Outline of Hegel's Logic


1. The Science of Logic has for its object the thinking activity and the entire compass of its determinations. “Natural Logic” is a name given to the natural understanding which man possesses by nature, and the immediate use which be makes of it. The Science of Logic, however, is the Knowing of the Thinking in its truth.

Explanatory — Logic considers the province of thought in general. The thinking activity is its peculiar sphere. It is a whole (complete sphere) for and by itself. Logic has for its content the determinations peculiar to the thinking activity itself — which have no other ground, than the Thinking. The “heteronomical” to it, is what is given to it through representation.(2) Logic is, therefore, true science. A distinction must, of course, be, made between pure thought and reality; but thought has reality in so far as true actuality is understood by this term. In so far, however, as sensuous external existence is meant by “the Real,” Thought has a far higher reality. The thinking activity has therefore a content (namely, itself) through its autonomy. Through the study of Logic we also learn to think more correctly; for since we think the Thinking of Thinking, the mind increases thereby its power. We learn the nature of the thinking activity, and thus we can trace out the course in which it is liable to be led into error. It is well to know how to give an account of one's deed. Thereby one gains stability, and is not liable to be led astray by others.

2. The thinking activity is, in general, the apprehension and bringing together of the Manifold into unity. The Manifold as such belongs to externality in general — to feeling and sensuous intuition.

Explanatory — The thinking activity consists in bringing the Manifold into unity. When the mind thinks upon things, it brings them into simple forms, which are its pure determinations. The Manifold is, at first, external to the Thinking. In so far as we merely seize the sensuous Manifold, we do not yet “think”; but it is the relating of the same that is properly called Thinking. The immediate seizing of the Manifold we call feeling or sensation. When I feel, I merely know somewhat; in “intuition” [Anschauen], however, I look upon something as external to me in space and time. Feeling becomes “intuition” when it is determined in space and time.

3. The thinking activity is Abstraction in so far as intelligence, beginning with concrete intuitions, neglects one of the manifold determinations, selects another, and gives to it the simple form of thought.

Explanatory — If I neglect all the determinations of an object, nothing remains. If, on the contrary, I neglect one and select another, the latter is then abstract. The Ego, for example, is an abstract determination. I know of the Ego only in so far as I exclude all determinations from myself. This is, however, a negative means. I negate the determinations of myself, and leave myself as such, alone by myself. The act of abstraction is the negative side of the thinking activity.

4. The content of representations [Vorstellungen = notions] is taken from experience, but the form of unity itself, and its further determinations, have not their source in the Immediate(3) as such, but in the thinking activity.

Explanatory — The Ego signifies, generally, the thinking activity. If I say: “I think,” this is something tautological. The Ego is perfectly simple. The Ego is a thinking activity, and that always. We could not say, however: “I always think.” Though potentially so, yet what we think is not always actually Thought. We could however say, in the sense that we are Egos: “We always think,” for the Ego is always the simple identity with itself, and this simple identity, with itself is Thinking. As Ego, we are the ground of all our determinations. In so far as the object is thought it receives the form of thinking and becomes a thought-object. It is made identical to the Ego, i.e. it is thought.

5. This must not be understood as though this unity was added to the manifold of objects by the thinking activity, and thereby the act of uniting was done externally; but the unity must be conceived as belonging likewise to the object, and as constituting with its determinations the proper nature thereof.

6. Thoughts are of three kinds: (1) The Categories; (2) Determination of Reflections; (3) Comprehension.(4) The science of the first two constitutes the objective logic in metaphysics; the science of Comprehensions (concepts or notions) constitutes the proper or subjective logic.

Explanatory — Logic contains the system of pure Thinking, Being is (1) the Immediate, (2) the Internal; the determinations of Thinking go back again into themselves. The objects of the common system of metaphysics are the Thing, the World, Mind, and God, through which the different metaphysical sciences arise: Ontology, Cosmology, Pneumatology, and Theology. (3) The Comprehension (concept, notion, or idea) presents us with what is existent and at the same time essential. Being stands in relation to essence as the Immediate to the Mediate. Things are in general, but their Being consists in this: that they manifest their Essence. Being goes over into Essence; one can express it thus: “Being presupposes Essence.” But although Essence, in comparison with Being, appears as that which is mediated, yet Essence is the true Primitive, notwithstanding. Being goes back, in it, into its ground; Being cancels(5) itself (takes itself up) into Essence. Its Essence is in this form a Become or Produced, but what appears as “Become” is rather the Original or Primitive. The Perishable has in Essence its basis, and originates from it. We make comprehensions (i.e. exhaustive concepts). These are somewhats posited by us, but they contain also the Reality in and for itself. As compared with the comprehension, Essence in its turn is a “mere posited,” but “the posited” in this relation still stands for the true. The comprehension is partly subjective, partly objective. The IDEA(6) is the union of Subjective and Objective. If we say, “It is a mere conception (blosser Begriff)," we mean that it is without reality. The mere Objectivity is devoid of the comprehension. But the Idea is the reality determined through the comprehension. Everything actual is an IDEA.

