of increase or diminution: it is naturally and necessarily a tendency to exceed itself. Measure, where quality and quantity are in one, is thus the completion of Being. The old Atomists viewed the world as a many, as their successors often do to this day. When Heraclitus says ‘All is flowing’, he enunciates Becoming as the fundamental feature of all existence, whereas the Eleatics, as already remarked, saw only truth in Being, rigid processless Being. this paper assesses the logic of those steps, in which measure becomes fully present but unable to The form or presentation of logic, he says, has three sides ormoments (EL §79). Hegel distinguishes between the being of objects (being in itself) and the being of people . It rather goes through and through the whole of such existence. A substantial distinction is in these cases secretly substituted for the empty distinction of Being and Nought. The view of limit, as merely an external characteristic of being-there-and-then, arises from a confusion of quantitative with qualitative limit. Here we are speaking primarily of the qualitative limit. ©. If Being was to be the starting point, it must be the primal cause. The theory is correct, so far as it recognises attraction to be the other of the two elements involved in the notion of being-for-self: and to be an element no less essential than repulsion to constitute matter. This is its qualitative limit. In so far as in Measure quality and quantity are only in immediate unity, to that extent their difference presents itself in a manner equally immediate. Yet a more distinct manifestation of Quality as such, in mind even, is found in the case of besotted or morbid conditions, especially in states of passion and when the passion rises to derangement. The same phenomenon is presented by the different degrees in the oxidation of metals. Through the dialectical process of being-nothingness-becoming, the initial simple idea of a thing is recast into a more complex understanding that dissolves the contradictions. Each of the Many however is itself a One, and in virtue of its so behaving, this all rounded repulsion is by one stroke converted into its opposite — Attraction. In Hegel’s presuppositionless Philosophy of Thought we begin with the basic category of ‘is’ or Being. The ancients saw plainly that the maxim, ‘From nothing comes nothing, from something something’, really abolishes Becoming: for what it comes from and what it becomes are one and the same. 1, p. 174). ©. And this does really happen with the abstract one-sided infinite of understanding. And (g) after the immediacy of this unity has turned out to be self-annulling, the unity is explicitly put as what it implicitly is, simple relation-to-self, which contains in it being and all its forms absorbed. If it be replied that Being and Nothing are both of them thoughts, so that thought may be reckoned common ground, the objector forgets that Being is not a particular or definite thought, and hence, being quite indeterminate, is a thought not to be distinguished from Nothing. The principle of that system may be described as Being-for-itself in the shape of the Many. It is sufficient to mention here, that logic begins where the proper history of philosophy begins. All this is but superficial alternation, which never leaves the region of the finite behind. (3) Then if the concept is Hegel's new concept of being, history is the concept of the concept, Begriff des Begriffes (SL 582/GW XII 11). Again, Being-for-self may be described as ideality, just as Being-there-and-then was described as reality. Or, if we reflect that the finite, when identified with the infinite, certainly cannot remain what it was out of such unity, and will at least suffer some change in its characteristics (as an alkali, when combined with an acid, loses some of its properties), we must see that the same fate awaits the infinite, which, as the negative, will on its part likewise have its edge, as it were, taken off on the other. Thus we suppose that the moon, being something else than the sun, might very well exist without the sun. Similarly, the infinite of understanding, which is coordinated with the finite, is itself only one of two finites, no whole truth, but a non-substantial element. These sides are not parts of logic, but,rather, moments of “every logical concept”, as well as“of everything true in general” (EL Remark to §79; wewill see why Hegel thought dialectics is in everything in section 4). A concrete thing is always very different from the abstract category as such. But, again, the limit, as the negation of something, is not an abstract nothing but a nothing which is — what we call an "other". But quality is implicitly quantity and conversely quantity is implicitly quality. Measure is the qualitative quantum, in the first place as immediate — a quantum, to which a determinate being or a quality is attached. So far the deduction of their unity is completely analytical: indeed the whole progress of philosophising in every case, if it be a methodical, that is to say a necessary, progress, merely renders explicit what is implicit in a notion. I. Hegel's Logical Method . All things have their measure: i.e. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. 