
the East and a similar journey back towards the West cancel each 
other. A given sum of liabilities cancels an equal amount of assets. 
And whatever assets are on hand balance a like amount of liabilities. 
1 The hour's journey towards the East is not positive as regards di- 
rection, nor the return towards the West negative ; but these direc- 
tions are indifferent as regards the terms of antithesis ; they become 
positive and negative only when referred to a third point of view, ex- 
ternal to them. So, too, the liabilities are not essentially negative; 
they are negative only in relation to the debtor; for the creditor they 
are positive assets ; for him they are equivalent to a sum of money, 
or a certain definite value which becomes assets or liabilities through 
an external standpoint. 

Contraries cancel each other, so that the result is zero. But there 
is a relation of identity in them and in this relation they are indiffer- 
ent to the antithesis ; this constitutes the unity underlying it. The 
sum of money mentioned fcbove, which was only one sum, although 
from one point of view, liabilities, and from the other point, assets, 
is a unity of this kind ; so, also, the a which is the same in -\- a 

60 Essence. 

and a; and the journey which travels over the same road, and not 
over two roads, one of which extends to the East and the other to 
the West. In like manner an ordinate y is the same whether taken 
on this side or that side of the axis; in this sense -\-y y = y. It 
is only the ordinate, it is only one determination and its law. 

From another point of view the contraries are not one independent 
somewhat (t'.'e., as underlying the antithesis), but they are two inde- 
pendent somewhats. They are namely as opposed, also reflected 
into themselves, and they have independent subsistence as dis- 

In the expression 8 -\- 3, considered in this manner, there are 11 
units ; -\- y y are ordinates upon opposite sides of the axis. Each 
one is an independent being opposed to this limit, and opposed to the 
antithetic relation; therefore, -\- y y=2 y. Also, the journey to 
the East and back to the West over the same road is the sum of two 
exertions, or the sum of two periods of time. Likewise in political 
economy, a quantity of money, or of value, is not merely this one 
quantity as a means of subsistence, but it has a two-fold validity : it 
is means of subsistence both for the creditor and for the debtor. 
The wealth of the nation includes not merely the cash, and besides 
this the value of real and personal property in the nation, still less 
what remains after deducting liabilities from assets ; but its capital, 
even if the liabilities and assets balance each other, remains positive 
capital ; as -f- a a = a; but, in the second place, since the capital 
may be regarded as liabilities over and over again, being loaned re- 
peatedly, it becomes a multiplied means. 

But the antithetic quantities are not merely contraries ; in another 
respect they are real or independent, and indifferent to each other. 
But whether a quantity is the particular being with indifferent 
limits or not, the positive and negative belongs to it potentially. For 
example, a, in so far as it has no sign of -(- or attached to it, is 
taken in a positive sense as though the -|- belonged to it. But if it 
was intended to be a contrary only, it might be taken as a, just as 
well. But the positive sign is readily given it, because the positive is 
regarded as somewhat which is identical with itself, and the self-iden- 
tical is the immediate independent, that which is not in a relation 
of antithesis to anvthins;. 

Moreover, when positive and negative magnitudes are added or sub- 
stracted they are taken for such as would be positive or negative by 
themselves, and not as though this distinction depended upon the oper- 
ation of addition or subtraction. In the expression, 8 ( 3), the 
first minus is opposed to 8, but the second minus, ( 3) is taken as 

Antithesis. 61 

though the 3 were negative in itself, independent of its relation within 
the entire expression. 

This peculiarity comes out more clearly in multiplication and di- 
vision : in these operations the positive is essentially not antithetic, 
but the negative, on the contrary, is taken as antithetic. The ex- 
pressions positive and negative are not taken as opposites of each 
other. While the text-books, in their demonstrations of the mathe- 
matical operations in which positive and negative occur, treat them in 
all cases as contraries, the}' mistake their nature, and, therefore, in- 
volve themselves in .contradictions. Plus and minus, in the operations 
of multiplication and division, obtain this more specific meaning of 
positive and negative, for the reason that the relation of the factors 
(which are that of sum and unity Einheit tend Anzahl i. e., mul- 
tiplier or divisor being the " sum," or the how-many-times, and the 
multiplicand or quotient being the " unity," or the that-which-is-re- 
peated), is not a relation of mere increase and diminution, as is found 
in addition and substraction, but it is a qualitative relation ; where- 
fore plus and minus receive the qualitative meaning of positive and 
negative. Unless this distinction is kept in mind it is easy to show, 
on the supposition that these are mere antithetic magnitudes, that if 
the product of a into -\- a is a 2 , conversely, the product of -)- a 
into a will be -j- a 2 , obviously a false conclusion. When the one 
factor is taken as sum (how-many-times), and the other factor is 
taken as unity (the unit of repetition) and the first factor is usually 
written first in the expression the two expressions ( a) X (+ a) 
and (-f-ct) X ( ft) differ in this respect: in the former, -pa is the 
" unit}'," and a the " sum," and in the other the converse is true. 
In explaining the former it is customary to say : " If I take -j- a, a 
times, then I take -f- a not merely a times, but at the same time in a 
negative manner, i. e., -f- a times a; hence the -\- a has taken 
negatively, and the product is a 2 . Now, in the second case, if a 
is to be taken -j- a times, then a ought likewise to be taken not a 
times, but in the opposite relation, viz.: -\~a times; if thepJws sign 
indicated antithetic relation, the reasoning which holds good in the 
case of the negative multiplier would prove here in the case of a posi- 
tive multiplier that the product should be -\- a~. The same remark 
applies to division. (But Hegel holds, as above shown, that in mul- 
tiplication and division the minus sign indicates a negative quantity, 
negative having the sense of contrary ; while the plus sign does not 
indicate a positive quantity, i. e., "positive " in the sense of a term of 
an antithesis). 

This consequence (that a plus multiplier should give as product a 

62 Essence. 

positive result, while a negative multiplier gives a negative result), is- 
a necessary one, provided that -f- and are taken as indicating 
antithetic magnitudes (as they are taken in the demonstrations usually 
found in text-books). To minus is ascribed the power of changing 
the plus; but, on the other hand, no such power of changing minus 
is ascribed to plus, notwithstanding plus is looked upon as an anti- 
thetic quantity just as much as minus is. In fact, plus does not pos- 
sess this power of changing minus, because it is here taken in its 
qualitative relation to minus, inasmuch as the factors have a qualitative 
relation to each other. Hence, in so far as the negative is here taken 
as antithetic, the positive, on the other hand, is taken as indetermin- 
ate, indifferent. The plus is, indeed, also, the negative, but the 
negative of the minus, not the in-itself-negative as the minus is. 
Hence, the negative effect of changing the sign of the unity (multi- 
plicand) appertains to the minus and not to the plus. 

Therefore a into a gives -f- a 2 , for the reason that the negative 
a is not to be taken merely as antithetic (for it would be thus taken 
if multiplied by minus a) but because it is to be taken negatively. 
The negation of negation is the positive. 



(1.) Distinction contains its.two sides as moments; in the phase of 
difference (disparateness) they are sundered and indifferent towards 
each other ; in the phase of antithesis, these moments are sides, each 
one of which is determined through the other, so that they are recip- 
rocally complemental elements. They are, however, likewise deter- 
mined in themselves (as well as through each other), and, therefore, 
indifferent towards each other, and at the same time reciprocally 
excluding each other. These are the independent determinations of 

The one is the positive, the other the negative ; the former, how- 
ever, as the in-itself positive, the latter as the in-itself negative. 
Each one possesses this indifference and independence for-and-by- 
itself through the fact that it has the relation to its other moment, in 
itself; in this manner it is the entire antithesis including both 
moments in itself. (It was shown that the identity was a phase of 
activity of the entire process of self-difference, and that difference 
was another phase of the same process. The " positive " is this pro- 
cess looked upon as self-determined in the form of identity, while the 
negative is the same in the form of difference). Each moment, as 

Contradiction. 63 

this entire process is mediated through its other within itself, and 
contains the same. But it is mediated, also, through the non-being 
of its other, within itself; hence, it is a unity existing for itself (as 
independent), and it excludes the other from itself. 

Since the independent determination of reflection excludes the other, 
and in the same respect in which it contains it, and thereby is inde- 
pendent, it follows that it excludes its independence from itself in the 
very attitude in which it is independent. For this independence con- 
sists in the fact that it contains the other determination within itself, 
and lias, through this very circumstance, no relation to an external 
somewhat ; but, at the same time, this independence consists also 
in the fact that it is itself, and excludes from itself its negative 
determination. In this, it is CONTRADICTION. 

Distinction is always contradiction, at least implicitly. For it is 
the unity of moments which are only in so far as they are not one, 
and it is the separation of moments which are separated only as exist- 
ing terms of the same relation. But when distinction develops into 
positive and negative, we have the contradiction as posited ; because 
they, as negative unities, are the positing of themselves, and, at the 
same time, each one of them is the cancelling of itself and the positing 
of its opposite. They constitute the determining reflection as an exclud- 
ing reflection ; because the act of exclusion is one of distinguishing:, 
and each of the terms distinguished, as also excluding, is the entire 
process of exclusion, and hence each, within its own activity, 
excludes itself. 

The two independent determinations of reflection, considered by 
themselves, are the following: (a) the positive is the posited-being 
as reflected into identity with itself ; and this is the posited-being 
which is not relation to another, and is, therefore, independent sub- 
sistence, in so far as the posited-being is cancelled and excluded 
from it. With this, however, the positive enters into relation to a 
non-being to a posited-being. It is, therefore, contradiction in that 
as the positing of identity-with-itself through the act of excluding 
the negative, it makes itself into a negative somewhat, and, therefore, 
into another, which it excludes from itself. This other is, as excluded, 
posited as independent of that which excludes it; hence, as reflected 
into itself and self-excluding. Therefore, the excluding reflection is 
the positing of the positive as excluding the other, and, therefore, 
this positing is immediately the positing of its other which excludes 
it. This is the absolute contradiction of the positive, but it is at the 
same time, also, the absolute contradiction of the negative, for the 
one reflection posits both. 

64 Essence. 

(b) The negative considered for-and-by itself as the contrary of 
the positive, is the posited-being as reflected into non-identity with 
itself, i. e., the negative as negative. But the negative is itself the 
non-identical, i. e., the non-being of another; consequently the re- 
flection in its non-identity is rather its relation to itself. Negation in 
the first place is the negative as quality, or as immediate determinate- 
ness ; but the negative as negative, is the same, as related to the nega- 
tive of itself, i. e., to its other. If this negative is taken as identical 
with the former (qualitative) negative, it is then only an immediate 
negative, in which case it would not be taken as other opposed to 
other, consequently not as negative at all ; the negative is not an imme- 
diate. Furthermore, since each one is the same that the other is, this 
relation of the non-identical somewhats is at the same time an identi- 
cal relation. 

This (the negative) is, therefore, the same contradiction that the 
positive is, namely, posited-being. or negation as relation to itself (*'. 
e., dependence which is dependence on itself). But the positive is 
only potentially this contradiction; the negative, on the other hand, 
is the posited contradiction ; for in its reflection into itself, in which 
it is for-itself negative, or identical with itself as negative, it is non- 
identical or the exclusion of identity. While it is in opposition to 
identity it is identical with itself, and hence, through its excluding- 
reflection it is the exclusion of itself from itself. 

The negative is, therefore, the entire movement the antithesis 
which is self-antithesis; the distinction which does not relate to 
another but only to itself ; it excludes, as antithesis, identity from 
itself ; and consequentl}* it excludes itself, for as relation to itself it 
determines itself in the form of identity which it excludes. 

(2) Contradiction cancels itself. 

In the self-excluding reflection which has been considered, the posi- 
tive and the negative cancel each itself in its independence ; each is 
nothing but the transition, or rather the translation, of itself into its 
opposite. This ceaseless vanishing of the opposites is the first unity 
in which the contradiction results. It is that of zero. 

Contradiction contains, however, not merely the negative, but also 
the positive ; in other words, the self-excluding reflection is, at the 
same time, the positing reflection ; hence, the result of the contradic- 
tion is not merely zero. The positive and negative constitute the 
posited-being of independence ; their negation through themselves 
cancels the posited-being of the independence. It is this posited- 
being which is annulled (geld zu Grand) in contradiction. 

Reflection into itself, through which the sides of the antithesis are 

Contradiction. G5 

reduced to independent self-relations, is, in the first place, their inde- 
pendence as separate moments. They are, therefore, only potentially 
this independence, for they are still in opposition to each other, and 
this potential or implicit state which belongs to them is their posiled- 
bzing. But their excluding reflection cancels this posited-being, and 
reduces them to independent somewhats i. e., to somewhals that 
exist, not only in potent ia but, to such as through their negative rela- 
tion to their others, are independent. Their independence becomes 
posited in this way. But they still reduce themselves to a posited- 
being through this positing which they have. They cancel them- 
selves, in that they determine themselves into self-identical some- 
whats, but in the same, being still negative a self-identity which 
is a relation to another. 

But this excluding reflection is not merely this formal determina- 
tion. It is excluding independence, and is the annulling of this 
posited-being, and through this annulling it becomes for itself, and in 
fact, a truly independent unity. Through the annulling of the other- 
being, the posited-being again makes its appearance as the negative of 
another. But, in fact, this negation is not again a merely first, 
immediate relation to another, not a posited-being as cancelled 
immediateness, but as cancelled posited-being. The excluding reflec- 
tion which belongs to independence, for the reason that it is exclud- 
ing, becomes a posited-being, but is at the same time a cancelling of 
its posited-being. It is a cancelling relation to itself. It annuls in 
this relation, first, the negative ; secondly, it posits itself as negative, 
and thereby becomes the very negative which it cancels : in the annul- 
ling of the negative it posits it and annuls it at the same time. This 
activity of exclusion is, therefore, the other whose negation it is ; the 
annulment of this posited-being is, therefore, not again posited-being 
in the sense that it is a negative of another, but it is the identification 
with itself, a posited unity with itself. Independence is, therefore, 
through its own negation, unity which returns into itself through the 
circumstance that it returns into itself by negating its posited-being. 
It is the unity of Essence, a unity which arises, not through the nega- 
tion of another, but through a negation of itself, being through this 
act self-identical. 

(3.) According to this positive side of the question, and through 
the fact that the independence which we find in the Antithesis has 
reduced itself, through its excluding activity of reflection, to posited- 
being, and at the same time annulled this posited-being, the Antithe- 
sis has not only been destroyed, but has gone back into its ground. 


66 Essence. 

The excluding activity of reflection which appertains to an independ- 
ent contrary makes it a negative, and therefore a mere posited 
somewhat. Through this it reduces its determinations, which at first 
have the phase of independence (the positive and negative), to mere 
determinations (i. e., to dependence). Since the posited-being 
is by this means made to become posited-being, it returns into unity 
with itself (its becoming is a becoming of itself ; herein the circular 
movement of reflection makes itself manifest) ; it is the simple 
essence, but the simplicity of essence in this phase is the category of 
Ground, or Reason (Grund). Through the annulling of the self-con- 
tradictory determinations of essence, we have the restoration of the 
simplicity of essence, but as an excluding unity of reflection. This is 
a simple unity which determines itself as negative, but in this posited- 
being is immediately self-identical. 

The independent Antithesis, through its contradiction, is cancelled, 
and results in a ground which is the first immediate whence issued the 
antithesis ; the annulled antithesis, or the annulled posited-being, is 
itself a posited-being. Hence, essence as ground is a posited-being, a 
result which has become. But, conversely, only this has resulted r 
that the antithesis, or the posited-being, is annulled or only as posited- 
being. Essence i&, therefore, as ground, this excluding reflection, 
which makes itself a posited-being, so that the antithesis with which 
it began, and which was immediate, is only the posited, definite inde- 
pendence of essence, and that at the same time it is only the self- 
annulling ; but essence is reflected into itself in its determinateness. 
Essence as ground excludes itself from itself, and thereby posits 
itself. Its posited-being, which is that which is excluded, is only as 
posited-being, as identity of the negative with itself. This independ- 
ent somewhat is the negative, posited as negative. It is a self- 
contradictory which, therefore, remains immediately in essence as its 
ground. (Posited-being is the immediate being which has shown 
itself to be transitory or dependent upon something else ; this de- 
pendence, traced out, is found to be a relation to that wh>ch posits it, 
again ; so the dependence is a dependence on its own dependence, 
and this is independence ; or, in the language of the text, the posited- 
being is an "annulled posited-being," being annulled through this 
very self-relation ; it is a posited-being which is annulled by being 
posited, again, as posited-being; i. e., its dependence is cancelled by 
being made self-dependent. N. B. It is only the tracing out of the 
entire relation which changes the aspect of the category here in- 

Contradiction. 67 

The annulled contradiction is, therefore, the ground ; it is essence 
as the unity of positive and negative ; in antithesis, determination at- 
tains to independence, but its independence is perfected in the cate- 
gory of Ground. The negative is developed into independent essence 
in it, but still as negative. Therefore, it is at the same time the posi- 
tive, while it is self-identical in this negativity. The antithesis and 
its contradiction are, therefore, annulled in the category of Ground, 
as well as preserved. Ground is essence as positive identity with 
itself ; but it at the same time relates to itself as negativity, and, there- 
fore, determines itself, and becomes the excluded posited-being. 
This posited-being, however, is the wholly independent essence ; and 
the essence is ground through the fact that in this, its negation, it is 
self-identical and positive. The self-contradicting, independent an- 
tithesis was, therefore, ground already. There was added only the 
determination of unity with itself. This (unity) made its appearance 
through the fact that the independent opposites cancelled each itself, 
and each became its other, and consequently was annulled. But in 
that annulment each one came into self-identity ; and, therefore, 
proved itself to be self-identical essence, a somewhat reflected into 
itself, even in its destruction, in its posited-being, or self -negation. 

Remark 1. 

The positive and the negative are the same. This expression 
belongs to external reflection in so far as it institutes a comparison of 
these two determinations ; but the question is not what the relation is 
between two categories, as found by external comparison ; they must 
be considered in themselves, and their own reflection discovered. And 
in the case of these two categories, we have seen that each is essen- 
tially the manifestation of itself in the other, and the positing itself as 
the other. 

The thinking which deals with images ( Vorstellen), does not con- 
sider the positive and negative in themselves, and has recourse to the 
act of comparison in order to seize these distinctions, which are evanes- 
cent, but which it nevertheless holds to be fixed and abiding opposites 
to each other. A very little experience in the habits of reflecting- 
thinking will suffice to convince one that when it defines a somewhat 
as positive, it will often invert the same into negative upon very 
slight pretexts ; and, conversely, what it has defined as negative, into 
positive. The reflecting-thinking falls into confusion and self-con- 
tradiction in dealing with these categories. To one who is ignorant 
of the nature of these categories, it looks as though this confusion 
were something improper, and which ought not to happen ; it there- 

68 Essence. 

fore ascribes it to subjective incompetency. This transition of one 
contrary into the other does, in fact, produce mere confusion so long 
as the necessity for the transformation has not been seen. It is, 
however, even for external reflection, a matter of simple observation 
that the positive is not a somewhat immediately identical with itself, 
but it is opposed to a negative, and has significance only in this rela- 
tion ; therefore, the negative itself is involved in the positive ; and, 
more than this, the positive is the self-relating negation of the nega- 
tive, which is the mere posited-being ; therefore, the positive is the 
absolute negation in itself. Likewise the negative, which is opposed 
to the positive, has its meaning in this relation to its other. Its 
totalit}', therefore, involves the positive. But the negative has also 
outside of its relation to the positive a subsistence of its own; it 
is self-identical. Hence the negative has all that belongs to the defi- 
nition of the positive. 

The opposition of positive and negative is most commonly under- 
stood in the sense that the positive is something objective, notwith- 
standing its very name expresses posited-being. On the contrary, it 
understands the negative, in a subjective sense, as belonging only to 
external reflection, which never concerns itself with the objective ; and, 
indeed, for which the objective does not exist. In fact, if the nega- 
tive expresses nothing else than an arbitrary abstraction, or the result 
of an external comparison, then, of course, it has no existence for the 
objective positive, and the positive is not in itself related to such an 
empty abstraction. But in that case the determination of " positive" 
is likewise merely an external and arbitraiy designation. For an ex- 
ample of these fixed contraries of reflection : light is generally taken 
as the positive, and darkness as the negative. But light has in its 
infinite expansion, and in the force of its unfolding and vitalizing in- 
fluences, the nature of absolute negativity. Darkness, on the con- 
trary, as devoid of multiplicity, or as the womb of productive ac- 
tivity, in which no distinctions are produced by its own energy, is 
rather the simple identity with itself, the positive. It is taken as 
negative in the sense that it, as the mere absence of light, does not ex- 
ist at all, and has no relation to light ; so that light, inasmuch as it is 
a self -relation, and is regarded as not depending upon others, but as 
related purely to itself, should cause darkness to vanish before it. 
But it is a familiar fact that light may be dimmed through the agency 
of darkness, so that it becomes gray ; and besides this merely quanti- 
tative change into gray, it also suffers qualitative changes through 
relation to darkness, and is modified into color. So, too, for an ex- 
ample : virtue is not without struggle ; it is rather the highest, most 

Conlardiction. 69 

perfect struggle ; therefore, it is not onty the positive, but it is abso- 
lute negativity. Virtue, moreover, is not such merely in comparison 
with vice, but it is in its very nature opposition and struggling. In 
other words, vice is not only the absence of virtue innocence, too, 
is this absence and not distinguished from virtue by external reflec- 
tion, but it is in its very nature opposed to it ; it is evil. Evil consists 
in self-persistence in active opposition to good ; it is the positive 
negativity. But innocence is the absence of good as well as of evil, 
is indifferent toward both determinations, and is neither positive nor 
negative. But at the same time this absence is to be taken also as 
determinateness. On the one hand, it is to be regarded as the positive 
nature of something, and, on the other hand, it relates to a contrary; 
and all natures emerge from their state of innocence from their in- 
different identity with themselves, and come into relation to their 
others, and through this go to destruction, or, in the positive sense, go 
back into their ground. The truth also is the positive, as the knowing 
which corresponds to its object ; but it is only this self-identity in so 
far as the knowing conducts itself negatively towards its other, pene- 
trates the object, and cancels its negation (for the object is the nega- 
tion of the subject). Error is something positive, as an opinion 
known and asserted regarding that which does not exist. Ignorance, 
however, is either indifferent towards truth and error, and, conse- 
quently, neither positive nor negative, in which case the distinction 
belongs to external reflection ; or, when taken objectiveby, as a quality 
of a person, it is the impulse which is directed against itself, a nega- 
tive which contains a positive direction in itself. It is one of the 
most important principles of philosophy, this insight into the nature 
of the determinations of reflection, as here considered ; that their 
truth consists only in their relation to each other, and that each in- 
cludes (in its totality) the other. Without this principle there can 
be no true step made in philosophy. 

Remark 2. 

The determination of Antithesis has likewise been set up as a prin- 
ciple the so-called principle of Excluded Middle : 

Something is either A or not-A ; there is no middle term. 

This principle involves, in the first place, the proposition that every- 
thing is a contrary, an antithetic somewhat, and that it is either posi- 
tive or negative. This is an important principle, which finds its 
necessity in this fact that identit} 7 involves (iibergeht) difference, and 
difference involves antithesis (i. e., the totality of each includes the 

70 Essence. 

But it is not usual to take these determinations in this meaning. 
Ordinarily, the principle is understood to assert that of the predicates 
belonging to a thing, a given predicate either does or does not belong 
to it. The opposite signifies in this case merely absence, or, rather, 
indefiniteness ; and the principle taken in this sense is so empty of 
meaning that it is not worth the trouble of quoting. If the qualities 
street, green, square are taken and all predicates are allowable by 
this principle and predicated of the mind thus : the mind is siveet 
or not sweet, green or not green, etc., this would be pronounced trivial, 
and as leading to nothing. The determinateness contained in the 
predicate is related to something ; every proposition expresses that 
something is determined. It ought essentially to contain this : that 
the determinateness expresses what is essential, in the form of antithe- 
sis. Instead of that, however, the proposition quoted goes in the 
opposite direction, back toindeterminateness, in the fact that it predi- 
cates in a trivial manner the determinateness, or its indefinite non- 

The principle of Excluded Middle is further to be distinguished 
from the principles of Identity and Contradiction, already discussed. 
It asserts that there is no thing which is neither A nor not- A, no 
tertium quid indifferent to the antithesis. In fact, however, this very 
principle gives a tertium quid which is indifferent to the antithesis 
viz. : A, itself. This A is neither -\- A nor A, and it is equalby -\- A 
and A. That which is to be either -|- A or not-A is hence related 
to -f - A, as well to not-A ; and, again, in the fact that it is related to 
A it ousrht not to be related to not-A, nor when it is related to not-A 
should it be related to A. The somewhat itself is, therefore, the 
tertium quid which was to be excluded. Since the contraries are 
both posited and annulled in the somewhat, the tertium quid, which 
is here a lifeless abstraction, if taken in a more profound meaning, 
is the unity of reflection into which, as the ground, the Antithesis 

Memark 3. 

If the first determinations of Reflection, viz.. Identity, Difference, 
and Antithesis (Polarity), can be set up as principles, as has been 
shown, it is certain that Contradiction ought also to admit of state- 
ment in the form of a principle ; for contradiction is the result of 
the mentioned determinations of reflection {i. e., the truth or totality 
of which Identity, Difference, and Antithesis are phases. Contra- 
diction is their " pre-supposition"), and if stated in the form of a 
principle would run thus: All things are in themselves contradic- 

Contradiction. 71 

tory ; and this principle should be understood in the sense that it 
expresses the ' truth and essence of things better than the former 
principles mentioned. Contradiction, which succeeds the category 
of Antithesis, is only the category of Naught, fully unfolded (become 
explicit) the category of Naught as contained in the category of 
Identity ; and this was partially seen in the expression that the 
principle of Identity says nothing (adds nothing in the predicate to 
the contents of the subject). This negation was further defined in 
the categories of Difference and Antithesis, and still further in the 
posited Contradiction. (The principle of Contradiction as here set 
up by Hegel, is the basis of all relation and of all being. Being has 
been found to depend upon Relation, and all Relation has been found 
to be Return or Reflection ; Reflection is a phase of self-relation or of 
self-negation ; all relation is negation ; self-relation or self-negation 
is the origin at once of all identity, subsistence, persistence, repose, 
and individuality, as well as of all distinction, opposition, activity, 
dependence, and manifestation. Contradiction makes explicit what 
was implicit in the determinations of Reflection previously discussed. 
" All things are in themselves contradictory," means nothing more 
nor less than that all finite or dependent things, when traced out 
as totalities, will be found to belong to self -relation, self-determina- 
tion, self-negation. And all independent things are self-determining 
and totalities.) 

It is, however, one of the fundamental prejudices of the formal 
logic and of the ordinary mode of viewing things, that Contradiction 
is not a determination of such essential and immanent character as 
that possessed by Identity. Yet, if order of rank is the question, 
and the two determinations are to be compared as separately valid, 
Contradiction will certainby be found to be the deeper and more 
essential. For Identity is in comparison with Contradiction only a 
determination expressing simple immediateness, the immediateness 
of dead being ; but Contradiction, on the other hand, is the root of 
all activity and vitality (self-movement is the basis of all movement, 
for no thing can move another until it originates movement within 
itself; but self-movement is self-negation, contradiction). Only in 
so far as something contains a contradiction within itself, does it 
move itself, and possess impulse and activity. 

Contradiction is usually held to be excluded from things, from all 
existence and from all truth. In fact, it is asserted that there is 
nothing self-contradictory ; on the other hand, regardless of this 
assertion, Contradiction is thrust into the subjective reflection which 
posits it through its act of relating and comparing. (The activity of 

72 Essence. 

reflection brings disparate objects into relation and compares them ; 
it thereby unites contradictories.) Bat it is denied that Contradiction 
really exists in this subjective activity of reflection ; for it is said that 
the self-contradictory cannot be conceived or thought. If it were 
found in reality, or in the thinking reflection, it would pass for an 
accident or for something abnormal, or a transitory state of delirium. 

Now, as regards the assertion that there is no Contradiction, and 
that it cannot appertain to reality, we need not give ourselves any 
concern. A category of Essence will certainly be found in all experi- 
ence, and in all reality as well. Already, when speaking of the cate- 
gory of the Infinite, we have made the same remark ; and indeed 
Contradiction is the category of the Infinite as occurring in the 
sphere of Being (i. e., Contradiction is self-determination in the 
category of Essence, and the Infinite is the category of self-determi- 
nation in the sphere of Being). But even common experience itself 
bears testimony to the fact that there are a multitude of self-contra- 
dictory things, of self-contradictory plans, and so forth, whose self- 
contradiction is not merely one of external reflection, but is inherent. 
And moreover, their self-contradiction is not to be taken as some- 
thing abnormal which is found only here and there, and not in a 
majority of cases ; but it is the negative in its essential characteristic, 
the principle of all self-activity ; for self-activity is nothing else than 
an exhibition of self-contradiction. External movement perceptible- 
by the senses is the immediate existence of self-contradiction. Some- 
thing moves, not through the fact that it is now here, and in the next 
moment there, but through the fact that in one and the same moment 
of time it is here and not here through the fact that in this "here" 
it is and is not, at the same time. It is necessaiy to acknowledge the 
contradictions which the ancient philosophers have shown up in the 
category of movement, but in conceding the validity of the contra- 
diction shown by their dialectic, we must not adopt their conclusion and 
deny the existence of movement ; on the contrary, we must affirm 
that movement is the real existence of contradiction. 

Likewise, the internal, real self-activity, viz., impulse in general 
(Trieb) appetite or nisus of the monads (Leibnitz) the Entelechy 
of absolute, simple essence (Aristotle) is nothing else than this 
contradiction that something is in itself, and at the same time the lack 
of itself, its own negative, and this in one and the same respect. 
(Instinct, impulse, desire, are manifestations within a being of its 
dependence upon another ; they express its lack or want of its own 
true being, that upon which it depends ; and at the same time they 
express this want as the true nature, the being-in-itself of the thing. 

Contradiction. 73 

itself. Even gravity in matter is a similar expression of self-contra- 
diction ; the very essence of matter expresses its own non-being. ) 
The mere abstract identity is not yet the category of vitality (it is 
not adequate to it), but the category of vitality demands that the 
positive shall be the negative in itself, and through this fact issue 
forth from itself, and thereby posit change within itself. Something 
is vital, therefore, only so far as it contains the contradiction within 
itself, and nevertheless is a force sufficient to preserve itself in spite 
of this contradiction within itself. If, however, an existence does not 
possess the capacity to retain its positive determination in the face of 
its negative, and to hold the one in the other, in other words, cannot 
endure the contradiction within itself, then it is not a vital unity, not 
a Ground, but the contradiction destroys it. Speculative thinking 
consists only in this, that the thinking activity grasps firmly the cate- 
gory of contradiction and holds it within itself, but not as conceived 
b} r the ordinary thinking which thinks only in images ; for the picture- 
making thinking thinks contradiction only as a principle which rules 
thought and which allows of no other solution for contradictory deter- 
minations than zero. 

The contradiction contained in movement and in impulse, desire, and 
the like categories is concealed from the thinking which deals only 
with images through the appearance of simplicity which belongs to 
such categories. But, on the other hand, in the categories of Kela- 
tion the self-contradiction involved becomes immediately manifest. 
The most trivial examples, those of above and beneath, of right and 
left, of father and son, etc., etc., contain each the antithesis in unity. 
Above is that wdrich is not beneath; above is thus defined to be only 
the non-being of beneath, and is only in so far as the beneath is (the 
totality of its being is one with the totality of the being of the 
other); and vice versa, in each category is contained its opposite. 
Father is the other of son, and son the other of father, and each 
is only as this other of another ; and at the same time the one 
determination exists only in relation to the other; their being is 
one totality. Father is besides this relation to son also some- 
thing independent, it is true ; but as such he is not father, but 
only man in general. So also, above and beneath, right and left, 
reflected into themselves (i. e., considered not as terms of relation 
to another, but in regard to themselves), are something independ- 
ent outside of this relation, but as such they are only places in 
general. Contraries (polar opposites) contain self-contradiction in 
so far as they are in one and the same respect related negatively to 
another, or reciprocally annulling and at the same time indifferent to 

74 Essence. 

each other. The thinking which deals in images, when it passes over 
to the phase of indifference in categories, forgets their negative unity, 
and treats them, consequently, only as disparate in general ; and thus 
regarded, " right " is no longer " right," "left " no longer " left," 
etc. But when it has right and left really before it, it has these 
determinations in their self-negating activity, the one existing in the 
other, and in this unity at the same time not annulling itself, but each 
one existing indifferent and independent. 

The thinking which deals in images has, thei'efore, self-contradic- 
tion always for its content, but is never conscious of this fact. It 
remains external reflection, therefore, and flits to and fro from like- 
ness to difference, or from the negative relation of objects distin- 
guished to their reflection into themselves. It holds these two deter- 
minations (of we^a^'ye-relation and of self- relation) apart and opposite 
to each other, and has in mind only their indifference and not their 
transition, which is the essential thing, and contains the contradiction. 
The genial reflection (the speculative form of reflection), if we may 
mention it here, consists in contrast to the forms of reflection 
mentioned in the apprehension and expression of contradiction, 
although it does not express the comprehension (Begriff = ideal 
totalit} r ) of things and their relations, and has only image-forms of 
thought for its materials and contents, yet it brings them into a relation 
which contains their contradiction, and thereby manifests their com- 
prehension (ideal totality). The thinking reason, however, sharpens, 
so to speak, the blunted distinction of Difference, the mere multi- 
plicity of image-thinking, to essential distinction, to antithesis; multi- 
plicity when sharpened to the point of contradiction becomes vital 
and active, each of its individuals manifesting itself against the 
others, and thus multiplicity obtains for itself the negativity which 
is the in-dwelling pulsation of self-movement and vitality. 

In speaking of the ontological proof of the existence of God, we 
have already mentioned that the basis of that proof is the idea of an 
including totality of all real things. Of this idea it is customary to 
prove first its possibility ; this being done by showing that it contains 
no contradiction, because reality merely as reality has no limits. 
Attention has been called to the fact that with this proof, the men- 
tioned including totality is reduced to the simple, indeterminate 
being ; or if the realities are taken in fact as a multiplicity of par- 
ticulars, then it becomes an including totality of all negations. 
Critically examined, the distinction of realities passes from the cate- 
gory of difference to antithesis, and then to contradiction, and the 
including totality of all realities goes over into absolute self-contra- 

Contradiction. 75 

diction. The prevailing horror of contradiction which possesses the 
thinking that deals with images, but not the speculative thinking 
a feeling similar to that which nature is said to have for a vacuum 
objects to this result ; for it holds fast to the one-sided solution of 
self-contradiction in zero, and ignores the positive side of it, accord- 
ing to which contradiction becomes absolute activity and absolute 

We have seen from the consideration of the nature of contradic- 
tion that it is, so to say, no fault, or lack, or failure of a thing to 
exhibit a contradiction within it. On the contrary, every determina- 
tion, every concrete thing, every idea, is essentially a unity of distinct, 
and separable moments, which pass over into contradictory moments 
through the particular essential distinction in them (forming the basis 
of their difference). This contradictory unity, of course, resolves 
itself into a zero it goes back into its negative unity. The thing, 
the subject, the idea, is precisely this negative unity itself; it is 
an in-itself-contradictory, but at the same time equally a resolved 
contradiction ; it is the ground which retains and carries with it its 
determinations. The thing, subject, or idea is as reflected into itself, 
as regards its own sphere, its solved contradiction ; but its entire 
sphere is a particularized one, a " different" as regards some other 
sphere ; hence it is a finite somewhat, and to be a " finite " is to be , 
a contradiction. Of this higher contradiction, in which its entire 
sphere is involved, the thing, subject, or idea is not itself the solu- 
tion ; but there is a still higher sphere as its negative unity, as its 
ground. Finite things, in their indifferent manifoldness, involve 
always a contradiction ; for they are within themselves sundered, and 
exist only in their ground (into which they return through the activity 
of the process to which they belong). As will be shown further on, 
the true inference from a finite and contingent to an absolutely nec- 
essary essence does not consist in this : that the latter is inferred from 
a finite and contingent being which is an abiding ground underlying 
it, but rather that the inference is made because contingency implies an 
in-itself-contradictory being, a merely transitory one. In other words, 
the inference is based on the fact, that the contingent being returns 
into its ground necessarily, and therein annuls itself ; and, moreover, 
that through this return into its ground, it posits that ground (fur- 
nishes the basis for the inference that it exists) only by exhibiting 
itself as a posited (. e., as a dependent being, and thereb}^ positing 
an independent being). In the ordinary syllogism, the being of the 
finite appears to be the ground of the absolute: " therefore, because 
the finite is, it follows that the absolute is." The true inference, 

76 Essence. 

however, is this: "Therefore, because the finite is an in-itself-con- 
tradictory antithesis i. e., because it is not the absolute is." 
In the former case the conclusion is : The being of the finite is the 
being of the absolute. In the latter case it is : The non-being of 
the finite is the being of the absolute. 

Third Chapter. 
Ground or Reason. 

Essence defines itself as ground (or reason). 

As Naught was found (in the dialectic of Immediateness) to be in 
simple, direct unity with Being, so here is found the immediate unity 
of the simple Identity of essence with its absolute Negativity (the 
Identity of Essence attains and preserves itself through its activity of 
negating ; through its negating arise all particular determinations- 
which constitute the different elements of its content, and through 
the same determining activity this multiplicity is negated, and disap- 
pears ; only the process, the negative activity, abiding as ground or 
essence). Essence is only this negative activity, the same which pure 
Reflection is. (All proving or demonstration depends upon reflection 
i. e., on the fact that a finite, or immediate being is a process of mani- 
festing its dependence; its incompleteness, its imperfection, its 
fragmentariness, are all only a manifestation of the independent 
being, its ground. This reference of a finite somewhat to its ground, 
as that upon which it essentially depends, is reflection; it comes from 
the ground, and is a process of return to the ground.) It is this pure 
negativity, as the return of being into itself. Hence, it is in-itself, 
or for-us determined as (i. e., seen to essentially consist in or depend 
upon) ground into which being (immediateness) dissolves. But 
this determinateness (. e.. ground) is not posited through itself (. e. r 
through the immediate being, because the immediate being is only 
an appearance its essence lies outside of itself, in the ground; it 
cannot posit anything, because it possesses no essence to bestow upon 
another). In other words, the determinateness of immediate being,, 
through which immediate being is cancelled, is a result of the deter- 
mining activity of ground or essence acting upon immediate being from 
without; and, therefore, this determinateness is not self-posited. Its 
reflection consists in this : what the immediate being is, is posited as 
negative, and thereby determined (i. e., negated by the activity of 
the ground). The distinction of positive and negative constitutes 
the essential determination in which it (being) is lost, as in its nega- 
tion. These independent determinations of reflection cancel each 

Ground. 77 

other, and the determination thus annulled gone to the ground 
is the true determination of essence. 

Ground is, therefore, also one of the determinations of reflection 
which form the categories of essence ; but it is the final one, and its 
determination consists rather in being the annulment of determina- 
tion. The determination of reflection, when it annuls itself, "goes 
to the ground," obtains its true significance, that of absolute counter- 
impulse within itself, viz., that the posited-being which belongs to 
essence is only an annulled posited-being; and, conversely, only the 
self-annulling posited-being is the posited-being of essence ("pos- 
ited-being" = the being-established through another; all categories 
of essence are categories of mediation, categories posited through 
another ; but the starting-point in this positing or mediating is, of 
course, always being or immediateness ; its positing is always due to 
its self-annulment, to its transitoriness, its evanescence ; on the other 
hand, that which is posited is the totality of its negative process; 
hence the abiding, the essence, the ground ; but the essence or abid- 
ing thus posited is posited as the primordial source, the origin ^vhence 
the evanescent being proceeded ; hence the immediate being which 
posited the essence, posits rather the being which posited it its 
positing is rather a presupposing activity, or, in the words of the text, 
" its positing is only a cancelling or annulment " of its positing ; it is 
a return movement, or reflection, rather than an origination or posit- 
ing). Essence, when it defines itself as ground, defines itself as the 
non-determined, and it is only the annulment of this, its being-deter- 
mined, which determines it as essence (i. e., the cancelling of its other 
being the particularized somewhats which have arisen from essence, 
and stand over against it as immediate being the cancelling of 
this otherness is the true determination of essence). In this being- 
determined (of essence), as the self-annulling essence, it is not 
a derivative somewhat derived from another (originating in im- 
mediate being), but it is self-identical in and through this negativity 
(. e., through this cancelling of all otherness, it exhibits itself as 

In so far as the category of Ground is reached through the annul- 
ment of Determination (i. e. Particular Being), as the first or imme- 
diate from which we begin, and which proves transitory ( " goes to 
the ground") a result which follows from the very nature of 
Determination the category of ground is, as such result, condi- 
tioned through its origin, and thus a determined somewhat. But this 
determining is, in the first place, an annulment of determination, 

78 Essence. 

and hence only a restored, purified, or revealed identity of 
Essence it is what the determination of reflection is potentially 
(and not } r et realized). In the second place, this determining is, as 
annulment of determining, the positing of that determinateness of 
reflection which was called the Immediate ( on its appearance in the 
positing reflection), but which is posited only by the self-excluding 
reflection of Ground, and in this is only as posited or as annulled ( in 
its independence). Essence, when it is defined as ground in this 
sense is a self-result. As Ground, therefore, it posits itself as 
Essence ; and in this fact, that it posits itself as Essence, consists its 
determination. This positing is the reflection that appertains to 
Essence a determining that annuls itself in the very act of deter- 
mining itself being in one respect a positing, and in another re- 
spect a positing of Essence, and, consequently, both in one act ( the 
positing of itself, and of Essence which is its own annulment). 