7. Science presupposes that the separation of itself from Truth is already cancelled, or that the mind is no longer in a phenomenal stage as it was in the Science of Consciousness (Phenomenology of Spirit). The certitude of itself comprehends all that is object of consciousness (whether it be an external thing, or a thought produced in the mind), in so far as it does not contain in itself all moments(7) of the Being-in-and-for-itself: (1) to be in itself, or simple identity with itself; (2) to have determinate Being or determinateness, Being for others; and (3) to be for itself, i.e. in its relation to others to be simple, reflected into itself, and by itself. Science does not seek Truth, but is in the Truth, and is the Truth itself.


First Division — Quality.

8. Quality is the immediate determinateness, whose change is the transition into a Different.

A. Being, Naught, Becoming.

9. Being is the simple empty immediateness which has its opposite in pure Naught, and whose union therewith is the Becoming: as transition from Naught to Being, it is Beginning; the converse is Ceasing.

(The “sound common sense,” as one-sided abstraction often calls itself, will not admit the union of Being and Naught. “Either it is Being, or it is not. There is no third.” “What is, does not begin; what is not, is not.” It asserts, therefore, the impossibility of Beginning.)

B. Determinate Being (8)

10. Determinate Being is become or determined Being, a Being which has a relation to another — hence to its non-being.

11. (a) Determinate Being is, consequently, a somewhat divided in itself: firstly, it is in-itself (i.e. potential); secondly, it is relation to others. Determinate Being, thought with these two determinations is Reality.

12. (b) A somewhat which is definite has a relation to another. The “other” is a definite Being as the non-being of the somewhat. It has, consequently, a boundary, or restraining limit and is finite. What a somewhat ought to be in itself, is called its Destination(9) (determination).

13. The mode in which a somewhat is for another, or in which it is connected with another, and hence immediately posited through another, is called its state or condition.(10)

14. The mode in which a somewhat is in-itself, as well for itself as for another, is its determinateness or quality. The limit is not only the point where the somewhat ceases, but it belongs to the somewhat in itself.

15. (c) Through its quality, through what it is, the somewhat is exposed to CHANGE. It changes in so far as its determinateness comes into connection with another and thereby becomes state or condition [Beschaffenheit].

C. Being For-itself. (11)

16. Inasmuch as the “state or condition” is cancelled through change, change itself also is cancelled. Being, consequently, with this process, has gone back into itself and excludes otherness from itself. It is FOR ITSELF.

17. It is ONE, and relates only to itself, and stands in a repellent relation towards others.

18. This excluding is at the same time a bringing-into-relation to others, and hence it is likewise an attracting. No Repulsion without attraction and vice versa.

19. Or, with the act of repulsion on the part of the One, many ones are immediately posited. But the many ones are not distinct from each other. Each one is what the other is. Hence their cancelling, i.e. their attraction, is likewise posited.

20. The One is the “Existent-for-itself,” which is absolutely distinct from others. But since this distinction (in which Repulsion is cancelled by Attraction) is the distinction posited as cancelled, for that reason it has passed over into another determination — QUANTITY.(12)

("Somewhat” without limits has no meaning. If I change the limits of a somewhat, it remains no longer what it is; if I change the limits of a field, it still remains a field as before though somewhat larger or smaller. In this case I have not changed its limits as field, but as a given quantity. To change its qualitative limit as ploughed field means, e.g., to make it a forest.)

Second Division — Quantity.

21. Through quality a somewhat is what it is. Through change of quality, there is changed not merely a determination of the somewhat — or of the Finite — but the Finite somewhat, itself changes. Quantity, on the contrary, is the determination which does not constitute the nature of the object itself; it is rather an “indifferent distinction,” which may be changed, while the object remains the same.

22. Quantity is the cancelled Being-for-itself (or One). It is, therefore, an unbroken CONTINUITY in itself. But since it contains the One, moreover, it possesses also the “moment” of DISCRETENESS.

23. (A) Magnitude is either continuous or discrete. But each of these two kinds of magnitude contains discreteness AND continuity in it; and their difference is this only, that in the discrete magnitude, it is Discreteness which constitutes the main principle, while in the continuous it is Continuity.

24. (B) Magnitude or Quantity is as limited quantity, a “Quantum.” Since this limit is nothing fixed in its nature, it follows that a “quantum” [i.e. a given quantity] can be changed indefinitely; it can be increased or decreased at pleasure.

25. The limits of the “quantum” in the form of “Being-in-itself” give INTENSIVE quantity; and in the form of externality give EXTENSIVE quantity. But there is no intensive Being which does not likewise at the same time possess the form of extensive Being; and conversely.

26. (C)Quantum” has no in-itself determined limit. There is, hence, no quantum [given quantity] beyond which a larger or smaller cannot be posited. The “quantum” which is, by hypothesis, the last one — the one which has no greater or no smaller (as the case may be) — is generally called the infinitely great or the infinitely small [Maximum and Minimum].

27. But in this shape it ceases to be a “quantum” at all, and is by itself = 0. It has then significance only in a RATIO wherein it no longer possesses any magnitude by itself, but only in relation to another. This is the correct comprehension (conception) of the MATHEMATICAL INFINITE.

28. The Infinite in general, when seized in the form of the Infinite Progress, is the process of cancelling the restraining limit whether it be qualitative or quantitative, so that this restraining limit passes for something positive, and continually reappears after its negation. The true Infinite, however, is the NEGATION OF NEGATION, inasmuch as the restraining limit is to be understood as really a negation. In it the progress beyond the Finite does not posit again a new restraining limit, but through the cancelling of the restraining limit, the Being is restored to identity with itself.

