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“The idea is the Absolute, the highest definition of God,' * says Hegel. But this god of Hegel's is a god who continually deludes himself, and whose whole activity consists in constantly dissolving the delusion which he practises upon himself. It is from this delusion, from this error of Hegel's god, that truth proceeds! A logic which ingenuously confesses to such results would not seem to require any further examination, because, even if it were true, it could be neither good nor desirable; and, since it cannot be good, it cannot be true. Nevertheless, we will not omit to mark some of the principal errors by which Hegelian reasoning is corrupted to its very roots.

(1) Hegel sets out with a supposition altogether gratuitous and at the same time evidently false, viz., that ideas move themselves, that they change and develop themselves, as the germ of a flower, which develops into the plant. He assures his disciples, who, for the most part, listen in rapture, that all his assertions (and his system is only a series of assertions) are necessarily connected, that which follows with that which precedes; but no philosopher ever made a falser boast. And, in fact, the assertion that ideas move is neither deduced from any principle nor supported by even the smallest proof; and internal observation, to which alone our philosopher could appeal, testifies to the contrary. It testifies that ideas are plainly immutable, that man intuites them or does not intuite them, reflects on them or does not reflect on them, thinks them in one mode or another, passes from the consideration of one to the consideration of another, and all this without the idea's suffering the least change. Hence, the new logic begins by giving proof of entire ignorance respecting the nature of ideas-starts with a proposition not only arbitrary, but manifestly erroneous.

" (2) Hegel, in his Logic, undertakes to trace the whole of this dialectic movement. But his philosophical imagi

“Die Definition des Absoluten, dass es die Idee ist, ist nun selbst absolut” (Encyclop., pt. i. § 213; cf. $ 85).

† Cf. Trendelenburg, Logische Untersuchungen, vol. i. p. 38 (3rd edit.), and Die logische Frage in Hegel's System, pp. 12 sqq., and my translation of the same in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vols. V., vi.


nation is so strong that the steps which he makes thought take, far from appearing necessary, are arbitrary and capricious. Let us open the Science of Logic. Its point of departure, as we have already said, is 'thought as the object of thought.' This must develop itself, and it is Logic that describes and performs this development. And lo! the Logic of Hegel, all of a sudden, and without even the smallest hint of a reason, divides itself into three parts -the Theory of Being, the Theory of Essence, and the Theory of Concept and Idea.* It, therefore, begins at once by describing the movement of being. But was not the original undertaking to describe the development of thought as the object of thought? How, then, has being, so suddenly and without any warning to the reader, been substituted for thought as the object of thought? Is it not plain that the philosopher is here entertaining his disciples with nimble sleights of hand ? By this trick he makes them swallow the implicit proposition that thought as the object of thought is identical with being. It follows, of course, that, since they are identical, they may be interchanged at pleasure, without its being necessary to prove this supposed identity. Thus, the famous Science of Logic begins by suddenly putting being in the place of thinking. The philosopher starts with a petitio principii, and violently introduces into the very first lines the whole system which he ought to demonstrate. Assuming, therefore, from the beginning the truth of the whole system, and taking its germ and principle for granted, he affords a first and solemn example of the new art of reasoning, which certainly stands entirely opposed to the old.

"(3) But, at least, the inferences which follow will be furnished with that dialectic necessity which makes so much display, and to which appeal is made as to the sole and only proof of the system. “Think !' After having in the very beginning exchanged thought for being in our

* Hegel excuses himself for this, on the ground that, preliminarily, no deduction of these can be given (see Encyclop., pt. i. § 20); but, as he has not shown why this deduction is impossible, and, if it is impossible, his propositions are pure assumptions, his excuse goes for nothing, and, indeed, is a mere apology for simple incapacity.

hands, Hegel begins to tell us that being is the concept, the indeterminate. Here, again, without favouring us with any proof, he demands, or rather commands, that we shall thus blindly believe that being is the concept; and so the rigorous dialectic process, which he had promised us, is reduced to a substitution of one word for another, to an arbitrary and absurd metamorphosis. Who, that has not lost his head, will ever grant to him that being, thus generally, is the concept? On the contrary, everybody will tell him it is by the concept that being is known, and for that very reason the one is not the other. If he meant to speak of ideal being, he ought to have said so, since certainly ideal being, as intuited by the mind, though not properly a concept, is, nevertheless, the idea ; but being, without distinction of form, is neither an idea nor a concept. He adds the indeterminate.' But is the indeterminate the same thing as being ? Certainly not; and as little is the indeterminate the same as the concept. And if you assert that it is, you assert something that nobody will grant. On the contrary, being is essentially determined, and when it is undetermined, it is so much the less being. In a word, the indeterminate signifies only a privation, which is characteristic of ideal being.

