Abram Deborin 1929


Author: Abram Deborin
Written: 1929
First published: 1929 in Great Soviet Encyclopedia, first edition, Volume 14, pg. 766-809
Source: https://wikilivres.ru/
Translated: by Anton P.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (born August 27, 1770 in Stuttgart – died November 14, 1831) is a famous philosopher. The great-grandfather of the philosopher, tinsmith Johann Hegel, being a Protestant, fled in the 16th century. from Austria to Württemberg from the persecution of the Catholic government. The descendants of Johann Hegel were artisans, minor officials and teachers. Hegel’s father belonged to the highest bureaucratic class and served as secretary of the treasury. In 1777 Hegel entered the Stuttgart gymnasium, where he studied for ten years, distinguished by his abilities and diligence. All his free time, while still a schoolboy, he devotes to reading and studying primarily historical works. From an early age all his interests revolve around the problem of world history. In his diary (from 1785-1787), he repeatedly emphasizes that in the presentation of historical events it is important not to enumerate individual facts, but to understand their internal connection and meaning from the point of view of the general course of the historical process.

After graduating from high school, Hegel entered the Tübingen Theological Institute, where he became close to Hölderlin and Schelling, who had a huge influence on his development. The enthusiasm caused by the French Revolution in all the advanced minds of Germany could not but influence the aforementioned three brilliant young men. Together with Kant and Fichte, they rightly saw in the French Revolution a world-historical event that should renew the whole world. Hegel dreamed of the onset of a new historical era – the “kingdom of God,” which would bring about the unity of mankind, however, on the basis of reconciliation of religion and science. Hegel was an active member of the political club formed by the Tübingen students and took part in planting the tree of freedom in the vicinity of the city. The French Revolution, with all its vicissitudes, determined to a large extent the entire further development of Hegel and left an indelible stamp on his entire worldview. For the next eight years after graduation, he spent as a home teacher in Bern in the Steigers’ house and in Frankfurt in the family of the merchant Gogel. In Bern, he became closely acquainted with the oligarchic regime that reigned there. He continues to be interested in the political life of Europe, primarily in France, Germany and Switzerland. In a letter to Schelling, he sharply criticizes despotism, which has subjugated religion. He hopes that Kantian philosophy with its doctrine of freedom and French political ideas will bring liberation to humanity. In the center of attention of Hegel, along with general philosophical problems, are the problems of the state and religion. He pays a lot of attention to practical issues of state life. During these years he studied the political writings of Spinoza, the works of Hugo Grotius, “History of England” by David Hume, Reinal’s History of India, the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Gibbon, etc. He was greatly impressed by the works of Benjamin Constant. Of the works written by him at this time, mention should be made of The Life of Jesus and Critique of the Concept of Positive Religion. During his stay in Frankfurt, he published several works of a political nature. Of these works, it should be noted, first of all, an essay devoted to criticism of the state system of Württemberg, a proof of the need for political reforms. The existing system, he writes, has outlived itself. A new era has arrived. In France, a new political system corresponding to it arose “from the spirit of modern times.” The same should happen in Württemberg. The French Revolution awakened in him a burning interest in political problems; but it would be wrong to think that Hegel stood on a revolutionary point of view. His demands on his homeland are very moderate. He speaks out rather sharply against absolutism, referring to innate “human rights,” but he does not go further than the constitutional monarchy in his political demands. At the same time, intensified studies of questions of religion, philosophy, history, politics, lead him to the development of a dialectical method. Already during this period, Hegel’s attention was attracted by the problems of development, the relationship between the finite and the infinite, the unity of opposites, etc. At the same time, the general outlines of his future philosophical system began to emerge. With the move of Hegel to Jena (in 1801) a new period in his life opens. He begins his philosophical career with the publication of the work “On the difference between the systems of philosophy of Fichte and Schelling” and ends this Jena period with the publication of “The Phenomenology of Spirit,” which is one of the most remarkable and profound works in all philosophical literature. In 1802 Hegel, together with Schelling, began to publish the Critical Journal of Philosophy. The work of a journalistic nature under the title “State system of Germany” also belongs to this time. Hegel proves that the reason for the defeat of the Germans in the war against the French Revolution is rooted in the shortcomings of the German state system. The task, which the author sets himself, boils down to contributing to the “understanding of what is,” that is, to give an objective picture of the situation in the country. “Germany is no longer a state,” confusion and anarchy reign in it, legalized lawlessness, it is only a “theoretical state,” and therefore the thinking of the Germans is purely theoretical, unrealistic. In conclusion, Hegel proposes a number of practical measures that should improve the health of the state. At the beginning of 1807, The Phenomenology of Spirit was published, which served, among other things, as the reason for Hegel’s break with Schelling, who until then had considered Hegel among his students and followers. Hegel became an independent thinker and in the preface to his work clearly dissociated himself from Schelling’s Romantic philosophy. In March 1807, Hegel left Jena, which had suffered greatly from the war, and moved to Bamberg, where for some time he edited a political newspaper. Over the next eight years, he was a teacher and director of a gymnasium in Nuremberg. These years were very fruitful for him. He developed in all parts of his main work “The Science of Logic.” From the lectures he gave at the gymnasium, his “Philosophical Propedeutics” was composed. In Heidelberg, where he soon took the chair of philosophy, he prepared and published the “Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences,” published in 1817. After moving to Berlin in 1818, he became the head of the philosophical movement of the era and at the same time the official philosopher of the Prussian state. According to the teachings of Hegel “(any) philosophy is its contemporary era, expressed in thoughts.” This is how he looked at his own philosophy, in which he saw the highest product of world history. Philosophy was always closely connected with his practical political tasks. He felt called upon to comprehend his era, to clarify the essence and role of the state. This he did in the “Philosophy of Right,” published in 1821. During the Berlin period of his activity, he managed to gather around him numerous students and create an extensive school. His fame spread widely outside Germany; he acquired a world name and a huge influence on the entire mental life of the era, causing surprise with his all-round scholarship, depth of thought and breadth of outlook. Hegel died of cholera on November 14, 1831, leaving behind a huge literary legacy, which was published in the form of a collection of works by his students and friends in 18 volumes.


His doctrine differs from the philosophical systems of his predecessors in that it is thoroughly imbued with historicism and the idea of development. Unlike the philosophy of Immanuel Kant or Friedrich Schelling, who for a long time was his teacher and guide in the field of philosophy, his thinking was oriented from the very beginning of his literary activity not to natural sciences, but to cultural and historical ones. education, as they have developed as a result of human activity. Hegel, in general, has always been interested in political issues. The liberation ideas of the French Revolution were refracted by Germany through the prism of a backward, semi-feudal Germany, which gradually but slowly, especially as a result of a clash with revolutionary France, was also awakening to a new life in the person of its young bourgeoisie. German classical philosophy was an expression of the liberation struggle of the bourgeoisie against absolutism and the remnants of feudalism. French materialism, as an ideological weapon of the revolutionary class, fought equally decisively both against religion and idealism, and against the socio-political system of the then France. In Germany, social relations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. were not so developed that the bourgeoisie was able to nominate revolutionary fighters from its midst for a new social order. The bourgeoisie itself – big and middle – owed its successes to a large extent to the landlord government, under whose protection it developed. In Germany, the great figures of literature and philosophy came from the midst of the petty middle class. German classical philosophy was a response to French materialism and the Great Revolution from the point of view of the interests of the economically and politically backward German bourgeoisie. The positive and negative aspects of German philosophy are explained by the backwardness of German reality. The flourishing of idealism was possible in this epoch because the bourgeoisie had not yet set itself the practical task of fighting the existing world. She lived in a world of “ideas,” abstract thought. There was an abyss between life and ideals, filled with fantastic thought. Hegel’s philosophy is permeated with an internal contradiction. On the one hand, it represents a complete system; on the other hand, Hegel developed a revolutionary method on an idealistic basis. This is an internal contradiction between the system and the method, as a theory of development, in the construction of Hegel was also a reflection of the stagnant state of Germany and the revolutionary development of the world in thought. By virtue of this state of affairs, Hegel identifies a logical process with a historical one, or rather, for him there is only a logical process, the reflection of which is the historical process. Movement and development is associated only with the concept and takes place in the area of the spirit, in the area of pure thought. Thus, reality, practical life, is alien to the process of transformation. Hegel idealizes reality, raises it to the level of thought, constantly developing and changing, thereby protecting this reality from any destructive processes. His ideal of the rule of law was the Prussian state in the form in which it existed in his time. The Prussian monarchy, as the realization of a moral idea, turned out to be both valid and reasonable. But theoretically he admits that this state can cease to be both reasonable and valid. Thus Hegel, being, generally speaking, an ideologue of the bourgeoisie (the whole history for him is “progress in the consciousness of freedom”) in Philosophy of Right acted as an apologist for the Prussian monarchy, actually defending the interests of the big bourgeoisie and the landed nobility. It was justly noted that once the world spirit has reached the highest stage of its development, having embodied in certain forms of reality, then it has thereby completed its historical path. In other words, history lies only behind the present; it has no future and does not know any forward movement. By this, the end of cognition and the historical process has been reached. “It was necessary to imagine the end of the story like this: humanity comes to the knowledge of this absolute idea and declares that this knowledge has been achieved by Hegelian philosophy. But this meant proclaiming the absolute truth of the entire dogmatic content of Hegel’s system and thereby contradicting his dialectical method, which decomposes everything dogmatic. This meant crushing the revolutionary side under the weight of the overgrown conservative side, and not only in the field of philosophical knowledge, but also in relation to historical practice. Humanity, in person; Hegel, who had risen to the knowledge of the absolute idea, should have gone so far ahead in the practical field that it already became possible for him to carry out the absolute idea in reality. The absolute idea should not have presented its contemporaries with too broad political. requirements. That is why at the end of the “Philosophy of Right” we learn that the absolute idea must be realized in that limited estate representation of the monarchy, which Frederick William III so persistently and so vainly promised his subjects, that is, in the indirect rule of the possessing classes, adapted to the then petty-middle class social relations in Germany” (Engels). Thus, the content of the Hegelian system was declared an absolute truth, while the method ran counter to the system and was an expression of the revolutionary and progressive process of the development of reality. Hegel justifies the French Revolution, linking with it the French philosophy of the 18th century, which was its reflection and ideological expression. In France, the revolution was about to take place. Germany does not need a revolution, since it took place already in the era of the Reformation. The Germans live primarily in the realm of thought. The French are practical people. They strive to implement their ideas in reality. In Germany, the world of reality is reconciled, thanks to the reformation, with the formal principle of philosophy, with the inner needs of the spirit. The Reformation eliminated everything that hindered the free development of spirit and life. The Protestant world is opposed by the Catholic world, to which the concept of freedom is alien. Hegel castigates the upper classes of France, which retained all sorts of privileges for themselves, oppressed and exploited the lower classes in their personal interests. Before the revolution, France was a kingdom of lawlessness, nepotism and corruption. The change had to be carried out by force, since the government did nothing to improve the situation of the people. Therefore, the revolution was a “glorious sunrise” and aroused enthusiasm in all thinking minds. As for the French philosophy of the 18th century, it “produced in a different form the same as the reformation of Luther,” says Hegel. The main evil of French life was the Catholic Church. In Germany, thanks to the Protestant Church, religion was reconciled with the law. The Hegelian dialectic was called the “algebra of revolution.” It is the most developed and comprehensive theory of development. In Hegel’s method the spirit of the French Revolution is alive. The German system is an ideal reflection of the Prussian social and political system of the first quarter of the 19th century. The dualism of revolutionary and conservative ideas permeates the entire teaching of Hegel. In his younger years, progressive ideas and sentiments predominated in his world outlook; in the Berlin period of his activity, he became the ideologist of the Prussian state; his philosophy turns, in the words of Rudolf Haym, into “the science-like keeper of the spirit of the Prussian restoration.” His philosophy is revolutionary in its logical and methodological part, but it is conservative and even reactionary in the whole spirit of its system. On the whole, it is two-faced, internally contradictory, being turned by one of its sides into the sphere of thought, where the dialectical movement of concepts does not allow anything unchanging and frozen,


