Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Conspectus of Hegel’s
Science of Logic
Book II (Essence)

Note: Quoted text and page numbers—i.e., (66)—indicate links to passages in Hegel’s Science of Logic
and to Hegel’s Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline, also known as the Shorter Logic.

Book Two:

Volume IV. (Berlin, 1834) Part I.
Objective Logic. Book II. The Doctrine
of Essence


“The truth of Being is Essence.” (3) [1]
Such is the first sentence, sounding thor-
oughly idealistic and mystical. But
immediately afterwards, a fresh wind,

so to speak, begins to blow: “Being is the
immediate. Knowledge seeks to understand
that truth[2] which Being, in and for
, is, and therefore it does not halt”
(does not halt NB) “at the imme-


diate and its determinations, but pene-
(NB) through (NB) it, assum-
ing that behind (Hegel’s italics) this Being
there is something other than Being itself,
and that this background constitutes the
truth of Being. This cognition is mediated
knowledge, for it is not lodged immedi-
ately. with and in Essence, but begins at
an Other, at Being, and has to make a pre-

liminary passage, the passage of transition
beyond Being, or rather of entrance into


This Bewegung,[3] the path of knowl-
edge, seems to be the “activity of cognition”
(Tätligkeit des Erkennens) “external to Be-


“However, this movement is the move-
ment of Being itself.”


“Essence ... is what it is ... by virtue
of its own infinite movement of Being.”(4)

“Absolute Essence has no Determinate
. Into this, however, it must pass.”(5)

Essence stands midway between Being
and the Notion, as the transition to the No-
tion (=Absolute).

Subdivisions of Essence: Semblance or
Show (Schein), Appearance (Erscheinung),
Actuality (Wirlichkeit).

Das Wesentliche und das Unwesentli-
che.[4] (8) Der Schein. (9)

In the unessential, in Semblance, there
is a moment of not-Being. (10)


i.e., the unessential, seeming, super-
ficial, vanishes more often, does not hold
so “tightly,” does not “sit so firmly” as
as “Essence.” Etwa[5]: the movement
of a river—the foam above and the deep
currents below. But even the
is an expression of essence!


Semblance and scepticism, Kantianism,

     “Semblance then is the phenomenon of
scepticism; or again the appearance of ideal-
ism, such an immediacy, which is neither
Something nor Thing, and, generally, is
not an indifferent Being which could be
outside its determinateness and relation
to the subject. Scepticism did not dare to

affirm ‘it is’; modern idealism did not
dare to regard cognition as a knowledge
of the Thing-in-itself;
with the former,

Semblance was supposed to have no basis
at all in any Being; with the latter, the
Thing-in-itself was supposed incapable of
entering into cognition. But at the same

time scepticism admitted manifold deter-


minations of its Semblance, or rather its
Semblance had for content all the manifold
riches of the world. In the same manner
the appearance of idealism comprehends
the whole range of these manifold determi-

You include in Schein[6] all the wealth
of the world and you deny the objectivity
of Schein!!

Semblance and appearance are immediate-
ly determined so diversely. The content
may then have no basis in any Being nor in
any thing nor Thing-in-itself; for itself it
remains as it is: it has only been translated
from being into Semblance; thus Semblance
contains these manifold determinatenesses,

which are immediate, existent and recip-
rocally other. Semblance itself is, then,
immediately determinate. It may have this
or that content; but whatever content it
has is not posited by itself but belongs to it
immediately. The idealism of Leibnitz,

the imme-
diacy of

Kant or Fichte, like any other form of ideal-
ism, did not reach beyond Being as deter-
minateness, beyond this immediacy any
more than scepticism. Scepticism allows

they did not go

the content “that which is immediately
!! of its Semblance to be given
to it; for it, it is immediate, whatever con-
tent it is to have. The monad of Leibnitz
develops its presentations out of itself;
but it is no creative and connecting force,—
the presentations arise in it like bubbles;
they are indifferent and immediate rela-
tive to one another, and therefore to the

monad itself. Similarly Kant’s phenomenon
is a given content of perception; it presup-
poses affections, determinations of the sub-

cf. Machism!!

ject which are immediate to one another
and to the subject. The infinite limitation
or check of Fichte's idealism refuses per-
haps, to be based on any Thing-in_itself,
so that it becomes purely a determinate-
ness in the Ego. But this determinateness
is immediate and a limit to the Ego, which,
transcending its externality, incorporates
it; and though the Ego can pass beyond
the limit, the latter has in it an aspect
of indifference by virtue of which it
contains an immediate not-Being of
the Ego, though itself contained in the
Ego.” (10-11)

...“Determinations which distinguish it”
(den Schein) “from Essence are deter-
minations of Essence....” (12)


...“It is the immediacy of not-Being
which constitutes Semblance; in Essence,
Being is not-Being. Its nullity in itself is the
negative nature of Essence
itself....” (12)

Semblance =
the negative
nature of

...“These two moments thus constitute
Semblance: Nullity, which however persists,
and Being, which however is Moment; or
again negativity which is in itself, and
reflected immediacy. Consequently these
moments are the moments of Essence it-

“Semblance is Essence itself in the deter-
minateness of Being....” (12-13)

Semblance is (1) nothing, non-exis-
     tent (Nichtigkeit) which
     —(2) Being as moment

“Thus Semblance is Essence itself, but
Essence in a determinateness, and this in
such a manner that determinateness is only
its moment: Essence is the showing of it-
self in itself.” (14)

That which shows itself is essence in
one of its determinations, in one of its
aspects, in one of its moments. Essence
seems to be just that. Semblance is the
showing (Scheinen) of essence itself in

...“Essence ... contains Semblance within
itself, as infinite internal movement....” (14)

...“In this its self-movement Essence is
Reflection. Semblance is the same as Re-
flection.” (14)

Semblance (that which shows itself)
is the Reflection of Essence in (it)

...“Becoming in Essence—its reflective
movement—is hence the movement from
Nothing to Nothing and through Nothing
back to itself....” (15)

This is shrewd and profound. Move-
ments “to nothing” occur in nature and
in life. Only there are certainly none
“from nothing.” Always from something.