4 Comments. Thus explained, the proposition is the maxim of abstract identity as upheld by the understanding. This identity of being and thought is not however to be taken in a concrete sense, as if we could say that a stone, so far as it has being, is the same as a thinking man. at a state with a territory of ten thousand square miles and a population of four millions we should, without hesitation, admit that a few square miles of land or a few thousand inhabitants more or less could exercise no essential influence on the character of its constitution. The same principles may be applied in politics, when the constitution of a state has to be looked at as independent of, no less than as dependent on, the extent of its territory, the number of its inhabitants, and other quantitative points of the same kind. Everyone has a mental idea of Becoming, and will even allow that it is one idea: he will further allow that, when it is analysed, it involves the attribute of Being, and also what is the very reverse of Being, viz. The prose in Hegel's Science of Logic is sibylline, (3) and, in its interpretation, it is always useful to cleave to the fundamentals of Hegel's method. This book provides an accessible and thorough analysis of “The Doctrine of Being,” the first part of Hegel’s Science of Logic. This result seems to superficial reflection something very grand, the grandest possible. Comparison between Hegel’s Being-Nothing-Becoming and I-Ching’s Yin-Yang-I (Change) John Z. G. Ma 1* 1California Institute of Integral Studies, 1453 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103, USA. Given something, and up starts an other to us: we know that there is not something only, but an other as well. This ideality of the finite is the chief maxim of philosophy; and for that reason every genuine philosophy is idealism. Touched, so to speak, by the infinite, it would be annihilated. What really takes place here is that the immediacy, which still attaches to measure as such, is set aside. (2) No great expenditure of wit is needed to make fun of the maxim that Being and Nothing are the same, or rather to adduce absurdities which, it is erroneously asserted, are the consequences and illustrations of that maxim. However, Hegel’s insight was that that antithesis of being was not becoming but rather “non-being” or nothing. Hegel expresses his idea of dialectical progress in its fullest in the suggestion that the evolution of reality is the result of the thinking of the Hegelian god. This article is the continuation of the first one published in this journal a year ago. (5) The maxim of Becoming, that Being is the passage into Nought, and Nought the passage into Being, is controverted by the maxim of Pantheism, the doctrine of the eternity of matter, that from nothing comes nothing, and that something can only come out of something. The distinction between Nature and Mind is not improperly conceived, when the former is traced back to reality, and the latter so fixed and complete as to subsist even without Mind: in Mind it first, as it were, attains its goal and its truth. (2) In the history of philosophy the different stages of the logical Idea assume the shape of successive systems, each based on a particular definition of the Absolute. And this we call Being. This result is accordingly Being Determinate (Being there and so). In the Logic , Hegel seems to suggest that this is not a process at all, not in time anyway, but a description of the same thing from three points of view (79). The case is otherwise with the Positive and the Negative. Contributions. Now although it may be admitted that every philosophy has been refuted, it must be in an equal degree maintained that no philosophy has been refuted, nay, or can be refuted. No doubt philosophy has also sometimes been set the task of finding an answer to the question, how the infinite comes to the resolution of issuing out of itself. a house remains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller; and red remains red, whether it be brighter or darker. Thus pure being by itself is not possible, but only a unity of being and non-being, i.e. If I = I, or even the intellectual intuition, are really taken to mean no more than the first, they are in this mere immediacy identical with being: while conversely, pure being, if abstract no longer, but including in it mediation, is pure thought or intuition. Becoming is the first concrete thought, and therefore the first notion: whereas Being and Nought are empty abstractions. While thought thus imagines itself elevated to the infinite, it meets with the opposite fate: it comes to an infinite which is only a finite, and the finite, which it had left behind, has always to be retained and made into an absolute. We are in the habit of saying that things are not merely qualitatively, but also quantitatively defined; but whence these categories originate, and how they are related to each other, are questions not further examined. Like Plato, Hegel would make two worlds one. Descartes’ golden rule, Hegel moves from the simplest to the most complex. In Being (determinate there and then), the determinateness is one with Being; yet at the same time, when explicitly made a negation, it is a Limit, a Barrier. The only mere physicists are the animals: they alone do not think: while man is a thinking being and a born metaphysician. Men indeed thought from the beginning (for thus only were they distinguished from the animals). At first glance, the theses of Heraclitus and Parmenides seem irreconcilable when being and becoming are opposed. Thus Becoming stands before us in utter restlessness — unable however to maintain itself in this abstract restlessness: for, since Being and Nothing vanish in Becoming (and that is the very notion of Becoming), the latter must vanish also. The philosophy of the Atomists is the doctrine in which the Absolute is formulated as Being-for-self, as One, and many ones. The repulsion therefore has an equal right to be called Attraction; and the exclusive One, or Being-for-self, suppresses itself. Hegel’s opening words are: “Being, pure being, without any further determination.”