Hegel Glossary **
The Absolute (a.k.a. "God")
"The Absolute is Mind (Spirit) - this is the supreme definition of the Absolute." Philosophy of Mind § 384.
"The truth is the whole. The whole, however, is merely the essential nature reaching its completeness through the process of its own development. Of the Absolute it must be said that it is essentially a result, that only at the end is it what it is in very truth; and just in that consists its nature, which is to be actual, subject, or self-becoming, self-development." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 81-82.
It is the totality which reaches its truth - the potential becomes actualized - only at the end of the process of its own teleological self-becoming. It is a result of its own development in which it gives itself its own content - Nature (the presupposition of human consciousness) - and returns from the otherness of this content through human consciousness. In other words, it becomes object to itself and comes to know itself to be this object. It becomes self-consciously, self-thinking thought. [Compare Aristotle's Metaphysics 1072b19: "Thought thinks itself as object in virtue of its participation in what is thought." Hegel's self-thinking thought, however, is not independent of the universe but is the universe's own developed self-consciousness.]
The development of the Absolute - which is the object of philosophy - thus has three main phases:
The Absolute in itself - the subject matter of Logic
The Absolute for itself - the philosophy of Nature
The Absolute in and for itself - the philosophy of Spirit
The Absolute obtains its self-realization - Absolute Knowledge - in Hegel's philosophy.
" . . . the realization that all forms of objectivity are identical to those essential to the thinking subject, so that in construing the world conceptually it is seeing everything in the form of self, the self being simply the ever-active principle of conceptual universality, of categorical synthesis. In its conceptual grasp of objects it necessarily grasps what it itself is, and in grasping itself it necessarily grasps every phase of objectivity." J.N. Findlay, Forward Phenomenology of Spirit xxviii.
"This last shape of Spirit - the Spirit which at the same time gives its complete and true content in the form of the Self and thereby realizes its Notion as remaining in its Notion in this realization - this is absolute knowing; it is Spirit that knows itself in the shape of Spirit, or a comprehensive knowing." Phenomenology of Spirit § 798.
"The absolute Idea has turned out to be the identity of the theoretical and the practical Idea. Each of these by itself is still one-sided, possessing the Idea only as a sought for beyond and an unattained goal; each, therefore, is a synthesis of endeavour, and has, but equally has not, the Idea in it; each passes from one thought to the other without bringing the two together, and so remains fixed in their contradiction. The absolute Idea, as the rational Notion that in its reality meets only with itself, is by virtue of this immediacy of its objective identity, on the one hand the return to life; but it has no less sublated this form of its immediacy, and contains within itself the highest degree of opposition. The Notion is not merely soul but free subjective Notion that is for itself and therefore possesses personality - the practical, objective Notion determined in and for itself which, as person, is impenetrable atomic individuality, but explicitly universality and cognition, and in its other has its own objectivity for its object. All else is error, confusion, opinion, endeavour, caprice and transitoriness; the absolute Idea alone is being, imperishable life, self-knowing truth, and is all truth.
It is the sole subject matter and content of Philosophy." Science of Logic 824.
"What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational . . . . [N]othing is actual except the Idea." Preface, Philosophy of Right 10.
"Actuality is always the unity of universal and particular, the universal dismembered in the particulars which seem to be self-subsistent, although they really are upheld and contained in the whole. Where this unity is not present, a thing is not actual even though it may have acquired existence. . . . Genuine actuality is necessity; what is actual is inherently necessary." Philosophy of Right § 270 Addition.
The condition in which there is a contradiction between the Idea's/Spirit's (i.e., the historical subject's) existence and essence - the essence of Spirit being freedom. The whole progress of the Phenomenology and the purpose of history is the resolution of this contradiction. The resolution is achieved through Absolute Knowledge which results in "the consciousness of freedom." With this consciousness, the phenomenal existence and the given essence of Spirit coincide. The Philosophy of History 17 ff.
The consciousness of freedom is itself only possible on the grounds of overcoming, in Absolute Knowledge, the false duality of subject and object. "In this knowing, then, Spirit has concluded the movement in which it has shaped itself, in so far as this shaping was burdened with the difference of consciousness [i.e., of the latter from its object], a difference now overcome." Phenomenology of Spirit § 805.
". . . Being-for-another, i.e. . . . perceptibility . . . ." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, III, 379.