“Commonly Reflection is taken in the
subjective meaning of the movement of
judgment which passes beyond a given im-
mediate presentation, seeking universal de-
terminations for it or comparing them with,
it.” (21) (Quotation from Kant—Critique
of the Power of Judgment
[7]).... “Here,
however, neither the reflection of conscious-
ness nor the more determinate reflection of
understanding, which has the particular and
the universal for its determinations, is in
question, but only Reflection in general....”

Thus here too, Hegel charges Kant
with subjectivism. This NB. Hegel is
for the “objective validity” (sit venia
verbo[8]) of Semblance, “of that which
is immediately given” [the expression
that which is given” is gener-
ally used by Hegel, and here see p. 21
i.f.; p. 22]. The more petty philosophers
dispute whether essence or that which
is immediately given should be taken
as basis (Kant, Hume, all the Machists).
Instead of o r, Hegel puts and, explain-
ing the concrete content of this “and.”

“Die Reflexion is the showing of Essence
into itself” (27) (translation? Reflectivity?
Reflective determination? Рефлексия is
not suitable).[9]

“It” (das Wesen) “is a movement through
different moments, absolute self-media-
tion....” (27)
Identity — Difference — Contradiction
       (+Gegensatz[10])   (Ground)...
       (  in particular )
       (  antithesis   )

Therefore Hegel elucidates the one-sided-
ness, the incorrectness of the “law of iden-
tity” (A = A), of the category (all determi-
nations of that which is are categories—
pp. 27-28).

“If everything is self-identical it is not
distinguished: it contains no opposition
and has no ground.” (29)

“Essence is ... simple self-identity.” (30)

Ordinary thinking places resemblance and
difference next to (“daneben”) each other,
not understanding “this movement of
transition of one of these determinations
into the other
” (31)

And again, against the law of identity
(A = A): its adherents


“since they cling to this rigid Identity
which as its opposite in Variety, they do
not see that they are thereby making it
into a one-sided determinateness, which
as such as no truth.” (33)

terms under-
lined by me

(“Empty tautology”: 32)

“It contains only formal truth,
which is abstract and incomplete.” (33)

Kinds of reflection: external, etc.; ex-
pounded very obscurely.

The principles of difference: “All things
are different....” “A is also not A....” (44)

“There are no two things which are en-
tirely alike....”

There is a difference in one or another
aspect (Seite), Rücksicht, etc. “insofern,”[11]

bien dit!!

“The customary tenderness for things,
whose only care is that they shall not
contradict one another, forgets here as else-
where that this is no solution of the contra-
diction, which is merely planted elsewhere,
namely, into subjective or external re-
and that the latter does in fact
contain the two moments—which this re-
moval and transplantation proclaim to be
a mere positedness—in one unity as tran-
scended and related to each other.”(47)

(This irony is exquisite! “Tenderness”
for nature and history (among the philis-
tines)—the endeavour to cleanse them from
contradictions and struggle....)

The result of the addition of plus and mi-
nus is nought. “The result of contradiction
is not only nought
.” (59)

The solution of the contradiction, the re-
duction of positive and negative to “only
determinations” (61) converts Essence (das
Wesen) into Ground (Grund) (ibidem).


...“Resolved Contradiction is, then,
Grund, that is, Essence as unity of Positive
and Negative....” (62)


“Even a slight experience in reflective
thought will perceive that, if anything has
just been determined as Positive, it straight-
way turns into Negative if any progress
is made from that base, and conversely
that a Negative determination turns into
Positive; that reflective thought becomes
confused in these determinations and con-
tradicts itself. Insufficient acquaintance
with the nature of these determinations
leads to the conclusion that this confusion
is a fault which should not occur, and
attributes it to a subjective error. And
in fact this transition does remain mere

confusion insofar as the necessity for this
metamorphosis is not present to
consciousness.“ (63)


...“The opposition of Positive and Nega-
tive is especially taken in the meaning
that the former (although etymologically
it expresses being posited or positedness)
is to be an objective entity, and the latter
subjective, belonging only to external
reflection and in no way concerned with
the objective, which is in and for itself
and quite ignores it.” (64) “And indeed if
the Negative expresses nothing but the
abstraction af subjective caprice....” (then
it, this Negative, does not exist “für das
objective Positive”[12])....

Truth, too, is the Positive, as knowl-
edge, corresponding with its object but
it is this self-equality only insofar as
knowledge has already taken up a negative
attitude to the Other, has penetrated the
, and transcended that negation which
the object is. Error is a Positive, as an
opinion affirming that which is not in

Truth and

and for itself, an opinion which knows

itself and asserts itself. But ignorance is
either indifference to truth and error, and
thus determined neither as positive nor as
negative,—and if it is determined as a de-

that which
is in and for

ficiency, this determinatian belongs to ex-
ternal reflection; or else, objectively and
as proper determinatian af a nature, it
is the impulse which is directed against
itself, a negative which contains a positive
direction.—It is of the greatest impor-
tance to recognise this nature af the Deter-
minations af Reflection which have been
considered here, that their truth consists
only in their relation to each other, and
therefore in the fact that each contains the
other in its own concept. This must be
understood and remembered, far without
this understanding not a step can really
be taken in philosophy.” (65-66) This
from the Note 1.————

Note 2. “The Law of the Excluded Middle

Hegel quotes this proposition af the ex-
cluded middle. “Something is either A or
not A; there is no third” (66) and “anal-
” it. If it implies that “alles ein
Entgegengesetztes ist,”[13] that everything
has its positive and its negative determi-
nation, then it is all right. But if it is
understood as it is generally understood,
that, of all predicates, either a given
one, or its not-Being, applies, then this
is a “triviality”!! Spirit ... sweet, not sweet?
green, not green? The determination should
lead to determinateness, but in this triv-
iality it leads to nothing.

