. 8
( 12)


in Greek life was power, and the Greeks had failed because they failed

notions of giving oneself the law and keeping faith with the law, also making it sound as if, for
Hegel, the Greek agent never had to re¬‚ect on what she was required to do.
± See Sophocles, Antigone (trans. Elizabeth Wycoff) in Sophocles I (eds. David Grene and Richard
Lattimore) (New York: The Modern Library, ±µ), p. ±; the literal translation comes from my
colleague, Richard Kraut, to whom I am indebted for a nice discussion of this aspect of the
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
to play the game of power effectively. Roman power could, however,
survive only as long as it maintained the will and the military power to
enforce itself; and, as both those very contingent features vanished from
it, so did the Empire itself, since there was no deeper sense of truth to
hold it together.
The emergence of the aristocratic ideal out of the chaos surround-
ing the collapse of imperial Roman power in Europe in turn seemed to
be what was required of European humanity facing the breakdown of
Roman authority. The military aristocrat and, even more so, the royal
personage, for whom glory is the only motive worth contemplating, puts
on a mask of “culture” (Bildung) to show his superiority over those mo-
tivated by more down-to-earth, self-seeking goals (exempli¬ed by the
tradesman and the wealthy bourgeois). The king and the aristocrat are
each, so it seems, laws unto themselves, but they can only maintain their
authority under the ¬ction that they are sel¬‚ess, devoted to glory (or to
the king), or to an abstract value of “honor,” whereas the bourgeoisie are
supposedly only self-interested and therefore unworthy to rule for them-
selves. However, there could be no decisively distinguishing marks (other
than fully spurious ones out of touch with the emerging view of nature at
work in modern scienti¬c culture) by which aristocrats and royals could
mark off their own actions as “noble” and all others as “base” (as if
learning to hold a wine glass correctly distinguished the “higher” and
the “noble” values of the nobility from the “lower” and the “base” values
of the commoners). As it became more and more clear that both noble
and bourgeois were interested primarily in wealth, not in glory, the ¬ction
became more obvious, and the laws decreed by the nobility appeared
as what they were: the contingent expressions of interest and power by
a group interested only in preserving its advantages and privileges, not
part of reasons that could be given to all. The only remaining embod-
iment of being a “law unto himself ” was the monarch, exempli¬ed by
the Sun King, Louis XIV, presiding over his court of crafty real-estate-
dealing aristocrats. The monarch, so it was said, was the nation.
The French Revolution brought this to a close and completed, at least
in principle, that line of development. Faced with the collapse of all other
forms of authority, the “people,” now describing themselves and not the
monarch as the “nation of France,” declared themselves “as the people”
to be the “law” and to be engaged therefore in attaining an uncondi-
tional freedom normatively unconstrained by the past or the contingent
features of human nature, but instead to be constrained only by what
was necessarily involved in that freedom™s being sought for its own sake,
Hegel™s Phenomenology of Spirit
keeping faith with nothing outside of its own changing dictates “ in
short, claiming to be “absolute” freedom. However, without anything
more de¬nite to determine what counted as such self-determination,
any government of the “nation” could only be a faction, a particular
group with its own agenda, renaming its own interests as those of “the
people” and characterizing those other factions opposed to it as a danger
to the nation. The truth of “absolute freedom” was the Terror: giving
the law to oneself, freed from any constraint by a kind of rationality pre-
ceding such legislation, found its “truth” in the constant movement of
the guillotine™s blade.
To see it only in those terms, however, was one-sided and therefore
misleading. The real truth of the French Revolution, so Hegel argued,
were the Kantian and Fichtean revolutions in philosophy, for only they
brought out what was really normatively in play in the demand for
“absolute freedom” “ not the Terror, but the Kantian kingdom of ends
was the “truth” of the demands of the Revolution. The Terror was,
as it were, the false conclusion that would be necessarily drawn from
such a demand without the mediating effects of social institutions that
themselves embodied and realized the kingdom of ends (which Hegel,
ever a child of his own times and upbringing, thought was some form of
Protestant Christianity, the religion of both himself and Kant).
The Kantian and Fichtean revolutions were themselves, however, also
part of a larger way of life, the very modern “moral worldview,” as Hegel
called it. While the Terror emerged in France because of the way its in-
stitutional past as an absolute, centralized monarchy made the claim of
“the people” seem like the rational embodiment of the demand of ab-
solute freedom, in fragmented Germany, the “moral worldview” at ¬rst
emerged out of developments in religion, not politics. For the “moral
worldview,” as with the French Revolution, the primary object of con-
cern was freedom, but this was not taken in institutional terms (as a call
to establish a government of “absolute freedom”) but instead as a call on
oneself as an individual, independently of all social conditions, to realize
one™s radical freedom in both giving oneself the law and holding one-
self to it. If the threat to freedom for the proponents of the Revolution
was governmental or aristocratic despotism, the threat to freedom for
the “moral worldview” was nature (and especially one™s own “human”
nature of desires and inclinations). To be free was to be able to give
oneself the law independently of any constraint by nature (or social cus-
tom, although this was less important for the “moral worldview”), and
this could be actualized for an individual only by holding fast to his
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
self-legislated (although universal) duties. What ultimately mattered for
the “moral worldview” were that one exercise a particular kind of power
(such as transcendental freedom) that is independent of nature, that one
formulate one™s maxims so as to meet the demands of universalizabil-
ity, and that one act on the right motive (do duty for duty™s sake). This
is a problem for individuals, not for governments; no institution can
make one transcendentally free, nor can it prevent it; nor can an insti-
tution determine one™s motive, for only the individual himself can do
The basic problem for the “moral worldview” had to do with recon-
ciling its claim to (individual, moral) freedom with the competing claims
made on an individual by his own sensuous nature. In particular, it has
to ask what interest the embodied individual might have in being moral.
On Kant™s own terms, of course, there could be no antecedent interest in
being moral, but even Kant himself recognized that, whereas we could
always demand of everyone that they do their duty, we could not ratio-
nally expect everyone to be moral drudges, to live lives of unremitting
pain or stupefying dullness if morality required it.±· We are thus also
under the duty to promote the “highest good,” the union of virtue and
happiness, so that our desire for our own happiness will not be at such
odds with our clearly recognized moral duty. To that end, Kant (and
so many post-Kantians after him) attached great interest to producing
various “postulates” of practical philosophy as necessary conditions of
attaining the highest good as the union of virtue and happiness (one
example being Kant™s arguing for the practical necessity to postulate
immortality and the promise of eternal reward for our virtue).±
The truth of the “moral worldview” (what it ¬nds itself committed to
as it actualizes itself in practice) is, however, a kind of dissemblance. On
±· I discuss this in the context of Kant™s political philosophy in Terry Pinkard, “Kant, Citizenship
and Freedom” (§§±“µ), in Otfried H¨ ffe (ed.), Klassiker Auslegen: Immanuel Kant, Metaphysische
Anfangsgr¨ nde der Rechtslehre (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, ±), pp. ±µµ“±·. In his ±· essay, “On
the Common Saying: ˜This May Be True in Theory, but it does not Apply in Practice,™ ” Kant
says, “at the same time . . . man is not thereby expected to renounce his natural aim of attaining
happiness as soon as the question of following his duty arises; for like any ¬nite rational being,
he simply cannot do so. Instead, he must completely abstract from such considerations as soon
as the imperative of duty supervenes, and must on no account make them a condition of his
obeying the law prescribed to him by reason,” in Kant™s Political Writings, p. ; Werke, ©, p. ±±:
“daß dadurch dem Menschen nicht angesonnen werde, er solle, wenn es auf P¬‚ichtbefolgung
ankommt, seinem nat¨ rlichen Zwecke, der Gl¨ ckseligkeit, entsagen; denn das kann er nicht, so
u u
wie kein endliches vern¨ nftiges Wesen uberhaupt; sondern er m¨ sse, wenn das Gebot der P¬‚icht
u ¨ u
eintritt, g¨ nzlich von dieser R¨ cksicht abstrahieren; er m¨ sse sie durchaus nicht zur Bedingung der
a u u
Befolgung des ihm durch die Vernunft vorgeschriebenen Gesetzes machen.”
± See Allison, Kant™s Theory of Freedom, p. ·.
Hegel™s Phenomenology of Spirit
the one hand, it claims that one should do one™s duty for duty™s sake; on
the other hand, it claims that we cannot practically divorce the claims of
duty from the claims of nature, even if duty is always to take normative
priority. One must strive to complete morality (bring about the highest
good), and one must also act without any interest in its being actualized
(since one™s happiness is impermissible as a moral motive). Thus, one
is obligated to act without concern for one™s own happiness, and one is
obligated to try as hard as one can to bring about the union of virtue and
happiness. Or alternatively: one must strive to shape one™s character so
that it is the motive of duty that prompts one to act and not the prospect
of enhancing one™s own happiness; yet, at the same time, one has a duty
to try to bring it about so that one is happy in proportion to one™s virtue
(in proportion to how much happiness one morally deserves, the key
element in the “highest good”).
The “moral worldview,” so Hegel argues, thereby commits itself to
constant dissembling, a pretense that the only thing that matters is act-
ing on the motive of duty for duty™s sake, while at the same time claiming
that, without attending to one™s happiness, one is engaged in a practically
hopeless enterprise. Indeed, the basic mode of dissembling behind the
“moral worldview” is the pretense that what is at stake is wholly individ-
ual, having to do with the failure or success of individuals living up to
the demands of the moral law, and not some more complex story about
the history of institutions and political life (although that, as the French
Revolution showed, also could not be the whole story).
Behind the “moral worldview” is a stress therefore on purity of motive
and purity of self, of cleansing the agent of all contaminants to his ability
to be a law unto himself, and it is that commitment to purity that plays the
determinative normative role in the “moral worldview.” Such a commit-
ment ultimately requires that the agent™s uncontaminated commitment
to duty be kept pure, and, within the Christian European way of life,
that commitment to purity found its expression as the appeal to personal
conscience. Although Hegel held it was a great achievement of modern
life to have carved out a space for the claims of conscience within itself,
he also thought that the way that space had to be carved out necessarily
involved some false turns. At ¬rst, the appeal to conscience seemed to be
consistent only if it were taken in either of two ways: either the commit-
ment to duty must be kept pure, which rules out any action that might
somehow soil that purity; or keeping one™s purity intact required one to
act simply out of the depths of one™s conviction, committed to the belief
that, whatever the outcome, the act was pure and therefore good if it
° Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
was done out of genuine, deep conviction. (Fichte held a version of this
latter view, as did J. F. Fries, who, of course, otherwise despised Fichte;
in making his criticisms, Hegel probably had Fries in mind, whom he
detested as much as Fries detested him.) The “pure” individual appeal-
ing only to what his own conscience permits him is a “beautiful soul”
(a term much in vogue in Hegel™s day and explicitly invoked in the moral
context by Fries). For the “beautiful soul,” one avoids the “Kantian para-
dox” only by holding fast to one™s conscience, more or less “expressing”
individually the moral law that one personally “is.” Hegel, of course,
could barely conceal his contempt for this line of post-Kantian individ-
ualist self-absorption, but he also saw it as one of the ways in which the
“Kantian paradox” was working itself out as it tried to realize the ideal
of the morally pure will.±
In their pursuit of purity in the face of the fragmented, modern world,
such beautiful souls fragment themselves into those who act out of con-
viction, knowing that they cannot know all the possible morally salient
features of a situation but remain convinced that the purity of their con-
viction carries over into their acts; and those who cannot tolerate being
contaminated by any compromises with the real world and thus refuse
to play along, preserving their inner purity by inaction and condemning
all those who act as complicit with the evil of the world. Since evil in
that post-Kantian world is identi¬ed with subordinating the moral law
to self-love and personal advantage, each of these beautiful souls neces-
sarily sees the other as evil, since each sees the other as not really being
pure but only substituting their own individual take on things for the real
demands of the moral law. In the eyes of the other, the judgmental purist,
who refuses to soil his hands with action that might compromise what
his “pure” conscience requires, is a hypocrite, pretending to be good
but actually concerned only with himself; in the eyes of the judgmental
purist, the agent who acts according to what the purity of his conscience
tells him is also a hypocrite, for the same reason. Each claims to be a law
unto himself, but, as constrained only by an abstract appeal to the purity
± In the course of his discussion, Hegel makes oblique references to Goethe, Friedrich Schlegel,
Fichte, Fries, Novalis, perhaps Rousseau, and maybe even H¨ lderlin. See the very enlightening
discussion by Speight, Hegel, Literature, and the Problem of Agency, pp. “±±. (Speight shows, I think,
that my own attempt, in Hegel™s Phenomenology: The Sociality of Reason, at interpreting the literary
background of this chapter as based on Rousseau™s La Nouvelle H´lo¨se leaves too many questions