Being-for-itself (für sich)
". . . being-for-itself, actuality (actus)." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, 21.
"The term . . . is meant to suggest individuality or, more specifically, both separate being and self-conscious being." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel:Texts and Commentary 31.
As something appears to itself. Explicitly.
Being-in-itself (an sich)
"In order to comprehend what development is, - what may be called two different states must be distinguished. The first is what is known as capacity, power, what I call being-in-itself (potentia); the second principle is that of being-for-itself, actuality (actus). If we say, for example, that man is by nature rational, we would mean that he has reason only inherently or in embryo: in this sense, reason, understanding, imagination, will, are possessed from birth or even from the mother's womb. But while the child only has capacities or the actual possibility of reason, it is just the same as if he had no reason; reason does not yet exist in him since he cannot yet do anything rational, and has no rational consciousness. Thus what man is at first implicitly becomes explicit . . . ." Lectures on the History of Philosophy 20-21.
"[T]hings as they are in truth or reality . . . ." Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel 262.
"Often . . . what is meant is implicitly or potentially . . . . [It also] often means: taken by itself, apart from its relations to other matters, or, in effect, considered superficially. Hegel's usage of this key term of his philosophy is thus not consistent." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 31.
"For Hegel the terms 'in itself' and 'for us' are by no means opposites; in fact they are necessary correlatives. That something exists merely 'in itself' means for Hegel that it merely exists 'for us'. The antithesis of 'for us or in itself' is rather 'for itself', namely that mode of being posited where the fact that an object is thought of implies at the same time that the object is conscious of itself." Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness 132.
Being-in-and-for-itself (an und für sich)
". . . as it is both in essence and in actuality, or in and for itself." Phenomenology of Spirit § 794.
"Hegel employs this phrase as a technical term and defines it . . . . 'For us or in itself': the embryo is human only in itself and for us, not yet for itself. The infant is 'for itself only for us.'" Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 39.
Something appears to itself as it in fact is.
Concept - see "Notion"
"The contingent, roughly speaking, is what has the ground of its being not in itself but in somewhat else. Such is the aspect under which actuality first comes before consciousness . . . But the contingent is only one side of the actual . . . . It is the actual, in the signification of something merely possible. Accordingly we consider the contingent to be what may or may not be, what may be in one way or another, whose being or not-being, and whose being on this wise or otherwise, depends not upon itself but on something else. To overcome this contingency is . . .the problem of science . . . ." Logic, § 145 Note.
". . . the dialectic asserts that, when A is any category, except the Absolute Idea, whatever is A may be, and indeed must be, not-A also. . . .
The dialectic does not reject [the] law [of contradiction]. An unresolved contradiction is, for Hegel as for every one else, a sign of error. The relation of thesis and antithesis derives its whole meaning from the synthesis, which follows them . . . .
In fact, so far is the dialectic from denying the law of contradiction, that it is especially based on it. The contradictions are the cause of the dialectic process. But they can only be this if they are received as marks of error. . . . Truth consists, not of contradictions, but of moments which, if separated, would be contradictions, but which in their synthesis are reconciled and consistent." J.M.E. McTaggart, Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic § 8.
"[T]he concept's moving principle, which alike engenders and dissolves the particularizations of the universal . . . ." Philosophy of Right § 31 Remark. See the remainder of this remark for further explication.
In its most abstract formulation, dialectic is the movement of Reason (Idea) towards Truth (Absolute Knowledge). This is the teleological self-movement of Reason in which that which is posited (thesis) engenders its necessary limitation and negation (antithesis) which is overcome through the development of a new thesis (synthesis) which sublates (overcomes while preserving) the prior moments.
This process is evident in Hegel's omnipresent triadic structures. For Hegel, though, this is no mere formalism, i.e., the external imposition of structure, rather it is the reflection of the internal and necessary structure of Reason itself (and since it is solely Reason which is actual, Hegel's Logic - wherein the concrete structure of reason is revealed - is metaphysics).
This process is driven by the negative - the negative is the wellspring of the activity which allows progressive development. In this regard, Hegel comments that "the negative is just as much positive." Introduction, Science of Logic 54. The negative "constitutes the genuine dialectical element." Introduction, Science of Logic 55.