And then—Hegel says wittily—it is
said that there is no third. There is a third
in this thesis itself. A itself is the third, for
A can be both + A and - A. “The Some-
thing thus is itself the third term which
was supposed to be excluded.” (67)

This is shrewd and correct. Every con-
crete thing, every concrete something,
stands in multifarious and often con-
tradictory relations to everything else,
ergo it is itself and some other.

Note 3 (at the end of Chapter 2, Sec-
tion 1 of Book II of the Logic). “the
Law of Contradiction

“If now the primary Determinations of
Reflection—Identity, Variety and Oppo-
sition—are established in a proposition,
then the determination into which they
pass over as into their truth (namely Con-
tradiction) should much more so be com-
prehended and expressed in a proposition:
all things are contradicto-
ry in themselves
, in this meaning,

that this proposition as opposed to the
others expresses much better the truth
and essence of things

which emerges in Opposition, is no more
than developed Nothing; and this is already
contained in Identity, and occurred in the
expression that the law of identity states
nothing. This negation further determines
itself into Variety and into Opposition,
which now is posited Contradiction.

“But it has been a fundamental prejudice
of hitherto existing logic and of ordinary
imagination that Contradiction is a deter-
mination having less essence and immanence
than Identity; but indeed, if there were

any question of rank, and the two deter-
minations had to be fixed as separate, Cont-
radiction would have to be taken as the
more profound and more fully essential.

For as opposed to it Identity is only the
determination of simple immediacy, or

of dead Being, while Contradiction is the
rood of all movement and vitality,
and it is only insofar as it contains a Con-
tradiction that anything moves and
has impulse and activity


“Ordinarily Contradiction is removed,

first of all from things, from the existent
and the true in general; and it is asserted
that there is nothing contradictory. Next
it is shifted into subjective reflection,
which alone is said to posit it by relat-

ing and comparing it. But really it does
not exist even in this reflection, for it is
impossible to imagine or to think anything
contradictory. Indeed, Contradiction, both
in actuality and in thinking reflection, is
considered an accident, a kind of abnormal-
ity or paroxysm of sickness which will soon
pass away.

“With regard to the assertion that Con-
tradiction does not exist, that it is non-
existent, we may disregard this statement.
In every experience thete must be an ab-
solute determination of Essence—in every
actuality as well as in every concept.
The same remark has already been made
above, under Infinity, which is Contradic-
tion as it appears in the sphere of Being.
But ordinary experience itself declares that
at least there are a number of contradic-
tory things, arrangements and so forth, the
contradiction being present in them and
not merely in an external reflection. But
it must further not be taken only as an
abnormality which occurs just here and

there; it is the Negative in its essential
determination, the principle all self-

movement, which consists of nothing else
but an exhibition of Contradiction. Exter-

nal, sensible motion is itself its immediate
existence. Something moves, not because
it is here at one point of time and there
at another, but because at one and the
same point of time it is here and not here,
and in this here both is and is not. We
must grant the old dialecticians the contra-
dictions which they prove in motion; but
what follows is not that there is no mo-
tion, but rather that motion is existent
Contradiction itself.

“And similarly internal self-movement
proper, or impulse in general (the appe-
titive force or nisus of the monad, the en-
telechy of absolutely simple Essence), is
nothing else than the fact that something is
in itself and is also the deficiency or the neg-
ative of itself, inbne and the same respect.
Abstract self-identity has no vi-
but the fact that Positive in itself
is negativity causes it to pass outside itself

and to change. Something therefore is
living only insofar as it contains Contra-
diction, and is that force which can both

comprehend and endure Contradiction. But

if an existent something cannot in its pos-
itive determination also encroach on its
negative, cannot hold fast the one in the
other and contain Contradiction within it-
self, then it is not living unity, or Ground,
but perishes in Contradiction. Speculative

thought consists only in this, that thought
holds fast Contradiction and itself in Con-
tradiction and not in that it allows itself
to be dominated by it—as happens to imag-
ination—or suffers its determinations to be
resolved into others, or into Nothing.”

Movement and “self-movement” (this
NB! arbitrary (independent), spon-
taneous, internally-necessary movement),
“change,” “movement and vitality,” “the
principle of all self-movement,” “impulse”
(Trieb) to “movement” and to “activity”—
the opposite to “dead Being”—who
would believe that this is the core of “He-
gelianism,” of abstract and abstrusen (pon-
derous, absurd?) Hegelianism?? This core
had to be discovered, understood, hin-
überretten,[14] laid bare, refined, which is
precisely what Marx and Engels did.

The idea of universal movement and
change (1813 Logic) was conjectured before
its application to life and society. In regard
to society it was proclaimed earlier (1847)
than it was demonstrated in application
to man (1859).[15]

“In movement, impulse, and the like,

the simplicity of these determinations con-
ceals the contradiction from imagination;
but this contradiction immediately stands
revealed in the determinations of relation.


The most trivial examples—above and be-
low, right and left, father and son, and so
on without end—all contain Contradiction
in one term. That is above which is not
below; ‘above’ is determined only as not
being ‘below,’ and is only insofar as there
is a ‘below,’ and conversely: one deter-
mination implies its opposite. Father is
the Other of son, and son of father, and
each exists only as this Other of the other;
and also the one determination exists only
in relation to the other: their Being is one

”Thus although Imagination everywhere
has Contradiction for content, it never
becomes aware of it; it remains an external
reflection, which passes from Likeness to
Unlikeness, or from negative relation to
intro-reflectedness of the different terms.

