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all determinations. It is the intelligibility of all determinate beings, and therefore can never identify itself with nothing. This, again, instead of being a dialectically necessary step, is a desperado's leap in the dark, since being is always that which directly contradicts nothing.
(8) Hegel, having thus, by his usual method of substituting one word for another, defined being in this way, that is, by calling it nothing-takes other steps, not a whit more dialectical than the preceding, but merely verbal; for example: ‘Nothing, as this immediate, self-equal, is, in its turn, the same that being is. The truth of being, as well as of nothing, is the unity of the two: this unity is BECOMING.' And this is the principle and characteristic of the whole Hegelian philosophy. In it, everything is always becoming, the idea being, according to Hegel, essentially movement. Nevertheless, it is impossible to conceive any movement in the idea, movement and change being contradictory of the eternal and immutable nature of the idea. And this observation alone is sufficient to overthrow the whole imaginary edifice. But let us examine the last words. After having told us that indeterminate being is nothing, Hegel pretends that this consequence follows: ‘The truth of being, as well as that of nothing, is the unity of the two.' But let him tell us clearly, and without equivocation, whether being and nothing be one or two; because if they are two, there is no longer a perfect identity between them, and if they are one, there is no need for uniting them. The truth is that they are neither one, since it is impossible that being should ever become nothing, nor, on the other hand, are they two, except with respect to our minds, which, with two different operations, posit and remove being; and these two operations can never be united into one, inasmuch as our minds can never, at the same time and in the same respect, affirm and
“Das Nichts ist als dieses unmittelbare, sich selbstgleiche, ebenso umgekehrt dasselbe was das Seyn ist. Die Wahrheit des Seyns, sowie des Nichts, ist daher die Einheit beider: diese Einheit ist das Werden” (Ibid., § 88). Here and elsewhere I translate directly from the third edition of the Encyclopædie, which differs somewhat from the first, from which Rosmini translated.
negate being. For this reason, the logic which Hegel calls vulgar is perfectly right in admitting the principle of contradiction, and the new dialectician is wrong when he impugns it, in order to enjoy the singular privilege of contradicting himself. It follows that the union or identification of being with nothing is only an absurdity, which cannot be conceived by any intelligence; and an absurdity is not anything, not even becoming.
(9) On the other hand, neither being nor nothing becomes, because being is, and that which is does not become; and nothing does not become, because it is nothing; for nothing neither does nor suffers anything. For these reasons the concept of becoming is not, and cannot be, either in being, or in nothing, or in their union or identification. We must, therefore, analyze this concept, and not bring it into the field ready made, without any explanation, and without saying what it is. Without such explanation, becoming remains a mere word, which, not being defined and therefore not clear, is not fit to be used by the dialectician, but only by the sophist. And, indeed, first of all, the word becoming may mark either a simple concept, or it may mark a reality. What then, in Hegel's view, is real becoming, and what is the concept of becoming ? He takes excellent care not to let this be known, because he is under the absolute necessity of using the word sometimes in the one sense, sometimes in the other—sometimes for the real act [of being], and sometimes for the concept of this act; and it is only by these ambiguities that he hopes to make us swallow his paradox, that the concept and the reality are all the same thing, and that the real is comprehended in the ideal. Such a marvellous result he could not reach otherwise than by introducing a word capable of signifying either the one or the other, so as to make us pass from the identity of the word to the identity of the thing.
"(10) Again, the pretended dialectical transition from indeterminate being to becoming does not exist. In indeterminate being there is to be found nothing that can become or cause to become, no activity of any kind, but only pure intelligibility. Hence even the possibility of the transition is wanting. Instead, therefore, of a transition, through deduction of one thing from another, the whole process is reduced to an arbitrary adding of one thing to another. Now, as you, at your good will and pleasure, join becoming to indeterminate being, so I may join to it any other determination that pleases me, without discovering that I have thereby, with so little trouble, constructed a philosophical system or performed anything beyond a simple and very ordinary exercise of thought. I say, there
, fore, that you introduce becoming abruptly, not by a necessary transition from one concept to another, but as one word follows another without nexus. Indeed, becoming presupposes the being which becomes, and therefore being precedes becoming. If so, becoming itself cannot be being, but something that is subsequent to being. Add what we have said above, that ideal being never becomes, and that indeterminate being is merely ideal, since all real beings are determinate. Further, becoming presupposes a force, a force determining a subject to change and to change in a given manner, whence the virtue of becoming, whether active, passive, or intransitive-take it as you choose-must always be a determinate. And even if, in thought, you should form an abstract concept of becoming, and thus should wish not to determine the mode of becoming, this concept, although abstract, would begin to render being less indeterminate, so that, by adding becoming to being, you do not thereby make indeterminate being move. This being necessarily remains before the mind, the same as before, while, from the concept of completely indeterminate being, your mind passes to consider another less indeterminate concept : that is all.