With respect to Logic: "Hegel's primary object in his dialectic is to establish the existence of a logical connection between the various categories which are involved in the constitution of experience. . . . [A]ny category, if scrutunised with sufficient care and attention, is found to lead to another, and to involve it, in such a manner that an attempt to use the first of any subject while we refuse to use the second of the same subject results in a contradiction. The category thus reached leads on in a similar way to a third, and the process continues until at last we reach the goal of the dialectic in a category which betrays no instability [viz., the Absolute Idea].
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The dialectic process . . . obeys a definite law. The reason of this is at any point the finite category explicitly before us stands in a definite relationship to the complete and absolute idea which is implicit in our consciousness. . . . Thus the first and deepest cause of the dialectic movement is the instability of all finite categories, due to their imperfect [i.e., limited] nature. The immediate result of this instability is the production of contradictions [and] . . . to the existence of the contradiction we owe the advance of the dialectic.
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[However,] the method, by which Hegel proceeds from on category to another in his Logic, is not the same throughout, but changes materially as the process advances." J.M.E. McTaggart, Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic §§ 1, 4, 106.
"The abstract form of the advance is, in Being, an other and transition into an other; in Essence showing or reflection in the opposite; in Notion, the distinction of the individual from universality, which continues itself as such into, and is an identity with, what is distinguished from it." Logic § 240.
". . . that which has its centre in itself . . . . exists in and with itself . . . . self-contained existence . . . . I am free . . . when my existence depends upon myself." The Philosophy of History 17.
". . . that is free which is not connected with or dependent on another." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, 23.
"Freedom is just thought itself; he who casts thought aside and speaks of freedom knows not what he is talking of. The unity of thought with itself is freedom, the free will. Thought, as volition merely, is the impulse to abrogate one's subjectivity, the relation to present existence, the realizing of oneself, since in that I am endeavouring to place myself as existent on an equality with myself as thinking. It is only as having the power of thinking that the will is free." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, III, 402.
". . . thought which is free starts out from itself and thereupon claims to know itself as united in its innermost being with the truth." Preface, Philosophy of Right 3.
Being one's own ground.
"The History of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of Freedom" and it is Spirit's consciousness of its own freedom which is "the final cause of the World at large . . . ." The Philosophy of History 19.
Idea (Idee) (to be distinguished from "idea" - Vorstellung)
"The Idea is truth in itself and for itself — the absolute unity of the notion and objectivity. Its 'ideal' content is nothing but the notion in its detailed terms: its 'real' content is only the exhibition which the notion gives itself in the form of external existence, while yet, by enclosing this shape in its ideality, it keeps it in its power, and so keeps itself in it." Logic § 213.
"The product of thinking is the thought; thought is, however, still formal; somewhat more defined it becomes Notion, and finally Idea is Thought in its totality, implicitly and explicitly determined. Thus the Idea, and it alone is Truth. Now it is essentially in the nature of the Idea to develop, and only through development to arrive at comprehension of itself, or to become what it is. That the Idea should have to make itself what it is, seems like a contradiction; it may be said that it is what it is." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, 20.
"The Idea is the concept in so far as the concept gives reality and existence to itself. . . . The Idea, or reason, or truth, is the concept become concrete, the unity of subject and object, of form and content." T.M. Knox, Translator's Foreword, Philosophy of Right ix.
Sometimes the Idea is used to refer simply to the logical Idea or the Notion.
The method of the process of Spirit's self-development "is Logic itself. For the method is nothing else than the structure of the whole in its pure and essential form." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 106.
". . . the science of logic . . . constitutes metaphysics proper or purely speculative philosophy . . . ." Preface to the First Edition, Science of Logic 27.
"Philosophical thinking in general is still concerned with concrete objects - God, nature, spirit; but logic is concerned only and solely with these thoughts as thoughts, in their complete abstraction." Preface to the Second Edition, Science of Logic 34.
". . . logic is to be understood as the system of pure reason, as the realm of pure thought. . . . It can therefore be said that this content is the exposition of God as he is in his eternal essence before the creation of nature and a finite mind." Introduction, Science of Logic 50.
". . . spirit's consciousness of its own pure essence . . . ." Introduction, Science of Logic 51.
The genealogy of pure concepts - notions.
"From our point of view mind has for its presupposition Nature, of which it is the truth, and for that reason its absolute prius." Philosophy of Mind, § 381.
". . . reason is negative and dialectical, because it resolves the determinations of the understanding into nothing . . . ." Preface to the First Edition, Science of Logic 28. See "Dialectic".