It keeps these two determinations external
to each other, and has in mind only these
and not their transition, which is the es-
sential matter and contains the Contradic-

tion.—On the other hand, intelligent reflec-
tion, if we may mention this here, consists
in the understanding and enunciating of
Contradiction. It does not express the con-
cept of things and their relations, and has
only determinations of imagination for ma-
terial and content; but still it relates them,
and the relation contains their contradic-
tion, allowing their concept to show through
the contradiction.—Thinking Reason, on
the other hand, sharpens (so to speak)
the blunt difference of Variety, the mere
manifold of imagination, into essential
difference, that is, Opposition. The mani-
fold entities acquire activity and vitality
in relation to one another only when driven
on to the sharp point of Contradiction;
thence they draw negativity, which is the
inherent pulsation of self-movement and
vitality....” (70-71)


     (1) Ordinary imagination grasps dif-
ference and contradiction, but not the
transition from one to the other,
this however is the most
     (2) Intelligence and understanding.
     Intelligence grasps contradiction,
enunciates it, brings things into rela-
tion with one another, allows the
“concept to show through the contra-
diction,” but does not express the
concept of things and their relations.
     (3) Thinking reason (understanding)
sharpens the blunt difference of vari-
ety, the mere manifold of imagination,
into essential difference, into opposi-
. Only when raised to the peak of
contradiction, do the manifold enti-
ties become active (regasm) and lively
in relation to one another,—they re-
ceive[16] acquire that negativity which
is the inherent pulsation
of self-movement and


Der Grund—(ground)
(1) Absolute Ground—die Grundlage (the
      foundation). “Form and Matter.” “Con-
(2) Determinate Ground (as the ground
      [for] a determinate content)

Its transition to Conditioning Media-

die bedingende Vermittelung

(3) The Thing-in-Itself (transition to Exis-
). Note."The Law of Ground"

Customary proposition: “Everything has
its sufficient Ground.”

“In general this just means that what is
must be considered not as an existent im-
mediate, but as a posited entity. We must
not remain at immediate Determinate Be-
ing or at determinateness in general, but
must pass back to its Ground....”(76)
It is superfluous to add: sufficient Ground.
What is insufficient, is not Ground.

Leibnitz, who made the law of sufficient
ground the basis of his philosophy, un-
derstood more profoundly. “Leib-
especially opposed the sufficiency of
Ground to causality in its strict
meaning of mechanical efficacy.”
(76) He looked for “Beziehung” der Ursach-
en[17] (77),——“the whole as essential unity.”


He looked for ends, but teleology
does not belong here, according to
Hegel, but to the doctrine of the No-


...“The question cannot therefore be
asked, how Form is added to Essence; for
Form is only the showing of Essence in
itself—it is its own immanent (sic!) Re-
flection....” (81)


Form is essential. Essence is
formed. In one way or another also in
dependence on Essence....


Essence as formless identity (of itself
with itself) becomes matter. (82)

“...It” (die Materie[18]) “is the real foun-
dation or substratum of Form....”(82)

“If abstraction is made from every de-
termination and Form of a Something,
indeterminate Matter remains. Matter is
a pure abstract. (—Matter cannot be seen
or felt, etc.—what is seen or felt is a de-
terminate Matter
, that is, a unity of Matter
and Form).” (82)

Matter is not the Ground of Form, but
the unity of Ground and Grounded. (83)
Matter is the passive, Form is the active
(tätiges). “Matter must be formed,
and Form must materialise itself....” (84)


Now this, which appears as the activity
of Form, is equally the proper movement
of Matter itself....” (85-86)


...“Both—the activity of Form and the
movement of Matter—are the same.... Mat-
ter is determined as such or necessarily has
a Form; and Form is simply material,
persistent Form.” (86)

Note: “Formal Method of Explanation
from Tautological Grounds”

Very often, Hegel says, especially in the
physical sciences, “Grounds” are explained
tautologically: the movement of the earth
is explained by the “attractive force” of
the sun. And what then is attractive force?
It is also movement!! (92) Empty tautol-
ogy: why does this man go to town? Be-
cause of the attractive force of the town!
(93) It also happens in science that at first
molecules, the ether, “electrical matter”
(95-96), etc., are put forward as “ground,”
and then it turns out “that they” (these con-
cepts) “are determinations deduced from
that for which they are meant to be the
grounds—hypotheses and figments derived
by an uncritical reflection....” (96) Or it is
said that “we do not know the inner nature
itself of these forces and classes of matter...”
(96) then there remains indeed Nothing to
“explain,” but one must simply limit one-
self to the facts....

Der reale Grund[19]... is not tautology,
but already “some other determination of
Content.” (97)

On the question of “Ground” (Grund),
Hegel remarks inter alia:
     “If it is said of Nature that it is the
ground of the world, then what is called
Nature is identical with the world, and
the world is nothing but Nature itself.”
(100) On the other hand, “if Nature is to
be the world, a manifold of determinations
is added externally....”

Since everything has “mehere”—“Inhalts-
bestimmungen, Verhältnisse und Rücksich-
ten,”[20] so any number of arguments for
and against can be put forward. (103)
That is what Socrates and Plato called
sophistry. Such arguments do not contain
“the whole extent of the thing,” they do not
“exhaust” it (in the sense “of constituting its
connections” and “containing all” its sides).

The transition of Ground (Grund) into
condition (Bedingung).


If I am not mistaken, there is much
mysticism and leeres[21] pedantry in
these conclusions of Hegel, but the basic
idea is one of genius: that of the univer-
sal, all-sided vital connection of every-
thing with everything and the reflec-
tion of this connection—materialistiisch
auf den Kopf gestellter Hegel[22]
human concepts, which must likewise
be hewn, treated, flexible, mobile, rel-
ative, mutually connected, united in
opposites, in order to embrace the world.
Continuation of the work of Hegel and
Marx must consist in the dialec-
elaboration of the history of hu-
man thought, science and technique.


A river and the drops in this river.
The position of every drop, its relation
to the others; its connection with the
others; the direction of its movement;
its speed; the line of the movement—
straight, curved, circular, etc.—upwards,
downwards. The sum of the movement.
Concepts, as registration of individual
aspects of the movement, of individ-
ual drops (=“things”), of individual
streams,” etc. There you have à peu
près[24] the picture of the world according
to Hegel’s Logic,—of course minus God
and the Absolute.

