Memorable Quotations: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything. Freedom is the truth of necessity. Science of Logic Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond. The very fact that something is determined as a limitation implies that the limitation is already transcended.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import or value. We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit, and just as little have we any need to be professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest. The richer in relationships thoughts become, the more confused and meaningless becomes their representation in such forms as numbers. The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom.

Once the state has been founded, there can no longer be any heroes. They come on the scene only in uncivilized conditions. Life is essentially the concept which realises itself only through self-division and reunification. Philosophy of Nature To him who looks upon the world rationally, the world in its turn presents a rational aspect. The relation is mutual. Mere goodness can achieve little against the power of nature.

World history is a court of judgment. Animals are in possession of themselves; their soul is in possession of their body. But they have no right to their life, because they do not will it. Only what is living feels a lack. Poverty in itself does not make men into a rabble; a rabble is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government. The History of the World is not the theatre of happiness. Periods of happiness are blank pages in it, for they are periods of harmony, periods when the antithesis is in abeyance.

Personality is that which struggles to lift itself above this restriction and to give itself reality, or in other words to claim that external world as its own. To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. I possess my life and my body, like other things, only in so far as my will is in them. Life has a value only when it has something valuable as its object.

Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Follow SubSense on WordPress. Popular Posts. In this respect culture or development of mind Bildung , regarded from the side of the individual, consists in his acquiring what lies at his hand ready for him, in making its inorganic nature organic to himself, and taking possession of it for himself.

Looked at, however, from the side of universal mind qua general spiritual substance, culture means nothing else than that this substance gives itself its own self-consciousness, brings about its own inherent process and its own reflection into self. For the nature of humanity is to impel men to agree with one another, and its very existence lies simply in the explicit realisation of a community of conscious life.

Absolute substance Consciousness first finds in self-consciousness. The Phenomenology of Spirit The recollection of spiritual forms as they are in themselves and as they accomplish the organization of their spiritual kingdom That one learns from logic how to think the usefulness of logic and hence its purpose, were held to consist in this — just as if one could only learn how to digest and move about by studying anatomy and physiology.

The Science of Logic Philosophy, if it would be a science, cannot borrow its method from a subordinate science like mathematics. Reason is negative and dialectical , because it resolves the determinations of the understanding into nothing. The development of all natural and spiritual life rests solely on the nature of the pure essentialities which constitute the content of logic. It is this self-construing method alone which enables philosophy to be an objective, demonstrated science.

It is in this way that I have tried to expound consciousness in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Consciousness is spirit as a concrete knowing, a knowing too, in which externality is involved; but the development of this object, like the development of all natural and spiritual life, rests solely on the nature of the pure essentialities which constitute the content of logic. Preface to The Science of Logic The forms of thought are, in the first instance, displayed and stored as human language. Here and there in this mesh there are firm knots which give stability and direction to the life and consciousness of spirit.

Dialectic is here understood in the grasping of opposites in their unity or of the positive in the negative. Logic, like grammar, appears in two different aspects or values. It is one thing for him who comes to it for the first time, but it is another thing for him who comes back to it from the sciences. He who begins the study of grammar finds in its forms and laws dry abstractions, arbitrary rules.

On the other hand, he who has mastered a language and at the same time has a comparative knowledge of other languages, he alone can make contact with the spirit and culture of a people through the grammar of its language. Similarly, he who approaches this science at first finds in logic an isolated system of abstractions which, confined within itself, does not embrace within its scope the other knowledges and sciences.

It is only after profounder acquaintance with the other sciences that logic ceases to be for subjective spirit a merely abstract universal and reveals itself as the universal which embraces within itself the wealth of the particular — just as the same proverb, in the mouth of a youth who understands it quite well, does not possess the wide range of meaning which it has in the mind of a man with the experience of a lifetime behind him, for who, the meaning is expressed in all its power.

Just as little is seen in pure light as in pure darkness. There is nothing which is not an intermediate state between being and nothing. We call dialectic the higher movement of reason in which utterly separate terms pass over into each other spontaneously.