Reflection is pure mediation ; Ground, on the other hand, is real 
mediation of Essence. Reflection is the movement of Naught to 
Naugfct, through itself ; it is its manifestation of another ; but since 
the antithesis does not attain to independence, as regards its sides 
(the contraries), it follows that in Reflection the first is not a pos- 
itive that which appears ; nor is the other the negative that 
in which it appears. The two are mere substrates of the imagina- 
tion ; they are not purely self-related terms. Pure mediation is only 
pure relation without any terms that stand in relation. (The rela- 
tion is that of self-determination, and hence an activity which pro- 
duces itself through the pure activity, and is not a relation which 
exists between two already existing somewhats.) The "Deter- 
mining Reflection" posits such terms as are self-identical, but at 
the same time are particular (concrete) relations. Ground, on 
the contrary, is the real mediation, because it contains reflection as 
annulled reflection ; it is Essence positing itself and returning into it- 
self, through its non-being. (Ground, thus defined and distin- 
guished from the activity of reflection, which has been discussed at 
such length, is here called by Hegel a real mediation, instead of a 
pure mediation, because its result is a reality, and not simply a nega- 
tion of something that exhibits itself as a phenomenal or transitory 
being, or a mere appearance ; in this determination, the real some- 
what is restored to validity again, so that it finds its explanation and 
justification, and, in short, is shown to be a well-grounded some- 
what. Of course, it is only a more entire view that yields us this in- 
sight. We see the general form of the activity which at first seemed 

Ground. 79 

to have only a negative result ; it is seen to have a positive result, 
and to produce reality, instead of mere annulment. This 
insight is akin to the insight which sees Law underlying change 
it sees Return where at first there appeared to be only a vanishing 
of whatever appeared. But the idea of Law is much more concrete 
or deeper than this idea of Ground, which here is only the explana- 
tion of multiplicity by means of the distinction of form and matter.) 
According to this phase of annulment of Reflection ( that in which 
it is found that the vanishing of the immediate being is not into 
nothing, but into a process which returns again to the being which had 
before vanished and so the reflection is thereby annulled), the 
posited somewhat is determined as an immediate as a somewhat that 
possesses self -identity outside of its relation or outside of its appear- 
ance (?'. e., outside of its relation of dependence.) This immediate- 
ness is the phase of Being restored through the process of Essence ; 
it is the non-being of Reflection, as that through which essence 
mediates itself. Essence returns into itself as negating ; hence it 
determines itself in this return, and for the reason that this is 
a determination arising in the identity of the negative, in its self-rela- 
tion, which is the annulment of the positing (of the dependence) ; 
it is, therefore, existing or real; it is the identity of Essence as 

Ground is first to be considered as Absolute Ground (. e., 
because that is its most immediate phase, its most abstract, or empti- 
est phase). In the phase of Absolute Ground, Essence is regarded 
as the "Basis" for the distinction; when defined with more atten- 
tion, it is stated as the distinction of Form and Matter, or as Form 
and Content. 

In the second place, it becomes a still more definitely seized dis- 
tinction that of Gronnd of a special content ; and since the relation 
of Ground is one in which the Essence is regarded as externalizing 
itself in this distinction of Ground and Content, it becomes Condi- 
tioning Mediation. 

Thirdly, Ground presupposes a condition, but the condition like- 
wise presupposes a ground ; the unity of the two is the uncondi- 
tioned the nature of the thing whereby it realizes itself in the cat- 
egory of Existence, through its mediation with its conditioning 

( It will be understood that the preceding is a general chara(ftei'- 
ization of the entire contents of the third chapter of this work ; this 
chapter concludes the first division of the treatment of Essence, and 

80 Essence. 

inducts us into the consideration of more explicit categories of Rela- 
tion. This introduction to the chapter merely states the general 
results, which we may expect to see proved in detail in what is to 


Ground, too, like the other categories of Reflection, has been 
expressed in the form of a Principle: Everything has a sufficient 
Ground, or Reason. The general meaning of this principle is 
nothing more than this: that whatever is, is to be considered, not as 
a something existing isolatedly for itself, but as a dependent some- 
thing. It implies, therefore, that we must look beyond that which 
we see, and seek a ground or explanation for it a ground in 
which the somewhat is not as it at first seemed, but is annulled as 
regards its iramediateness, and is seen as it is in its being-in-and- 
for itself ( i. e., in its law or in the general type of its process). In 
the principle of Ground the essentiality of Reflection-into-itself, as 
compared with mere immediate being, is expressed. 

That the ground must be a "sufficient" ground needs not be 
added, for it is superfluous ; that for which the ground is not suffi- 
cient, would not have a ground at all. Leibnitz, who placed a high 
estimate upon the principle of sufficient reason, and made it the basis 
of his whole system, attached to it a deeper signification and a more 
important conception than is ordinarily given to it. Yet even in the 
ordinary acceptation it has a very important meaning, inasmuch as it 
implies that being, as such, in its immediateness, is to be taken as 
untrue, and essentially as a posited (t. e., as a dependent), but its 
ground is to be taken as the true immediate (. e., as the true individu- 
ality). But Leibnitz added the designation " sufficient," in order to 
distinguish it sharply from the mechanical conception of cause as an 
external activity or influence. When causality is conceived as a 
form external to its content, as an activity that produces a determina- 
tion in an effect that is, after all, a merely external modification 
superinduced upon the so-called " effect," this category is rnereby a 
loose and fortuitous connection of the determinations involved. The 
fact that the parts belong to the whole is comprehended in causality, 
but the definite relation of these parts is not stated in the concept of 
mechanical cause. This relation, the whole as the essential unity of 
the parts, lies only in the idea (ideal, the totality of its being), or in 
the final cause. Mechanical causes are not "sufficient" for this 
unity, because the final cause, as the unity of their determinations, 

Absolute Ground. 81 

does not lie at the basis of mechanical causes. Under the concept of 
sufficient cause, therefore, Leibnitz has conceived a cause that suf- 
ficed for this unity ; and, therefore, not a mere cause, but the final 
cause. This definition of ground, as understood hy Leibnitz, is not 
the proper one of ground as it belongs here ; the teleological ground 
is a category of the Idea (or Begriff), and its mediation is the Reason. 

The Absolute Ground. 

1. Form and Essence. 

The determination of Reflection, in so far as it returns to a ground 
(i.e., shows that the idea of ground underlies the immediate being), 
constitutes only an immediate being in general with which a beginning- 
is to be made. But the immediate being has only the meaning of a 
posited (dependent) being, and presupposes a ground, of necessity. 
It presupposes a ground in the sense that it does not posit this ground, 
but rather that this presupposition on its part is indeed a negation of 
itself (for it is a confession of its own dependence and consequent 
lack of individuality) ; the immediate is only the posited, and the 
ground is the non-posited. As it has been shown, the presupposi- 
tion, which is a positing that points back to that which posited it, 
is the ground, but not as undetermined, in the annulment of all 
determinateness, but the self-determined essence that is undetermined 
or determined only as cancelled posited-being. It is the essence 
that is identical with itself in its own negativity. 

The determinateness of essence as ground is therefore duplicate 
that of ground and grounded. It is, first, essence as ground, deter- 
mined as essence, as non-posited-being, in opposition to the posited- 
being. Secondly, it is the grounded, the immediate, which, however, 
is not in-and-for-itself, but the posited being as posited-being. This 
is, consequently, self-identical, but the identity of the negative with 
itself. The negative which is self-identical, and the positive that is 
self-identical, are one and the same identity. For the ground is iden- 
tity of the positive, or of itself, and of the posited-being ; and that 
which is grounded is the posited-being as posited-being, and this 
reflection-into-itself is the identity of the ground. This simple identity 
is, therefore, not the ground itself ; for the ground is the essence, 
posited as the non-posited, in opposition to the posited-being. As 
this unity of the definite identity of ground and of the negative 

82 Essence. 

identity of the grounded it is the essence in general, distin- 
guished from its mediation. 

This mediation, compared with the reflections that have preceded it, 
and from which it has originated, is, in the first place (as is obvious), 
not the pure reflection, as which it is not distinguished from the 
essence ; nor is it the negative, as which it would possess the independ- 
ence of the determinations within itself. In the category of Ground 
as the annulled reflection, however, these determinations have a per- 
sistence. Moreover, it is not the determining reflection whose deter- 
minations possess essential independence ; for this independence of 
determinations has been shown to be groundless when we were demon- 
strating the categoiy of Ground, and within its unity those deter- 
minations are as merely "posited" determinations. This mediation 
of Ground is, therefore, the unity of the pure reflection and the 
determining reflection. Its determinations, or the posited, have 
persistence ; and, conversely, the persistence of the same is a posited 
somewhat. For the reason that this persistence which it has is a 
posited one, or has determinateness, it follows that its determinations 
are different from its simple unity, and constitute the form as opposed 
to the Essence. 

Essence has a form, and determinations of that form. First, as 
ground it has a fixed immediateness, or is a substratum. Essence 
is one with its reflection, and its movement is indistinguishable from 
it. It is, therefore, not the Essence which it penetrates ; and, more- 
over, it is not that which constitutes its commencement. This 
circumstance makes the exposition of reflection very difficult ; for 
it is not proper to say that the essence returns into itself, that it 
appears in itself, because it is not before its movement, nor in its 
movement, and the movement has no basis which supports it. A re- 
lated somewhat makes its appearance in the ground according to the 
moment of annulled reflection. Essence, as the related substratum, 
is, however, the particularized Essence ; and on account of this posited- 
being it has the form as essentially belonging to it. The form- 
determinations, on the other hand, are the determinations as belong- 
ing to Essence. Essence lies at the basis, as the indeterminate, 
which in its determination is indifferent towards them. They have 
in it their reflection into themselves. The determinations of reflection 
are defined as possessing their subsistence in themselves, and as 
being independent ; but their independence is their dissolution ; there- 
fore, they have their independence in another ; but this very dissolu- 
tion is at the same time their very identity, or the ground of their 

Form and Essence. 83 

Form belongs to everything that is determined (or to all particular 
being) ; form-determination is distinguished from that whose form it 
is, and it is always a posited somewhat ; the deterininatcness as 
quality is one with its substratum, with immediate being. Being is 
that which is immediately determined, that which is not distinct from 
its determinateness ; it is that which is not reflected into itself, and 
hence it is an existent, and not a posited. The form-determinations of 
essence are, moreover, as determinations of reflection and as regards- 
their definite particularity of content, the moments of reflection that 
have been considered above. Identity and distinction, the latter 
partly as difference, partly as antithesis, are these moments of reflec- 
tion. Besides these, the determination of ground belongs to these 
form-determinations that is, in so far as it is the annulled determi- 
nation of reflection, or through this, essence is at the same time a 
posited. On the contrary, Identity does not belong to form, nainelj', 
that which is contained in the ground, that the posited-being as- 
annulled, and the posited-being as such the ground and the 
grounded is one reflection, which constitutes the essence as simple 
basis that is, the subsistence of the form. But this subsistence is 
posited in the ground ; in other words, this essence is essentially as 
determined ; consequently, it is also a moment of ground-relation 
and of form. This is the absolute reciprocal relation of form and 
essence : this simple unity of ground and grounded which is in this, 
at the same time a particular, or a negative, and distinguishes itself 
from the form, but at the same time is ground itself, and a moment 
of form. 

Form is, therefore, the complete totality of reflection ; it contains, 
moreover, this determination of reflection it is annulled. There- 
fore it is likewise a unity of its determinations, and also related to 
their annulment, to another which is not form, but to which the form 
belongs. As the essential negativity which relates to itself, it is the 
positing and determining as opposed to this simple negative ; as simple 
essence, on the other hand, it is the undetermined and non-active basis 
in which the determinations of form have their inherence or their 
reflection into themselves. External Reflection takes its stand upon 
this distinction between essence and form. (It has not the ability 
to transcend this category). It is necessary to discriminate between 
matter and form, but this very discrimination is their unity ; and this 
unity of ground is essence which repels from itself and reduces what is 
repelled to a posited-being. Form is the absolute negativity itself, or 
the negative, absolute self-identity, through which essence is essence, 
and not mere being. This identity, taken abstractly, is essence as 

84 Essence. 

opposed to form ; just as negativity, taken abstractly as the posited- 
being, is the particular determination of form. This determination, 
however, as has been shown, is, in its truth, the total self-relating 
negativity, which is, consequently, as this identity, the simple essence 
in itself. Form, therefore, has essence as appertaining to its own 
identity ; so, likewise, essence has as its own negative nature, the 
absolute form. Therefore, the question cannot be asked: how form 
is added to essence ; for form is only the manifestation of essence in 
itself; it is the inherent reflection of essence. Form likewise is, by 
itself, the reflection which returns into itself ; or, in other words, it is 
the self-identical essence. In its act of determining, it reduces its 
determination to posited-being as posited -being. It, therefore, does 
not determine essence as though it were presupposed, as though it 
were divided from the essence ; for, as thus existing, it would be the 
unessential, a mere determination of reflection, restless, and perishing 
(going into its ground), and with this it would be rather the ground 
(or result) of its own cancelling, or the identical self-relation of its 
determinations. Form determines essence, in the sense that form, in 
its separation from essence, annuls this very separation, and is the 
self-identity of essence as the persistence of the determination. It 
is the contradiction which is annulled in its posited-being, and in this 
being-annulled finds its persistence ; consequently it is ground as 
essence, which is self-identical in its being determined or negated. 

These distinctions, therefore, of form and essence are mere ele- 
ments or phases of the simple form-relation itself. But, considered 
more in detail, the determining form relates to itself as posited- 
being which has been annulled ; and, therefore, it relates to its iden- 
tit}- as though it were another. It posits itself as annulled, hence 
it presupposes its identity ; essence is, in this phase, the indetermin- 
ate for which form is its other. Therefore, it is not essence which 
is the absolute reflection into itself, but this reflection is determined 
as the formless identity ; it is matter. 

2. Form and Matter. 

Essence becomes matter, in the fact that its reflection determines 
itself, so that its reflection relates to it as to the formless indeterminate. 
Matter is, therefore, the simple identity devoid of distinctions, the 
identity which is essence determined as the other of Form. It is, 
therefore, the real basis or the substrate of Form ; since it constitutes 
the reflection into itself of the form-determinations, which reflection 
is the independent, to which it relates as to its positive subsistence. 

If abstraction is made from all the determinations which belong to 

Form and Mailer. 85 

the form of a somewhat, there remains nothing but the undetermined 
matter. Matter is a pure abstraction. One cannot see matter, nor 
feel it; what one sees or feels is the determinations of matter, i. e., 
the unity of matter and form. This act of abstraction from which 
the idea of matter proceeds is, however, not a mere external removal 
and annulment of form ; but the activity of form (the self-determi- 
nation which belongs to form) evolves this simple identity of and 
from itself, as we have already seen in the above consideration. 

Moreover, form presupposes matter to which it relates. But for 
this reason form and matter are not found as two external categories 
accidentally opposed to each other ; neither of the two is self-originat- 
ing, or, in other words, eternal. Matter is indifferent as opposed to 
form, but this indifference is the determinateness of self-identity into 
which form returns as into its basis. Form presupposes matter. In 
this very fact that it posits itself as anulled, and consequently relates 
to this, its identity (matter), as to another, it presupposes matter. 
Conversely, form is presupposed by matter. For matter is not the 
simple essence which is the absolute reflection itself, but it is the 
same determined as the positive, i. e., that which is only as annulled 
negation. But, on the other hand, because the form posits itself 
only as matter, in so far as it annuls itself and presupposes mat- 
ter, matter is also determined to be persistence without a ground. 
Likewise, matter is not determined as the ground of form ; but 
since matter posits itself as the abstract identity of the annulled 
form-determination, it is not identity as ground ; and form, as 
opposed to it, is groundless. Form and matter are consequently 
defined as not posited through each other, and as not the ground 
of each other. Matter is rather the identity of the ground and 
the grounded i. e., as the basis (foundation) which stands opposed 
to this form-relation. This determination of indifference, which 
belongs in common to form and matter, is the determination of 
matter as such (i. e., its definition), and constitutes also the 
relation of the two to each other. And in the same manner the defi- 
nition of form, that it is the relation of distinct somewhats, is also 
the other side of the relation of the two to each other. Matter 
which s defined as indifferent is the passive opposed to the form as 
active. And this as the self-related negative is the contradiction 
within itself, the self-annulling, self-repelling, and self-determining. 
It relates to matter, and it is posited to relate to its subsistence as 
though to another. Matter is, therefore, posited as relating only to 
itself, and as indifferent towards others ; but it relates to form poten- 
tially (cm sich) ; for it contains annulled negativity, and is matter only 

$6 Essence, 

"because of this characteristic. It relates to matter, therefore, as 
though matter were another being, because form is not posited os 
belonging to it i. e., because the same is onby potentially attached to 
it. It contains the form involved within itself, and is the absolute 
receptivity for it, and only for this reason : that it has the some 
within it, and that this is its undeveloped nature. Matter must, there- 
fore, receive form, and form must materialize itself ; in other words, 
form must come into self-identity, or must reach its reality in matter. 

(2.) Form, therefore, determines matter, and matter is determined 
by form ; since form is the absolute self-identity, it follows that it 
contains matter within itself ; in the same manner, matter possesses in 
its pure abstraction or absolute negativity the form within itself. 
Hence the activity of form upon the matter, and the being-determined 
of the latter through the former is only the annulment of the appar- 
ent indifference and independence of each as regards the other. 
This relation of the activity of determining is, therefore, the medi- 
ation of each with itself, by means of its own non-being. But these 
two mediations are one activity, and the restoration of their original 
identity the re-collection from their externalization. 

First. Form and matter presuppose each other reciprocally. As 
we have seen above, the one essential unity is negative relation to 
itself, and, therefore, dirempts itself into the essential identity, deter- 
mined as the indifferent basis, and into the essential distinction or 
negativity as the determining form. That unity of essence and form 
which posits form and matter in opposition to itself is the absolute 
ground which determines itself. Since it reduces itself to a dis- 
parate somewhat, the relation, on account of the identity of the dis- 
parates which lies at the basis, becomes reciprocal presupposition. 

Secondly. Form, as independent, is the self-annulling contradic- 
tion ; and it is also posited as such inasmuch as it is at the same 
time both independent and essentially related to another ; it there- 
fore annuls itself. Since it is ambiguous, this annulment has two 
aspects : In the first place, it annuls its independence, reduces itself 
to a posited-being, to a somewhat that belongs to another this, its 
other, being matter. In the second place, it annuls its distinction 
from matter, its relation to the same, consequently its posited-being; 
and, therefore, attains self-subsistence. Since it cancels its posited- 
being, the latter is its reflection and its own identity, into which 
it passes. But since this identit}* externalizes itself and polarizes 
against itself as matter, the mentioned reflection of the posited-being 
into itself is a union with a matter, and as such it obtains its self- 
subsistence. Therefore, in this union with a matter as with another 

Form and Matter. 87 

"being, as regards the first aspect in which it reduces itself to a 
posited-somewhat, it passes into identity with itself. 

Therefore, the activity of form through which matter is determined 
consists in a negative relation of form to itself. But, conversely, it, 
too, relates negatively to matter ; but this being-determined of matter 
is likewise the activity that belongs properly to form itself. Form is 
free as regards matter (. e., independent of or indifferent to matter), 
but it annuls this independence ; however, its independence is matter 
itself, for to this belongs its essential identity. Since it reduces itself, 
therefore, to a posited-somewhat, this is one and the same activity 
which gives particularity to the matter. But, considered from the 
other point of view, the identity that belongs to form is expressed, 
and matter is the "other" thus expressed; to that extent matter is 
not particularized, for the reason that form annuls its (matter's) own 
independence. But matter is independent only as opposed to form ; 
since the negative annuls itself, it annuls also the positive ; therefore, 
since the form annuls itself, the particular determinations of matter 
fall away those determinations which it has as opposed to form, viz., 
its indeterminateness and persistence. 

This which seems to be an activit}' of form is, therefore, likewise 
the movement which belongs properly to matter itself. The nature 
of matter, or its ideal destiny (what it should realize) is its absolute 
negativity. Through this, matter relates not only to form as to 
another, but this external (j. e., this relation itself) is the form 
which it contained in an undeveloped state within itself. Matter is 
the same contradiction potentially as that which form contains, and 
this contradiction is like its resolution, only one. Matter, how- 
ever, is in itself a contradiction, because it is absolute negativity 
while it is an undetermined self-identity ; it therefore annuls itself 
within itself, and its identity is dirempted in its negativity, and the 
latter preserves its independence through the former. While, there- 
fore, matter is particularized (determined or rendered definite) by 
form as by somewhat external to it, it by this means realizes itself ; 
and the externality involved in the relation, as well on the part of 
form as on the part of matter, consists in this : that each of the two, 
or rather that their original unity, is in its positing likewise a presup- 
posing ; whence it follows that the relation to itself is a relation to 
itself as annulled, and, therefore, a relation to its " other." 

Thirdly. Through the activity of form and matter their original 
unity is restored, but as a posited. Matter determines itself, 
although this determining is, as far as matter is concerned, an exter- 
nal deed emanating from form. Conversely, form determines only 

88 Essence. 

itself, or contains matter that is determined by it within itself, 
although at the same time this self-determining appears to be a deter- 
mining of something else. And finally, the two the activity of 
form and the activity of matter are one and the same ; only that 
the former is an activity (ein Tliun, a deed) in which the negative 
appears as a posited, while the latter is an activity (Beivegung, i. e., 
a movement) which is a becoming, in which the negativity appears as 
characteristic of its very nature (t. e., its potentiality, or its ideal). 
The result is, therefore, the unity of the being-in-itself (its nature, 
or potentiality, or ideal) and its being-posited (. e., its dependence 
upon others, or what it derives from others). Matter, as such, is- 
determined (particularized, made special), or, in other words, has- 
necessarily a form; and form, on the other hand, necessarily implies 
matter, or is self-subsistent form. 

Form, in so far as it presupposes matter as its other, is finite. It 
is not Ground, but only activity. So also matter, in so far as it pre- 
supposes form as its not-being, is finite matter ; it is likewise not the 
ground of its unity with form, but only the basis or substrate for the 
form. But this finite matter, as finite form, has no truth ; each of the 
two relates to the other, and their unity only is their truth. In this 
unity the two determinations have their return, and in it they annul 
their independence ; hence this unity is proved to be their ground. 
Therefore, matter is the ground of its determination of form only in 
so far as it is not matter as matter, but the absolute unity of essence 
and form. Form, too, is the ground of the persistence of its deter- 
minations only in so far as it is the same one unity. But this one 
unity as the absolute negativity, and more definitely as excluding 
unity, is in its act of reflection a presupposing somewhat. In other 
words, it is an activity which, in positing itself as a posited, preserves 
itself in the unity, and repels itself from itself, i. e., relates to itself 
as itself, and to itself as though itself were another. Or. again, 
it may be stated in this way: The particularizing (die Bestimmtwer- 
clen) of matter through form is the mediation of Essence as Ground 
in one unity, through itself and through its own negation. 

Matter which has received a form, or form which has obtained 
realization on a matter, is not merely that absolute unity of the 
ground with itself which has been mentioned, but also the posited 
unity. The movement already considered is that in which the 
absolute ground has exhibited its movements (or phases) as at the 
same time self-annulling, and hence as posited. In other words, the 
restored unity has, in its return to itself, at the same time repelled 
itself and determined itself (reduced itself to particularity) ; for its- 

Form and Content. 89 

unity, inasmuch as it has come into existence through negation, is 
also a negative unity. It is, therefore, the unity of form and matter 
as their basis which, however, is their definite, particular basis or sub- 
strate ; and this matter that has received its form is indifferent to 
form and matter as to something that is annulled and unessential. 
It is content. 

3. Form and Content. 

Form, in the first place, stands opposed to Essence ; hence it is a 
relation which belongs to the category of Ground, and its determina- 
tions are the Ground and the grounded. In the next place, it stands 
opposed to matter; and in this phase it is a " determining reflec- 
tion," and its determinations are the determination-of-reflection 
itself and its persistence ("determination of reflection "includes 
Identity, Difference, Antithesis, and Contradiction ; its persistence 
is its reality). Thirdly, and finally, it stands opposed to Content 
(Inhalt); in this phase its determinations are itself (i. e. , form) and 
matter. That which was previously self-identical, to wit, Ground, 
in the first place, and afterwards its persistence (or reality), and, 
finally, matter, now comes under the dominion of form, and is again 
one of its determinations. 

Content has, in the first place, one form and one matter, which 
belong to it, and are essential ; it is their unity. But since this unity 
is at the same time a particularized or posited unity, it stands 
opposed to form ; the latter constitutes the posited-being of the unity 
(i. e., the form is that which comes from the activity of that on 
which it depends), and is, as regards the content, unessential. The 
content is, therefore, indifferent to the form ; it comprehends both 
the form, as such, and also the matter ; and it has, therefore, a form 
and a matter, and it constitutes their basis, and they are for it a mere 
posited-being (mere result of its activity). 

The Content is, in the second place, that which is identical in the 
form and matter ; and in this respect the difference between form 
and matter would be a mere indifferent externality. ' They are noth- 
ing but posited-being, which, however, has returned to its unity in the 
content, and thus into its ground. The self-identity of the content 
is, from one point of view, therefore, the identity which is indifferent 
to the form ; but from the other point of view it is the identity of the 
ground. Ground has vanished into Content ; but content is mean- 
while the negative reflection of form-determinations into themselves. 
Its unity, which in its first aspect is onby indifference as regards form, 
is, therefore, also the formal unity or ground-relation as such. Con- 

90 Essence. 

tent has, therefore, this unity for its essential form ; and the Ground, 
conversely, a content. 

The content of the Ground is therefore the Ground, which has 
returned into its unity with itself. Ground, in the first place, is 
Essence, which is identical with itself in its posited-being ; as distinct 
from and indifferent towards its posited-being it is the undetermined 
(the indefinite) matter; but as content, it is the identity which has 
received form, and this form becomes on this account a ground-rela- 
tion, because the determinations of its antithesis are posited in the 
content as also negated. Content is, moreover, determined (defined, 
particularized) within itself (by its own nature), not only as matter 
in the phase of indifference in general, but as matter that has received 
form, so that the determinations of form have a material realit} 7 , an 
indifferent persistence (independence). In one respect the content 
is the essential identity of the ground with itself in its posited-being. 
In another respect it is the posited identity as opposed to the ground- 
relation. This posited-being, which as form-determination belongs 
to this identity, is opposed to the free posited-being i. e., it is 
opposed to the form as the totality of the relation of the Ground and 
the grounded. This form is the total posited-being which returns 
into itself. The first-mentioned form, therefore, is only the posited- 
beinsr as an immediate somewhat determinateness, as such. 

Ground with this has become determined (particularized) ground, 
and the determinateness itself is twofold : First, that of form ; sec- 
ondly, that of content. The former (the determinateness of form) 
is the determinateness which is external to the content, the content 
being indifferent to this relation. The latter is the determinateness 
of content that belongs to the ground. 


The Definite {particular) Ground. 
1. The Formal Ground. 

Ground has a definite content. The definiteness of the content 
(its particularity) is, as we have seen, the basis for the form, or the 
simple immediate that is opposed to the mediation of the form. 
Ground is identity relating to itself negatively (t. e., annulling its inde- 
terminateness and proceeding into determinations), and this, there- 
fore, reduces itself to posited-being (. e., to dependent somewhats). 
It relates negatively to itself (determines itself), since it is self- 
identical, in this its negativity ; this identity is the basis or the con- 

The Formal Ground. 91 

tent which constitutes in this manner the indifferent or positive unity 
of the oround-relation, and that which mediates it. 

In this content the determinateness of ground and grounded, as 
opposed to each other, has vanished. The mediation is, however, 
besides this, negative unity. The negative as belonging to the indif- 
ferent basis is its immediate determinateness, and through it the 
ground possesses a definite content. But in the next place, the nega- 
tive is the negative relation of form to itself. On the one hand, the 
posited annuls itself and goes back into its ground ; but the ground, 
essential independence, relates negatively to itself, and reduces itself 
to posited-being. This negative mediation of the ground and 
grounded is the mediation peculiar to form, as such the formal 
mediation. The two sides of form now, since they pass over into one 
another, posit themselves in one common identity as annulled; 
through this, at the same time, they presuppose this identity. It is the 
definite, particular content to which, therefore, the formal mediation 
relates, as the positive act of mediating itself through itself. It 
is the identical phase of both, and while they are different, each, 
however, being in its distinction in relation to the other, the content 
is the persistence (reality) of the same, and of each one as being the 

According to this, it results that the following is present in the par- 
ticularized ground : In the first place, a particularized content is re- 
garded from two points of view, viz. : ( 1 ) in so far as it is posited as 
round ; (2) as grounded. The content itself is indifferent as regards 
this form ; it is only one determination in both. Secondly, the ground 
itself is as much an element {Moment') of the form, as it is a somewhat 
posited by it ; this is its identity according to the form. It is indif- 
ferent which of the two determinations are taken as the first from 
which as the posited to proceed to the other as its ground, or from 
which as the ground to proceed to the other as the posited. The 
orounded, considered for and by itself, is the annulling of itself ; with 
this it reduces itself on the one hand to a posited, and is at the same 
time the positing of the ground. The same movement is the ground 
as such ; it reduces itself to a posited, and through this it becomes a 
ground of something that is to say, it is present in this as a posited, 
and also as ground. That a ground exists implies a posited as a 
ground of this fact ; and, conversely, through this the ground is in so 
far the posited. The mediation begins with the one just as well as with 
the other; each side is just as much ground as posited, and each is 
the entire mediation of the entire form. This entire form is further- 
more the basis of the determinations as their self-identity, and since 

92 Essence. 

the determinations are the two sides of the ground and the grounded, 
the form and content are thus precisely one and the same identity. 

On account of this identity of the ground and grounded, and as 
well according to the content as according to the form, the ground is 
sufficient ("sufficient ground" is an important category used by 
Leibnitz) the " sufficient " being limited to this relation. There is 
nothing in the ground which is not in the grounded, and nothing in 
the grounded which is not in the ground. If one asks for a ground, 
he expects to see the characteristic which constitutes the content used 
in a twofold manner : First, in the form of the posited ; secondly, in 
the form of the reflection into itself of the particular being, i.e., 
in the form of essentiality. 

In so far as ground and grounded are each the entire form in the 
category of determined (particularized) ground, and their content is 
one and the same, although particularized ground is not yet fully 
determined (i.e., particularized) in its two sides, they have not a dif- 
ferent content ; the determinateness is first simple, and not a cleter- 
minateness that has passed over into the two sides. We have here 
the determined (particularized) ground first in its pure form "the 
formal ground." Since the content is only this simple determinate- 
ness, to which the form of ground-relation does not belong, it is a 
self-identical content, indifferent as regards form, and form is 
external to it ; it is another than the form. 


If reflection goes no further than the consideration of determined 
ground, as here defined, it follows that to adduce such a ground 
for any thing is a mere formalism, an empt} r tautology, which expresses 
over again the same content in the form of reflection-into-itself, or in 
the form of essentiality, what has already been expressed in the form 
of an immediate somewhat. Such a mention of grounds for any thing 
is as empty an affair as the appeal to the principle of identit}' which 
has been mentioned. Sciences, and more especially the physical sci- 
ences, are full of tautologies of this kind, and indeed this seems to 
constitute a sort of prerogative. For example, it is mentioned as 
the ground of the fact that the planets move around the sun that 
there is an attractive force existing between the former and the lat- 
ter. The content of this statement expresses nothing besides what the 
phenomenon contains, viz., the relation of these bodies to each other 
in their movement, but it expresses it in the form of a reflected deter- 
mination that is, by means of the category of "force." If it be 

The Formal Ground. 03 

asked, in reference to this, what kind of a force the attractive force 
is, the answer given is, that the force is what causes the planets to 
move around the sun ; in these statements there is the same content 
throughout : First, as the fact to be explained ; secondly, as the 
ground or reason given for it. The relation of the planets to the 
sun, as regards movement, is the basis of the ground and the grounded 
alike. If a crystalline form is explained by the particular arrange- 
ment which its molecules have, we have the same tautology ; the fact 
of the crystallization is this arrangement itself, which is again ex- 
pressed as the ground. In ordinary life, these aetiologies (methods 
of causal explanation) which are in vogue in the sciences pass for 
what they really are for tautology, for empty talk. For example : 
if to the question, why this man goes to the city, it should be stated, 
as a reason, that he goes to the city because there is an attractive 
force which draws him there, such an answer would pass for trivial, 
although it would have the high sanction of being scientific. Leib- 
nitz urged, as an objection against the Newtonian force of attraction, 
that it was an occult quality, similar to those which the scholastics 
mplo3 r ed for the purposes of explanation ; but one might urge the 
opposite objection that it is a too well known, too obvious quality, 
for it has no other content than the phenomenon itself. Precisely 
what recommends this mode of explanation is its great clearness and 
intelligibility ; for there is nothing clearer and more intelligible than 
to say, for example, that a plant is produced by (i. e., has its ground 
in) a vegetative power, %. e., a plant-producing power. It could be 
called an "occult" quality only when the ground had a different 
content from that which it is intended to explain. But such grounds 
are not given. The power which is used as an explanation is an 
" occult " ground, in so far as it is not such aground as is demanded 
for explanation (?'. e., the ground demanded is not given, but remains 
" occult"). Through this formalism there is as little explained as 
there is explained of the nature of a plant when I say of it : It is a 
plant. Notwithstanding all the clearness of this proposition, or of 
that other proposition, that it has its ground in a plant-producing 
power, one might still call this a very " occult" method of explaining 

Secondly. As regards form, we find in this mode of explanation the 
two opposite phases of ground-relation, without recognizing in them 
their definite relation to each other. Ground is ground, (1) as the 
into-itself-reflected content of a being of which it is the ground ; (2) 
it is the posited. It is that b}^ means of which the being is to be com- 
prehended. But, on the other hand, the ground is an inference from 

94 Essence, 

the being ; so that it in turn is comprehended by reference to the 
being. The chief business of this sort of reflection consists in finding 
grounds for particular being i.e., in converting immediate beings 
into the form of reflection. The ground, instead of being independ- 
ent, and in and for itself, is, therefore, rather what is posited and 
deduced. Now, for the reason that this procedure of finding a ground 
is guided by the phenomenon investigated, and the character of the 
ground determined by the latter, it follows quite smoothly and pros- 
perously from its ground. But scientific knowledge has not by this 
means gone forward a particle ; it has busied itself only with a differ- 
ence in form, which has been confounded and annulled by this very 
procedure. One of the chief difficulties met with in the study of 
the sciences, in which this method prevails, consists in this confound- 
ing of the positions of the ground and grounded ; placing that 
beforehand as ground which in fact is deduced, and arriving at a 
sequence which in fact should have been placed first, as the ground of 
the alleged ground. In the exposition the beginning is made with 
the grounds ; they are set up in the air as principles, or first ideas ; they 
are simple definitions, without any apparent necesshvy in and for them- 
selves ; that which follows is deduced from them ; whoever, therefore, 
would master these sciences must begin with the study of those 
grounds, a task which reason finds unpleasant, because it has to take 
that which has no ground as a basis. He will come out best who 
takes these principles for granted without much reflection, and uses 
them as the fundamental rules of his intellect. Without this method 
he cannot make a beginning, and without them he can make no 
progress. This inconsistency, however, impedes his progress : he 
contradicts his method by deducing from grounds which have 
been assumed sequences which contain grounds of the former 
assumptions. Moreover, since the sequence proves to be the fact from 
whence the ground was deduced, this method of treating it causes 
one to distrust the exposition of it; for it is not expressed in its 
immediateness, but as a result of the ground. Since, however, the 
ground is likewise deduced from the immediate fact, one demands 
rather to see the fact in its immediateness, in order to decide upon 
the validity of its alleged ground. In such an exposition, therefore, 
in which that which is properly the ground is brought in as a deduc- 
tion, one knows neither how to regard the ground nor the phenomenon. 
The uncertaint3 T is increased by this circumstance, especially if the 
exposition is not strictly consequent, but is given out on authoritj', 
viz., that eveiy where in the phenomenon there are traces and con- 
ditions which point to other and quite different things from those con- 

The Real Ground. 95 

tained in the mere principles. The confusion is, finally, still greater 
when reflected and merely hypothetical determinations are mixed in 
with immediate determinations of the phenomenon, and the former 
are spoken of as if they belonged to immediate experience. 

Thus, many who take up the study of these sciences with implicit 
faith are of the opinion that the molecules, and the void spaces, the 
repulsion, ether, single beams of light, electric or magnetic matter, 
and a multitude of the like distinctions, are real things which may be 
found in actual observation existing in the same manner as described 
in the sciences. They serve as first grounds for another ; are ex- 
pressed as actualities, and confidently applied. And they are allowed 
in good faith to pass for realities, before one is aware that they are 
determinations derived from those things for which they are offered 
as the grounds, being mere hypotheses formed by an uncritical reflec- 
tion. In fact, one finds himself in a kind of witch's circle when he 
uses them, in which determinations of particular being and determina- 
tions of reflection ground and grounded, phenomena and phan- 
toms course through each other promiscuously, and are all received 
as of equal rank and validity. 

In this formal occupation of explaining things by means of grounds, 
one hears again and again, notwithstanding all this explanation by 
means of well-known powers and matters, that we do not know the 
internal essence of these powers and matters. In this, we have only 
a confession that this activity of explanation is wholly insufficient, 
and that it demands something quite different from the grounds 
which it offers ; and the only difficult thing that remains for us to 
understand is, why all this trouble has been taken to make such 
explanations ; why something else has not been sought, or at least 
that species of explanation dispensed with, and the simple facts 
themselves accepted without any explanation. 

2. The Real Ground. 

The determinateness of ground is, as has been shown, in the first 
place, the determinatenessof basis (substrate) or of the content; in 
the second place, it is the other-being in the ground-determination 
itself, viz., the difference between its content and the form. The rela- 
tion of ground and grounded becomes a mere external form to the 
content, which is indifferent to these determinations. But in fact the 
two are not external to each other ; for the content is really the self- 
identity of the ground in the grounded, and vice versa, of the grounded 
in the ground. The side which belongs to the ground has shown itself 
to be a posited somewhat, and the side which belongs to the grounded 

96 Essence. 

has shown itself to be the ground itself ; each is in itself the identity of 
the whole, but because they belong at the same time to the form, and 
constitute its special distinctions, each of them is in its determinate- 
ness the self-identity of the totalit}\ Each has consequently a sepa- 
rate content opposed to the other. In other words, considered from 
the side of content, inasmuch as it is self-identity as ground-relation, 
it has esssentially this form-distinction in itself, and is, as ground, 
another than the grounded. 

In this fact, now that ground and grounded have a different con- 
tent, the ground-relation has really ceased to be a formal distinc- 
tion. The return into the ground, and the procedure out of it into 
posited-being, is no longer a mere tautology, and thus the ground is 
realized. When one asks for a ground, he desires to be answered by 
the statement of some other content-determination than the very one 
for which he has asked a ground or sought an explanation. 

This relation can now be defined more accurately. In so far, 
namely, as its two sides are different in content, they are independ- 
ent of each other ; each is an immediate self-identical determination. 
Moreover, as ground and grounded are related to each other, the 
ground is reflected into itself in the other as in its posited-being ; 
the content, therefore, which belongs to the side of the ground is 
likewise in the grounded ; and the grounded, as the posited, has in 
that content its self-identity and reality. Besides this content of the 
ground, the grounded has also its proper, peculiar content, and is 
consequently the unity of a twofold content. Although this unity is, 
as a unity of contents which differ, their negative unity ; for the 
reason that these content-determinations are indifferent towards each 
other, it follows that this unity is only an empty one, a relation devoid 
of content, and not their mediation ; it is a one or a somewhat as an 
external bond of union. 

In the real ground-relation, therefore, the twofold content is to be 
found, in the first instance, as content-determination, which is con- 
tinued as self-identical in the posited-being, so that it constitutes the 
simple identity of ground and grounded. The grounded contains, 
therefore, the ground perfectly within itself ; its relation, therefore, is 
an essential continuity, without break or^separation. What therefore 
appertains to the grounded as additional to this simple essence, is, 
therefore, only an unessential form, external content-determinations 
which, as such, are independent of the ground, and possess an imme- 
diate manifoldness. And hence, the mentioned essential relation is not 
the ground of this unessential (superfluity and immediate manifold- 
ness) ; it is the ground of the relation of the two to each other in the 

Tlie Real Ground. 97 

grounded. It is a positive, identical somewhat which inheres in the 
grounded ; although it is posited within it, not as in a form-distinction, 
but as a self-relating content is an indifferent positive basis or principle. 
Finally, that which is externally connected to this basis or principle 
is an indifferent content as the unessential side. The chief thing is 
the relation of the basis or substrate to the manifoldness which is 
regarded as unessential. But this relation, since the determinations 
which stand in relation constitute the indifferent content, is also not 
the ground, although the one is essential, and the other is defined 
as unessential or a posited-content ; but this form is external to both, 
as self-relating content. The one of the somewhat which constitutes 
their relation is, therefore, not form-determination, but only an exter- 
nal bond which contains the unessential manifold content, but not as 
a posited somewhat ; it is, therefore, only basis or substrate. 