29. While the “quantum” cancels itself in the Infinite, in the same process the indifferent, external determination which constitutes the “quantum,” is cancelled and becomes an internal, a qualitative determination.

Third Division — Measure. (13)

30. “Measure” is a SPECIFIC QUANTUM in so far as it is not external, but is determined through the nature of the object, through quality.

31. In the change of a “quantum,” in its increase or decrease, which goes on within its “measure,” there enters likewise a specifying process, in which the indifferent, external movement of magnitude up and down the scale, is determined and modified through the nature of the thing itself.

32. When the “measure” of a thing is changed, the thing itself changes and ceases to be the particular somewhat that it was, through the passing beyond its “measure,” — increasing or decreasing beyond it.


33. Essence is Being which has returned from its immediateness and its indifferent relation to others into simple unity with itself.

First Division — The Determinations of Essence in Itself.

34. Essence (“Wesen”) appears to itself ("scheint in sich selbst") and determines itself. But its determinations are in unity. They are only “posited-being,” .i.e. they are not immediately for themselves, but only such as exist in unity. They are therefore RELATIONS. They are “determinations of Reflection.”

35. (1) The first determination is the essential unity with itself — IDENTITY. Expressed as a proposition — namely, as a universal determination — it is the proposition “A = A,” “everything is identical with itself”; negatively, as the proposition of contradiction: “A cannot be at the same time A and not-A.”

36. (2) The second determination is DISTINCTION (14) (a) as the determination of DIFFERENCE — of Beings indifferent to each other, but distinguished through some determinateness or other. The proposition which expresses it, reads: “There are no two things which are perfectly identical with each other”; (b) as the determination of OPPOSITION (antithesis), the positive against the negative, in which a determinateness is posited only by means of another determinateness, and each of these determinatenesses is only in so far as the other is, but at the same time is only in so far as it is not the other. The proposition through which this is expressed reads: “A is either B or not-B, and there is no third.”

37. (3) The third in which the posited determination are cancelled in general is Essence, which is, in this phase, GROUND.(15) The proposition of Ground reads: “Every somewhat has its sufficient (reason or) ground.”

38. In so far as immediate Being is regarded as a merely "Posited,” it has gone back into essence or into its ground. The former (i.e. Being) is here the first — that from which we started. But in this “going back" we retract that position, and recognise the ground rather as the first and essential.

39. The Ground contains that which is grounded through it according to its essential determinations. But the relation of the Ground to the grounded is not a pure transition into the opposite, although the grounded existence has a different shape from its ground, which is likewise an existence, and the chief determination is their common content.

Second Division — Phenomenon.

A. Thing.

40. The Ground, through its internal determination, posits its Being, a Being which, as proceeding from the Ground, is EXISTENCE.

41. As a totality, of its determinations, the existing somewhat is a THING.

42. The properties of a Thing are determinations of its existence which are different from each other, but at the same time independent of each other; and moreover a Thing is, as simple identity with itself (undetermined and) indifferent towards them as determinations.

43. The determinations are through the thingness identical with themselves, and the Thing is nothing but this identity of its properties with themselves. Through this circumstance, the Thing dissolves into its properties, as into matters which subsist for and by themselves.

44. Since, however, the “matters” are united in the unity of a thing, they interpenetrate each other reciprocally and cancel each other. The Thing is consequently this contradiction in itself, or it is posited as a mere self-dissolving, as Phenomenal.

B. The Phenomenal.

45. Essence has gone out of Ground into Existence. The Existing posited as not in-and-for-itself, but as grounded in another, is THE PHENOMENAL. Essence must manifest itself in so far as it is, as ground, simple immediateness, and hence Being in general.

46. On account of the Identity of the Ground and the Existent, there is nothing in the Phenomenal which is not in the Essence, and conversely nothing in the Essence which is not in the Phenomenal.

47. (The identity with itself in the Phenomenal is the Undetermined, the determination a mere CAPACITY — the PASSIVE MATTER. The identity of determinations in their relation to each other, constitutes the ACTIVE, the FORM. Since Matter is determined by Form, the two presuppose each other. There is however, in general, no Matter without Form and no Form without Matter. Matter and form give rise to each other reciprocally.) The essential relation in the determinations of the Phenomenal is the LAW thereof.

48. Since the determinations manifest themselves also in the form of independent existence, the Relation of the same as being determined through each other constitutes the mutual relation [Verhältniss].(16)

C. Mutual Relation.

49. The MUTUAL RELATION is a relation to each other of two sides which have partly an indifferent subsistence, but partly each is only through the other and in this unity which determines both.

50. The determinations are posited first in the form of mutual relation, secondly they are only in themselves, and manifest themselves as independent, immediate Existence. They are in this respect presupposed somewhats and internally, already in themselves, contain the totality of form, which can have existence only through that presupposition; or they are in so far conditions, and their mutual relation is a conditional mutual relation.

51. In the conditions and the conditioned mutual relation, the Phenomenal begins to return into Essence and Being-in-itself, but there exists still the difference of the Phenomenal as such, and the former (Essence, &c.) in so far as they are “in themselves.”