The very fact that something is determined as a limitation implies that the limitation is already transcended. To understand how to put questions presupposes a certain education. The richer in relationships thoughts become, the more confused and meaningless becomes their representation in such forms as numbers. It shows an excessive tenderness for the world to remove contradiction from it and then to transfer the contradiction to reason, where it is allowed to remain unresolved.

There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy and mediation. Pure Being and pure nothing are, therefore, the same. Even a slight experience in reflective thinking will make it apparent that if something has been defined as positive and one moves forward from this basis, then straightway the positive has secretly turned into a negative. Everything is inherently contradictory. It has become a common jest in history to let great effects arise from small causes. I adhere to the view that the world spirit has given the age marching orders.

These orders are being obeyed. The world spirit, this essential, proceeds irresistibly like a closely drawn armored phalanx advancing with imperceptible movement, much as the sun through thick and thin. Innumerable light troops flank it on all sides, throwing themselves into the balance for or against its progress, though most of them are entirely ignorant of what is at stake and merely take head blows as from an invisible hand. Letter to Niethammer, 5 July At the approach of this kind of syllogism we are at once seized with a feeling of boredom.

Freedom is the truth of necessity. To this extent the means is superior to the finite ends of external purposiveness: the plough is more honourable than are immediately the enjoyments procured by it and which are ends. The tool lasts, while the immediate enjoyments pass away and are forgotten.

In his tools man possesses power over external nature, even though in respect of his ends he is, on the contrary, subject to it. Dialectic has often been regarded as an art, as though it rested on a subjective talent and did not belong to the objectivity of the Notion. That the whole form of the method is a triplicity, is merely the superficial external side of the mode of cognition; but to have demonstrated even this must also be regarded as an infinite merit of the Kantian philosophy.

Science exhibits itself as a circle returning upon itself, the end being wound back into the beginning, the simple ground, by the mediation; this circle is moreover a circle of circles, for each individual member as ensouled by the method is reflected into itself, so that in returning into the beginning it is at the same time the beginning of a new member. Links of this chain are the individual sciences [of logic, nature and spirit], each of which has an antecedent and a successor — or, expressed more accurately, has only the antecedent and indicates its successor in its conclusion.

The Idea, in positing itself as absolute unity of the pure Notion and its reality and thus contracting itself into the immediacy of being, is the totality in this form — Nature. This Idea of Spinoza's we must allow to be in the main true and well-grounded; absolute substance is the truth, but it is not the whole truth; in order to be this it must also be thought of as in itself active and living, and by that very means it must determine itself as mind.

But substance with Spinoza is only the universal and consequently the abstract determination of mind. History of Philosophy It may really be said: You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all. Man is free, this is certainly the substantial nature of man; and not only is this liberty not relinquished in the state, but it is actually in the state that it is first realised.

The freedom of nature, the gift of freedom, is not anything real; for the state is the first realisation of freedom. Although the state may originate in violence, it does not rest on it; violence, in producing the state, has bought into existence only what is justified in and for itself, namely, laws and a constitution.

The Philosophy of Spirit There are two kinds of laws, laws of nature and laws of right. Preface to The Philosophy of Right Laws of right are established and handed down by men. The inner voice must necessarily collide or agree with them. Man cannot be limited to what is presented to him, but maintains that he has the standard of right within himself. He may be subject to the necessity and force of external authority, but not in the same way as he is to the necessity of nature; for always his inner being says to him how a thing ought to be, and within himself he finds the confirmation or lack of confirmation of what is generally accepted.

In nature the highest truth is that a law is. In right a thing is not valid because it is, since every one demands that it shall conform to his standard. Hence arises a possible conflict between what is and what ought to be, between absolute unchanging right and the arbitrary decision of what ought to be right. Such division and strife occur only on the soil of the spirit. Thus the unique privilege of the spirit would appear to lead to discontent and unhappiness.

With us philosophy is not practised as a private art, as it was by the Greeks, but has a public place, and should therefore be employed only in the service of the state. What is rational is real and what is real is rational. Philosophy cannot teach the state what it should be, but only how it, the ethical universe, is to be known.

