Hegel’s Science of Logic



§ 1652

1. The Notion of life, or universal life, is the immediate Idea, the Notion whose objectivity corresponds to it; but its objectivity corresponds to it only in so far as the Notion is the negative unity of this externality, that is to say, posits it as corresponding to the Notion. The infinite relation of the Notion to itself is as negativity a self-determining, the diremption of itself into itself as subjective individuality and itself as indifferent universality. The Idea of life in its immediacy is as yet only the creative universal soul. By reason of this immediacy, its first negative relation of the Idea within it is the self-determination of itself as Notion — the implicit positing that only becomes explicit or for itself through its return into itself — a creative presupposing. Through this self-determining, the universal life becomes a particular; it has thereby sundered itself into the two extremes of the judgement, which immediately becomes a syllogism.

§ 1653

The determinations of the opposition are the general determinations of the Notion, for it is the Notion which has been sundered; but the filling of these determinations is the Idea. One extreme is the unity of the Notion and reality, which is the Idea, as the immediate unity that at an earlier stage appeared as objectivity. But here it is in a different determination. There it was the unity of Notion and reality, where the Notion has passed over into the reality in which it is merely lost; it did not stand over against the reality, or in other words, because the Notion is for the reality only an inner, it is merely a reflection external to it. That objectivity is therefore the immediate itself in an immediate form. Here, on the contrary, it has proceeded only from the Notion, so that its essence is positedness, and it exists as a negative. It is to be regarded as the side of the universality of the Notion, consequently as abstract universality, essentially only inhering in the subject and in the form of immediate being which, posited on its own account, is indifferent to the subject. Thus the totality of the Notion which attaches to the objectivity is, as it were, only lent to it; the last self-subsistence that objectivity possesses as against the subject is this being which, in its truth, is only the above moment of the Notion, the Notion that, as presupposing, is in the first determinateness of an implicit positing, which does not yet exist as a positing, as the unity that is reflected into itself. Self-subsistent objectivity, therefore, having proceeded from the Idea, is immediate being only as the predicate of the judgement of the Notion's self-determination — a being that is indeed distinct from the subject, but at the same time is essentially posited as moment of the Notion.

§ 1654

In respect of content this objectivity is the totality of the Notion; but this totality is confronted by the subjectivity or negative unity of the Notion, which constitutes the true centrality, namely the Notion's free unity with itself. This subject is the Idea in the form of individuality, as simple but negative self-identity — the living individual.

§ 1655

This is in the first place life as soul, as the Notion of itself that is completely determined within itself, the initiating, self-moving principle. The Notion in its simplicity contains determinate externality as a simple moment enclosed within it. But, further, this soul in its immediacy is immediately external and possesses an objective being of its own — a reality that is subjugated to the end, the immediate means, in the first instance, objectivity as predicate of the subject; but further, objectivity is also the middle term of the syllogism; the corporeality of the soul is that whereby the soul unites itself with external objectivity. The living being possesses corporeality in the first instance as reality that is immediately identical with the Notion; thus it has this corporeality in general by nature.

§ 1656

Now because this objectivity is predicate of the individual and taken up into the subjective unity, the earlier determinations of the object, the mechanical or chemical relationship does not attach to it, still less the abstract relationship of reflection, of whole and parts and the like. As externality it is indeed capable of such relationships, but to that extent it is not a living being; when the living thing is regarded as a whole consisting of parts, or as a thing operated on by mechanical or chemical causes, as a mechanical or chemical product, whether it be regarded merely as such product or also as determined by an external end, then the Notion is regarded as external to it and it is treated as a dead thing. Since the Notion is immanent in it, the purposiveness of the living being is to be grasped as inner; the Notion is in it as determinate Notion, distinct from its externality, and in its distinguishing, pervading the externality and remaining identical with itself. This objectivity of the living being is the organism; it is the means and instrument of the end, perfect in its purposiveness since the Notion . constitutes its substance; but for that very reason this means and instrument is itself the realised end, in which the subjective end is thus immediately brought into unity with itself. In respect of its externality the organism is a manifold, not of parts but of members. These members, as such, (a) subsist only in the individuality; in so far as they are external and can be apprehended in this externality, they are separable; but when separated, they revert to the mechanical and chemical relationships of common objectivity. (b) Their externality is opposed to the negative unity of the living individuality; the latter is therefore the urge to posit the abstract moment of the Notion's determinateness as a real difference; since this difference is immediate, it is the urge of each single, specific moment to produce itself, and equally to raise its particularity to universality, sublate the other moments external to it and produce itself at their expense, but no less to sublate itself and make itself a means for the others.