In his brilliant History of Philosophy, Hegel defends the idea that the history of philosophy is philosophy itself, that at all times there was only philosophy, different stages of which are separate philosophical systems. The historical sequence of philosophical doctrines is not the result of an accidental change of some “opinions” by others, but a necessary process of the development of one and the same philosophy. The unity of philosophy does not exclude, but presupposes a multitude of stages, which in their totality constitute the integrity of truth. Without the concept of development and the concept of the concrete, it is impossible to explain how one and the same essence contains many moments. All separate philosophical systems are contained in philosophy as moments of a single whole. Each philosophy necessarily puts forward some principle, which is not rejected by the subsequent development of philosophical thought, but is saved as a subordinate moment. Therefore, Hegel asserts that the latest philosophy in time is the totality of all forms of cognition, the result of the entire preceding development of philosophy. It contains all the steps that humanity has passed in its development. Hegelian philosophy is the highest step, the final link in the development of modern philosophy. It completes not only the development of German classical philosophy, but of all previous philosophy in general. In this sense, it is a synthesis of all the basic principles that make up the essential content of the history of philosophy. Directly, however, Hegel strove to realize a synthesis between Fichte’s subjectivity or self-consciousness and Schelling’s absolute. Hence the basic principle of philosophy of Hegel: the concept that the latest philosophy in time is the totality of all forms of knowledge, the result of the entire previous development of philosophy. It contains all the steps that humanity has passed in its development. The spirit has its own that it was overflowing with materialist content and imbued with a dialectical, that is, essentially revolutionary method of thinking, turned out to be “materialism turned upside down.” Through pantheism, says Engels, the idealists strove to smooth out the opposition between matter and spirit. In this respect, the Hegelian system presents an extremely curious spectacle. Hegel distinguishes between the empirical and logical process of the development of the world. The absolute idea precedes nature only in the logical, but not in the empirical, that is, in the real sense. Nature and man could not be generated by a lean logical abstraction. Therefore, the great idealist Hegel himself was already forced to admit that the actual reality is nature and man. This, in essence, prepared the triumph of materialism already within the framework of Hegel’s very idealistic system.


The main idea of dialectics is reduced to the recognition of the position that everything in nature, history and human thinking develops through opposites and contradictions. In the world there is nothing ready, finished, nothing immutable and frozen. Hegel subordinated, as we have seen, even his own god to the law of dialectical development. Dialectics constitutes the revolutionary side of Hegelian philosophy. It is a product of the French Revolution. “No matter how persistent the mind may be in its striving to reject dialectics,” says Hegel, “in everyday consciousness and in universal experience, everything that surrounds us can be regarded as an example of dialectics. We know that everything is finite instead of in order to be motionless and final, on the contrary, it is changeable and transient, and this is nothing but the dialectic of the finite, thanks to which the latter, being different from itself in itself, must go beyond what it is directly, and go in its opposite ... We say that all things (that is, all finite as such) appear before the court, and we, therefore, see in dialectics a universal irresistible power, before which nothing can resist, no matter how it considered itself secured and stable.” The movement of an object, its life is expressed in becoming different, in changing and becoming its immanent content. Thus, the content shows that its definiteness is not received from another and is not attached from the outside, but it itself gives it to itself and becomes first a moment, and then a whole. Contradiction is the driving principle of all development. The negative, as Hegel expresses it, belongs to the content itself and is also the positive, being an immanent movement and the definition of this content: “Negative, understood as a result, represents a certain negative, consequently also positive, content that has arisen from this movement.”

This understanding of development is an expression of the basic law of the world and thinking – the law of the unity of opposites. Everything that exists is a unity of opposites, and this is precisely the objective dialectical nature of reality. Take, for example, a thing with its properties. Metaphysical, rational thinking is not able to overcome the opposition between the unity of a thing and its many properties. Only the dialectical doctrine of the unity of opposites is capable of correctly resolving this contradiction. The development process takes place through self-movement of this content. Everything in the world is subject to change and is subject to the process of becoming or movement, understood not narrowly mechanically as a change of place, but as change in general. Movement is a realized contradiction, therefore, the unity of opposites is the basic law of all that exists. Dialectics is the science of the laws of all movement, change and development. In this sense, dialectics is at the same time the broadest theory of development... Analytical thinking is limited mainly to the dismemberment of the subject. Dialectical thinking, on the other hand, seeks to reveal the process of development as a whole, for which it is necessary to ascend from the abstract to the concrete, that is, from the moment a thing appears, from its simplest form through the change of various stages of development to a higher developed form containing all the wealth of definitions, a multitude of opposite properties. Each lower form generates a higher form through the development of its content. A bud, a flower, a fruit, for example, are the necessary steps in the development of a plant. The dialectical method does not introduce anything subjective into the objects to be investigated; it has as its task to reproduce the course of development of the object itself. Therefore, the dialectical method is an objective method, that is, the only scientific one. The difference between Hegel and Marx is that while for the former the real world is the result of developing thinking, for the latter thinking is the result of the development of the material world. In thinking, further, the objective world is reflected in a certain way. The scientific method is, as Marx puts it, only a method by which thinking assimilates the concrete and reproduces it spiritually. From the point of view of Hegel, the process of the emergence of the concrete is identical with the process of thinking. This is the idealistic and mystical side of his teaching.

The dialectical method of Hegel in spite of its idealistic distortions, is predominantly a method of development, since it studies the real process of the historical the origin of various complex forms from the lower ones. In Hegel, it is true, the historical process is obscured by a purely logical, timeless “temporality,” but in essence his method is purely historical in nature. The logical method of research, says Engels, is the same historical method, only freed from its historical form and from historical contingencies that violate the harmony of presentation. The advantage of the logical way of research is that it makes it possible to study the moments of development in their classical form. In particular, these considerations are applicable to logic itself, which is the science of the most general laws of development of the material and spiritual world. Hegel’s logic occupies a completely special position in the history of science. The great German thinker created a grandiose system of logic, in each category occupies a certain logical and historical place, being an expression of a certain stage in the development of human knowledge about the world. Hegel’s logic is the only attempt to give the history of human thought and knowledge in their logical processing. In this respect, he has not yet been surpassed by anyone. No one after him took up such work. The task of our time, of a new historical epoch, is to rely on Hegelianism and the criticism of it given by Marxism to create a materialistic logic.