And purely
Das fällt
It must
coincide, as
induction and
deduction in
The word
moment” is
often used
by Hegel in
the sense of
moment of
of concate-

“When all the conditions of a thing are
present, it enters into existence....” (116)


Very Good! What has the Absolute
    Idea and idealism to do with it?


Amusing, this “derivation” of . . . exis-



The first phrase: “Essence must appear....”
(119) The appearance of Essence is (1)
Existenz (Thing); (2) Appearance (Erschei-
nung). (“Appearance is what the Thing
is in itself, or its truth” “The intro-
reflected self-existent world stands opposed
to the world of Appearance....“ (120) (3)
Verhältnis (relation) and Actuality.

Incidentally: “Demonstration in general
is mediated cognition....” (121)

...“The various kinds of Being demand
or contain their own kind of mediation;
consequently the nature of demonstration
too is different for each.......” (121)


And again ... on the existence of
God!! This wretched God, as soon as
the word existence is mentioned, he
takes offence.


Existence differs from Being by its medi-
ation (Vermittlung: 124) [?By concrete-
ness and Connection?]

...“The Thing-in-itself and its medi-
ated Being are both contained in Existence,
and each is an Existence; the Thing-in-it-
self exists and is the essential Existence
of the Thing, while mediated Being is its
unessential Existence....” (125)

The Thing-in-itself is related to
Being as the essential to the non-

...“The latter” (Ding-an-sich) “is not sup-
posed to contain in itself any determinate
multiplicity, and consequently obtains this
only when brought under external reflec-
tion, but remains indifferent to it. (—The
Thing-in-itself has colour only in relation
to the eye, smell in relation to the nose,
and so forth.)...” (126)

...“A Thing has the Property of effecting
this or that in an Other, and of disclosing
itself in a peculiar manner in its relation
to it....” (129) “The Thing-in-itself thus
exists essentially....” (131)

The Note deals with “The Thing-in-itself
of Transcendental Idealism....”

...“The Thing-in-itself as such is no more
than the empty abstraction from all deter-
minateness, of which it is admitted that
nothing can be known just because it is
meant to be the abstraction from all deter-

Transcendental idealism ... places “all
determinateness of things (both with regard
to form and to content) in consciousness...”
(131) “accordingly, from this point of view,
it falls within me, the subject, that I see
the leaves of a tree not as black but as
green, the sun as round and not as square,
and taste sugar as sweet and not as bit-
ter; that I determine the first and second
strokes of a clock as successive and not as
simultaneous, and determine the first to be
neither the cause nor the effect of the
second, and so forth” (131).... Hegel further
makes the reservation that he has here
investigated only the question of the
Thing-in-itself and “äußerliche Refle-


“The essential inadequacy of the stand-
point at which this philosophy halts con-
sists in this, that it clings to the abstract
Thing-in-itself as to an ultimate determi-
nation; it opposes Reflection, or the deter-
minateness and multiplicity of the Prop-
erties, to the Thing-in-itself; while in
fact the Thing-in-itself essentially has this
External Reflection in itself, and deter-
mines itself as an entity endowed with its
proper determinations, or Properties; whence
it is seen that the abstraction of the Thing,
which makes it pure Thing-in-itself, is an
untrue determination.” (132)

the core =
against sub-
jectivism and
the split
between the
itself and

...“Many different Things are in essen-
tial Reciprocal Action by virtue of their
Properties; Property is this very recipro-
cal relation, and apart from it the Thing
is nothing....” (133)

Die Dingheit[26] passes over into Eigen-
schaft.[27] (134) Eigenschaft into “matter”
or “Stoff”[28] (“things consist of sub-
stance”), etc.

“Appearance at this point is Essence
in its Existence....” (144) “Appearance ...
is the unity of semblance and Existence....”


Unity in appearances: “This unity is the
Law of Appearance. Law therefore is the
positive element in the mediation of the
Apparent.” (148)

law (of

|Here in general utter obscurity.
But there is a vital thought, evident-
ly: the concept of law is one of the
stages of cognition by man of
unity and connection, of the recip-
rocal dependence and totality of the
world process. The “treatment” and
“twisting” of words and concepts to
which Hegel devotes himself here is
a struggle against making the con-
cept of law absolute, against simplify-
ing it, against making a fetish of it.
NB for modern physics!!!|

“This enduring persistence which belongs
to Appearance in Law....” (149)

NB  ||
Law ||
is the endur-
ing (the
persisting) in

...“Law is the Reflection of Appearance
into identity with itself.” (149) (Law is
the identical in appearances: “the Reflection
of Appearance into identity with itself.”)

(Law is the
identical in

...“This identity, the foundation of Ap-
pearance, which constitutes Law, is the
peculiar moment of Appearance....” (150)


Hence Law is not beyond Appearance,
but is immediately present in it; the realm
of Laws is the quiescent (Hegel’s italics)
reflection of the existing or appearing
world....” (150)

Law = the
reflection of
appearances NB

This is remarkably materialistic
and remarkably appropriate (with
the word “ruhige”[29]) determination.
Law takes the quiescent—and there-
fore law, every law, is narrow, in-
complete, approximate.


“Existence passes back into Law as into
its Ground; Appearance contains them
both—simple Ground and the dissolving
movement of the appearing universe, of
which Ground is the essentiality.”
“Hence law is essential appearance.”

Law is

Ergo, law and essence are concepts
of the same kind (of the same order),
or rather, of the same degree, expressing
the deepening of man’s knowledge of
phenomena, the world, etc.

The movement of the universe in ap-
pearances, (Bewegung des erscheinenden
Universums), in the essentiality of this
movement, is law.