"All that is necessary to achieve scientific progress . . . is the recognition of the logical principle that the negative is just as much positive, or that what is self-contradictory does not resolve itself into a nullity, into abstract nothingness, but essentially only into the negation of its particular content . . . . Because the result, the negation, is a specific negation it has a content." Introduction, Science of Logic 54.
"That which enables the Notion to advance itself is the already mentioned negative which it possesses within itself; it is this which constitutes the genuine dialectical moment." Introduction, Science of Logic 55.
"Difference implicit is essential difference, the Positive and the Negative . . . . That the Negative in its own nature is quite as much Positive (see next §), is implied in saying that what is opposite to another is its other." Logic § 119.
"Hegel repeats over and over that dialectics has this 'negative' character. . . . In all these uses 'negative' has a twofold reference: it indicates, first, the negation of the fixed and static categories of common sense and, second, the negative and therefore untrue character of the world designated by these categories. As we have already seen, negativity is manifest in the very process of reality, so that nothing that exists is true in its given form. Every single thing has to evolve new conditions and forms if it is to fulfill its potentialities." Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution 123.
Notion (Concept) (Begriff)
"The ordinary meaning of Begriff is definitely concept. Because this is one of Hegel's most characteristic terms, and he associates more than its ordinary meaning with it, some nineteenth-century English translators felt that a less ordinary term was called for and hit on 'notion.' This word is utterly misleading as it suggests vagueness and caprice . . . . He upholds rigorous and highly disciplined conceptual analysis. Begriff is closely related to begreifen (to comprehend) - an affinity that unfortunately cannot be recaptured in English - and Hegel considers it the task of philosophy to comprehend and not merely to feel and rhapsodize." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 7, 9.
". . . that which is genuinely permanent and substantial in the complexity and contingency of appearance and fleeting manifestation, is the notion of the thing, the immanent universal . . . the universal which is the thought itself . . . ." Preface to the Second Edition, Science of Logic 36-7.
" . . . [Hegel's] concern is always with the Begriffe or universal notional shapes that are evinced in fact and history, and with the ways in which these align themselves and lead on to one another, and can in fact ultimately be regarded as distinguishable facets of a single all-inclusive universal or concept. (See, for example, Phenomenology §§ 6, 12; Encyclopaedia §§ 163-4.)" J.N. Findlay, Forward Phenomenology of Spirit vii.
"The notion has a dual purpose. It comprehends the nature or essence of a subject-matter, and thus represents the true thought of it. At the same time, it refers to the actual realization of that nature or essence, its concrete existence. All fundamental concepts of the Hegelian system are characterized by the same ambiguity. They never denote mere concepts (as in formal logic), but forms or modes of being comprehended by thought." Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution 25.
"The true universal, namely, or as Hegel calls it, the Begriff, whose highest expression is to be the absolute Idee, is the organic union of the universal truth and the individual facts, an union determined by the principle that every truth is a truth constructed by the thought of the world-self, and that as such it will exemplify just that multiplicity of individual facts in the all-embracing and so universal unity of self-consciousness . . . ." Josiah Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy 224.
"The position taken up by the notion is that of absolute idealism. Philosophy is a knowledge through notions because it sees that what on other grades of consciousness is taken to have Being, and to be naturally or immediately independent, is but a constituent stage in the Idea. . . . [T]he notion is a true concrete; for the reason that it involves Being and Essence, and the total wealth of these two spheres with them, merged in the unity of thought." Logic § 160 Note.
" . . . Hegel associates the Concept not merely with particular concepts, though he does that, too, but also with a mode of thinking. In his usage the Concept stands for scientific philosophy . . . ." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 89.
"The defect of the Understanding is that while it correctly distinguishes between form and content, essential and unessential, universal and particular, it fails to synthesis these opposites. Held apart from one another, however, each of these opposites becomes an abstraction, and the living whole of reality has not been explained but explained away and killed by being so analysed into its constituents. What the Understanding fails to recognize is that 'thought' is not something empty or abstract; it is a determinant, a determinant of itself. The essence of thought is its concreteness, and the concrete thought is what Hegel calls the concept. . . .
The concept is the thought in so far as it determines itself and gives itself a content; it is the thought in its vivacity and activity. Again, the concept is the universal which particularizes itself, the thought which actively creates and engenders itself. . . .
The concept is thus the inward living principle of all reality. . . ." T.M. Knox, Translator's Foreword, Philosophy of Right viii.