unanswered; Speight argues, rightly I think, that the correct literary text for the “forgiveness”
motif is Jacobi™s novel, Woldemar.) The literary ¬gures at play in this section (as well as for the whole
book) are also interestingly laid out by Gustav-H.H. Falke, Begriffne Geschichte: Das historische Substrat
und die systematische Anordnung der Bewußtseinsgestalten in Hegels Ph¨ nomenologie des Geistes. Interpretation
und Kommentar (Berlin: Lukas, ±).
Hegel™s Phenomenology of Spirit
of his own conscience, each seems to the other only to be substituting
his own personal outlook for the demands of the universal “law.” What
seems to one of them as pure conscientiousness only seems to the other as
fully colored by personal ambition, desire for advantage, or some other
less than morally pure motive.
In fact, each form of the beautiful soul expresses something Kant
already anticipated: the moral ideal cannot mean that the demands of
duty are supposed to be the normal case in everyday life, as if every
waking moment in daily life should be taken up with the thought of
duty for duty™s sake. Instead, it must mean that we are to strive to bring
about a world in which we quasi-naturally do the right thing without
having to constantly factor in our duty.° The beautiful soul is supposed
to be “beautiful” in just that way: his own individuality and emotional life
supposedly line up almost perfectly with the demands of reason, such that
his own conscientious action is the best guide to what is really required
by the moral law.± The charge of hypocrisy made by the beautiful souls
against each other, however, only shows how the Kantian conception
of radical evil, when lined up with claims about “beauty of soul,” drive
those agents into mutual charges of evil and hypocrisy.
The solution to this, so Hegel argues, arises out of the same prac-
tice that produces the appeal to conscience in the ¬rst place, namely,
Christian culture. In particular, it is the practice of forgiveness, the
Christian recognition that we are all “sinners” in the eyes of God, trans-
muted into a secular practice of forgiveness and reconciliation that brings
out what is really normatively in play in the appeal to conscience: an

° Seeing Kant in this way rejects the overly “rigorist” interpretation of his views that only acts
done from duty have any moral worth “ an interpretation that leads to Schiller™s famous jibe to
the effect that we should set things up so that I dislike my friends so that my good acts toward
them will therefore shine all the brighter. Two recent works go a long way toward dispelling
such a view, substituting instead a view that Kant was a “value” theorist, for whom “respect for
persons” is the ultimate value to be realized, and that all other duties and moral considerations
are to follow from that. See Allen Wood, Kant™s Ethical Theory (Cambridge University Press, ±);
and Nancy Sherman, Making a Virtue of Necessity: Kant and Aristotle on Virtue (Cambridge University
Press, ±·). The dif¬culties (both philosophical and textual) of making Kant into such a “value
theorist” are brought out by Robert Pippin, “Kant™s Theory of Value: On Allen Wood™s Kant™s
Ethical Thought,” Inquiry,  (summer, °°°); and “Rigorism and ˜the New Kant™,” forthcoming
in Proceedings of the IXth International Kant Congress.
± There are analogies between this notion of the “beautiful soul” and more recent attempts to
interpret Kant™s ethics as requiring a ¬nely tuned capacity for discerning “moral salience” in
situations. In both cases, the categorical imperative is supposedly correctly brought into play
only when linked to the other psychological capacities of such discernment. Nancy Sherman in
Making a Virtue of Necessity tends to give this kind of reading, as does Herman, The Practice of Moral
Judgment. Kant himself in the Critique of Judgment seemed to be arguing that a proper “feeling”
for natural beauty itself indicates such a “beautiful soul.” See Critique of Judgment, §.
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
appeal not to “beautiful souls,” but to the recognition that, in Hegel™s
terms, our sociality fundamentally commits us to being the “masters”
and “slaves” to each other “ we are authors of the law to ourselves only
as others co-author the law for us. The “ethical world” “ the “I that
is We, and the We that is I” “ exists only in terms of each holding our-
selves to the law by holding others to the law, while at the same time
they hold us to the law and hold themselves to the law. In all such cases,
claims made on oneself by another agent (or, in more Hegelian terms,
by “the other”) radically alter one™s self-relation. The freedom sought
by “beautiful souls” is thus to be found not in a striving for independence
(the problem with all attempts at being a “master” who is the author
of the law but never subject to a law authored by anybody else), but
in a recognition of our crucial mutual dependencies on each other. The
“Kantian paradox” is not overcome, only sublated, aufgehoben, into a his-
torical and social conception of agency, where the appeal to reason turns
out to involve, ¬rst, our participating in a historical, social practice of
giving and asking for reasons, not in an appeal to something outside of
us that sorts the world out for us prior to our deliberations, nor to any
purely methodological procedure of testing for universalizability; and,
second, our understanding of freedom as itself involving a certain type
of self-relation that includes relations to others as being in a common
sphere, not the exercise of some transcendental, causal power.

