Hegel’s Science of Logic

Kant's Critique of Rational Psychology

§ 1685

These conceptions, which must be called barbarous, place the defect in the fact that in thinking of the 'I', the 'I' as subject cannot be omitted; but the same defect then also appears the other way round, namely in this way, that 'I' occurs only as subject of self-consciousness, or I can use myself only as subject of a judgement, and the intuition is lacking by which the 'I' might be given as an object; but the notion of a thing that can exist only as subject does not so far involve any objective reality at all. If external intuition, determined in space and time, is required for objectivity, and it is this that is missing here, then it is quite clear that by objectivity is meant merely sensuous reality; and to have risen above that is a condition of thinking and of truth. But of course, if 'I' is taken not in its Notion but as a mere, simple, general idea, in the way we pronounce 'I' in everyday consciousness, then it is the abstract determination and not the self-relation that has itself for object. In that case, it is only one of the extremes, a one-sided subject without its objectivity, or else it would be merely an object without subjectivity, were it not for the inconvenience alluded to, that the thinking subject cannot be eliminated from the 'I' as object. But in fact the same inconvenience occurs with the former determination, with the 'I' as subject; the 'I' thinks something, itself or something else. This inseparability of the two forms in which it opposes itself to itself belongs to the innermost nature of its Notion and of the Notion itself; it is precisely what Kant wants to stave off in order to retain the mere general idea, which does not inwardly differentiate itself and therefore, of course, lacks the Notion. Now a Notionless conception of this kind may indeed oppose itself to the abstract reflective determinations or categories of the previous metaphysics: for in one-sidedness it stands on a level with them, though these are indeed on a higher level of thought; but on the other hand it appears all the more meagre and empty when compared with the profounder ideas of ancient philosophy on the conception of the soul or of thinking, as for example the genuinely speculative ideas of Aristotle. If the Kantian philosophy investigated the reflective categories in question, it was even more bound to investigate the firmly held abstraction of the empty 'I', the presumed idea of the thing-in-itself, which, precisely on account of its abstraction, proves on the contrary to be something completely untrue. The experience of the inconvenience complained of is itself the empirical fact in which the untruth of that abstraction expresses itself.

§ 1686

Mendelssohn's proof of the persistence of the soul is the only one mentioned in the Kantian critique of rational psychology, and I cite here the Kantian refutation of it on account of the remarkable nature of the argument employed to disprove it. The proof in question is based on the simplicity of the soul, by virtue of which it is incapable of alteration, of transition into an other, in time. Qualitative simplicity is in general the form of abstraction considered above; as qualitative determinateness it was investigated in the sphere of being, and it was proved that the qualitative, as such abstractly self-related determinateness, is on the contrary for that very reason dialectical, and is merely transition into an other. But in treating of the Notion it was shown that when it is considered in relation to persistence, indestructibility, imperishableness, it is the absolutely true being and the eternal, just because it is not abstract, but concrete simplicity, is determined not as abstractly self-related, but as the unity of itself and its other; it cannot therefore pass into that other as though it altered itself in it for the very reason that the other to which it is determined is the Notion itself, so that in this transition it only comes to itself. Now the Kantian criticism opposes to the said qualitative determination of the unity of the Notion, the quantitative. Although the soul is not a manifold of juxtaposed parts and contains no extensive magnitude, yet we are told consciousness has a degree, and the soul like every concrete existent has an intensive magnitude; but this postulates the possibility of transition into nothing by a gradual passing away. Now what is this refutation but the application to spirit of a category of being, of intensive magnitude — a determination that has no truth in itself but on the contrary is sublated in the Notion?

§ 1687

Metaphysics — even the metaphysics that restricted itself to fixed concepts of the understanding and did not rise to speculative thinking, to the nature of the Notion and of the Idea — had for its aim the cognition of truth, and investigated its objects to ascertain whether they were true things or not, substances or phenomena.

§ 1688

The victory of the Kantian criticism over this metaphysics consists, on the contrary, in doing away with the investigation that has truth for its aim, and this aim itself; it omits altogether to raise the one question of interest, whether a particular subject, here the abstract 'I' of ordinary thinking possesses truth in and for itself. But to cling to phenomena and the mere conceptions given in everyday consciousness is to renounce the Notion and philosophy. Anything rising above this is stigmatised in the Kantian criticism as something high-flown to which reason is in no way entitled. As a matter of fact, the Notion does reach beyond the Notion-less, and the immediate justification for going beyond it is first, the Notion itself, and secondly, from the negative side, the untruth of phenomena and of ordinary thinking, as well as of abstractions like things-in-themselves and the above 'I', that is supposed not to be an object to itself.

§ 1689

In the content of this logical exposition it is from the Idea of life that the Idea of spirit has issued, or what is the same thing, that the Idea of spirit has proved itself to be the truth of the Idea of life. As this result, the Idea possesses its truth in and for itself, with which one may then also compare the empirical side or the manifestation of spirit to see how far the latter accords with the former. We have seen that life is the Idea, but at the same time it has shown itself not to be as yet the true representation or mode of the Idea's existence. For in life, the reality of the Idea exists as individuality; universality or genus is the inwardness; the truth of life as absolute negative unity is therefore to sublate the abstract ' or what is the same, the immediate, individuality, and as identical, to be self-identical, as genus, to be self-similar. Now this Idea is spirit. In this context we may once more remark that spirit is here considered in the form that belongs to this Idea as logical. For it has other shapes as well that may be mentioned here in passing; in these it falls to be considered in the concrete sciences of spirit, namely as soul, consciousness and spirit as such.