As for the individual, every one is a son of his time; so philosophy also is its time apprehended in thoughts. It is just as foolish to fancy that any philosophy can transcend its present world, as that an individual could leap out of his time or jump over Rhodes. When philosophy paints its grey in grey, one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known. The owl of Minerva, takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering. The conception and its existence are two sides, distinct yet united, like soul and body.

The body is the same life as the soul, and yet the two can be named independently. A soul without a body would not be a living thing, and vice versa. Thus the visible existence of the conception is its body, just as the body obeys the soul which produced it. Philosophy of Right The science of right must develop the idea, which is the reason of an object, out of the conception. It is the same thing to say that it must regard the peculiar internal development of the thing itself. Since it is a part, it has a definite beginning, which is the result and truth of what goes before, and this, that goes before, constitutes its so-called proof.

Impulses must be freed from the form of direct subjection to nature. The propulsion by the universality of thought is the absolute worth of civilisation. The true process is found in the logic, and here in The Philosophy of Right is presupposed. The sequence of the conceptions is at the same time a sequence of realisations. Personality implies that as this person: I am completely determined on every side and so finite, yet nonetheless I am simply and solely self-relation, and therefore in finitude I know myself as something infinite, — universal, and free.

A person, then, is a subject aware of this subjectivity, since in personality it is of myself alone that I am aware. Personality is that which struggles to lift itself above the restriction of being only subjective and to give itself reality. A person must translate his freedom into an external sphere in order to exist as Idea.

Common property that may be owned by separate persons is an inherently dissoluble partnership in which the retention of my share is explicitly a matter of my arbitrary preference. I possess my life and my body, like other things, only in so far as my will is in them. From the point of view of others, I am in essence a free entity in my body. What and how much I possess is a matter of indifference so far as rights are concerned. Matter is nothing except the resistance it offers me. Yet matter is never without an essential form of its own. To adhere to man's absolute freedom — one aspect of the matter — is eo ipso to condemn slavery.

Yet if a man is a slave, his own will is responsible for his slavery, just as it is its will, which is responsible if a people is subjugated. Hence the wrong of slavery lies at the door, not simply of enslavers or conquerors, but of the slaves and the conquered themselves. At that stage wrong has validity and so is necessarily in place. Those substantive characteristics which constitute my own private personality are inalienable.

I can alienate to someone else and I can give him the use of my abilities only for a restricted period.


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Existence as determinate being is in essence being for another. Once the state has been founded, there can no longer be any heroes. They come on the scene only in uncivilised conditions. Action has a multitude of consequences. Thus the will has the right to repudiate the imputation of all consequences except the first, since it alone was purposed.

To impose on others is hypocrisy; while to impose on oneself is a stage beyond hypocrisy. What happens here is the same as what happens when the will stops at willing good in the abstract, i. The family as a legal entity in relation to others must be represented by the husband as its head. Once the children have come of age, they become recognised as persons. The fact that society has become strong and sure of itself leads to a mitigation of its punishment. No act of revenge is justified. The public authority takes the place of the family where the poor are concerned.

Society struggles to make charity less necessary, by discovering the causes of penury and means of its relief. The inner dialectic of civil society drives it to push beyond its own limits and seek markets in other lands. Colonial independence proves to be of the greatest advantage to the mother country, just as the emancipation of slaves turns out to the greatest advantage of the owners. The Corporation comes on to the scene like a second family. Rationality, taken generally and in the abstract, consists in the thorough-going unity of the universal and the single.

Rationality, concrete in the state, consists a so far as its content is concerned, in the unity of objective freedom i. This Idea is the absolutely eternal and necessary being of mind. The result is that he reduces the union of individuals in the state to a contract and therefore to something based on their arbitrary wills, their opinion. The state is the actuality of the ethical Idea.