The entire Logic of Hegel is based on three basic principles, which are also correct from a materialistic point of view. This is, firstly, the principle of movement, self-movement and development, secondly, the principle of the unity of opposites, the forms of manifestation of which are all the other laws of thought and reality, and, thirdly, the law of negation, which consists in the fact that due to its finite, is limited. Nature, every thing, like every concept, passes into its opposite, for they contain in themselves their “negation.”

Hegel’s “logic” is divided into three main sections: the first two sections make up objective logic, which embraces the doctrine of being and the doctrine of essence. The third department, or the so-called. subjective logic, has as its subject the doctrine of the concept. Scientific cognition moves from the immediate to the mediated, from external forms of communication to internal connections, relations and laws – the word, from being to essence. In the concept, we have a subjective reflection of the objective forms and laws of the connection of phenomena. On the other hand, the entire section on the concept has as its closest object human thinking itself and various forms of its movement, since it reflects the content of the external world as a whole. For Hegel, the concept has a real existence; it constitutes the true and objective essence of all reality. Therefore, he considers the concept as the highest stage in the development of reality itself, seeing in it a concrete and real unity of being and essence.

From the materialistic point of view, the concept is inherent only in man and in this sense it, of course, has no real existence, which, however, does not prevent it from being a subjective reflection of the objective world. Hegel’s “logic” is distinguished by an extraordinary richness of content, for the whole set of basic scientific concepts or categories is developed in it. In the first part of “Logic,” devoted to the categories of being, we are dealing with the concepts of quality, quantity and measure, with mutual transitions of quality into quantity and quantity into quality, with the doctrine of the jump and nodal lines, with the concepts of the finite and the infinite and their mutual dependence, etc. No thinker before Hegel did not give such a subtle and deep analysis of all these categories. However, this remark applies equally to other parts of the “Logic.” We have in Hegel’s “Logic” a number of scientific discoveries of paramount importance. Here we can only emphasize some of them. Suffice it to point out, first of all, that Hegel gave the most perfect theory of development, which he also laid the basis for a number of specific scientific disciplines, thus raising them to a higher level.

The application of this theory in each individual concrete area can be modified depending on the nature of the object and certain conditions, but the general, so to speak, abstract laws of development, as they are formulated by Hegel, act in the same way in all areas of reality. Lenin gave an excellent characterization of the doctrine of the development of Hegel (as well as K. Marx and F. Engels) in the following words: “Development, as if repeating the steps already passed, but repeating them differently, on a higher basis (“negation of negation”), development, so to speak, in a spiral, and not in a straight line – development is abrupt, catastrophic, revolutionary; “Breaks of gradualness”; transformation of quantity into quality; internal impulses for development, given by the contradiction, the clash of various forces and tendencies, acting on a given body or within a given phenomenon or within a given society; interdependence and the closest, indissoluble connection of all sides of each phenomenon (and history reveals more and more new sides), a connection that gives a single, natural world process of movement – these are some features of dialectics as a more meaningful (than usual) doctrine of development.” The idea of development permeates all of Hegel’s logic. It constitutes, as it were, the leitmotif of his entire logical symphony. Already the beginning of “Logic” speaks of development as the basic law or principle of all that exists. Contrary to the idealistic character, which permeates the entire “Logic” as a whole and its beginning in particular, the category becoming brought to the fore by the thinker as the first fundamental law of the world and thought. The eternal flow of things, the process of constant emergence and destruction of the phenomena of the world – this is the basic principle that Hegel puts in the basis of the entire universe. It is impossible to recognize as irreproachable his substantiation of this idea at the beginning of “Logic,” the deduction of the idea of becoming from pure being and pure nothing, which are pure thoughts. But the materialistically understood idea of the formation or self-movement of the world, due to its inherent contradictions, acquires tremendous scientific significance. Hegel believes that we are moving from ignorance to knowledge, that the beginning of all knowledge is ignorance, that knowing the beginning, we know that we still do not know anything about the subject, except perhaps that it is. We, therefore, begin with being, which is devoid of any content. But such being is pure thought and is equal to nothing. But, between them there is the difference that being is positive, and nothing is a negative expression of the same thought. The dialectic of being and nothing is the simplest form of movement of pure thought. The dialectic of real becoming permeates all reality. Becoming, understood as the simplest form of movement, as change in general, as an eternal flow of things, is the transition of being into nothing and nothing into being. The result of the process of becoming is the become, that is, the calm unity of being and nothing, that which Hegel calls the present being. Any existing being constitutes such a calm unity of being and nothing, in it being is connected with non-being and non-being with being. Any being that contains its own negation is finite being, while negation constitutes its boundary, which makes it something definite. The being of the finite is found in its negation. Therefore, Spinoza was right in saying that all certainty is negation. Apparent being, therefore, is a definite, finite and limited being. “Apparent being,” says Hegel, “is being with a certain definiteness, edges are immediate or real definiteness, is quality.” Since every something, phenomenon or thing carries in itself nothing of itself, its negation, then they are in a state of eternal change. At every moment something becomes different, changes, so that the finite constantly passes from one definiteness to another. And this transition continues to infinity. The definiteness of the finite is expressed in the infinite, in constant change and transition of something into another and another into something else. Any given state (Beschaffenheit) of a thing never fully corresponds to its definiteness, since the latter embraces the whole infinity of qualities and states of a thing. Only through the transition of one state to another does the finite attain the infinite. Dialectics brings the finite and infinite into close connection and unity. The certainty of a thing at any given moment is realized only in a certain state, it is fixed in it alone, therefore it is not fully realized in the sense of revealing its infinite nature. Hegel distinguishes between bad or false infinity from true infinity. Bad infinity always remains in the finite, it constitutes the moment of the latter, since the infinite certainty or the nature of a thing seems to freeze in a certain state, which, it is true, passes into a different state, but each time it is fixed in one definite state, not embracing the entire integrity of the final states, being at the same time ready to pass into another state, to go beyond its limits. Evil or negative infinity is nothing more than a negation of the finite, which, however, arises again and, therefore, is not removed. “Progress into infinity,” says Hegel, “does not go beyond the expression of the contradiction contained in the final expression of what it is something like that – this process is an eternal and incessant change of these definitions leading to each other.” True infinity does not stand on the other side of the finite, but is contained in every existing being as a being. True infinity includes the finite in itself, and does not have it outside itself. The concept of change also contains the concept of a completed, finished being. In this sense, the concept of the infinite expresses the law of change. Since every something not only becomes different, but in itself is different, then it becomes what it is in itself, that is, it comes to itself, as Hegel says, it becomes complete. Finished existence is correlated with itself. Therefore, the finished present being is infinite being, there is for-itself-being or one. Through the concept of being-for-itself, Hegel makes the transition from quality to quantity. The concept of being for-itself, being understood as one, differs from other forms of such being, of which each is also one. Thus, for-itself-being is many of one or one and many (Kuno Fischer). It must be said that this transition (like many other transitions, by the way) is rather vague, artificial and has little substantiation. “Quantity,” says Hegel, “is nothing more than a sublated quality, and this subtracted receives its place precisely through the dialectic of quality considered here. We had first beingand becoming was his truth; the latter formed the transition to the present being, the truth of which we cognized change. But the change revealed itself in its result not free from the relationship with the other and from the transition into the latter for-itself-being, and finally, this for-itself-being turned out to be on both sides of its process in repulsion and attraction, the withdrawal of itself and, consequently, removing quality in general in the integrity of its moments. But this sublated quality is neither abstract nothing, nor being equally abstract and devoid of definitions, but is only being indifferent to definiteness, and it is this very image of being that appears in our everyday consciousness as a quantity"(Encyclopedia, Part 1, Section 98). Quantity is as continuous as it is discrete. Hegel distinguishes between a net quantity and a certain quantity. In pure quantities, the differences between continuity and discreteness exist only in themselves, that is, as ideal, abstract moments of the same process, as indifferent determinations. For example, absolute, matter, pure space are pure quantities, for they are absolutely indifferent to differences. “Matter taken abstractly,” says Hegel, “is exactly what, although there is a form, but only as an indifferent and external definition.” In a certain quantity acts as a limited and differentiated. Therefore, continuity and separation here no longer exist as ideal moments, but as definite differences. The metaphysical way of thinking reduces these differences to two opposing types of magnitude, while these opposites are dialectically combined in unity, making up only two moments of this indissoluble unity. There is neither only continuous nor only discrete quantity, for each of these moments contains in itself another moment. “They differ from each other only in that one and the same whole,” as Hegel says, “is once placed under one of its definitions, and another time under another.” A definite quantity finds its complete definiteness in the number, which also contains a certain set and unity, that is, separation, discreteness and unity. In this sense, the quantity itself contains its own qualitative moments. Extensive magnitude and intensive (degree) also constitute a unity. The degree and, further, quantitative relations form the subsequent stages of quantity, in which the qualitative nature of the quantity itself is increasingly expressed. The contradictions contained in the concept of quantity constitute the dialectic of quantity. The result of the dialectic of quality was quantity, the result of the dialectic of quantity is a return to quality, but not to simple quality, but to qualitative quantity, i.e. to measure.... “In chemistry, for example,” says Hegel, “we learn the amount of substances combined with each other in order to know the measures that determine such compounds, that is, the quantities that underlie certain qualities.”