§ 1657

2. This process of the living individuality is restricted to that individuality itself and still falls entirely within it. Above, in the syllogism of external purposiveness, we considered its first premise, namely that the end relates itself immediately to objectivity and makes it a means, and we found that in this premise the end does indeed remain similar to itself and has withdrawn into itself in the objectivity, but that the objectivity has not yet in its own self sublated itself, and therefore the end is to that extent not yet in and for itself in this premise, and only becomes so in the conclusion. The process of the living being with itself is this same premise, but in so far as the latter is also conclusion, and in so far as the immediate relation of the subject to objectivity, which objectivity thereby becomes a means and instrument, is at the same time the negative unity of the Notion in its own self; the end realises itself in this its externality by being the subjective power over that externality and the process in which the externality displays its self-dissolution and its return into this the negative unity of the end. The restlessness and mutability of the external side of the living being is the manifestation in it of the Notion, which as in its own self negativity only has an objectivity in so far as the latter's indifferent subsistence reveals itself as self-sublating. The Notion therefore produces itself by its urge in such a manner that the product, the Notion being its essence, is itself the producing agent; that is to say the product is product only as the externality that equally posits itself as negative, or is product only in being the process of production.

§ 1658

3. Now the Idea just considered is the Notion of the living subject and its process; the determinations, which are in relationship with each other, are the self-related negative unity of the Notion and objectivity, which is the Notion's means, but in which it has returned into itself. But since these are moments of the Idea of life within its Notion, they are not the specific Notion — moments of the living individual in its reality. The objectivity or corporeality of this individual is a concrete totality; the above moments are the sides out of which life constitutes itself; they are therefore not the moments of this life that is already constituted by the Idea. But the living objectivity as such of the individual, since it is ensouled by the Notion and has the Notion for its substance, also possesses for its essential difference the determinations of the Notion, universality, particularity and individuality; accordingly the shape [Gestalt], in which they are externally distinguished, is divided or incised (insectum) on the basis of that difference.

§ 1659

Thus it is in the first place universality, the purely internal vibration of vitality, or sensibility. The Notion of universality, as we have found it above, is simple immediacy, which however is this only by being within itself absolute negativity. This Notion of absolute difference with its negativity dissolved in simplicity and self-similar, is brought to view [Anschaung] in sensibility. It is inwardness [Insichsein], not as abstract simplicity but as an infinitely determinable receptivity, which in its determinateness does not become something manifold and external, but is simply reflected into itself. Determinateness is present in this universality as simple principle; the individual external determinateness, a so-called impression, returns from its external and manifold determination into this simplicity of self-feeling. Sensibility may therefore be regarded as the determinate being of the inwardly existent soul, since it receives all externality into itself, while reducing it to the perfect simplicity of self-similar universality.

§ 1660

The second determination of the Notion is particularity, the moment of the posited difference, the opening up of the negativity that is locked up in simple self-feeling, or is an ideal, not yet a real, determinateness in it, that is, irritability. On account of the abstraction of its negativity, feeling is an urge; it determines itself; the self-determination of the living being is its judgement or its self-limitation [Verendlichung], whereby it relates itself to the external as to a presupposed objectivity and is in reciprocal activity with it. Now as a particular living being it is on one side a species alongside other species of living beings; the formal reflection of this indifferent diversity into itself is the formal genus and its systematisation; but the individual reflection is this, that the particularity, the negativity of its determinateness, as a direction outwards, is the self-related negativity of the Notion.