Ground, determined as real on account of the diversity of the con- 
tent which constitutes its reality, falls asunder, therefore, into external 
determinations. The two relations on the one hand, the essential 
content, as the simple immediate identity of ground and grounded ; 
and, on the other hand, the somewhat, as the relation of the different 
elements of the content these two relations are two different sub- 
strates. The self-identical form of the ground, according to which 
the same thing is at one time essential and at another time posited, 
has vanished, and the ground-relation has, therefore, become self- 

There is, therefore, now an external ground, which brings into 
external relation different elements of the content, and determines 
what is ground and what is posited through the ground ; in the two 
phases of the content itself, there is not to be found the means for 
determining this question. The real ground is, therefore, relation- 
to-other, on the one hand, of content to other content, and, on the 
other hand, of ground-relation, or form, to something else, viz., to 
an immediate that is not posited through it. 


The formal ground-relation contains only one content for ground 
and grounded ; and in this identity of content lies its necessity, but, 
at the same time, its tautology. The real ground contains a diversity 
of content, but through this diversity there enters contingency and 
externality as regards the ground-relation. In the first place, that 
which is regarded as essential, and on this account as ground-deter- 
mination, is not the ground of the other determinations which are 
connected with it. In the second place, it is not determined which 

98 Essence. 

of the several content-determinations of a concrete thing is to Tie 
assumed as essential and as ground. The choice between them, there- 
fore, is left free ; thus, in the first aspect, for example, the ground of 
a house is its foundation ; wherefore this ground depends upon the 
gravity inherent in sensuous matter, and gravity is identical in this 
case in the ground and grounded. The fact that there belongs to 
heavy matter such a distinction, viz., that one part should be a sub- 
strate and the other a modification different from it: this distinction 
appertaining to a dwelling-house is perfectly indifferent to gravity 
itself. Its relation to the other content-determinations of the final 
cause, the arrangement of the house, etc., is external to it; it is 
therefore a substrate, a foundation, but not a ground or cause of the 
same. Gravity is the ground or cause to which is to be attributed 
the fact that a house stands, and, as well, the fact that a stone falls. 
The stone has this ground, gravity, in itself ; but the fact that it has 
other determinations of content besides gravity determinations 
which make it to be a stone is a fact indifferent to gravity. More- 
over, the stone is a somewhat posited through another somewhat: that 
it was previously at a distance from the body to which it fell, and also 
that the time, the space, and their relation, the movement, are another 
content than gravity, and are capable of being conceived without 
it to use the ordinary mode of expression and are accordingly 
not essentially posited through it. They are also the ground that a 
projectile makes a flight opposed to gravity. It is evident, from the 
diversity of the determinations whose ground it is, that something 
else is demanded, which makes it the ground of this or of another 

If the assertion is made regarding nature, that it is the ground of 
the world ; on the one hand, that which is called nature is identical 
with the world, and the world is nothing but nature itself. And yet 
they are also different, so that nature is rather the indeterminate, or 
at least determined only in such general characteristics as natural laws, 
for example ; so, too, that nature is the self-identical essence of the 
world, and requires a multitude of determinations to be added to it 
in order to become the world. But these determinations have their 
ground not in nature as such ; the}- are rather to be regarded as 
contingent and indifferent to it. We have the same relation between 
God and nature when God is defined as the ground of nature. As 
ground, He is its essence. Nature contains God within it, and is 
identical with Him ; but nature has further manifold determinations 
which are different from the ground itself. Nature is the third term, 
therefore, in which these two different factors unite. The men- 

The Ileal Ground. 99 

tioned ground is neither the ground of the manifoldness different 
from it, nor for its connection with it. Nature is, therefore, not cog- 
nized as having its ground in God ; for in that case He would only be 
the general essence of nature, whereas the ground of nature is a defi- 
nite, particularized essence. 

This producing of real grounds is, therefore, a formalism just as 
much as the formal ground itself, because of this diversity in the 
content of the ground, or the difference between the substrate and 
that which is connected with it in the grounded somewhat. In this 
formal ground, the self-identical content is indifferent as regards 
the form ; in the real ground, the same thing is true. Through this 
fact, moreover, it does not contain within itself the ground or reason 
for deciding which of the many determinations shall be taken as the 
essential one. A somewhat is concrete, and has a manifold of deter- 
minations which show themselves self-subsistent and abiding. There- 
fore, one of them as well as another may be taken as ground, and 
may be held to be essential, and in comparison with it the others are 
a mere posited. What was formerly mentioned applies here : that if 
a determination occurs which in one aspect is viewed as the ground 
of another, it does not follow that the other is to be regarded as pos- 
ited by it in any other, or in all aspects. Punishment, for example,, 
has a variety of aspects in which it may be regarded, that of retri- 
bution, that of a warning example, deterring from the infraction of 
law, and also that of the reformation of the criminal. Each of these 
different aspects has been regarded as the ground or reason of pun- 
ishment, because each one is an essential determination ; and, viewed 
in reference to it, the other determinations are defined as contingent. 
But the one which is assumed as ground is not identical with the 
total compass of punishment (in all its aspects) ; punishment, as a 
concrete, contains not only one, but all of the aspects which are 
connected with each other, being contained in punishment, but are 
not the ground of each other. As another example : an officer has 
fitness for the duties of his office, and as an individual has relations 
to kindred, and to this and that acquaintance ; he possesses a charac- 
ter of his own, and has been in these or those circumstances, and 
has had such and such opportunities to show his capacity, etc. 
Each one of these things may be taken as the ground or reason for 
his possession of this office ; they constitute a diversified content, 
whose elements are united in a third. The form, as the essential and 
as determined, in antithesis to the posited, is external to it. Each of 
these things is essential to the officer, because as a particular indi- 

100 Essence. 

vicinal he needs them for his realization. In so far as his office may 
"be regarded as an external posited determination, each one of the 
things mentioned may be regarded as the ground of the office ; but, 
on the contrary, the office could also be regarded as the ground of 
each one of them, and in that case they would be the posited. As 
the}* actually stand that is to say, considered in an individual 
case the office is an external determination as regards content and 
ground. It is a third, which confers upon them the form of ground 
and grounded. 

Eveiy being may have a variety of grounds ; each one of the 
determinations of its content, as self-identical, penetrates the concrete 
totality, and for this reason may be regarded as essential. The 
various aspects, i. e. , determinations which lie outside of the thing 
itself, have no limit as to number, for the reason that the method of 
making combinations is a purely arbitrary one. Whether a ground 
has this or that sequence is, therefore, quite an accidental affair. 
Moral motives, for example, are essential determinations of an ethical 
nature ; but what follows from them is an external affair quite differ- 
ent from them ; it follows, and it does not follow, from them ; it is 
added to them by the agency of a third somewhat. In fact, when a 
moral determination is taken for a ground, it is not contingent that 
it shall have a result or a ground, but it is a contingency whether 
it shall become a ground or not ; but since the content, which is its 
result when the moral determination has been taken as a ground, is 
an externality, it may be annulled through another externality. 
From one moral motive, therefore, there may or may not result a 
deed. Conversely, a deed may have a variety of grounds ; it contains 
as a concrete many essential determinations, each one of which, 
therefore, may be assigned as the ground. The search for grounds, 
in which ratiocination principally consists, is, therefore, an endless 
procedure. Each and every thing may have one or more good 
grounds assigned for it, and there can be a multitude assigned for a 
thing without any result following from them. That which Socrates 
and Plato called sophistry is only ratiocination by means of assign- 
ing grounds. Plato opposes to this process the consideration of the 
Idea, i. e., of the necessary nature of things, or their ideal totality 
(Begriff.) Grounds are selected only from essential determinations 
of content, essential relations, and aspects ; and each thing, as well 
as its opposite, possesses several of these. In their form of essen- 
tiality, one does as well as the other ; and since no one of them con- 
tains the entire compass of the object, each of them is a one-sided 

The Perfect Ground. 101 

ground, which does not exhaust the object which contains all these 
sides within it; no one of them is a " sufficient " ground, i. e., 
ideal totality (Beyriff). 

3. The Perfect Ground. 

(1.) In the real ground, the ground as content and the ground as 
relation are contained as mere substrates. Ground as content is only 
posited as essential and as ground. Ground as relation is the some- 
what of the grounded, as the indefinite substrate of a diversified con- 
tent, a connection between the different elements of the content, 
which is not its own reflection, but something external, and, conse- 
quently, only a posited. The real ground-relation is, therefore, 
rather the ground as annulled ; and, therefore, it is rather the side of 
posited-being or of the grounded. As posited-being, however, the 
ground has returned into its own ground, and hence is a grounded, 
and has another ground ; this other ground, therefore, determines 
itself to be identical, in the first place, with the real ground as 
grounded through it; both sides have, therefore, one and the same 
content ; the two determinations of content, and their union in the 
somewhat, are therefore contained in a new ground. Secondly, the 
new ground, in which that merely posited external union {Yerloiuep- 
fung) as been annulled, is, as their reflection into themselves, the 
absolute relation of the two determinations of content. 

Through this fact that the real ground has returned into its own 
ground the identity of the ground and grounded, or formal ground, 
is restored. The ground-relation which has arisen is, therefore, the 
perfect ground, which contains within itself the formal and the real 
grounds, and which mediates in the latter, through each other, its 
immediate content-determinations. 

(2.) The ground-relation has thus far developed the following 
determinations : First, a somewhat has a ground ; it contains the con- 
tent-determination, which the ground is, and a second determination 
posited through the ground. But as indifferent content, the one is 
not within itself ground, nor the other within itself the grounded of 
the former ; on the contrary, this relation is, in the immediatencss of 
the content, annulled or posited, and as such has another somewhat 
for its ground. This second relation, which differs only in respect 
to form, has the same content as the former, viz., the two determina- 
tions of content, but is the immediate union of the two. Since, 
however, the different elements of the content, thus united, are con- 
sequently indifferent as regards each other, the union is not their 
true, absolute relation, in which the one of the determinations would 

102 Essence. 

be self-identical in the posited-being, while the other would be only 
this posited-being of the same self-identical determination ; but a some- 
what is their substrate, and constitutes their relation, which is not 
reflected, but is only an immediate relation, and which, therefore, is 
only a relative ground as opposed to their union in another some- 
what. The two somewhats are, therefore, the two different relations 
of content which we have found; they stand in the identical ground- 
relation of form ; they are one and the same content as a totalit}', 
viz., the two determinations of content and their relation. They are, 
therefore, distinct only through the nature of this relation, which in 
the one is an immediate and in the other is a posited relation ; 
through which the one is distinguished from the other only according 
to form, as ground and grounded. Secondly, this ground-relation is 
not only formal, but also real. The formal ground passes over into 
the real ground, as we have seen. The moments of form are 
reflected into themselves ; they are an independent content, and the 
ground-relation contains also a peculiar content of its own as ground, 
and one as grounded. The content constitutes the immediate iden- 
tity of the two sides of the formal ground, and hence they have one 
and the same content. But it has also within itself the form ; hence 
it is a two-fold content, which stands in the relation of ground and 
grounded. One of the two determinations of content which belong 
to the two somewhats is, therefore, defined not as merely common 
to them, as found by external comparison, but as their identical sub- 
strate and the basis of their relation. Opposed to the other deter- 
mination of content it is essential and the ground of it as posited, 
viz., in the somewhat whose relation the grounded is. In the 
first somewhat, which is the ground-relation, this second deter- 
mination of content is also immediately united to the first, and 
according to its nature. The other somewhat, however, contains 
only the one potentially, as that in which it is immediately identical 
with the first somewhat ; but it contains the other as a posited 
within it. The first determination of content is the ground of the 
same, through this fact: that it is united within the first somewhat 
primordially to the other determination of content. 

The ground-relation of the determinations of content in the second 
somewhat is mediated, therefore, through the first self-existent rela- 
tion of the first somewhat. The conclusion is this : for the reason that 
within a somewhat the determination B is united with the deter- 
mination A by nature (an sich), there is in the second somewhat, to 
which only the determination A belongs, immediately also united with 
it the determination B. In the second somewhat this second determina- 

Hie Relatively Unconditioned. 103 

tion is contained not only mediately, but also the inference that its 
immediate ground is, viz., through its immediate relation to B, in the 
first somewhat. This relation is consequently the ground of the 
o-round A, and the entire ground-relation is in the second somewhat 
as posited or grounded. 

3. The real ground thus appears as the self-external reflection of 
o-round ; the perfect mediation thereof is the restoration of its self- 
identity. But since the latter has retained at the same time the 
externality of the real ground, it follows that the formal ground- 
relation in this unit}' of itself and the real ground is self-positing as 
well as self-cancelling ground. The ground-relation mediates itself 
through its self-negation. In the first place, the ground, as the orig- 
inal relation, is the relation of immediate determinations of content. 
The o-round-relation has, as essential form for its sides or terms, such 
somewhats as have already been cancelled or reduced to moments. 
Therefore, as form of immediate determinations, it is the self-identi- 
cal relation, which is at the same time relation of its negation. 
Hence it is ground not in and for itself (by its own nature), but as a 
relation to the annulled ground-relation. In the second place, the 
annulled relation, or the immediate, which is the identical substrate in 
the original and in the posited relation, is a real ground likewise not 
in and for itself, but it is posited through that original bond of union 
to be ground. 

The ground-relation in its totality is, consequently, essentially pre- 
supposing reflection ; the formal ground presupposes the immediate 
content-determination ; and the latter, as real ground, presupposes 
the form. The ground is therefore the form, as immediate bond of 
union, but in such a manner that it repels itself from itself, and pre- 
supposes the immediateness, and in this relates to itself as to another. 
This immediate is the determination of content, the simple ground ; 
but as this simple ground it is repelled from itself, and relates to 
itself as to another. In this manner the total ground-relation is 
-determined as conditioning mediation. 



The Condition. 

1. The Relatively Unconditioned. 

(1.) Ground is the immediate, and the grounded is the mediated. 
But ground is the positing reflection, and, as such, it reduces itself 
to posited-being, and is presupposing reflection ; it therefore re- 

104 Essence. 

lates to itself as annulled, as an immediate through which it, itself r 
is mediated. This mediation, as progress from the immediate to the 
ground, is not an external reflection, hut, as has been developed, it 
is due to the activity of ground itself ; or, what is the same thing, the 
ground-relation is, as reflection into self-identity, likewise essentially 
self-externalizing reflection. The immediate to which ground relates 
as to its essential presupposition is the Condition {%. e., the condi- 
tioning limits Bedingung) ; the real ground is, therefore, essentially 
conditioned ; the determinateness which it contains is the otherness of 

The conditioning limit is, therefore, in the first place, an immediate, 
manifold being. In the second place, this being is related to another, 
to a somewhat which is ground, not of this being, but of something 
else ; for the being itself is immediate, and without ground. In this 
relation it is a posited somewhat ; according to it, the immediate being 
would be a conditioning limit, not of itself, but of another ; but at 
the same time this being for another is itself only a posited-being ; 
that it is a posited-being is annulled in its immediateness, and a being 
is indifferent as regards its function as conditioning limit. In the 
third place, the conditioning limit is, therefore, an immediate, so that 
it constitutes the presupposition of the ground. In this phase it is 
the form-relation of the ground, which has returned into self-iden- 
tit} T , and hence it is its content. But the content, as such, is 
only the indifferent unity of the ground as it is in the form 
without form, no content. The content frees itself from the 
form through the fact that the ground-relation in the perfect 
ground becomes a relation external to its identit}' ; through this 
the content preserves its immediateness. In so far, therefore, 
as the conditioning limit is that in which the ground-relation 
possesses its self-identity, it constitutes its content ; but for the 
reason that it is indifferent to this form, it is only potentially its 
content that is, it ought to be the content, and hence it constitutes 
the material for the ground. Posited as conditioning limit, the being, 
according to the second moment (element or phase), possesses this 
peculiarity ; it loses its indifferent immediateness. and becomes a 
moment of another being. Through its immediateness, it is indiffer- 
ent to this relation ; but, in so far as it enters this relation, it consti- 
tutes the nature (Ansicliseyn) of the ground, and is the uncondi- 
tioned for it. In order to be conditioning limit, it has its presupposi- 
tion in the ground, and is itself conditioned, but this characteristic is 
an external (accidental) one for it. 

(2.) A somewhat is not through its conditioning limit; its condi- 

The Relatively Unconditioned. 105 

tionins limit is not its ground. It is the moment (phase) of uncon- 
tioned immediateness for the ground, but it is not the activity and the 
positing which relates negatively to itself, and reduces itself to a 
posited-being. The ground-relation, therefore, stands opposed to 
the conditioning limit. A somewhat has, besides its conditioning- 
limit, also a ground. This is the active movement of reflection, 
because it has the immediateness outside of it as its presupposition. 
But it is the entire form ; and the independent activity of mediation 
for the conditioning limit, is not its ground. For the reason that this 
mediating activity relates to itself as a positing activity, it is in this 
respect, also, an immediate and unconditioned, although it pre- 
supposes itself as externalized and annulled positing activity ; hence, 
that which it is, according to its determination ( Bestimmung = destina- 
tion), it is in and for itself. Therefore, in so far as the ground- 
relation is independent self-relation, and possesses the identity of 
reflection within itself, it has a peculiar content, opposed to the con- 
tent of the conditioning limit. The former is the content of the 
ground, and therefore possesses an essential form. The latter, 
therefore, is only immediate material, for which the relation to the 
ground is external, while it constitutes also its nature. Consequently 
it is a mingling of the independent content, which possesses no rela- 
tion to the content of ground, with that which goes into itself, and as 
its material becomes a moment of the same. 

(3.) The two terms of the totality the conditioning limit and the 
ground are therefore, in one respect, indifferent and unconditioned 
as opposed to each other; the one, which is the non-related, is 
external to the relation in which it is conditioning limit ; the other 
as the relation or form, for which the particularized being of the con- 
ditioning limit is only as material, as a passive something whose form, 
which it possesses for itself within it, is an unessential somewhat. 
Moreover, both are mediated. The conditioning limit is the being in 
itself of the ground. It is essential moment of the ground-relation 
to the extent that it is its simple self-identity. But this simple self- 
identity is also annulled ; this being in itself, or nature, is only a 
posited ; the immediate being is indifferent as regards the phase of 
conditioning limit. The fact that the conditioning limit of the being 
in itself is for the ground, constitutes its phase of mediation. Like- 
wise, the ground-relation possesses, in its independence, a presuppo- 
sition, and has its being in itself (nature) outside itself. Conse- 
quently, each of the two phases is a contradiction, inasmuch as it 
includes the indifferent immediateness and the essential mediation 

106 Essence. 

both in one relation. In other words, the contradiction consists in 
being an independent self -subsistence and a mere element at the 
same time. 

2. The Absolutely Unconditioned. 

The two relatively unconditioned somewhats manifest themselves 
each in the other. The conditioning limit, as immediate, manifests 
itself in the form-relation of the ground, and the latter manifests 
itself in immediate being as its posited-being (dependence). But 
each of these relatively unconditioned somewhats is independent of 
this manifestation of its other within it, and has a proper content of 
its own. 

In the first place, the conditioning limit is immediate being. Its 
form has these two phases : the posited-being, according to which it 
is, as conditioning limit, material and element of the ground ; and 
(the other phase is) being-in-itself (Ausichseyn its own nature, 
which is through itself, and not a mere "posited-being," or being 
derived from another, and dependent on it), which constitutes the 
essentiality of the ground, or its simple reflection-into-itself 
(" reflection- into-itself," it will be remembered, is always the form 
of self-relation in its positive aspect of identity, independence, and 
infinitude). The two sides of form are external to the immediate 
being, for immediate being is the cancelled ground-relation. But, 
first, being is by itself only the process of self-annullment in its 
immediateness, and of ceasing to be (i. e., of " going to the 
ground"). The sphere of Being (treated in the first part of this 
logic, and including all categories of immediateness, such as quality, 
quantity, and measure) is only the becoming of Essence (transi- 
tion to Essence) ; it is its essential nature to reduce itself to a posited- 
being, and to an identity which is the immediate, through the nega- 
tive of it (as a posited). Therefore, the determinations of form, 
viz., of posited-being, and of self- identical being-in-itself the form 
through which immediate being is conditioning limit are therefore 
not external to it, but immediate being is this reflection itself. 
Secondly, as conditioning limit, what being essentially is, is now also 
posited; it is, viz., a moment, consequently a phase of another, and 
at the same time likewise the being-in-itself of another ; but it is in 
itself only through the negation of itself, i. e., through the ground, 
and through its reflection, which is self-annulling, and consequently 
presupposing. The being-in-itself of the categories of the sphere of 
Being is, consequently, only a posited. This being-in-itself of the 

The Absolutely Unconditioned, 107 

conditioning limit has these two aspects: (1) its essentialit}' as 
ground, and (2) the immediateness of its particular being. These 
two are the same. The particular being is an immediate, but the 
immediateness is essentially what is mediated mediated, viz., 
through the self-annulling ground. As this immediateness, which is 
mediated through the self-annulling mediation, it is the being-in- 
itself of ground, and at the same time its unconditioned. But this 
being-in-itself is, at the same time, likewise only a moment or posited 
being, for it is mediated. The conditioning limit is, therefore, the 
entire form of the ground-relation. It is the presupposed being-in- 
itself of the same. But, as such, is as a posited-being, and its 
immediateness reduces it to posited-being ; it consequently repels 
itself from itself, so that it is annulled (goes to the ground) as 
ground, which reduces itself to posited-being, and consequently to 
the grounded. And the two are one and the same. 

Being-in-itself is likewise found in connection with the conditioned 
ground, not merely as manifestation of another upon it. It is 
independent, and this means that it is the self-relating reflection of 
the activity of positing. Hence, it is the self-identical i. e., it is 
its being-in-itself, and its content. But at the same time it is pre- 
supposing reflection. It relates negatively to itself, and posits its 
own being-in-itself as something opposed to it in another ; and the 
conditioning limit is the real phase of ground-relation, as well accord- 
ing to the moment of being-in-itself as according to that of imme- 
diate being. Immediate being is essentially and solely through its 
ground, and is a moment of its ground as a presupposing activity; 
hence, this presupposing activity is likewise the entire movement. 

For this reason, there is only one totality of form extant, and 
likewise only one totality of content. For the proper content of the 
conditioning limit is essential content only in so far as the identity of 
self-reflection in the form, or in so far as this immediate being is in 
itself the ground-relation. This immediate being is, moreover, con- 
ditioning limit only through the presupposing reflection of the 
ground. It is its self -identity, or its content, posited by it in opposi- 
tion to itself. Particular being is, therefore, not merely a formless 
material for the ground-relation, but it is matter that has received 
form ; for it already possesses this form, and it is content since it is 
indifferent towards it, w r hile it is in identity with it. Finally, it is the 
same content which ground has, for it is content precisely in so far 
as it is the phase of self-identit}' in the form-relation. 

The two sides of the totality the conditioning limit and the 
ground are therefore one essential unit}', both as content and as 

108 Essence. 

form. They pass over into each other through their own activity ; 
or, in other words, since the} 7 are movements of reflection, the} 7 posit 
themselves as annulled, and relate to this annulment, which is their 
negation, and therefore mutually presuppose each other. But this 
is, at the same time, only one movement of reflection for both ; their 
mutual presupposition is therefore only one activity ; the antithetic 
attitude of the two passes over into the phase in which they presup- 
pose their one identity as their persistence (self-dependence) and as 
their substrate. This substrate, which is the one content and form 
unity of both, is the truly unconditioned ; it is the thing in itself {die 
Sache an sich selbst). The conditioning limit, as defined above, is- 
only the relatively unconditioned. It is usually, therefore, regarded 
as itself conditioned through something else, and a new condition i& 
asked for ; hence the progress, ad infinitum, from condition to condition 
is introduced. Why one asks for the condition which limits another 
condition means the same thing as the question, why does one assume 
it as conditioned? The answer to this is, because it is a finite being. 
But this idea of finite being is something which does not belong to the 
conception of conditioning limit. The conditioning limit, as such, is 
therefore itself conditioned through something else, because it is the 
posited being-in-itself. The conditioning limit is therefore annulled 
in the absolutely unconditioned. 

The absolutely unconditioned contains the two moments : (1) the 
conditioning limit and (2) the ground. It is the unity into which 
they have returned. The two together constitute the form or the 
posited-being of the absolutely unconditioned. The unconditioned 
thing {Sache) is the conditioning limit of both, but it is the abso- 
lute that is to sa} 7 , the conditioning limit, which is ground itself. 
As ground, it is the negative identity which has repelled itself into 
the two moments mentioned), viz., (1) into the shape of the annulled 
ground-relation, i. e., that of an immediate self-external multiplicity, 
devoid of unity, which relates to its ground as to its other, and at 
the same time constitutes its being-in-itself; (2) it has repelled it 
into an internal, simple form, which is ground, but which relates to 
the self-identical immediate as to another, and determines the same 
as conditioning limit, i. e., determines its being-in-itself as its own 
moment. These two sides presuppose the totality, therefore, as 
that wdiich posits them. Conversely, since they presuppose the 
totality, the totality seems to be conditioned through them, and the 
"thing in itself" {Sache) seems to originate from its conditioning 
limit and from its ground. But since these two sides have shown 
themselves identical, the relation of conditioning limit and ground 

The Thing Emerges into Existence. 109 


has vanished, and these two categories are reduced to an appearance. 
The absolutely unconditioned, in its activity of positing and pre- 
positing, is only the activity in which this appearance annuls itself. 
It is the activity of the thing (Sache) which conditions itself, and 
places itself over against its conditions as their ground. Its rela- 
tion as that of conditions and their ground is, however, a manifesta- 
tion within it, and it stands in relation to them as its own self- 
identity (Zusammevgehen mit sicJi selbst). 

S. The Thing {Sache) Emerges into Existence. 

The absolutely unconditioned is the absolute ground, identical with 
its conditioning limit; it is the immediate thing as the truly essential. 
As ground it relates negatively to itself, and reduces itself to posited- 
being ; but this posited-being is the reflection which is completed in 
its two phases or sides, and in them it is self-identical form-relation, 
as has been ascertained is the foregoing investigation of its nature 
(Begriff). This posited-being, therefore, is, in the first place, an- 
nulled ground, or the thing as immediate and without any activity of 
reflection : this is the side of the conditioning limit. This is the 
totality of the determinations of the thing the thfng itself, but cast 
forth into the externality of being ; it is the restored circle of being. 
In the conditioning limit, essence sets free the unity of its reflection 
into itself as an immediateness, which, however, has now the charac- 
teristic of being a presupposition which is a conditioning limit, and 
of constituting only one of its sides or phases. The conditioning 
limits are, therefore, the entire content of the thing, because they are 
the unconditioned in the form of the formless being (Form desform- 
losen Seyns). On account of this form, however, they have also still 
another aspect : that of the determinations of content as it is in the 
Thing as such. They manifest themselves as a multiplicity without 
unity, intermingled with non-essential and other circumstances, which 
do not belong to the sphere of particular being, in so far as it consti- 
tutes the conditioning limits of this particularized thing. The sphere 
of Being is itself the conditioning limit for the absolute unlimited 
thing. Ground, which returns into itself, posits it as the primary 
immediateness to which it relates as its unconditioned. This imme- 
diateness as the annulled reflection is reflection in the element of 
Being. This, therefore, as such completes itself to a totality. The 
form grows as determinateness of being, and manifests itself as a 
manifold content different from the determination of reflection, and 
indifferent towards it. The non-essential which appertains to the 
sphere of being, and which it, in so far as it is conditioning limit, 

110 Essence. 

excludes, is the determinateness of immediateness into which the form- 
unity has sunk. This form-unity, as the relation of being, is first 
the category of Becoming, in this place the transition of one deter- 
minateness of being into another. But the becoming of Being is its 
transition into Essence, and hence its return into Ground. Hence 
particular being, which constitutes the conditioning limits, is in truth 
not determined to be conditioning limit b} r another, and is not used as 
its material ; but it, by its own activity, reduces itself to a moment of 
another. Its becoming is, moreover, not a beginning with itself, as if 
it were the true primordial and immediate, but its immediateness is 
only what is presupposed, and the activity of its becoming is the 
activity of reflection itself. The truth of particular being is, there- 
fore, its realization as conditioning limit. Its immediateness is solely 
through the reflection of the ground- relation, which posits itself as 
annulled. The becoming, so far as it is immediateness, is only the 
appearance of the unconditioned, since the latter presupposes itself, 
and has in this presupposition its form, and the immediateness of 
being is therefore only a moment or phase of form. 

The other side or aspect of this appearance of the unconditioned 
is the ground-relation, as such, which is determined as form in oppo- 
sition to the immediateness of the conditioning limits and the content. 
It is the form, however, of the absolute Thing which possesses within 
itself the unity of its form and itself, or its content ; and, since it de- 
termines its content to be a conditioning limit, it annuls in this very 
positing its diversity, and reduces it to a moment ; conversely, as 
form devoid of essence in this self -identity, it takes on the form of 
immediateness as persistent reality. The reflection of ground annuls 
the immediateness of conditioning limits, and relates them to mo- 
ments within the unity of the thing. The conditioning limits, on the 
other hand, are what is presupposed by the unconditioned thing 
itself ; it annuls, therefore, its own positing ; or, in other words, its 
positing reduces itself immediately to a becoming ; the two are, 
therefore, one unity. The movement of the conditioning limits 
within themselves is a becoming, a return into the ground, and a posit- 
ing of the ground. But the ground as posited that is to say, as 
annulled is the immediate. Ground relates to itself negatively, 
reduces itself to posited-being, and furnishes a ground for the con- 
ditioning limits. In the fact, however, that by this the immediate 
particular being is determined into a posited, the ground annuls it, 
and becomes ground in that act. This reflection, therefore, is the 
mediation of the unconditioned thing through its negation. Or, in 
other words, the reflection of the unconditioned is at first a presup- 

The Thing Emerges into Existence. Ill 

posing; while, on the other hand, this annulment of itself is a posit- 
ing of immediate determinations. In the second place, it is in this 
activity immediately the annulment of what is presupposed, and a 
determining which proceeds from itself ; consequent!}', this determin- 
ing is also the annulment of the positing, and is the becoming within 
itself. In this activity the mediation, as return to itself through 
negation, has vanished ; it is simple reflection manifesting itself, 
and an absolute becoming devoid of ground. The activity of the 
thing through which it is posited, on the one hand by its conditioning 
limits, and on the other hand b}" its ground, is only the evanescence 
of the appearance of mediation. The activity of the thing by which 
it becomes posited is, therefore, a manifestation of itself as Exist- 
ence a simple exhibition of itself in the form of Existence; this 
is the pure movement of the thing within itself. 

When all the conditioning limits of a thing are present, it comes 
into existence. The thing is before it exists. It is, first, essence or 
unconditioned ; secondly, it is particular being, or is determined in a 
twofold manner : (1) in its conditions, (2) in its ground. In the 
first, it assumes the form of external, groundless being, for the rea- 
son that it is, as absolute reflection, negative self-relation, and thus 
its presupposition. This presupposed unconditioned is, therefore, 
the groundless immediate, whose being is nothing else than to exist 
without a ground. If, therefore, all the conditions of a thing are 
present that is to say, if the totality of the thing is posited as 
groundless immediate this scattered multiplicity is by this fact col- 
lected within the thing itself. The totality of the thing requires all 
its conditions; they all belong to its existence. For all together 
constitute the reflection. In other words, the particular being, since 
it is conditioning limit, is determined (particularized) by the form ; 
and hence its determinations are, therefore, determinations of reflec- 
tion, and are posited essentially through each other. The collection 
of the conditions in one unity is the destruction of the immediate 
being and the becoming of the ground. With this the ground is a 
posited, i. e., it is annulled so far forth as it is ground, and thus it is 
immediate being. Therefore, when all the conditions of a thing are 
present, they are all annulled as immediate beings (mutually an- 
nulled), and as presupposition ; and likewise the ground is annulled. 
Ground exhibits itself only as an appearance, which immediately 
vanishes ; this is, consequently, the tautological movement within 
itself, and its mediation through the conditions and through the 
ground is the vanishing of both conditions and ground. The entrance 

112 Essence. 

into existence is an immediate affair only through the fact that its 
mediation is a vanishing of mediation. 

The thing proceeds from its ground. It is not grounded or posited 
through it in such a manner that the ground remains standing under 
it, but the act of positing is the outward movement of ground into 
itself, and the simple vanishing of itself as ground. It receives 
external iramediateness through its union with the conditioning limits, 
and thus attains the phase of Being. But it receives external immedi- 
ateness, not as an external somewhat, nor through an external relation. 
On the contrary, it reduces itself as ground to posited-being ; its 
simple essentiality comes into self-identity in the posited-being ; in 
this annulment of itself it is the vanishing of its difference from its 
posited-being, consequently it is simple, essential immediateness. 
The ground, therefore, does not remain behind as something different 
from that which is grounded ; but the truth of that which is grounded 
lies in the fact that the ground unites itself with itself in this move- 
ment, and consequently its reflection into another becomes its reflec- 
tion into itself. The thing, consequently, in so far as it is the uncon- 
ditioned, is also without ground ; and it issues forth from the ground 
only in so far as it proves itself perishable ("goes to the ground"), 
and is no ground; it issues forth from the groundless, i. e., from its 
own essential negativity, or pure form. 

This immediateness, which is mediated through ground and condi- 
tion, and is self-identical through the annulment of mediation, is 

Phenomenon. 113 



Essence must manifest itself in a phenomenon (erscheinen). 

Being is the absolute abstraction ; as such its negativity is not any- ^ 
thing external to it [but something intrinsic] ; this negativity is being 
itself, and nothing else than being in this phase of absolute negativ- 
ity. Hence being is only self-annulling being, and is essence. On 
the other hand Essence, in its phase of simple self-identity , is likewise 
Being. The science of Being contains the first proposition: Being is 
Essence. The second proposition : Essence is Being, constitutes the 
content of the first section of the science of Essence. This " Being " 
which essence is in one of its phases, is essential being, [technically 
termed here] existence a being that has arisen from negativity and 
internality. [Being is "absolute abstraction," because, in the 
thought of being we regard only its phase of self-relation and make 
abstraction from all other phases. "Relation to others" is not a 
category of being. In the sphere of being everything is thought of 
as independent, existing by itself without aid from anything else, and. 
as having reality b} r itself considered hence as existing outside of 
relation. If relation is spoken of in the science of being it does not 
belong to that stage of thinking which thinks being, or else it is a 
mere subjective relation just as this paper on which I write is exter- 
nally related to my pen with which I write, but there is no essential 
relation between them, no dependence of one on the other, and each 
of them can be thought as existing without the other. This phase of 
being is called "absolute negativit}'," in view of the fact that the 
Science of Being has shown, as a result of investigation in the case of 
each and every category under Being, that every form of being is 
vanishing or transitory, each proving to be only an arc of a circle of 
process. The result is universally negative the destruction of the 
particular forms of being no phase of immediateness having any 
abiding. Being is therefore the self-annulling. But as entire circle 
of process it is Essence. Or, more accurately, Essence is the entire 
process in its aspect of relation or dependence hence in its aspect 
of abiding. For the relation is the abiding or identity of a somewhat 
in its other, its continuation in its other. The proposition "Being is 

114 Essence. 

Essence," of course does not mean that it is Essence, if Being is 
taken in its immediateness, or as mere transitory phase, but it means 
that Being when traced out so that we have found its truth, or the 
totality of its process, or the true nature of it, is Essence or the abid- 
ing being that kind of being that abides through all change of par- 
ticular form or phase. So, too, the second proposition, "Essence is 
Being," does not mean that Essence is Being no matter how we think it. 
It means that Essence as this negative self-relation produces and sus- 
tains itself in immediateness as has been shown in this book in the 
chapter on " Ground." It may be truly said that if we think of Being 
as it truly is we must think it as a phase of self-relation ; hence Being 
is only an aspect of Essence. Again, Essence is a process which has 
immediateness and self-relation as its result and as its constant 
product hence Essence is Being, or in the form or phase of Being 
and is more than Being, for it abides, and is true Being, or existence. 
It must be remarked that Being always has the form of self-relation, 
or of independence but not an explicit self-relation, or a relation 
which is in the form of ''A relates to B which relates hack to A, 
again " = A determines B and B determines A so that A relates 
to itself through B, or so that A determines itself through B. This 
self-mediation through another is not perceived by the thinking which 
thinks mere Being. And yet this logical investigation finds this self- 
mediation through another to be the essential presupposition of an}' 
or all forms of Being. But the thinking which possesses this insight 
is the thinking which thinks Essence. The thinking which thinks 
Essence is able to understand that those categories which it thought 
as forms of Being, are such arcs of the process of self-relation as 
include the result of the "positing reflection." (See p. 14.) Es- 
sence as Being here termed " Existence " is the permanent man- 
ifestation of Essence through its own activity. Hence, "Phenom- 
enon " means complete manifestation, or essential appearance. This 
complete manifestation has " emerged from negative and internal- 
ity ;" that is to say, we have found that the negativity of the process 
called Essence does not result in zero, but in a reality which pos- 
sesses immediateness through the annullment of mediation; the mere 
annullment of external mediation results in " internality," but the 
"Phenomenon" preserves externality or abiding objectivit}*]. 

Therefore, Essence manifests itself in a Phenomenon. Reflection 
is the appearing-to-itself of Essence. The determinations of Re- 
flection are " posited " or annulled [i.e. dependent] when in the unity 
of reflection ; in other words, Reflection is Essence as immediately 
self-identical in its posited-being [its dependence being converted 

Phenomenon. 115 

into self-dependence]. But since this activity [of reflection, which 
is self-identical in its posited-being] is Ground, it determines itself 
in the form of reality, through its self-annulling or self-returning re- 
flection. Moreover, since this determination [of itself as real], or 
the other of the Ground-relation annuls itself in the reflection of 
Ground, and thus becomes existence [i.e. it takes up its conditions 
and includes them within itself], it follows that the Form-determina- 
tions obtain in this result an element of independent subsistence. 
Their appearance becomes complete in the Phenomenon. 

The essentiality which has thus attained to immediateness, is, in 
its first phase, Existence ; and as such composed of existing some- 
whats or things ; this phase is the indistinguishable unity of essence 
with its immediateness. "Thing" contains the movement of reflec- 
tion, but in the immediateness of Thing the negativity of reflection 
is annulled ; but for the reason that the ground of the thing is essen- 
tial^ this movement of reflection it annuls its immediateness ; the 
thing is reduced to a posited-being. [Hegel's style of writing about the 
investigation of the categories is dramatic ; each category is treated 
as though self-active. Its definition is taken for its expressed will or 
intention, and then its behavior or its implication with others is 
compared with this its definition and the contradictions noted. 
This is the famous "dialectic:" each category is treated as 
though ultimate and final as though it expressed independent, 
universal truth. An investigation of its contradictory behavior, 
when thus treated as universal, reveals to us the imperfection 
of the category, its dependence upon other categories with which 
it forms a whole, and the necessity is evident of a new defini- 
tion which expresses this relation to others in a new unity. The 
definition of the new unity is a higher, more concrete statement of 
truth, inasmuch as it readjusts the previous statement and corrects 
its defects. Here, for example, "Existence" is found to involve 
existence under the form of particular "things." Furthermore, 
"Thing" is found to involve the movement of reflection which an- 
nuls this immediateness of the " things ; " hence "things" exist 
only in a state of transience. This result here stated is the brief 
announcement of what is to be shown in detail in the first chapter of 
this second division of Essence.] 

Hence, secondly, essence is Phenomenon [not merely " existence " 
nor "thing," their transitoriness is "phenomenon"]. The phe- 
nomenon is what the thing is in itself [in its nature], or it is the 
"truth of the thing." Existence, as posited or reflected in the 
other-being [as a "thing"] is, however, the transcendence of itself, 

116 Essence. 

the progress ad infinitum, away from itself ; the world of phenomena 
places itself in opposition to the reflected world, the world of being- 
in-itself [i.e. to the internal nature of " things"]. [This is a brief 
announcement of the contents of the second chapter of this second 
division of Essence]. 

But the essential being and the being which is a manifestation or 
phenomenon, stand in immediate relation to each other [they are 
mere counterparts or counter movements of one activity]. Hence, 
thirdly, "Existence" [with which we have to do in this second di- 
vision of Essence] is Reciprocity or essential relation [or state of 
relation, or that which exists only in relation] ; the manifestation in 
a phenomenon (Erscheinende) exhibits the essential, and Essence is 
[oris completely included] in its phenomenon: Essential relation 
[ VerJicUtniss] is the as-yet-imperfect union of reflection in the other- 
being, [or in externality] and of reflection into itself ; the perfect 
interpenetration of the two is Actuality. [In this announcement of 
the contents of the third chapter of this second division of Essence 
we arrive at the idea of Actuality as the complete realization of the 
internal nature or essence in outer manifestation. We now proceed 
to take up the subject in detail.] 

First Chapter. 


Since the Proposition or principle of the "Ground" expresses: 
Everything that is, has a ground or is a posited i.e., a mediated ; the 
principle of Existence would have to be expressed as follows : Every- 
thing that is, exists. The truth of Being is not found in a first imme- 
diate, but rather in the immediateness which has emerged from Es- 
sence [this immediateness of "Existence"]. 