(82) This anacoluthon “lacks a verb – for Hegel cannot even say that being is.”1 Too simple for something so active as a verb, Pure Being is immediacy as such, taken on its own terms without reference to anything else. In the process of measure, therefore, these two pass into each other: each of them becomes what it already was implicitly: and thus we get Being thrown into abeyance and absorbed, with its several characteristics negatived. Thus the quality of a rock or a river is not tied to a definite magnitude. We cannot therefore regard the limit as only external to being which is then and there. In fact this definition is implied in saying that the thing-in-itself is the indeterminate, utterly without form and so without content — or in saying that God is only the supreme Being and nothing more; for this is really declaring him to be the same negativity as above. Hence the distinction between the two is only meant to be; it is a quite nominal distinction, which is at the same time no distinction. The readiest instance of Being-for-self is found in the ‘I’. But everything depends upon not taking for the infinite what, in the very terms of its characterisation, is at the same time made a particular and finite. Nothing: and that these two attributes lie undivided in the one idea: so that Becoming is the unity of Being and Nothing. What philosophy has to do with is always something concrete and in the highest sense present. The instinct that induces us to attach a settled import to Being, or to both, is the very necessity which leads to the onward movement of Being and Nothing, and gives them a true or concrete significance. For the same thing occurs here as in the infinite progression. To Kant we owe the completed theory of matter as the unity of repulsion and attraction. Our journey begins with the simplest of simples – Pure Being. Whenever we speak of the One, the Many usually come into our mind at the same time. This tendency is maintained even in measure. (4) As Heidegger insists: if spirit's knowledge is historical history, the concept of being is temporal, and 'the problematic of "being and time" already exists in Hegel… In doing so, science has come closer to sensuous conception, at the cost of losing the precision of thought. Such was the true starting-point of philosophy, which is always knowledge by thought: and here for the first time we find pure thought seized and made an object to itself. Being however is an absolute absence of attributes, and so is Nought. Following the seminal work of Plato and Aristotle, the tacit assumption of philosophers was that being and becoming were diametrically opposed. If it be also said that the infinite is unattainable, the statement is true, but only because to the idea of infinity has been attached the circumstance of being simply and solely negative. Thus the history of philosophy, in its true meaning, deals not with a past, but with an eternal and veritable present: and, in its results, resembles not a museum of the aberrations of the human intellect, but a Pantheon of godlike figures. In other words, these two categories, which unite in Measure, each claim an independent authority. The two other complementary categories, reflecting one of Hegel's initial divisions, were those of Being and Becoming. But on the other hand, we must not forget that by the continual increase or diminishing of a state, we finally get to a point where, apart from all other circumstances, this quantitative alteration alone necessarily draws with it an alteration in the quality of the constitution. (1) Hence was derived the second definition of the Absolute: the Absolute is the Nought. Hegel, however, in his Science of logic , did not think there was much hope for delineating a "meaning" of being, because being stripped of all predicates is simply nothing. We speak, for example, of the reality of a plan or a purpose, meaning thereby that they are no longer inner and subjective, but have passed into being-there-and-then. Apropos of this, we should note the double meaning of the German word aufheben (to put by or set aside). Both therefore, being as well as thought, have the same attribute. For first, every philosophy that deserves the name always embodies the Idea: and secondly, every system represents one particular factor or particular stage in the evolution of the Idea. Hence the otherness is not something indifferent and outside it, but a function proper to it. In any encounter we are confronted with an object's being, its existence, or in Hegel's terms “pure being.” Now, along with this beginning is this thesis's opposite or antithesis. This unit, being without distinction in itself, thus excludes the other from itself. being and non-being but there is also a becoming (Okoro, 2008). This stage was never passed by the systems of Kant and Fichte, so far as ethics are concerned. The claim I want to defend is that Hegel is the philosopher most open to the future precisely because he explicitly prohibits any project of … The self-existing unit is not, like Being, void of all connective reference: it is a reference, as well as Being-there-and-then was, not however a reference connecting somewhat with an other, but as unity of some and the other, it is a connection with itself, and this connection, be it noted, is a negative connection. Nor, again, is the other of such a nature that we can think something apart from it; a something is implicitly the other of itself, and the somewhat sees its limit become objective to it in the other. their further specialisation, is passing over into another. (3) It may perhaps be said that nobody can form a notion of the unity of Being and Nought. In Being, the form of reference is purely due to our reflection on what takes place: but it is the special and proper characteristic of Essence. But the Positive by itself has no sense; it is wholly in reference to the negative. Essence also is indeterminate, but in another sense: it has traversed the process of mediation and contains implicit the determination it has absorbed. Besides it may very fairly be charged with reducing the infinite to finitude and making a finite infinite. This question, founded, as it is, upon the assumption of a rigid opposition between