Measure: there is a unity of quality and quantity. We arrived at measure through a double transition from quality to quantity and from quantity back to quality. Each thing constitutes a unity of opposites – quantity and quality. – In reality, there is no quality without quantity and quantity without quality; they always exist as an indissoluble unity, as a measure. Everything in nature has its own definite measure. The solar system, the world of animals and plants, the human body, etc. have a known measure. The measure is a qualitative quantity (and a quantitative quality). Quality and quantity are two aspects of the same whole. Since they are related, the quality changes with the change in quantity. But since both of these definitions appear on their own, the quantitative definitions of a thing can for the time being change without affecting, without changing the quality-border, the transition to a swarm also changes the quality. Mutual changes in quantity and quality coincide only at a certain point, because the nature of their changes is different. The change in quantity occurs gradually, and the change in quality occurs suddenly, by a jump, as a result of the summation of quantitative changes. Each transition of a given qualitative state to a new one forms a node or a nodal point. These are the nodes of the same substrate that changes its states. But this substratum underlying change is the essence... The categories of essence, in contrast to the categories of being, express a higher level in the process of cognition. The transition from being to essence by human cognition occurs due to the consciousness that immediate being, which we feel and measure, is not true being. Our thinking is looking for true being behind immediate being, which is cognized by thinking. In the realm of essence, we are dealing with reflective concepts. Ordinary consciousness considers things from the side of their being, that is, from the side of quality, quantity and measure. But we have seen that these immediate definitions pass into each other, and essence is the result of their dialectics. In essence, there is no more transition, but only the ratio... The nature of reflective concepts is expressed in the fact that of the two definitions, each is, as it were, reflected by the other and reflects the other. For example, positive and negative, identity and difference, matter and form, form and content, foundation and effect, internal and external, thing and property, cause and action are reflective concepts in the indicated sense, since they exist only in form mutual relationship, can never be divided or broken, but it is impossible to combine so that they make up one definition. They are all one and two. Entity categories express the internal connection of phenomena; our entire science is largely based on them. The law of the unity of opposites is the central problem of this department.... In the “Essence” section of Hegel, a crushing criticism of formal logic and the laws of thought established by it is given. Along with criticism of formal logic and its laws, Hegel develops in a positive form the dialectical nature of essence. He establishes, first of all, the connection of immediate being with essence. It turns out that essence contains in itself all categories of being as captured moments, acting as an identity or, more precisely, as a unity, which, as it were, has absorbed all the diversity of being. The concept of essence expresses the unity of all things. But since this unity is a concrete unity, the essence also contains a difference. Hegel establishes an external difference – a simple difference, an internal difference in the form of an opposite and the highest form of difference, acting as a contradiction, ascending to the opposite of oneself, that is, to the difference between oneself and oneself. Contradiction moves the world, says Hegel, and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction cannot be thought. Contradiction is the principle of all self-movement, while movement is itself an existing contradiction, without which there is no development, no movement, no change. In the future, Hegel develops the dialectics of foundation and effect, matter and form, thing and its properties, phenomenon and law, whole and parts, force and its discovery, external and internal. All these categories were developed by Hegel with almost exhaustive completeness; despite this, the dialectic of essence has not yet received wide and conscious application in the field of specific sciences. The same applies to the “Reality” department, where Hegel developed the problems of possibility, chance and necessity, as well as the category of “absolute relation” – substantiality, causality and interaction. Substance is revealed as absolute, true essence, as causa sui, as cause herself. Substance is active as a cause; it is a productive activity. Action is the result of the action of a cause. In terms of their content, the cause and the effect are identical. The totality of actions is equal to the cause that gave rise to them. The concept of interaction expresses the mutual connection and dependence of all things, in which every reason is at the same time an action, and every action is a cause. But the category of interaction at the same time brings us back to a single substance, which is in interaction with itself. All things are revealed as forms of existence of a single infinite substance. As an absolute idealist, Hegel is not satisfied with Spinoza’s doctrine of substance. For Hegel, the absolute is a concept, not only a substance, but also a subject, a personality.... In the third section of “Logic” – in the doctrine of the concept, Hegel sets out the doctrine of the subjective concept, the doctrine of objectivity and the doctrine of the idea as a subject-object, the unity of the concept and objectivity. In the first part, Hegel develops the doctrine of the forms of subjective thinking – the concept, judgment, and inference. The part on objectivity deals with mechanism, chemistry, and teleology. Here Hegel’s idealism appears in its extreme form, because for him the concept passes into an object, things are realized, realized concepts. Hegel’s logic ends with the doctrine of the absolute idea, which is revealed as a true, genuine substance, a subject, which, due to its dialectical development, generates from itself all the wealth of reality.


Logic ends with an absolute, an idea. In Logic, the idea was considered in the form of pure thought. The world process – the kingdom of nature and finite spirit, the kingdom of things – constitutes an idea in the form of the world. Nature and spirit are the subjects of philosophy of Hegel, which follow after logic, and serve as intermediate members through which the transformation of the absolute idea into the absolute spirit takes place .... This, so to speak, is the metaphysical side of Hegel’s doctrine of nature and spirit. If we discard this mystical form and take a closer look at the content of the ideas developed by Hegel in the corresponding parts of the system, then, along with the mystical husk, we will find very valuable thoughts from the point of view of positive knowledge. Nature is the realization of a logical idea in its “otherness.” The absolute idea emerges from a purely logical sphere and passes into real existence in time and space. The difference between the logical sphere and real existence is that while in the logical sphere all the moments of the concept exist in the indissoluble unity of the absolute idea, in the real world all these moments of the concept act as one-sided, independent existence in time and space. The idea as nature is a negation of itself, it exists outside of itself, in its otherness. True, at the heart of this fragmented, scattered, spilled, torn apart into its opposite moments of nature lies concept and unity of all its moments, but as an invisible connection. The concept, as such, lies outside nature, and therefore nature, from the point of view of Hegel, has no history and in itself is not subject to the process of development.... In nature, everything exists simultaneously and eternally in the same forms. Only the spirit develops the succession of the steps and forms of nature. Development is generally a purely logical and not a real natural process. In nature, the variety of forms and steps represents the fossilized, frozen degrees of a logical concept. Nature, writes Hegel in The Philosophy of Nature, must be regarded as a system of steps, from which one necessarily follows the other, constituting its truth. “However, this happens in the inner idea, which is the basis of nature, and not so that one step naturally generates another. Metamorphosis occurs only in the concept, as such, since only its change is development.” It is a metaphysical and idealistic rationale for development that excludes natural development of nature, to a large extent devalues those positive ideas, which are still in the “Philosophy of Nature.” It follows from what has been said that nature represents applied logic for Hegel and that every step in development is logical. an idea corresponds to a certain stage in nature. Hegel’s “Philosophy of Nature” is divided into mechanics, physics and organic matter, respectively, to three stages of the concept – the stage of the universal, particular and individual. In the department of mathematics. mechanics, we are dealing with space and time, with matter and motion. Here, first of all, the dialectical analysis of space and time deserves attention. Space is understood by Hegel as being external. “The element of this externality is a point that does not have any externality and exists for itself, does not occupy space in space, nonspatial and at the same time spatial, or existing and at the same time does not exist in space. This contradiction, which constitutes the essence of a point, is resolved in its becoming spatial, in the emergence of lines as the first spatial dimension” (Kuno Fischer). The line then becomes a plane, and the plane becomes a surface, that is, a limited space. Time is a visible becoming. It is being, which does not exist when it exists, and exists when it does not exist. Place is a specific point or point and constitutes the unity of time and space. The place is spatial now and temporal here. Movement is a change of place in time. The immediate existing unity of space and time is matter.

Engels saw the positive significance of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Nature” in the rational grouping of natural science undertaken by the philosopher, in the systematization and classification of sciences on the basis of an objective connection between natural phenomena.