§ 1661

According to this third determination the living being is an individual. The precise determination of this reflection-into-self is such that in irritability, the living being is its own externality to itself, to the objectivity which it possesses immediately as its means and instrument, and which is externally determinable. The reflection-into-self sublates this immediacy — on the one side as a theoretical reflection, that is, in so far as the negativity is present as the simple moment of sensibility that was considered in the latter and which constitutes feeling — on the other side as real reflection, in that the unity of the Notion posits itself in its external objectivity as negative unity; this is reproduction. The first two moments, sensibility and irritability, are abstract determinations; in reproduction life is concrete and is vitality; in it, as in its truth, life for the first time has also feeling and the power of resistance. Reproduction is the negativity as simple moment of sensibility, and irritability is only a living power of resistance, so that the relationship to the external is reproduction and individual identity with self. Each of the individual moments is essentially the totality of all; their difference constitutes the ideal form determinateness, which is posited in reproduction as concrete totality of the whole. This whole is, therefore, on the one hand opposed as a third, namely as a real totality, to the former determinate totalities, while on the other hand it is their implicit essential nature, and at the same time that in which they are embraced as moments, and in which they have their subject and their subsistence.

§ 1662

With reproduction as the moment of individuality, the living being posits itself as an actual individuality, a self-related being-for-self; but at the same time it is a real relation outwards, the reflection of particularity or irritability towards an other, towards the objective world. The process of life, which is enclosed within the individual, passes over into a relation to the presupposed objectivity as such, in consequence of the fact that when the individual posits itself as a subjective totality, the moment of its determinateness as a relation to externality becomes a totality as well.


§ 1663

The living individual, in shaping itself inwardly, tenses itself against its original act of presupposition, and opposes itself as an absolute subject to the presupposed objective world. The subject is its own end [Selbstzweck], the Notion, which has its means and subjective reality in the objectivity that is subjugated to it. As such, it is constituted as the Idea in and for itself and as a being that is essentially self-subsistent, in face of which the presupposed external world has the value only of something negative and lacking self-subsistence. In its self-feeling the living being has this certainty of the intrinsic nullity of the otherness confronting it. Its urge is the need to sublate this otherness and to give itself the truth of this certainty. The individual is, as subject, in the first instance no more than the Notion of the Idea of life; its subjective inward process in which it draws on its own resources, and the immediate objectivity which it posits conformably to its Notion as a natural means is mediated by the process that relates itself to the completely posited externality, to the objective totality standing indifferently alongside it.

§ 1664

This process begins with need, that is, with a moment that is twofold. First the living being determines itself, in so doing posits itself as denied, and thereby relates itself to an other to it, to the indifferent objectivity; but secondly, it is equally not lost in this loss of itself but maintains itself therein and remains the identity of the self-similar Notion; thus it is the urge to posit this other world as its own, as similar to itself, to sublate it and to objectify itself. By doing this, its self-determination has the form of objective externality, and as it is at the same time identical with itself it is absolute contradiction. The immediate shape is the Idea in its simple Notion, objectivity that is conformable to the Notion; as such, it is good by nature. But since its negative moment realises itself as an objective particularity, that is, since each of the essential moments of its unity is realised as a separate totality, the Notion is sundered into an absolute disparity with itself; and since, all the same, it is absolute identity in this disharmony, the living being isfor itself this disharmony and has the feeling of this contradiction, which is pain. Pain is therefore the prerogative of living natures; because they are the existent Notion, they are an actuality of infinite power such that they are within themselves the negativity of themselves, that this their negativity is for them, and that they maintain themselves in their otherness. It is said that contradiction is unthinkable; but the fact is that in the pain of a living being it is even an actual existence.