If, however, the assertion is made that whatever exists has a 
ground and is conditioned [through that ground] there icould need 
an additional statement [to correct the one-sidedness of the former] : 
it has no ground and is unconditioned. For Existence is the imme- 
diateness which has resulted from the annulment of mediation as 
found in the relation of ground and condition an immediateness 
which in its production cancels the means that produced it. [An 
immediateness which results from the cancelling of mediation be- 
longs to the higher order of immediateness. All self-mediation is of 
this order. Everything pertaining to the realm of Mind furnishes 
an illustration. I study Euclid ; I avail myself of his aid, using his 

Existence. 117 

demonstration to comprehend the nature of a triangle, but obtaining 
insight into the subject I see the truth immediately, and without his 
aid. At first there was dependence on Euclid, mediation through his 
labors, but a use of his insight as mediation gives me immediate in- 
sight, makes me independent of his labors, and therefore annuls the 
mediation! The history of Mind everywhere furnishes the example 
of the person who "climbs a ladder and draws the ladder up after 

If the "Proof of the existence of God " is referred to at this point, 
it must be remembered that beside immediate Being and Existence 
[the " Being" of Essence] there is a third form of Being resulting 
from the Idea [" Begriff" ] which is called " Objectivity." [The three 
parts of the Logic treat respectively, Being, Essence and Idea; in 
the first, we have immediate Being, utterly without mediation and 
hence without persistence and truth ; in the second there is Essence 
whose immediateness is Existence, persistent and abiding, but imper- 
fect, because its externality is opposed to internality ; in the third, 
the Idea, or self-determination as completed in thought and will, or 
conscious personality we have again immediateness, this time as 
"objectivity." subject- objectivit}', or consciousness, the knowing 
of self, the becoming-completely-objective is Revelatiox. Hence 
if the thought of mere being gives us the appearance of the Abso- 
lute, the thought of Essence gives us the self-manifestation and the 
thought of Idea gives us the self -revelation of the Absolute. 1 

The process of proving something is, of course, a mediated know- 
ing. The various kinds of Being demand or contain their own 
kinds of mediation ; and so it happens that the nature of the process 
of proof varies with each kind of mediation. The ontological proof 
of the being of God sets out from ideas, it la}'s down as postulate 
the idea of the totality of all reality and then subsumes existence 
under the reality [it argues for the necessity of the existence of 
the totality] it is therefore the mediation of the syllogism 
and is not in place for us to consider here. We have already 
mentioned in another place what Kant has urged against this form 
of proof, and have called attention to the fact that Kant understands 
by the term, " Existence," only particular being, and by the cate- 
gory of particular being every thing in the total content of our 
experience is thought as standing in relation to some other thing and 
as being itself another to something else ; in other words, it falls 

1 See Brockmeyer's "Letters on Faust" {Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 
vol. 1, page 181) for distinctions between self-manifestation, self-revelation and 
self-definition. Translator. 

118 Essence. 

under the category of "other-being." For example, "somewhat" 
is as an existing thing mediated through "another," and existence 
itself is the side of mediation for all things. Now in what Kant calls 
the Idea [Begri ff'=I<\e& or "Notion" 1 ] namely, in the somewhat in 
so far as it is taken simply, as related to itself merely, or as an 
" idea in the mind," its mediation has been omitted; in its abstract 
identity, its antithetic relation to other things is left out. The onto- 
logical proof, according to this view w r ould have to show that the 
absolute Idea, viz. the idea of God comes to particular Being, i. e. to 
mediation ; in other words, as the simple essence proceeds to self- 
mediation. This takes place through the mentioned subsumption of 
existence under a more general term, namely, reality, which is as- 
sumed as the middle term between God in his Idea, on the one hand, 
and existence, on the other. Of this mediation so far as it has the 
form of the syllogism (inference) as remarked before, this is not the 
place to speak. But with the mediation of Essence with existence 
its mode and manner the present exposition deals. The nature of 
the process of demonstration is to be considered in the chapter that 
treats of the science of cognition [third part of this logic]. Here 
we are to treat only what concerns the nature of mediation in gen- 

The proof of the existence of God assigns a ground for his exist- 
ence. This ground, it is understood, cannot be an objective [ex- 
ternal] ground of the existence of God ; for God exists in and for 
himself [and without grounds]. Hence this proof assigns merely a 
ground for the cognition of God's existence. This species of ground 
\_i.e. for knowledge, or subjective convictions] is of such a kind that 
it vanishes in the object, which is grounded through it [or the ground 
of proof is a somewhat whose being involves the object proved, and 
the perception of the object proved as thus involved in the ground 
of the proof, realizes the demonstration ; but the ground of the proof 
is rather an object which is grounded in and through the object 
proved; hence "ground" and "grounded" are used in opposite 

1 English and Scotch writers generalW translate the German word Begriff by 
"Notion." In America the word "notion" is used for vague idea or one-sided 
apprehension and seldom for the logical concept, or Begriff. The use of the word 
Begriff by Hegel is different from that of Kant and others, and misleads Germans 
as to the tendency of his system. The use of the word "notion" in English 
makes the matter still worse ; for Begriff like concept may possess an objective 
meaning without doing violence to the word. "Idea" since Plato's time has pos- 
sessed an objective as well as subjective meaning, and has signified archetype or 
pattern as well as subjective " notion." Translator. 

Existence. 1H) 

senses according to their application subjective or objective. The 
Neo-Platonists contended that we cannot prove the existence of God, 
because proving is grounding, and that which is grounded through 
another could not be divine in its nature. Here was a confusion 
between subjective ground of knowledge or conviction and objective 
ground of existence]. Now the ground of proof which is based on 
the contingency of the world contains [or involves] the return of 
the world into the absolute essence [the contingency of the world 
exhibits its dependence no thing in nature abiding but each pass- 
ing over into another ; this transitoriness of things is a process of 
evolvino; and annulling determinations ; the evolution of the deter- 
minations is the creation of particular beings over against the es- 
sence ; their annulment is the return into the indeterminate essence ;] 
for the contingent is the in-itself-groundless and self-annulnng. The 
absolute essence, consequently, according to this, proceeds from the 
groundless; the ground annuls itself; and then the appearance of 
relativity vanishes ; and in the proof vanishes also this appearance 
of relativity on the part of God as a being that was grounded 
through another. This mediation [of the absolute through the re- 
turn into it of the groundless] is consequently the true one, but that 
stage of thinking to which the "proving reflection" belongs, does 
not understand the nature of this mediation ; it takes this mediation 
as a merely subjective affair, and therefore carefully removes it from 
God himself, but on this account it does not perceive the mediating 
activity involved in essence itself. The relation of dependence [i.e., 
of the "grounded" upon the "ground"] which the proof involves 
or contains, consists in this that they are both in one [i.e. " ground " 
and "grounded" are one being] a mediation which is a self- 
externality which is self-annulling in its nature [i.e., the transitory 
which is posited by the essence is a self-externalizing of the essence,: 
but the transitory is self-annulling]. In the mentioned exposition 
"existence" receives an erroneous construction; it is conceived in 
the dependent relation of mediated or posited [through the proof 
the ground being taken as objective instead of subjective]. 

On the other hand Existence may be regarded as something not 
merely immediate. Taken in the phase of immediateness, the cognU- 
tion of the existence of God has been expressed as an act of Faith, 
a knowing which does not rest on proof a knowing by the immedi- 
ate consciousness. The knowing is said to come to this result, that 
it knows nothing; that is to sa}-, that it gives up its mediating activity 
and the cognitions which it has arrived at through such activity. 
This result we have seen in what precedes ; but it, must be added that 

120 Essence. 

reflection when it ends with the annulment of itself does not on this 
account have zero for a result; so that after this annulment the posi- 
tive knowing of essence may take place as an immediate relation to 
the same and entirely separated from the act of reflection and as 
though the act of reflection had not been as though the immediate 
knowing were an original act beginning from itself. But this annul- 
ment of reflection, this " going-to-the-ground " of mediation is itself 
the "ground" from which the immediate proceeds, or originates. 
Language [i.e. the German language! unites as above remarked the 
two meanings of destruction and ground [for "goes to destruction" 
the German says, "goes to the ground"]. It is said also that the 
essence of God is the abyss \_Abgrund~] for the finite reason ; it is 
this through the fact that the finite reason gives up its finitude and 
loses its mediating activity in the being of God ; but this abyss, the 
negative ground, is at the same time the positive gtound of the 
origination of existence, of the essence which is in itself immediate 
and of which mediation is an essential phase. Mediation through 
the ground annuls itself, but does not leave the ground lying at the 
basis so that what originates from it is a " posited," or still depends 
on that ground, and as though it had its essence elsewhere, viz. in 
the ground ; but this ground is as " abyss " the vanished mediation, 
and, conversely, it is only the vanished [self-annulled] mediation 
which is the ground ; and only through this negation there arises the 
identical and the immediate. 

Thus "existence" is not to be taken here in the sense of predi- 
cate or of determination of essence, so that a proposition or principle 
could be made of it. "Essence exists" or "essence has exist- 
ence"; but essence has become here existence. Essence has be- 
come existence in so far forth as essence no longer distinguishes 
itself into "ground" and "grounded"; the ground has annulled 
itself. But this negation (the annulment of the ground-relation) is 
likewise essentially its positing affirmation or absolutely positive 
continuity with itself ; existence is the reflection of ground into 
itself [this means: something is ground, i.e. it utters itself by pos- 
iting something else which manifests the ground or is its appearance ; 
in its transitoriness its determinations are annulled, and thus it re- 
turns to the ground; ground is a reflection into itself through 
its process of grounding something, and again annulling what is 
oTounded by it ; existence includes this whole process of the reflec- 
tion of ground into itself]. Its identity with itself which results 
from its negation [relating to itself] is therefore the mediation which 

Existence. 121 

has posited itself as self-identical and through this has come into 

Since existence is this self-identical mediation, the determinations 
of mediation belong to it. But these determinations as found in 
existence are reflected into themselves and have essential and imme- 
diate self-subsistence. As immediateness which posits itself through 
annulment, existence is negative unity and being-in-itself. There- 
fore it determines itself immediately as an existing somewhat and as 
Thing. [This is the general statement of the contents of this first 
chapter. It goes over the entire discussion, mentioning only the 
most important aspects. The closing sentence of this paragraph is 
perhaps a specimen of Hegel's most peculiar insight. It involves 
the passage from the generic to the individual, from the universal to 
the singular. The first example given in this logic of this insight is 
found in the treatment of Being, in Volume I., under the head of 
Quality (pages 113 and 114 c, "Etivas"). He remarks, after the 
statement that Somewhat (Etwas) is the first negation of negation, 
as simple existing relation to itself, " Being [Daseyri], Life, Think- 
ing, &c, determine themselves essentially in the form of beings, liv- 
ing beings, thinking beings [egos'], &c. This determination is of the 
highest importance in order to escape from the mere universal 
terms, Being, Life, Thought, &c. ; and so to be able to descend 
from the general idea k deity ' to that of a [concrete, personal] 
God." Not the abstract universal any more than the abstract par- 
ticular, is the reality. Hegel here agrees with Aristotle ; only the 
individual has true reality. But the "individual" must not be un- 
derstood as mere particular being or phase, but as the self-deter- 
mining process which we call ego or person. All else is mere 
"posited being," and has its explanation only through the self- 
determining totality to which it belongs. Thus in this place Hegel 
makes existence to be "negative unity" i.e. a process which an- 
nuls its particular stages of development, and "returns into itself," 
and thus becomes being-in-itself ; but each and every phase of the 
process is reflected into itself; and hence the " return-into-itself " is 
not by the reduction to zero of the particular stages of development 
but by the elevation of each particular stage to a totality within itself 
by adding to it what it lacks of the totality. A, b and c are three mo- 
ments of a totality, each needs the other two to make its existence 
possible, the total is the annulment of each, but if the annulment 
through the total takes the form of " negative unity " it destroys 
the individuality of the moments, a, b and c (think of the annul- 
ment of acid and alkali in a salt) ; but if the annulment of a, b and 



c takes place by the addition to each of its complement then each 
comes to true individuality by the possession of the form of totalit}'. 
Thus a, b, c, the primary, undeveloped unity, the first entelechy, be- 
comes abc, bca, cab ; each moment annuls itself and becomes its 
own totality. This is the form of preservation of the individual in 
the universal and is the especial insight of Hegel, on which he lays 
most stress. The idea of " reflection-into-itself " is the basis of this 
preservation of individuality and escape from pantheism or the ab- 
stract universal as a first principle in the universe. Aristotle, too, 
seems to have held this concrete principle of reflection-into-itself as 
the basis of true being and true realitv. It was his commentator, 
Alexander of Aphrodisias, who interpreted the Master's thought as a 
thought of "external reflection." and hence as setting up the ab- 
stract universal instead of the concrete universal. This interpreta- 
tion was adopted by the Arabians ; hence Scholasticism arose as the 
Christian reaction, which in Aquinas finds the concrete universal 
ao-ain. Aristotle's thought of first and second " entelechies " and of 
" energy " and of " active reason " is founded on this insight. Ex- 
istence is not an abstraction, but, as Hegel remarks, existences or 

Thing and its Properties. 

Existence as existing somewhat is posited in the form of negative 
unity, which it essentially is [a negative unity annuls all of its manifold 
of determinations, leaving them only a " posited being," just as acid 
and alkali have a " posited-being " only when they exist in the neg- 
ative unity of a salt]. But this negative unity is in the first place 
only immediate determining, and hence it is the oneness of any 
"somewhat." The existing somewhat is to be distinguished from 
" somewhat" as a category of Being; the former is essentially such 
an immediateness as has originated through the reflection of media- 
tion into itself ["reflection-into-itself" means here a return from 
mediation, through mediation, back to immediateness ; the mediation 
is used and then dispensed with ; the ladder has been ascended and 
now it is drawn up from the ground ; this insight into the use of 
mediation and its annulment is the key to this whole book of Es- 
sence]. Hence the existing somewhat is a Thing [" Thing " is the 
category which expresses a somewhat which is mediated through 
others, and yet which is re-posited by the others pre-supposed by 
them and thus established in the form of independence; the de- 

Existence. 123 

pendence of the thing upon others, implied by its relation to them, is 
annulled by the reciprocal dependence of the others upon it, and its 
immediateness and independence is thereby restored]. 

A " thing " is to be distinguished from its " existence " just as the 
" somewhat" can be distinguished from its " Being " [in the treat- 
ment of Being the category of somewhat is thus distinguished ; a 
being is a somewhat, and so here an existence is a thing]. The 
"thing" and the existing somewhat are immediately one and the 
same. But since existing is not the first immediateness of being 
[in which case it would belong to the sphere of Being and not to that 
of Essence], but it possesses the phase or " moment " of mediation 
within it, and hence its determination as Thing and the distinction 
between the two [between Existence and Thing] is not a transition, 
but properly an analysis ; and Existence as such contains this very 
act of distinguishing [between its generality as existence and its 
specializing negative unity as Thing] in the phases, or " moments " 
of its mediation. This distinction within the moments of its media- 
tion is that between thing-in-itself and external existence. [This 
characterization is still a summary like the preceding ones in this 
chapter. But its scope includes only the three sub-sections immedi- 
ately following]. 

a. Thing-in-itself. 

1. The thing-in-itself is the existing somewhat, as extant through the 
annulment of the mediation [i.e. taken as it is after the mediation] ; 
it is the essential^ immediate. Through this fact mediation is like- 
wise essential to the thing-in-itself ; but this distinction [between the 
thing-in-itself and its mediation] in this first or immediate existence, 
falls asunder into two determinations indifferent towards each other. 
The one side, namely, the mediation of the thing, is its non-reflected 
immediateness ; hence its being in general, which for the reason that 
it is determined, at the same time, as mediation, is its own other, a 
being that is manifold and external in its nature [this phase of the 
thing is the phase of Being, recognized in the first apprehension : 
what the first apprehension seizes upon will alwa}'s be found to be a 
phase of a complex mediation, and all mediation is invisible to first 
Apprehension]. It is, however, not merely a being, but it is in re- 
lation to the annulled mediation, which is essential immediateness ; it 
is, therefore [as related to essential immediateness], unessential being 
or posited-being. (If the Thing is distinguished from its existence, 
it is then a possible thing, a thing of the mind, an imagined thing, 

124 Essence. 

which, as such, is not considered as existing. The category of pos- 
sibility [or potentiality], and of the antithesis of the thing, and its 
existence belongs later in this Logic.) But the thing-in-itself and its 
mediated Being are both contained within existence, and both are ex- 
istences themselves; the thing-in-itself exists and is the essential, 
while the mediated being is the unessential existence of the Thing. 

The Thing-in-itself as the simple reflected being of existence [the 
phase of existence as reflected-into-itself, or as annulled mediation] is 
not the ground of the unessential being; it is the unmoved, undeter- 
mined unity, for it is only annulled mediation, and therefore it is the 
basis of the unessential being [Grundlage = basis ; Grund = ground 
or reason ; ground arises from the self-annullment of contradiction ; 
contradiction is self-relation in its aspect of self-negation ; this self- 
negation is self-determination, the positing of determinations within 
the undetermined subject of the process ; or likewise the presuppos- 
ing activity which determines a presupposed immediate ; all this ac- 
tivity is mediating or grounding the laying-of-a-foundation for an- 
other; thing-in-itself is not a foundation or ground for unessential 
existence, because all existence is such through the annulment of 
mediation; and the annulment of mediation is the annulment of the 
very distinction which the process of ground creates.] For that rea- 
son, Reflection, as a being mediating itself through another, falls out- 
side of the thing-in-itself. The thing-in-itself is defined as having no 
particularized manifold within it; and on this account it receives this 
manifoldness only when brought into connection with it through the 
activity of reflection, but even then the thing-in-itself remains indif- 
ferent to the manifoldness. For example, the thing-in-itself has 
color on being brought to the eye, smell to the nose, &c. Its diver- 
sity of properties according to this view is due to the " respects," 
"points of view," taken b}' some external observer, particular rela- 
tions which the outside observer assumes towards the thing-in-itself, 
and which do not belong to the thing-in-itself as its own determina- 

2. On the other hand, the second phase distinguished within exist- 
ence is the one containing the activity of reflection, that defined as 
external, and which is in the first place, self-external and particular- 
ized manifoldness. In the second place it is external to the essen- 
tially existing and relates to it as to its absolute presupposition. 
These two phases or " moments " of external reflection, however, 
their own manifoldness and their relation to the thing-in-itself op- 
posed to them as their other, are one and the same. [Note carefully 

Existence. 125 

the following demonstration of this point.] For this existence is 
"external " only in so far as it relates to the essential identity as to 
another. The manifoldness has therefore no independent self-subsist- 
ence of its own over against the thing-in-itself, but it is only an ap- 
pearance or manifestation as opposed to the thing-in-itself ; it is only 
in its necessary relation to the thing in itself and as a reflection bend- 
ing back to it again. The diversity therefore arises as the relation 
of another to the thing-in-itself, but this other is nothing that sub- 
sists for and by itself; but only in relation to the thing-in-itself; but 
it is at the same time only the repulsion of the thing-in-itself, there- 
fore it is a restless self-opposed activity. 

This essenceless reflection, now, does not belong to the thing-in- 
itself, for the latter is the essential identity of existence ; but it re- 
turns into itself externally to the thing-in-itself [i.e., it has thingness 
or independence]. It goes down ["goes to the ground"], and be- 
comes through this essential identit} 7 or thing-in-itself. This process 
can also be considered in another way : the unessential phase of ex- 
istence possesses in the "thing-in-itself" its own reflection into 
itself ; and at the same time it relates to it as to its own other ; but 
as the other to that which is in itself [i.e., opposed to its own na- 
ture] it is only the annulment of itself and its becoming of [transition 
into] its being in itself. The thing-in-itself is consequently identical 
with external existence. 

This [the identity of the thing-in-itself and external existence] is 
exhibited in the thing-in-itself in this manner. The thing-in-itself is 
the self-relating, essential existence ; it is self-identity only in so far 
as it contains in itself the negativity of reflection [for how could it 
be self-identity or self-relating without being negative self-return or 
reflection?]; and that which appeared as existence external to it is 
therefore, a phase or moment within it [for its negativity of reflection 
being admitted the multiplicity of externality is also given]. For 
this reason it is also a self-repelling thing-in-itself a thing-in-itself 
which stands in relation to itself, therefore, as to another. Conse- 
quently, there are now before us several things-in-themselves, which 
stand in the relation of external reflection to each other. This un- 
essential existence is their relation to each other as mutual others ; 
but this unessential existence is moreover essential to them or since 
it is a return into itself it is (for them) the thing-in-itself ; but it is 
another as the mentioned first ; for the mentioned first is immediate 
essentiality, but this has originated out of unessential existence [the 
"mentioned first" is the thing-in-itself discussed above as the 
first phase of existence and to which was opposed a manifold of un- 

126 Essence. 

essential existence ; but a consideration of the latter has discovered 
within it the movement of reflection and hence it is a thing-in-itself 
like the " mentioned first"]. But this second thing-in-itself is only 
other in general ; for as self-identical thing it has no further an- 
tithetic relation to the first [it is only " other," and hns no essential 
relation, no dependence upon the first thing-in-itself] ; it is the reflec- 
tion into itself of the unessential existence just like the first thing- 
in-itself. The determinateness of the various things-in-themselves 
through which they are opposed to each other belongs therefore to 
external reflection [and not to things-in-themselves]. 

3. This external reflection is a process of relation of the things-in- 
themselves to each other their reciprocal mediation as mutual 
others. The things-in-themselves are, therefore, extremes of a syl- 
logism whose middle term constitutes their external existence the 
existence through which the}' are mutually others to each other and 
different things. This difference of theirs is found only in their re- 
lation to each other. As far as they stand in relation they have 
superficial determinations distinguishing them from each other, but 
these determinations of difference do not appertain to the things-in- 
themselves except in this relation to each other. The latter, as re- 
gards these distinctions, are indifferent, reflected into themselves, and 
absolute [/'. <?. things in themselves are held to be independently 
existent for themselves and as having unessential relation to each 
other, through which relation the manifold of marks, properties, ac- 
cidents, &c, which characterize concrete things arise]. This process 
of relation constitutes the totality of "Existence;" the thing-in- 
itself stands in relation to an activity of reflection external to it, in 
which it possesses manifold determinations. In this external reflec- 
tion it is the repulsion of itself from itself into another thing-in-itself. 
This repulsion is the counter impulse within itself inasmuch as each 
of these is another to itself only as reflecting itself from and out of 
another. It has its posited-being not in itself but in another, and it 
is determined only through the determinateness of the other, and 
this other is likewise determined only through the determinateness of 
the former. [N. B. The method by which reflection saves the 
thing-in-itself from dependence upon beings external to it and pre- 
serves its self-identity ; the multiplicity of properties and other de- 
terminations belonging to the Thing which are well known to involve 
the interrelation of things and their interdependence, is made to be 
wholly a sphere by itself unessential and contingent as regards the 
things-in-themselves ; by this device reflection saves the independence 

Existence. 127 

and self-identity of things-in-themselves ; the realm of dependence, 
i. e., of posited-being, appertains only to this sphere of contingent 
relation but this realm contains the entire sphere of determinate- 
ness of things ; hence Hegel says that the posited-being and the 
determinateness do not belong to the thing-in-itself but to its other, 
and therefore the thing-in-itself is unaffected bj r the other, indifferent 
to it.] But the two things-in-themselves, since according to this 
view their difference does not appertain to themselves, but each one's 
difference is solely in the other, are not different from each other. 
The thing-in-itself, since it is defined as relating to the other extreme 
as to another thing-in-itself, stands in relation to that which is not 
different from it, and the external reflection which constitutes the 
mediating relation between the extremes is a process of relation 
solely of the thing-in-itself to itself; in other words, it is essentially 
its reflection into itself. Consequently it is in-itself-existent deter- 
minateness, or the determinateness of the thing-in-itself. The thing- 
in-itself, therefore has this determinateness not in relation to an 
external thing-in-itself, nor has the other thing-in-itself determinate- 
ness merely in relation to the former ; the determinateness is not one 
whereby that appertains to the surface of the thing-in-itself [to its 
sphere of relation to others outside of it], but it is the essential me- 
diation of itself with itself as its own other. The two things-in- 
themselves which are here considered as constituting the extremes 
of the relation fall together into one thing-in-itself for the reason 
that they have essentially belonging to them no determinateness to 
distinguish them from each other [for this has been placed by the 
external reflection in their contingent relation and expressly denied 
of the things-in-themselves]. There is only one thing-in-itself which 
in the external reflection stands in a process of relation to itself ; and 
it is this its own relation to itself in which it is its own other that 
constitutes its determinateness. 

This determinateness of the thing-in-itself is the "Property" of 
the Thing. 

b. The Properties of Things. 

Quality is the immediate determinateness of a somewhat: the 
negative itself through which Bnng is somewhat. In like manner the 
Property of a Thing is the negativity of reflection, through which 
existence in general becomes a particular existence, and as simple 
identity with itself, is thing-in-itself. The negativity of reflection, 
the annulled mediation, is mediation still ; and it is relation, though 
not relation to another as such, as quality is, quality being the 

128 Essence. 

unreflected deterrainateness ; it is relation to itself as its own other j 
in other words it is a mediation which is at the same time self-ident- 
ical. The abstract thing-in- itself, too, is this process of relation 
which returns from another back into itself ; through this it is de- 
termined in itself. Its determinateness, however is its nature or 
constitution [Beschaffenheit] which as such is its own determining 
character [Bestimmung determination, destination, vocation, quali- 
tative character] and as process of relation to another does not pass 
over into other-being, nor is it subject to change. 

A thing has properties ; and these are, in the first place, its particu- 
lar relations to another. Properties have arisen only as modes of 
relation of the things to each other, they belong therefore to the 
activity of external reflection and to the sides of posited-being of 
the thing. But, in the second place, the thing has its being-in-itself 
in this posited-being ; it preserves itself [as self-identical! in this 
relation to others ; it is therefore, of course, only a surface of itself 
which Existence exposes to the vicissitudes of change and becoming ; 
the Property does not suffer dissolution through this. A thing has a 
property of influencing another thing in this or that respect ; and of 
uttering itself in a manner peculiar to itself in its effects upon or 
relations to another. It manifests this property (only under condi- 
tions that are adapted to it) in the other thing, but still the property 
is peculiarly its own and its self-identical basis ; this reflected quality 
is accordingly called a property ; in this it passes over into an exter- 
nality but the property still retains its identity in that externality. 
The thing through its properties becomes a cause and the cause is 
preserved in its effect. Yet in this place the thing is not yet deter- 
mined as actual cause ; it is only the quiescent thing with a manifold 
of properties ; it is only as yet the in-itself existent reflection of its 
determinations and not its positing reflection. 

The thing-in-itself is therefore, as we have seen, essentially not 
merely thing-in-itself in the sense that its properties are the posited- 
being of an external reflection, but they are its own determinations 
through which it stands in a definite relation to itself. The thing-in- 


itself is not a basis devoid of determinations existing beyond or be- 
hind its external existence ; but it is in its properties ; it is present as 
their ground, which means [i.e. "ground" means] self-identity in 
its posited-being; but it is at the same time conditioned ground, and 
this means that its posited-being is likewise self-external reflection ; 
it is reflected into itself and self-identical in so far as it is external. 
Through existence the thing-in-itself enters into external relations. 
Existence consists in this externality : it is the immediateness of 

Existence. 129 

Being, and in this the thing is exposed to change; but it is also the 
reflected immediateness of Ground, and the thing is consequently by 
itself and self-identical in its change. This mention of the ground- 
relation must not be taken here in the sense that the thing as such is 
defined as ground of its properties: the thing-ness itself is as such 
the determination of Ground the property is not distinct from its 
ground, nor does it constitute merely the posited-being. but it has 
passed over into its externality and therefore is really ground reflected 
into itself. The property itself is as such the ground posited-being 
which exists by itself; in other words, the ground constitutes the 
form of its self-identity ; its determinateness is the self-external of 
the ground ; and the whole is, in its repulsion and determining, ground 
relating to itself in its external immediateness. The thing-in-itself 
exists therefore essentially and that it exists means, conversely, that 
existence is as external immediateness at the same time being-in- 


We have already mentioned when considering the phases of partic- 
ular being [page 120 of the original of Vol. I of this Logic, 2d v(\.~] 
(viz., under the phase of being-in-itself ), the category of Thing- 
in-itself," and in that place have observed that the thing-in-itself as 
such is nothing but the empty abstraction from all determinateness, 
and concerning which abstraction one of course can know nothing, 
for the precise reason that all determination [about which one could 
know anything] is abstracted. The thing-in-itself is presupposed to 
lie void of determination, hence all determination falls outside of it 
in a reflection foreign to it, and toward which it is indifferent. I his 
external reflection is the stage of consciousness which belongs to 
transcendental idealism. Since transcendental idealism attributes all 
determinateness of things both as to form and to content to the con- 
sciousness, it follows, according to that standpoint, that it is my 
subjective affair that I see the leaves of the trees not as black but as 
green; that the sun appears round and not square; that sugar tastes 
sweet and not bitter ; and that I fix the first and second strokes of 
the hour as in succession and not as simultaneous, nor the first as 
cause and the second as its effect. This brilliant exhibition of sub- 
jective idealism is in direct contradiction to the consciousness of 
freedom, according to which I know myself to be general and unde- 
termined and distinguish from myself those manifold and necessary 
determinations and recognize them as external to nryself and as be- 


130 Essence. 

longing to the things alone. The ego is in this consciousness of its 
freedom that true identity reflected into itself which the thing-in-itself 
is defined to be. Elsewhere I have shown that this transcendental 
idealism never transcends the limitation of the ego through the ob- 
ject, in fact never gets beyond the finite world, but changes only the 
form of the limitation, which remains for it something absolute, inas- 
much, namely, as it translates it out of the objective form into the 
subjective, and makes it into determinatenesses of the ego and 
thereby transfers what ordinary consciousness knows as change and 
manifoldness in external things into a wild hurlyburly going on in 
the ego like that which the ordinary consciousness has supposed to 
exist in external things. In the present consideration, the thing-in- 
itself and the reflection which is external to it in its first phase, stand 
opposed to each other. This phase of reflection has not yet deter- 
mined itself as consciousness ; nor has the thing-in-itself determined 
itself as ego. it has become evident from the exposition of the na- 
ture of the thing-in-itself and of external reflection, that this exter- 
nal reflection developes into the thing-in-itself, or, conversely, into a 
determination of the first mentioned thing-in-itself. The essential 
thing in regard to this insufficiency of the stand-point upon which 
the mentioned philosoplvy rests, consists in this, that it sets up the 
abstract thing-in-itself as an ultimate principle and opposes to this 
the activity of reflection or the determinateness and manifoldness 
of properties, while in point of fact the thing-in-itself essentially con- 
tains that external reflection in itself and developes into a thing with 
its own determinations a thing endowed with properties and by 
this means, we find that the abstraction of the thing, viz. the pure 
thing-in-itself shows itself to be an untrue determination. 

c. Interaction between things. 

The thing-in-itself exists essentially. External immediateness and 
determinateness belong to its being-in-itself [to its nature] or to its 
reflection into itself [?'.e., to it without reference to its dependence 
on others]. The thing-in-itself is therefore a thing with properties; 
and therefore there is a multiplicity of things ; and these things are 
not distinguished from each other through a point of view external to 
them as [assumed by the stand-point treated in the previous section, 
wherein the multiplicity that pertains to the manifold properties of a 
tiling was explained by referring it, to the manifoldness of the subject, 
i.e., to the five senses or to external things which were brought into 
relation to it] but they are distinguished from each other through the 

Existence. 131 

manifold determinateness peculiar to each. These manifold [several] 
different things interact upon each other through their different prop- 
erties ; in fact, the property is this relation of interaction itself, and 
the thing is nothing else; the mutual act of determination, the middle 
term between things-in-themselves which as extremes are assumed as 
indifferent towards this, their relation this middle term is itself, the 
self-identical reflection and the very thing-in-itself which those ex- 
tremes are supposed to be. The thingness is consequently reduced to the 
form of undetermined self-identity which has its essentiality only in its 
property- If, therefore, a thing or things in general are spoken of as 
having no definite properties it is all the same whether one or many 
are spoken of their difference is only a quantitative one, not a differ- 
ence in kind. That which is regarded as one thing can likewise be 
made into many things or regarded as many things ; the discrimination 
into many things, or the union of many things in one, is thus made 
to be an external affair [thing is a relative synthesis; i.e., the com- 
prehension, the inclusion in the thing is a matter of degree ; a pro- 
found mind habitually thinks together a greater assemblage of prop- 
erties and relations in his conception of a thing than does the shallow 
mind ; he thinks its relations to other things, and sees in it the results 
of interaction, the marks which it has received from the activity of 
other things ; and moreover he sees in its essential activity the poten- 
tiality of a reciprocating influence emanating from it and modifying 
other things; the mere sensuous consciousness cannot perceive prop- 
erties, as properties, at all ; hence it cannot be said to perceive things 
properly speaking; what a brute perceives where we perceive things, 
it is not easy to realize if we are not versed in psychology, our habit 
is so firmly established of thinking with the category of thing; the 
same habit, moreover, occasions an even greater difficulty to the ordi- 
nary mind when it is called upon to think speculative results, because 
the speculative thinking repudiates the category of thing]. A book 
is a " thing " and each of its leaves is also a ' thing " ; and so too is- 
each and every piece of a leaf howsoever fine, and so <id infinitum. 
The determinateness whereby a thing is defined as " this particular 
thing," lies only in its properties. A thing is distinguished from 
other things through its properties; this is so because the property is- 
the negative reflection and the activity of distinguishing: therefore 
the thing has its distinction from others only in its properties, and 
hence possesses this distinction within itself. It is distinction re- 
flected into itself, and through this the thing is indifferent towards 
others and towards its relation to others, even in its posited- be in<j, 
i. e., in its relation to others. Consequently a thing without its prop- 

132 Essence. 

erties is nothing but the abstract being in itself, an external aggregate 
and a non-essential inclusion [i.e., a collection of materials not essen- 
tially related to each other]. The true being-in-itself is the being-in- 
itself in its posited-being and this is the property. Hence thing-ness 
lhas become for us "property." 

The tiling, according to this, is defined as an in-itself-existent ex- 
treme standing in relation to the property ; and the property is a 
middle term between the things which stand thus in relation. But 
this relation [between the things, and constituting the property or 
the " middle term] " just mentioned is that in which the things meet 
as the self-repelling reflection and in which the}' are distinguished 
from and related to each other. This distinction and relation of the 
things is one reflection and one continuity of the same. The things 
themselves in this aspect of the process are included wholely within 
the continuity of the property, and they vanish as independent ex- 
tremes which possess existence outside of this property. 

The property which is defined as constituting the relation between 
the independent extremes is therefore itself what is independent 
[and not the things, as was supposed]. The things as opposed to 
this [property as' independent] are the non-essential. Things are es- 
sential only so far as they have a phase of self-relating reflection 
which is self-distinguishing [self-repelling] ; but this phase is the 
" property ' [thus the only phase of essentiality belonging to things 
is their properties]. The property is therefore not an "annulled" 
phase of the thing, or, in other words, it is not a mere "moment" 
of the thing; but the thing is in truth only an including surface 
the non-essential aggregate [" Umfang" i.e., the including unity, 
containing the properties within it as the only realities; the thing has 
thus become a husk, shell, cover, containing the property as its ker- 
nel] ; although the thing is negative unity, it is only the oneness of 
a "somewhat," namely, an immediate one [i.e., the "one" of the 
category of Being]. Although the thing has been defined as non- 
essential inclusion in a former connection, when it was deprived of 
its properties by an external act of abstraction, yet here this ab- 
straction has taken place through the passing over of the thing-in- 
itself into property. But with contrary results ; for in the former 
act of abstraction it was the thing, the abstract thing without its 
properties that was thought to be essential, while the property was 
thought to be merely an external determination ; now it is the thing 
as such that is defined to be a mere indifferent, external and [non- 
essential] form for the properties. The properties are consequently 
now freed from the indefinite and powerless bond which the unity of 

Existence. 133 

the thing constitutes. It is the properties that constitute the exist- 
ence of the thing. Each property is an independent matter or ma- 
terial. Since the property is a simple self-continuity, its form takes 
on at first the aspect of variety [diversity or difference]. Therefore 
there are manifold independent matters [or properties each prop- 
erty being a matter], and the thing consists of these. 


The Thing consists of Matters, 

The transition of "property" into a "matter," or into an inde- 
pendent material [Stoff, i.e. stuff, or material] is the well-known 
transition which the science of chemistry has brought about as re- 
gards the matter which is perceptible by our senses. It essays to 
explain the properties of color, of smell, of taste, &c. , as light-cor- 
puscles, coloring matter, odor-corpuscles, acid particles and bitter 
particles, &c, or it assumes a caloric matter, or an electrical or mag- 
netic aura and with these it is convinced that it has the properties in 
their tangible reality. Thus the expression is current that things 
consist of different materials or kinds of matter. They shrink from 
calling these materials or kinds of matter "things," although they 
would concede that a pigment, for example, is a thing. I do not know 
whether they would call the matters of light, heat, and electricity, 
"things." They distinguish things from their constituent parts 
without accurately stating whether these constituent parts are also 
things, or whether they are only half things. But at least these 
parts possess existence. 

The necessity of passing over from the stand-point of " proper- 
ties " to that of independent matters, in other words, the fact that 
properties are in truth matters, has been shown. They are what is 
essential, and consequently what is truly independent in the Thing. 
At the same time however the reflection of the property into itself 
[the phase of its independence or self-subsistence] constitutes only 
one side of the entire activity of reflection. It constitutes the annul- 
ment of the distinction and the self-continuity of the property which 
should be defined as an existence for another. The thingness in its 
phase of negative reflection into itself in which it is a distinguishing 
of itself from others and a repulsion of others, is [by this one-sided 
view of the property as mere continuity] reduced to a non-essential 
moment. But at the same time it has defined itself still further in a 
different aspect. This negative moment ( 1 ) has been preserved : 

134 Essence. 

for the property has become self-continuous and an independent mat- 
matter in so far as it has annulled the distinction between things ; the 
continuity of the property over into the domain of other things [other- 
being] contains therefore itself the moment of negativity, and its 
independence is at the same time as this negative unity the restored 
"somewhat" of "thingness" [i.e., since the property includes dif- 
ferent things in its continuity, the property itself, becomes thingness 
or an including unity of an included multiplicity] ; it is the negative 
independence opposed to the positive phase which is called "stuff' 
or matter. Through this (2) the thing passes out of its former inde- 
terminateness into perfect determinateness [definiteness, particu- 
larity]. As thing-in-itself, it is the abstract identity, the simple, 
negative existence, or it is defined as the undetermined. Secondly, it 
is determined through its properties through which it is distinguished 
from others. But since through the property it is in continuity with 
others instead of separated from them, this imperfect distinction is 
annulled. The thing through this has therefore gone back into itself, 
and is now defined as perfectly determinate or particular in itself, it 
is a this thing." 

(3) But this return into itself is the self-relation of the deter- 
mination ; notwithstanding this, it is non-essential ; the continuity 
with itself constitutes the independent matter in which the difference 
between the things i.e. their determinateness existing in and for itself, 
is annulled and a mere external 1 affair. The thing as a "this" is 
therefore perfected determinateness but in the element of non-essen- 

Looked at from the side of the activity of the "property" the 
property is not merely external determination but Existence-by-itself. 
This unity of externality and essentiality repels itself from itself for 
the reason that it contains within itself the reflection into itself and 
the reflection into others and thus it is on the one hand determination 
as simple, self-identical, self-relating and independent, in which the 
negative unity, i. e. the one of the thing, is annulled ; on the other 
hand this determination exists in opposition to others but as reflected 
into itself, a one determined in itself: in the first respect, it is the 
free matters and in the second it is the "this thing." These are the 
two moments or phases of the self-identical externality or of the 
" property " reflected into itself . The property was understood to 
be that by which the things were distinguished. Since it has freed 
itself from this its negative side through which it inheres in another, 
by this means, the thing has at the same time got rid of its side of 
determinateness through other things, and has returned into itself out 

Existence. 135 

of its relation to others; hut at the same time it is only the thing in 
itself become other to itself; since the manifold properties are inde- 
pendent of each other their negative relation has become annulled in 
the unity of the thing; it is therefore the self-identical negation only 
as opposed to the positive continuity of the matter. 

The This constitutes therefore the perfected determinateness of the 
thing in that it is at the same time external. The thing is composed 
of independent matters which are indifferent as regards their relation 
within the thing. This relation is therefore only a non-essential col- 
lection of these matters and the distinction of one thing from another 
rests on the number of particular matters that are found in the things 
respectively. They transcend this particular thing and continue into 
other things and the fact that they belong to this particular thing is 
no restraint or limitation. Quite as little moreover are they limiting 
conditions or restraints for each other because their negative relation 
is only the powerless "This." Therefore they do not annul each 
other, although confined within the thing ; being independent they 
are impenetrable as regards each other ; in their determinateness they 
relate solely to themselves and constitute a manifold of existences 
indifferent to [independent of] each other ; they can have only a 
quantitative limit. The thing as a "This" is therefore merely a 
quantitative relation of the free matters, a mere collection (the 
mere conjunction " and ") of the properties. The thing is composed 
of a given quantity of one matter and of a given quantity of another, 
and so on ; this connection or aggregate of matters is no essential 
connection, but the thing is just this unity of matters not essentially 
united. [The ordinary consciousness arbitrarily selects from the man- 
ifold of sense-perception an aggregate which it calls " thing." Each 
thing may be divided at will into several things or may be concreted 
with other things into a larger thing ; a thing is therefore an arbitrary 
synthesis of materials. This stage of thinking also isolates properties 
of a thing analytically; it supposes that the properties within the 
thing arise, severally, from the materials that compose the thing. Its 
motto is: "The ingredients taken together will have no attributes 
that they do not have, taken separately." This phase of conscious- 
ness will be shown in this chapter to be a psychological incompetencj\ 
That whole realm of scientific thinking whose activity explains nature 
by means of the category of " things," as for example the so-called 
simple chemical element is therefore utterly inadequate to present 
a true theory of the world of nature.] 