In nature, says Hegel, the idea is realized in an element of space, so that each product is external to another. Nature is the exact opposite of spirit. But it is not only external to the spirit, but also in itself, while all the products of the spirit remain in its internal unity. All objects of material nature exist in space and time, jointly and successively one after another. Matter, which constitutes the common basis of all natural phenomena, is infinitely fragmented in itself, for it is composed of material atoms. Spirit is a true product of nature. Although this thought in Hegel is covered with a mystical fog, for, according to Hegel’s teachings, the spirit is preceded not only by external nature, but also by a logical idea, however, in reality, it is real spirit arises from nature. And the merit of Hegel lies in the fact that, contrary to his aspirations, he based the doctrine of the spirit, understood in the broad sense of the word, the idea of development, the beginning of historicism. In contrast to natural things, which are only objects, the distinguishing feature of the spirit is that it is a subject. The animal is already a subject. In living organisms, the internal connection of the members constitutes unity. The whole organism, as Hegel says, is imbued with a unity of purpose; all members are completely dependent on this unity. An animal, unlike unorganized bodies, exists for itself... An animal as a subject feels a contradiction in itself and seeks to preserve itself, destroying this contradiction. The animal opposes itself to the external world. Through sensation, it distinguishes its content from itself and senses it as a contradiction in itself. Life is the unity of the subjective and the objective. The subject seeks to assimilate the object: by consuming food, the animal preserves itself. The philosophy of the spirit studies all the stages of its development in their necessity. At the highest stage of the development of nature, a living organism appears, which in a person becomes a thinking spirit, leaving nature behind and making all of its content its subject. Spirit, initially enslaved to nature, “denies” it and enslaves it to itself. Spirit, says Hegel, is free not because it alienates from nature, but because it denies its alienation; he does not run from nature, but conquers it to himself. “To be truly free, the spirit must acquire freedom by its own activity.” The dualism of spirit and nature exists for an independent or finite spirit. At this stage, the spirit opposes itself to nature, making it its object. The spirit is immersed in its object and is opposed to it as a conscious subject. He does not yet resolve the opposition between an independent spirit and a conscious object. He is convinced that there is nothing in common between them, that the subject is alien to him and constitutes his limit. “He does not yet discover the unity between himself and the spirit that lives and moves in nature. Thus, the spirit contradicts itself: on the one hand, it recognizes that nature exists in it, that it forms its own world, it denies its alienation and recognizes that it is a product of its thought, and on the other hand, he considers nature to be independent, existing outside him; he presumes nature and is convinced that nature existed before its relation to conscious thought. So spirit recognizes that nature is not its absolute product; he does not realize that nature owes its existence to the infinite spirit and was created by it.” Here nature serves as an object for the spirit. The subject is correctly convinced that nature precedes spirit. But as an idealist, Hegel “removes” the contradiction between nature and spirit, declaring nature to be a “hidden” spirit, with which the latter is a complete identity. At the stage of absolute knowledge, the dualism of spirit and nature disappears, for the absolute spirit (in contrast to the finite spirit) reveals that it itself produces nature and the finite spirit. Nature ceases to constitute its limit, it loses its independence, and the spirit triumphs in its victory. However, this victory is imaginary, since the absolute spirit of Hegel is nothing more than an artificial crutch created by the philosopher’s fantasy. There is no absolute spirit. In reality, only the human, that is, the finite spirit, exists. The philosophy of the spirit is divided into three parts, according to the three forms of existence of the spirit: subjective, objective and absolute spirit. The realm of the subjective spirit embraces anthropology, phenomenology, and psychology. The realm of the objective spirit is constituted by law, morality and ethics. The absolute spirit has its content in art, religion and philosophy.


Science, which deals with the study of the objective spirit, consists of two main parts, developed in detail by the philosopher: from the philosophy of law and the philosophy of history... Both of these disciplines embrace what we call the social philosophy of Germany, for by the sphere of the “objective spirit,” Germany understands the socio-historical life of mankind. The rational content of the idealistic concept of the objective spirit is that the collective, common, social life of people is opposed to the life of a separate individual. Hegel’s assertion that the universal spirit is the true essence of the individual spirit contains the correct rational thought that the essence of man is determined by the entire totality of social relations and that the individual is a product of the collective. However, in Hegel all this is of a mystical nature, which did not prevent the thinker in this part of his system from giving extremely much that is positive and valuable. In Hegel, the “objective spirit” takes on the character of an independent being, standing above people and managing them, realizing his “will” through certain institutions and laws. “This will in its activity aims to realize freedom in the outside world. Thus, reality becomes the world of free relations, and freedom defines it, finds itself in it and receives an external existence inherent in the idea.” Reality as a set of free relations is the area of law, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. Hegel stands here entirely on the basis of the bourgeois understanding of law, freedom and property, recognizing the freedom of the individual, but defending private property. “The external sphere of law and freedom is formed by property, bringing under my authority and will of the thing deprived of the master.” “A person captures things that do not belong to anyone, and names them, in a practical sense, “This will in its activity aims to realize freedom in the outside world. Thus, reality becomes the world of free relations, and freedom defines it, finds itself in it and receives an external existence inherent in the idea.” Reality as a set of free relations is the area of law, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. Hegel stands here entirely on the basis of the bourgeois understanding of law, freedom and property, recognizing the freedom of the individual, but defending private property. “The external sphere of law and freedom is formed by property, bringing under my authority and will of the thing deprived of the master.” “A person captures things that do not belong to anyone, and names them, in a practical sense, “This will in its activity aims to realize freedom in the outside world. Thus, reality becomes the world of free relations, and freedom defines it, finds itself in it and receives an external existence inherent in the idea.” Reality as a set of free relations is the area of law, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. Hegel stands here entirely on the basis of the bourgeois understanding of law, freedom and property, recognizing the freedom of the individual, but defending private property. “The external sphere of law and freedom is formed by property, bringing under my power and will of the thing deprived of the master.” “A person captures things that do not belong to anyone, and names them, in a practical sense, reality becomes the world of free relations, and freedom defines it, finds itself in it and receives an external existence inherent in the idea.” Reality as a set of free relations is the area of law, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. Hegel stands here entirely on the basis of the bourgeois understanding of law, freedom and property, recognizing the freedom of the individual, but defending private property. “The external sphere of law and freedom is formed by property, bringing under my authority and will of the thing deprived of the master.” “A person captures things that do not belong to anyone, and names them, in a practical sense, reality becomes the world of free relations, and freedom defines it, finds itself in it and receives an external existence inherent in the idea.” Reality as a set of free relations is the area of law, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. Hegel stands here entirely on the basis of the bourgeois understanding of law, freedom and property, recognizing the freedom of the individual, but defending private property. “The external sphere of law and freedom is formed by property, bringing under my authority and will of the thing deprived of the master.” “A person captures things that do not belong to anyone, and names them, in a practical sense, which is the present existence of freedom and the self-development of freedom. This is, so to speak, a metaphysical interpretation of the essence of the state. The empirical explanation of the state in Hegel has a completely different character. “A real state and a real government,” he says, “arises only when there is already a difference of estates, when wealth and poverty become very large, and when a situation arises that the majority is no longer able to satisfy their needs in the way they are accustomed to.

The state is divided into three different powers: legislative, executive and princely. The latter is the unity of the first two, being at the same time legislative and executive. A reasonable state system is a constitutional monarchy. This is the state form in which the idea of the state reaches its full logical conclusion. The Hegelian ideal of the state is a synthesis of the Greek polis and the Prussian monarchy. The true essence of the state as a specific organization of class domination by Hegel is completely incomprehensible. Karl Marx gave a annihilating criticism of the doctrine of the state about the state. According to the state, the state is carried out in a separate people. It is a product of the “people’s spirit.” However, the spirit of every nation is limited and therefore, in its independence, it forms only a moment in world history. “Events of world history show that the spirit of each nation, due to its limitations, gives way to others, and in this dialectical movement is the supreme court of history.” World history is the arena for the world spirit, in contrast to the national spirit, whose sphere of activity is the state. If we ignore the mystical “world spirit,” which is a fiction, the personification of the world process itself, then the Hegelian philosophy of history is one of the bold and remarkable attempts to consider historical events in their inner necessary connection, that is, as an objective, law-like process.

World history is viewed by him in the light of progressive development of mankind. This development is based on the world spirit; the spirit of an individual people is a step in the development of the world spirit. In the properties of the people’s spirit, one should look for the basis of all people’s life, all its aspects. The national spirit constitutes the unity of all forms of people’s existence, from technology to religion and philosophy. Each nation is the bearer of a certain principle. Having fulfilled its purpose in the sense of realizing its principle, the people give way to another people, which is a representative of a higher principle. Such is Hegel’s general idealistic attitude. However, these meager ideas do not exhaust the content of his philosophical-historical theory. Plekhanov pointed out correctly that Hegel, in spite of his idealism, was often forced to turn to economics to explain historical events, that “the economy removed him from those shallows of his idealism.” Plekhanov provides enough evidence of this, and therefore we here, on this issue, as well as on the issue of the role and significance of the geographic environment, we will not dwell on. – Historical development occurs through the mediation of individuals who are, as it were, tools of “World spirit.” Individuals and peoples pursue their own private interests, but in world history something else comes out of human actions than what they were striving for, something comes out that was not in their minds. This is the “cunning of reason.” The means by which the world spirit realizes its goals are human actions determined by their needs, interests and passions. The role of great historical figures is expressed in the fact that their personal interests or goals are directly identified with common interests. Great people know what constitutes the essence of their time and how the next stage of development will be expressed. “The activity of historical figures is not the opposite of the inactive masses. On the contrary, it is directed towards the masses, who oppose it with their own activities. What the first strive for – says Hegel, – has already been worked out by the life of the latter, so that they are animated by the same object. So, for example, the era and the people, which were influenced by the activities of Alexander or Caesar, themselves prepared those aspirations that inspired them; the era created these people and they, in turn, created it. They were instruments of their time and their people, and at the same time they made their people an instrument for doing their deeds.” Such is the relationship between the “hero” and the “crowd” in Hegel’s understanding. The realization by the people of their goal or their principle is at the same time their death and the rise of another spirit, that is, another world-historical people, the onset of a new era in world history. so that the death of one life is at the same time the emergence of a new life.