§ 1665

This diremption of the living being within itself is feeling, the diremption being taken up into the simple universality of the Notion, into sensibility. From pain begin the need and the urge that constitute the transition by which the individual, which is explicitly the negation of itself, becomes also explicitly its own identity — an identity that exists only as the negation of the former negation. The identity that is in the urge as such is the subjective certainty of itself, in accordance with which it relates itself to its external, indifferently existing world as to an Appearance, to an intrinsically Notionless and unessential actuality. This actuality has to await the subject, which is the immanent end, before it receives the Notion into itself. The indifference of the objective world to the determinateness, and consequently to the end, constitutes its external capability of being conformable to the subject; whatever other specifications it may possess, its mechanical determinability, the absence of the freedom of the immanent Notion, constitutes its impotence to maintain itself against the living being. In so far as the object confronts the living being in the first instance as an indifferent externality, it can act upon it mechanically; but in doing so it is not acting as on a living being; where it enters into relationship with a living being it does not act on it as a cause, but excites it. Because the living being is an urge, externality cannot approach or enter it except in so far as it is in its own very nature already in the living being; therefore the action on the subject consists merely in the latter finding the externality presented to it conformable. This externality may not be conformable to the subject's totality, but at least it must correspond to a particular side of it, and this possibility resides simply in the fact that the subject in its external relationship is a particular.

§ 1666

Now the subject, as specifically related in its need to the externality, and so itself an externality or instrument, uses violence on the object. Its particular character, its finitude in general, falls into the more specific manifestation of this relationship. The external element in this is the process of objectivity in general, mechanism and chemism. But this process is immediately broken off and the externality transformed into internality. The external purposiveness that is produced at first by the activity of the subject in the indifferent object is sublated by reason of the fact that the object, relatively to the Notion, is not a substance, and that therefore the Notion cannot become merely the object's external form, but must posit itself as its essence and immanent pervading determination, in conformity with the Notion's original identity.

§ 1667

With the seizure of the object, therefore, the mechanical process passes over into the inner process by which the individual appropriates the object in such a manner as to deprive it of its peculiar nature [Beschaffenheit], convert it into a means for itself, and give its own subjectivity to it for substance. This assimilation accordingly coincides with the individual's process of reproduction considered above; in this process the individual in the first instance draws upon itself in making its own objectivity its object; the mechanical and chemical conflict of its members with external things is an objective moment of itself. The mechanical and chemical side of the process is a beginning of the dissolution of the living being. Since life is the truth of these processes, and therefore as a living being is the concrete existence of this truth and the power dominating these processes, it takes them within its embrace, pervades them as their universality, and their product is completely determined by it. This conversion of them into the living individuality constitutes the return of this latter into itself, so that production, which as such would be transition into an other, becomes reproduction, in which the living being posits itself as self-identical for itself.

§ 1668

The immediate Idea is also the immediate, not the explicit, identity of the Notion and reality; through the objective process the living being gives itself its feeling of self; for in that process it posits itself as what it is in and for itself, namely, as a self-identity and the negative unity of the negative in its otherness, which is posited as indifferent to it. In this coming together of the individual and its objectivity, that at first was presupposed as indifferent to it, the individual, which on one side has constituted itself an actual unity, has none the less sublated its particularity and raised itself to universality. Its particularity consisted in the diremption by which life posited as its species the individual life and the objectivity external to it. Through the external life process it has thus posited itself as real universal life, that is, as genus.


§ 1669

The living individual, at first disengaged from the universal Notion of life, is a presupposition that is not as yet authenticated by the living individual itself. Through its process with the simultaneously presupposed world, it has posited itself on its own account as the negative unity of its otherness, as the foundation of itself; as such it is the actuality of the Idea, in such a manner that now the individual brings itself forth out of actuality, whereas before it proceeded only from the Notion, and that its genesis which was an act of presupposing, now becomes its production.