“(11) And, after all, you cannot obtain this determination, becoming, except from the real world, as we have said, because it is nowhere else. How have you then jumped out of the ideal world, where you were, into the real one? How do you account for such a leap? Whilst you were discussing indeterminate being, which can only be the object of the mind, how have you managed to drag into
the discussion becoming, which is found only among realities, and not even among all these, but only among such as are finite? Here is another most mortal lcap, antilogical and antidialectical, from indeterminate being to finite being. The purely indeterminate concept of being is unlimited, infinite. For the very reason that it is indeterminate, it has no limit of any sort. Becoming, on the contrary (whatever this becoming may be, and we shall see farther on what it is), is a passion [ráloc, affection] of purely finite being, of which you have not yet spoken, but which you, nevertheless, take the liberty of smuggling in as a presupposition of your philosophy, while all the time you are proclaiming that no new personage can enter without the passport of necessary dialectic. Your words, therefore, are mere words, and are contradicted by facts. To sum up: you see here three headlong leaps-first, from being to an affection of being, such as becoming is ; second, from ideal being, which is the same as indeterminate being, to real being, in which alone is found the affection of becoming ; third, from infinite being, the indeterminate, to finite being, which alone can be said in a certain way to become, if indeed that word has any meaning. ...
“(12) But Hegel further tells us that becoming is properly the identification of being and nothing, because it expresses that point in which one being ceases and the other is not yet begun. If it were true that it expressed this point, it would not therefore be true either that indeterminate being was the identification of being with nothing, or that this identification was becoming That indeterminate being has no reality is true; but it has identity, and identity is not nothing. And nothing cannot, properly speaking, be united with being, because they are not two things. The being of the world has, indeed, limits; but the word nothing does not indicate these limits. Nothing is a simple concept indicating total removal or absence of being, whereas the limits are different and have different concepts, being relations of beings differently limited.
Let us, however, admit that, by a figure of speech (all such ought, however, to be excluded from rigorously scientific
deductions), we may say that indeterminate being is the union of being and nothing, because it contains at once ideal being and the zero of reality. Let it further be admitted, by another figure of speech, that becoming is the union of being and nothing, because, in the act of becoming, we conceive the cessation of one being and the beginning of another. After all this is admitted, it will not follow, in the least, that indeterminate being is becoming, although both may be defined as the union of being and nothing. This definition would not signify the same thing in the two cases. What it would signify when applied to indeterminate being would be something different from its signification as applied to becoming. The union of being and nothing, in the case of indeterminate being, would be a mode of union different from the union of being and nothing in the case of becoming In indeterminate being there are entirely wanting the concepts of annulment and production : there is nothing but (ideal) being and (real) non-being. In becoming, on the contrary, there are not simply being and non-being, but annulment and production. Nothing and annulment are two different things. Nothing presupposes nothing, whereas annulment presupposes an agent that annuls and an entity that is annulled. So likewise, being and the production of being are two different things. Being expresses a completed, quiet act; production expresses an uncompleted, unquiet act. We must, therefore, at all events, reform these definitions, figurative though they be, and say that indeterminate being is the union of (ideal) being and (real) nothing, whereas becoming is the union, not the identification, of annulment and production. When the definitions are thus reduced, they have lost their identity. The Hegelian sophism, therefore, comes from having abandoned the ancient logic, which, if our philosopher had studied it, would have taught him to begin his discussions with rigorous definitions and with acute analyses. If he had made such definitions and analyses, the whole enchantment, under which the mind of the Berlin professor lies, would have vanished as if at the sign of the cross.
"(13) And, in fact, all this large number of errors in this