The world spirit, which has world history as its content, is not yet the ultimate goal of development. An absolute spirit rises above him, the essence of which is revealed in art, religion and philosophy (science in general). The spirit, by its very essence, strives for self-knowledge, that is, for the knowledge of absolute truth, which is equally an object of art, religion and philosophy. In art, truth is given in the form of contemplation, in religion, in the form of representation, and in philosophy, in the form of a concept. The content of the philosophy of art is the doctrine of the ideal and its development. The artistic ideal is true reality, corresponding to its essence, reality in all its fullness. The artistic ideal, or beauty, is the appearance of truth (idea) in a single sensory phenomenon. In this pure form, beauty does not exist in nature. Beauty in nature (dead) is only an unconscious reflection of an idea immersed in sensory material. In living nature, for the first time, a concept becomes an idea, and therefore only a living being is actually beautiful. Natural things, both dead bodies and living beings, do not achieve complete beauty, their beauty is imperfect. In the realm of nature, beauty consists in the abstract unity of form and in the abstract unity of sensory material. Any object or animal is beautiful, due to the correct form or purity of the substance, the material from which they are created. “Art,” says Hegel, “has its purpose – to present to the imagination and feelings the truth as it is, in its entirety, in harmony with the real, visible world.” The beauty in art is created by the artist’s creative imagination. “To embody his ideas in living images,” says Hegel, “an artist not only needs this external material, but mainly he needs certain forms of nature and he must foresee and know which of these forms are most capable of expressing his idea. Of all forms, the human form is the highest and truest, because the human body serves as the most complete expression of the spirit.” Art forms develop in the closest connection and dependence on the entire cultural and historical development of mankind. History is progress in the consciousness of freedom. The artistic consciousness develops along with the consciousness of freedom.

In symbolic art, the main place is occupied by architecture, in classical art – sculpture, in Romantic art – painting, music and poetry. Architecture historically predates sculpture and painting. A hut and a house as a human dwelling constitute the beginning of architecture and precede temples. A sacred building, a temple as a symbol of the unification of people and nations is the first character of symbolic architecture. An example is the Tower of Babel, built by common forces. “Common labor is at the same time the goal and idea of the work itself,” says Hegel. The result of the efforts of the peoples who united to erect a gigantic monument was a social connection. Such a building is purely symbolic, because it means only the very union of peoples and individuals. Monstrous figures in the form of colossal massive pillars resembling towers belong to the same kind of architecture. These pillars represented a symbolic representation of the phallus as an organ of reproduction and the idea of the productive force of nature. Obelisks as architectural structures were a symbolic image of the sun’s rays. As for the sculptural works, they are also essentially architectural in nature. Such works include memnons and sphinxes, which, again, have a symbolic meaning. Labyrinths-courtyards with alleys of pillars, with many branches and mysteriously confused passages, make up structures full of symbolic mysteries. Classical and Romantic architecture has a completely different character, determined by the corresponding worldview and the entire set of socio-political conditions of a given era. For example, buildings of classical architecture are built horizontally, adapted to the needs and requirements of a person living a mundane life. “The main subject of the architecture of the Greeks was open buildings, in which it was possible to relax and walk during the day.” Romantic, that is, Christian architecture, requires detachment from the earth and elevation to heaven, oblivion of the external world and turning the soul into itself, internal spiritual concentration. “This oblivion of the external world of life’s anxieties and benefits must also be produced by a building closed on all sides. So, away from all open porticos, galleries, leading to communication with the outside world and its life.”

Religion constitutes the second realm of the absolute spirit. In the spirit of free art contemplates its essence, in religion, he is currently the essence. Religion has its own history. It develops together with all other spheres of human culture, being with them in internal connection and interdependence. In its development, religion goes through four stages. Hegel distinguishes between the religion of substance (natural religions), the religion of spiritual individuality, and the religion of the absolute spirit. An intermediate form is formed by the religions of substance, passing to the religion of freedom (Persian, Syrian and Egyptian).

The natural religions themselves include the Chinese, Indian and Buddhist religions. The Jewish, Greek and Roman religions are religions of spiritual individuality. Finally, the religion of the absolute spirit is Christianity.... In natural religions, which are found mainly in the East, God appears to human consciousness as a substance or as an absolute force of nature, before which a person recognizes himself as insignificant, powerless and unfree. God himself still exists in direct unity with nature, and man knows himself not as a free spirit, but as a being that has grown together with the mighty forces of nature. This form of religion corresponds to the eastern structure of society and state. All that is singular must disappear into the abyss of the universal, the all-one. The supreme goal of man is merging with the all-unity substance, the destruction and dissolution of the personality in the absolute all-unity. In particular, the Egyptian religion of nature is a religion of mystery. In Egyptian symbolic art, we have the same content. – In the religion of spiritual individuality, God is not represented as a substance,subject as spirit. In Greek. religion, which Hegel calls “the religion of beauty,” God appears in the image of a person. For the Greeks, the gods were the gods of free people. The world of Greek gods is a perfect reflection of the life of “free” people in the Greek city-states. The religion of nature and the finite spirit is being replaced by the religion of the absolute spirit, that is, Christianity, which proclaims the unconditional unity of the infinite with the finite. Christianity is a religion of truth and freedom. It realizes human freedom, the kingdom of God on earth, in the legal and moral life of the state. In the state and in all its cultural life, the reconciliation of God with the world, religion with reality is carried out.

The highest sphere of the absolute spirit is philosophy, which has, as said, the same content as art and religion. Absolute truth cannot be adequately expressed either in the form of contemplation or in the form of representation. This determines the need for philosophy, which knows the truth in the only form that is adequate to it – in the form of a concept, in the form of thought.... “The product of thinking,” says Hegel, “is thought in general, but thought is still something formal, a concept is already a more definite thought, an idea, finally, is a thought in its integrity and in its definition, as existing in itself and for itself. Truth, that is, lies in the idea, and only in the idea. For the nature of the idea, it is essential to develop and only through development to comprehend itself, to become what it is.” Hegel combines the concepts of development and concrete. The single truth is a thought determined in itself. Development consists in making something for itself what it is in itself. It presupposes two states: being-in-itself as ability, possibility, earning and being-for-itself as reality. Science and practice are aimed at revealing what is hidden within or exists in itself. The concept of the concrete is associated with the subject of development, which represents the unity of different definitions. Philosophy deals with universals, which, however, are abstract only in their form. The true consists not in empty universals, but in the universal, which in itself is particular, definite. If the true is abstract, says Hegel, then it is not true. Philosophy is inherently hostile to the abstract. The internal contradiction of the concrete is the driving force of all development. Philosophy, combining concepts The internal contradiction of the concrete is the driving force of all development. Philosophy, combining concepts The internal contradiction of the concrete is the driving force of all development. Philosophy, combining concepts development and concrete, becomes the knowledge of the development of the concrete. “An idea, concrete in itself and developing, is an organic system, an integrity that contains a wealth of steps and moments. Philosophy is the knowledge of this development and, as understanding thinking, is itself this thinking process of development. The further this development has advanced, the more perfect the philosophy.” The system of philosophy and the history of philosophy, from the point of view of Hegel, are inextricably linked together. Philosophy is a system in development, therefore it merges with the history of philosophy, which, in turn, is philosophy itself. The development process and the result are inseparable. Studying the history of philosophy, we study philosophy itself. This applies equally to all science. The sequence of philosophical systems in history is the same as the sequence of categories in the system of logic. Therefore, the system of logic and the history of philosophy are two sides of the same process. Every philosophical system is a product of its time; it corresponds to a certain stage of human development; therefore, no philosophy can claim the meaning of absolute truth, for it is limited by the needs of the time. But just as in a logical system each category occupies a definite place, so in the history of philosophy, each system, which is an expression and development of a certain principle (or category), constitutes a necessary stage in the development of philosophy as a unified system. Because of this, the value, the value and truth of a given system of philosophy is determined primarily by its historical role. But at the same time, it is also a link in a single chain of development of science and philosophy. Not a single philosophical system is absolute and final, but not a single philosophical system disappears without a trace, but enters as a subordinate moment in subsequent systems. “Each philosophy,” says Hegel, “is the philosophy of its time, it is a link in the entire chain of spiritual development; it can, therefore, provide satisfaction only to those interests that correspond to its time.” Philosophy is the same with its time. It never goes beyond the limits of a given historical era. On the other hand, philosophy, being the consciousness of the era as a whole, has the same root with the state system, forms of art and religion, with the technique and life of this period. This single root, or common source, according to Hegel, is the spirit of the people. K. Marx and F. Engels provided a scientific solution to the questions posed by Hegel about the “common source” and the driving causes of historical development. However, the merit of Hegel must be recognized that he raised these questions. Philosophy arises, according to Hegel, only together with the development of the distinction of estates (classes). – Philosophy enters the arena only when the given real world is approaching its decline, when reality has completed the process of its formation and development. “When philosophy begins to paint in its own colors against the gray background of reality, it is impossible to return youth, it can only be cognized: Minerva’s owl flies out only at dusk” ... Philosophy is an expression of the contradiction and gap between the internal aspirations of the people and the external forms of their life. A counterweight to the real world, the spirit creates for itself a kingdom of thought, an ideal world, where it finds satisfaction for itself. There is a grain of truth in these statements of Hegel, since they refer, say, to the classes leaving the historical arena and forced to withdraw from the real world into the “ideal” world. An outdated class cannot revive a decrepit social order. On the other hand, the new social class, acting with a new worldview, which is opposed to the existing world and real forms of life, seeks to assert its domination and realize its ideals after reality has completed the process of its formation. A new social class and is called to build a new world rather than revive a decrepit public order. G. V. Plekhanov rightly objected to Hegel in his understanding of philosophy as the knowledge of only the obsolete old. The process of becoming, he says, there is a double process: the old is destroyed and at the same time arises from the ruins of his new... Therefore, philosophy is also the knowledge of the process of the emergence of the new. This is, of course, true. But it should be noted that Hegel distinguishes between the content and form of philosophy. In terms of its content, it is not higher than its time, but in its form, it is higher than its time. “Through knowledge,” says Hegel, “the spirit assumes the difference between knowledge and existence. This knowledge then gives rise to a new form of development.” Thus, Hegel is trying, albeit in an idealistic spirit, to resolve the contradiction indicated by Plekhanov. Philosophy, as a condition for its appearance, presupposes freedom of thought, freedom of self-consciousness and, on the practical side, political freedom. “Due to this general connection between political freedom and freedom of thought, philosophy appears in history only where and insofar as a free state system is formed.” But this stage is preceded by the stage of absorption of consciousness and its disappearance into substance. Hegel means the East with its caste system and patriarchal state, where the subject is in the objectively substantial. Philosophy in its true sense originates in Greece, for here the freedom of self-consciousness awakens for the first time. In general, two philosophies should be distinguished: Greek and Christian-German. Germanic philosophy is divided into medieval and modern philosophy. The main stages in the history of philosophy constitute the necessary stages in the development of the idea as the essence of the world. These necessary steps, unfolding in time, coincide with the logical sequence of definitions of ideas in concepts.