¬©§©® ®¤ ¬µ «®·©®§
The concluding chapter on the history of Geist in the Phenomenology thus
culminated not so much in a ¬xed conclusion, as in the sketch of a pro-
gram for Hegel™s thought, arguing in effect that the modern world neces-
sarily had to make space for individuals and their inviolable consciences
while at the same time not becoming so individualistic that it failed to ac-
knowledge the deep sociality of human agency. (That is, “individualism”
in Hegel became a “right of subjectivity,” a normative demand on how peo-
ple should be regarded, not a metaphysically prior fact about them that
somehow was supposed to generate such a demand.) This conclusion,
though, comes about by relying on a background understanding of a
 On the importance of sin and forgiveness, see Henry S. Harris, Hegel™s Ladder (Indianapolis:
Hackett Publishing Company, ±·), particularly vol.  (“The Odyssey of Spirit”), pp. µ·“µ°;
and Henry S. Harris, Hegel: Phenomenology and System (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company,
 This notion of “structured dependencies” is most explicitly worked out by (and in fact the term
comes from) Frederick Neuhouser, Foundations of Hegel™s Social Theory: Actualizing Freedom
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, °°°).
Hegel™s Phenomenology of Spirit
Christian “way of life,” which serves as a basis for articulating the com-
mitments which such “beautiful souls” actually have undertaken (or what
in Hegelian terms is their “truth”), and which is not itself to be found
exclusively in those commitments but must be generated out of them as
what is really normatively in play in the kind of giving and asking for
reasons in modern social practice. Hegel™s invocation of a “Christian”
way of life in that regard was done quite purposely, since it raised for him
the obvious question: is Christianity itself a rational way of life, or just the
way “we” (early nineteenth-century Europeans) habitually do things?
Given the rest of the argument in the Phenomenology, it is clear that,
for Hegel, the only acceptable answer would have to be dialectical and
historical. One would ¬rst have to show that religion is itself something to
which we must be committed; and, second, show that Christianity, itself
taken as a historical practice, is also necessary, not just an accident of
history; and, third, show that its necessity is itself rational in the sense that
it has emerged as what was really normatively in play in other religions.
The long chapter on “Religion” in the Phenomenology was and remains
one of Hegel™s most controversial writings. (In Hegel™s own day and up
until our own, there is still a ¬erce debate over Hegel™s stance to religion,
in which the various positions in the debate range from seeing him as a
more-or-less orthodox Lutheran theist all the way to seeing him as a mod-
ern atheist.) It is clear that Hegel thought religion, at least in the sense
of being a communal practice involving a collective re¬‚ection on our
(humanity™s) highest interests “ on what ultimately matters to us “ shares
its concerns with art and philosophy. In Hegel™s reconstruction, religious
practice emerges in its earliest forms as “nature religion” in which the di-
vine is interpreted as an abstract natural “whole” that does not necessar-
ily concern itself with humanity in particular; such “nature religions” in
turn culminate in Egyptian religious practices, in which, having reached
the end of their development, they set the stage for their own overcom-
ing in Greek religion, in which the gods present us with an imaginative,
aesthetic presentation of what it would be like to be free, to be completely
“laws unto ourselves.” The replacement of harmonious Greek ethical
life by Roman imperial life in turn motivated a new focus on subjective
interiority that had itself emerged in an unsustainable form in the Greek
experience of becoming “philosophical.” That development found its
truth in the idea that God appeared as man (Jesus) and died. (Hegel
liked to cite an old Lutheran hymn to the effect that “God has died.” )
 See Phenomenology, para. ·µ; Ph¨ nomenologie, p. °: “it is the pain which expresses itself as the
hard word that God has died.” See also “Glauben und Wissen oder Re¬‚exionsphilosophie
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
The resurrection, Hegel seemed to say, occurs in each Christian wor-
ship service in which God is present as rational self-conscious Geist itself.
(However, Hegel did not think, as some of his left-Hegelian followers later
did, that, in religion, we worship only ourselves; he thought that we ac-
knowledged the “divine principle” in ourselves.) Christianity, as a religion
of humanity in general and not of a particular nation, and as a religion of
interiority and freedom, not of authoritarian obedience, was the ground
in which modern life took root and ¬‚ourished and could become recon-
ciled with itself. Religion, that is, had always been about what it means
to be human; and, so it has turned out, what it means to be human is to
be a free agent, and what matters to us now in modern life “ “in¬nitely,”
ultimately “ is that we be free, that we are called to lead our own lives.
Protestant Christianity, as the religion of freedom, as a set of religious
practices that both forms us to be free and demands that we assume our
freedom, is, so Hegel concluded, therefore the “truth” of religion itself.
(In the Phenomenology, however, Hegel does not explicitly speak of the dif-
ference between Protestant and Catholic Christianity, although it is clear
from his other writings that he had Protestant Christianity in mind; for
that reason perhaps the Phenomenology™s discussion of Christianity has a
much more ecumenical ring to it than do Hegel™s later, more polemical,
treatments of Protestant versus Catholic Christianity.)
However, even modern reformed Protestantism is not capable of for-
mulating that truth about itself. It could at best express it through its
practices of devotion, its rites, and its symbols. For the formulation
of the signi¬cance of Protestant Christianity for modern life, we re-
quire “philosophy,” the kind of “absolute knowing” that consists in
the conceptual articulation and explanation of our own historicized
self-understanding as being itself the necessary and correct result of
humanity™s own history. What was normatively in play in Christian reli-
gion, Hegel was saying, had turned out to be theology, the articulation in
rational form of what was only expressed in Christianity™s rites and ritu-
als; but what was normatively in play in theology, in its appeal to reason,
had turned out to be philosophy as “absolute knowing.”
The Kantian “critique of reason” (spread out over three Critiques and
many other works), which asserted the sovereignty of reason and its re-
fusal to recognize anything “not in its own plan” had culminated, so
der Subjektivit¨ t in der Vollst¨ ndigkeit ihrer Formen als Kantische, Jacobische und Fichtesche
a a
Philosophie,” Werke, ©©, p. ; Faith and Knowledge or the Re¬‚ective Philosophy of Subjectivity in the Complete
Range of Its Forms as Kantian, Jacobian, and Fichtean Philosophy (trans. Walter Cerf and H. S. Harris)
(Albany: State University of New York Press, ±··), p. ±°: “the feeling, on which the religion of
modern times rests, was: God himself is dead.”
Hegel™s Phenomenology of Spirit
Hegel argued, in the historical triumph of philosophy, as non-religious,
non-aesthetic re¬‚ection on what mattered most to us, which was the his-
toricized use of reason itself to liberate ourselves from the dependencies
on givens that had shackled us in the past. In Hegel™s Phenomenology, post-
Kantian philosophy™s claim to cultural preeminence had stepped quite
explicitly to the center of the cultural debate.
° ±°

Hegel™s analysis of mind and world:
the Science of Logic

Hegel™s Phenomenology was completed, so Hegel liked to tell people, on the
night of the battle of Jena. However, by the time he published the ¬rst
volume of his Science of Logic in ±± “ the later two volumes appeared
between ±± and ±± “ he had lost his job as a professor, fathered an il-
legitimate son, run a newspaper, found a position teaching philosophy to
high-school students in Nuremberg, and gotten married to a woman from
the Nuremberg patriciate (and, by the time the Logic was ¬nished, had fa-
thered a daughter who did not survive and two other sons who did). The
period between the Phenomenology and the Logic covered Napoleon™s tri-
umphant destruction of the Holy Roman Empire and the Prussian army,
his disastrous invasion of Russia, his exile and comeback, the Congress
of Vienna, and the battle of Waterloo. Whereas the Phenomenology was
completed under the gaze of the Revolution triumphant, the Logic was
completed under the gaze of German monarchs seeking a restoration
of their powers and authority (but, in the case of the large kingdoms
created in Napoleonic Germany, these monarchs also refusing to cede
an inch of the land or property Napoleon had in effect given them).±
While in Jena, Hegel had been working on his “system,” which was
to provide a unitary treatment of the philosophy of nature, the philoso-
phy of mind, ethics and political philosophy, and philosophy of religion,
along with a kind of “logic,” as he called it, that was intended to be the
overall structure for the whole enterprise. In the post-Kantian context,
Hegel™s ambition for his “system” was clear: he was trying to rewrite the
± Of course, it all depends on one™s notion of romance as to whether one judges the Logic to have
been completed in more prosaic circumstances than the Phenomenology. Hegel noted in a letter
to his friend, Immanuel Niethammer, that “it is no small matter in the ¬rst half year of one™s
marriage to write a book of thirty proofsheets of the most abstruse contents,” Briefe, ©, no. ±;
Hegel: The Letters (trans. Clark Butler and Christiane Seiler) (Bloomington: University of Indiana
Press, ±), p. ±.
 The development of Hegel™s views in Jena are, of course, much more complex and much less
linear than this sentence suggests. For a more complete account, see Pinkard, Hegel: A Biography,
ch. .

The Science of Logic
three Kantian Critiques and the other parts of the Kantian system (such
as Kant™s philosophy of nature as it was developed in Kant™s philosophy
of science) in light of the various developments in the post-Kantian liter-
ature and, just as important, in light of the rapidly changing social and
political conditions in Europe.
The Phenomenology was intended to be the introduction to that “sys-
tem,” and the next work (the Logic) was supposed to provide the broad
outlines of what the “system” was about. The link between the Jena
Phenomenology and the Nuremberg Logic has to do with how each in its
respective way takes up Hegel™s generalization of the “Kantian paradox”
into a claim about normative authority in general. However, whereas the
Phenomenology treated that issue as historical and social, the Logic treated
it more as a problem of “thought” itself, asking: is there a “logic,” a
normative structure, to the way we must think about ourselves and the
world in light of Hegel™s post-Kantian claim that our thought can be
subject only to those norms of which it can regard itself as the author?
How can “thought,” to use Hegel™s colorful phrase in the Logic, be the
“other of itself,” both lawgiver and subordinate to the law?
One of Hegel™s main points in reformulating the “Kantian paradox”
in this way was his conviction that the “spirit” of Kant™s philosophy not
only did not entail the dualism of concept and intuition that so many
post-Kantians had found so unsatisfactory, it was in fact opposed to it. For
Hegel, it was Kant himself who had shown that this dualism was unten-
able by virtue of having implicitly demonstrated in his “Transcendental
Deduction” that the normative authority of both concepts and intuitions
had to do with their place within the unity of inference (of reason) itself.
This was a point Hegel had made quite explicitly in an earlier ±°
essay, “Faith and Knowledge,” published in the journal he and Schelling
edited together. Hegel was especially taken with Kant™s conception of a

 Hegel, Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p.  (“Dies ist nun selbst der vorhin
bezeichnete Standpunkt, nach welchem ein allgemeines Erstes, an und f¨ r sich betrachtet, sich
als das Andere seiner selbst zeigt.” Italics added by me).
 “How are synthetic a priori judgments possible? . . . Reason alone is the possibility of this positing,
for Reason is nothing else but the identity of heterogeneous elements of this kind. One can glimpse
this Idea through the shallowness of the deduction of the categories. With respect to space and
time one can glimpse it too . . . in the deduction of the categories, where the original synthetic
unity of apperception ¬nally comes to the fore. Here, the original synthetic unity of apperception
is recognized also as the principle of the ¬gurative synthesis, i.e., of the forms of intuition; space
and time are themselves conceived as synthetic unities, and spontaneity, the absolute synthetic
activity of the productive imagination, is conceived as the principle of the very sensibility which
was previously characterized only as receptivity,” “Glauben und Wissen,” Werke, ©©, pp. °“°µ;
Faith and Knowledge, pp. “·°.
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
“¬gurative synthesis,” which transforms what would otherwise be non-
normatively signi¬cant sensations into normatively signi¬cant intuitions;
it is in ¬gurative synthesis that we generate the pure intuitions of space
and time (as representations of possible objects) and thereby the form of
the appearing world itself.µ Such a view, Hegel argued, indicated that
we could not isolate concepts from intuitions except in terms of their
normative role within some larger whole. The Logic was intended to be
Hegel™s analysis of what was normatively in play in that “larger whole.”
Rejecting the Fichtean idea that the Kantian distinction between sub-
jects and objects was itself a subjective distinction, Hegel intended the
¬rst section of the Logic to be what he called a “reconstruction” of the
key concepts of pre-Kantian metaphysics “ that is, the pre-Kantian at-
tempt to think through the differences between agents and things only in
terms of the categories of “things” in general. Nonetheless, he intended
it not to be historical (as might have perhaps been expected, given the
Phenomenology that preceded it) but to be purely “logical,” that is, to be an
analysis of the ways in which certain typical stances toward metaphysics
in the past have committed themselves to certain positions, such that
in the process of actualizing those concepts in practice and in systems
of thought the “truth” of what was really at play was revealed as being
something quite different than what had originally been argued. The
Logic, that is, was to be the “logic” of the metaphysics of the past that
would show that the various positions assumed in the history of philos-
ophy were not just random musings, but instead had a kind of internal
drive, which lay in the way that holding ourselves to such-and-such a
view of the world inevitably pushed us into the situation of acknowledg-
ing that what was really normatively in play or at stake was something
else. In that way, Hegel hoped to show that past philosophical positions
were not so much false or illusory as “one-sided,” as attempts to make