". . . the necessary unity of determinations which belong to a whole. . . . Hegel's 'Begriff' is an organic unity of Universality, Particularly, and Individuality." Wm. T. Harris, Translator's notes, Outlines of Hegel's Logic.
Phenomenology of Spirit - see "Spirit"
The whole of the Phenomenology receives an abbreviated treatment in the Philosophy of Mind §§ 413-39. For an even more abbreviated treatment, see Outlines of Hegel's Phenomenology.
"It is this process by which science in general comes about, this gradual development of knowing, that is set forth here in the Phenomenology of Mind." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 88.
"In the Phenomenology of Spirit I have exhibited consciousness in its movement onwards from the first immediate opposition of itself and the object to absolute knowing. The path of this movement goes through every form of the relation of consciousness to the object and has the Notion of science for its result." Introduction, Science of Logic 48."The 'Phenomenology' is thus a sort of freely told philosophy of history. It begins with the Spirit on a crude and sensual stage; it follows his paradoxes, his social enlargement, his perplexities, his rebellions, his skepticism, all his wanderings, until he learns, through toils and anguish and courage, such as represent the whole travail of humanity, that he is, after all, in his very essence the absolute and divine spirit himself, who is present already on the savage stage in the very brutalities of master and slave; who comes to a higher life in the family; who seeks freedom again and again in romantic sentimentality or in stoical independence, who learns, however, always afresh that in such freedom there is no truth; who returns, therefore, willingly to the bondage of good citizenship and of social morality; and who, finally, in the religious consciousness, comes to an appreciation of the lesson that he has learned through this whole self-enlarging process of civilization, - the lesson, namely, that all consciousness is a manifestation of the one law of spiritual life, and so, finally, of the one Eternal Spirit." Josiah Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy 215-16.
"The objects of philosophy . . . are upon the whole the same as those of religion. In both the object is Truth, in that supreme sense in which God and God only is Truth." Logic § 1.
The "proper subject-matter" of philosophy is "the actual cognition of what truly is . . . ." Phenomenology of Spirit § 73.
". . . philosophy . . . is its own time apprehended in thoughts." Preface, Philosophy of Right 11.
". . . philosophy has its being essentially in the element of that universality which encloses the particular within it . . . ." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 67.
"Philosophy . . . does not deal with a determination that is non-essential, but with a determination so far as it is an essential factor." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 105.
". . . the diversity of philosophical systems [is] the progressive evolution of truth . . . ." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 68.
". . . Philosophy is Mind's thought of itself and therefore its determinate and substantial content. Every philosophy is the philosophy of its own day, a link in the whole chain of spiritual development, and thus it can only find satisfaction for the interests belonging to its own particular time." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, 45.
". . . reason is purposive activity [viz., the activity of developing toward self-conscious freedom, truth, etc]." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 83.
"On the one hand, Reason is the substance of the Universe; viz., that by which and in which all reality has its being and subsistence. On the other hand, it is the Infinite Energy of the universe . . . . It is the infinite complex of things, their entire Essence and Truth." The Philosophy of History 9.
". . . reason is negative and dialectical, because it resolves the determinations of the understanding into nothing; it is positive because it generates the universal and comprehends the particular therein. . . . But reason in its truth is spirit . . . ." Preface to the First Edition, Science of Logic 28.
"Reason is the highest union of consciousness and self-consciousness, or of the knowing of an object and of the knowing of itself. It is the certitude that its determinations are just as much objective, i.e. determinations of the essence of things, as they are subjective thoughts. It (Reason) is just as well the certitude of itself (subjectivity) as being (or objectivity), and this, too, in one and the same thinking activity." Outlines of Hegel's Phenomenology § 40.
The arrangement of concepts in their rational connection to exhibit them as an organic, progressive whole. See Introduction, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 7.
". . . a systematic and comprehensive analysis of concepts." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 37.
"Mind, which, when thus developed, knows itself to be mind, is science. Science is its realization, and the kingdom it sets up for itself in its own native element." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 86.
"To know opposition in unity, and unity in opposition - this is absolute knowledge; and science is the knowledge of this unity in its whole development by means of itself." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, III, 551.
It should be noted that the circularity of Hegel's system/science is, from his perspective, no defect. On the contrary, if science of the totality is comprehensive, complete, it must be self-contained, i.e., circularity is necessary and evidences the completeness. Such a science must also contain within it and demonstrate its own justification (necessity). [Compare with Fichte: see Fichte, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, III, 485.]