The philosophy of Hegel, for all its apparent integrity, contained many contradictory elements and ambiguities. The main contradiction in the philosophy of Hegel is the discrepancy between the method and the system. Hegel’s system was the conservative side, while the method was the revolutionary side of his teaching. Absolute knowledge, to which the world spirit reached in the person of Hegel, required the completion of the process of cognition. In the system of Hegel, an alleged absolute truth was embodied, which found its adequate expression in the Prussian state, on the one hand, and in absolute religion, that is, in Christianity, on the other. By virtue of this, Hegel could put forward the demand for reconciliation of philosophy, that is, reason, with reality, that is, with the existing world, with the existing state and absolute religion. But the recognition of the absolute truth was decisively at odds with the dialectical method, overthrowing all absolute truths and recognizing all that exists as historically transient. Hegel’s system was associated with the beginning of stagnation, the method, with the principle of movement and development. Therefore, “those followers of Hegel, subordinated to the influence the dialectical element, in fact, understood it (the philosophy of Hegel), like Herzen, as the algebra of revolution; those who were more strongly influenced by the element of absolute idealism were inclined to accept it as the arithmetic of stagnation” (Plekhanov). The second internal contradiction in Hegel’s system is his understanding of the absolute. Even in the “Phenomenology of Spirit” it was proclaimed that the absolute should be understood not only as a substance, but also as a subject.(self-consciousness, spirit) – this laid the foundation for objective idealism. The doctrine of the identity of thinking and being is also in close connection with the understanding of the absolute, and this identity is reduced to the recognition of the concept as the essence of things. All these opposites, depending on the understanding of their mutual relationship, served as the basis for the delimitation of various elements in the Hegelian milieu.

Immediately after the death of Hegel, a split occurred in his vast school, caused by different interpretations of both his teaching as a whole and of its individual parts. Disputes arose primarily around the understanding of religious dogmas, and then the understanding of deity in general. The Hegelian school was divided into factions: right, center and left. Right-wing Hegelians, to whom Geschel, Schaller, Gubler, Erdmann, Margeinecke, Weisse, and others belonged, commented on Hegel in the spirit of Christian theism. They defended the idea of a personal god and recognized personal immortality. The center, which emerged from Rosenkrantz, Watke, Michelet, and others, tried unsuccessfully to reconcile the transcendental and immanent points of view, leaning towards pantheism. And, finally, the left wing in the persons of David Friedrich Strauss, Ludwig Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer, made a radical conclusion from the views of Hegel and came to the denial of God, to atheism. Indeed, Hegel argued that God exists substantially in nature, subjectively in human consciousness. Without man and apart from man, there is no spirit, there is no God. Hence, it is clear that the left, relying on Hegel himself, had the logical right to reject the existence of God (the absolute spirit) and recognize only nature and man. In connection with these problems, a more general question arose about the relationship between faith and knowledge, religion and philosophy. The right, in the person of Geschel, relying on Hegel’s doctrine of the identity of the content of religion and philosophy, commented on Hegel in the sense of the identity of faith and knowledge. Hegel insisted on the idea of reconciliation between absolute philosophy and absolute religion, that is, between absolute knowledge and the content of the Christian faith. Orthodox Hegelianism, represented by the right, defended orthodox Christianity, proceeding from the idea of the identity of the content of philosophy and religion. But, on the other hand, the same Hegel carried out in his philosophy the idea that knowledge and faith, at least in form, are opposite to each other. This side of the teachings of Hegel was taken up by the left Hegelians, who in the end completely rejected faith in the name of knowledge. The Left Hegelians also could not reconcile themselves to the point of view of orthodox Hegelianism, because they showed a better understanding of the Hegelian method, according to which all phenomena are subject to the law of development. But the most significant factor that determined the radical divergence of the Hegelians on all the main questions of the philosophy of Hegel is the social mood that has changed after the death of the philosopher. It should also be emphasized that the right and left Hegelians were the ideologists of various class groupings. Orthodox Hegelians (right and center) were also conservatives in politics. The Left Hegelians were progressives or revolutionaries in politics. Already the July revolution of 1830 was supposed to stir up the stagnant swamp of Germany somewhat. public life. In the second half of the 1830s, as if in anticipation of the impending revolution of the 1840s, begins in Germany a significant revival of public life, at first was of an ideological nature and was marked by the growth of free-thinking and the development of revolutionary ideas. The controversies that took place among the Hegelians around the philosophy of Germany were a reflection of these new public sentiments. On the eve of the revolution of 1848, the ideology of the working-class revolution (Marxism) took shape, which arose to a large extent from the struggle against left Hegelianism (petty-middle class trends) and criticism of the teachings of Hegel and Feuerbach. In the first period, predominantly conservative conclusions were drawn from the philosophical doctrine of Hegel. But, as opposition sentiments grew, “the conservative element of Hegelian philosophy was increasingly pushed into the background by its dialectical progressive element” (Plekhanov). The process of disintegration of the Hegelian school was revealed first in theology. In the future, left Hegelianism has already passed to. the soil of politics and socialism. The scientific socialism of K. Marx and F. Engels was the result and completion of this entire philosophical movement of thought. The beginning of the process of decomposition of Hegelianism should be considered the appearance in 1835 of the book by David Friedrich Strauss “The Life of Jesus Critically Processed” (“Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet”). According to Strauss, the gospel stories consist of myths arising from the unconscious creative activity of the Christian community. This point of view was considered the point of view of substance. A more radical criticism of Christianity was made by Bruno Bauer, who found Strauss’s theory of myths unsatisfactory. He considered himself a representative of self-consciousness and carried out the idea that the gospel stories consist simply of fictions – deliberate lies invented by the evangelists. The first essay on the criticism of the Gospel was published in 1840 under the title Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte des Johannes. This was followed by a second composition, Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker und des Johapnes, 1841-1842. In November 1841, he also published an anonymous pamphlet entitled “The Trumpet Tone of the Last Judgment of Hegel the Atheist and Antichrist” (“Die Posaune des Jüngsten Gerichts wider Hegel den Atheisten und Antichristi”). In this work, which was written, apparently, with the participation of K. Marx, the author tries to present Hegel as an atheist and revolutionary Jacobin. The second part of the “Trumpet Tone of the Last Judgment over Hegel – the Atheist and Antichrist” is devoted to “Hegel’s teaching on religion and art.” In 1843 Bauer published an essay entitled The Jewish Question, a piece met with sharp criticism from K. Marx. For all his radicalism, especially in the field of criticism of religion, Bruno Bauer remained an idealist in his philosophical outlook. True, Bruno Bauer (like his brother Edgar) rejected the idea of an absolute spirit, believing that a spirit independent of human self-consciousness does not exist. But Bauer himself took the point of view of “spirit” when he defended the independence of human self-consciousness or “critical spirit,” which was opposed mass as inert, passive matter. History is made by “critically-minded individuals” and not by the masses. Hegel, as we have seen, took a more correct position on this issue. The theory of critically thinking personalities later found fertile ground also in Russia, where it was assimilated by the populists.