µ Kant, Critique of Pure Reason: “But the ¬gurative synthesis, if it be directed merely to the original
synthetic unity of apperception, that is, to the transcendental unity which is thought in the
categories, must, in order to be distinguished from the merely intellectual combination, be called
the transcendental synthesis of imagination. Imagination is the faculty of representing in intuition an
object that is not itself present . . . But inasmuch as its synthesis is an expression of spontaneity,
which is determinative and not, like sense, determinable merely, and which is therefore able to
determine sense a priori in respect of its form in accordance with the unity of apperception,
imagination is to that extent a faculty which determines the sensibility a priori; and its synthesis
of intuitions, conforming as it does to the categories, must be the transcendental synthesis of
imagination. This synthesis is an action of the understanding on the sensibility; and is its ¬rst
application “ and thereby the ground of all its other applications “ to the objects of our possible
intuition. As ¬gurative, it is distinguished from the intellectual synthesis, which is carried out by
the understanding alone, without the aid of the imagination,” ±µ±“±µ.
The Science of Logic
sense of mind and world in ways that contradicted what they were trying
to achieve in holding those views.
To that end, Hegel broke up the Logic into three “books,” which them-
selves are divided into what Hegel calls “the objective logic” (comprised
of the ¬rst two “books”) and the “subjective logic.” In particular, the three
“books” of the Logic showed Hegel™s clearly post-Kantian take on philos-
ophy, and the Fichtean overtones to the division were clear: the ¬rst two
books laid out the internal logic within pre-Kantian metaphysics as the
attempt to make the distinction between agency and the natural world,
between subject and object, into an objective distinction. (As he put it,
the “objective logic, takes the place . . . of the former metaphysics.” ) The
way in which the logic of pre-Kantian metaphysics pushes us ultimately
into a Kantian, and then post-Kantian (that is, Hegelian) position is
supposed to be the impulse that moves one from an “objective” to a
“subjective” logic “ from “substance” to “subject,” as he had put it in
his Phenomenology.· In terms of Hegel™s dialectical approach, the various
movements of the Logic lead up to the recognition that what had really
been normatively in play in all our thought about mind and world turned
out to involve Kant™s critical turn, which, in turn, requires a conception
of the “space of reasons” (what Hegel calls the “absolute Idea” at a later
point in his Logic) as that which is really normatively in play in establish-
ing the Kantian, critical turn in the ¬rst place. As Hegel put it, with his
¬‚air for the apparently paradoxical: “What is essential for the science of
logic is not so much that the beginning be purely immediate, but rather
that the whole of the science be within itself a cycle in which the ¬rst
is also the last and the last is the ¬rst.” One begins with what must be
normatively in play in any thought about mind and world, and one ends
with the “truth” of that commitment, what was really normatively in
play all along.
Hegel, at least at ¬rst, understood his Logic to presuppose his
Phenomenology. The lesson of the Phenomenology was that the structure
of reason was social and was therefore a historical achievement, not
a metaphysical structure of things that our minds learned to re¬‚ect; and
the Logic was to be the “reconstruction” of our grasp of mind and world
that both presupposed that achievement and showed that it, while not
 Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. .
· As Hegel puts it, “Accordingly, logic should be divided primarily into the logic of the concept as
being and of the concept as concept “ or, by employing the usual terms . . . into objective and subjective
logic,” Science of Logic, p. ±; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ; HeW, , p. µ.
 Science of Logic, p. ·±; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. µ; HeW, , p. ·°. (“Cycle” translates “Kreislauf ”.)
µ° Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
foreordained or already (somehow) existent all along, nonetheless had
a developmental logic internal to itself such that the development of
the pre-Kantian metaphysics of “substance” into the Kantian theory of
“subjectivity” was indeed the logical move to make, even if that move
was not necessitated by any law of history.

 ¤©® ¦ ©®§: §©®§ ®¤   ¬¤¬©®
The Logic began with echoes of H¨ lderlin™s thoughts about “being” as
expressing our sense of a kind of “orientation” in the world that precedes
all our other orientations and thus as being more basic than any other
concept, including that of “judgment” (and thus beginning with a con-
ception of “truth” as an “immediate,” “primitive” concept). Hegel refers
to this as “being, pure being “ without any further determination.”±° That is,
the Logic is to begin with something that is prior to and more basic than
any kind of division into “subject” and “object,” and is then to show how
the tensions and contradictions that turn out to be at work in our holding
onto that “thought” of a pre-re¬‚ective orientation (which is not yet even
a judgment) show more explicitly what is really normatively in play.
The tension inherent in the conception of “pure, indeterminate
being” is that this “pure thought” has nothing within itself by which it
could be distinguished from “nothing,” and yet the sense of the thought is
just that being is different from nothing. Thus, as soon as one tries to express
the so-called thought of “pure being,” to express the conception that the
world just “is” (even if we can say nothing about it), one thereby also li-
censes an inference to the judgment that being and nothing are the same.
Thus, what might seem as so obviously true “ the claim that “being is”
and “nothing is not,” as the pre-Socratic Greek, Parmenides had phrased
it “ ends up instead licensing an inference to its own “opposite”; or, as
Hegel put it: “Now insofar as the sentence: being and nothing are the
same, expresses the identity of these determinations, but in fact equally
contains them both as distinguished, the proposition itself contradicts
itself and dissolves itself.”±±
 Hegel calls it a “Rekonstruktion” in one place in the Logic, the “Preface to the Second Edition,”
Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±. He also notes that “logic, then, has for
its presupposition the science of appearing spirit, which contains and presents the necessity
and, accordingly, the demonstration of the truth of the standpoint that is pure knowing and its
mediation . . . in logic, the presupposition is that which has proved itself to be the result of the
phenomenological survey “ the Idea as pure knowledge,” Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der
Logik, ©, p. µ; HeW, , p. ·.
±° Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ; HeW, µ, p. .
±± Science of Logic, p. °; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, pp. ·µ“·; HeW, µ, p. .
The Science of Logic
That proposition “dissolves itself ” by showing that what is really nor-
matively in play in the distinction between “being” and “nothing” is a
background understanding of the world as a whole consisting of “coming
to be” and “ceasing to be” (of “nothing” passing over into “being” and
vice versa).± That is, what we are really (normatively) doing in distin-
guishing being from nothing is not comparing two distinct “things” in terms
of their properties (as we might think we were doing in distinguishing,
say, maples from oaks, or turtles from rabbits); we are actually making a
move in the normative space of reasons, speci¬cally, working out the kinds
of inferences that are permissible in terms of a conception of the world
as a process of coming-to-be and passing-away, in which we recognize
that what comes to be and what passes away is not nothing, after all, but
something; that this reliance on a conception of “becoming” in fact only
thereby makes explicit the necessity of recognizing that it is something,
some one determinate thing or another, that comes to be or passes away.±
Or, to put it more in Hegel™s own preferred idiom, the basic distinction
between “what is” and “what is not” is itself an “abstraction,” a “mo-
ment” of a more comprehensive whole, namely, a world of determinate
things coming into being and passing away.

¦©®©, ©®¦©®©, ®¤ “©¤¬©”
On the one hand, the beginning of the Logic does not establish anything
particularly controversial: it shows that our judgments about “being” and
“nothing” require us to speak of something as coming-to-be or passing-
away, assertions which even Hegel himself admits are only “super¬cial.”±
On the other hand, the beginning sections of the “Doctrine of Being”
± “It is the form of the simple judgment,” Hegel noted, “when it is used to express speculative
results, which is very often responsible for the paradoxical and bizarre light in which much of
recent philosophy appears to those who are not familiar with speculative thought,” Science of
Logic, p. ±; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ·; HeW, µ, p. . (In saying that, unfortunately, Hegel laid
himself wide open for further misunderstanding by those who wished to see his philosophy in a
“paradoxical and bizarre light,” namely, that he was somehow endorsing the irrationalist view
that “speculative truths” could not be expressed in language at all, something that was exactly
at odds with what he was trying to argue but of which he has been accused ever since.)
± As Hegel rather sarcastically puts it, in reference to the saying that “out of nothing, nothing
comes,” “Ex nihilo, nihil ¬t “ is one of those propositions to which great importance was ascribed
in metaphysics. In it is to be seen either only the empty tautology: Nothing is nothing; or, if
becoming is supposed to possess an actual meaning in it, then, since from nothing only nothing
becomes, the proposition does not in fact contain becoming, for in it nothing remains nothing,”
Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ; HeW, , p. µ.
± “However, something is still a very super¬cial determination; just as reality and negation, de-
terminate being and its determinateness, although no longer blank being and nothing, are still
quite abstract expressions,” Science of Logic, p. ±±µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±°.
µ Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
serve to bring out Hegel™s main point: what might look like a “re¬‚ective
judgment,” in the sense of being a comparison between two items, turns
out to be not a comparison of things at all but a normative ascription of
entitlement, and, for that entitlement to work, it turns out that something
else must be brought normatively into play (or must be revealed to be
already normatively in play in it). In some ways, this is the point of the
Logic as a whole: to say that we know something is not to compare two
“things” at all (as we seemingly do when we match up, for example, a
photograph with what it is about); it is rather to make a normative ascription,
to say that the person making the claim is entitled to the claim. That is, our
ascriptions of knowledge are not comparisons of any kind of subjective
state with something non-subjective but instead are moves within a social
space structured by responsibilities, entitlements, attributions, and the
undertakings of commitments.±µ
The “Doctrine of Being” goes on to develop notions of qualitative,
quantitative, and “measured” distinctions to be made about the world
that comes-to-be and passes-away (the details of which are not crucial
here). Hegel™s discussion, though, is intended to extend his logical point
to what is really at issue for him: in making even such “super¬cial”
judgments, we are moving in a kind of normative space in which much
more turns out to be normatively required of us than we would have
at ¬rst imagined when we started out with such very general and very
abstract conceptions of “something,” “qualitatively different items” and
the like. In particular, these are judgments about ¬nite items, that is,
any two “things” that can only be characterized by their distinction
from something else that is external to them. Such judgments about the
“¬nite,” so it would seem, also commit us to judgments about the in¬nite,
since a judgment about some ¬nite thing, a, commits us to a judgment
about another ¬nite thing, b, which in turn commits us to another such
judgment about some c, and so on to in¬nity.