136 Essence. 


The Dissolution of the Thing. 

The " This Thing," as above defined, viz., as the merely quantita- 
tive aggregate of free matters, is absolutely changeable. Its change 
consists in this that one or more of its matters may be withdrawn 
from its aggregate, or that others may be added to this aggregate, or 
they may be changed in their quantitative relation [relative amount 
of each] to each other. The origination and dissolution of a " this 
thing" is a mere external destruction of such external combination 
or it is the re-combination of elements for which it is indifferent 
whether they are combined or not. The matters circulate out of and 
into " this thing" without restraint; the thing itself is the absolute 
porosity without an}' principle of measure belonging to it that should 
limit the kind and amount of the matters it is no form-principle. 

Hence the thing in its absolute particularity of determinateness 
through which it is a " this thing" is perpetually exposed to dissolu- 
tion. This dissolution is the effect of external influences just as in fact 
the being itself of the thing is such an effect. [But its dissolution 
and the externality of its being are both essential to its nature.] It is 
only a conjunction " and " [connecting the properties thus, white and 
acid, &c] ; it consists only of this externality. But it is also com- 
posed of its matters, and is not merely an abstract " this " as such 
the entire "this thing" is self-dissolution. The thing, namely, is 
defined as an external collection of independent matters ; these mat- 
ters are not things, they do not possess the negative independence 
which belongs to the thing ; but they are the independent proper- 
ties determinatenesses reflected into themselves. The matters are 
therefore, simple and self-related ; but their content is a determin- 
ateness ; the reflection into itself is only the form of this content 
which is not as such reflected into itself, but which relates to others 
as regards its determinateness the relation of the matters as in- 
different to each other, but it is likewise their negative relation ; by 
reason of their determinateness [particularity] the matters are them- 
selves this negative reflection, and this constitutes the punctateness 
[tendency to isolated singleness, brittleness that breaks up into inde- 
pendent points, disintegration, individual repulsion] of the thing. 
Each of the matters is not what the others are and according to the 
particularity of the content it is opposed to them, and the one is not 
in so far as the other is according to their phase of independence. 

The thing is, therefore, the relation to each other of the matters of 

Thing. 137 

which it consists, in such a manner that each one exists coordinately 
with the other, but at the same time each one does not exist in so fat- 
as the other exists. In so far, therefore, as the one matter is in the 
tliins: the others are annulled by it; but at the same time the thins; is 
the conjunction " and " [White and sour and round and heavy and 
hard and smooth and fragrant, etc.], or the independence of the one 
matter and of the others. In the existence of the one matter, the 
others, therefore, do not exist, and yet likewise the other matters do 
exist in the former ; and so reciprocally of all there different mat- 
ters eacli one excludes all the others, and at the same time partic- 
ipates in them. Since, therefore, in the same respect in which the 
one exists the others also exist and this is the one existence of the 
matters the punctateness, or the negative unity of the thing they 
interpenetrate each other without hindrance ; and since the thing is 
at the same time only their "and" and the matters are reflected into 
their determinateness and consequently are indifferent towards each 
other and do not come in contact with each other even in their mutual 
interpenetration. The matters are therefore essentially porous so that 
each one exists in the pores of the other, i.e. in the non-existence of 
the other [because the pores are the vacuities of the matters wherein 
their existence ceases] ; and this existence of the others is likewise 
their annulment and the existence of the first [i. e., in the pores of 
the others]. The thing is therefore the self-contradictory mediation 
of independent existence through its opposite, viz., through its nega- 
tion, or the self-contradictory mediation of one independent matter 
through the existence and non-existence of another. The category 
of existence has attained its perfection in the category of " this 
thing," viz.: it is the unity of independent being or being-in-itself, 
and of non-essential existence ; the truth of existence is therefore its 
being- by-itself [i.e., independent self-subsistence], in the realm of 
non-essentiality, or in other words it is the possession of its self-sub- 
sistence in another, and even in the absolute other it is the having 
its own nugatoriness for its foundation. It is therefore PHENOM- 


It is one of the current notions of common consciousness that 
a "thing" is composed of man}' independent matters. On the one 
hand the thing is regarded as having properties whose combination is 
the thing ; on the other hand, however, the various determinations are 
taken as matters whose serf-subsistence is not that of the thing, but 

13s Essence. 

contrariwise : the thing consists of them and takes its self-subsistence 
from them the thing being only their external combination and 
quantitative limit. Both of these points of view, that of the proper- 
ties as well as that of the free matters, have the same content, the dif- 
ference being that in one case they regard the moments as having 
their negative unity in the Thingness, i. e., in the basis different from 
and other to themselves, and in the other case they regard the moments 
as different from and independent of each other, each one reflected 
into itself in its own unity and not in the unity of the Thingness. 
These matters now are further defined as independent existence, but 
they are also together in one thing. The " this thing" possesses the 
two phases: first it is a this [punctate, repelling, atomic, individual] 
and secondly it is the ''and" [the including or aggregating unity]. 
The "and'' is that which occurs in external sense-perception as 
space-extension ; the * this," on the other hand, is the negative unity, 
the punctateness [excluding individuality] of the thing. The matters 
are together within the punctateness and their "and" or the exten- 
sion is everywhere this punctateness; for the "and" as thingness is 
essentially a negative unity. Where, therefore, the one of these mat- 
ters is, there in one and the same point is the other. The thing does 
not have its properties, the one in one place and another in another 
for example, its color here, its scent there, its heat in a third place, &c, 
but in the point in which it is warm, it is also colored, acid, electric, 
&c. Because now these materials are not external to each other, but 
arc in one "this," they are assumed as porous and as though one ex- 
isted in the interstices or intervening spaces of the other. Each one 
which exists in the interstices of the other is however porous itself, 
and in its pores, therefore, the others exist [and it again within their 
pores, while within its pores], and this again and again for the third 
time, or the tenth [and so ad infinitum]. All are porous and in the 
interstices of each are found all of the others, just as each one is in 
the pores of eveiy other. They are therefore a multiplicity of mat- 
ters that interpenetrate each other reciprocally, and are interpene- 
trated, so that each one interpenetrates in turn itself again. Each is 
posited as its own negation, and this negation is the self-subsistence 
of another ; but this self-subsistence is likewise the negation of this 
other and the self-subsistence is the first. 

The subterfuge through which the scientific imagination prevents 
the contradiction from resulting through the unity of several 
independent matters in a thing, or preserves their indifference towards 
each other in their interpenetration is, as is well known, the theory of 
small particles or atoms and of pores or interstices. Where self-dis- 

Thing. 139 

ti notion, contradiction, and negation of negation enter, and in gen- 
eral where anything is to be comprehended [grasped together in 
thought] the scientific imagination descends to the use of external, 
quantitative distinctions. In order to explain origination and evanes- 
cence it has recourse to the conceptions of " gradualness " and by 
degrees," and in explaining being it has recourse to the conception of 
smallness or minuteness [molecules or atomic constituents, etc.], in 
these conceptions the varnishing is reduced simply to an impercepti- 
ble gradation and the contradiction is reduced to a confused appear- 
ance, and the true relation is obscured by conversion into an indefi- 
nite product of the imagination, whose indistinctness conceals the 
process of self-annulment. 

Now, if we examine this indistinctness [and bring it to a focus] we 
find it to be nothing at all but the contradiction itself, partly the sub- 
jective contradiction of the activity of the imagination, partly the ob- 
jective activity of the thing perceived. 

The activity of mental representation [" scientific imagination ' 
itself contains all of the elements of this contradiction. The very 
first aspect of its activity is the contradiction involved in the fact 
that it proposes to itself to hold fast to simple perception, and 
to allow only things that actually exist to come into its presence; 
and yet, on the other hand, it hastens to identify as sensu- 
ous beings the products of its own reflection, thoughts which 
cannot be verified by an appeal to sense-perception. The small 
particles or atoms and the pores have, according to it, a sensuous ex- 
istence, and the same kind of reality is predicated of their posited 
being [?'. ^., dependent qualities] that is affirmed of color, heat, etc. 
Moreover if this mental picture or representation [scientific imagina- 
tion] of the objective indistinctness in which the pores and atoms are 
conceived is examined attentively, not only a matter and also its 
negation are recognized, so arranged that the matter and the pore, 
which is its negation, are arranged side by side and alternately, 
first the matter and then the pore ; but in this particular thing 
the independent matter and its negation, or porosity and the 
other independent matter, are found in one and the same point, 
so that this porosity and the independent existence of matters in each 
other as in one constitute a mutual negation and inter penetration of 
interpenetration. The modern expositions of physics in their ex- 
planation of the expansion of steam in the atmospheric air, and of the 
mixing together of the different kinds of gases, furnish a more defin- 
ite example of the phases of thought here presented. They show 
that, for example, a certain volume of air will take up a certain quan- 

140 Essence. 

tit}' of steam, and that an equal amount of space empty of air would 
not contain any more ; and that the different kinds of gases are vacua 
to each other, or at least have no chemical combination with each 
other, each being self -continuous when it pervades the other and each 
being indifferent to the other, but in the idea of the thing each mat- 
ter is found just where the other is; they interpenetrate the same 
point, the independence of the one is tiie independence of the other. 
This is contradictory ; the thing, however, is nothing else than this 
contradiction, and therefore it is properly called phenomenon. 

A similar application is made of this notion of matters in explain- 
ing the operations of the mind through the conception of psychic 
forces or " faculties." The mind is in a much deeper sense [than the 
thing] a kt this particular" somewhat, a negative unity in which its de- 
terminations interpenetrate each other. But by this image-thinking 
it is commonly conceived as a ''Thing." Man is commonly said to 
consist of soul and body, each one passing for something independent 
of the other; in the same manner the soul is made to consist of psy- 
chic forces each one of which possesses independent existence and 
has an activity that works according to its own nature without refer- 
ence to the others. For example, they imagine that the understand- 
ing acts in this place, the imagination in that; and that the under- 
standing may be set in activity without the memory, &c. ; or that one 
faculty may be active while the others lie dormant, &c. Since they 
are all contained in the psychical thing, the soul, which is a simple 
material and which as simple is immaterial, these faculties are not 
represented as particular matters ; but they are represented as powers 
and as such they have the same character of indifference towards 
each other that is ascribed to the matters in a thing. But the mind 
is not that contradiction which a thing is ; it does not annul itself 
and thereby become phenomenal ; but it is already in itself the con- 
tradic ion which has returned into its absolute unity, the Idea, in 
which distinctions are to be thought, not as independent existences, 
but only as particular moments, or phases, in the thinking subject. 

Second Chapter. 


Existence is the immediateness of being to which essence has 
again restored itself. This immediateness is potentially [in its nat- 
ure] the reflection of essence into itself : essence has as existence 
proceeded from its ground ; ground has become existence. Exist- 

Phenomenon. 141 

ence is this reflected immediateness in so far as it is the absolute 
negativity in itself. It is now also posited as this reflection of nega- 
tivity, since it is now defined as phenomenon. 

Phenomenon is therefore, in the first place, essence in its exist- 
ence ; essence is immediately present in it. The fact that it is not 
immediate but reflected existence is its phase of essence ; but exist- 
ence as essential existence is phenomenon. 

Somewhat is a mere phenomenon in the sense that existence as 
such is only a posited existence not in and for itself. Its essen- 
tiality consists in having within it the negativity of reflection, the 
nature of essence. This is not a foreign, external reflection, which 
belongs to essence, and in contrast to which existence might seem to 
be only phenomenon. But, as has been shown, it is the essentiality 
of existence to be phenomenon ; phenomenon is the truth of exist- 
ence. The activity of reflection by which existence becomes phenom- 
enon belongs to existence itself. 

Where it is said that somewhat is only a phenomenon, meaning 
that it is in contrast to the true existence, the fact is overlooked that 
the phenomenon is rather the higher truth, for it is existence as 
essential opposed to existence which is unessential essential exist- 
ence being phenomenon and non-essential existence being the imme- 
diate existence [existence non-essential is existence without relations : 
existence in its relations is the phenomenon ; the present doctrine of 
" relativity " belongs to the doctrine of the phenomenon. Since the 
non-essential existence is only one of the phases of phenomenon, 
viz., its phase of immediate existence, while the negative reflection is 
the other phase, it is seen that phenomenon is a totality more essential 
than existence]. If phenomenon is called non-essential this is done 
from the supposition that the immediate is something positive and 
true as opposed to the phase of negativity contained in the phenome- 
non ; but this immediate does not yet contain essential truth [i. e., it 
does not yet contain relativity within its definition]. Existence ceases 
to be non-essential when it becomes phenomenon. 

Essence appeal's to itself, first in its simple identity ; in this phase 
it is the abstract reflection, it is the pure movement from nothing 
through nothing back to itself. Essence manifests itself, and in this 
phase it becomes real appearance, since the phases of appearance have 
existence in Manifestation or phenomenon. The manifestation or 
phenomenon is, as has been shown, the thing in its negative self- medi- 
ation: the distinctions which it contains are independent matters. 
And these independent matters form a contradiction, namely the}' 
have an immediate existence of their own, and at the same time have 

142 Essence. 

their existence only in others independent of them, and consequently 
they exist in the negation of their existence ; and consequently, again 
they constitute the negation of those other independent ones, or, what 
is the same thing, the negation of their own negation. Appearance is 
the same mediation, but its restless phases assume in the mediation 
of the phenomenon the form of immediate independence. On ttie 
other hand, the immediate independence which belongs to existence 
is reduced to a phase of the former. Phenomenon is therefore the 
union of appearance and existence. 

Phenomenon defined more accurately is essential existence ; its 
essentiality is separated from existence as non-essential and these two 
sides enter into relation to each other. It is therefore in the first 
place simple self-identity, which at the same time contains multipli- 
city ; and this as well as its relation remains self-identical within the 
change that belongs to the phenomenon. This is the law of the 

Secondly, the law which is simple amidst the diversity [of its ap- 
plication] passes into the antithesis which forms the self-opposition 
of the essential phase of the phenomenon viz., that of a phenom- 
enal world over against a noumenal world. 

Thirdly, this antithesis returns into its ground: the noumenal is 
found in the phenomenal and the phenomenal is taken up into the 
noumenal, and so the phenomenal becomes essential relation [_Ver- 
halt)iiss=necessi\ry connection] . 

The Laiv of the Phenomenon. 

1. The phenomenon is the existing mediated through its nega- 
tion which constitutes its independence or self-subsistence. This 
its negation is however another independent somewhat ; but it is like- 
wise essentially annulled. 

The existing somewhat is therefore the return into itself through 
its negation and through the negation of its negation ; it has there- 
fore essential independence ; and at the same time it is a mere pos- 
ited being [dependent] which has a ground and has its existence in 
another. In the first place, therefore, the phenomenon is the existence 
together with its essentialit)' the posited-being witli its ground; 
but this ground is the negation; and the other independent, the 
around of the first, is likewise only a posited-being. In other words 
the existing somewhat is, as phenomenal, reflected into another, 

Phenomenon. 143 

which is its ground, but this ground is in turn itself reflected into 
another. The essential independence which appertains to it, for the 
reason that it is a return into itself, is on account of the negativity 
of its moments the return of nought through nought back to itself; 
the independence of the existing somewhats is therefore only essen- 
tial appearance. The connection of the existing somewhats which 
ground each other reciprocally, consists therefore in this mutual nega- 
tion that the independence of one is not the independence of the 
other, but its posited-being or dependence ; and this relation of the 
posited-being, or dependence, alone constitutes independence. The 
ground is now present as it is in its truth, viz., it is a primary some- 
what which is only a presupposed. 

Now this constitutes the negative side of the phenomenon. But 
in this negative mediation there is contained in an immediate form 
the positive identity of the existing somewhats. For it is not posited- 
being [dependent] as opposed to an essential ground in other 
words, it is not an appearance belonging to an independent being, 
but it is posited-being [dependence] which relates to posited-being, 
in other words it is an appearance only within an appearance. Within 
this its negation or its other, which itself has been annulled, it [the 
phenomenon] relates only to itself and is consequently self-identical 
or positive essentiality. This identity is not the immediateness which 
appertains to existence as such, and which is only unessential, and 
has its subsistence in another : but it is the essential content of the 
phenomenon, which has two sides: first, in the form of posited-being 
or of external immediateness; secondly, the posited-being as self- 
identical. According to the first side, it is a particular being, a con- 
tingent unessential somewhat exposed to change, origination and 
evanescence by reason of its immediateness. According to the sec- 
ond side it is the simple content which abides under the mentioned 
origination and evanescence. 

This content, besides being the simple which underlies the phase of 
change, is also a definite, particular content, containing variety 
within itself. It is the reflection [return-into-itself] of the phenom- 
enon [/. e., the totality of the phenomenon which presents the complete 
cycle of the activity of change, and hence its abiding image or form, 
because the continued activity of the process does nothing but repeat 
over and over again the cj'cle of phases which constitute the phe- 
nomenon ; e. (/., the year contains a totality of seasons, and a longer 
period of time than a year does but repeat the cycle already contained, 
as a totality, within the year; the type of the variety of seasons 
within the year is a permanent under a variable it is, as here called 

144 Essence. 

by Hotfcl, the "law of the phenomenon "]. In this reflection or re- 
turn into itself the particular existences are negative [ i. e., perishable ; 
but they form a series which returns into itself ] ; tins reflection con- 
sequently contains essentially the determinateness [ i. e., the series of 
transitory particular existences which form the total cycle or the phe- 
nomenon, give definite particularity to the cycle or phenomenon, so 
that one phenomenon is distinguished from another by the series of 
evanescent existences within it]. The phenomenon however is the 
manifold variety, existent within it, which runs its course and 
passes through its succession of phases; its reflected content on the 
other hand is its manifoldness reduced to simplicity. The definite 
particular content which is essential is therefore not merely a single 
one of the particular phases of the phenomenon, but, being the essen- 
tial particularity of the phenomenon, it includes the entire particularity 
or determinateness within the phenomenon, the particularity of each 
and every one. In the phenomenon therefore each phase of its suc- 
cession of phases possesses its self-subsistence in the other phases 
[t. e., there may be mutual interdependence among these phases] in 
such a manner that each phase is only in its non-subsistence 
[i. e., its truth or totality is realized only by the transitoriness of each 
phase]. This contradiction annuls itself ; and its reflection-into-it- 
self is the identity of its twofold self subsistence, namely, that the 
posited-being or dependence of the one is also the posited being or 
dependence of the other. [One phase of transitoriness has its sub- 
sistence in another phase of transitoriness ; the second phase being 
transitory and having its phase in another, the first phase has its non- 
subsistence as well as its subsistence in the second phase ; this is the 
contradiction spoken of in the text.] They [the two dependent 
phases] constitute one subsistence, although constituting variety or 
diversity within the one subsistence. 

In the essential side of the phenomenon, consequently, the nega- 
tivity of the unessential content through which it annuls itself, has 
consequently returned into identity ; it is an indifferent subsistence 
[i. e., a non-related, neither repelling nor attracting distinction, each 
one independent of the other] which is not the annulled particu- 
larity, [not the identity of the particularities within the phenome- 
non with their differences omitted.] but rather the self-subsistence 
[the positive inclusion of all the differences within the identity] of 
the other. 

This unity is the Law of the Phenomenon. 

2. The law is therefore what is positive in the mediation which 
constitutes the phenomenon. The phenomenon is in its first phase, 

Phenomenon. 145 

existence a3 negative self-mediation, so that the existing thing is 
mediated through its own non-subsistence through another thing 
and again through the non-subsistence of this other thing this pro- 
cess constituting its self-mediation [the second part of its mediation, 
namely, the non-subsistence of the other into which the first phase 
passes is as important as the non-subsistence of the first phase ; in 
finding out the totality of a succession of appearances with intent to 
find the law or the ideal type which Hegel here calls "Phenomenon " 
we must trace one phase into another and another again, until the 
first phase reappears, then we have the totality of phases, the total 
particularity involved and hence the permanent or the law of the 
phenomenon]. In this is contained, first, the mere appearance and 
disappearance of the several phases, and this is the unessential side 
of the phenomenon ; secondly, it contains also the abiding or the 
law [that is to say, the necessary recurrence, or repetition of the 
appearance and disappearance] ; for each of that series of phases in 
the phenomenon exists through the annulment of the other phases 
[their annulment posits it] ; and their posited-being [dependence] as 
their negativity is at the same time the self-identical, positive phase 
of their dependence [the dependence of each makes the indepen- 
dence of the others]. 

This abiding subsistence which belongs to the phenomenon and is 
here called its law is, therefore, as has been shown, at first opposed 
to the immediateness of being which appertains to existence. This 
immediateness, it is true, is potentially a reflected immediateness 
viz., that which is returned into itself as ground ; but in the phenom- 
enon this simple immediateness is different from the reflected imme- 
diateness which showed itself formerly in the category of Thing. 
The existing thing in its dissolution became this antithesis: what 
there was positive in its dissolution is the self-identity of the process 
of the phenomenon as posited-being self-identical in its other posited- 
being. In the second place, this reflected immediateness has been 
shown to be opposed as posited-being to the immediateness of 
existence. This posited-being is now the essential and truly 
positive. The German expression Gesetz [Gesetz is the German 
word for " law," from the verb setzen, to posit] contains this thought 
[i. e., in German, law means the posited ; as understood b} r Hegel, 
here, the law states the particularity of a series of particular, transi- 
tory beings passing over into each other and thus constituting a com- 
plete cycle, so that the mutual dependence or posited-being 
makes the abiding or the law] . In this posited-being is found the 

14b' Essence. 

essential relation of the two sides of distinction [that of the one phase 
to the others] which the law contains ; they constitute a diversity of 
immediate content [elements independent of each other] and consti- 
tute this as the reflecting activity of the vanishing content of the phe- 
nomenon. As essential diversity or variety the phases of the phe- 
nomenon are simple self-relating elements. But likewise each ele- 
ment is essentially dependent and not immediately for itself in 
other words it is only in so far as the other is. 

Thirdly, phenomenon and law have one and the same content. 
Law is the phenomenon's reflection into self-identity ; hence the 
phenomenon stands opposed to that which is reflected into itself as: 
the nugatory immediate, and in this shape they [the law and the 
phenomenon] are contrasted. But the reflection of the phenomenon 
which causes this contrast is also the essential identity of the phen- 
omenon itself and of its reflection, and constitutes the nature of reflec- 
tion. This reflection is self -identical in the posited being, and indif- 
ferent towards that contrast which constitutes the form or posited 
being ; therefore it is a content which continues beyond the phenom- 
enon and into the law, and is the content both of the law and the 

This content constitutes therefore the basis of the phenomenon ; 
the law is this basis itself ; the phenomenon is the same content, but 
it contains something additional, namely, the non-essential content 
of its immediate being. Moreover the form-determination through 
which the phenomenon as such differs from the law, is namely a con- 
tent and likewise a different content from that of the law. For ex- 
istence is as immediateness, on the whole, a self -identical somewhat in 
respect to matter and form, and therefore a content, and indifferent 
towards its form-determinations ; it is the " thingness " possessing 
properties and free mattei's. But it is the content whose independent 
immediateness is at the same time without substantial existence. The 
self-identity of the same in this its non-subsistence [or lack of " sub- 
stantial existence "] is, however, the other essential content. This 
identity, the basis of the phenomenon and which constitutes the law, is 
its own moment [or the essential element of the phenomenon] ; it is 
the positive side of essentiality through which existence becomes and is 

The law is therefore not something beyond the phenomenon or out- 
side of it or above it, but immediately present in it ; the realm of 
laws is the quiet image or archetype of the existing or phenomenal 
world. The two, however, constitute one totality, and the existing 

Phenomenon. 147 

world is itself the realm of laws, which is the simple self-identical as- 
well as the self-identical in the posited-being, or in the self-annulling 
independence which belongs to existence. Existence goes back into 
the law as into its ground [this means that existence is annulled in its 
process, and loses its immediateness, but by the continuance of the 
process returns into itself, or its immediateness reappears, just as 
summer's heat and winter's cold recur in the process of the year ; the 
law is the general type of the entire movement, and is therefore 
always in self-identity, although its existences change hence the 
law is hei*e spoken of as the ground of existence, i. e., the annul- 
ment of existence is the realization of the ground as law]. The 
phenomenon contains both the simple ground and the annulling activ- 
ity of the phenomenal universe of which it is the essentiality [*'. e., the 
law as ground and the negativity which makes real one of its phases 
after the other]. 

3. The Law is therefore the essential phenomenon ; it is its reflec- 
tion in its posited-being [dependence], the identical content of itself 
and of the non-essential existence. In the first place, now this iden- 
tity of the law with its existence is only immediate, simple identity, 
and the law is indifferent in respect to its existence ; the phenomenon 
has still another content opposed to the content of the law. That 
content, however, is the non-essential and the return into the content 
of the law ; but for the law that non-essential is something that already 
exists for itself and is not caused by it, and hence it is an external con- 
tent in some way attached to the law. The phenomenon is a collec- 
tion of determinations in close connection, which belong to " this," 
or the concrete somewhat, and are not contained in the law, but are 
derived from some other source. 

In the second place, that which the phenomenon contains besides 
the law is defined as a positive or as another content ; but it is essen- 
tially a negative somewhat ; it is the form, and its activity as such, 
which appertains to the phenomenon. The realm of laws is the 
quiescent content of the phenomenon ; the phenomenon is the same 
content but exhibiting itself in the restless change and as reflection 
into another. The phenomenon is the law as the negative self-chang- 
ing existence, the activity of the transition of contraries into each 
other, and of their self-annulment and return into one unity. This 
side of restless form or of negativity does not contain the law ; the 
phenomenon, therefore, is rather the totality as opposed to the law, 
for it contains the law and also something additional, namely, the 
phase of the self-active form. 

148 * Essence. 

This lock or defect, in the third place, is to be found in the law, 
viz., that its content is something diverse from it, external to it, and 
indifferent to it ; therefore the identity of its sides with each other is 
onl} r an immediate and internal one, but not yet a necessaiy identit}'. 
In the law there are two determinations of content connected to- 
gether as essential for example, in the law of falling bodies, the 
extent of the space and the time of descent are essentially connected : 
the space varies as the square of the time. The law states onl}- the 
connection as an existing fact a mere immediate relation with- 
out showing the necessity for the same. This relation is therefore 
likewise a mere posited or dependent something, just as in the phe- 
nomenon the phase of immediateness has been found to have this 
meaning of dependence. The essential unity of the two sides of the 
law would be their negativity. In that negativity, namely, the one 
would be found to contain in itself the other; but this essential unity 
we have not yet found in the law. For example, in the idea of the 
space passed through by a falling body, we do not find its necessary 
correspondence to the square of the time occupied in falling. Since 
the fall of the body is a sensuous movement, it involves a relation of 
time and space ; but at first it does not appear that the nature of time 
involves a relation to space, and vice versa; one would say that time 
could be thought without space, and space without time ; the one 
stands therefore in external relation to the other, being united with it 
in movement. 

In the second place, the quantitative relation of space and time to 
each other is quite indifferent. The law which states this quantita- 
tive relation is derived from experience, and in so far it is only imme- 
diate and demands farther proof of its necessity a mediation for the 
scientific cognition that it is not a mere accident, something that hap- 
pens, but that it is necessaiy. The law as such does not contain this 
proof of its objective necessity. The law is therefore only the posi- 
tive essentiality of the phenomenon, and not its negative essentiality 
according to which the determinations of content are " moments," 
or phases of form, and as such pass over into others and show them- 
selves to be potentially something else than they are immediately. In 
the law is therefore its posited-being, on the one side, the same as its 
posited-being on the other side; but its content is indifferent to this 
relation, its content does not contain within it this posited-being. 
The law is therefore the essential form, but not yet the real form as 
reflected content in its side or phases of activity. 

Phenomenon. 149 


The Phenomenal World and the World that exists in itself. 

1. The existing world [*'. e., the totality of existences understood 
as defined in the foregoing] becomes a quiet realm of laws ; the nu- 
gatory content of its manifold particulars has its subsistence in 
another [i. e., each particular being is dependent on another] its sub- 
sistence therefore is its dissolution [i. e., its being in another is annul- 
ment of its being in itself]. But the phenomenal arrives at self- 
identity in this other ; hence the phenomenon in its change is an 
abiding and its posited-being is law [as the change of seasons finds 
its abiding form in the year]. The law is this simple self-identity of 
the phenomenon ; hence its basis and not its ground or substrate ; 
for the law is not the negative unity of the phenomenon, but, as its 
simple identity it is the immediate unity as abstract, and, co-ordinate 
to it, is found also its other content. The content is " this " partic- 
ular, and coheres within itself, in other words has its negative reflec- 
tion within itself. It is reflected into another; and this other is itself 
an existence of the phenomenon ; the phenomenal things have their 
grounds [or substrates] and conditions in other phenomenal things. 

In fact however the law is also the other of the phenomenon as 
such and its negative reflection is into its other. The content of the 
phenomenon, which is different from the content of the law, is the 
existing somewhat whicli has its negativity for its substrate or in 
other words is reflected into its non-being. But this other which is 
also an existing somewhat is likewise such an existence reflected into its 
non-being; it is therefore the same, and the phenomenal in being 
reflected into it is not in fact reflected into another but reflected into 
itself ; and this very reflection into itself of the posited-being [de- 
pendence] is the law. But as phenomenal it is essentially reflected 
into its non-being, or its identity is likewise essentially its negativity 
and its other. The reflection into itself of the phenomenon, i. e., the 
law, is therefore not only its identical basis but it has in it its anti- 
thesis, and the law is its negative unity. 

Therefore the definition of the law in the phenomenon has 
changed ; at first it was only a varied content and the formal reflec- 
tion of posited-being into itself [t. e. , self-dependence] so that the 
posited-being of one of its sides is the posited-being of the other. 
But since it is also the negative reflection into itself, its sides stand 
in relation to each other not as mere indifferent and independent ones 
but as related to each other negatively. In other words when the 

150 Essence. 

law is considered merely by itself the sides of its content are indiffer- 
ent towards each other; but they are likewise annulled through their 
identity ; the posited-being of the one is the posited-being of the 
other ; therefore the subsistence of each one is also its own non- 
subsistence. This posited-being or dependence of the one within the 
other is their negative unity, and each is not only its own posited- 
being but also that of the other, or each is itself this negative 

The positive identity which they have in the law as such is their in- 
ternal unit} 7 , now found for the first time, which needs proof and 
mediation for the reason that this negative unity is not yet posited on 
them. But since the different sides of the law are now defined as 
retaining their difference in their negative unity through the fact that 
each one contains its other within itself and at the same time as inde- 
pendent repels its otherness from itself, it follows that the identity of 
the law is now a posited and real one. 

Hence therefore the law has received the element of the negative 
form of its sides which it heretofore lacked ; the element which here- 
tofore still belonged to the phenomenon. Consequently existence has 
now completely returned into itself, and has reflected itself into its 
absolute other-being which exists in and for itself. That which was 
law in the previous consideration is therefore no. longer merely one 
side of the totality whose other was the phenomenon as such, but it 
is itself the totality. It is the essential totality of the phenomenon, so 
that it now contains also the element of non-essentiality which had hith- 
erto belonged only to the phenomenon and not to the law. But it 
contains this element of non-essentiality as reflected, as in itself ex- 
istent, i. e., as essential negativity. The law is as an immediate con- 
tent particularized, contradistinguished from the other laws, of which 
there are an indefinite number. But since it now has the essential 
negativity belonging to it, it contains no longer a merely indifferent 
contingent content; but its content is all determinateness standing in 
essential relation and thus constituting a totality. Therefore the 
phenomenon reflected into itself is now a world which reveals itself as 
in-and-for-itself existent above the phenomenal world. 

The realm of laws contains nothing but the simple, changeless, but 
still varied content of the existing world ; but now since it is the 
total reflection of this existing world, it contains also its non-essential 
manifoldness. This phase of mutability and change as reflected into 
itself and essential [ i. e., closing together into cycles of change] is 
the absolute negativity or the form, whose elements have the reality 
of independent but reflected existence in the world that exists in and 

Phenomenon. 151 

for itself. And, conversely, this reflected independence possesses 
1he form within itself, and through this its content is not a mere man- 
ifold but essentially connected and interdependent. 

This world which exists in and for itself is called the "supersen- 
sible world " ; in so far as the existing world is defined as sensuous, 
viz., as existing for sense-perception, as the direct object of con- 
sciousness. The supersensible world likewise has immediateness or 
existence, but it is reflected, essential existence. Essence as yet 
does not possess particularized being, but it is in a deeper sense than 
mere being ; the thing is the beginning of reflected existence ; it is an 
immediateness which is not yet posited as essential or reflected. But 
the thing is not in truth an existent immediate. 

It is only when the things are posited as things of another, of a 
supersensible world, that they become true existences and possess 
truth in contrast to mere beings. It is then recognized that there is 
another being distinguished from immediate being and that this other 
being is the true existence. On the one hand in this category of 
true existence the sensuous conception is laid aside as inadequate, for 
it ascribes existence only to the immediate being of feeling and sense- 
perception ; and on the other hand also unconscious reflection, is 
transcended, for though it possesses the idea of things, forces, the 
internal, &c, yet it does not know that such ideas are not sensuous 
and do not correspond to immediate beings but are reflected exist- 

2. The world which exists in and for itself is the totality of exist- 
ence ; there is nothing else outside of it. But since it is in itself the 
absolute negativity or form, its reflection into itself is negative relation 
to itself. Therefore it contains within itself the antithesis, on the 
one hand being an essential world which repels, on the other hand, 
from itself the world of other-being or the world of phenomenon. 
Therefore since it is the totality and also one side of the antithesis 
which it contains, it constitutes an independent world opposed to the 
world of phenomenon. The phenomenal world has in the essential 
world its negative unity in which it is annulled and in which it finds 
its substrate. Moreover, the essential world is the positing substrate 
or ground of the phenomenal world ; and in the next place since it 
contains the absolute form in its essentiality it annuls its self-identity, 
and becomes posited-being and as this posited-immediateness is the 
phenomenal world. 

Moreover it is not merely the general ground or substrate of the 
phenomenal world, but its particular ground. As a realm of laws, it 
already possesses a manifold content and although it is the essential 

lf> 2 Essence. 

of the phenomenal world and a substrate replete with content, it is- 
the particular substrate of others, but only as regards this content ; 
for the phenomenal world had still a variety of other content than 
that realm of laws, because the negative element still properly be- 
longed to it. But now since the realm of laws likewise possesses this 
moment of negativity it becomes the totality of the content of the 
phenomenal world and the substrate of all its manifoldness. But it 
is at the same time the negative of it, and therefore a world in oppo- 
sition to it. Namely, in the identity of the two worlds and while the 
one is defined according to form as the essential and the other as 
non-essential the category of ground of substrate has again made its 
appearance ; but at the same time it is the ground-relation of the 
phenomenon, namely, as relation not of an identical content nor of a 
merely disparate content such as the law is, but as total relation or 
as negative identity and essential relation of the content as an anti- 

The realm of laws is not merely a realm in which the posited-being 
of a content is the posited-being of another but this identity is 
essentially negative unity, too, as has been seen ; each of the two 
sides of the law is in the negative unity potentially its other content. 
The other is therefore not indefinitely another in general, but it is its 
other or it contains likewise the content of the former ; therefore the 
two sides are opposed. Since the realm of laws contains this nega- 
tive moment and the antithesis within it, and consequently, as the 
totality repels from itself a phenomenal world as opposed to a world 
existent in and for itself, the identity of the two is the essential re- 
lation of the antithesis. 

The ground-relation as such is the antithesis which has been an- 
nulled in its contradiction, and existence is the ground which has 
gone into self-identity. But existence becomes phenomenon, and 
ground is annulled in existence ; it restores itself and reappears as 
the return of the phenomenon into itself, but it does this at the same 
time in the form of annulled ground, viz., as the ground of opposite 
determinations ; the identity of such however is essentially becomin 
and transition, and not the ground-relation in its proper form. 

The world that exists in and for itself is therefore itself a world 
which is distinguished within itself into the totality of manifold con- 
tent ; it is identical with the phenomenal or posited, in so far as it is 
its ground ; but this connection of identity is at the same time de- 
termined as antithesis, because the form of the phenomenal world is 
the form of reflection into its other being; hence it has returned into 
the world which exists in and for itself, and thus has returned trulv 

Phenomenon. 153 

into itself, as the latter is its opposite [i. e., it is self-opposed]. The 
relation is therefore defined as this, that the in-and-for-itself existent 
world is the inverted, phenomenal world. 


Dissolution of the Phenomenon. 

The world which exists in and for itself is the definite, determined 
ground of the phenomenal world, and is this only in so far as it is in 
itself the negative moment and therefore the totality of the determi- 
nations of content and of their changes the totality of determina- 
tions of content corresponds to the phenomenal world but at the 
same time constitutes a side in opposition to it. The two worlds 
therefore stand in this relation to each other: that whatsoever is pos- 
itive in the phenomenal world is negative in the for-itself-existent 
world ; and conversely, whatever is negative in the former is positive 
in the latter. The north pole in the phenomenal world is the south 
pole when considered in-and-for-itself and, conversely; positive elec- 
tricity is in-itself negative electricity, &c. Whatever is evil in phe- 
nomenal existence or misfortune, &c, is in-and-for-itself good and a 
happy fortune. 

In fact the difference between these two worlds has vanished in 
this form of antithetic relation, so that the world which is defined as 
existing in and for itself is the same as the phenomenal world and 
the latter is identical with the essential world which exists in itself 
[it is evident that if the counterpart or opposite of each phase in the 
one world exists in the other world, that each world will contain all 
the phases of the other world in an inverted order provided 
that either world is a totality and contains all phases of existence]. 
The phenomenal world is first defined as reflection in the form of 
other-being so that its determinations and existences are regarded 
as having their ground and subsistence in another; but since this 
other is likewise such a being reflected into another they are related 
in such a way that they become self- relation inasmuch as the other 
to which they relate is a self-annulling other ; the phenomenal world 
is hence a self-identical law in itself. 

Conversely, the world that exists in-and-for-itself is at first self- 
identical a content which is elevated above change and otherness; 
but the latter as perfect reflection of the phenomenal world into itself 
or for the reason that its difference is reflected into itself and there- 

154 Essence. 

fore absolute distinction [t. e., self-distinction] it therefore contains 
the negative phase and the relation to itself as to its own other; 
through this it becomes a self-opposed, a self-inverted, a content 
devoid of essence. Moreover, this content [i. e., of the self-existent 
world] has received also the form of immediate existence. For it is, 
first, the ground of the phenomenal ; but since it contains its opposite 
within itself it is likewise annulled ground and immediate existence. 

The phenomenal and the essential worlds are consequently totali- 
ties each within itself the totality of the reflection which is identical 
with itself and of the reflection into another, or in other words, the 
totality containing the being-in-and-for-itself and the phenomenon. 
They thus constitute two independent totalities of existence. The 
one is defined as merely reflected existence and the other as mere 
immediate existence, but in fact each continues into its other, and is 
the identity of itself and the other. What we have therefore 
before us is this one totality which repels itself into two totalities, the 
one the reflected totality and the other the immediate totality. Each 
of these is at first independent but independent only as a totality ; 
and each is a totality only in so far as it contains essentially the other 
within itself as a moment [N. B. independence implies totality, and 
totality implies the inclusion of its other within itself. All develop- 
ment and becoming consist in the process of unfolding from itself its 
other-being or of developing its counterpart within itself. At first 
there is a series of mutually limiting elements ; then growth and 
development of each element l'esults in each element becoming a 
totality, so that each is identical with the whole and a reflection of it]. 
The distinct independence of each the one defined as immediate, 
distinguished from the other defined as reflected is now posited in 
such a manner that it is essential relation to its other, and hence this 
independence is formed only in this unity of the two. 

It should have proceeded from the law of the phenomenon ; the 
latter is the identity of a diversified content with another content 
so that the posited-being of the one is the posited-being of the other. 
In the law this distinction still exists that the identity of its sides is 
only an inner identity, and these sides do not possess this ideutitj' as 
yet in themselves ; therefore on the one hand that identity is not } r et 
realized ; the content of the law is not an identical content but an 
indifferent manifold. On the other hand it is defined as a mere po- 
tentiality that the posited-being of the one is the posited-being of the 
other ; this is not yet present in it. Now however the law is realized ; 
its inner identity is at the same time externally real ; conversely, the 
content of the law is elevated into ideality ; for it is annulled in it- 

Essential Relation. 105 

self reflected into itself, since each side has within it its other and 
is consequently identical with it and with itself in very truth. 

The law has therefore become essential relation or " necessary con- 
nection." The truth of the non-essential world is in the first place 
a world which exists for its other as an in-and-for-itself-existent, but 
hence this is the totality, because it is itself and also that former world ; 
both are immediate existences and consequently reflections in their 
other-being and therefore true reflections into themselves. The word 
*' world " expresses in general the formless totalit}- of multiplicity, of 
manifold indifferent objects. This world of indifferent multiplicity 
whether essential or phenomenal has gone to the ground ; its mul- 
tiplied has ceased to be a multiplicity of mere indifferent, unrelated 
beings ; it is now a totality or universum an essential relation. 
There are two totalities of content in the phenomenon ; at first they 
are defined as mutually indifferent and independent, and they have 
form each within itself but not as opposed to each other, but this form 
has shown itself to be their relation and the essential relation is the 
perfection of their form-unity. 

Third Chapter. 

Essential Relation. 