Spirit (Mind) (Geist)
"The notion of Geist (Mind or Spirit) . . . is the lineal descendant of the Kantian Transcendental Unity of Self-consciousness and of the Absolute Ego of Fichte and Schelling. It also claims a collateral source in the Aristotelian voûs which, in knowing the form of an object, thereby knows itself, and which, in its highest phases, may be described as a pure thinking upon thinking." J.N. Findlay, Forward, Hegel's Philosophy of Mind vii-viii.
"Reason is Spirit when its certainty of being all reality has been raised to truth, and it is conscious of itself as its own world, and of the world as itself. . . . But essence that is in and for itself, and which at the same time actual as consciousness and aware of itself, this is Spirit." Phenomenology of Spirit § 438. Here Hegel is describing Spirit from the standpoint of its realization - absolute knowledge. Earlier (previous/lower) forms of consciousness "are abstract forms of it. . . . Spirit, then, is consciousness in general . . . is so far as in its self-analysis Spirit holds fast to the moment of being an objective existent actuality to itself, and ignores the fact that this actuality is its own being-for-self. . . . But as immediate consciousness of the being that is in and for itself, as unity of consciousness and self-consciousness, Spirit is consciousness that has Reason; it is consciousness which, as the word 'has' indicates, has the object in a shape which is implicitly determined by reason or by the value of the category, but in such a way that it does not as yet have for consciousness the value of the category." Phenomenology of Spirit § 440.
In short, Spirit is the self-knowing, actual Idea - it is "self-conscious Reason." The Philosophy of History 10. It is existing (objective) Reason conscious of itself - consciousness which has Reason as its immediate object. It should be noted that this occurs at various levels of (for want of a better word) clarity. Thus, for instance, Spirit may exist in the mode of self-alienation. It thus exists and is conscious of itself but does not know that that of which it is conscious is itself. The Phenomenology is the appearance of Spirit in human consciousness through its successive stages of clarity until it reaches the stage of Absolute Knowledge wherein it knows that that of which it is conscious is itself. See Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 86.
"The development of Mind (Spirit) is in three stages:
(1) In the form of self-relation: within it it has the ideal totality of the Idea - i.e. it has before it all that its notion contains: its being is to be self-contained and free. This is Mind Subjective.
(2) In the form of reality: realized, i.e. in a world produced and to be produced by it: in this world freedom presents itself under the shape of necessity. This is Mind Objective.
(3) In that unity of mind as objectivity and of mind as ideality and concept, which essentially and actually is and for ever produces itself, mind in its absolute truth. This is Mind Absolute." Philosophy of Mind § 385.
"What Hegel means by a subject is that which makes itself what it becomes." Walter Kaufmann, Hegel: Texts and Commentary 31. For Hegel, the Absolute is both Substance and Subject.
"The substance of this world, of this universe of the self, must be a truth that lives in the very stream and struggle of finite and seeming existence. The true substance of the world isn't hidden, but revealed by the passionate change and ebb and flow of the phenomena; for the true substance is the self, the subject; and he preserves himself by living, for he is the living God. As such, philosophy has to show him. Therefore you can't abstractly define his nature, apart from finite things and relations. You must concretely realize, even in your notion of substance, the organic unity in endless differentiation of which his universe is the embodiment." Josiah Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy 219.
In general, that which is the underlying ground of all phenomenon. For Hegel, the Absolute is both Substance and Subject - the "living substance."
"Substance is the unconditioned, in-and-for-itself- subsisting Essence in so far as it has immediate Existence." Outlines of Hegel's Logic § 56.
"Absolute necessity is absolute relation because it is not being as such, but being that is because it is, being as absolute self-mediation. This being is substance; as the final unity of essence and being it is the being in all being . . . ." Science of Logic 555. See also Logic § 151.
To us (für uns)
" . . . Hegel frames the descriptions made from the point of view of the one who is being described (für es) with analyses written from the point of view of "absolute knowledge," which is the viewpoint of Hegel himself. In these remarks that serve as frameworks, Hegel therefore describes the existential attitudes such as they "appear" to him, or, as he says: "to us" (für uns), this "we" being Hegel himself and the reader who understands him. Now Hegel sees the things as they are in truth or in reality, or as he says: "in themselves" (an sich). Therefore he says indifferently "in itself or for us" (an sich oder für uns), or simply "in itself" or else "for us," when he wants to make clear that at this particular point he is not giving a phenomenological description but a philosophical or scientific analysis of the situation.