finite and infinite, may be answered by saying that the opposition is false, and that in point of fact the infinite eternally proceeds out of itself, and yet does not proceed out of itself. And always when a concrete existence is disguised under the name of Being and not-Being, empty-headedness makes its usual mistake of speaking about, and having in mind an image of, something else than what is in question: and in this place the question is about abstract Being and Nothing. But the philosophic notion teaches, contrariwise, that the One forms the presupposition of the Many: and in the thought of the One is implied that it explicitly make itself Many. Dualism, in putting an insuperable opposition between finite and infinite, fails to note the simple circumstance that the infinite is thereby only one of two, and is reduced to a particular, to which the finite forms the other particular. Being, becoming, and identity . The result of this process however is not empty Nothing, but Being identical with the negation — what we call Being Determinate (being then and there): the primary import of which evidently is that it has become. Thus even the Absolute (though it purports to express God in the style and character of thought) in comparison with its predicate (which really and distinctly expresses in thought what the subject does not) is as yet only an inchoate pretended thought — the indeterminate subject of predicates yet to come. The atom, in fact, is itself a thought; and hence the theory which holds matter to consist of atoms is a metaphysical theory. Becoming is the first concrete thought, and therefore the first notion: whereas Being and Nought are empty abstractions. But, in addition, the ground is, it may be, a meadow, not a wood or a pond. (Ausgleichung) with Being – absolute being-determinate. in Life. First of all, we had Being: as the truth of Being, came Becoming: which formed the passage into Being Determinate: and the truth of that we found to be Alteration. Thus Zeno, who first showed the contradiction native to motion, concluded that there is no motion; and the ancients, who recognised origin and decease, the two species of Becoming, as untrue categories, made use of the expression that the One or Absolute neither arises not perishes. But this mere Being, as it is mere abstraction, is therefore the absolutely negative: which, in a similarly immediate aspect, is just Nothing. In measure, at first, quality and quantity itself are immediate, and measure is only their ‘relative’ identity. The notion of Being, therefore, of which we sometimes speak, must mean Becoming; not the mere point of Being, which is empty Nothing, any more than Nothing, which is empty Being. Being, Nothing, Becoming; Dasein, Finitude, Infinitude; Being-for-self, the One and the Many, Repulsion and Attraction, Quantity, Quantum, quantitative Relation, and finally the Measure, which flexes over itself and completes the first explicit form of reflection. In the sphere of Being the reference of one term to another is only implicit; in Essence on the contrary it is explicit. It would be a mistake to treat these examples as pedantic futility; they really turn on thoughts, an acquaintance with which is of great importance in practical life, especially in ethics. a houseremains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller; and redremains red, whether it be brighter or darker. Each of the three spheres of the logical idea proves to be a systematic whole of thought-terms, and a phase of the Absolute. And if we then look at thought, it cannot escape us that thought also is at least what is absolutely identical with itself. Every signification, therefore, in which they afterwards appear, is only a more precise specification and truer definition of the Absolute. If, for example, we consider the subjective mind, which forms the object of psychology, we may describe what is called (moral and mental) character, as in logical language identical with Quality. The qualitative character, which in the One or unit has reached the extreme point of its characterisation, has thus passed over into determinateness (quality) suppressed, i.e. [b] The relation of the negative to itself is a negative relation, and so a distinguishing of the One from itself, the repulsion of the One; that is, it makes Many Ones. The finite, this theory tells us, ought to be absorbed; the infinite ought not to be a negative merely, but also a positive. Now in the face of such a statement, our first question ought to be, what is meant by being. And yet, as we must admit, this indifferent increase and diminution has its limit: a point is finally reached, where a single additional grain makes a heap of wheat; and the bald-tail is produced, if we continue plucking out single hairs. Professor Macann has just completed a vast philosophical project in four parts entitled Beingand Becoming. What the objector really means by comprehension — by a notion — is more than his language properly implies: he wants a richer and more complex state of mind, a pictorial conception which will propound the notion as a concrete case and one more familiar to the ordinary operations of thought. (1) The proposition that Being and Nothing is the same seems so paradoxical to the imagination or understanding, that it is perhaps taken for a joke. Quality, as determinateness which is, as contrasted with the Negation which is involved in it but distinguished from it, is Reality. But if when we view the whole world we can only say that everything is, and nothing more, we are neglecting all speciality and, instead of absolute plenitude, we have absolute emptiness. To be for self — to be one — is completed Quality, and as such, contains abstract Being and Being modified as non-substantial elements. To be thus self-related in the passage, and in the other, is the genuine Infinity. Quality may be