The march of God in the world, that is what the state is. The state is the actuality of concrete freedom. The strength of the state is lies in the unity of its universal end with the particular interest of individual. In particularity and individuality, mind glimmers in them as the power of reason in necessity. Mind is the nature of human beings en masse.

Necessity appears to itself in the shape of freedom. The constitution of any given nation depends in general on the character and development of its self-consciousness. The truth of subjectivity is attained only in a subject, and the truth of personality only in a person. The sovereign works on the middle class at the top, and Corporations work on it at the bottom. As for popular suffrage, it may be further remarked that especially in large states it leads inevitably to electoral indifference, since the casting of a single vote is of no significance where there is a multitude of electors.

Even if a voting qualification is highly valued and esteemed by those who are entitled to it, they still do not enter the polling booth. Public opinion has common sense, but is infected by accidents of opinion, ignorance and perversity. To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational. Free speech is assured by the innocuous character which it acquires as a result of the stability of government.

Individuality is awareness of one's existence as a unit in sharp distinction from others. This autonomy embodies mind's actual awareness of itself as a unit and hence it is the most fundamental freedom which a people possesses as well as its highest dignity. The individual's duty is to maintain the sovereignty of the state, at the risk and sacrifice of property and life.

Sacrifice on behalf of the state is the substantial tie between the state and all its members.

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If the state as such is in jeopardy, all its citizens are in duty bound to answer the summons to its defence. International law springs from the relations between autonomous states. The nation state is Mind in its substantive rationality and immediate actuality — the absolute power on earth. The fundamental proposition of international law is that treaties ought to be kept. It follows that if states disagree, the matter can only be settled by war. War should be not waged against domestic institutions, against the peace of family and private life.

Relations between states depend principally upon the customs of nations. World history is a court of judgement. World history is not the verdict of mere might, but actualisation of the universal mind. The history of Mind is its own act. States, nations, and individuals are all the time the unconscious tools of the world mind at work within them.

Each stage of world-history is a necessary moment in the Idea of the World Mind. History is mind clothing itself with the form of events. World-historical actions, culminate with individuals as subjects — living instruments of the World Mind. It is the right of heroes to found states. Civilised nations are justified in regarding as barbarians those who lag behind them in institutions. Spiritual culture, the modern intellect, produces this opposition in man which makes him an amphibious animal, because he now has to live in two worlds which contradict one another.

Introduction to the Lectures on Aesthetics And so every work of art is a dialogue with everyone who confronts it. A symbol is a sensuous object. There are two terms to be distinguished: the first is a conception of the mind; the second, a sensuous phenomenon, an image which address itself to the senses.

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Lectures on Aesthetics: Symbolic Art The sentiment of art like the religious sentiment, like scientific curiosity, is born of wonder; the man who wonders at nothing lives in a state of imbecility and stupidity. The object of philosophy is an actuality of which social regulations and conditions, are only the superficial outside. Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. Those sciences, which thus got the name of philosophy, we call empirical sciences, for the reason that they take their departure from experience.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - Wikipedia

In England this is still the usual signification of the term philosophy. Newton continues to be celebrated as the greatest of philosophers: and the name goes down as far as the price-lists of instrument-makers. Experience is the real author of growth and advance of philosophy. For these thousands of years the same Architect has directed the work: and that Architect is the one living Mind whose nature is to think.

Each of the parts of philosophy is a philosophical whole, a circle rounded and complete in itself. In each of these parts, however, the philosophical Idea is found in a particular specificality or medium. The single circle, because it is a real totality, bursts through the limits imposed by its special medium, and gives rise to a wider circle. The whole of philosophy in this way resembles a circle of circles.

The Idea appears in each single circle, but, at the same time, the whole Idea is constituted by the system of these peculiar phases, and each is a necessary member of the organisation. Introduction By the act of reflection something is altered in the way in which the fact was originally presented in sensation, perception, or conception. Thus, as it appears, an alteration must be interposed before the true nature of the object can be discovered. Preliminiary Notion The divorce between thought and thing is mainly the work of the Critical Philosophy, and runs counter to the conviction of all previous ages, that their agreement was a matter of course.

