The irritation that produced Hegel. A few notes in the middle of reading The Science of Logic

One of the common reactions if one is engaged in reading Hegel is that of irritation. Between the critical famous is that of Schopenhauer (the Foundations of Morality: ‘pseudo-philosophy that cripples the mind, smothering all thought real’) and the Popper (referring to Fichte and Hegel in The Open Society: ‘such clowns are taken seriously’). The idea that the sentences of Hegel does not say anything, are complete nonsense, which appears to us to be as deep simply because it is quite clear, it is a hard to resist when you read their texts. For example, let’s look at how it introduces the idea of the self to itself, as such, that is the first way of being for himself. We are in Book I, First Section, Third Chapter, To, 1 of the Science of Logic:

What that is for is assume to be another, and the reference and community with another. The other thing is not within him rather than as assumed, as a moment of yours. Being-for-itself is not exceeded in such a way that was itself a limitation, a another, but rather to have exceeded the limitation, his being the other, and in being, as this negation, the infinite return to itself (pages 86-87 academic edition, cited from the 1st edition of the Science of Logic, translation of Félix Duque)

Now, is that all? Is there not more that quackery, and mix in words that make no sense? Is it only an obfuscation of the intellect through texts deliberately difficult? I do not think, that behind a style absurdity and an enemy of clarity is something that has a certain value, and to do this we will spend what is left of the entrance.

The case is that the project on which it embarks Hegel is genuinely difficult, and that posture which wants to defend is actually difficult. The dark Hegel may not have liked never of the clarity, but even if his instincts as a writer were those of someone as clearly as Hume, I think that their texts would have been complex anyway.

The aim of Hegel is to not take anything for given and to find the reason of it all. In particular, the logic that wants to develop is not a logical inference (the usual both in logic as classical in propositional), but a logic of the basic categories of thought. And now, how to account for these categories through a thought that is not more that use them? When speaking, I speak of something; but what I want is precisely to lay the foundations and characteristics of the category of something: what do you mean, that I say something when I think of it as something? To speak of ‘something’ in the sentences above is not just trying to use a generic concept: Hegel, discussed, and placed on your scheme the category of something; it is discussed in the number three To the second chapter of the first section of the book first. From it -that is, by putting something like something – we discuss the limit and determination; and to talk of it is required (or at least that’s what he thinks Hegel) have already passed by the be, the be etc to Try to give an account of all the categories that emerge when you try to think you have this difficulty, and requires to build multiple distinctions.

The effort can be characterized as futile: What is it you want to think of the basic categories of thought? It will say that only leads to an infinite regress -it already knew the skeptics in antiquity-. More insanity we can say if these are intended not only as the basic categories of thought, but in addition to be. And all of them could be reasonable responses, that does not mean anything the fact that the effort is in itself complex. A thought that does not want to take anything for granted can’t be a thought easy. And although the limit may be unreasonable, on the other hand, is not a common manifestation of thought, something that in general we find it necessary to do, to give an account of something? What that account is not, finally, a desire not to accept something as simply given to you?

The other point refers to the position. The common operation in Hegel is to put a form of thought, to criticize it and move on to another -that surpasses it (which you will have to do the same, and so on). The idea of ‘assume’ is constant. Now, in that overcoming is not lost as previous -the previous category does not cease to exist, represent a way of being. It is as if every one of the steps of the reasoning, instead of being simply placed as a step toward a conclusion, and it is this last the only thing that matters, is recognized as an existing item and ‘real’, and therefore it can not be forgotten.

And thus we have, for example, the determination: What is that limit something from the reference of that same something. But, then, at the same time we have the provision: because what is that limit something at the same time puts it, that is different to that something, and that limit can then be referred to another (being-for-another says Hegel). And then the determination we available. But when we want to see both forms of refer to that limit, from-inside and from the outside-in (using terms not hegelian) is when we go on the quality, the determined nature of the other, which includes the previous moments. Now, you could say that in a ‘right thought’ corresponds to perform both operations, and that Hegel puts it as ‘previous moments’ are simple errors, but does not happens in the reality that is realized only in one of them? What this limit does not produce real effects? And finally around the relevance of all these distinctions, what is not effective that do one or the other, think of the limit from one side or the other of the distinction, are different operations that often lead to conclusions different? The procedure hegelian can be tiring -but so are all the technical procedures. What it takes analytic philosophy to show the most trivial things also has the same character, but it seems necessary for the reasoning to work.

To place an example of the empirical reality of the importance of rescue, and to recognize each one of the moments and not give them simply as ‘errors of thought’. We know that it is a false impression that the sun revolves around the earth, and therefore ‘rising sun’ or ‘the west’ are wrong. But on the other hand, for more than that one know, I keep seeing the dawn. The ‘illusion’ of the dawn is a part of reality, and a posture that does not explain at the same time because we can’t stop seeing the illusion, and as she is part of the real fact (the earth turns around the sun), it has not finished explaining things. The same thing happens with Hegel: The first few steps, limited, and wrong, when they have not yet assumed the categories, are part of the reality.

The expression of Hegel, and the posture in which the steps of thought are the steps of the reality (that it is not only that by thinking about the be step by such and such a way of thinking, but those are movements of the be) can be, again, wrong, or unacceptable. But that does not detract from the basic position makes sense, is not pure ‘quackery’: Not only give as error the error, and leave it there, but to look for what and from what point of view makes sense (given that for someone it has had) is part of the operation to better understand the world. The posture may be exaggerated (it is possible to argue that there are pure statements of non-meaning that they are pure error), but in many cases to understand the reasons of the error (or the reasons of visions limited) is actually instructive, and part of a vision that is more correct.

Incidentally, this does not mean that there are assertions indefensible (the passages of Popper quoting Hegel in around the sound and the heat did not warrant the defense) and neither can defend the darkness of the style. But it continues to exist throughout the enojosas pages of the Science of Logic an effort of thought to reach the limit of what is thinkable that they do have valuable items. And try to reach the limit is, finally, what is the philosophy.

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