52. (1) The immediately conditioned Mutual Relation is the WHOLE and the PARTS. The parts as existing outside of the Relation, and subsisting for themselves, are mere matters, and, in so far, not parts. As parts they have their determination only in the whole, and the whole is what makes them to be parts, and conversely it is the parts that make it to be the whole.

53. (2) The whole, as internally active Form, is FORCE. It has no external matter as its condition, but is in the matter itself. Its condition is only an external “occasion” which solicits it. The latter is itself the utterance of a Force and demands in turn a solicitation for its manifestation. It is a reciprocal conditioning and being conditioned, and this is as a Whole, therefore, unconditioned.

54. According to content, Force exhibits in its utterance that which it is in itself, and there is nothing in its utterance which is not in its Internal.

55. (3) The content is consequently, in respect to the distinction of Internal and External, unconditioned. It stands in mutual relation as internal, only to itself as external. The external and internal are therefore the same, only considered from different sides. The internal is the perfection of content — determinations as conditions which themselves have determinate existence. The becoming-external is the reflection of the same or the uniting of the whole which through this receives existence.

Third Division — Actuality.

A. Substance.

56. Substance is the unconditioned, in-and-for-itself- subsisting Essence in so far as it has immediate Existence. (Substantia est — causa sui: id quod par se concipitur sive cujus concepts involvit existentiam — Spinoza.)

57. In its existence it has manifold determinations distinct from it = ACCIDENTS. In their Totality they constitute substance, which is the subsistence, and hence the POWER of Accidents.

58. The accidents, in so far as they are contained in the substance, are POTENTIAL.

59. When anything is thought merely in the form of "Being-in-itself,” or as not self-contradictory, it is called potential (possible). Everything in so far as it is determined as a Being-in-itself which is only a posited, is called merely potential. Such a Possibility, isolated from the Actuality, has an individual content.

60. Truly potential is somewhat as a totality of its in-itself-existent determinations. Whatever possesses this internal perfect potentiality is not merely a posited-Being, but in-and-for-itself and immediately actual. The potentiality of substance is, therefore, its actuality. (God, e.g., is not only in general but truly potential. His potentiality is a necessary one. He is absolutely Actual.)

61. The combination of accidents in the substance, is their necessity. It is the unity of Possibility and Actuality. Necessity is blind in so far as the combination is merely an internal one, or in so far as the actual is not previously extant as an in-itself-existent unity of its determinations, but results first from the relation of the same.

B. Cause.

62. Substance manifests itself in the origination and vanishing of its accidents. It is in so far active, or CAUSE.

63. As Cause, substance makes its original content into EFFECT, i.e. into a “posited through another.”

64. There is nothing in the effect which is not in the cause, and the cause is cause only in the Effect.

(It is said: the fall of a brick is the cause of the death of a man: the miasma of a region is the cause of fevers. But the former was the cause only of the blow, the latter only of excessive moisture. But the effect in an actual existence which has other determinations, besides, continues to other results.)

65. Cause passes over into effect. Since the cause itself has a definite content and is to be posited as effect, we obtain a regress of causes and effects in an infinite series. Conversely, in so far as that upon which the effect takes place is itself a primitive, it is a cause, and produces an effect in another, through which a progress ad infinitum results.

C. Reciprocal Action.

66. In so far as the effect returns to the cause, it is itself cause. It makes the cause a Posited. It is REACTION. “Action and Reaction are equal.”

67. The Reaction takes place against the first cause, which consequently is posited as effect, through which nothing else happens except that it is posited as it is in itself, namely, as a not truly original (primitive) but as a Transitory.

68. Reciprocal action consists in this: that which is effect is conversely cause, and that which is cause is conversely effect. Or the reciprocal relation is the mediation of the Thing with itself, in which the Primitive determines itself or makes itself a Posited; and therein reflects itself into itself, and exists first as this reflection into itself, and is therein true Primitiveness.


69. The categories, the determinations of Being are simple; but the determinations which do not constitute the primitive elements, i.e. the determinations of Essence, are simple only in so far as their antithetical moments are reduced to simplicity. Whenever such a category is predicated of a subject and is developed through the analysis of those antithetic moments, the two are predicable of the subject, and there arise antithetic propositions, both of which have equal truth.

70. Kant especially has drawn attention to the Antinomies of Reason, although he has not exhausted them, since he has made an exposition of the forms of only a few.

I. The antinomy of the Finitude or Infinitude of the world in regard to Space and Time.

(1) The antinomy in respect to Time.

(a) THESIS: The world has a beginning in Time.

71. Proof: Let one assume that the world has no beginning in respect to time; then, up to any given point of time, an eternity has elapsed, and consequently an infinite series of successive conditions of things in the world. The infinitude of a series consists, however, in this, that it can never be completed by successive synthesis; therefore an infinite series of conditions in the world is impossible; hence a beginning of the same in time is necessitated.

(b) ANTITHESIS: The world has no beginning in time, and is infinite in respect to time.

72. Proof: Let one suppose that it had a beginning, then there would be assumed an empty time before that beginnings time in which the world was not. In an empty time, however, nothing can originate, for in it there is no condition for existence, since one Being always has another as its condition, i.e. is limited by finite Being only. Therefore the world can have no beginning, but every determinate Being presupposes another, and so on ad infinitum.