±µ The language of undertaking and attributing commitments is best developed by Robert
Brandom, Making It Explicit, and in his “Some Pragmatist Themes in Hegel™s Idealism:
Negotiation and Administration in Hegel™s Account of the Structure and Content of Conceptual
Norms,” European Journal of Philosophy, ·() (August ±), ±“±, and Tales of the Mighty Dead,
where the extension to Hegel™s conception of agency is explicitly made. I developed a similar
view of Hegel™s conception of agency as a position in social space in Hegel™s Phenomenology. See also
Pippin, Hegel™s Idealism: The Satisfactions of Self-Consciousness, where he develops a conception of
Hegel™s view of agency that also draws on Sellarsian notions (which form the core of Brandom™s
later account). A reading of Hegel in terms of contemporary philosophical concerns, particularly
those concerning the relation of inferentialist semantics to post-Kantian issues (and especially
those having to do with subjective and objective points of view), is masterfully done in Paul
Redding, Hegel™s Hermeneutics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, ±).
The Science of Logic
The in¬nite, however, can never be conceived as a single item itself. For
example, if we think of “the in¬nite” as the sum-total of all ¬nite things, it
always makes sense to ask whether there could be yet another ¬nite thing
added to the list, and the new in¬nite sum-total would be another in¬nite
in contrast to the ¬rst. The in¬nite might thus seem to be the end of a
series of judgments, but it cannot itself be an end-point in the sense that it
is something that we actually reach by following out a series of judgments.
The in¬nite, that is, cannot be a “thing” that is to be contrasted with
or set alongside the set of all “¬nite” things. Nor is the in¬nite some
kind of grand “thing” that “swallows up” the ¬nite and obliterates its
distinctiveness or shows the pluralism of ¬nite things to be some kind
of illusion.± Hegel notes sarcastically that: “This determination of the
true in¬nite cannot be grasped in the formula . . . of a unity of the ¬nite
and in¬nite; unity is abstract, motionless identity-with-self, and, just as
much, the moments are only unmoved existents.”±·
Rather than being taken as a single “thing,” the in¬nite should instead
be taken as the expression of the world-process of things coming-to-be
and passing-away taken as a whole. This world-process of coming-to-be
and passing-away is thus all that there is, and it is within this conception
of a “whole” that all of the various judgments about ¬nite things are to
be legitimated and explained. The world taken as a whole is truly in¬nite
because there is nothing external to the world with which the world as a
whole could be contrasted or explained. The world as a whole is thus to
be explained in terms internal to the world itself, not in terms of anything
“in¬nite” and external to it that would supposedly ground the “¬nite”
world (and especially not in terms of any supernatural in¬nite± ).
Hegel applies the same sort of reasoning to judgments about quanti-
tative features of objects, with the intent being to show that such quan-
titative judgments are not comparisons of two things (say, an equation
and some Platonic entities called numbers), but different ways in which
we ascribe entitlement in, for example, mathematics (such as when one
has actually proved something, and so forth).
The guiding idea in the “Doctrine of Being” has to do with the
transformation of the “Kantian paradox” into a thesis about normative
± In Hegel™s idiosyncratic way of putting it: “This sublation (Aufheben) is thus not the sublation of
the something,” Science of Logic, p. ±; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±µ; HeW, , p. ±°.
±· Science of Logic, p. ±; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±; HeW, , pp. ±“±.
± Hegel is clearly aiming at discrediting the idea of explaining the world by some supernatural
in¬nite “ a conception of there being “two worlds, an in¬nite and a ¬nite,” as he puts it, something
that he thinks clearly contains a “contradiction” once the logic of such a conception is put into
more “explicit form,” Science of Logic, p. ±°; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±; HeW, , p. ±µ.
µ Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
authority in general: we must conceive of our thought as being sub-
ject only to those “laws” (or reasons) of which it can regard itself as the
author; and that requires that it begin with something that has the para-
doxical look of something it has not authored (in this case, the thought
of “being”), which, in turn, generates out of itself a requirement that
we acknowledge that more has to be normatively in play than what we
started out with “ or, as Hegel puts it, the tensions that emerge as we try
to hold onto that kind of thought make it “inherently self-contradictory,
because the determinations it unites within itself are opposed to each
other; [and] such a union destroys itself.”±
Very roughly, the moves from the “Doctrine of Being” to the “Doctrine
of Essence” in the Logic go something like this. The section on “quantity”
is intended to show how the conceptual grasp of the “in¬nite” in the dif-
ferential and integral calculus in effect answers the charges (made, among
others, by Kant) that we can have no conceptual grasp of the in¬nite that
is not already founded in some kind of non-conceptual intuition of the
in¬nite.° The quantitative in¬nite is thus also ideal; it is not an object “
not even something like an “in¬nitesimal,” conceived as a quantity that
is greater than zero and smaller than any natural number, an idea that
Hegel sarcastically dismissed, alluding to D™Alembert, with the remark,
“it seemed perfectly clear that such an intermediate state, as it was called, be-
tween being and nothing does not exist.”± The quantitative in¬nite is to
be represented in the formulas of the calculus that express iterative oper-
ations, not “in¬nitesimals.” In Hegel™s post-Kantian reformulation of the
problem, there is simply nothing more to the quantitative in¬nite than
what is expressed in such formulas, and the quantitative in¬nite is thus
ideal, since it is never grasped in some individual experience of things, but
is comprehended fully and truly only in thought, in the formulas of the
± Science of Logic, p. ±°; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ; HeW, , p. ±±.
° Michael Friedman in his Kant and the Exact Sciences argues that Kant™s point about how space
and time had to be “pure intuitions” and not “concepts” was based on Kant™s understanding
that traditional monadic logic could not generate a conception of an in¬nity of objects, whereas
modern polyadic logic, with its use of quanti¬ers, can do so. Although modern, post-Fregean
polyadic logic allows us to formulate the idea of an iterative process formally, monadic logic could
not do this, and, since our idea of space is in¬nite, Kant concluded (rightly) that it therefore could
not be a (monadic) logical concept. What Kant needed was a “new logic” to see how his argument
might have gone otherwise, which was precisely Hegel™s point. Hegel, though, thought that this
required his own “dialectical” logic; although quite different from anything like the Fregean
system, Hegel™s Logic thus shared some of its inspiration. The most extensive comparison and
critique of Hegel™s Logic from the standpoint of Fregean and post-Fregean formal logic is to
be found in Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer, Hegels analytische Philosophie: Die Wissenschaft der Logik als
kritische Theorie der Bedeutung (Paderborn: Ferdinand Sch¨ nigh, ±).
± Hegel, Science of Logic, p. µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. µµ; HeW, , p. ·.
The Science of Logic
integral and differential calculus. However, in making such qualitative
and quantitative judgments about the world as a whole and uniting them
in judgments of “measure” ( judgments about when quantitative changes
become qualitative changes, as when streams become rivers, and ponds
become lakes), we ¬nd that the whole way of talking about the world
exclusively in the terms of individuals coming-to-be and passing-away “
in other words, the “doctrine of being” itself “ is too burdened with an
internal, basic tension within itself for that conception to be able to sus-
tain itself: taken on its own and as a whole, the outlook presented in the
“book” on “being” commits us to a conception of the world as seeming
to be the substrate of such qualitative and quantitative features of itself
without itself being either qualitative or quantitative “in itself,” apart
from how it is experienced or thought.

¤® «°©© ®¤  ·¬¤ ¦ ®
These kinds of tension-laden judgments are brought to the foreground
in the “Doctrine of Essence,” which concerns itself with the normative
structures of judgments that have to do with our distinguishing how the
world appears to us from the way it really is. Such judgments thus al-
ways presume a grasping together “in thought” of two distinguishable
elements, the appearance and that which is appearing. That activity of distin-
guishing those two elements itself suggests both the skepticism embodied
in the idea that we cannot make true judgments about the way the world
is independent of the conditions under which we can experience it, and
the ways in which such skepticism breaks down: without such a grasp
of the “whole” in thought (a conception of the whole of “the world in
itself as appearing to us”), we could not even begin to make the kinds of
ordinary skeptical judgments that we do make (such as when we doubt
whether something really is the way it looks).
Indeed, in Hegel™s diagnosis, modern post-Cartesian skepticism arises
out of taking that “whole” and treating its constituents only as parts, as (in
Hegel™s sense) independent, “¬nite” pieces of knowledge. That is, such
skepticism grows out of the temptation to understand making assertions
as comparing two “things,” an appearance (as a subjective experience) and
what is appearing (as something existing in-itself ).
This move to “comparison” is paradigmatic of the “re¬‚ective” view-
point: we stand outside of the “whole” in which we are making the
judgments and “re¬‚ectively” (or, to use John McDowell™s nice metaphor,
from “sideways on”) look at the pair of items that are distinguishable but
µ Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
nonetheless internally linked and make the mistake of treating the two
items as if they were distinct “things” to be compared. Hegel™s point is
that it is only from the point of view of “¬nitude” and “re¬‚ection” “ as
when we distinguish our judgments from that to which the judgments
are supposed to answer and then seek to “compare” the two “ that we
would seem to be required to postulate a realm of unknowable things-in-
themselves (as a form of skeptical realism), or to avoid that skepticism
by claiming that there really is nothing behind the appearance (that is
to say, that there is only that which “seems” to us, or that there is only
that which we “talk about”), or, in light of the failures of those two strate-
gies, to seek some kind of naturalistic, causal connection between the
two “things.” All of these motivations to realism, subjective idealism,
and naturalism, according to Hegel™s diagnosis, arise from the para-
doxes attendant on such judgments made within a “re¬‚ected” sense of
the whole; they arise, in Hegel™s terms, by taking the “¬nite,” “sideways
on” point of view as “absolute.”
Ultimately, so Hegel argued, such “re¬‚ective” judgments push toward
a conception of the world as one substance that necessarily manifests it-
self to judging agents as a set of causal relationships holding among the
various “accidents” of the substance “ that is, that skeptical realism and
subjective idealism must ultimately yield to some form of naturalism as
the last step in the attempt to avoid the paradoxes that are inescapably
normatively in play in such a conception, if one refuses to move be-
yond the “re¬‚ective” viewpoint. (In that way, Hegel was suggesting that
the move from Cartesian skepticism to Spinozism had the same inter-
nal logic to it as the move in Hegel™s own day away from Kant back
to Spinoza “ “re¬‚ective” judgment leads one way or another to some
kind of monist conception of one substance held together by causal re-
lationships.) Jacobi had, of course, made it a matter of great debate in
the Kantian and post-Kantian period in Germany as to whether all forms
of rationalist metaphysics necessarily lead to such monist substantialism.
Hegel™s response was to argue that Jacobi had gotten that part right. The
issue, though, was whether that was all there was to the story.