(Law is the
reflection of
the essential
in the move-

“The realm of Laws is the quies-
content of Appearance; Appearance
is this same content, but presents itself
in unquiet change and as Reflection into
other.... Appearance, therefore, as against

ment of the
((law = part))

Law is the totalisy, for it contains Law,
but also more, namely the moment
of self-moving Form.” (151)

is richer
than law)

But further on, although unclearly,
it is admitted, it seems, p. 154,
that law can make up for this Man-
gel[30] and embrace both the negative
side and the Totalität der Erschei-
nung[31] (especially 154 i. f.). Re-
turn to this!


The World in and for itself is identical
with the World of Appearances, but at the
same time it is opposite to it. (158) What
is positive in the one is negative in the
other. What is evil in the World of Appear-
ances is good in the world which is in and
for itself. Cf.—Hegel says here—The Phe-
nomenology of Mind
, p. 121 et seq.

“The Appearing and the Essential World
are each ... the independent whole of Exis-
tence. One was to have been only reflected
Existence, and the other only immediate
Existence; but each continues itself in
the other, and consequently in itself is the
identity of these two moments.... Both
in the first instance are independent, but
they are independent only as totalities,
and they are this insofar as each essentially
has in itself the moment of the other....”


The essence here is that both the
world of appearances and the world in
itself are moments of man’s knowledge
of nature, stages, alterations or deepen-
ings (of knowledge). The shifting of
the world in itself further and further
from the world of appearances—that is
what is so far still not to be seen in Hegel.
N B. Have not Hegel’s “moments” of
the concept the significance of “mo-
ments” of transition?


...“Thus Law is Essential
.” (160) (Hegel’s italics)

( Law is relation. This N B for the
Machists and other agnostics, and for the
Kantians, etc. Relation of essences or be-
tween essences. )

“The term world expresses the formless
totality of multifariousness....” (160) 

And the third chapter (“Essential Rela-
”) begins with the proposition: “The
truth of Appearance is Essential Relation....”

     The relation of Whole to Parts;
this relation passes into the following one
(sic!! (p. 168)):—of Force to its Man-
;—of Inner to Outer.—
The transition to Substance, Actu-

...“The truth of the relation consists,
then, in mediation....” (167)

“Transition” to Force: “Force is the neg-
ative unity into which the contradiction
of Whole and Parts has resolved itself; it
is the truth of that first Relation.”

((This is one of 1,000 similar passages
in Hegel, which arouse the fury of naïve
philosophers like Pearson, the author of The
Grammar of Science
.[32]—He quotes a
similar passage and exclaims in fury: What
a galimatias is being taught in our schools!!
And in a certain limited sense he is right.
To teach that is stupid. One must first of all
extract the materialistic dialectics from
it. Nine-tenths of it, however, is chaff,

Force makes its appearance as “belong-
ing” (als angehörig) (171) ”to the existing
Thing or Matter....” “When therefore it is
asked how the Thing or Matter comes to
have a Force, then the Force appears as
connected with it externally, and impressed
on the Thing by an alien power.” (171)


...“This is apparent in all natural,
scientific, and, in general,
intellectual development

and it is essential to understand that the First,
when as yet Something is internal, or in
its concept, is, for this reason, only its
immediate and passive existence....” (181)


     The beginning of everything can
be regarded as inner—passive—and
at the same time as outer.
     But what is interesting here is
not that, but something else: Hegel’s
criterion of dialectics that has acci-
dentally slipped in: “in all nat-
ural, scientific and in-
tellectual development

here we have a grain of profound
truth in the mystical integument of

Example: the germ of a man, says Hegel,
is only internal man, dem Anderssein Preis-
gegebenes,[33] the passive. Gott[34] at first
is not yet Spirit. “Immediately,
therefore, God is
only Nature.”
     (This is also characteristic!!)

Down with
Gott, there



...“Actuality is the unity of Essence and

Subdivisions: 1) “The Absolute”—
2) Actuality proper. “Actuality, Possibil-
and Necessity constitute the formal
moments of the Absolute.” 3) “Absolute
Relation”: Substance.[37]

“In it itself” (dem Absoluten) “there is
no Becoming” (187)—and other nonsense about
the Absolute....

The Absolute is the absolute Absolute...


The Attribute is a relative Absolute...


In a “note” Hegel speaks (all too gener-
ally and obscurely) of the defects of the
philosophy of Spinoza and Leibnitz.

Inter alia note:
     “The one-sidedness of one philosophic
principle is generally faced by its opposite
one-sidedness, and, as everywhere, totality
at least is found as a dispersed complete-
” (197)

usually: from
one extreme
to the other
totality =(in
the shape of)

Actuality is higher than Being, and
higher than Existence.

(1) Being is Imme-
Being is not
yet actual
.” (200)
It passes into other.
(2) Existence (it
passes into Ap-
—arises out of Ground,
out of Conditions,
but it still lacks the
unity of “Relfection
and immediacy.”
(3) Actuality unity of Existence
and Being-in-self

...“Actuality also stands higher than Exis-
tence” (200)....

...“Real Necessity is a relation which
is full of content”.... “But this Necessity is
at the same time relative....” (211)

“Absolute Necessity then is the truth
into which Actuality and Possibility in
general pass back, as well as Formal and
Real Necessity.” (215)


(End of Volume II of the Logic, the Doc-
trine of Essence)...

It is to be noted that in the small Logic
(the Encyclopaedia)[39] the same thing is
expounded very often more clearly, with
concrete examples. Cf. idem Engels and
Kuno Fischer.[40]

On the question of “possibility,” Hegel
notes the emptiness of this category and
says in the Encyclopaedia:
     “Whether a thing is possible or impossible
depends on the content, i.e., on the sum-
total of the moments of Actuality which in
its unfolding discloses itself to be Ne-
cessity.” (Encyclopaedia, Vol. VI, p. 287,[41]
ยง 143, Addendum.)