73. The proof of this antinomy, when reduced to a brief form, becomes the following direct antithesis:
(1) The world is finite in respect to time; i.e. it has a limit. In the proof of the thesis such a limit is assumed, namely, the Now, or some one given point of time.
(2) Determinate Being has a limit, not in determinate non-Being, in empty time, but only in a determinate Being. The self-limiting somewhats are also positively related to each other, and the one has the same determination as the other. Since, therefore, each determinate Being is limited, or each is a finite one, i.e. such a one as must be transcended ["passed beyond” in the act of defining it], it follows that the “Progress into infinity” is posited.

74. The true solution of this antinomy is this: Neither is the mentioned limit something true for itself, nor is the Infinite spoken of, a true somewhat for-itself; for the limit is of such a kind that it must be transcended, and the Infinite spoken of is merely that to which the limit continually arises. The true infinitude is the REFLECTION-INTO-ITSELF, and Reason contemplates not the temporal world, but the world its essence and idea.

(2) The antinomy in respect to space.

(a) THESIS: The world is limited in respect to space.

75. Proof: Let one assume that it is unlimited; then it is an infinite given Whole of co-existent things. Such a whole can be viewed as completed only through the synthesis of the parts therein contained. For this completion, however, infinite time is required, which must be assumed as already elapsed, which is impossible. Therefore an infinite aggregate of existing things cannot be viewed as a co-existent whole. The world is accordingly not infinite in space, but included in limits.

(b) ANTITHESIS: The world is unlimited in respect to space.


Proof: Let one assume that the world is spatially limited, then it finds itself in an empty unlimited space; it would, therefore, have a relation to this empty space, i.e. a relation to no object. Such a relation, however, as that of the world to empty space is nothing; therefore, the world is spatially infinite.

77. The proofs of these antithetic propositions really rest on direct assertions.
(1) The proof of the thesis refers the completion of the co-existent totality or the spatial world, to the succession of time in which the synthesis must occur and be completed; and this is partly incorrect and partly superfluous, for in the spatial world precisely it is not of succession but of co-existence that one may speak. Furthermore: when an already elapsed infinite time is assumed, a Now is assumed. Likewise in space a Here is assumed, i.e. a limit in general to space, from which afterwards the impossibility of its illimitableness can be deduced.
(2) Since the limits in space are in general to be transcended, it follows that the negative of the limit is posited; and since it is essentially a negative of the limit, it is conditioned through it [through the limit]. Hence the infinite progress is posited in the same form as in the previous antinomy.

II. The antinomy concerning the simplicity or composite nature of substances.

(a) THESIS: Every composite substance consists of simple parts.

78. Proof: Let one assume that composite substances consist not of simple parts. If, now, all composition or combination were annihilated in thought, then there would be no composite part, and, since there is also no simple part, nothing would remain, and accordingly no substance would be given. Consequently it is impossible to annihilate all composition in thought. But the Composite does not consist again of substances, for composition is only an accidental relation of them, and substances must subsist as enduring entities without composition. Therefore the substantial Composite consists of simple parts. It follows hence that things in the world, without exception, are simple entities, and that composition is only an external condition of them.

(b) ANTITHESIS: No composite thing consists of simple parts, and there does not exist anywhere anything simple.


Proof: Let one assume that a composite thing consists of simple parts. Inasmuch as all external relation, consequently all composition, is possible only in space, then the space which includes it must consist of as many parts as the composite consists of. Now space consists, not of simple parts but of spaces. Therefore every part of the composite must occupy a space. But the absolutely primary parts of all composites are simple. Therefore the simple occupies space. Now since everything real which occupies space contains a manifold whose parts are external to each other and is consequently composite, it follows that the simple is a substantial composite - which is self-contradictory.

80. The proof of the thesis contains the direct assertion that composition is an external relation, or something contingent; hence the Simple is the Essential. The proof of the antithesis rests likewise upon the direct assertion that substances are essentially spatial, and hence composite. In itself this antinomy is the same as the previous one, namely, the positing of a limit and then the transcending of the same, a Process which is involved in the comprehension of determinate Being.

III. The antinomy concerning the antithesis of Causality according to natural laws and freedom.

(a) THESIS: Causality according to natural laws is not the only causality in the phenomena of the world; there is also a Causality of Freedom.

81. Proof: Let one assume that there is no other Causality than according to the laws of nature; it follows that everything which happens, presupposes a previous condition from which it proceeds according to an invariable rule. Now that previous condition itself must have happened, since if it always had existed, its effect must have always existed. Therefore the Causality through which something comes to pass is itself a something which has come to pass, and which again presupposes a previous condition and its causality, and so on ad infinitum. There is therefore, at any given time, only a relative and no first beginning; and hence, in general, no completeness of series on the part of the connected causes. The law of nature consists, however, precisely in this: that nothing happens without an efficient a priori cause. Therefore the proposition that all causality is possible only according to natural laws refutes itself, and natural laws cannot be assumed as the only ones.

(b) ANTITHESIS: There is no freedom, but everything in the world comes to pass solely according to the laws of nature.

