Hegel’s (shorter) Logic

notes by Erik Empson, 2003


$1-3: Distinctiveness of philosophy, and mal-practice. Philosophy is a science that must be learnt. Difficulty of common sense; appeals to wisdom simply learnt by rote.*

$6: “Philosophy should understand that its content is no other than actuality…the inward and outward world of consciousness”.

Learnt through experience – yet even experience can distinguish between the “meaningless” “transient” mere appearance from actuality.

$7: Empirical sciences go under name of philosophy but are based upon experience.

$8: Empirical knowledge can not embrace “circle of objects” like freedom, spirit and God, because these are infinite.

$9: Notion as specific tool of philosophy which shares common traits with other problematics of reflection.

$10: Criticism of Kant – ought to know whether instruments of thought are up to the job; “withdraw criticism from an interest in its objects and absorption in the study of them, and to direct it back upon itself; and so turn it to a question of form”. Hegel wants to immerse in the object.

Examination of knowledge can only be carried out by an act of knowledge.
+ Reinhold who appears to perceive this problem.

$11: In distinction from the search for the sensuous, “the mind has also to gratify the cravings of its highest and most inward life. That innermost self is thought. Thus the mind renders thought its object.”

Very nature of thought is dialectical and contradiction is this principle. When thought retreats from answering these, it falls back onto celebrating immediate intuitive knowledge (as exclusive access to truth) and misology (distrust of reason).

$12: point of departure of philosophy (historically?) is experience. It then raises itself from the immediate natural state of mind, its inferences and inductions, and rises negatively to its point of beginning.

Comment on immediacy and mediacy: “though the two ‘moments’ or factors present themselves as distinct, still neither of them can be absent, nor can one exist apart from the other. (Thus the knowledge of God, as of every supersensible reality, is in its true character an exaltation above sensations or perceptions: it consequently involves a negative attitude to the initial data of sense, and to that extent involves mediation.) For to mediate is to take something as a beginning and to go onward to a second thing; so that the existence of this second thing depends on our having reached it from the something else contradistinguished from it.

Third Attitude to Objectivity

$61: Importance of mediation and impossibility of immediate knowledge (of God)

These passages concern the unity of immediate and mediated knowledge (These I think correspond to the concerns in the Greater logic; the second part of the logic, the doctrine of essential being.)

Hegel criticises Jacobi and the critical philosophy (Kant). Herein the idea is that immediate knowledge is knowledge of God.

Moreover ‘its distinctive doctrine is that immediate knowledge alone, to the total exclusion of mediation, can possess a content which is true.” (p. 101) This is bound up with justifications about the proof of Gods existence, and I think a unity between subjective thought and objective being (of god).

$69: “A primary and self evident interconnection is declared to exist between our Idea and being. Yet precisely this central point of transition, utterly irrespective of any connections which show in experience, clearly involves a mediation.”

Hegel answers that knowledge is always mediated. The doctrine of immediate knowledge contradicts the spiritual fullness of the Christian faith, and also the practice of the church that requires education of man, irrespective of the idea of Godly revelation.

For Hegel, immediate knowledge is the ‘product and result’ of mediated knowledge, though in characteristic fashion, the doctrine of immediate knowledge seems to be a stage that mind appears to go through i.e. the third attitude to objectivity. (p. 102)

$70: Hegel’s interlocutors are said to be right in affirming the unity of the idea and being. However they are ‘stupid’ that the unity of distinct terms, is only possible when their truth is mediated through the other “either term is only mediated with truth through the other”. (ibid.)

First corollary

$71: The intuitional school is one-sided and tends towards an absolutisation (i.e. made true for all and into a fact of consciousness) of subjective certitudes found in individual subjective consciousnesses. This is because the truth is sought in consciousness not in the nature of the content. This leads to the conclusion e.g. that religion is a universal fact of man, whereas evidence exists that it is not given as such (see fn p. 106)

Second corollary

By “holding immediacy of consciousness to be the criterion of truth…all superstition or idolatry is allowed to be truth”. Thus it forms an apology.

Third corollary

The thesis makes a general god the object, not the specific god (the indeterminate supersensible God in general).

$74: The universal is thus made no better than an abstraction external to the particulars. Secondly the particular is invested with ‘the character of independent or self-centred being. “The form of immediacy is altogether abstract: it has no preference for one set of contents more than another…only when we discern that the content - the particular - is not self-subsistent but derivative from something else, are its finitude and untruth shown in their proper light.”

“Such discernment, where the content we discern carries with it the ground of its dependent nature, is a knowledge which involves mediation.” (p.108)

Abstract thought and abstract intuition are the same.

Thus “the essential and real universal, when taken merely in its immediacy, is a mere abstract universal; and from this point of view God is conceived as a being altogether without determinate quality.”

$75: Immediate knowledge is impossible.

$76: Jacobi’s similarity to Descartes. Basically forms of sense consciousness that are very low forms of thought. 'I think therefore I am', is an un-mediated statement of the unity of thought and being, whereas Hegel demands that the unity is shown through mediation.

$77: General historical comments on Jacobi and philosophy. And the rigour that philosophy ought to apply in questions of truth etc.

Second Subdivision of the Logic
Doctrine of Essence

$117: In diversity, things are unaffected by the relations in which they stand: thus the relation is external to them. The indifference of objects to their difference creates the “agent of comparison”. Comparison produces likeness and unlikeness. Yet this is still a matter of identity and difference.

Diversity made into a maxim (Liebniz).

“As the diversity is supposed due only to external comparison, anything taken per se is expected and understood always to be identical with itself…This means however that variety does “not belong to the something or everything in question”.

$121: “The Ground is the unity of identity and difference, the truth of what difference and identity have turned out to be - the reflection-into-itself, which is equally a reflection-into-another, and vice versa. It is essence put explicitly as a totality.

to be continued...

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