“The sum-total, the en-
tirety of the moments of
, which, in its unfold-
discloses itself to be Necessity.”
     The unfolding of the sum-total of
the moments of actuality N B = the
essence of dialectical cognition.


Cf. In the same Encyclopaedia, Vol. VI,
p. 289, the eloquent words on the vanity of
mere delight at the wealth and flux of the
phenomena of nature and on the neces-

...“of advancing to a closer insight into
the inner harmony and uniformity
of nature
....” (289) (Closeness
to materialism

Ibidem Encyclopaedia, p. 292: “Devel-
oped Actuality, as the coincident alternation
of Inner and Outer, the alternation of their
opposite motions combined in a single
motion, is Necessity.”

Encyclopaedia, Vol. VI, p. 294:
...“Necessity is blind only insofar as it
is not understood....”

Ibidem, p. 295 “it happens to him” (dem
Menschen[42])... “that from his activity there
arises something quite different from what
he had meant and willed....”

Ibidem, p. 301Substance is an essen-
stage in the Process of
of the Idea....”

Read: an important stage in the proc-
ess of development of human knowl-
of nature and matter.


Logik,[43] Vol. IV

...“It” (die Substanz) “is the Being in all
Being....” (220)[44]

The Relation of Substantiality passes
over into the Relation of Causality. (223)

...“Substance attains ... Actuality only
when it has become Cause....” (225).


On the one hand, knowledge of mat-
ter must be deepened to knowledge (to
the concept) of Substance in order to
find the causes of phenomena. On the
other hand, the actual cognition of the
cause is the deepening of knowledge
from the externality of phenomena to
the Substance. Two types of examples
should explain this: 1) from the his-
tory of natural science, and 2) from the
history of philosophy. More exactly:
it is not “examples” that should be
here—comparison n’est pas raison,[45]
but the quintessence of the history of
both the one and the other + the his-
tory of technique.


...“Effect contains nothing whatever which
Cause does not contain...” (226) und um-


Cause and effect, ergo, are merely mo-
ments of universal reciprocal dependence,
of (universal) connection, of the recip-
rocal concatenation of events, merely
links in the chain of the development
of matter.


     “It is the same fact which displays itself
first as Cause and then as Effect,—here as
peculiar persistence and there as posited-
ness or determination in an Other.” (227)


     The all-sidedness and all-embrac-
ing character of the interconnection
of the world, which is only one-
sidedly, fragmentarily amd incom-
pletely expressed by causality.


“But we may here and now observe that,
insofar as the relation of cause and effect
is admitted (although in an improper sense),
effect cannot be greater than cause; for
effect is nothing further than the manifes-
tation of cause.” (230)


And further about history. Hegel says
that it is customary in history to quote
anecdotes as the minor “causes” of major
events—in fact they are only occasions,
only äußere Erregung,[47] which “the inner

in history
“minor causes
of major

spirit of the event would not have required.”
(230) “Consequently, these arabesques of
history, where a huge shape is depicted as
growing from a slender stalk, are a spright-
ly but a most superficial treatment.” (Ibi-


This “inner spirit”—c.f. Plekhanov[48]
is an idealistic, mystical, but a very
profound indication of the historical
causes of events. Hegel subsumes his-
tory completely under causality and un-
derstands causality a thousand times
more profoundly and richly than the
multitude of “savants” nowadays.


“Thus a stone in motion is cause; its
movement is a determination which it has,
while besides this it contains many other
determinations of colour, shape, and so
on, which do not enter into its causal na-
ture.” (232)

Causality, as usually understood by
us, is only a small particle of universal
interconnection, but (a materialist ex-
tension) a particle not of the subjective,
but of the objectively real intercon-


“But the movement of the Determi-
nate Relation of Causality has now
resulted in this, that the cause is not
merely extinguished in the effect, and
with it the effect too (as happens in Formal
Causality),—but the cause in its extinction,
in the effect, becomes again; that effect
vanishes into cause, but equally becomes
again in it. Each of these determinations
cancels itself in its positing and posits it-
self in its cancellation; what takes place
is not an external transition of causality
from one substratum to another, but this
its becoming other is at the same time
its own positing. Causality, then, presup-
poses or conditions itself.” (235)


“The movement of the relation of cau-
sality” = in fact: the movement of mat-
ter, respective the movement of history,
grasped, mastered in its inner connec-
up to one or other degree of breadth
or depth....


“At this point Reciprocity presents itself
as a reciprocal causality of presupposed
substances conditioning each other; each
is, in relation to the other, at once active
and passive substance.” (240)

“In Reciprocity, original Causality pre-
sents itself as an arising out of its negation
(or passivity) and as a passing away into
it—as a Becoming....


“Necessity and Causality have, then,
vanished in it; they contain both the imme-
diate identity (as connection and relation)

and relation”

and the absolute substantiality of dis-

tincts, and therefore their absolute con-
tingency,—the original unity of substan-
tial variety, hence absolute contradiction.
Necessity is Being, because it is;—the self-

“unity of sub-
stance in the

unity of Being, which has itself for ground;
but, conversely, because it has a ground,

it is not Being, it is nothing whatever but
Semblance, relation or mediation. Cau-
sality is this posited transition of original
Being, or cause, into Semblance or mere


positedness, and conversely of positedness
into originality; but the identity itself
of Being and Semblance is, still, inner Ne-
cessity. This internality (or Being-in-Self)
transcends the movement of Causality; and
concurrently, the substantiality of the sides

which are in relation is lost—Necessity
reveals itself. Necessity does not become
Freedom because it vanishes, but only
because its identity (as yet an inner iden-
tity) is manifested.” (241-242)

necessity does
not disap-
pear, when it

When one reads Hegel on causality,
it appears strange at first glance that
he dwells so relatively lightly on this
theme, beloved of the Kantians. Why?
Because, indeed, for him causality is
only one of the determinations of univer-
sal connection, which he had already
covered earlier, in his entire exposition,
much more deeply and all-sidedly; al-
and from the very outset empha-
sising this connection, the reciprocal
transitions, etc., etc. It would be very
instructive to compare the “birth-
” of neo-empiricism (respective
“physical idealism”) with the solutions
of rather with the dialectical method
of Hegel.