Ludwig Feuerbach is, perhaps, the most striking figure among the Young Hegelians. His merit lies in the fact that he decisively broke with Hegel’s idealism and embarked on the path of materialism and atheism. In 1841 he published his work The Essence of Christianity, which made a huge impression on his contemporaries. Religion is interpreted by him as unconscious, the process of deifying the essence of a person. “In religion, a person deifies himself, his own forces, but as alienated from himself. Religion is a person’s relation to his own essence, but not as to his own, but as to an alien, different from him, even opposite to him essence.” “This is [religion’s] lie, its limitation, its contradiction to reason and morality, this is the pernicious source of religious fanaticism, the highest metaphysical principle of bloody human sacrifice, in a word,” says Feuerbach, “this is the root cause of all horrors, all stunning scenes in tragedies of the history of religion “. However, the human essence, which is the subject of religion, was presented to Feuerbach in the form of an abstract essence of the human race. It is true that which coincides with the essence of the genus. Obviously that this concept of the essence of the genus is of an abstract nature and is still some reflection of the Hegelian spirit. But for Feuerbach, only nature and the individual, sensual man are real. Philosophy must be based on nature and, therefore, connect with natural science. In his numerous works, Feuerbach fights against Hegel’s idealism, seeing in it the last stronghold of theology. The heralds of modern anarchism also emerged from among the Young Hegelians: Max Stirner (the pseudonym of Kaspar Schmidt) and Mikhail Bakunin. The Left Hegelians, led by A. Ruge and T. Echtermeyer, founded in 1838 a special body called “Hallische Jahrbücher für deutsche Wissenschaft und Kunst” (Halle Yearbooks of German Science and Art), which aimed to critically apply the philosophy of Hegel to the assessment of all phenomena of public, political. and cultural life. In 1841, the publication was moved from Halle to Leipzig, where the magazine began to appear under the new name “Deutsche Jahrbücher.” The journal was soon (in 1843) banned for the radicalism of the trend. Its successor was “Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher,” which were published in Paris by A. Ruge together with Marx. The only published book (double) contained, among other things, Marx’s articles “On the Jewish Question” and “Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law” and Engels’s article “Essays on the Critique of Political Economy.” It is also necessary to emphasize that the philosophy of Hegel in the late 1830s and 1840s. found a lively response also in Russia, where a left Hegelian trend has developed, partly under the influence of the West, partly independently. This movement was headed by Belinsky, Herzen and Bakunin. This trend has played an important role in the history of Russian social thought.


Describing the process of decomposition of the Hegelian system, Marx notes that all the currents formed as a result of this process did not in essence overcome the state, but were dependent on it. “Thanks to such dependence on Hegel, none of these newest critics even tried to begin a thorough criticism of the Hegelian system. Each of them claims to be superior to Hegel. Their polemic with Hegel and with each other is limited to the fact that each of them pulls out some side of the Hegelian system and directs it both against the entire system and against the sides put forward by other authors. First, they extracted pure, non-falsified Hegelian categories, such as substance and self-consciousness; subsequently, these categories were desecrated by more secular names, such as, for example, “kind,” “unique,” “man,” etc..” K. Marx and F. Engels had a huge historical task: on the ruins of the Hegelian system and Left Hegelian constructions, to create a truly new worldview, which would embrace the entire totality of phenomena in the sense of their scientific explanation and would at the same time be a tool for changing the world. This world-historical task was accomplished by both founders of Marxism. Marx somehow ironically remarked that the process of decomposition of the Hegelian system, in his opinion, has turned into some kind of “worldwide fermentation.” But on the basis of this “worldwide fermentation” an ideological revolution really took place, which subsequently swept the whole world, for Marxism became the world outlook of the international proletariat. Marx and Engels initially belonged to the Young Hegelian school, headed by Bruno Bauer. But after a short time, disagreements with Bauer on basic questions of philosophy and politics were revealed. These disagreements became even more acute and deepened after Marx and Engels broke with bourgeois radicalism and went over to communism. The entire activity of the founders of Marxism, from 1842 to 1847, was reduced to a consistent criticism of all the Young Hegelian currents, up to Feuerbach inclusive. This criticism is especially interesting because it was often self-criticism, criticism of their own views, which they adhered to at the previous stage of their development. So, for example, “The Holy Family” (1845), dedicated to the criticism of Bauer and his associates, was written in general from the point of view of Feuerbach, which itself was criticized after a short time. “The most dangerous enemy These disagreements became even more acute and deepened after Marx and Engels broke with bourgeois radicalism and went over to communism. The entire activity of the founders of Marxism, from 1842 to 1847, was reduced to a consistent criticism of all the Young Hegelian currents, up to and including Feuerbach. This criticism is especially interesting because it was often self-criticism, criticism of their own views, which they adhered to at the previous stage of their development. So, for example, “The Holy Family” (1845), dedicated to the criticism of Bauer and his associates, was written in general from the point of view of Feuerbach, which itself was criticized after a short time. “The most dangerous enemy,” they wrote, “is spiritualism, or speculative idealism, which in the place of the real individual person puts self-consciousness, or “spirit,” and together with the evangelist teaches: “the spirit is life-giving, but the flesh is weak.” In his preface to The Condition of the Working Class in England, written in March 1845, Engels emphasizes that in Germany almost no one “came to communism otherwise than through Feuerbach’s overcoming of Hegel’s philosophy.” However, it must be said that in the “Holy Family” there are already such motives, which lead outside the bounds of Feuerbach’s materialism. Marx and Engels, thus, subjected to crushing criticism both idealism or spiritualism of Bauer from the point of view of Feuerbach’s real humanism. They argued that although Strauss and Bauer went beyond Hegel in their criticism of theology, they at the same time continued to remain on the basis of his speculation, with each of them developing only one side of his system. Particularly noteworthy are those chapters of the “Holy Family” which are devoted to questions of politics, communism, the problem of the relationship between “spirit” and “masses,” etc. The works of the same period include the article “On the Jewish Question” (1844) and “Preparatory Works for the Holy Family,” published only recently by D. B. Ryazanov. K. Marx’s break with Br. Bauer was associated with his transition to a new point of view. In the German-French Chronicles, Marx outlined only certain basic points of the new world outlook. In German Ideology (1845), Marx and Engels radically dealt with other Left Hegelian trends. In the same “German Ideology,” in the section devoted to the criticism of Ludwig Feuerbach, the foundations of the materialist understanding of history are for the first time set forth. The famous theses of Marx about Feuerbach (written in the spring of 1845) constitute, as F. Engels puts it, “the original document, containing in itself a genius embryo of a new worldview.” The main provisions of the new worldview outlined here were elaborated in detail in the “German Ideology.” If in previous works they criticized the “ideologists” from the point of view of Feuerbach’s materialism, then, starting in 1845, Feuerbach himself was criticized (albeit in relatively soft tones) from the point of view of communist materialism. Feuerbach’s materialism is qualified by them as contemplative materialism, which does not look at the world of concrete phenomena as a practical activity. Feuerbach’s thinking is abstract, therefore his explanation of the essence of religion, based on an abstract, ideological understanding of the essence of man, is imbued with idealistic moments. True, Feuerbach, writes Marx, has a huge advantage over “pure materialists” in that he understands that man, too, is a “sensible object.” But, firstly, he considers a person only as a sensible object, and not as a sensual activity. Secondly, since he considers people not in their given social connection, not in the surrounding life environment, which makes them what they are, then he never gets to really existing, active people, but remains with abstraction “person” and is limited only by what recognizes” real, of an individual, bodily person in sensation.” “He is never able to view the sensory world as an aggregate living, sensual activity of its constituent individuals and therefore is forced – when, for example, instead of healthy people, he notices a crowd of scrofulous people, torn by work and consumptive poor, “to save himself in a” higher intuition, “in an ideal” alignment of the species, “that is, he is forced to fall back into idealism is exactly where the communist materialist sees the necessity and at the same time the condition for the transformation of industry and social dismemberment.” The great historical merit of Marx is that, on the one hand, he extended materialism to historical and social phenomena, and on the other hand, he modified and reformed the old contemplative individualistic materialism into communist materialism. Therefore, in Marx, the problem of the relationship between subject and object received a completely new formulation and a new solution based on historical and practical activities of a public person. But by doing so, Marx also posed in a new way the question of the relationship between the social person and the outside world. At the same time, he discovered the driving forces of all social development. The entire internal structure of a given society turned out to be dependent on the degree of development of its productive forces. But Marx’s aspirations were directed not only towards a purely theoretical explanation of the world, but also towards its revolutionary change. In modern society, the revolutionary class is predominantly the workers, in the conditions of the existence of whom the necessity of “negation” is laid, the need to change the existing bourgeois system. Engels wrote: “Strauss, Bauer, Stirner, Feuerbach were the offspring of Hegel’s philosophy, still standing on philosophical grounds. After his Life of Jesus and Dogmatics, Strauss devoted himself to the philosophical and ecclesiastical historical fiction á la Renan. Bauer did something significant only in the field of the history of the emergence of Christianity; Stirner remained a simple curiosity even after Bakunin amalgamated him with Proudhon and christened this amalgam “anarchism.” Feuerbach alone was an outstanding philosopher.” But Feuerbach did not defeat Hegel with a weapon of criticism, but simply threw him aside, without opposing anything to the encyclopedic wealth of the Hegelian system. “But besides the above, with the disintegration of the Hegelian school, another, the only really fruitful trend was formed,” Engels continues, “this trend is closely connected with the name of Marx.” The break of Marx and Engels with the philosophy of Hegel occurred through a return through Feuerbach to materialism, which they consistently extended to all branches of knowledge. On the other hand, they not only rejected Hegel, but took advantage of the revolutionary side of his philosophy,the dialectical method, reworking it in a materialistic spirit. Hegel’s aspirations to carry the point of view of natural development through all areas of knowledge, deriving them simultaneously from a single source, could not be crowned with success. This was hindered by his idealism, but this was demanded by his dialectical method. The scientific solution to the problem posed by Hegel in this area was again given by the teaching of Marx. Marxism, that is, is the scientific completion of the whole process of fermentation of thought caused by Hegel’s philosophy.


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