'(4) But, if you mean to speak not of being simply, but of indeterminate being, again, why not say so? Why dissemble after the manner of sophists who deal in equivocations? If this is what you mean, then you ought to account for the idea of indeterminate being, and show us its origin. If you had done so, you would not have begun your logic thus with a leap into indeterminate being, but with something else, which might have led you to an explanation of the idea of indeterminate being. According to us, not the indeterminate simply, but indeterminate being is the light of reason, the form of the intelligence, and it is only after having rigorously demonstrated it that

*“Das Seyn is der Begriff nur an sich, die Bestimmungen desselben sind seyende, in ihrem Unterschiede Andre gegeneinander, und ihre weitere Bestimmung (die Form des Dialektischen) ist ein Uebergehen in Anderes (Encyclop., vol. i. $ 84).

we assumed the right of asserting that here is the point of departure of the human spirit, distinguishing this from the point of departure of man in his first development, as well as from that of the man who begins to philosophize, and that of philosophy as science.*

“(5) Being,' says Hegel, ‘has three forms-quality, quantity, and measure, or qualitative quantity:'

Of this, again, there is no proof, and, indeed, there could be no proof of an error so patent. He has been speaking of indeterminate being, and now he tells us that it has quality, quantity, and measure.† What a leap! Indeterminate being has certainly not one of these, for these are determinations, and when being has them, it is no longer indeterminate. Here again, in the usual fashion, the subject of the discourse is surreptitiously changed.

"(6) But let us see what he says of quality. Pure being,' he says, 'forms the beginning, because it is at once pure thought, and the indeterminate, simple immediate.' I What a number of things at once! How many assertions in a few words! He has been speaking of being, and now he enters the field with a slight change, pure being. Once more pure being and thought are identified, without one word to tell us why. And yet all men distinguish, and always will distinguish, thought, which is the act of the intelligent subject, from being, which is its object, and in no manner will they confound two things so different and so much opposed to each other. He says, again, that this pure being is the immediate; but immediate is an adjective, and requires a substantive, and he who can may guess what that substantive is. But without stopping to consider this, let us ask on what grounds he affirms that pure being is the immediate. We must believe it blindly, because he says so: this is the usual intimation that our philosopher

* See under $9.

+ “ Eine jede Sphäre der logischen Idee erweist sich als eine Totalität von Bestimmungen und als eine Darstellung des Absoluten. So auch das Seyn, welches die drei Stufen der Qualität, der Quantität und es Maasses in sich enthält” (Encyclop., pt. i. $ 85, Zusatz).

“Das reine Seyn macht den Anfang, weil es sowohl reiner Gedanke als das unbestimmte, einfache Unmittelbare ist” (Ibid., § 86).

gives us. He immediately subjoins that 'pure being is pure abstraction, and therefore the absolute negative, which, when similarly taken in its immediacy, is Nothing.'* But if pure being is an abstraction, how is it immediate ? Rather the abstraction is immediate, and pure being, obtained through the medium of it, is mediate. And from what is this abstraction made? That from which the abstraction is made must be anterior to the abstraction, and therefore more immediate than it, as well as than the abstract which it produces.

"(7) But attention here to another poetic metamorphosis ! Pure being, which is said to be an abstraction, is directly afterwards a pure abstraction, which becomes synonymous with the absolute negative. And when this substitution of words is accomplished, without further ceremony the assertion is made that the absolute negative, taken in its immediacy, is nothing, which is defined as abstraction and absolute negation. These sudden transitions pretend to be, in the highest degree, dialectical by rigorous necessity! But to speak more seriously; men will not be so easily persuaded that indeterminate being is nothing, inasmuch as indeterminate being is, after all, an object of thought ; nor will they admit that calling nothing abstraction and absolute negation is a proper way to speak, since abstraction and negation are operations of thought, whereas nothing, though indeed the result of total negation, which removes all object from thought, is not the negation itself. But why should indeterminate being be nothing ? Our philosopher never feels himself bound to give us any reasons ; but a reason may be gathered from what he tells us, viz., that it has in it no reality. Men of good sense, however, will find an induction of this sort illogical and antidialectical, inasmuch as indeterminate being is still something, although it is devoid of real form and determination, for the simple reason that it is being. It is ideal and formal being; it is being that virtually has within it

“Dieses reine Seyn ist nun die reine Abstraction, damit das absolut negative, welches, gleichfalls unmittelbar genommen, das Nichts ist (Ibid., $ 87)

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