82. Proof: Let one assume that there is freedom, to wit, a power which can absolutely originate a state or condition, and consequently a series of results thereof, then not only the series is originated through the spontaneity, but the determination of this spontaneity itself is thus originated in such a manner that nothing can precede, through which this action is determined according to fixed laws. Each origination of an act, however, presupposes a state or condition of the cause which is not as yet active, and a dynamical first beginning of the Act presupposes a state which has no causal connection whatever with the preceding state of the cause, i.e. which in nowise results from it. Therefore freedom is opposed to the laws of causality and such a combination of successive conditions of active causes according to which no unity of experience is possible, and which therefore can never be met with in experience — is an empty fiction of thought.

83. This antinomy, abstractly considered, rests upon the antithesis which the causal relation has in itself. Namely, the cause is: (1) an original cause, a first, self-moving cause; (2) but it is conditioned through something upon which it acts, and its activity passes over into the effect. In so far, it is to be viewed as nothing truly original but as a “Posited.” If the first side is held fast, an absolute causality is assumed, a causality of freedom; but according to the second side the cause becomes a something that has happened, and with it an infinite series of conditions is posited.

84. The true solution of this antinomy is RECIPROCITY; a cause which passes over into an effect has in this again a causal Reaction, by which means the first cause is reduced in turn to an effect or to a “Posited.” In this reciprocity, consequently, is involved the fact that neither of the two moments of causality is for itself and absolute, but that it is only the entire circle, THE TOTALITY, that is in and for itself.


(a) THESIS: An absolutely necessary Being belongs to the world.

85. Proof: The sensuous world, as the sum total of all phenomena, contains at the same time, a series of changes. Every change stands under its condition, under which it is necessary. Now every Conditioned in view of its existence presupposes a perfect series of conditions up to the absolutely Unconditioned, which alone is absolutely necessary. Therefore something absolutely necessary must exist, if change shall exist as its result. This necessary somewhat itself, however, belongs to the sensuous world; for, assume that it exists outside of it, then the series of changes in the world would derive their origin from it, and yet this necessary cause itself would not belong to the sensuous world. Now this is impossible; for since the beginning of a series in time can be determined only through that which precedes it in time, the ultimate condition of the beginning of a series of changes must exist in a time when this series did not as yet exist; hence this ultimate condition belongs to time, and consequently to phenomena or to the sensuous world; therefore there is in the world itself something absolutely necessary.

(b) ANTITHESIS: There exists no absolutely necessary Being, neither in the world nor outside the world, as its cause.

86. Proof: Let one assume that the world itself, or something in it, is a necessary entity (Being), then in the series of its changes there would be a beginning which was unconditionally necessary and consequently without cause, and this contradicts the dynamical law of the determination of all phenomena. Or else the series itself would be without a beginning, and though in all its parts contingent and conditioned, yet on the whole absolutely necessary and unconditioned, which is self-contradictory, for the reason that the existence of an aggregate cannot be a necessary one if no single part of it possesses necessary existence. Furthermore, let one assume that there is an absolutely necessary cause of the world which is outside of the world: then it would begin the existence of the changes in the world and their series; since it must begin to act, its causality would belong to time and hence to the sum total of all phenomena, and hence not be outside of the world. Therefore there is neither in the world nor outside of it any absolutely necessary Being.

87. This antinomy contains, on the whole, the same antithesis as the previous one. With the Conditioned a condition is posited, and indeed a condition as such, or an absolute condition, i.e. one which has not its necessity in something else. Since, however, it is in connection with the Conditioned, or since the Conditioned lies in its comprehension (or complete definition), it belongs itself to the sphere of the Conditioned, or is a Conditioned itself. According to the former side, an absolutely necessary Being is posited, but according to the latter only a relative necessity, and hence contingence.


88. The science of the Comprehension (concepts), or subjective logic, has for its object the Comprehension, and not the Categories, and determinations of Reflection. The Category posits Being in a determinateness as limit; Reflection posits essence in a determination which is mediated through the presupposition of another. The Comprehension [conception?], on the other hand, is the in-and-for-itself Existent, the simple totality out of which all its determinations flow.

89. Subjective logic treats of three chief objects, (1) the Comprehension, (2) the Final Cause, (3) the Idea; namely: (1) the formal Comprehension, or the Comprehension as such; (2) the Comprehension in relation to its realisation or its Objectivity (the Final Cause); (3) the Idea as the real or objective Comprehension.

First Division — The Comprehension.

90. Formal Logic contains (1) the comprehension as such, (2) the judgment, and (3) the syllogism.

91. (1) The COMPREHENSION contains the moments of individuality, particularity, and universality. Individuality is the negative reflection of the comprehension into itself, through which something is in-and-for-itself, and the determinations as moments inhere in it. Universality is the positive, not excluding, unity of the comprehension with itself, which contains the opposite in itself, so that it remains indifferent and undetermined toward it. Particularity is the relation of individuality and universality to each other. It is the Universal reduced to a determination; or, conversely, the individual elevated into universality.

92. As these determinations are distinguished from each other as moments of the Comprehension, so are they distinguished by the different content they may have, as comprehensions of something universal, something particular, and something individual.

93. The Universal subsumes or includes the Particular and Individual under it. The individual has the same, and at the same time several more, determinations than the Particular and Universal. Likewise the same relation exists on the part of the Particular toward the Universal. What, therefore, possesses validity with regard to the Universal, possesses validity for the Particular and Individual; and what is valid of the Particular is valid of the individual, but not conversely.