The fact is, no man can think for another, any more than he can eat or drink for him. In point of contents, thought is only true in proportion as it sinks itself in the facts; and in point of form it is no private act of the subject, but rather that attitude of consciousness where the abstract self, freed from all the special limitations to which its ordinary states are liable, restricts itself to that universal action in which it is identical with all individuals.

Thoughts may be termed Objective Thoughts, thoughts accredited able to express the essential reality of things. In my Phenomenology of the Spirit , which on that account was at its publication described as the first part of the System of Philosophy, the method adopted was to begin with the first and simplest phase of mind, immediate consciousness, and to show how that stage gradually of necessity worked onward to the philosophical point of view, the necessity of that view being proved by the process.

But in these circumstances it was impossible to restrict the quest to the mere form of consciousness. For the stage of philosophical knowledge is the richest in material and organisation, and therefore, as it came before us in the shape of a result, it presupposed the existence of the concrete formations of consciousness, such as individual and social morality, art and religion. In the development of consciousness, which at first sight appears limited to the point of form merely, there is thus at the same time included the development of the matter or of the objects discussed in the special branches of philosophy.

But the latter process must, so to speak, go on behind consciousness, since those facts are the essential nucleus which is raised into consciousness. The exposition accordingly is rendered more intricate, because so much that properly belongs to the concrete branches is prematurely dragged into the introduction. The survey which follows in the present work has even more the inconvenience of being only historical and inferential in its method.

But it tries especially to show how the questions men have proposed, outside the school, on the nature of Knowledge, Faith, and the like - questions which they imagine to have no connection with abstract thoughts - are really reducible to the simple categories, which first get cleared up in Logic. Preliminiary Notion. To know what free thought means go to Greek philosophy. Shorter Logic. What we want is to combine in our process of inquiry the action of the forms of thought with a criticism of them. The forms of thought must be studied in their essential nature and complete development: they are at once the object of research and the action of that object.

This is Dialectic , instead of being brought to bear upon the categories from without, it is immanent in their own action. Shorter Logic Religion and morals, however much they may be faith or immediate knowledge, are still on every side conditioned by the mediating process which is termed development, education, training.

All the categories of logic may be looked upon as definitions of the Absolute, or metaphysical definitions of God. 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. As the logical Idea is seen to unfold itself in a process from the abstract to the concrete, so in the history of philosophy the earliest systems are the most abstract, and thus at the same time the poorest.

The relation too of the earlier to the later systems of philosophy is much like the relation of the corresponding stages of the logical Idea: in other words, the earlier are preserved in the later: but subordinated and submerged. This is the true meaning of a much misunderstood phenomenon in the history of philosophy — the refutation of one system by another, of an earlier by a later. Most commonly the refutation is taken in a purely negative sense to mean that the system refuted has ceased to count for anything, has been set aside and done for.

Were it so, the history of philosophy would be, of all studies, most saddening, displaying, as it does, the refutation of every system which time has brought forth. 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. And that in two ways. 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.


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The refutation of a philosophy, therefore, only means that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced to a factor in the completer principle that follows. Pure Being, as it is mere abstraction, is just Nothing. In fact this definition is implied in saying that God is only the supreme Being and nothing more.

The Nothing which the Buddhists make the universal principle, as well as the final aim and goal of everything, is the same abstraction. Here the term does not merely mean outward and immediate existence: but rather that some existence agrees with its notion. In this sense, reality is not distinct from ideality. Newton gave physics an express warning to beware of metaphysics, it is true, but to his honour be it said, he did not by any means obey his own warning. Thus the man, in himself, is the child. And what the child has to do is to rise out of this abstract and undeveloped 'in-himself' and become 'for himself' what he is at first only 'in-himself' — a free and reasonable being.

We have all reason to rejoice that the things which environ us are appearances and not steadfast and independent existences; since in that case we should soon perish of hunger, both bodily and mental. A man is nothing but the series of his actions. The problem of science, and especially of philosophy, consists in eliciting the necessity concealed under the semblance of contingency.