described as the determinate mode immediate and identical with Being — as distinguished from Quantity (to come afterwards), which, although a mode of Being, is no longer immediately identical with Being, but a mode indifferent and external to it. That ‘ought to be’ betrays the incapacity of actually making good a claim which is at the same time recognised to be right. This is the case, for example, with the solar system, which may be described as the realm of free measures. The living die, simply because as living they bear in themselves the germ of death. But really the moon, as a something, has its other implicit in it. However, some two thousand years after Plato, Hegel offers a novel and radically different solution to the classical dialectic. The same vagueness of measure appears in several plants, which stand on a low level of organic development — for instance ferns. Comte called the first […], Posted by Karl Marx and historical materialism | thelycaeum on 07/23/2014 at 9:29 pm, […] The potency of Marx finds its genesis in the ambiguity of Hegel. Parmenides, who conceives the absolute as Being, says that ‘Being alone is and Nothing is not’. And that in two ways. Hence ideality has not received its proper estimation, when you allow that reality is not all in all, but that an ideality must be recognised outside of it. A distinction of course implies two things, and that one of them possesses an attribute which is not found in the other. In this first example we must call to mind, once for all, [that]: the only way to secure any growth and progress in knowledge is to hold results fast in their truth. Such lines we find in Nature under a variety of forms. Barren abstractions, like Being and Nothing — the initial categories which, for that reason, are the scantiest anywhere to be found — are utterly inadequate to the nature of these objects. Now in some of these cases the objectors foist in private aims, the utility a thing has for me, and then ask, whether it be all the same to me if the thing exist and if it do not. But this nominal admiration is often accompanied by the remark that they went too far, when they made Being alone true, and denied the truth of every other object of consciousness. cases vanishing involves a concern with developing an ontology of becoming in which the movement of disappearance is constitutive of reality as such. All that is wanted is to realise that these beginnings are nothing but these empty abstractions, one as empty as the other. Then it “turns out that to think is also minimally to think ‘becomes’”. Thus, for example, in Nature what are styled elementary bodies, oxygen, nitrogen, etc., should be regarded as existing qualities. For Hegel, analysis of a thing reveals its internal contradictions. But it is known precisely in its being known as Spirit, as a Being that is essentially a self-conscious Being. Beginning is itself a case of Becoming; only the former term is employed with an eye to the further advance. The true state of the case is rather as follows. Mere being however is not the end of the matter: it is, as we have already seen, utter emptiness and instability besides. It is not to be felt, or perceived by sense, or pictured in imagination: it is only and merely thought, and as such it forms the beginning. But the truth of the finite is rather its ideality. At first, no doubt, looking at the nature of quantity as an indifferent and external character of being, we are disposed to answer these questions in the negative. the most abstract. Quantity, as we have seen, is not only capable of alteration, i.e. So far then the question regarding the being of God — a being which is in itself concrete above all measure — is of slight importance. The real question is not whether we shall apply metaphysics, but whether our metaphysics are of the right kind: in other words, whether we are not, instead of the concrete logical Idea, adopting one-sided forms of thought, rigidly fixed by understanding, and making these the basis of our theoretical as well as our practical work. Ideality only has a meaning when it is the ideality of something: but this something is not a mere indefinite this or that, but existence characterised as reality, which, if retained in isolation, possesses no truth. So long as the One is fixed as one, it is certainly impossible to regard its congression with others as anything but external and mechanical. There is absolutely nothing whatever in which we cannot and must not point to contradictions or opposite attributes; and the abstraction made by understanding therefore means a forcible insistence on a single aspect, and a real effort to obscure and remove all consciousness of the other attribute which is involved. The fact is, quantity just means quality superseded and absorbed: and it is by the dialectic of quality here examined that this supersession is effected. The fundamental notion of philosophy, the genuine infinite, depends upon it. Indeed time is pure becoming, the essential unity of being and nothing. But in the case of mere Being and Nothing, distinction is without a bottom to stand upon: hence there can be no distinction, both determinations being the same bottomlessness. We know ourselves as existents, distinguished in the first place from other existents, and with certain relations thereto. I have found only one essay on the subject. On chance they laid the task of collecting the atoms which float about in the void. For this, reason we have bestowed a greater amount of attention on this distinction. Had they been deduced, we should then have seen the How and Why of a unity which is merely asserted. The Absolute is Being. But the mutual implication of the two, which makes what is true and concrete in them, would have to be wrested from the obscurity and confusion in which they were left even in Kant’s Metaphysical Rudiments of Natural Science.