94. The particular determinations which belong to the same Universal are COORDINATED to each other. The same thing applies also to those which belong to the same individual. But these determinations which are coordinated in a Universal cannot be coordinated in one individual.

95. (2) In the JUDGMENT the implicit unity in which the moments are grasped together in the comprehension, is cancelled. It (the judgment) is the relation of the determinations of the Comprehension in so far as each is valid by itself as a self-subsisting and consequently as a particular comprehension.

96. The Judgment contains: (1) the subject as the side of individuality or particularity; (2) the predicate as the side of universality, which is at the same time a determined universality, or also particularity; (3) the simple relation (devoid of content) which the subject has to the predicate, is the COPULA.

97. The species of Judgments indicate the different stages in which the external relation of subject and predicate becomes an internal relation of the comprehension. The subject is, first, in immediate identity with the predicate — the two are one and the same determination of content; secondly, they are distinguished one from the other. The subject is a more complex content than the abstract predicate, and is in regard to form contingent.

98. (3) In the Judgment two determinations of the Comprehension are related immediately to each other. The SYLLOGISM is the Judgment with its ground. The two determinations are connected in the Syllogism by means of a third which is their unity. The Syllogism is, therefore, the perfect positing of the Comprehension.

99. According to determined form, the two extremes of the Syllogism are the Individual and the Universal; the Particular, on the contrary, for the reason that in it these two determinations are united, is the middle term of the same. If a determination A belongs to the determination B, and the determination B belongs to a determination C, then the determination A belongs to C.

100. The relation of the two extremes (termini extremi) of the syllogism to the middle term is a two-fold one, and forms two judgments (propositiones praemissae), each of which contains the moment of particularity — the middle term (terminus medius). The one premise contains, moreover, the extreme of universality (terminus major) as predicate (propositio major); the other contains the extreme of individuality (terminus minor) as subject (propositio minor); the relation of the two extremes is the third judgment; the inference (conclusio), “conclusion,” is mediated.

Second Division — The Final Cause, or Teleological Comprehension.

101. In the Final Cause, that which is mediated, or the Inference, is at the same time immediate, first, and ground. The Produced, or that which is posited through mediation, has the act of producing and its immediate determination for presupposition, and conversely the act of producing happens on account of the result which is the ground, and hence is the first determination of the activity. The teleological act is a syllogism in which the same whole is brought into unity (its objective form with its subjective form, the comprehension with its reality) through the mediation of teleological activity, and the Comprehension is ground of a reality determined through it.

102. External conformity to end exists in so far as a somewhat possesses the comprehension through which it is determined, not in itself, but is subordinated to it by another subject as an external form or relation.

103. Internal conformity to end is this: an existence possesses its comprehension in itself and is at the same time its own object and means - self-realising and self-realised final cause in itself.

Third Division — The Idea.

104. The IDEA is the unity of the Comprehension and Reality, the comprehension in so far as it determines itself and its reality, or the Actuality which is what it ought to be, and contains its comprehension itself.

105. (1) The idea in so far as the comprehension is united with its reality immediately, and does not directly distinguish itself from, and elevate itself out of it, is LIFE. The same exhibited as physical and likewise spiritual life, and freed from all the conditions and limitations of contingent existence is the BEAUTIFUL.

106. (2) In the Idea of COGNITION and PRACTICAL ACTIVITY is the reality of the Comprehension; or the Subjective is opposed to the Objective and their union is brought about. In Cognition Reality lies at the basis as the first and as Essence; Practical Activity, on the other hand, makes actuality conform to the Comprehension so that the GOOD is produced.

107. (3) The ABSOLUTE IDEA is the content of SCIENCE, namely, the consideration of the universe, as it is in conformity with the Comprehension in-and-for-itself ["sub specie aeternitatis"], or the rational Comprehension as it is in-and-for-itself, and as it is in the objective or real world.


1. The following compend of Hegel's Logic is translated from the same volume as the “Outlines of Hegel's Phenomenology.” [In 1840, The Editors of Hegel's works published a small volume with the title, Hegel's Philosophical Propaedeutics. The work, which was edited by Karl Rosenkranz, contains substantially the original outline of the Course of Instruction in Philosophy which Hegel gave at the Gymnasium at Nürnberg in 1808-1811, together with sundry additions made from notes taken at the lectures and other sources.]  It forms, with the latter, the second year's course of the “Philosophical Propadeutics.” It will, we trust, be of good service in familiarising thinkers with the general features of Hegel's system, — indeed, since it is written by Hegel himself, it is far better adapted for such a purpose than any of those compends given in Cyclopaedias and Histories of Philosophy, which without exception distort its more important features. The Outlines here given close the second year's course of the Propadeatics; the third year commences with a more elaborate exposition of the Comprehension (Begriff), which indeed forms the centre of Hegel's system. — Translator.

2. Note by Tr.- “Representation” (German, Vorstellung) with Hegel signifies a mere notion or mental picture which is devoid of universality and necessity — that which should characterise true scientific Thinking.

3. Note by Tr. — Immediate = direct object. Thus the sensuous world is spoken of as immediate. In general, that which is most simple, most empty, most undeveloped is “immediate.”