The truth of the phenomenon is the essential relation [recipro- 
cal relation or necessary connection]. Its content has immediate in- 
dependence, both existing immediateness and reflecting immediate- 
ness, or reflection that is identical with itself ; at the same time in 
this independence it is a relative merely reflected into its other or 
a unity with its other through relation. In this unity the independ- 
ent content is a posited and annulled ; but this very unity constitutes 
its essentiality and independence ; this reflection into another is re- 
flection into itself. The relation has sides, since it is reflection into 
another ; it has self-distinction within it ; and the sides have indepen- 
dent existence, since in their indifference towards each other they are 
bent back into themselves and disconnected from each other so that 
the existence of each has its significance only in its relation to the 
other, or in the negative unity. 

The essential relation is not yet the true tertium quid of Essence 
and Existence, but it contains already their definite union. Essence 
is realized in it in such a manner that it has independent existing 
elements for its reality ; and these have returned from their indiffer- 
ence into their essential unity so that they have this essential unity 

15G Essence. 

for their reality. The determinations of reflection the positive and 
negative are likewise reflected into themselves when they are re- 
flected into their opposites. But they have no other determination 
than this their negative unity. The essential relation, on the con- 
trary, has for its sides two independent totalities. It is the same 
antithesis as that of positive and negative, but it is at the same time 
an inverted world. Each side of the essential relation is a totality 
which, however, as essentially an(J opposite, has a "beyond" to 
itself; it is only phenomenon, its existence is not its own, but rather 
the existence belonging to its other. It is therefore disconnected or 
broken within itself. But this self-annulment is, at the same time, 
the unity of itself and its other, and therefore it is a totality, and 
on this account it has independent existence, and is essential reflec- 
tion into itself. 

This is the definition of the "Essential Relation." But in the first 
place, the identity which it contains is not yet perfect ; the totality 
which each relative term is in itself is at first only an internal one. 
Each side of the essential relation is in the first place posited in one 
determination only of the negative unity, the proper independence of 
each of the two sides is that which constitutes the form of the essen- 
tial relation. Its identity, therefore, is only a relation to which their 
independence is external, namely, in the two sides ; the reflected 
unity of that identity and of the independent existences has not yet 
been attained substance has not yet been reached. The definition 
of essential relation as given requires the unity of the reflected and 
immediate independence. But the first realization of this definition 
is immediate and its moments are opposed to each other, and their 
unity is only an essential reference to each other, which becomes 
afterwards a unity corresponding to the idea or definition, when it is 
realized, L e., when those moments have posited the mentioned unity 
through their aetivit}'. 

The essential relation is therefore at first the relation of the whole 
and the parts, i. e., the relation of the reflected and the immediate in- 
dependence in which they mutually condition and presuppose each 

In this form of essential relation neither of the sides is pos- 
ited as moment of the other; their identity is therefore itself one 
side ; in other words their identity is not their negative unity. The 
second phase of this essential relation is that in which the one side is 
a moment of the other, and is contained in it as in its ground the 
true independence of both. This is the relation of force and its man- 

Essential Relation. 157 

Thirdly, this inequality or non-identity that still remains within the 
relation annuls itself, and the final form of essential relation appears 
that of Internal and External. In this form of essential relation 
which has become entirely formal the essential relation goes to the 
oround, and there arises true activity or Substance as the absolute 
unity of immediate and reflected existence. 

The Relation of the Whole and the Parts. 

The essential relation contains in the first place the reflected -into- 
itself independence of existence ; hence it is the simple form whose 
determinations are existences but at the same time are posited held 
as moments in the unit}-. This independence which is reflected into 
itself is at the same time reflection into its opposite, namety, immediate 
independence ; and its existence is essentially this identity with its 
opposite, just as much as it is its own independence. For this reason 
the other side also is immediately posited ; the immediate independ- 
ence which is determined as the other and is a diversified manifold 
within itself but in such a manner that this manifoldness is also essen- 
tially a relation to the other side is that to which the reflected inde- 
pendence belongs. The former side, the wholeor totality is the inde- 
pendence which constitutes the in-and-for-itself-existing world. The 
other side, the parts, is the immediate existence, which was called the 
"phenomenal world:" In the i*elation of whole and parts the two 
sides are these independent worlds each of which, however, reflects 
the other within itself, and is at the same time only this identity of 
both. Now since the essential relation is in its first phase only the 
immediate, it follows that the negative unity and the positive inde- 
pendence is predicated of it as an additional circumstance ; the two 
sides are posited as moments and yet likewise as existing independ- 
ently. That the two are posited as moments means that first the 
whole, the reflected independence, is an existence which contains the 
other, the immediate independence as a moment or element of it ; 
in this the whole constitutes the unity of the two sides, their substrate, 
and the immediate existence takes the form of posited-being. Con- 
versely, on the other hand the parts are the immediate the side 
which contains within itself a manifold existence, an independent 
substrate ; the reflected unity, on the contrary, the whole, is only 
an external relation. 

2. This essential relation [of the whole and the parts] contains 

158 Essence. 

therefore the independence of the sides, and likewise their annulment,, 
and it contains both absolutely in one relation. The whole is the in- 
dependent, and the parts are only moments or elements of this unity ; 
but likewise the parts are also independent, and their reflected unity 
[the whole] is only a moment or element ; and each is in its indepen- 
dence merely a relative of the other. This essential relation is r 
therefore, an immediate self-contradiction and annuls itself. 

A closer examination shows that the whole is a reflected unity 
which has independent existence for itself ; but this its independence 
is likewise repelled from it ; the whole is a negative unity in negative 
relation to itself ; consequently it is self-externalized ; it has its exist- 
ence in its opposite, in the manifold immediateness the parts. The 
whole, therefore, consists of the parts, has its existence in them, and 
is nothing without them. It is, therefore, the entire essential relation 
and the independent totality ; and on precisely this ground it is only 
a relative somewhat, for that which makes it a totality is its other, 
the parts ; and it has its being not in itself but in its other. 

So also are the parts likewise the entirety of this essential relation. 
They are the immediate independence opposed to the reflected inde- 
pendence, and have their being not in the whole, but for themselves. 
They have, moreover, the whole as an element which belongs to 
them : it constitutes their relation [to each other] ; without the whole 
there are no parts. Since they are independent, this relation or neces- 
sary connection is only an external phase towards which the}' are 
in-and-for-themselves indifferent. At the same time, however, the 
parts as manifold existence consolidate into one, for manifold exist- 
ence is being without reflection ; the parts have their independence 
only in the reflected unity, which is this unity as well as also the ex- 
isting manifoldness ; that is to say, they have independence only in 
the whole, which is at the same time, however, an independence dif- 
ferent from the parts. 

The whole and the parts, therefore, condition each other recipro- 
cally ; but the essential relation in the form considered here stands 
higher than the relation of condition and conditioned, as considered 
above [as the result of the ground-relation]. This l'elation is now 
realized: namely, it is posited that the condition is the essential in- 
dependence of the conditioned, and is pi-esupposed by it. The con- 
dition as such is only the immediate and only an implicit presupposi- 
tion. The whole, however, is the condition of the parts, and yet it 
contains the immediate implication that it is only in so far as it pre- 
supposes the parts. Since, therefore, the two sides of the essential 
relation are posited as mutually conditioning, to each there belongs 

Essential Relation. 151) 

immediate independence, but an independence which is mediated or 
posited for each through the other. The entire essential relation 
through this reciprocity becomes a return of the conditioning activity 
into itself, and hence the not relative, the unconditioned. 

Since the sides of the essential relation possess their independence 
only through each other, we have only one identity for the two, and 
in this identity the} 7 are only moments or complemental elements ; 
but since each is independent within itself, there are two independent 
existences, mutually indifferent. 

In the first respect [of the contradiction just stated] the essential 
identit}' of these sides is the whole equal to the parts and the parts 
equal to the whole. There is nothing in the whole which is not in the 
parts, and nothing in the parts which is not in the whole. The whole 
is not abstract unity, but the unity as a diversified multiplicit}- [of 
different, independent ones] ; but this unity, within which the mani- 
fold ones relate to each other, is the determinateness through which 
each one is a "part." The essential relation has, therefore, an in- 
separable identity and only one independence. 

Moreover the whole is equal to the parts, but it is not the same as 
the parts ; the whole is the reflected unity, but the parts constitute the 
particularity or the otherness of the unity, and are the many differ- 
ent ones. The whole is not equal to them when they are regarded as 
these independent ones, but is equal to them only when taken to- 
gether. This " together " is nothing else than their unity, the whole 
as such. The whole is, therefore, in the parts only self-identical, and 
the identity of the whole and the parts expresses only the tautology 
that the whole, as whole, is not identical with the parts but with the 
whole of the parts. 

Conversely, the parts are equal to the whole, but since they pos- 
sess the phase of otherness they are not equal to the whole as unity, 
but only in so far as one of its manifold determinations belongs to 
each part or the parts are equal to the whole regarded as manifold ; 
in other words, they are equal to it as a divided whole, that is to say, 
as divided into parts. Hence we have the same tautologj 7 as before ; 
that the parts, as parts, are not identical with the whole as such, but 
with the whole considered as the whole of the parts. 

The whole and the parts regarded in this manner are external and 
indifferent to each other ; each side relates only to itself. And thus 
held asunder they are destroj'ed. The whole which is indifferent 
towards the parts is only the abstract identity, without distinction 
within itself ; it is not a whole except as containing distinctions 
within itself, and distinctions within itself such as are reflected into 

I (50 Essence. 

themselves as manifold determinations, and have immediate inde- 
pendence. And the identity of reflection has been shown to have 
this reflection into its other as its truth. Likewise the parts as in- 
different towards the unity of the whole are only a multiplicity of 
ones unrelated towards the other, and are therefore in themselves 
others, which therefore are self-annulling. This relation to itself of 
each of the two sides is its independence, but this independence 
which each possesses is rather its self-negation. Each has therefore 
its independence not within itself but within the other; this other 
which possesses its being is its presupposed immediate which prom- 
ises to be its first and its beginning. 

The truth of the essential relation consists therefore in the media- 
tion ; its essence is negative unity in which both the reflected and the 
existent immediateness is annulled. The essential relation is the 
contradiction which goes back into its ground, into the unity which 
as returning is the reflected unity ; but since the reflected unity has 
also been annulled it relates negatively to itself, annuls itself, and 
reduces itself to existent immediateness. But this is negative rela- 
tion in so far as it is a first and immediate or is mediated through 
another, and on this account a posited. This other existent immedi- 
ateness is likewise only as annulled; its independence is a first some- 
what [an immediate] but only to vanish ; and it has a being that is 
posited and mediated. 

In this determination the essential relation remains no longer whole 
and parts ; the immediateness which its sides possessed has passed 
over into posited-being and mediation ; each is posited in so far as 
it is immediate as self-annulling and as transition into the other ; and 
in so far as itself is negative relation it is conditioned through the 
other as through its positive ; and its immediate transition is likewise 
an immediate, that is to say an annulment, which is posited through 
the other. Hence the relation of the Whole and the Tarts has gone 
over into the relation of Force and Manifestation. 


The antinomy of the infinite divisibility of matter has been already 
discussed in connection with the idea of quantity. Quantity is the 
unity of continuity and discreteness ; it contains in the independent 
one its continuity into another and in this identity continued without 
break it has likewise the negation of that identity. The immediate 
relation of these moments of quantity are expressed as the essential re- 
lation of the Whole and the Parts, the One of Quantity being regarded 

Essential Relation. 161 

as part, and the continuit3 r of quantity being taken as the Whole which 
is composed of parts. The antinomy then consists in the contradiction 
which has been solved in the essential relation of the whole and the 
parts. Whole and parts are, namely, essentially related to each 
other and constitute one identity, and they are likewise indifferent 
to each other and possess independence. The essential relation is 
therefore this antinomy : when one of the moments frees itself from 
its other the other at once reappears within it. 

When the existing somewhat is defined as whole it has parts, and 
the parts constitute its reality ; the unity of the whole is only a 
posited relation an external juxtaposition which does not concern the 
independently existing somewhats. In so far as the somewhats are 
parts they are not the whole, not combined, and are accordingly simple. 
And since the relation to a whole is an external affair it does not 
concern it ; the independent somewhat is accordingly not a part, for a 
part is such only in relation to a whole. But since in this view it is 
not a part, it is a whole itself already ; for there is only this essential 
relation of whole and parts, and the independent somewhat is either 
one or the other of the two. But since it is the whole it follows that it 
is composed of parts, and its parts as independent wholes are again 
composed of parts, and so ad infinitum. This infinitude consists only 
in the perennial alternation of the two determinations of the essential 
relation in which each gives rise immediately to the other, so that 
the posited-being of each is its own vanishing. Matter defined as 
whole therefore consists of parts and in these parts the whole be- 
comes a non-essential relation and vanishes. The part thus for-and- 
by-itself is not a part but the whole. The antinomy of this syllogism, 
considered carefully, proves really to be this : since the whole is not 
the independent, the part is the independent ; but since the part is 
independent only when not in relation to the whole it is the indepen- 
dent not as part but rather as the whole. The infinitude of the progress 
which arises, is the incapacity of uniting the two thoughts which con- 
tain this mediation so that on this account each of the two determina- 
tions becomes dependent and passes over into the other just because 
of its independence and separation. 


The Essential Relation of Force and its Manifestation. 

Force is the negative unity in which the contradiction of the whole 

and parts has resolved itself, as the truth of essential relation. 

ll>2 Essence. 

The whole and parts is the essential relation as it appears when seized 
in a thoughtless manner, or by mind in its representative thinking or 
thinking in images, or, considered objectively, it is the dead mechani- 
cal aggregate which has form-determinations through which the mani- 
foldness of its independent matters is brought into relation in a unity, 
but a unity which is after all only external to it. The essential rela- 
tion [or necessary connection between force and its manifestation] 
of force is however a higher form of return-into-itself in which the 
unity of the whole which constituted the relation of the independent 
others (parts) has ceased to be external and indifferent to this multi- 

As this essential relation has now been defined, the immediate and 
the reflected forms of independence are posited in one unity as an- 
nulled or as moments, while in the preceding form of the essential 
relation (whole and parts) they were real sides or extremes existing 
for themselves. In this result, first, we see that the reflected unity 
and its immediate being, in so far as the two are first and immediate, 
are by nature self-annulling phases and forms of reciprocal transition. 
The former, the force, passes into its manifestation, and the mani- 
festation vanishes and goes back into the force as into its ground 
and only exists when it is posited by the force and sustained by it. 
In the second place, this transition is not merely a becoming and a 
vanishing, but it is a negative self-relation ; in other words, that 
which changes its determination is while doing so reflected into itself 
and preserves itself. The movement of force is not so much a trans- 
ition as a translation or transference of itself which remains self- 
identical in this transference of itself through its own posited change. 
In the third place, this reflected unity which relates to itself is also 
annulled and a moment [or complemental element] ; it is mediated 
through its other, and conditioned through it ; its negative relation 
to itself which is first and begins the movement of transition from 
itself has likewise a presupposition by which it is solicited to activity, 
and another from which it begins. 

a. The Conditioning of Force. 

Considered in its special determinations force has, in the first place, 
the phase of existent immediateness belonging to it ; opposed to this, 
it itself is a negative unity. But the latter as a determination of 
immediate being is an existing somewhat. This somewhat, for the 
reason that it is the negative unity as an immediate, appears to be a 
first [presupposed as already existing] a somewhat opposed to the 

Essential Relation. 163 

f< 'ice since the force is a reflected existence, a posited-being, and hence 
it seems to belong to an existing thing or to a matter. This is not 
understood as though the force were the form of this thing, and the 
thing were determined through it ; but the thing is conceived to be 
an immediate and to be a separate existence and indifferent to the 
force. And according to this view there is no ground or reason in 
the thing why it should possess a force ; it is the force, on the other 
hand, as the side of posited being which essentially presupposes the 
thing. Therefore if the question is asked, how it happens that the 
thing or matter is endowed with a force, the explanation is given that 
the force is impressed on it by a foreign power, and that it is only 
something external to the thing or matter. 

Eegarded as this immediate reality, force is a quiescent determin- 
ateness of the thing ; not as a self-uttering or manifesting, but as an 
immediate externality. Hence the force is designated as a matter 
and instead of being called a magnetic force, an electric force, &c, 
there is assumed a magnetic matter, an electric matter, &c. ; or instead 
of the well-known attractive force there is conceived a subtle ether 
which holds all things together. There are matters into which the 
powerless, inactive negative unity of the thing dissolves, and these 
have been already considered [in Book II., section 2, B and C]. 

But force contains immediate existence as phase or moment, as 
such a somewhat as while it is condition, passes into transition and 
annuls itself ; therefore immediate existence as a phase of force is 
not an existing thing [has not the form of "thing"]. It is more- 
over not negation as determinateness, but negative unity which is re- 
flected into itself. The thing to which the force belongs has conse- 
quently here no further significance ; it is rather the positing of ex- 
ternality which manifests itself as existence. Therefore it is also not 
merely a determined matter [a special form of it] ; such independ- 
ence [as particular matter] has long ago passed over into posited- 
being and phenomenon. 

Secondl}', force is the unity of the reflected reality and of imme- 
diate reality or of the form-unity and of external independence. 
It is both in one ; it is the contact of such somewhats that the one is 
in so far as the other is not ; the self-identical positive and the 
negated reflection. Force is therefore the self-repelling contradic- 
tion. It is active ; in other words it is self-related negative unity, 
in which reflected immediateness or essential being-in-itself is posited 
as being only annulled or a phase ; consequently in so far as it dis- 
tinguishes itself from immediate existence, it passes over into it. 

Ilj4 Essence. 

Force therefore is posited as the determination of the reflected unity 
of the whole as the becoming of existing, external multiplicity. 

But, thirdly, force is at first only potential and immediate activit} r ; 
it is reflected unity and likewise essentially the negation of essential 
unity ; and since it is different from these, and only the identity of 
itself and its negation, it is related to them essentially as an imme- 
diateness external to them, and they are consequently its presuppo- 
sition and condition. 

This presupposition now is not a thing already existing in contrast 
with it; such indifferent independence is annulled in the force ; as 
its condition the presupposition is an independent other to the force. 
But since it is not a thing, and since the independent immediateness 
has here determined itself to be a self-relating negative unity, this 
presupposition is itself force. The activity of force is therefore 
conditioned through itself as a self-other, i. e., it is conditioned 
through a force. 

Force is, according to this, an essential relation in which each side 
is the same as the other. Forces stand in essential relation to each 
other [and not forces and things]. In the first place, the} 7 are re- 
garded as indifferent to each other. The unity of their essential 
relation is at first only an internal, potential unit} 7 . The condition- 
ing of one force through another is, therefore, regarded as the 
product of the force's own activity; in other words, is looked upon 
at first as a prepositing activity, an act of negative self-relation. 
This other force which conditions the first force lies beyond its posit- 
ing activity, viz., the reflection which returns into itself immediately 
in its activity of returning. 

b. The Soliciting Force. 

Force is conditioned because the phase of immediate existence 
which it contains is a mere posited, but, for the reason that it is at 
the same time immediate it is a presupposed, in which the force itself 
is negated. Therefore the externality which force encounters is its 
own presupposing activity itself, which is posited directly as another 

This presupposition is moreover mutual. Each of the two forces 
contains the unity-reflected-into-itself as annulled, and is therefore 
presupposing. It posits itself as external ; this externality is its own 
externality ; but since it is likewise unity reflected-into-itself, it 
posits this externality not within itself, but as another force. 

But the external, as such, is the self-annulling ; moreover the self- 
reflecting activity is essentially related to that external as its other, 

Essential Relation. 165 

hut likewise as to something nugatory in itself and in identity with 
it. Since the presupposing activity is likewise reflection into itself, it 
is the annulment of its mentioned negation, and posits the same as 
its own external. Therefore the force as conditioning is reciprocally 
the occasion which excites the activity of the other force against 
which it is active. It does not stand in the relation of a passivit} r , a 
being determined by another force which came into it, but it is an 
occasion which solicits the other. It is within itself a negativity of 
itself and the repulsion of itself from itself is its own positing. Its 
activity therefore consists in this, that it annuls its occasion as an 
external occasion ; it reduces it to a mere occasion, and posits it as 
its own repulsion from itself it makes it into its own manifestation 
[i. e., the force makes the occasion of its activit}' the utterance of 
the force itself ; it annuls the determination which it finds in the 
object upon which it, the force, acts, and replaces those determina- 
tions with its own determinations]. 

The self-externalizing force is therefore the same that was previ- 
ously defined as the presupposing activity, i. e., that which made itself 
external. But the force as self-externalizing is at the same time a 
negating of externality and a positing of it as its own activity. In 
so far now as we begin with this view of force as a negative unity of 
itself, and consequently a presupposing reflection, it is all the same 
as if we began with the view of the soliciting occasion in the pro- 
cess of manifestation of a force. The force is therefore defined as a 
self-annulling identity according to its ideal, but as a reality it be- 
comes one of tw T o forces soliciting or solicited. But the ideal of the 
force is in general the identity of the positing and presupposing re- 
flection in other words, of the reflected and immediate unity 
and each of these determinations is only a phase or moment, in one 
unit} r , and consequently is mediated through the other. But like- 
wise there is no way of characterizing which of the two forces that 
stand in mutual relation is the soliciting or which the solicited ; each 
of the two form-determinations belongs to the one as much as to the 
other. But this identity is not merely an external one of comparison, 
but it is also their essential unity. 

The one force, for instance, is defined as the soliciting and the 
other as the solicited; these form-determinations appear thus as im- 
mediate, as belonging essentially to the forces. But they are essen- 
tiallv mediated. The one force is solicited, the soliciting occasion is 
a determination posited within it from without. But force is itself 
the presupposing; it is essentially reflection into itself, and it annuls 
the externality of the soliciting occasion and makes it its own solici- 

166 Essence. 

tation. The soliciting is therefore its own deed ; in other words, it 
determines the fact that the other force shall be another and a solicit- 
ing force. The soliciting relates to its other, negatively, so that it 
annuls its externality, and is thus so far a positing force ; but it is 
this only through the presupposition of having another opposed to it. 
i. e., it is soliciting only so far as it has an externality to it, conse- 
quently only so far as it is solicited. In other words it is soliciting 
only in so far as it is solicited to be soliciting. Conversely, also, the 
former solicits only in so far as the other solicits it to solicit. Each 
of the two therefore receives its occasion or impulse from the other ; 
but the occasion which it gives as active consists in this, that it re- 
ceives from the other an occasion or impulse. The occasion or im- 
pulse which it receives is solicited by itself. The two, the given and 
the received occasion, or the active extern alization and the pas- 
sive externality are therefore not immediate but mediated, and each 
of the two forces is consequently itself the determinateness which 
the other has presented to it is mediated through the other, and the 
mediating other is likewise its own determining positing. 

Therefore this fact that an occasion for the activity of a force is pre- 
sented through another force to which it is in so far passive, but, on 
account of the occasion, goes over from its passivity into activit}' all 
this is only the return of force into itself. It externalizes itself, or 
manifests itself. The externalization is reaction in the sense that it 
posits the externality as its own phase or moment, and consequently 
annuls the solicitation Of itself through another force. The two are 
therefore one. The externalizing of the force, whereby it gives itself 
extantness for others through its negative activity upon itself, and 
the infinite return in this externality to itself, so that this externality 
is only its own self-relation. The presupposing reflection to which 
belongs the conditioning activity and the " occasion," is therefore 
only the reflection returning into itself, and the activity is essential^ 
reactive against itself. The positing of the occasion, or of the ex- 
ternal as itself the annulment of the same, and conversely, the annul- 
ment of the occasion, is the positing of externality [i. e., of the force 

c. The Infinitude of Force. 

Force is finite in so far as its moments have still the form of im- 
mediateness ; their presupposing and their self-relating reflections are 
distinct in this determination. The presupposing reflection manifests 
itself as an external force independently existing, and the self-relating 
reflection manifests itself in relation to it as passive. Force is there- 

Essential Relation. 1(37 

fore conditioned as regards form, and likewise limited as regards its 
content ; for a determinateness as regards form contains a limitation 
as regards content. But the activity of force consists in self-utter- 
ance. This means, as has been shown, the annulment of externality 
and the determining of it to be that in which force is identical with 
itself. Therefore what the force really manifests is this, that its rela- 
tion to another is its relation to itself, that its passivity consists in its 
activity. The occasion through which it is solicited to activity is its 
own soliciting ; and the externality which comes to it [to solicit it] is 
no immediate somewhat, but mediated through it ; and likewise its 
own essential identity with itself is not immediate, but mediated 
through its negation. In other words, the force manifests this, or 
expresses this, that its externality is identical with its internality. 


Relation of External and Internal. 

1. The essential relation of the whole and the parts is the immedi- 
ate phase of essential relation ; the reflected immediateness and the 
existent immediateness have therefore within it, each an independence 
of its own ; but since they stand in essential relation their independ- 
ence is only their negative unity. This is now posited in the utter- 
ance or manifestation of force. The reflected unity is essentially the 
becoming-other as transference of itself into externality, but exter- 
nality has likewise immediately gone back into the reflected unity. 
The distinction between the independent forces annuls itself ; the 
manifestation of force is only a mediation of the reflected unity with 
itself. It is only an empty transparent distinction a mere appear- 
ance ; but this appearance is the mediation which constitutes the 
independent reality itself. Besides the contrary or opposite deter- 
minations which mutually annul each other, and besides their activity 
of transition the immediateness from which the movement into the 
other is begun is itself only a posited being ; and through this each 
of the determinations is in its immediateness already the unity with 
its other and therefore the transition is likewise the self-positing 
return into itself. 

The Internal is denned as the form of the reflected immediateness, 
or of Essence, as opposed to the External which is the form of Being ; 
they however, form only one identity. This identity is, in the first 
place, the solid unity of the two as substrate replete with content 
in other words as the absolute Thing [Sache'] or substrate in which 

1G8 Essence. 

the two determinations named are indifferent, external moments. 
In so far as it is content and totality which constitutes the Internal 
and which becomes likewise External, but in this becoming does not 
change or pass over out of itself, but remains self-identical. The 
External in this respect is not only identical with the Internal as 
regards its content, but the two constitute only one thing \_Sache]. 

But this thing \_Sache] as simple identity with itself is different 
from its form-determinations in other words, the latter are exter- 
nal to it ; in this respect it is itself an internal which is different from 
its externality. This externality, however, consists in the two de- 
terminations, viz., the internal and external, which constitute it. 
But the thing \_Sache] is itself nothing but the unity of the two. 
Consequently the two sides are again identical as regards the content. 
But in the thing [Sache] they form a self-penetrating identity as a 
substrate replete with content. But in the external, as forms of the 
thing [Sache] the two sides are opposed to the former identity and 
are consequently mutually indifferent. 

2. They have thus become different form-determinations which 
possess an identical substrate not in themselves, but in another ; they 
are/ieterminations of reflection; the internal as the form of reflection- 
into-itself is essentiality, the external in the form of immediateness 
reflected into something else is non-essentiality. But the nature of 
the essential relation has exhibited these determinations as constitut- 
ing merely one identity. Force is in its utterance a presupposing 
activity which is identical with the determining activity as returning 
into itself. Therefore in so far as internal and external are regarded 
as form-determinations, they are first only the simple form itself ; sec- 
ondly, since they are defined within it as opposites their unity is the 
pure, abstract mediation in which the one is immediately because the 
other is, and the latter immediately because the former is ; thus the 
internal is immediately the external and it has the form of externality 
because it is the internal ; conversely, the external is only an internal 
because it is only an external. 

Since this form-unity contains the two determinations as opposed, 
their identity is only this transition, and it is an identity which differs 
from them, rather than their identity with fulness of content. In 
other words this firm retention of the form is the side of particular- 
ity. And what is posited in this regard is not the real totality of the 
whole, but the totality or the thing [Sache'] itself merely in the de- 
terminateness of form. Since this is merely a composite or ao-o-re- 
gate unity of the two opposite determinations, it follows that each is 
essentially in the other determinateness and only in the other, and it 

Essential Relation. 109 

follows also as first remarked that tbey are only in the former deter- 
minateness, it being indifferent which determinateness we take first 
whether that of substrate or of thing [Sadie]. [It is evident 
that if the external is outside of the internal the internal is also out- 
side of the external i. e., separate from it, beyond its limits. This 
shows the emptiness of the distinction of external and internal as 
affording any real explanation.] 

It follows that anything that is only an internal is likewise for that 
reason only an external ; and conversely, whatever is only external 
is likewise onty internal. In other words, since the internal is defined 
as Essence, while the external is defined as Being, it follows that a 
thing [Sache] in so far as it is only in sfcs essence is for that reason 
only an immediate being [i. e., without mediation or essential relation 
which it ought to have if it is Essence] ; or on the other hand a thing 
\_Sache] which only is, or has being alone, is for that reason still in 
its essence [i. e., has not unfolded its nature manifested its essence, 
and hence is no true being]. The external and internal ai-e sides of 
determination in which determinateness is posited in such a manner 
that each of the two determinations not only presupposes the other 
and passes over into it as into its truth, but, besides this, remains 
posited as determinateness in so far as it is the truth of the other, 
and indicates the totality of the two. The internal is therefore the 
completion of Essence as regards form. Essence, viz., defined as in- 
ternal, as such, must necessarily be defective, and a mere relation to 
its other, the external ; and the external is likewise not mere being 
or existence even, but a somewhat relating to essence or to the inter- 
nal. But it is not merely the relation of each to the other that we 
have here, but the absolute form in its completeness, viz., that each is 
immediately its opposite, and the common relation of these opposites 
to their third or their unity. Their mediation lacks however as }^et 
this identical substrate containing them both ; their relation is on 
this account an immediate inversion of the one into the other, and 
this negative unity which combines them is a simple point, without any 


The activity of Essence is in general the becoming [or production 
of, or genesis of] the Idea \_Begriff or " concrete Idea," as the being 
which is both subjective and objective, i. e., self-determined as its 
own object conscious being]. In the essential relation of the in- 
ternal and external the essential feature of the Idea makes its appear- 

170 Essence. 

ance, viz., the existence of such a negative unity that each of its 
moments is not only its other, but is also the totality of the whole 
[human nature manifests itself as such a negative unit}" of individual 
human beings, each one of which not only depends upon the others 
and avails itself of their strength, but through this relation realizes 
within itself its own negative unity, i. e., elevates itself to a total by 
this means]. But this totality is in the Idea as such the universal 
[i. e., the category of the universal corresponds to the totality in the 
category of External and Internal] ; the totalit} ? however is a sub- 
strate which has not yet appeared at the stage of the process 
where we have internal and external. In the negative identity of in- 
ternal and external, which is the immediate inversion of each of these 
determinations into the other, there is also lacking that substrate 
which has been called thing [Sadie - ]. 

The unrnediated identity of form as it is here posited as }'et without the 
activity filled with content belonging to the thing [#ae/ie] itself ought 
to be noted very carefully. It makes its appearance in the thing 
[ Sache ] as it is in its beginning. Similarly pure being is immediately 
nothing. So too eveiything real in its beginning is such an immediate 
identity onby ; for in its beginning it has not yet developed its 
moments, and contrasted them, nor withdrawn itself back out of its 
externality, and on the other hand it has not yet through its own ac- 
tivity proceeded forth from its internalhy and externalized itself. In 
such case it is therefore onl} r the internal as determinateness in con- 
trast with the external, and only the external as a contrast with the 
internal. Hence it is in one respect only an immediate being; in 
another respect, in so far as it is likewise the negativity which is 
destined to become the activity of development, it is as such essen- 
tially only an internal. 

In all natural scientific and spiritual evolution, in general, this 
phase presents itself and it is important to recognize it : that the first 
phase of any thing is that of its internality, in other words its exist- 
ence in its idea [ an ideal not yet realized, e. g., an acorn not yet be- 
come an oak, a child or a savage not yet become a developed, civ- 
ilized man] and is for this reason only its immediate passive being. 
And the most convenient example of this is the essential relation just 
above considered which has passed through mediation the essential 
relation of force, and has realized the essential relation within 
itself, its ideal, or first internality. On this account, because it 
is first internal only, it is only the external immediate essential rela- 
tion, the essential relation of the " whole and the parts " in which 
the sides have an indifferent reality, outside of relation to each other. 

Essential Relation. 171 

Their identity does not yet essentially exist for them ; it is only 
internal as yet, and on this account they fall asunder, and have only 
an immediate external existence. So too the sphere of Being in gen- 
eral is nothing but an internality, and what is the same thing the 
sphere of existent immediateness or of externality. 

Essence is at first only the internal; and consequently as such it is 
taken for a mere unsystematized common interest and quite external. 
In German one has the words, Schulwesen = school-essence [where 
the English say school-system], Zeitungsicesen = newspaper-es- 
sence [where the English say journalism'] and understand under these 
expressions a common interest formed by external combination of ex- 
isting objects, without essential connection or organization. Among 
concrete objects the seed of a plant is an internal plant [internally a 
plant J and a child is an internal man [ a man not yet realized]. But 
on this account the plant or the man as a germ is only an immediate 
somewhat, an external being, which has not yet attained the negative 
relation to itself, and is therefore a passive being exposed to external 
influences ; so also God defined in his immediate idea would not be 
spirit; spirit is not the immediate, the opposite of mediation, but 
rather the essence which externally posits immediateness, and eternally 
returns from that immediateness into itself. Regarded as immediate 
therefore God would be only nature. In other words Nature is only 
the internality of spirit, not the actuality of spirit, and is therefore 
not the true God. In other words God in the first [ or lowest form 
of ] thinking is only pure being, or mere essence, that is to sa}-, the 
abstract absolute, and not God as absolute spirit [ self-conscious ] 
which alone is the true nature of God. 

3. The first of the considered identities of the internal and ex- 
ternal is the identity opposed to the distinction of these determ- 
inations as an indifferent substrate opposed to a form external to it, 
or an identity as content. The second of the identities considered is 
the unmediated identity of the distinction of the external and inter- 
nal, viz., the immediate inversion of each into its opposite this is 
the pure form. But these two identities are onhy the sides of one 
totality ; in other words the totality itself is only their conversion of 
each into the other. The totality as substrate and content is their 
immediateness reflected into itself by means of the presupposing re- 
flection of form which annuls its distinction and posits itself as in- 
different identity, as reflected unity opposed to it. In other words 
the identity is the form itself in so far as it is defined as variety, or 
indifferent multiplicity, and in so far as it reduces itself to one of its 

172 Essence. 

sides as externality, and to the other of its sides as irnmediateness 
reflected into itself, or internality. 

Hence, on the other hand, the distinctions of form the internal 
and the external, are by this means posited each as the totality of 
itself and its other ; the internal as simple identity reflected into itself 
is therefore the immediate and consequently being and externality, as 
well as essence. The external, on the other hand as manifold, par- 
ticular being, mere externality, is posited as unessential, and returned 
into its ground, and consequently as internal [that which is posited as 
unessential is thereby posited as dependent and as belonging to some- 
thing else whose manifestation it is ; and as a manifestation or ap- 
pearance it is only the internality of something else, which has thus 
been externalized as appearance]. This transition of each into the 
other forms their immediate identity as substrate, but it is also their 
mediated identity, viz., each is through its other what it is within 
itself, i. e., the totality of the essential relation. Or conversely, the 
determinateness of each side is meditated with the other deterrain- 
ateness, through the fact that it is potentially the totality ; the totality 
mediates itself therefore through the form, or through the determ- 
inateness, and the determinateness mediates itself through its simple 

Any somewhat is what it is therefore wholly in its externality; its 
externality is its totality ; it is likewise its unity reflected into itself. 
Its manifestation or phenomenal existence is not merely reflection 
into something else, but reflection into itself, and its externality is 
therefore the externality of that which it is in itself; and since in this 
way its content and its form are absolutely identical there is nothing 
in and for itself but this, to utter itself or manifest itself. It is the 
revelation of its own essence, so that this essence consists merely in 

The essential relation has thus defined itself as identity of its jjhe- 
nomenal manifestation with its internality, and therefore now defines 
essence as Actuality. 

Actuality 173 



Actuality is the unit}- of Essence and Existence. In it the 
formless essence and the fleeting phenomenon have their truth in 
other words, persistence devoid of determination and multiplicity 
devoid of persistence find here their truth. Although existence is 
immediateness which has resulted from a ground it has not the form 
posited within it and as belonging to it. When it determines itself 
and forms itself it is the phenomenon [i. e., totality of appearance]. 
And since it develops persistence as reflection-into-another until it 
becomes reflection into itself, there originate two worlds, two totali- 
ties of content, the one of which is defined as reflected into itself 
and the other as reflected into another. The essential relation, how- 
ever, exhibits its form-relation which arrives at its full development 
in the essential relation of Internal and External as one identical 
substrate for the content of both, and thus only one identity of form. 
Through the fact that this identity of the form has arisen, the cate- 
gory of form has lost its multiplicity of distinctions [and is hence 
annulled] and one absolute totality has resulted. 

This unity of the Internal and External is the absolute actuality 
( Wirkliclikeii). This actuality is in its first phase of consideration 
the absolute as such ; and in so far ( as it is posited as unity in which 
the form is annulled, it has become the empty or external distinction 
of External and Internal. The activity of reflection is regarded as 
an external affair in its relation to this absolute, and not as the activ- 
ity of the absolute itself, but since this reflection essentially belongs 
to it, it is [i. e., will be found to be] the negative return of the abso- 
lute into itself. [Such is the first phase of Actualitj'.] 

In the second place [?'. e., in the second phase of its consideration] 
this unity of the Internal and External is the Actuality properly so- 
called. Actuality, Possibility, and Necessitj' constitute the formal 
moments [elements or phases] of the absolute, i. e., its reflection. 

In the third place [the third phase of its consideration] the unity 
of the absolute and of its activity of reflection is the absolute essential 
relation in other words it is the absolute as essential relation to 
itself ; this is called Substance. 

[In the preceding paragraphs, Hegel gives the substance or out- 
line of this third section of Essence.] 

174 Essence. 

First Chapter. 

TJie Absolute. 

The simple, pure identity of the absolute is indeterminate [without 
particularization]. In other words within it all determinateness, 
whether of essence and existence or of being, have been annulled ; 
and so has the activity of reflection. In so far as this is the case the 
definition of that which the absolute is, is merely negative ; and the 
absolute itself appears only as the negation of all predicates and as 
entirely empty and void ; but in as much as the absolute must at the 
same time be pronounced as the affirmation of all predicates, it is 
manifestly the most formal contradiction. In so far as this negating 
and affirming belong to external reflection it is a formal, non-system- 
atic dialectic, which, with little trouble, seizes upon determinations 
of different kinds here and there, and with just as little trouble shows 
up their finitude and mere relativity, while, on the other hand, the 
totality hovers before it, and it pronounces this absolute to possess 
all determinations inherent within it. It has not the ability to bring 
this affirming and negating to a true unity. There is a necessity, 
however, to show what this absolute is, but this exposition must not 
be a determining or a defining of it, nor an external reflection, because 
by them determinations of the absolute would appear ; there is admis- 
sible only an analysis or exposition the exposition on the part of the 
absolute itself which only shows what it is. 


The Display or Exposition of the Absolute. 

The Absolute is not merely Being, nor is it merely Essence. 
Beino- is the first non-reflected immediateness ; Essence is the re- 
fleeted immediateness. Each of the two is a totality within itself, 
but a definite, particular totality. In the sphere of Essence the cate- 
gory of Being reappears as Existence ; and the relation of being to 
essence has developed into the essential relation of Internal and Ex- 
ternal. The Internal is the Essence as totality, which is related to 
being and is immediate being. The External is being, but it is re- 
lated to the activity of reflection and it is immediate identity with 
essence. The absolute itself is the absolute unity of the two. It is 

The Absolute. 175 

that which constitutes the ground of the essential relation, which as 
essential relation has not gone back into this identity, and its ground 
is not yet posited. 

Hence it is evident that the definition of the absolute makes it to 
be absolute form, but at the same time not as an identity whose 
moments or phases are mere simple determinatenesses ; it is rather 
the identity whose moments or phases are both totalities, and as 
such are indifferent to the form, and hence constitute the perfect 
content of the whole. Conversely, the absolute is the absolute con- 
tent in such a manner that the content which as such is an indiffer- 
ent [i. e., a non-related] multiplicity and possesses the negative form- 
relation within it, and through this its multiplicity forms one solid 
[z'.e., homogeneous or continuous] identity. 

The identit}^ of the absolute is consequently the absolute through 
this fact, that each of its parts is the whole, in other words, that 
each determinateness is the totality. This makes each determinate- 
ness to be a transparent appearance, a distinction that has vanished 
in its posited-being. Essence, existence, in-itself-existent world, 
whole, part, force, these reflected determinations appear to the 
imaging [representing] form of thought as if they were something 
valid in and for themselves as possessing true being ; but the ab- 
solute is their ground and they have vanished into it. Since in the 
absolute the form is only simple self-identity, the absolute does not 
determine itself [or particularize itself] ; for determination is a form- 
distinction [a distinction within form.] But since the absolute con- 
tains all distinction and form-determination in other words since 
it is absolute form and activity of reflection, it must have difference 
or diversity in its content. But the absolute itself is absolute iden- 
tity. This is its definition since all multiplicity of the self-existent 
world and of the phenomenal world, or of the internal and external 
totalities have vanished. In itself there is no becoming, for it is not 
a form of Being nor is it the self-reflecting form of determination ; 
it is not essence, which determines itself only within itself; it is 
moreover not a self-manifestation, for it is the identity of the internal 
and external. 