That the manners of the Spartans are the cause of their constitution and their constitution conversely the cause of their manners, may no doubt be in a way correct. But, as we have comprehended neither the manners nor the constitution of the nation, the result of such reflections can never be final or satisfactory. The satisfactory point will be reached only when these two, as well as all other, special aspects of Spartan life and Spartan history are seen to be founded in a Notion.

Actuality and thought or Idea are often absurdly opposed. It is necessary energetically to protest against these doctrines, for on the one hand Ideas are not confined to our heads merely, nor is the Idea, on the whole, so feeble as to leave the question of its actualisation or non-actualisation dependent on our will. The Idea is rather the absolutely active as well as actual Shorter Logic The truth of necessity is, therefore, Freedom.

Necessity is blind only so long as it is not understood. A good man is aware that the tenor of his conduct is essentially necessary. The notion is the principle of all life, and thus possesses at the same time a character of thorough concreteness. The notion is what contains all the earlier categories of thought merged in it, an infinite and creative form which includes, but at the same time releases from itself, the fullness of all content. And so too the notion may, if it be wished, be styled abstract, if the name concrete is restricted to the concrete facts of sense or of immediate perception.

For the notion is not palpable to the touch, and when we are engaged with it, hearing and seeing must quite fail us. And yet, the notion is a true concrete. Logic is usually treated without in the least touching the question whether anything is true. If the logical forms of the notion were really dead and inert receptacles of conceptions and thoughts, careless of what they contained, knowledge about them would be an idle curiosity which the truth might dispense with. The Greeks, in other respects so advanced, knew neither God nor even man in their true universality. The gods of the Greeks were only particular powers of the mind.

The universal The distinction between what is merely in common, and what is truly universal, is strikingly expressed by Rousseau in his famous Contrat social, when he says that the laws of a state must spring from the universal will, but need not on that account be the will of all. Rousseau would have made a sounder contribution towards a theory of the state if he had always kept this distinction in sight. The notion is what is mediated through itself and with itself.

It is a mistake to imagine that the objects which form the content of our mental ideas come first and that our subjective agency then supervenes, and by the aforesaid operation of abstraction, and by colligating the points possessed in common by the objects, frames notions of them. R ather the notion is the genuine first ; and things are what they are through the action of the notion, immanent in them, and revealing itself in them.

A study of Logic is no more necessary to teach us how to draw correct conclusions, than a previous study of anatomy and physiology is required in order to digest. In their objective sense, the three figures of the syllogism declare that everything rational is manifested as a triple syllogism; that is to say, each one of the members takes in turn the place of the extremes, as well as of the mean which reconciles them.

Such, for example, is the case with the three branches of philosophy: the Logical Idea, Nature, and Mind. As we first see them, Nature is the middle term which links the others together. Nature, the totality immediately before us, unfolds itself into the two extremes of the Logical Idea and Mind. But Mind is Mind only when it is mediated through nature. Then, in the second place, Mind, which we know as the principle of individuality, or as the actualising principle, is the mean; and Nature and the Logical Idea are the extremes.

In the third place again the Logical Idea itself becomes the mean: it is the absolute substance both of mind and of nature, the universal and all-pervading principle. The theory which regards the Object as Absolute expresses the point of view of superstition and slavish fear. Animal wants and appetites are felt contradiction. Reason is as cunning as it is powerful. Cunning may be said to lie in the intermediative action which, while it permits the objects to follow their own bent and act upon one another till they waste away, and does not itself directly interfere in the process, is nevertheless only working out its own aims.

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A bad man is an untrue man, a man who does not behave as his notion or his vocation requires. Nothing however can subsist, if it be wholly devoid of identity between the notion and reality. Even bad and untrue things have being, in so far as their reality still, somehow, conforms to their notion. Every individual being is some one aspect of the Idea. Logic shows that the subjective which is to be subjective only, the finite which would be finite only, the infinite which would be infinite only, and so on, have no truth, but contradict themselves, and pass over into their opposites Shorter Logic