4. Note by Tr. — “Comprehension” (German, Begriff) signifies the necessary unity of determinations which belong to a whole. “Concept” or “conception” is too subjective, in its ordinary acceptation, to serve as a translation of Hegel's term “Begriff.” A “concept” may be a mere "representation” (Vorstellung), i.e., arbitrary notion, but Hegel's "Begriff” is an organic unity of Universality, Particularly, and Individuality. “Bestimmter Begriff” as Hegel uses it in his Logic, is properly “concept” or “notion.” The term “comprehension" has been adopted in this sense by Mr. Brockmeyer in his translation of Hegel's Complete Logic, and though it sounds strangely in some of its connections, it more readily than any other word suggests the exhaustiveness of the process in which the Manifold is grasped in unity. Idea and ideal have also been used to render the sense of Begriff in English: “Something is adequate to its Begriff,” i.e. to its ideal or true definition, what it ought to be.

5. Note by Tr. — “Cancel” = to annul as an independent something and yet to preserve as a dependent element. (German, Aufheben.) In its mathematical sense “cancel” is used of magnitudes which reduce each other to zero — mutually annual or suppress each other — and therefore become indifferent to the equation. In its commercial sense, a “cancelled” note or bond has still positive value as a receipt or discharge from the debt. The term “cancel” in this sense has been adopted by Mr. Brockmeyer in the work before alluded to. Other equivalents for this word, in various shadings, are these: Annul (Stallo and others), set aside (J. E. Cabot), abrogate (J. D. Sibree), abolish, repeal, transubstantiate, translate, transmute, sublate, (J. H. Sterling), nullify, revoke, neutralise, subordinate, subdue, subjugate, vanquish, transmerge, subvert, destroy, submerge, “take up into,” suppress, “do away with,” “reduce to moments” (which is its exact signification).

6. Note by Tr. — The Idea = the absolute existing Comprehension of comprehensions; Perfect Being, i.e. Being which is in nowise deficient but whose entire potentiality is realised.

7. Note by Tr. — “Moment” (German, Moment) = “Reciprocally complemental element” (as translated by Seelye from Schwelger's paraphrase of the term). That which is “cancelled” is reduced to a moment, i.e. has lost its immediate and independent first phase, and has sunk into a constituent phase or element — as acid and alkali, e.g., become moments of salt.

8. Note by Tr. — Determinate Being: (German, Daseyn, whose literal meaning is to be present, to be there or here.) It is equivalent to particular Being. Although it is frequently translated “Existence,” and in several respects agrees with that word in signification, yet Hegel uses it to signify mere qualitative determinateness, while “Existence” is generally used in a more concrete sense, and involves quantity and other determinations as well as quality. The proof of the Being of a God ("Beweis vom Daseyn Gottes,” as Hegel calls it in his Philosophy of Religion) may be called proof of the existence of God, or of the “determinate Being” of God. The loose use of the category of Being in English has allowed it to usurp the whole province of “Daseyn”; but for the sake of precision the latter term will be called determinate Being in this translation. It is a point worthy of profound consideration that the English, and Southern European nations have used the expression for a concreter mediation = Existence, where the Germans have used a more abstract one = determinate Being.

9. Note by Tr. — Destination: (German, Bestimmung, which must be translated “Determination” ordinarily.) It means nearly the "proper sphere” and is also nearly the same as “nature” in the phrase "true nature of a thing.”

10. Note by Tr. — State or condition = (German, Beschaffenheit) “the being shaped or fashioned through the action of external influences and relations.” “Condition” is rather more concrete and involves more mediation than Beschaffenheit, which here is used in the qualitative sense of “fixed state.”

11. Note by Tr. — Being-for-itself, literal translation of “Für-sich-seyn” = Independent Being.

12. Note by Tr. — Note that Quantity is suggested by the complete grasping (comprehending) of Quality. Quality or “whatness” can only be through the self-determination of a somewhat, and such a somewhat is called a Being-for-itself or independent Being. But such determination is not merely the ceasing of the somewhat in its other, but likewise its continuation into its own externality, and this is Quantity precisely.

13. Note by Tr. — Measure (German, Mass) is the reciprocal relation of Quality and Quantity. The word “measure” is used here in the sense of “due proportion,” “proper extent,” “the measure of its capacity.”

14. Note by Tr. — Distinction (German, Untersehied) which has also the meaning of “difference” in some instances. In this translation “Verschiedenheit” is translated “difference” in the sense of “diversity.”

15. Note by Tr. — Ground (German, Grund) = cause or reason. In the expression, “He has reasons for his conduct," "reasons” are “grounds” in the sense here spoken of.

16. Note by Tr. — “Verhältniss” is the behaviour of one side of a relation as conditioned by the other. “Conduct” is sometimes a good equivalent for it. There is reciprocity in it, and neither side exists except in the relation. In Quantity “Verhältniss” translated by the technical term “Ratio.” Here it means that close, reciprocal relation which exists between “Whole and Parts,” “Force and Manifestation,” “Internal and External.” “To stand in relation," and “state of relation,” seem the best equivalents for “Verhälten” and “Verhältniss” in some cases, but here “Mutual Relation” is chosen as the most appropriate term.

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