It is to be noted also that in the Ency-
Hegel stresses the inadequacy
and emptiness of the bare concept of “re-
ciprocal action.”

Vol. VI, p. 308 [49]:
     “Reciprocity is undoubtedly the proxi-
mate truth of the relation of cause and
effect, and stands, so to say, on the thresh-
old of the Notion, nevertheless, precisely
on this account one should not rest con-
tent with applying this relation, insofar
as it is a matter of, conceptual cognition.


If one gets no further than considering
a given content merely from the point of
view of reciprocity, then such an atti-
tude is in fact quite without concept; it is

city” =

then merely a matter of a dry fact, and

the requirement of mediation, which is
the point of immediate concern in apply-
ing the relation of causality, still remains

the require-
ment of med-
iation, (of

unsatisfied. On closer examination, the
deficiency in the application of the rela-
tion of reciprocal action is seen to be that
this relation, instead of being the equiva-
lent of the Notion, has itself to be grasped
first of all. And this occurs through its

that is the
point at issue
in applying
the relation
of causality

two sides not being left as an immediate
datum but, as was shown in the two pre-
ceding paragraphs, being recognised as mo-
ments of a third, higher determination,
which is precisely the Notion. If, for
example, we regard the customs of the
Spartans as the effect of their constitu-
tion, and the latter, conversely, as the
effect of their customs, such a view may

perhaps be correct, but it is a conception
that. gives no final satisfaction
, because in
point of fact it enables neither the con-
stitution nor the customs of this people


to be understood. Such understanding can
only come about when these two aspects,
and likewise all the other special aspects
of the life and the history of the Spartans
are recognised to be grounded in this
Notion.” (308-309)

all the “spe-
cial aspects”
of the whole

— — — — —
     At the end of the second volume of the
Logic, Vol. VI, p. 243, in the transition
to the “Notion,” the determination is given:
“the Notion, the realm of Subjectivity, or
of Freedom....”


NB  Freedom = Subjectivity
End, Consciousness, Endeavour




[1] Hegel, Werke, Bd. IV, Berlin, 1834.—Ed.

[2] Incidentally. Hegel more than once pokes fun at [cf. the passages cited above on gradualness] the word (and the concept) erklären (explanation), obviously opposing to the metaphysical solution once for all (“it has been explained”!!) the eternal process of cognition penetrating deeper and deeper. Cf. Volume III, p. 463: “can be cognised or, as they say, explained.”—Ed.

[3] movement—Ed.

[4] The Essential and the Unessential.—Ed.

[5] approximately.—Ed.

[6] Semblance or Show—Ed.

[7] The refernece is to Die Kritik der Urteilskraft by Kant.

[8] If it may be called that—Ed.

[9] Variants of the translation of the German word “die Reflexion” into Russian are given within the parentheses.—Ed.

[10] The word Gegensatz is crossed out in the MS.—Ed.

[11] consideration, etc., “insofar as,” etc.—Ed.

[12] “for the objective positive”—Ed.

[13] “everything is the term of an opposition”—Ed.

[14] rescued—Ed.

[15] Lenin is referring to the appearance of the following three works: Hegel’s Science of Logic (the first two books were published in 1812 and 1813, respectively); Marx and EngelsManifesto of the Communist Party (written at the end of 1847 and published in February 1848); and Darwin’s Origin of Species (published in 1859).

[16] The word “receive” is crossed out in the MS.—Ed.

[17] “relation” of causes—Ed.

[18] matter—Ed.

[19] real GroundEd.

[20] “multiple”—“content determinations, relations and considerations”—Ed.

[21] empty—Ed.

[22] Hegel materialistically turned upside down—Ed.

[23] It coincides.—Ed.

[24] approximately—Ed.

[25] “external reflection”—Ed.

[26] thinghood—Ed.

[27] property—Ed.

[28] “substance”—Ed.

[29] “quiescent”—Ed.

[30] deficiency—Ed.

[31] Totality of Appearance—Ed.

[32] The reference is to K. Pearson’s work The Grammar of Science, London, 1892.

[33] something given up to otherness—Ed.

[34] God—Ed.

[35] “links up” to this—Ed.

[36] nature—Ed.

[37] Here Lenin’s manuscript gives the list of chapters of Section III: 1) “The Absolute”; 2) “Actuality”; 3) “The Absolute Relation.”—Ed.

[38] At this point Lenin’s manuscript continues in a new notebook.—Ed.

[39] The reference is to Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse. Hegel, Werke, Bd. 6, Berlin, 1840 (Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline, Hegel, Works, Vol. 6, Berlin, 1840). “Logic” constitutes Part I of the Encyclopaedia and is referred to by Lenin as “small” to distinguish it from the “large” Science of Logic, which consists of three volumes.

[40] Lenin is referring to remarks by Engels on Hegel’s Encyclopaedia. See Engels’ letter to Marx dated September 21, 1874. Also see Engels’ letter to Conrad Schmidt dated November 1, 1891 (Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 519-520).
     Kuno Fischer—a German bourgeois historian of philosophy and the author of The History of Modern Philosophy, one of whose volumes (Vol. 8) is devoted to Hegel.

[41] Hegel, Werke, Bd. VI, Berlin, 1840.—Ed.

[42] to man.—Ed.

[43] LogicEd.

[44] Hegel, Werke, Bd. IV, Berlin, 1834.—Ed.

[45] comparison is not proof—Ed.

[46] and vice versaEd.

[47] external stimulus—Ed.

[48] See G. Plekhanov, “For the Sixtieth Anniversary of Hegel’s Death,” (Selected Philosophical Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1960).

[49] Hegel, Werke, Bd. VI, Berlin, 1840.—Ed.



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