But the activ^ of reflection stands in opposition to its absolute 
identity. The activity of reflection is annulled in its absolute iden- 
tity. Hence it is only the internality of it and therefore external to it 
[?'. e., separate from it]. The activity of reflection consists in this 
the annulment of its activity in the absolute. It is " the beyond " of 
the manifold distinctions and determinations and of their activity 
which the absolute holds in abeyance. It is therefore their assump- 

176 Essence. 

tion [adoption] but at the same time their destruction. It is thus 
the negative exposition of the absolute already mentioned. In their 
true presentation this exposition forms the whole of the logical activ- 
ity which has preceded in this investigation, including the spheres of 
Being and Essence, whose content is not gathered together from 
without as something accidentally found, nor has it gone down into 
the abyss of the absolute through external reflection, but it is de- 
termined within it through its own inner necessit}': a becoming, 
inherent in being, and an activity of reflection belonging to essence 
has returned into the absolute as its ground. 

This Display or exposition has however a positive side, namely, in 
so far as the finite within it that which perishes shows by perish- 
ing that it is related to the absolute, or that the absolute is contained 
in it [or manifested upon it]. But this side is not so much the posi- 
tive exhibition of the absolute itself as it is the exhibition of the de- 
terminations which it has through the fact that the absolute is its 
foundation and also its ground in other words, that which gives it, 
as appearance, a reality, is the absolute itself. The appearance is not 
a mere nothing, but it is reflection, i. e., relation to the absolute; in 
other words, it is appearance, in so far as the absolute appears in it. 
This positive exposition or display, therefore, prevents the finite 
from disappearing and regards it as an expression and image of the 
absolute. But the transparency of the finite which permits only the 
absolute to appear through it, results in its entire disappearance, for 
there is nothing in the finite which can give it an independent indi- 
viduality as against the absolute ; it is only a medium which is lost 
in the manifestation of that which shines through it. 

This positive analysis or display of the absolute is therefore only an 
appearance ; for the true positive which contains it and the content 
which is exhibited, is the absolute itself. As regards the further de- 
terminations, the form in which the absolute appears is something 
nugatory which the exhibition assumes as an external affair, and makes 
its beginning with it. Such a determination has not its beginning in 
the absolute, but only its end. This exhibition is therefore an abso- 
lute deed through its relation to the absolute into which it returns ; 
but it is not this in its point of departure, for that is only an external 
determination to the absolute. 

In fact, however, the display or exposition of the absolute is its 
own act, and it begins with itself as well as arrives at itself. The 
absolute is determined solely as absolute identit}' ; through the activ- 
ity of reflection it is posited as identical in contrast with antithesis 
and multiplicity ; in other words it is only the negative of reflection 

The Absolute. 177 

and of determination in general. Not only that exhibition of the abso- 
lute is something incomplete, but so also is this absolute itself at which 
it has arrived. In other words, that absolute which exists only as 
absolute identity is such an absolute merely as belongs to external 
reflection. It is therefore not what is absolute in an absolute sense, 
but it is the absolute in the form of determinateness or particularity 
it is what is called " Attribute." 

The absolute however is not attribute merely because it is the 
object of external reflection and is particularized through that. In 
other words reflection is not external to it solely ; but it is also imme- 
diate, and therefore because it is external it is also internal. The 
absolute is the absolute only because it is not abstract identity, but 
the identity of being and essence i. e., the identity of the internal 
and external. It is therefore the absolute form which causes its 
manifestation within itself and determines it to be an attribute. 


The Absolute Attribute. 

The expression which has been used the absolute absolute [the 
absolute taken absolutely] denotes the absolute as returned into itself 
in its own form, or that whose form is identical with its content. The 
attribute is only the relative absolute an expression which means 
only that the absolute is in a form-determination. The form is 
namely at first, before its complete analysis or exposition, only inter- 
nal, or, what is the same thing, only external particularized form or 
negation. But since it is the form of the absolute, the attribute is the 
entire content of the absolute; it is the totality such a totality as 
we formerly named a "world" [the " phenomenonal world " and 
the " in-itself -existent world "] or as one of the sides of the essential 
relation each of those sides being at the same time the entire rela- 
tion. But those two " worlds " the phenomenal and in-itself-exist- 
ent worlds were defined as antithetic to each other in their nature. 
One side of the essential relation was identical with the other : the 
whole identical with the parts ; the manifestation of the force pos- 
sessed the same content as the force itself, and the "external''' was 
the same as the " internal." At the same time however each of these 
sides possessed an immediate reality of its own ; one side possessed 
an existent immediateness and the other a reflected immediateness. 
In the absolute on the contrary these distinctions of immediateness 
are reduced to a mere appearance [or seeming"! and the totality 

178 Essence. 

which is the attribute is posited as its true and only proper reality ; 
but the determination in which it appears is posited as non-essential. 

The absolute is therefore attribute for the reason that it is simple, 
absolute identity in the determination of identity. There may be 
other determinations joined to this determination so that there are 
several attributes. But since the absolute identity has only this 
meaning, not only that all determinations are annulled, but that it is 
also the activity of reflection which has annulled itself, it conse- 
quently happens that all determinations belonging to it are posited 
as annulled. In other words, the totality is posited as the absolute ; 
or the attribute has for its realit} 7 and content the absolute. Its 
form-determination through which it is attribute is therefore also 
posited immediately as mere appearance, and thus the negative is 
posited as negative. The positive appearance, which the exhibition 
or exposition reaches through the attribute, since it takes the 
finite in its limitation as something lacking self-existence, and annuls 
its independent existence in the absolute and reduces it to an at- 
tribute, again annuls it as attribute; it causes it to perish in the 
simple absolute, and thus it recalls the act which distinguished or 
displayed it as attribute. 

Since, however, the reflection thus returns from its act of distin- 
guishing back to the identity of the absolute, it has not emerged 
from its externality and arrived at the true absolute. It has reached 
only the indefinite, abstract identity; i. e., that form of it which has 
the determinateness of identity. In other words, the reflection, since 
it is determined as attribute, as the internal form of the absolute, 
is in this determining, different from the externality; the internal de- 
termination does not interpenetrate the absolute its manifestation 
is a vanishing, as a mere posited on the absolute. 

The form therefore taken as external, or as internal, whereby the 
absolute becomes an attribute, is therefore posited as a self-nugatoiy, 
a mere appearance, a mere mode and manner of existence. 


The Modus of the Absolute. 

The attribute is in the first phase the absolute as simple self-iden- 
tity. In the second phase it is negation, and as such negation it is 
the formal activity of reflection into itself. These two sides consti- 
tute the two extremes of the attribute while it itself is the middle 
term, since it is itself both the absolute and the determinateness. 

The Absolute. 171) 

The second of these two extremes is the negative as negative, the 
activity of reflection external to the absolute. In other words, in so 
far as it is taken as the internal of the absolute, and it is defined as 
the activity of positing itself as modus, it is the externality of the 
absolute, its lapse into the realm of change and contingency, of im- 
mediate being its transition into the opposite without return into 
i self ; the multiplicity of form and content determinations, without 

The modus as the externality of the absolute is moreover the ex- 
ternality posited as externality, a mere " mode and manner;" conse- 
quently the appearance as appearance, or the reflection into itself of 
form ; consequently the self-identity which is the absolute. In fact 
therefore the absolute is posited as absolute identity first in the 
modus ; it is only what it is, i. e., self-identity as self-relating negativ- 
ity, as appearance which is posited as appearance. 

Therefore in so far as the analysis or exposition of the absolute 
begins with its absolute identity and passes over to the attribute and 
thence to the modus it has in these moments completed its course. 
But, in the first place, it is not a merely negative activity in its atti- 
tude towards these determinations, but it is the reflecting activity it- 
self, the very activity by which the absolute is true absolute identity. 
In the second place it does not have to do merely with externality, 
and the modus is not the extreme of externality, but since it is ap- 
pearance as appearance, it is the return into itself, the self-annulling 
reflection as which the absolute is absolute being. 

In the third place the exhibiting reflection appears to commence 
with its own determinations, and with the external the modus or 
the determinations of the attribute taking them up as though they 
were already existent outside of the absolute, and the activity of the 
existing reflection seems to consist in this that it reduces these 
determinations to independent identities. But in fact the exhibiting 
reflection finds the determinateness with which it begins in the abso- 
lute. For the absolute as first indifferent identity is only the deter- 
mined absolute, called the attribute because it is the inactive absolute 
devoid of reflection. This determinateness, since it is determinate- 
ness, belongs to the reflecting activity ; only through it is it deter- 
mined as the first identical and only through it does it possess the 
absolute form, and is not merely in identity but a positing of itself 
in identity. 

The true meaning of the modus is therefore that it is the reflecting 
activity belonging to the absolute ; an activity of determination 
whereby it does not become another, but only becomes what it is 

180 Essence. 

already ; it is thus a transparent externality, which shows what it is 
in itself ; a movement away from itself whose externality is at the 
same time its internality ; and hence it is a positing which is not a 
mere positing, but absolute being. 

If therefore the question is asked regarding the content of the ex- 
position of the absolute, what it is that the absolute exhibits? it must 
be remembered that the distinction between form and content in the 
absolute has utterly vanished. Or that the content of the absolute is 
self-manifestation. The absolute is absolute form, which as the 
diremption or dualization of the absolute is wholly self-identical the 
negative as negative ; or it comes into identitv with itself which is 
likewise indifferent towards its distinctions and is thus absolute con- 
tent; the content is therefore only this very exposition (or exhibition 
of itself). 

The absolute as this self-sustaining activity of exposition as mode 
and manner, which is its absolute self-identity, is manifestation not 
of an internal, nor a manifestation made to something else, but it is 
only a manifesting of itself for itself absolutely ; it is therefore 
Actuality [ Wirklichkeit] . 


The idea of the " substance " of Spinoza corresponds to this idea 
of the absolute, and to the essential (reciprocal) relations of reflec- 
tion belonging to it, as we have explained above. Spinozism is defi- 
cient as a philosophy through the fact that the activity of refleetion 
and its manifold determining is an external form of thinking:. His 
"substance" is one substance, one indivisible totality ; there is no 
determinateness or particularity that is not contained in or annulled 
by this absolute ; and it is important enough that all which appears 
to the naive representation, or the defining understanding as some- 
thing independent, is reduced utterly to a mere posited-being [de- 
pendence] within that necessary thought [of the absolute or 
substance]. " Determinateness is negation," is the absolute principle 
of Spinozistic philosophy ; this true and simple insight establishes the 
absolute unity of substance. But Spinoza remains at the stand- 
point of negation as determinateness or quality ; he does not reach 
the idea of absolute negation, i. e., self-negating negation ; hence his 
" substance " does not contain absolute form [self-determined form] 
and the science of it is no immanent scientific process [i. e., a nec- 
essary procedure]. His " substance " is absolute unity of thought 
and being or extension ; therefore it contains the thinking activity, 

The Absolute. 181 

but only in its unity with extension. This implies that the thinking 
does not separate itself from extension, and consequently is not an 
activity of determining and form-giving, nor a return into itself, nor 
a beginning with itself. The "substance " therefore lacks the prin- 
ciple of personality, a defect which has been urged against the Spino- 
zistic system most frequently. Moreover its form of knowing is ex- 
ternal reflection, which takes up the determinateness of attribute and 
mode as a finite phenomenon without deducing it from the idea of 
" substance," and it makes reflections upon the same in an external 
manner, and, assuming those determinations as given, refers them to 
the absolute, without commencing its procedure in the absolute. 

The definitions which Spinoza gives of "substance" are those of 
self-cause causa sui defined as a somewhat, "whose essence 
includes within itself its existence;" and he says that " The idea of 
the absolute does not need the idea of anything else for its concep- 
tion." These definitions, deep and true as they are, are nevertheless 
assumed without proof in his system. Mathematics and other sub- 
ordinate sciences are obliged to begin with presuppositions ; they are 
under the necessity of assuming their elements or matter with which 
they have to deal. But the absolute cannot be a direct immediate 
something ; it is essentially its own result. 

After the definition of the absolute, Spinoza gives next his defini- 
tion of attribute, namely, as " That which the intellect comprehends 
as the nature or essence of the absolute." Not to dwell upon the 
fact that the intellect is assumed as something subsequent to the 
attribute according to its nature for Spinoza defines the intellect as a 
modus it must be observed that the attribute which is a determina- 
tion of the absolute is made by Spinoza dependent upon something 
else, namely, the intellect which regards " substance " from an exter- 
nal and independent point of view. 

Spinoza defines the attribute further as infinite ; and infinite also 
in the sense of infinite multiplicity. There appear however only two 
attributes thought and extension and it is not shown how infinite 
multiplicity is reduced to this antithesis of thought and extension. 
These two attributes are therefore taken from experience. Thought 
and being are the absolute conceived in a determination. The abso- 
lute itself is their absolute unity, and within it they are only non- 
essential forms ; the arrangement of things is the same as that of 
mental images or thoughts, and the one absolute is perceived only by 
the external reflection, by a modus, as existing in those two determ- 
inations [thought and extension] on the one hand, as the 
totalit} 7 of mental images, and on the other, as a totality of things 

182 Essence. 

and events. As it is this external reflection that makes that 
distinction, so it is the same reflection that carries it back into the ab- 
solute identity, and annuls it. This entire activity however goes on 
outside of the absolute. Although the absolute is also the activity 
of thought, and hence thinking occurs only in the absolute, j r et, as 
already remarked, thought, in the absolute, is only in unit} r with exten- 
sion, consequently not as the activity which is essentially opposed to 
extension. Spinoza makes the sublime demand upon thought that it 
shall consider things under the form of eternity, sub specie ceterni, 
i. e., as they are in the absolute. But in that absolute which is only 
the inactive identity, the attribute, as well as the modus, exist only as 
vanishing, not as beginning, so that even that vanishing has its posi- 
tive origin only from without. 

The third, the modus, is understood by Spinoza as an affection of 
substance, particular determinateness, that which is in another and 
is apprehended through that other. The attributes really have for 
their determination only indefinite multiplicity. Each of the attri- 
butes should express the totality of substance and be understood 
through itself, but, in so far as the absolute exists as determined or 
particular, it involves other-being and cannot be understood through 
itself. In the modus therefore the definition of attribute is first 
posited in its true form. This third remains moreover mere modus ; 
on the one hand it is an immediately given somewhat, and on the other 
hand its nugatoriness is not recognized as reflection into itself. The 
Spinozistic exposition of the absolute is therefore complete only in so 
far as it begins with the absolute, proceeds to the attribute, and con- 
cludes with the modus. These three, however, are merely mentioned 
one after the other without showing any inner necessity of develop- 
ment; the third is not negation defined as negation the negation 
relating to itself negatively, through which it would be a return into 
itself within the first identity, and thus the true identity-. Therefore 
it lacks the necessity of procedure from the absolute to the non-essen- 
tial, as well as their dissolution again into the identity. In other words 
it lacks the becoming of the identity as well as of its determina- 

In like manner the oriental idea of emanation conceives the abso- 
lute as the self-kindling light. But the light not only originates 
within itself, it streams forth away from itself. Its rays are depart- 
ures from its undimmed clearness ; the remote results are more im- 
perfect than the preceding ones from whence they came. The 
raying forth of the light is taken onby as an event, and the process 
only as a continnous loss of energy. Hence the being continually 

The Absolute. 183 

grows dimmer and the end of the line is night the negative, which 
does not turn back to the source of light. 

The defect of reflection, which Spinoza's exposition of the abso- 
lute contains as an emanation theory, does not exist in the idea of 
the monad as set forth by Leibnitz. The one-sidedness of the 
philosophical principle usually draws out its opposite principle 
in another system so that the whole, the totality, exists in its com- 
pleteness although sundered into different systems. The monad is 
merely one, a negative reflected into itself ; it is the totality of the 
content of the world. The variety and multiplicity within it has not 
vanished altogether but is preserved in a negative manner. Spinoza's 
*' substance" is the unity of all contents. But this manifold con- 
tent of the world does not exist as such within the " substance " but 
only in the activity of reflection external to it. The monad is 
essentially a representing activity. And although it is finite it pos- 
sesses no passivity; but the changes and determinations within it are 
manifestations in itself. It is an " Entelechy;" the revelation is its 
own activity. By this the monad is particularized and distinguished 
from others ; the determinateness of particularity consists in the 
special content and in the mode and manner of the manifestation. 
The monad is therefore potentially as regards its substance the 
totality, but not in its manifestation. This limitation of the monad 
does not appertain to it as self-positing or self-representing, but, to 
its nature, its potential^ ; in other words it is an absolute limit, a 
predestination imposed upon it through another being. Moreover 
the limited ones are in relation to each other while the monads are 
self-contained absolutes. Hence the harmon}' of these limitations, 
namely, the relation of the monads to each other, is external to the 
monads and proceeds from another being, or is a "pre-established 

It is clear that through the principle of reflection-into-itself, which 
constitutes the fundamental principle of the monad, that otherness 
and the influence of the external is removed, and the changes which 
happen to the monad are through its own activity. But on the other 
hand, the passivity is converted into an absolute limitation, a limita- 
tion of nature or constitution [a limitation impressed upon it from with- 
out]. Leibnitz ascribes to the monads a certain kind of completeness 
within themselves, a kind of independence. They are created beings. 
Upon a closer examination of the nature of this limitation it appears 
that the self-manifestation which belongs to the monad is the totality 
of form. It is an extremely important idea that the changes in the 
monad are conceived as self-manifestations, as actions devoid of 

18-4 Essence. 

passivity, and the principle of reflection-into-itself, or of individual- 
ization, is made prominent as essential. Moreover it is necessary that 
the finitude or particularity is allowed to exist within the monad 
that the content or the substance is distinguished from the form, and 
moreover that the content is limited while the form is infinite. But 
in the idea of the absolute monad we ought to find not only the men- 
tioned unity of form and'content, but also the nature of reflection as 
self-related negativity which repels itself from itself and is thereby 
a positing and creating activity. In the system of Leibnitz we find 
further the doctrine that God is the source of the existence and of 
the essence of the monads: which means that the mentioned absolute 
limitations in the nature of the monads are not existent in and for 
themselves but that they vanish in the absolute. But these notions 
are derived from current conceptions which are without philosophical 
development and not brought up to the speculative stand-point. 
Hence the principle of individualization does not receive its deeper 
meaning; the thoughts on the distinction between the different finite 
monads and upon their relation to the absolute, do not originate in 
this essence itself, i. e., in an absolute manner. They belong only to 
discursive reasoning 'to dogmatic reflection, and they therefore 
attain no internal coherence. 

Second Chapter. 


The absolute is the unity of the internal and external as the first 
phase of unity existing in itself or potentially. The exhibition or 
exposition proved to be an external reflection, which possessed the 
immediate on its side as an already given somewhat ; but it is an 
activit}^ which relates the immediate to the absolute, and as such 
connects it to the latter, and determines it as a mere mode and man- 
ner. But this mode and manner is the activity of determination 
which belongs to the absolute itself ; it is namely its first identity or 
its mere in-itself-existent unity. And although by means of this 
reflection, that former being-in-itself or nature is posited as a non- 
essential determination, yet through its negative relation to itself it 
becomes the mode (" modus ") as described. This activity of reflec- 
tion as annulling itself in its determinations and as activity that 
returns into itself, becomes true absolute identity, and is at the same 
time the determining [particularizing] of the absolute in other 
words, its modality. The mode is, therefore, the externality of the 

Actuality. 185 

absolute, but only as its reflection into itself ; in other words, it is its 
own manifestation, so that this externalization is the reflection into 
itself of the absolute, and, therefore, its being-in-and-for-itself. 

Therefore as the manifestation which shows the absolute as having 
no other content than to be self-manifestation, the absolute becomes 
absolute form. The " actuality" is to be seized or conceived as this 
reflected absoluteness. The category of being does not express actu- 
ality ; for it is only a first immediateness ; its reflection is, therefore, 
only a becoming a transition into something else; in other words 
its immediateness is not being-in-and-for-itself. The category of 
Actuality is moreover higher than that of Existence. Existence has 
an immediateness which has issued forth from Ground and Condi- 
tions in other words from Essence and its reflection. It is there- 
fore potentially what actuality is, real reflection, but it is as yet not 
the posited unity of inflection and immediateness. Existence ac- 
cordingly passes over into "Phenomenon" wdien it develops the 
activity of reflection that it contains. It is the category of Ground 
that has become annulled (" gone to the ground ") ; its determination 
is its restoration, hence it becomes essential [or reciprocal] relation ; 
and its final activity of reflection is the positing of its immediateness 
as reflection into itself, and conversely. This unity, which contains 
Existence or immediateness and being-in-itself as mere moments or 
subordinate elements, is now before us as the Actuality. The actual 
is therefore manifestation, it does not pass over into the sphere of 
change through its externality nor is it an appearance in something 
else, but it manifests itself. This means that it is itself in its exter- 
nal^* , and is only in that externality ; in other words, it is only the 
activity which distinguishes and determines. 

In the actuality as this absolute form, the moments or elements are 
only as annulled formal, not yet realized; their diversity [multi- 
plicity] belongs, therefore, to external reflection, and is not defined 
as content. 

Actuality as immediate unity of form of the internal and external 
is consequently in the determination of immediateness as opposed to 
the determination of reflection into itself ; in other words it is an ac- 
tuality opposed to a possibility. The relation of the two to each 
other constitutes therefore a third term : the actual defines itself as a 
being reflected into itself, and the latter is at the same time an imme- 
diately existing somewhat. This third term is Necessity. 

But in the first place, since the actual and p is.sible are formal dis- 
tinctions, their relation too is only formal, and consists only in this 

18 b* Essence. 

that the one as well as the other is a posited-being, hence mere Con- 

Now, because the contingency contains the actual as well as the 
possible, as mere posited-being, they have received the determination 
within themselves ; there arises therefore, secondly, the real actuality. 
And with this likewise there arises the real possibility and the relative 
necessity. The reflection of the relative necessity into itself gives, 
thirdly, absolute necessity, which is absolute possibility, or poten- 
tiality and actuality. 

Contingency or Formal Actuality, Possibility and Necessity. 

1. Actuality is ''formal" in so far as it is mere immediate unre- 
flected actuality the first phase of actuality consequently merely 
in this form-determination, but not as totality of form. It is in this 
phase nothing more than a being or existence in general. But since 
it is not merely immediate existence but essentially the form-unity of 
the being-in-itself or of internality and externality it contains imme- 
diately being-in-itself or potentiality. Whatever is actual is pos- 

2. This potentiality is actuality that is reflected into itself. But 
this first phase of reflected-being is also a formal phase and hence 
only the determination of identity with itself, or of being-in-itself in 

Since, however, the determination here is the totality of form, this 
being-in-itself is determined as annulled or as essentially a mere rela- 
tion to actuality ; as the negative of actuality posited as negative. 
Potentiality contains therefore two phases ; first, the positive phase, 
its reflection into itself ; but since it is within the absolute form it is 
reduced to a mere phase, its reflection into itself is no longer valid as 
essence, but in the second place possesses the negative significance, 
viz., that the potentiality is something defective, something that refers 
to another, i. e., to the actuality, and supplements its deficiencies with 
the same. 

According to the first phase, the merely positive side, the poten- 
tiality is therefore the mere form-determination of self-identity, 
i. e., the form of essentiality. In this phase it is devoid of relativ- 
ity, an indefinite receptacle for everything in general. In the sense 
of formal potentiality eveiything is possible which does not contra- 
dict itself; the realm of potentiality is therefore the limitless multi- 

Actuality. 187 

plicity. But eveiy individual of the multiplicity is particularized or 
determined within itself and in opposition to others, and has the 
negation inherent in it. Indifferent variety or diversity passes over 
into antithesis \_i. e., is found upon careful examination to irapty 
antithesis as the basis of its distinction] ; but antithesis is contradic- 
tion [i. e., implies contradiction, which is the first phase of self- 
distinction ; that is to say, all distinction or difference rests finally 
on self-distinction]. Therefore every particular thing is likewise a 
contradictory somewhat [as well as a possible one], and therefore 
everything is impossible. 

This merely formal statement regarding anything that it is pos- 
sible is therefore likewise shallow and empty, like the principle of 
contradiction, and every content that it may have, e.g., "A is pos- 
sible," means only that A is A. In so far as one regards this without 
considering the development of the content it has the form of sim- 
plicity. Distinction arises within it only upon the annulment of the 
form of simplicity. When one holds fast to the simple form, the 
content remains a self-identical one and therefore a possible. There 
is nothing more expressed, however, by this term " possible " than 
with the formal principle of identity. 

The possible contains however more than the mere principle of 
identity. The possible is the reflection-into-itself again reflected ; 
in other words, the identical as phase of the totality is also de- 
termined or defined to be not in-itself, i. e., potential. It has therefore 
the second determination to be a mere possible something and its 
ideal is the totality of the form. The potentiality without this ideal 
is the essentiality as such ; but the absolute form contains the essence 
merely as moment, and has no truth except as being. Potentiality is 
this mere essentiality posited in such a manner as to be a mere 
phase and not commensurate with the absolute form. It is being-in- 
itself defined as mere posited ; in other words as not possessing 
being-in-itself. The potentiality is therefoi'e the contradiction or the 

In the first place, this states that the possibility whose posited form- 
determination is annulled, possesses a content. This as possible is a 
being-in-itself which is at the same time annulled or other-being 
[i. e., a being for others or dependent]. Since it is for this reason 
only a possible being it follows that another being is possible, and 
even its opposite. A is A ; likewise not-A is not-A. These two 
principles both express the possibility of its content. But these 
principles as identical are indifferent towards each other ; when one 
of them is posited the other is not of necessity also posited. The 

188 Essence. 

potentiality is the relation in which the two are brought into compari- 
son. It contains in its determination as a reflection of the totality, 
the implication that the opposite is also possible. It is therefore the 
relating ground: that because A is A also not-A is not-A. In the 
possible A the possible not-A is contained, and it is this relation 
that determines both as possible. 

As this relation however that in one possible thing its other is also 
contained it is the contradiction that annuls itself. Since now accord- 
ing to its definition it is reflected and the reflection is self-annulled, as 
has been shown, it is consequently also the immediate and with this 
it is actuality. 

3. This actuality is not the first phase of actuality, but the re- 
flected form of it posited as unity of itself and potentiality. The 
actual as such is possible ; it is in immediate positive identity with 
potentiality ; but potentiality has defined itself as mere potentiality ; 
consequently the actual is defined as merely a possible. And it 
follows immediately that because the potentiality is found in the 
actuality that it is annulled and mere potentiality. Conversely, 
actuality which is in unity with potentiality is only the annulled im- 
mediateness ; in other words, because the formal actuality is a mere 
immediate, first phase, it is only an element, a mere annulled actu- 

Hence a more accurate definition is reached of the degree in which 
possibility is actuality. Possibilit}' is, namely, not all actuality of 
the real and absolute actuality we are not speaking heie. This 
phase is only the first one, namely, the formal one which has been 
defined as mere possibility, 'therefore formal actuality, which is mere 
being or existence in general. Every possible therefore possesses 
being, or existence. 

This unity of potentiality and actuality is contingency. The con- 
tingent is an actual which is at the same time defined as merely possible 
and whose other or opposite is likewise possible. This actuality is 
therefore mere being or existence posited in its truth as having the 
value of a posited-being or potentiality. Conversely, potentiality as 
reflection into itself or being-in-itself, is posited as posited-being. 
Whatever is possible is an actual in this sense of actuality ; it has 
only as much value as the contingent actuality, and is itself contin- 

The contingent presents therefore two sides. First, in so far as 
it possesses potentiality immediately, or, what is the same thing, in so 
far as potentiality is annulled in it, it is not posited-being nor medi- 
ated but it is immediate actuality, it has no ground. Since this im- 

Actuality. 189 

mediate actuality belongs also to the possible, it is defined as the 
contingent and likewise as devoid of ground, just as the actual was. 

The contingent is however, in the second place, the actual as a 
mere possible, in other words, as a posited-being ; and so too the 
possible is as formal being-in-itself, mere posited-being. Conse- 
quently, the two are not in and for themselves but each has its true 
reflection into itself in another, in other words, it has a ground. 

The contingent has therefore no ground, just for the reason that it 
is contingent; and likewise it has a ground because it is contingent. 

It is the posited, unmediated vanishing of the external and internal 
into each other ; in other words the vanishing of the reflection into 
itself into being and vice versa. It is posited through this that 
possibility and actuality each within itself possesses this determination 
and consequentl}' that they are moments or elements of the absolute 
form. The actuality in its immediate unity with potentiality is mere 
existence and therefore defined as groundless, that is as a mere 
posited or mere potential. In other words, it is posited as reflected 
and determined in opposition to potentiality, and therefore it is sun- 
dered from the potentiality and from reflection into itself and conse- 
quently it is likewise immediate and only a possible. Likewise poten- 
tiality as simple being-in-itself is an immediate somewhat, merely an 
existent in general. In other words, opposed to actuality it is a 
being in itself devoid of actuality, merely a possible ; and just on this 
account an existence in general which is not reflected into itself. 

This absolute unrest of the becoming of these two determinations 
is contingenc}'. But for the reason that each vanishes immediately 
in its opposite, it goes together with itself [returns into itself A 
vanishing in B, which vanishes again into A] and this identity of 
the same, of one in the other, is Necessity. 

The necessary somewhat is an actual somewhat, hence it is devoid 
of ground, as it is an immediate ; but it has likewise its actuality 
through another, or in its ground ; but it is at the same time the 
posited-being of this ground and its reflection into itself ; the poten- 
tiality of the necessity is annulled. 

The contingent is therefore necessary because the actual is deter- 
mined as possible, and hence its immediateness is annulled, and is 
repelled into ground, i.e., being-in-itself, and grounded; and also 
since this its potentiality is the ground-relation, it is entirely annulled, 
and it is posited as being. That which is necessary is ; and this exis- 
tent is itself that which is necessary. At the same time it is in itself ; 
this reflection into itself is something else than the immediateness of 
the sphere of being ; and the necessit}' of the existent is something 

190 Essence. 

else. The existent itself is therefore not that which is necessary ; 
but this being-in-itself is mere posited-being it is annulled and even 
immediate. Therefore actuality is in its distinctions, i. e., its possi- 
bility, self-identical. As this identity it is Necessity. 


Relative Necessity, or Real Actuality, Possibility and Necessity. 

1. Necessity as thus derived is formal, for the reason that its ele- 
ments are formal; they are, viz., simple determinations, which are 
totality only as immediate unity or as the immediate conversion of 
the one into the other, and consequently not as having the form of 
independence. In this formal necessity the unity is therefore only 
asimple one, and indifferent towards its distinctions. As immediate 
unity of form-determinations this necessity is actuality ; but such an 
actuality as possesses a content for the reason that its unity is now 
defined as indifferent towards the distinction of its form-determina- 
tions, viz., itself and possibility. This content- contains an indif- 
ferent identity, also an indifferent form, i. e., as a mere diversity 
of determinations, and it is a manifold content. This actuality is real 
actuality. Real actuality, as such, is in its first phase the thing with 
many properties, the existing world ; but it is not the existence that 
loses itself in the phenomenon, but as actuality it is at the same 
time being-in-itself and reflection-into-itself ; it preserves its indi- 
viduality in the multiplicity of mere existence ; its externality is 
only an internal activity of relation to itself. That which is actual 
can act; its actuality is manifested in what it produces. Its activity 
of relation to another is the manifestation of itself ; not a transition 
as the existent somewhat relates to another, nor a phenomenal ap- 
pearance like that of the thing which has mere relativity to another 
which is independent, but possesses its reflection-into-itself, its par- 
ticular essentiality i n some other independent being. 

The real actuality has likewise the potentiality immediately within 
itself. It contains the element of being-in-itself ; but as mere first 
phase the immediate unity is in one of the determinations of form, 
hence as the existent, which is different from the being-in-itself or 
the potentiality. 

2. This potentiality as the being-in-itself of the real actuality is 
the real potentiality and as such a being-in-itself full of contents. 
Formal potentiality is the reflection into itself only as abstract iden- 
tity, an identity in which a something is not self-contradictory. But 
in so far as one examines the determinations, circumstances, and con- 

Actuality. 1 ( J1 

ditions of a somewhat with a view to learn its potentialities he deserts 
the formal point of view and comes to the consideration of its real 

This real potentiality is itself immediate existence, not however 
for the reason that the potentiality as such as a formal element is 
immediately its opposite an actuality that is not reflected; but, 
because it is real possibility, this determination belongs to it itself. 
The real possibility of a thing is therefore the existing multiplicity of 
surrounding conditions which stand in relation to it. 

This multiplicity of existence is potentiality as well as actuality, but 
its identity is only the content which is indifferent towards the determi- 
nations of form ; they constitute therefore the form, determined [par- 
ticularized] in respect to their identity. In other words, the immedi- 
ate, real actuality, for the reason that it is immediate, is determined 
against [or defined and distinguished from] its potentiality; as this 
determinate [definite, special] and reflected it is the real potentiality. 
This is the posited totality of form, but the form in its determinate- 
ness [particularity], namely, the actuality as formal or immediate, 
and likewise the potentiality as the abstract being-in-itself. This 
actuality which constitutes the potentiality of a thing is therefore not 
its own potentiality but the being-in-itself of another actuality ; it is 
itself the actuality which is to be annulled the potentiality as mere 
potentiality. Hence the real potentiality constitutes the totality of 
conditions which is not an actuality reflected into itself but which is 
defined as something whose destiny is to go back into itself and to 
become another. 

What is really potential is therefore as regards its being-in-itself 
something formally identical, that is, something which does not con- 
tradict itself as regards its simple contents ; but it is necessary also 
that it should not contradict itself as regards the developed condi- 
tions and various surroundings with which it is connected it must 
be self-identical even in these. Secondly, because it is manifold 
and stands in manifold connection with others, there is diversity 
within itself, and this diversity passes over into opposition [antithe- 
sis] and into self-contradiction. When one speaks of potentiality 
and undertakes to show its contradiction he has only to call attention 
to the multiplicity of its content, or of its conditioned existence ; by 
this its contradiction is easily shown. But this is not a contradiction 
of external comparison. For the existence that contained multiplicity, 
on that account, essentially annuls itself and is destro}'ed ; hence it is 
essentially a mere potentiality. If all the conditions of a thing are 
complete and present the thing becomes actual ; the completeness of 

192 Essence. 

the conditions is the totality of the content of a thing and the thine 
itself is this content determined as actual in the entire scope of its 
possibility. In the sphere of the conditioned ground the conditions 
have the form outside of them that is to say : the ground or the 
reflection which exists for itself, is outside of them ; and this relates 
to the moments of the thing and brings them into existence. Here, 
on the contrary, the immediate actuality is not defined to be condi- 
tioned through a presupposing reflection, but it is posited that it 
itself is the potentiality. 

In the self-annulling, real potentiality, that which is annulled is two- 
fold ; for it is itself twofold actuality and potentiality. (1.) The 
actuality is the formal, or an existence which has an immediate, 
independent manifestation, and through its annulment has become 
reflected and a moment of another being, and hence contains within 
it the being-in-itself. (2.) The mentioned existence was also deter- 
mined as the potentiality or as being-in-itself, but it was the being-in- 
itself of another. Since it therefore annuls itself, the being-in-itself 
gets annulled, and passes over into actuality. This movement of the 
self-annulling, real potentiality produces therefore the same moments 
that were already extant, each arising from the other ; in this nega- 
tion it is therefore also not a transition but a return into itself. In 
the case of the formal potentiality, for the reason that the somewhat 
was potential, it was not itself but something else that was potential. 
The real potentiality has no longer such another over against it, for 
it is real in so far as itself is also the actuality. Since it annuls 
therefore the immediate existence of the same i. e. , the circle of 
conditions it becomes being-in-itself which it already is, namely, 
the being-in-itself of another. And since conversely it annuls at the 
same time its moment of being-in-itself, it becomes actuality ; that 
is, it becomes the moment which it likewise is alreadj^. That which 
vanishes is therefore the definition of the actuality as the potentiality 
or being-in-itself of another; and, conversely, there vanishes the 
potentiality as an actuality which is not the actuality of its poten- 
tiality. (3.) The negation of the real potentiality is consequently its 
identity with itself ; since it therefore is the opposite of this annul- 
ment in its annulment, it is the real necessity. 

That which is necessary cannot be otherwise than it is ; but that 
which is possible, is ; for the potentiality is the being-in-itself, the 
mere posited-being, and therefore it is essentially other-being. The 
formal potentiality is this identity as transition into an absolute 
other; but the real, since it has the other moment, the actuality, 
belonging to it, is already itself necessity. What, therefore, is really 

Actuality. 193 

possible can never be anything else ; under these conditions and cir- 
cumstances, nothing else can happen. Real possibility and necessity 
are therefore only apparently distinct ; their identity is not one that 
develops, but one that is presupposed and underlies them. The 
real necessity is therefore relation which is full of contents [i. e., a 
totality of conditions] ; for the content [which consists in these 
details] is the mentioned identity existing in itself, which is indif- 
ferent as regards the distinctions of form. 

This necessity is however at the same time relative. That is to 
say : it has a presupposition as its origin it has its beginning in 
what is contingent. The really actual as such is a completely 
defined actual, and possesses this completely defined character as its 
immediate being as a multiplicity of existing circumstances ; but 
this immediate being as definiteness is also the negative of it [i. e. , of 
the really actual] it is its being-in-itself or potentiality ; hence it 
is real possibility. As this unity of the two moments it is the totality 
of form, but the totality which is still external to itself ; it is there- 
fore unity of possibility and actualit}' in such a manner that (1) the 
multiplex existence is immediately or positively the potentiality a 
potential that is self-identical, because it is actual. (2.) In so far 
as the potentiality of existence is posited, it is determined as mere 
potentiality and as immediate conversion of actuality into its oppo- 
site or as contingency. Therefore this potentiality which has the 
immediate actuality attached to it as its condition, is only the being- 
in-itself as the potentiality of another. Through the fact that as 
has been shown this other-being annuls itself and this posited- 
being is itself posited, the real potentiality becomes necessity. But 
this necessity begins with that real potentiality as a unity of the 
potential and actual, which is not yet reflected into itself. This pre- 
supposition, and the self-returning movement are as yet separate. 
In other words, the necessity has not as yet determined itself into 

The relativity of the real necessity presents itself in the content as 
an identity which is indifferent to the form, and which is, therefore, 
distinct from it and a definite content altogether. The really neces- 
sary is on this account a limited actuality which, on account of this 
limitation, may be regarded also as a contingent. 

In fact the real necessity is in itself also contingency. This is 
evident in the fact that the really necessary as regards the form is lim- 
ited as regards its content, and through this limitation possesses con- 
tingency. But also in the form of the real necessity there is found 
contingency; for, as has been shown, the real potentiality is only in 

194 Essence. 

itself necessary, but it is posited as the other-being of actuality and 
potentiality opposed to each other. The real necessity contains 
therefore contingency : it is the return into self out of the mentioned 
restless other-being of actuality and potentiality opposed to each 
other, but it is not the return- into itself, from itself. 

In itself therefore there is found here the unity of necessity and 
contingency ; this unity is to be called the absolute actuality. 


Absolute Necessity. 

The real necessity is definitely determined necessity; the formal 
has as yet no content nor determinateness belonging to it. The 
determinateness of necessity consists in the contingency or the nega- 
tion which it possesses. This has been shown. 

This definite determinateness in its first simplicity is actuality. 
The definitely determined necessity is therefore immediately actual 
necessity. This actuality which as such is itself necessary because it 
contains the necessity as its being-in-itself is the absolute actuality. 
It is actuality which can never be other than it is ; for its being-in- 
itself is not potentiality but necessity itself. But this actuality, 
because it is posited, is absolute, that is to say, it is the unity of 
itself and with possibility a mere empty determination ; in other 
words it is contingency. The emptiness of its determination reduces 
it to a mere potentiality to a determination which can be just as 
well something else and be determined as potential. This poten- 
tiality is however itself the absolute ; for it is precisely the poten- 
tiality which will be determined as potentiality as well as actuality. 
Through the fact that it is this indifference to itself it is posited as an 
empty, contingent determination. 

Thus the real necessity contains contingency not only in itself 
[/. e., potentially], but this will also develop itself; this develop- 
ment however as externality is only its being-in-itself, because it is 
only an immediate determinateness. It is not only this but its oivn 
development or the presupposition that it has its own positing. For 
as real necessity it is the annulment of actuality in potentiality and 
conversely. Since it is the simple conversion of one of these 
moments into the other, it is also its simple positive unity, since 
each as shown goes together with itself [*'. e., comes into identity 
with itself in the other]. But it is thus actuality; such an actuality, 
however, as is only this simple going together of the form with itself. 
Its negative positing of those elements is therefore presupposition or 
the positing of itself as annulled or as immediateness. 

Actuality. 1 ( J5 

In this, however, this actuality is defined as negative ; it is a going- 
together-with-itself [arrival at self-identty] that proceeds from actu- 
ality which was real potentiality- Therefore this new actuality arises 
only from being-in-itself, from the negation of itself. Thus it is 
determined immediately as potentiality, as mediated through its nega- 
tion. This potentiality, however, is nothing but this mediation in 
which the being-in-itself (namely, it itself and the immediateness) are 
both, in the same way, posited-being. Hence it is the necessity 
which is just as well the annulment of this posited-being or the 
positing of immediateness and the annulment of being-in-itself, as it 
is the determining of this annulment as posited-being. It is there- 
fore itself which determines itself as contingency, and in its being 
repels itself from itself, and in this repulsion has only returned into 
itself and in this return as into its being, has repelled itself from 

Hence the form in its realization has penetrated all of its distinc- 
tions and made itself transparent ; and as absolute necessity is only 
this simple identity of beiiig-with-itself, in its negation, or in the 
essence, the distinction of content and form even has likewise van- 
ished. For that unity of potentiality and actuality and of actuality 
in potentiality is the form indifferent to itself in its determinate- 
ness or in the posited-being a thing with its totality of conditions 
from which the form of necessity has been removed as far as it 
is external. But in this way it is this reflected identity of the two 
determinations as indifferent to it, and consequently the form-deter- 
mination of the being-in-itself opposed to the posited-being, and this 
potentiality constitutes the limitation of content that the real neces- 
sity possessed. The dissolution of this difference, however, is the 
absolute necessity whose content is this self -penetrating difference 
within it. 