®° ®¤ ©®¦®
However, once it has been made explicit that we must speak of substance
and causality in these ways, the demands made by re¬‚ective judgments
 See John McDowell, Mind and World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, ±).
McDowell cannot of course be held responsible for the uses to which I have put his nice metaphor.
The Science of Logic
themselves begin to push beyond re¬‚ective judgment (or, in the lan-
guage of Hegel™s Logic, beyond the sphere of “essence” itself ). All such
“re¬‚ective” judgments contain distinguishable but inseparable compo-
nents of one thought, the paradigm for which is the thought of “appear-
ance and that which appears in the appearance.” Having supposedly
committed ourselves to the conception of “substance” as the absolute “
that is, to a conception of naturalistic, causal explanations as necessarily
being brought into normative play in all our other judgments about the
world “ we ¬nd that such a naturalistic conception of the world itself can
legitimate itself only by invoking a non-naturalistic sense of normativity
and truth. To keep the naturalistic view of the world intact, we must bring
into play (or realize that we have always, already brought into play) a
more complex picture of the relation of judgments to the world, namely,
that the distinction itself between Schein, “showing-forth,” “seeming-to-
be” and essence (as that which is behind the Schein) is itself a unitary,
complex thought that can only be redeemed by understanding its role as
part of a more comprehensive pattern of inferences. “Re¬‚ective” judg-
ments, that is, can themselves be redeemed only by being understood
as part of a more comprehensive practice of judging that is itself to be
construed as a normative matter of judgment and inference, not as part
of the naturalistically construed world. Such judgments are moves in a
logical space, not causal relationships.
Hegel thus intended his “Doctrine of the Concept” (the third “book”
of the Logic) as the theory of normativity that would cash out his overall
claim that our ascriptions of knowledge are not comparisons of any kind
of subjective state with something non-subjective; they are moves within a
social space structured by responsibilities, entitlements, attributions, and
the undertakings of commitments; and as the place in his theory where
the “Kantian paradox” would be formulated and dealt with. Hegel™s
point is certainly not that all such naturalist explanations are false; it
is rather that they are partial, “one-sided,” as he likes to say, and their
being supplanted by the theory of normativity (the theory of “the
concept” in Hegel™s jargon) is not an assertion that the objects of those
judgments are really just “ideas” or really are just “concepts” or pat-
terns of experience; it is that having those kinds of natural objects in view
requires a set of conceptual capacities on our part that have their own
“logic” within the space of reasons that is not the “logic” of “being” or
“essence.” Indeed, once we reject any identi¬cation of the “¬nite” point
of view with the “absolute,” we can only draw the conclusion, as Hegel
puts it, that “the opposition between idealist and realist philosophy is
µ Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
thus without signi¬cance,” since that opposition took its motivation from
the demands of a view that saw the issue at stake as having to do with
the comparison of subjective psychological states with objective states of
In arguing for this claim, Hegel also took himself to be cashing out
his rather bold assertion in the Phenomenology that “the truth must be
grasped not as substance but just as much as subject” and that “substance
in itself is subject.” By showing how judgments of re¬‚ection ( judgments
of “essence”) commit us ultimately to Spinozistic conceptions of
“substance” and how that conception, in turn, requires an understand-
ing of the normativity of judgment in order for its own claims to be re-
deemed, Hegel had provided, as he con¬dently put it, the “unique and
truthful refutation of Spinozism,” a refutation that amounts to showing
that, for Spinozism to be true, other norms have to be brought into play
that are not themselves going to be accounted for by a monist conception
of substance.µ That is, our commitment to the truth of the naturalist
worldview (or, to use the shorthand of Hegel™s time: Spinozism) itself
can only be underwritten by bringing out the necessity of certain pat-
terns of judgments and syllogistic reasoning that necessarily bring us to
a worldview which is not entirely that of the naturalist worldview.
In his introductory section to the “concept,” Hegel stresses and un-
derlines his theory™s Kantian heritage, strikingly claiming that “it is one
of the profoundest and most correct insights to be found in the Critique of
Pure Reason that the unity which constitutes the essence of the concept is
recognized as the original synthetic unity of apperception, as the unity of the
˜I think,™ or of self-consciousness.” What gives objectivity to a judgment
about an object does not lie in any kind of one-on-one correspondence
of judgments to objects, but in the way in which the judgment about the
object is located within a pattern of reasoning that is not itself deter-
mined by the object but by the way in which spirit, Geist, has socially
and historically come to determine itself as necessarily taking the object.
Objectivity as a point of view on the world, as a way of taking a stance
toward what will and will not redeem certain types of judgments, itself
rests on a unity of concept and intuition that was always normatively
in play in Kant™s theory, so Hegel argued, even if Kant himself often
 Science of Logic, p. ±µµ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©, p. ±µ. The same points against (subjective) idealism
and realism are made in his earlier, Jena period pre-Phenomenology writings as well, especially the
Differenzschrift and Glauben und Wissen.
 Phenomenology of Spirit, paras. ±·, µ; Ph¨ nomenologie, pp. ±, °.
µ Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ±; HeW, ©, p. µ±.
 Science of Logic, p. µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ±; HeW, ©, p. µ.
The Science of Logic
undermined that thought with his talk about psychological mechanisms
imposing form on empirical content. Hegel formulates the relation and
distinction between objectivity and objects by noting: “The object has
objectivity in the concept, and this latter is the unity of self-consciousness, into
which it is incorporated.”·
As a way of driving home the point about the unity of concept and
intuition at work in Kantianism, Hegel noted: “if Kant had considered
the Idea of an intuiting understanding in the light of the above de¬nition
of truth, he would have treated that Idea which expresses the required
agreement [of judgment and object] not as a ¬gment of thought but
rather as the truth.” An intuiting understanding (anschauender Verstand )
would not create the individuals of which it is aware, but (since there is
no direct, unmediated awareness of any individuals) would instead be
an understanding in which the very perception of individuals is suffused
and permeated with the norms that govern judgments about them “ that
is, in which concepts and intuitions would be distinguished in terms of
their normative roles in inference and ascription of knowledge, not in
terms of their supposedly ¬xed status as representations (which would be
treating them as if they were two “things” that then needed somehow to
be combined). An “intuiting understanding™s” judgments would never
encounter anything purely “given,” unmediated; its encounter with par-
ticulars would always be a judging of them as such-and-such in terms of a
prior orientation to a normative whole. The “intuiting understanding,”
that is, is that of an embodied subject in a determinate social and histor-
ical setting having the world in view (sometimes well, sometimes not); such
an embodied subject is not an entity locked within his own subjective
experience, forced to wonder if his experience somehow matches up with
the way things are in themselves independently of the conditions under
which we can experience them. On Hegel™s view, the normative force
of Kant™s more considered views was to show that intuitions and concepts
are not to be conceived as separate existents, as internal mental entities
of some sort; they are both normative statuses that acquire their status in
the normative whole of the practice of giving and asking for reasons. For
· “Diese Objektivit¨ t hat der Gegenstand somit, im Begriffe, und dieser ist die Einheit des Selbst-
bewußtseins, in die er aufgenommen worden,” Science of Logic, p. µµ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©,
p. ; HeW, ©, p. µµ. In the published version of the Logic, Hegel seems to have made his point
all the more obvious in using the more Latinate term, “Objektivit¨ t ” instead of “Gegenst¨ ndlichkeit,”
a a
which he had used earlier in his dictations to his students.
 Science of Logic, p. µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ; HeW, ©, p. .
 The phrase, the “world in view,” is lifted from John McDowell, who (as in my other borrowings
from him) cannot be held responsible for the uses to which it is put here. See McDowell, Mind
and World.
° Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
them to be treated as representations (Vorstellungen), they must have that
status bestowed on them by being taken up into the practice of giving
and asking for reasons, not because of any intrinsic feature they have as
mental or even neural entities. (Thus, as Hegel never tires of saying, the
“truth” of representational thought is to be found in the “concept,” that
is, not that “representational thought” is an illusion; rather, its status as
true or false depends on its being taken a certain way by the inferentially
structured practice of giving and asking for reasons, something he takes
to be normatively in play in Kant™s thought even if it is not explicitly at
work there.)