§ 1670

But the further determination that it has attained by the sublation of the opposition is that of being the genus as identity of itself with its previously indifferent otherness. This Idea of the individual, since it is this essential identity, is essentially the particularisation of itself. This its diremption, in accordance with the totality from which it proceeds, is the duplication of the individual — a presupposing of an objectivity that is identical with it, and a relationship of the living being to itself as to another living being.

§ 1671

This universal is the third stage, the truth of life in so far as this is still confined within its sphere. This sphere is the self-related process of the individual, where externality is its immanent moment; secondly, this externality is itself, as a living totality, an objectivity that for the individual is its own self, an objectivity in which, not as sublated but as persisting, the individual has the certainty of itself.

§ 1672

Now because the relationship of the genus is the identity of individual self-feeling in what is at the same time another self-subsistent individual, it is contradiction; thus the living being is again an urge. Now the genus is indeed the consummation of the Idea of life, but at first it is still within the sphere of immediacy; this universality is therefore actual in an individual shape — the Notion, whose reality has the form of immediate objectivity. Consequently, though the individual is indeed in itself genus, it is not explicitly or for itself the genus; what is for it is as yet only another living individual; the Notion distinguished from itself has for object, with which it is identical, not itself as Notion but a Notion that as a living being has at the same time external objectivity for it, a form that is therefore immediately reciprocal.

§ 1673

The identity with the other individual, the individual's universality, is thus as yet only internal or subjective; it therefore has the longing to posit this and to realise itself as a universal. But this urge of the genus can realise itself only by sublating the single individualities which are still particular relatively to one another.

In that first instance, in so far as it is these latter which, in themselves, universal, satisfy the tension of their longing and dissolve themselves into the universality of their genus, their realised end identity is the negative unity of the genus that is reflected into itself out of its disremption.

§ 1674

It is thus the individuality of life itself, generated no longer from its Notion, but from the actual Idea. In the first instance, it is itself only Notion that has yet to objectify itself, but it is the actual Notion — the germ of a living individual. The germ is visible evidence to ordinary perception of what the Notion is, and it demonstrates that the subjective Notion has external actuality. For the germ of the living being is the complete concretion of individuality, in which all its diverse aspects, properties and articulated differences are contained in their entire determinateness, and the initially immaterial, subjective totality is undeveloped, simple and non-sensuous; the germ is thus the entire living being in the inner form of the Notion.

§ 1675

The reflection of the genus into itself is from this side the means whereby it obtains actuality, the moment of negative unity and individuality being thereby posited in it — the propagation of the living species. The Idea, which as life, is still in the form of immediacy, thus falls back into actuality and this its reflection is only repetition and the infinite progress, in which it does not emerge from the finitude of its immediacy. But this return into its first Notion has also the higher side, that the Idea has not merely run through the mediation of its processes within its immediacy, but by this very act has sublated this immediacy and thereby raised itself to a higher form of its existence.

§ 1676

That is to say, the process of the genus, in which the single individuals sublate in one another their indifferent immediate existence and in this negative unity expire, has further for the other side of its product the realised genus, which has posited itself identical with the Notion. In the genus process, the separated individualities of individual life perish; the negative identity in which the genus returns into itself, while it is on the one hand the process of generating individuality, is on the other hand the sublating of it, and is thus the genus coming together with itself, the universality of the Idea in process of becoming for itself. In copulation the immediacy of the living individuality perishes; the death of this life is the procession of spirit. The Idea, which as genus is implicit, is now explicit, in that it has sublated its particularity which constituted the living species, and has thereby given itself a reality that is itself simple universality. As such it is the Idea that relates itself to itself as Idea, the universal that has universality for its determinateness and existence — the Idea of cognition.

The Idea of Cognition — next section

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