The absolute necessity is therefore the truth, into which actuality 
and potentiality in general, as well as formal and real necessity, return. 
It is, as shown, the being which in its negation in essence relates 
to itself and is being. It is likewise simple immediateness, or pure 
beiug as simple reflection-into-itself or pure essence within it, these 
two are one and the same. The purely necessary ?'s, oniy because 
it is ; it has no other condition .nor ground. It is likewise pure 
essence, its being is the simple reflection into itself; it is because 
it is. As reflection it has ground and condition, but it has only itself 
for ground and condition. It is being in itself, but its being-in-itself 
is its immediateness its potentiality is its actuality. It is there- 
fore because it is. As the going together with itself of being [i. e. , 

196 Essence. 

the arrival at self-identity] it is essence ; but for the reason that 
this simple somewhat is likewise immediate simplicity it is being. 

Absolute necessity is therefore reflection, or the form of the abso- 
lute. It is the unity of being and essence simple immediateness, 
which is absolute negativity. On the one hand, its distinctions are 
nothing but determinations of reflection, only however as existent 
multiplicity, actuality full of distinctions, and this has the shape of 
independent somewhats opposed to each other as others. On the 
other hand, their relation is the absolute identity ; it is the absolute 
conversion of their actuality into their potentiality and of their poten- 
tiality into actuality. Absolute necessity is therefore blind. On the 
one hand, the distinctions of actuality and potentiality have the form 
of reflection-into-itself as being ; they are therefore both as free 
actualities, neither of which appears in the other, nor exhibits a single 
trace of its relation to the other each is grounded in itself and is 
necessary in itself. Necessity as essence is included within this 
being. The contact of these actualities with each other appears 
therefore as an empty externality. The actuality of the one in the 
other is the mere potentiality contingency. For being is posited 
as absolutely necessary, as mediation with itself, which is absolute 
negation of mediation through another, or as being which is only 
identical with being. It is another which has actuality in being, and 
is therefore determined as merely potential, empty posited-being. 

But this contingency is rather the absolute necessity. It is the 
essence of those free actualities necessary in themselves. This 
essence avoids light, because in these actualities there is no appear- 
ing, no reflex, for the reason that they are grounded only within 
themselves, and shaped for themselves, self-manifestations be- 
cause they are mere being. But their essence will manifest itself in 
them and reveal what it is and what they are. The simplicity of its 
being, of its repose upon itself, is the absolute negativity : it is the 
freedom of their non-manifesting immediateness. This negative 
breaks forth in them, because being is the contradiction of itself 
through this, its essence. And this negation breaks forth in contrast 
to this being in the form of being, hence as the negation of those 
actualities which is absolutely different from their being, as well as 
from their non-being, and hence comes forth as a free other-being 
opposed to it as its being. Yet it was not to be ignored in them. 
They are, in their self-dependent formation, indifferent to form, 
hence a content of different actualities a definitely determined con- 
tent. This is the seal which necessity impresses upon them, since it 
sets them free as absolute, actual things, possessing absolute return- 

Actuality. 197 

into-itself in their determination. Upon them it impresses itself, and 
its impressions are marks of its right over them, and they are seized 
by it and perish. This manifestation of that Avhich is the deter- 
minateness in truth negative relation to itself is blind dissolution 
in other-being. The manifestation or reflection appears, in the phase 
of being, as becoming or transition of being into naught. But being 
is conversely also essence, and in the phase of essence "becoming" 
is reflection or appearance. Hence externality is their internality, 
their relation is absolute identity ; and the transition of the actual 
into the possible, or of being into naught, is a going together with 
itself [arrival at self-identity]. Contingency is absolute necessity, 
it is itself the presupposition of the mentioned first absolute actuality. 
This identity of being with itself in its negation is the category of 
Substance. It is this unity as in its negation, or as in contingenc}' ; 
hence it is Substance as essential relation to itself. The blind transi- 
tion of necessity is rather the self-exposition of the absolute, the 
movement of the absolute within itself which in its externalization 
exhibits or manifests only itself. 

Third Chapter. 

The Absolute Essential-Relation or Reciprocal-Relation. 

The absolute necessity is not the necessary still less a, necessary 
but Necessity being which is pure and simple reflection. It is 
essential relation [Verhaeltniss, reciprocity, relativity] because it is 
the activhy of distinguishing, each of whose moments is the entire 
totality, and whose moments have independent existence in such a 
manner that the totality has only one simple existence [notwith- 
standing the multiplicity that it includes] , and therefore the distinc- 
tions within it have only the appearance of independence, and this 
appearance is the absolute itself. The Essence as such is reflection 
or appearance ; essence as absolute relativity \_Verhaeltniss, reciprocal 
relation] is, however, appearance posited as appearance, and this as 
self-relation is the absolute actuality. The absolute, which has been 
unfolded and exhibited by external reflection, now unfolds itself, it 
being absolute form or necessity [it sunders itself into a form of 
relation or disrupts itself]. This self-unfolding [self-disruption] is 
its self-positing and it is only in this self-positing. As light in 
nature is not a something nor a thing, but exists only as appearance, 
so manifestation is absolute actuality in its self-identity. 

The sides of absolute relativity are therefore not attributes. In an 

198 Essence. 

attribute, the absolute appears only in one of its moments [phases] 
as a presupposed somewhat and taken up by the external reflection. 
The unfolding or display of the absolute [its self-sundering] is 
performed by the Absolute Necessity, however, which is self-iden- 
tical as self-determining. Since it is the activity of appearing which 
is posited as appearance, the sides of this relativity are totalities, 
because they are appearance ; because as appearance the distinctions 
are both themselves and their opposite, and thus the whole. Con- 
versely, they are appearance, because they are totalities. This act 
of distinction, or activity of appearing, which pertains to the abso- 
lute, is therefore only the positing of itself as self-identity. 

This essential relation [reciprocity] in its immediate form is the 
relation of Substance and Accidents, the immediate vanishing and 
becoming of absolute appearance in itself. Since substance deter- 
mines itself as being for itself opposed to another, or the absolute 
reciprocity becomes real [in both its moments] it becomes the recip- 
rocal relation found in Causality. Finally, when the latter [causality] 
passes over into self-relation in reciprocal action [interaction], then 
the absolute essential relation [interrelation] is posited in all the 
essential characteristics that it contains. This posited unity of itself 
in its determinations which are posited as the whole and as deter- 
minations at the same time, is the category of the Idea [Beg r iff = 
concrete idea] . 


The Reciprocal Relation as Substantiality. 

Absolute necessity is absolute essential-relation or reciprocity, 
because it is not being as such, but being which is because it is 
[being which expresses the ground of itself] being as the absolute 
mediation of itself through itself. This being is Substance ; as the 
ultimate unity of Essence and Being ; it is the being in all being. It 
is neither the unreflected immediate, nor an abstract something stand- 
ing behind existence and phenomenon, but it is the immediate act- 
uality itself as absolute reflection into itself as in-and-for-itself, inde- 
pendent, existence. Substance as this unity of being and reflection 
is essentially their appearance and posited-being. The activity of 
appearing is the self-relating appearing and hence it has the form of 
being [the "form of being" is that of self- relation']. This being is 
substance as such. Conversely, this being is only the self-identical, 
posited-being, hence it is the totality as appearance or it is Acci- 

The Reciprocal Relation as Substantiality. 199 

This activity of appearing is identity as form [the form is the 
determining activity which makes the distinctions which belong to the 
object] ; it is the unity of potentiality and actuality. First it is 
Becoming, Contingency as the sphere of beginning and ceasing. 
For according to the determination of immediateness the relation of 
potentiality and actuality is an immediate transformation of each into 
its other. But since being is appearance its relation is also identical 
relation, in other words, the appearance of each in the other hence 
it is reflection. The activity of accidentally, therefore, presents in 
each of its moments the appearance of the categories of being and of 
the reflection-determinations of essence each appearing in the other. 
The immediate somewhat has a content : its immediateness is at the 
same time a reflected indifference as regards the form. This content 
is determined and since this is the determinateness of being the some- 
what passes over into another. But quality is also a determinateness 
of reflection : hence it is indifferent variety [different things existing 
without relation to each other] . This annuls itself ; but it is self- 
reflected being-in-itself; hence it is potentiality and this being-in- 
itself is in its transition, which is likewise reflection-into-itself the 
necessarily actual. 

This activity of accidentally is the effectiveness [Actuosilat = ex- 
ternal manifestation] of substance as a quiet outflow from itself. It 
is not an activity as directed against anything else, but active against 
itself as simple element offering no resistance. The annulment of 
what is presupposed is the vanishing of appearance. First in the 
activity which annuls the immediate originates the immediate itself. 
This is the activity of appearance. The beginning with itself as 
source or origin is the positing of this very self from which it starts 
[its presupposing is a positing]. 

Substance, as this identity of the activity of appearance, is the 
totality of the entire process, and includes accidentality within it, and 
accidentality is the entire substance itself. This distinction of suit- 
stance into the simple identity of being, on the one hand, and the 
reciprocity of accidents, on the other hand, is a form of its activity 
of appearance. The former [identity] is the formless substance 
conceived by the imagination, to which appearance does not seem to 
be appearance. This image-thinking clings to an absolute which is 
an indeterminate identity that possesses no truth, but is only the deter- 
minateness of immediate actuality, or in other words, the being-in- 
itself, or potentiality. These are determinations of form which per- 
tain to accidentality. 

The other determination, that of the reciprocity of accidents, is 

200 Essence. 

the absolute form-unity of accidentally substance as absolute 
might or power. The ceasing of the accident is its return as actu- 
ality into itself, as into its being-in-itself or into its potentiality. 
But this its being-in-itself is only a posited-being. Hence it is also 
actuality, and because these form-determinations are likewise con- 
tent-determinntions this potential somewhat is, as regards content, 
another particular, actual somewhat. Substance manifests itself 
through the content of the actuality, into which it translates the 
potential, as creative might ; and through the content of the poten- 
tiality, into which it transmutes the actual, it manifests itself as 
destructive might. But the two are identical. The creative activity 
is destructive, and the destructive activity is creative. For the 
negative and positive, potentiality and actuality are absolutely united 
in substantial necessity. 

Accidents as such and there are many of them, since multiplicity 
is one of the determinations of being have no power over each 
other. The}- are existent somewhats or existent for themselves 
things existing with manifold properties wholes consisting of parts, 
independent parts forces which need to be solicited into activity 
by each other and which are conditioned through each other. In 
so far as such an accidental somewhat seems to exercise power 
over another, it is the power of the substance that is manifest- 
ing itself. This substance includes both within it, and as nega- 
tivity it gives them unequal values it posits the one as vanishing 
and the other as arising, or it determines the former as passing 
over into its potentiality and the latter as passing over into its actu- 
ality. Substance eternally dirempts itself into these distinctions of 
form and content and eternally purifies itself from this one-sidedness ; 
but in this purifying it dirempts itself again into the distinctions, 
one accident replaces another only because its own subsistence is 
this totality of form and content in which it, as well as its other, 

On account of this immediate identity and presence of substance 
in its accidents, there is no real distinction remaining between them. 
In this first determination substance is not yet manifested according 
to its whole extent. If substance is distinguished as the self- 
identical being-in-and-for-itself from itself as totality of accidents, 
it is the mediating-power. This is necesshVy which retains positive 
persistence in the negativity of accidents, and in its persistence 
retains its mere posited-being. This mediating term is consequently 
the unity of substantiality and accidentality itself, and its extremes 
have no proper self-subsistence of their own. Substantiality is there- 

The Reciprocal Relation as Substantiality . 201 

fore only reciprocal relation as immediately vanishing ; it relates to 
itself not as negative, and is immediate unity of power with itself in 
the form of identity alone, and not of its negative essence. This 
can also be explained in another way, as follows : Appearance or 
accidentality is in itself substance through power, but it is not so 
posited as this activit}' of appearance identical with itself. There- 
fore substance possesses accidentally in its form or posited-being, 
but not in itself ; accidentally is not substance as substance. The 
substantiality-relation therefore reveals itself as a formal power whose 
distinctions are not substantial; substance is in fact only the internal 
of accidents, and the accidents are only nt'ached to the substance. 
In other words, this reciprocal relation is only an appearing-totality 
as a becoming ; but it is likewise reflection ; accidentality which is 
in-itself substance is therefore posited as substance. Therefore it 
is defined as self-relating negativity opposed to itself, determined 
as self-relating, simple identity with itself ; and it is f or-itself-existent 
might}' substance. The substantiality-relation, through this, passes 
over into the causality-relation. 


The Causality- Relation. 

Substance is might, that is reflected into itself and not merely 
transition. But it is a might, which posits determinations, and dis- 
tinguishes them from itself. In its determining it is self-relating and 
it is that which posits its determining as negative or as posited-being. 
This is consequently annulled substantiality, merely posited it is 
Effect ; the substance existing for itself however is the Cause. 

This causality-relation is in the first place only this reciprocal rela- 
tion of cause and effect ; it is the formal causal-relation. 

a. Formal Causality. 

1. Cause is the source, in contrast with the effect; but the sub- 
stance is the power of manifestation, or it possesses accidentality. 
But it is as power likewise reflection into itself in its appearance ; 
therefore it unfolds its transition and this activity of appearing is 
determined as appearance in other words, the accidents are posited 
as mere effect [or as merely posited.] The substance however in 
its determining does not start from accidentality as though the latter 
existed already in another, and now was to be posited as determi- 
nateness but both substance and its accidentality are one activity. 
Substance as power determines itself; but this determining is imme- 

202 Essence. 

diately the annulment of the determining and the return. It deter- 
mines itself it, the determining is therefore the immediate, and 
itself already the determined. Since it determines itself it posits 
this already determined as determined ; it has therefore annulled the 
posited-being, and returned into itself. Conversely, this return, 
because it is the negative relation of substance to itself, is itself a 
determining or repelling from itself. Through this return the deter- 
mined originates and from this it seemed to begin, and to posit it as 
an already existent determined somewhat. Therefore the absolute 
activity of manifestation [Actuosilat] is Cause. The power of sub- 
stance, in its truth as manifestation, which unfolds what was within 
itself, namely, the accidents, which is the posited-being immediately 
n the development of the same, it sets up this as posited-being: 
the Effect. This is therefore, in the first place, the same as the acci- 
dentality which occurs in the relation of substantiality, viz., sub- 
stance as posited-being. But, secondly, the accidents as such are 
subtantial only through their vanishing as transitory. As effect, 
however, they are posited-being as self-identical. Cause is mani- 
fested in the effect as the whole substance, viz., as reflected into itself 
in the posited-being as such. 

2. The substance as not-posited, original source stands over against 
this posited-being reflected into itself the determined as deter- 
mined. Since it as absolute might or power is return into itself, but 
as self-determining in this return, it is not any longer the mere in- 
itself of its accidents, but it is also posited as this being-in-itself. 
Substance has therefore actuality first in the category of Cause. But 
this actuality, viz.. that its being-in-itself its determinateness in 
the relation of substantiality is now posited as determinateness in 
the category of Effect. Substance, therefore, has its actuality which 
it possesses as cause, only in its effect. This is the necessity which 
the cause is. It is the actual substance, because the substance as 
power determines itself. But it is at the same time cause, because it 
unfolds this determinateness or posits it as posited-being. Therefore 
it posits its actuality as posited-being or as the effect. This is 
the other of the cause, the posited-being over against the origin or 
source and mediated through this. But the cause as necessity annuls 
also this its mediation, and is in the determining of itself as the origi- 
nal self-relating opposed to the mediated, the return into itself. For 
the posited-being is determined as posited-being, and is therefore 
self-identical. The cause is therefore first in the effect truly actual 
and self-identical. The effect is therefore necessary because it is the 
manifestation of the cause or it is this necessity which the cause is. 

The Causality-Relation. 203 

Only as this necessity is the cause self-acting, originating from itself, 
without being solicited by another and the independent source of 
self-production. It must act ; its originality consists in the fact that 
its reflection-into-itself is a determining-positing, and conversely, 
both are in one unity. 

The effect contains therefore nothing that is not in the cause. 
Conversely, the cause contains nothing that is not in its effect. The 
cause is cause only in so far as it produces an effect. And the 
cause is nothing else than this determination which produces an 
effect, and the effect nothing else than the determination which has 
a cause. In the cause as such lies its effect ; and in the effect its 
cause. In so far as the cause has not yet acted, or in so far as it 
has ceased to act, it is not cause. The effect in so far as its cause 
has vanished is no longer effect but only an indifferent actuality. 

3. In this identity of cause and effect, has vanished the form 
through which they were distinguished as being-in-itself and posited- 
being. Cause is quenched in its effect ; and with this the effect is 
likewise quenched because it is only the determinateness belonging 
to the cause. This causality that is exhausted [quenched] in its 
effect is consequently an immediateness that is indifferent towards 
the necessary connection between cause and effect, and is external 
to it. 

b. The Specialized Causality-Relation in its Special Applications. 

1. The identity of the cause in its effect is the annulment of its 
power and negativity, and therefore the unit}* indifferent towards 
distinctions of form it is content. It is therefore related only in- 
itself to the form which is here causalit}*. They are therefore posited 
as differing, and the form opposed to the content is an actual only in 
an immediate sense a contingent causality. 

Moreover, the content as thus determined is a content diverse 
within itself ; and the cause is determined as regards its content, and 
is therefore the effect. The content, since the reflected-being is here 
also immediate actuality, is, so far forth, actual but the finite sub- 

This is the causality-relation in its reality and finitude. As formal 
it is the infinite, necessary connection within the absolute power 
whose content is pure manifestation or necessity. As finite caus- 
ality, on the other hand, it has a given content and is an external 
distinction appertaining to this identical somewhat which is in its 
determinations one and the same suhstanee. 

Through this identity of content causality is an analytical proposi- 

204 Essence. 

tion. The same content is taken in the first instance as cause and in 
the second instance as effect ; there it is self-existent, and here only 
posited-being or a determination belonging to another. Since these 
determinations of form are external reflection, it follows that it is 
only a tautological activity of a subjective understanding which 
describes one phenomenon as effect, and traces it back to its cause 
for the purpose of comprehending and explaining it. It amounts 
only to a repetition of one and the same content. There is nothing 
in the cause different from what is in the effect. Rain, for example, 
is the cause of the moisture which is its effect. The rain makes 
moist this is an analytical proposition; the same water which con- 
stitutes the rain constitutes the moisture. As rain this water exists 
in the form of an object per se; as moisture or wetness, on the 
other hand, it is an adjective, a posited which does not possess its 
own self-subsistence ; and the one determination as well as the 
other is external to it. Thus again the cause of a color is said to be 
a coloring-matter, a pigment, which is one and the same actuality as 
the color itself ; at one time being taken in the external form of an 
active that is to say, externally-connected with an activity different 
from it [. e., as cause] ; and in the second place in the likewise 
external determination of an effect. The cause of a deed is the 
internal resolution in an active subject which as an external being 
has received through an action the internal resolution and is the 
same content and value. If the activit}^ of a body is regarded as an 
effect its cause is an impelling force. But it is the same quantum of 
activity before and after the impulse the same existence which the 
impelling body contains and imparts to the impelled body. So much 
as it imparts, so much it itself loses. 

The cause, e. g., the painter or the impelling body, has, it is true, 
other content besides the former as the colors and the form com- 
bining them into paintings ; the latter as an activity of determined 
strength and direction. But this latter content is a contingent 
matter not concerning the cause. What the painter possesses in other 
qualities is to be abstracted in considering him as cause of this 
painting they have nothing to do with this painting; only those 
qualities of his which exhibit themselves in this effect are its cause, 
the rest is not cause. Thus, in the case of the impelling body 
whether it is stone or wood, green or yellow, etc., does not concern 
this impulse in those qualities it is not cause here. 

It is to be noted of this tautology of the causality-relation that it 
does not seem to contain tautology when only the remote causes of 
an effect are adduced and not the proximate ones. The change cf 

r The Causality-Relation. 205 

form which the subject that forms the basis suffers in this passage 
through several members of a series conceals the identity which is 
preserved in it. It connects itself in this multiplication of causes 
which enter between it and the ultimate effect, with other things and 
circumstances in such a manner that it is not the first member of the 
series which is called cause that contains the perfect effect, but only 
this series of causes taken together. So, for example, if a man came 
into circumstances such that he developed his talents, through the 
fact that he had lost his father, killed by a bullet in a battle, it would 
be possible to regard this shot, or in an ascending series, the battle, 
or the war, or the causes of the war, etc., ad infinitum, as the cause 
of the development of this man's talents. But it is evident that, for 
example, the shot in question is not the cause of this intrinsically, but 
that it is only the condition of it through its connection with other 
active determinations. In other words, it is not the cause, but only a 
single phase of the circumstances which gave it possibility. 

In the next place, it is to be especially noted how inadequate is 
the application of the causal relation to phenomena of physical- organic 
and spiritual life. Here it is shown that what is called the cause has 
quite a different content from the effect ; and for this reason that 
that which acts upon the vital is determined as independent of this 
and is changed and transformed, since vitality does not allow a cause 
to produce its effect, that is to say annuls it as cause. Therefore it 
is not proper to say that nourishment is the cause of the blood, or 
that articles of food or coldness or moisture is the cause of fever etc. 
And it is improper to speak of the Ionic climate as the cause of the 
Homeric poems, or to allege Caesar's ambition as the cause of the 
destruction of the republican constitution of Rome. In history 
spiritual masses and individuals are in reciprocal determination with 
each other. It is the nature of mind in a far higher sense than the 
character of organic life to take up into itself something that origi- 
nates in another ; it does not allow it to continue its causal activity 
when within it, but it transmutes and transforms it. But these 
reciprocal relations belong to the stage of the Idea and will receive 
consideration with it [i. e. , in the Third part of this Logic] . 

It may be further remarked here that in so far as the necessary 
connection of cause and effect is conceded although not in its proper 
sense, the effect cannot be greater than the cause, for the effect is 
nothing but the manifestation of the cause. It is a play of wit, 
much resorted to in history, to explain great effects through small 
causes, and for a deep and widely prevailing event to allege an anec- 
dote as the first cause. Such a cause so-called is nothing but an 

206 Essence. 

occasion, an external incitement of which the internal spirit of the 
event did not stand in need, or it might have used any one of an 
innumerable multitude of others for the occasion of its manifestation. 
Conversely, it is to be regarded that the small and contingent has 
been determined by the great event as its occasion. That arabesque- 
painting of history which builds up a great shape on a slender stalk 
is therefore though brilliant only a superficial treatment. In this 
development of the great out of the small, the true order of things is 
inverted and spirit is made to take its occasion from external circum- 
stance. But for this very reason this external is not conceived as a 
real cause in it in other words this inversion itself annuls the causal 

2. But this determinateness of the causal relation that content and 
form are diverse and indifferent to each other, extends further. The 
form-determination is also the content-determination; cause and 
effect, the two sides of the relation, are therefore also another con- 
tent. In other words, the content because it is only the content of a 
form, has its distinction within itself and is essentially diverse or 
varied [possessing variety within itself] . But since its form is the 
causal relation which jte a content identical in cause and effect, the 
varied content is connected externally with the cause and with the 
effect ; consequently it does not enter into the activity of the causal 

This external content is therefore outside of the necessary con- 
nection between cause and effect it is an immediate existence. 
In other words, because as content it is the in-itself existent identity 
of cause and effect it is also immediate, existent identity. This is 
therefore something or other which possesses manifold determinations 
in its being, and among these the determination that it is in one 
respect a cause or an effect. The form- determinations, cause and 
effect, have their substrate in it ; that is to say, have their essential 
subsistence and each side has a special subsistence for their 
identity is their subsistence. At the same time, however, it is its 
immediate subsistence, and not its subsistence as form-unity or as 
essential connection. 

But this thing is not merely substrate, but also substance, for it is 
the identical self-subsistence only in the form of essential connection. 
Moreover, it is finite substance, for it is determined as immediate in 
opposition to its causality. But it has likewise causality, because it 
is identical only as this causal relation. As cause this substrate is 
negative relation to itself. But itself to which it relates is first a 
posited-being, because it is determined as an immediate actual. 

The Causality- Relation. 207 

This posited-being as content is some one determination. Secondly, 
the causality is external to it; this, consequently, makes its posited- 
being. Since it is now causal substance, its causality consists in 
this: to relate to itself negatively and therefore to its positi'd-boing 
and external causality. The activity of this substance begins there- 
fore from without, and emancipates itself from this external deter- 
mination, and its return-into-itself is the preservation of its immediate 
existence and the annulment of its posited existence, and consequently 
of its causality. 

Thus, a moving stone is a cause ; its movement is a determination 
which it possesses one among many determinations, such as color, 
shape, etc., which do not belong to its causality. Because its imme- 
diate existence is separated from its form-relation, %. e., its causality, 
this form-relation is something external. Its movement and the 
causality which pertains to it is only a posited-being within it. But 
the causality is also its own. This is involved in the fact that its 
substantial self-subsistence is its identical relation to itself, but this 
is now denned as posited-being. it is therefore at the same time neg- 
ative relation to itself. Its causality which is directed upon itself as 
upon the posited-being or an external, consists therefore in this, that 
it annuls it and by its removal returns into itself ; consequently it is 
not self-identical in its posited-being, but it restores only its abstract 
independence. In other words, the rain is the cause of the moisture 
which is the same water as before. This water is determined as rain 
and cause, through the fact that the determination is posited in it by 
another. Another force or something has elevated the water into 
the air by evaporation and brought it together into a mass whose 
weight has made it fall. Its removal from the earth is a determina- 
tion alien to its original identity with itself its weight. Its caus- 
ality consists in removing the same and in restoring that identity, 
and therewith annulling its causality. 

The now considered second determinateness of causality belongs to 
the form ; this connection is causality as self-external as primary 
independence which is at the same time in-itself-posited-being or 
effect. This union of the opposite determination as in an existent 
substrate constitutes the infinite regress in the series of causes. 
Beginning is made with the effect ; this has a cause ; the cause again 
has a cause, and so on. Why has the cause again a cause? That 
is, why is it that the same side which, previously determined as 
cause, is now determined as effect, and a new cause now demanded 
for it? On the ground that the cause is a finite, a determined ; it is 
determined as one element of the form opposed to the effect as the 

208 Essence. 

other element ; hence it has its determinateness or negation outside 
of it. Precisely for this reason it is itself finite, has its determi- 
nateness on it, and is consequently posited-being, or effect. This, 
its identity, is also posited, but it is a third the immediate sub- 
strate. Causality is therefore self- external, because its originality is 
here an immediateness. The form-distinction is therefore first deter- 
minateness and not yet determinateness posited as determinateness 
it is existent other-being. Finite reflection holds fast to this immedi- 
ate, removes the form-unity from it and makes it a cause in one respect 
and an effect in another ; and on the other hand it transposes the 
form-unity into the realm of infinitude, and by this perpetual progress 
or regress from cause to cause it expresses its incompetency to attain 
and hold it. 

"With the effect it is the same case or rather the infinite progress 
from cause to cause. In the latter the cause develops into an effect 
which has again another cause. Conversely, the effect becomes 
cause which again has an effect. The considered particular cause 
begins in an externality, and returns into its effect not as cause, but 
it loses its causality in it. Conversely, the effect arrives at a sub- 
strate which is substance, an original, self-relating subsistence. In it 
therefore this posited-being, becomes posited-being i. e. , this sub- 
stance, since an effect is posited in it, takes ont he form of cause. 
But the mentioned first effect, the posited-being which was external 
to it is a different one from the second which is produced by it ; for 
this second is determined as its reflection-into-itself , but the first one 
was an externality to it. But since the causality is here, the self-ex- 
ternal causality, it returns, in its effect, not into itself. In its effect 
it becomes external, its effect is again posited-being in a substrate 
as another substance which reduces it to a posited-being, or mani- 
fests itself as a cause, and repels its effect again from itself, and so 
on in the infinite progress. 

3. It is now for us to see what has become through the move- 
ment of the determination or limited causal relation. The formal 
causality exhausts itself in the effect ; through this the identity of the 
two moments has arisen ; with this the unity of the cause and the 
effect is only in-itself, and the form-relation is external to it. 
This identity is also immediate according to the two determinations 
of immediateness first as being-in-itself, a content, to which caus- 
ality comes externally; secondly, as an existing substrate in which 
cause and effect inhere as different form-determinations. These are 
in themselves one, but each is on account of this-in-itself, or the 
externality of form, self, hence in its unity with the other, deter- 

The Causality-Relation. 209 

mined also as other in opposition to it. Therefore the cause has an 

effect and is at the same time an effect itself ; and the effect has not 
only a cause bnt is also itself a cause. But the effect which the 
cause has, and the effect which it is -likewise the cause which the 
effect has and the cause which it is are different, 

Througrh the movement of the limited causal relation it lias resulted 
that the cause is extinguished not only in the effect, and with it the 
effect also, as in formal causality, but the cause in its extinction 
reappears again in the effect, and that the effect vanishes in the 
cause, hut reappears again, likewise. Each of these determinations 
annuls itself in its positing and posits itself in its annulment. It is 
not an external transition of causality from one substrate to another, 
but this becoming- other is its own positing. Causality therefore 
presupposes itself, or conditions itself. The identity preexisting 
merely-in- itself, the substrate, is therefore now determined as pre- 
supposition, or it is posited in opposition to the active causality, and 
the reflection (formerly external to the identity) stands now in essen- 
tial connection with the same. 

c. Action and Keaction. 

Causality is presupposing activity. The cause is conditioned, it is 
the negative relation to itself as presupposed, as external other, 
which however is in itself, but only in itself, causality. It is, as we 
have seen, the substantial identity into which formal causality passes 
over, that has now determined itself in opposition to it as its negative. 
In other words, it is the same as the substance of the causality-rela- 
tion, but which stands in opposition to the power of accidentality as 
self-substantial activity. It is the passive substance. That which is 
passive is the immediate, or in-itself- existing which is not also for- 
itself : the pure being or the essence which is only in this determinate- 
ness of abstract self-identity. To the passive stands in opposition 
the active substance as negative self-relation. It is the cause, in so 
far as it has restored itself from the effect in the limited, specialized 
causality, through the negation of itself and which is active as a 
positing in its other-being, i. e. , as immediate and through its nega- 
tion mediates itself through itself. On this account causality has no 
longer any substrate in which it inheres and is not form-determina- 
tion opposed to this identity, but is itself the substance, or the ulti- 
mate and original is only causality. The substrate is the passive 
substance which has presupposed itself. 

The cause now acts ; for it is the negative power related to itself ; 


210 Essence. 

at the same time it is presupposed by it ; hence it acts upon itself as 
though itself were another upon itself as upon passive substance. 
Consequently, in the first place it annuls its other-being and returns 
within it into itself. Secondly, it determines the same, and posits 
this annulment of its other-being, or the return-into-itself as a deter- 
minateness. This posited-being, for the reason that it is at the same 
time its return into itself, is. in the first place, its effect. But, con- 
versely, because it determines itself as its other, presupposing it, it 
posits the effect in the other, the passive substance. In other words, 
because the passive substance is itself the duplicated, namely, an 
independent other, and at the same time is a presupposed, and in- 
itself already identical with the active cause, the activity of this 
passive substance is also double. Both phases of activity are in 
one, the annulment of its being-determined, namely, its condition, 
or the annulment of the independence of the passive substance ; and 
besides this, that it annuls its identity with the san^e, and conse- 
quently presupposes itself or posits itself as other. Through the 
last moment the passive substance is preserved ; the first annulment 
of it manifests itself in relation to it, in such a manner that only a 
few of the determinations are annulled in it, and their identity with 
the first in the effect becomes external to it. 

In so far it suffers external compulsion. The external compulsion 
is the manifestation of the power, or the power as external. But 
the power is external only in so far as the causal substance is pre- 
supposing in its activity at the same time that it is positing i. e., it 
posits itself as annulled. Conversely, therefore, the act of external 
compulsion is an act of the power. It is only another, presupposed 
by itself, that the external-compulsory cause acts upon its effect 
on it is negative relation to itself, or it is the manifestation of itself. 
The passive is the independent, which is only a posited something 
broken in itself an actuality which is conditioned, and the condi- 
tion now in its truth, namely, an actuality which is only a possibility, 
or, conversely, a being-in-itself which is only the determinateness of 
the being-in-itself, only passive. Hence that upon which the external 
compulsion is exerted not only may be subject to violence but must 
be. That which exerts compulsion upon the other does it because 
it is the power of the same which manifests itself and the other in 
it. The passive substance is posited only through the external com- 
pulsion as that which it is in truth, namely, because it is the simple 
I h isitive or immediate substance, and for this reason is only a posited. 
The presupposition which is its condition is the appearance of inime- 
diateness, which appearance the active causality removes from it. 

The Causality- Relation. 211 

The passive substance is therefore given its dues only through the 
influence of another constraining force. What it loses is the men- 
tioned immediateness the substantiality foreign to it. What it 
receives as a foreign, namely, the being-determined as a posited-being 
is its own determination, but since it is now posited in its posited- 
being or in its own determination it is not annulled through this, but 
it goes into identity with itself, and is therefore, in this activity of 
becoming, determined, primitive independence. The passive sub- 
stance is therefore, on the one hand, preserved or posited through 
the active, namely, in so far as the latter makes itself merely an 
annulled activity but on the other hand it is the doing of the pas- 
sive itself, to go into identity with itself and consequently to make 
itself primitive independence and cause. The being-posited through 
another and its own becoming is the same thing. 

Through the fact that the passive substance has inverted itself 
into a cause, the effect is annulled within it. This constitutes its 
reaction in general. It is in itself the posited-being as passive sub- 
stance ; also the posited-being is posited within it through the other 
substance in so far, namely, as it received on it the effect. Its 
reaction contains therefore two phases: (1) That it is posited as 
what it is in itself, and (2) that it exhibits itself in its being-in-itself 
as that which it is posited. It is in-itself posited-being, and there- 
fore it receives an effect upon it through the other. But this posited- 
being is, conversely, its own being-in-itself, hence this is its effect 
and it exhibits itself as cause. 

Secondly, the reaction is opposed to the first-acting cause. The 
effect which the previously passive substance annuls within itself 
is, namely, that effect of the first-acting cause. The cause has 
however its substantial actuality only in its effect. And since this is 
annulled its causal substantiality is also annulled. This takes place 
first in itself and through itself when it becomes effect ; in this 
identity its negative determination vanishes, and it becomes passive. 
Secondly, this happens through that which was formerly passive, but 
is now the reacting substance which annuls its effect. In the limited 
causality, the substance upon which it acts becomes also again the 
cause, it acts therefore against the activity which has posited it as an 
effect. But it does not react against that cause, but it posits its 
effect again in another substance, and thus the progress of effects 
ad infinitum presents itself. For the reason that the cause here in 
its effect is first self-identical only in-itself, and. therefore, on the 
one hand, it vanishes into an immediate identity in its inactivity; on 
the other hand, it arouses its activity, again, in another substance. 

212 Essence. 

In the limited causality, on the other hand, the cause relates to itself 
in the effect, because it is its other as condition, as presupposed, and 
its action is therefore just as much a becoming of its other as it is a 
positing and annulling of the other. 

Moreover it stands in this relation as passive substance. But, as 
we saw, it originates through the effect that has been produced upon 
it as primitive substance. The mentioned first cause which acts, and 
receives its effect as reaction upon itself, appeals again therefore as a 
cause ; and by this the activity which in the finite causality extends 
into the infinite progress, is redirected toward its origin and returns 
into itself, and becomes an infinite reciprocal-action. 


Reciprocal Action. 

In finite causality there are substances which act upon each other. 
Mechanism consists in this externality of causalhy in which the 
cause is reflected into itself in its effect, and is a repelling being. 
In other words, the identity which has the causal substance, and its 
effect within it, remains immediately self-external, and the effect 
passes over into another substance. In reciprocal action, this mech- 
anism is annulled ; for it contains in the first place the vanishing of 
that original persistence of immediate substantiality. In the second 
place, it involves the origination of the cause, and hence the primitive 
independence mediates itself through its negation. 

Reciprocal action first exhibits itself as opposite causal activity 
proceeding from substances that are presupposed and self-condi- 
tioning. Each one of them is opposed to the other as active and at 
the same time as passive substance. Since both are passive as well 
as active, each of these distinctions is annulled. It is a perfectly 
transparent appearance. They are substances only in so far as they 
are the identity of the active and passive. Reciprocal action is there- 
fore still an empty form and mode. It needs only an external com- 
bination of that which is just as well in itself as posited. 

In the first place, there are no longer any substrates which stand 
in relation to each other, but they are substances. In the activity 
of the conditioned causality the other presupposed immediateness 
is annulled, and the conditioning of the causal activity is only an 
influence from without, or it is its own passivity. This influence 
from without, however, does not come from another original sub- 
stance but from a causality which conditions throi:<j'h external 

Reciprocal Action, 213 

influence, or is a mediated causality. This is external, in the first 
place it comes to the cause, and constitutes its side of passivity, 
and is therefore mediated through itself ; it is produced through its 
own activity, and hence it is passivity posited through its own activ- 
ity. Causality is conditioned and conditioning ; the conditioning is 
the passive, but the conditioned is also passive. This conditioning 
or the passivity is the negation of the cause by itself, since it essen- 
tially makes itself into effect, and by this very act becomes cause. 
The cause has not only an effect, but in the effect it stands in rela- 
tion to itself as cause. 

Through this, causality has returned into its absolute ideal, and has 
become the idea itself [idea = Begriff, the totality of a process in its 
three phases of universal, particular, and individual i. e. of deter- 
mining, determined and self-determined]. It is in the first place, 
real necessity. It is absolute identity with itself, so that the 
distinction of necessity is opposed to the inter-related determina- 
tions within it substances, free actualities, opposed to each other. 
Necessity is in this way, the internal identity. Causalit}' is its mani- 
festation in which its appearance of substantial other-being has been 
annulled, and the necessity is elevated to freedom. In reciprocal 
action, the original causality presents itself as arising from its nega- 
tion, passivity, and as vanishing also into this passivity and becom- 
ing the passivity. But this happens in such a manner that the becom- 
ing is, at the same time, a mere appearance. The transition into 
another is reflection into itself. The negation which is the ground of 
the cause is its positive return into self-identity. 

Necessity and causality have therefore vanished in this result. 
They contain both the immediate identity as connection and relation and 
the absolute substantiality of the distinct somewhats, and consequently 
their absolute contingency. This is the primitive independent unity 
of substantial multiplicity ; hence absolute contradiction. Necessit}" 
is the being which is because it is ; the unit}" of being with itself 
which is its own ground ; but, conversely, because it has a ground it 
is not being, it is only appearance relation or mediation. Caus- 
ality is this posited transition of original independent being, the 
cause, into appearance or mere posited-being and conversely, of 
posited-being into original independence. But the identity of being 
and appearance is still internal necessity. This internality or this 
being-in-itself is annulled by the activity of causality. In this activ- 
ity, substantiality loses its sides, which stand in essential connec- 
tion and necessity conceals itself. Necessity does not through 
this become freedom i. e., through the fact that it vanishes but 

214 Essence. 

through the fact that its internal identity is manifested. This is a 
manifestation which is the identical movement of the distinct phases 
within it the reflection of appearance, as appearance, into itself. 
Conversely, contingency becomes freedom through this ; the sides of 
necessity which have the form of free actualities not appearing in 
each other [not mutually dependent] are now posited as identity, so 
that these totalities of reflection-into-itself appear in their difference 
only as identical, or are posited only as one and the same reflection. 
The absolute substance distinguishing itself from itself as absolute 
form, therefore, does not any longer repel itself as necessity, nor does 
it fall asunder as contingency into indifferent substances external to 
each other; but it distinguishes itself, on the one hand, (1) into the 
totality which is the primitive independent (that was the formerly 
passive substance), and is the reflection out of determinateness into 
itself, as a simple whole which contains its posited-being in itself, 
and, in this, is posited as self-identical ; this is the UNIVERSAL 
[das Allgemeine]. In the second place (this self-distinction) is the 
(2) totality (which was formerly the causal substance), and which 
is likewise the reflection out of determinateness into itself as negative 
determinateness, and which is therefore the whole as self-identical 
determinateness, but is now posited as self-identical negativity ; 
this is THE INDIVIDUAL [das Einzelne]. But since the Univer- 
sal is only self-identical inasmuch as it contains the determinateness 
within itself as annulled, and is therefore the negative as negative, it 
is immediately the same negativity that Individuality is. And the 
Individuality, because it is the particularized determination [the 
determined determination], which is the negative as negative, is 
immediately the same identity that Universality is. This its simple 
identity is particularity which retains from the Individual the moment 
of determinateness and from the Universal the moment of reflection- 
into-itself, and holds these in immediate unity. These three totalities 
are therefore one and the same reflection, which as negative self-rela- 
tion distinguishes itself into Universality and Individuality, but inas- 
much as the distinction is a perfectly transparent one a determin- 
ate simplicity, or a simple determinateness it is one and the same 
identity. This is the IDEA [Begriff], THE REALM OF SUBJEC- 


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