µ, , ®¤ ¬¬§©
From the point of view of the Logic, the normative whole of which intu-
itions and concepts are “moments” is thus syllogistic, that is, is broadly
inferential in structure. (Moreover, such syllogistic reasoning must be
understood not merely formally but also materially.° ) That purely
“subjective” sphere of syllogistic reasoning requires that the thinking ac-
tivity that generates the formal inferential sphere “posit” another sphere
of “objectivity” “ the logic, that is, of the Fichtean move from the “I” to
the “Not-I” reformulated as a move within the logical space that makes
up our conception of “ourselves as having the world in view,” within
(in Kantian terms) the unity of concepts and intuitions.
The concept of objectivity as the “Not-I,” however, has to be taken in
a stronger sense than Fichte took it: it is that point of view on the object of
knowledge that attempts to grasp it, as Hegel puts it, “free from additions
by subjective re¬‚ection” (a sense which, Hegel stresses, also includes the
objectivity of morals, that is, “obedience to objective laws that are not
subjective in origin and admit no arbitrary choice”± ). The normative
role that the concept of objectivity plays is as that to which our judg-
ments answer “ that which “stands over and against the concept,” which
exists “in-and-for-itself.” Nonetheless, objectivity (as opposed to objects)

° A central claim in Hegel™s Logic, which I will not argue here, is that the importance of formal
syllogistic logic cannot itself be understood purely formally but depends on a prior understanding
of non-formal material such as how the subject and predicate terms were “distributed” in the
premises, so as to block syllogisms such as “Socrates is white, white is a color, therefore Socrates
is a color.” More generally, it is that we cannot best understand inference except as a necessary
moment of our own more material (inhaltlich) totality of claims inferentially linked to each other,
that our formal claims require something material (inhaltlich) for their content.
± Science of Logic, p. ·°; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. µ; HeW, ©, p. °.
 Science of Logic, p. ·°; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. µ; HeW, ©, p. °.
The Science of Logic
is part of the inferential structure of our thought, licensing certain enti-
tlements and not others, something we “author,” even though its logic
is to provide a space within which we talk about that to which our judg-
ments must answer as providing the reasons for those judgments to be
The “Idea” was Hegel™s term for that conception of our having
the world in view through our conceptual and intuitive capacities,
which themselves are possible only because of the normative, inferential
“whole” of which they are the moments. (Hegel appropriated that use
of “Idea” from Schelling, who, in turn, appropriated it from Kant and
transformed it in doing so.) The Idea is, in his terms, “the unity of con-
cept and objectivity” and as also being “the unity of concept and reality”
it is “that which is true.” It is “the truth” in at least several different
 Hegel quite clearly saw that many of his readers would naturally interpret this passage from the
“subjectivity” of syllogisms to “Objectivity” as something like the ontological argument for the
existence of God “ the complex argument that tries to show (to state the matter very roughly)
that the mere thought of God implies his existence, because the thought of a perfect being that
did not exist would not be the thought of a perfect being since a perfect being that did not exist
would not be perfect. Hegel saw that those readers would quite naturally wonder whether his
moves were therefore subject to Kant™s devastating critique of the ontological argument. Kant
had shown that “being” was not a predicate that something could have or fail to have; hence the
basic inference in the ontological argument (that because we had to attribute the predicate of
“being” to God, God had to be) was itself invalid because it was founded on a deep confusion
about predication. Hegel concurs with Kant that “being” is not a predicate, at least not in any
normal sense. But Hegel accuses Kant of more or less missing the point, since, if anything like the
existence of God is to be demonstrated, it could not be done in the way the traditional ontological
argument had tried to do it. If the existence of God were to be proven, it would instead have
to be a matter of showing that the concept of God is itself a further commitment necessary to
sustain all our other logical commitments and not some kind of deduction of necessary predicates
of some entity. Thus, as Hegel put it, although it might be tempting to “regard the transition
from the concept of God to his being as an application of the exhibited logical progression of the
objectivizing of the concept . . . in truth [it] is not the relationship of an application . . . but rather
would be that logical progression of the immediate exhibition of the self-determination of God
to being” (Science of Logic, p. ·°·; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, pp. µµ“µ; HeW, ©, p. °µ). Thus,
although Kant had thought he had shown that the concept of God could not be a condition of
the possibility of cognitive experience “ although it might well be a practical presupposition of
morality “ Hegel thinks that something like his very unorthodox conception of God could in
fact be shown to be a commitment that one implicitly undertakes when thinking about “being” in
general. For Hegel, the justi¬cation for the concept of God would come not by showing it to be
a condition of the possibility of experience (thus sidestepping Kant™s objections), but instead by
showing it to be a commitment that becomes explicit once one has made explicit (“posited”) the
other commitments inherent in making judgments about the world. The move to “Objectivity,”
therefore, is not a move that posits the existence of anything on the basis of our thoughts about the
world (as the ontological argument would have it), but rather one that makes more fully explicit
and consistent the various commitments inherent in thinking about the world at all. Thus, it
remains internal to the development of thought, not a jumping outside of the realm of “logic” to
 Science of Logic, pp. ·µ, ·µ·; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, pp. °, ° (“that which is true” translates
“das Wahre”).
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
senses. First, it is the account of what has preceded it (and thus is the
“truth” of the preceding). Second, it is also “true being” and not merely
the “pure being” that was the topic of the beginning of the Logic “ “true,”
that is, in the sense that it is the concept of being that, so things turn
out, has to be normatively in play for our judgments about “being” and
“essence” to be themselves sustainable, namely, as the world in view.µ
Finally, it is “true being” in that it points to the idea that our judgments
are answerable to what is “ that subjectivity is answerable to the world,
all the while setting its own standards for what counts as a legitimate
form of such engagement, so that it must therefore operate in its more
humdrum employment with a prior conception of what might possibly
count as true being in general (as when, for example, one restricts oneself
only to empirically observable things in the laboratory).
That unity of the two points of view (subjective and objective) con-
stitutes Hegel™s idealism; in his own way of putting it, he notes: “This
identity has therefore been rightly determined as the subject“object, for it
is as well the formal or subjective concept as it is the Object as such” and
“having proceeded from the Idea, independent objectivity is immediate
being only as the predicate of the judgment of the self-determination of
the concept “ a being that is indeed differentiated from the subject, but
at the same time is essentially posited as a moment of the concept.”
In Hegel™s mind, his own version of post-Kantian idealism thus did not
deny the reality of extra-mental entities (it was, he kept emphasizing,
not subjective idealism), nor did it make the subjective idealist mistake of
claiming that the subjective mind somehow “makes up” the world by
imposing a conceptual scheme on neutral empirical content. Instead,
the Logic is conceived to be about the norms of judgment and how those
norms are themselves to be generated out of what is necessary for our
own mentality to be possible, that is, out of the Idea itself (as the space of
reasons). What thus can vindicate and legitimate any particular formu-
lation of the Idea has to be a demonstration that such a formulation is
required for making good on the commitments undertaken in the judg-
ments that have preceded the development of the Idea.· In that way, the
µ Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ±°.
 Science of Logic, pp. ·µ, ·µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, pp. ±±, ±; HeW, ©, pp. , ·µ. (“Object”
translates “Objekt,” as distinct from “Gegenstand.”)
· Hegel™s point is that the commitments undertaken by the agents making judgments according
to the “objective logic” (being and essence) and the “subjective logic” (along with those of the
logic of “Objektivit¨ t”) themselves require a further commitment to the norms that make up the
“Idea” in the sense that those stages prior to the Idea have turned out to be relative to Geist™s
interests. The concept of nature, for example, as existing independently of the structures we use
The Science of Logic
Idea as the “truth” in Hegel™s sense could only emerge at the end of a
“logic” such as the one Hegel had written; it had to be developed as what
we had to bring into play to cash out the claims we had made earlier.

 ¬µ ©¤
As absolute, the “Idea” demands that the practice of giving and asking for
reasons be self-legitimating, that is, that it not rely on any “dogmatic” as-
sumptions or mere “givens” outside of itself, that it give itself its own shape
and realize itself therein. Thus, the absolute Idea must somehow lay its
own grounds for itself and pull itself up, as it were, by its own bootstraps.
The so-called method of discerning the absolute Idea cannot therefore
be an act of “intellectual intuition.” Instead, the method by which the
absolute Idea comes to be known has to be the method by which it is
established as that which is already implicit in the commitments that
modern rational agents necessarily undertake in order to shore up and
sustain the other types of judgments that they must make. Hegel sums this
up a bit ¬‚oridly, saying: “out of all that, the method has emerged as the
self-knowing concept that, to itself, is absolute . . . that is subjective as well
as objective, consequently as the pure correspondence of the concept
and its reality, as an existence (Existenz) that is the concept itself.”
The absolute Idea, therefore, is the Logic™s way of stating the Hegelian
resolution of the “Kantian paradox.” To say that “thought” is subject
only to those laws of which it can regard itself as the author is to say
that thought (and hence mindedness, Geist) gives itself actuality. To state
the paradox, so Hegel thought, is in effect just to state what agency
to describe it “ when “ihren Begriff und ihrer Realit¨ t geschieden sind” (Wissenschaft der Logik,
©©, p. °; HeW, ©, p. ) “ is “nichts als die subjektive Abstraktion einer gedachten Form und
einer formlosen Materie” (Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. °; HeW, ©, p. ). Hegel does not deny
the independent reality of nature; he merely claims that the notion of nature as bereft of any
descriptions of it is only a “subjective abstraction,” a representation of “formless matter.” Geist ™s
essential “interests,” on the other hand, are to be articulated in the Idea, in the unity of subjective
and objective points of view. In support of this, Hegel notes that Objektivit¨ t “ist die Realisation
des Zwecks, eine durch die T¨ tigkeit des Zwecks gesetzte Objektivit¨ t, welche als Gesetztsein
a a
ihr Bestehen und ihre Form nur als durchdrungen von ihrem Subjekt hat” (Wissenschaft der Logik,
©©, p. ±±; HeW, ©, pp. “·). The end that Objektivit¨ t realizes is the basic end of the Idea
itself, our collectively “getting it right” in our judgmental activities. We develop the structures for
describing and explaining ourselves and the world out of an interest in becoming self-conscious,
in coming to possess and comprehend our own mentality (Geistigkeit). As the terminus of these
inquiries, the Idea thus represents something that is a Selbstzweck und Trieb, the impulse in the
practice of giving and asking for reasons to make reason self-suf¬cient, or, to rephrase that, to
cash out the claim that it is norms all the way down (Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ±±; HeW, ©,
p. ).
 Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ; HeW, ©, p. µµ±.
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
and thought are all about. In the case of the Logic, that paradox and its
resolution required, as Hegel realized, a novel kind of presentation, and
the various metaphors and images he strained to provide showed just
how much dif¬culty he was having even stating the point correctly. Just
as we do not begin re¬‚ection as isolated, self-enclosed individual agents
but as already operating within a way of life, as having the world in
view and being one among many who have the world in view, the logic
of our thought cannot begin from nowhere. Hegel took it therefore to
begin with a basic, primitive conception of truth, of “getting it right,”
which he took to be H¨ lderlin™s conception of “pure being” prior to all
judgment, and he then tried to show that such a view shows that other
elements must be brought into play for that conception to redeem itself.
That itself already illustrated the dif¬culty of making such a presentation,
since, from one point of view, one is introducing new elements into play
because of the demands being made, yet, from another point of view,
the elements seem to have already been normatively in play for the
earlier moves to be possible. Hegel struggled over whether this should
be called a progressive movement, a regressive movement, over whether
the metaphor of a circle or a straight line was better, and so on.
The Logic is thus the analysis of what it would mean to say that the
concept “gives itself ” actuality. As only an analysis, though, it does not
and cannot “give itself actuality” in the sense of realizing itself in practice;
only living, speaking agents can do that. (Another way to put it would
be to say that the Logic tells us what it might mean to be within the
practice of giving and asking for reasons, but it takes real people actually
to give and ask for reasons, not “thought” abstracted from such people
and hypostatized as if it were some independent “thing” or “force.”)
Nonetheless, the Logic shows, so Hegel thought, that rationality is not
“out there” but is itself a historical achievement, since what it means for
the “concept to give itself actuality” is to be embodied in the practices
of judging and inferring. The space of reasons, considered merely on its
own, therefore requires an account of the practices of giving and asking
for reasons, of Geist itself, even if it cannot itself give that account.
Hegel ended his Logic with another metaphor that has been the topic
of disputed interpretation ever since. In discussing what part of his system
comes after his Logic, and what the link between it and the different parts
of the system are, he says that the “Idea is its own end and impulse”
and, as the space of reasons, “freely releases itself ” into nature. To
 Science of Logic, pp. ·µ, ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, pp. ±±, µ°µ. The phrase for “end and
impulse” is “Selbstzweck und Trieb.”
The Science of Logic
put matters even more hyperbolically, he even says that the Idea is the
“creator of nature.”° However, toning down his metaphors a bit, he also
makes it clear that in the passage from the Logic to the “philosophy of
nature,” there is no “compulsion” (in other words, no logical compulsion)
in the move from “logic” to “nature” “ or, as he puts it: “in this freedom
therefore no transition takes place.”± That is, no analysis of what it might
mean for mind and world to have the structure of the unity of concepts
and intuitions could ever determine what the more particular encounters
of a “mind” with a nature independent of itself is actually going to come
up with (and in that sense there is no purely logical “transition” to be
made from analysis to practice). It would be a fundamental error to
think that a “logic,” or analysis, of mind and world could determine in
advance how the space of reasons will be realized in practice. Hegel himself
made that relatively clear in the early pages of his philosophy of nature,
noting: “Not only must philosophy be in agreement with the experience
of nature, but the emergence and formation of philosophical science has
empirical physics as its presupposition and condition.” Perhaps Hegel
could have been more clear, but “ admittedly with some justi¬cation in
the language of Hegel™s own texts “ many of his interpreters took him to
be claiming that the Idea really did create nature, and that this showed
that Hegel had to be an orthodox theist of some sort.
Whether that was true has remained one of the most contentious things
about Hegel™s thought ever since, and it has determined ever since just
what people take Hegel™s “system” to be trying to accomplish. As we
shall see, such considerations turned out to play a decisive role in how
his old friend (and later opponent), Schelling, was to construe Hegel for
° Science of Logic, p. µ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. ±.
± Science of Logic, p. ; Wissenschaft der Logik, ©©, p. µ°µ.
 G. W. F. Hegel, Enzyklop¨ die der philosophischen Wissenschaften, §, in HeW, vol. .
° ±±