§ 1690

The name soul was formerly employed for the individual finite spirit generally, and rational or empirical psychology was intended to be synonymous with doctrine of spirit. The expression “soul” evokes a mental picture of it as a thing like other things; one enquires as to its seat, the specific position in space from which its forces operate; still more, as to how this thing can be imperishable, how it can be subject to temporal conditions and yet be exempt from alteration therein. The system of monads exalts matter to the psychical [Seelenhaftigkeit]; in this conception the soul is an atom like the atoms of matter in general; the atom that rises as steam from the coffee cup is capable in favourable circumstances of developing into a soul; it is only the greater obscurity of its ideation that distinguishes it from a thing of the kind that manifests as soul.

§ 1691

The Notion that is for itself is necessarily also in immediate existence; in this substantial identity with life, as submerged in its externality, it is the subject matter of anthropology. But even anthropology must regard as alien to it the metaphysics that makes this form of immediacy into a psychical thing, into an atom, like the atoms of matter. To anthropology must be left only that obscure region where spirit is subjected to what were once called sidereal and terrestrial influences, where it lives as a natural spirit in sympathy with Nature and becomes aware of Nature's changes in dreams and presentiments, and indwells the brain, the heart, the ganglia, the liver, and so forth. According to Plato, God, mindful that even the irrational part of the soul should partake of his bounty and share in higher things, gave to the liver the gift of prophecy above which self-conscious man is exalted. To this irrational side belong further the conditions of ordinary thinking and higher spiritual activity in so far as this activity is subjected in the individual subject to the play of a wholly contingent physical constitution, of external influences and particular circumstances.

§ 1692

This lowest of the concrete-shapes in which spirit is sunk in the material, has its immediate superior in consciousness. In this form the free Notion, as ego that is for itself, is withdrawn from objectivity, but relates itself to it as its other, as an object confronting it. Here spirit is no longer present as soul; on the contrary, in the certainty of itself, the immediacy of being has the significance of a negative for it; consequently, its identity with itself in the objectivity is at the same time still only an illusory show, since the objectivity, too, still has the form of an implicit being. This stage is the subject matter of the phenomenology of spirit — a science which stands midway between the science of the natural spirit and spirit as such. The phenomenology of spirit considers spirit that is for itself, but at the same time in its relation to its other, an other which, as we have recalled, is determined by that relation as both implicitly an object and also as negated. Thus it considers spirit in its manifestation, as exhibiting itself in its counterpart.

§ 1693

But the higher truth of this form is spirit that is for itself; for spirit in this form, the object that for consciousness has an implicit being has the form of spirit's own determination, of ordinary thinking as such; this spirit, acting on the determinations as on its own, on feelings, representations, thoughts, is thus infinite within itself and in its form. The consideration of this stage belongs to the doctrine of spirit proper, which would embrace what is the subject matter of ordinary empirical psychology, but which, to be the science of spirit, must not go empirically to work, but be scientifically conceived. Spirit is at this stage finite spirit, in so far as the content of its determinateness is an immediate, given content; the science of finite spirit has to display the process in which it liberates itself from this its determinateness and goes on to grasp the truth of itself, which is infinite spirit.

§ 1694

On the other hand, the Idea of spirit as the subject matter of logic already stands within the pure science; it has not therefore to watch spirit progressing through its entanglement with nature, with immediate determinateness and material things, or with pictorial thinking; this is dealt with in the three sciences mentioned above. The Idea of spirit already has this progress behind it, or what is the same thing, still before it-the former when logic is taken as the last science, the latter when logic is taken as the first science, out of which the Idea first passes over into nature. In the logical Idea of spirit, therefore, the 'I' is immediately the free Notion, as it revealed itself to be in issuing from the Notion of nature as nature's truth, the free Notion that in its judgement is itself the object, the Notion as its Idea. But even in this shape the Idea is still not consummated.

§ 1695

While the Idea is indeed the free Notion that has itself for object, yet it is immediate, and just because it is immediate it is still the Idea in its subjectivity, and therefore in its finitude in general. It is the end that has to realise itself, or it is the absolute Idea itself still in its manifested aspect. What it seeks is the true, this identity of the Notion itself and reality, but as yet it is only seeking it; for it is here in its first stage still subjective. Consequently though the object that is for the Notion is here also a given object, it does not enter into the subject as an object operating on it, or as an object having a constitution of its own, or as a picture thought; on the contrary, the subject converts it into a determination of the Notion. It is the Notion that is active in the object, relates itself to itself therein, and by giving itself its reality in the object finds truth.

§ 1696

The Idea is therefore in the first instance one of the extremes of a syllogism, as the Notion that as end has initially its own self for subjective reality; the other extreme is the limitation of subjectivity, the objective world. The two extremes are identical in that they are the Idea; first their unity is that of the Notion, which in one is only for itself, in the other only in itself; secondly in one the reality is abstract, in the other it is present in its concrete actuality. This unity is now posited by cognition; and since this is the subjective Idea that, as end, proceeds from itself, the unity appears, at first, only as a middle term. The cognising subject, through the determinateness of its Notion, namely abstract being-for-self, relates itself, it is true, to an outer world, but it does so in the absolute self-certainty of itself, in order to raise its own implicit reality, this formal truth, into real truth. It possesses in its Notion the entire essentiality of the objective world; its process consists in positing for itself the concrete content of that world as identical with the Notion, and conversely, in positing the latter as identical with objectivity.

§ 1697

Immediately, the Idea as manifested Idea is the theoretical Idea, cognition as such. For immediately the objective world has the form of immediacy or of being for the Notion that exists for itself; just as the latter, at first, is to itself only the abstract Notion of itself, confined within itself; it is therefore merely a form; its reality that it has within it is no more than its simple determinations of universality and particularity, while the individuality or specific determinateness, the content, is received by this form from outside.

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