Nature and spirit: Hegel™s system

The passage from “Logic” to “Nature” is carried out in Hegel™s
Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, a work ¬rst published in ±±· as
he assumed his duties as a professor in Heidelberg (his ¬rst position as a
professor to carry a salary with it).± The Encyclopedia was Hegel™s ¬rst
published statement of his long-awaited “system,” and it went through
various editions during his lifetime, swelling in size and scope each time it
was revised and reprinted. It is structured very architectonically, having
three “books” (Logic, Philosophy of Nature, Philosophy of Spirit), and
each of those is structured (generally) around a triad of subordinate no-
tions. He also published two independent books that elaborated on the
much shorter presentations found in the Encyclopedia (both the Logic and
the Philosophy of Right were longer versions of material found in shorter
form in the Encyclopedia, even if the Logic actually appeared ¬rst). At ¬rst,
Hegel continued to count the Phenomenology as the introduction to this
system, but, shortly before his death, he announced in a footnote to a
new edition of his Logic that the introductory sections of the Encyclopedia
were henceforth to be taken as the true “introduction”; he did not elab-
orate on what status the older, ±°· Phenomenology was supposed to have
(a move that has kept commentators busy ever since).

Hegel lectured on his own Naturphilosophie any number of times in Berlin;
the Encyclopedia presentations of it and the notes posthumously added
to the text by his editors (based on his own lecture notes and student

± It was actually not his ¬rst position as a professor with remuneration attached to it. At the end of
his stay in Jena, Goethe managed to procure what was essentially an honorarium for him, giving
him a professorship for one hundred thalers per year. Since a student expecting to live a life of
scholarly poverty, on the other hand, was expected to require at a minimum two hundred thalers
per year, that position essentially did not count as a “salaried” job.

Nature and spirit: Hegel™s system
transcriptions) show an extraordinary concern for keeping up with the
scienti¬c detail of his day, and contain long discussions of everything
from rock formation in geology to the peculiarities of the cellular system
of plants. (In doing this, Hegel was no doubt following the lead of his
hero, Aristotle, who, of course, quite famously pursued both metaphysics
and empirical investigation.) It is among the longest and most detailed
parts of his system; it is also nowadays the least read.
Copying the term Schelling used, Hegel refers to his philosophy of
nature as Naturphilosophie, even though he makes it clear that he re-
jects Schelling™s approach as too dependent on invoking the quasi-
metaphysical forces of the “Potenzen” to be satisfactory; to make good on
Schelling™s approach to post-Kantianism required reworking Schelling™s
entire program into something more like Hegel™s own dialectic “ into
making the program more post-Kantian (that is, focused on the issues
of conceptual intelligibility) and less pre-Kantian (that is, focused on is-
sues of quasi-metaphysical forces as bearing the explanatory burden).
As Hegel explained the distinction between himself and Schelling in his
Berlin lectures: “One aspect is thereby that of leading nature to the sub-
ject, the other that of leading the I to the object. The true implementation
of [Schelling™s program] however could only take place in a logical man-
ner; for this [implementation] contains pure thoughts. But the logical
point of view is that to which Schelling in his presentation [of his system]
and development did not reach. The true proof that this identity is the
truth could, on the contrary, only be carried out so that each would be
investigated for itself in its logical determinations, that is, in its essential
determinations, which must then result in the subject™s being that which
transforms itself into the objective, and the objective being that which
does not stick with being objective but makes itself subjective.”
A genuine Naturphilosophie, Hegel says, is thus supposed to answer the
question: what is nature? And the answer, for Hegel, is not: nature is what-
ever natural science (physics, chemistry, biology) says is nature. For him,
Naturphilosophie is part of philosophy, not empirical science, and it is not a
competitor to natural science but is instead the “truth” of natural science
in the sense that it shows what conception of nature must really be in play
(and must itself be true) for the truths of the natural sciences to have the
status they do. As it was for the rest of his dialectic, Hegel was not looking
for whatever conception of nature was “presupposed” by the natural sci-
ences, but for which conception of nature was the true conception that we

 Hegel, Vorlesungen uber die Geschichte der Philosophie, Werke, , p. µ.
 Part III The revolution completed? Hegel
had to develop in order to understand how it was that the various tensions
resulting from the conception of nature that emerges from the natural
sciences could be resolved. Moreover, the import of such a Naturphilosophie
had to do with the way in which it itself found its own “truth” in a con-
ception of Geist that was not naturalistic, at least in any natural scienti¬c
sense of the term. To put it more concisely in the Hegelian idiom: natu-
ral science found its truth in Naturphilosophie, but Naturphilosophie found its
truth in Geistesphilosophie, the philosophy of mind or spirit. (Even phras-
ing Hegel™s point correctly is dif¬cult; indeed, the whole issue of ren-
dering Geist as either “spirit” or “mind” only complicates the issue, and
Hegel™s point about Geist is probably better rendered by the neologism
“mindedness,” than either the substantive, “mind” or “spirit.” )
As such, Naturphilosophie studies the “Idea” of nature, that is, the overall
conception of nature that must be in play in order for the space of reasons
to realize itself in practice and which is nonetheless also consistent with
the ¬ndings of the natural sciences. The overall goal of the Naturphilosophie
is to show that nature ultimately fails to give an account of itself, or, to put
it more prosaically, the possibility of a completely naturalistic account of
the practices of the natural sciences (that is, the practices of giving scienti¬c
accounts of nature) requires that a non-naturalistic (but nonetheless non-
dualist) conception of Geist be brought into play to make good on the
aims and claims of those practices. Behind Hegel™s Naturphilosophie is his
idea that we understand Geist (that is, ourselves) purposively, as trying to
achieve something, even if for most of our history we have been unaware
or vague about what exactly it was that we were trying to achieve; and, as
he thought he had shown in the Phenomenology, what we are trying to
achieve is not something that was already present at the beginning of
history, nor has ever been a distinct intention on anybody™s part in the
course of history until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “ our
“goal” has only emerged as we have learned what else “we” had to bring
into play if “we” were to realize the aims already more explicitly in play in
earlier forms of life. Thus, behind Naturphilosophie is the notion that, in
constructing natural scienti¬c views of nature, we are really aiming at
getting a clearer picture of who we are and what we are about “ and, just
as importantly, along the way expanding that “we” into all of humanity.
 This is the neologism that I (as well as several others) have adopted to characterize Hegel™s thought,
having taken it from Jonathan Lear™s in¬‚uential article on Wittgenstein, “The Disappearing
˜We,™ ” in Jonathan Lear, Open Minded: Working Out the Logic of the Soul (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard
University Press, ±), pp. “°°. See Pinkard, Hegel™s Phenomenology; and Hegel: A Biography.
Pippin, Hegel™s Idealism; and Idealism as Modernism and his Hegel™s Practical Philosophy: Traces of Reason


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