Unfortunately, Hegel often omits the sacramental formula, and the boundaries between the descriptions für es and the analyses für uns are therefore not always easy to establish. And it becomes even more complicated, because sometimes, without telling the reader, he inserts into the descriptions Notes written from the point of view of Absolute Knowledge (für uns = an sich)." Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel 262.
The Preface and Introduction to the Phenomenology are written entirely from the standpoint of Absolute Knowledge (für uns).
"Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond." Philosophy of Right § 21 Addition.
"Truth is not only attached to propositions and judgments, it is, in short, not only an attribute of thought, but of reality in process. Something is true if it is what it can be, fulfilling all its objective possibilities. In Hegel's language, it is then identical with its 'notion.'" Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution 25.
"The truth is the whole." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 81. See "The Absolute".
" . . . the Idea, and it alone is Truth." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, I, 20.
"Truth . . . is only possible as a universe or totality of thought . . . ." Logic § 14.
The Idea or Reason "is the True, the Eternal, the absolutely powerful essence; . . . it reveals itself in the World, and . . . in that World nothing else is revealed but this and its honor and glory . . . ." The Philosophy of History 9-10.
"The knowing of Reason is therefore not the mere subjective certitude, but also TRUTH, because Truth consists in the harmony, or rather unity, of certitude and Being, or of certitude and objectivity." Outlines of Hegel's Phenomenology § 42.
"The action of separating the elements is the exercise of the force of Understanding . . . ." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 93.
". . . a schematizing process . . . . A table of contents is all that understanding gives, the content itself it does not furnish at all." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 112.
"The understanding determines, and holds the determinations fixed . . . ." Preface to the First Edition, Science of Logic 28.
"Thought, as Understanding, sticks to fixity of characters and their distinctness from one another: every such limited abstract it treats as having a subsistence and being of its own." Logic, § 80.
"Now language is the work of thought: and hence all that is expressed in language must be universal." Logic, § 20.
". . . the form or character peculiar to thought, is the UNIVERSAL, or, in general, the abstract. Thought regarded as an an activity, may accordingly be described as the active universal, and, since the deed, its product, is the universal once more, may be called a self-actualizing universal. Thought conceived as a subject (agent) is a thinker, and a subject existing as a thinker is simply denoted by the term 'I'." Logic, § 20.
"We call universal knowledge thought, particular knowledge we call sensuous perception; and we term the introduction of external determinations understanding. The universal element in man is thought . . . ." Lectures on the History of Philosophy, III, 420.
"The philosophic concept is universal, not merely general. It is not to be confounded with general representations, as for instance, 'house,' 'horse,' 'blue,' which are usually termed concepts, owing to a custom which Hegel terms barbaric. This establishes the difference between philosophy and the empirical or natural sciences, which are satisfied with types and class-conceptions." Benedetto Croce, What is Living and What is Dead in the Philosophy of Hegel I. The general representations referred to are mere determinations of the Understanding. From its standpoint, which holds these distinctions in rigid opposition, only individuals are real - the universal, the class-conceptions, have no existence. This defect of the Understanding is overcome with Reason which knows the primacy of the universal, the organic totality. "The position taken up by the notion is that of absolute idealism." Logic § 160n.
". . . philosophy has its being essentially in the element of that universality which encloses the particular within it . . . ." Preface, Phenomenology of Mind 67. The "universality which encloses the particular within it" is the Notion. The general representations of the Understanding are transformed into Notions "whenever two related processes have been carried out: (1) When the formal abstractions . . ., which the understanding separates from one another, and opposes to one another, - such abstractions as right and left, inner and outer, substance and accident, - have been united once more by organic ties, and shown to be interrelated and inseparable; and (2) When, by the same means, the things of the finite world have been shown to be members of one organic total. The intimate relationship of these two processes for Hegel is one of the prominent characteristics of his whole method. Das Wahre ist konkret [the true is concrete] means for him equally, 'The truth is an organic union of interrelated aspects, characters, qualities,' and 'The truth is the Universal in which the particulars and individuals are organically joined.'" Josiah Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy 500. The one true universal, that which encloses and encompasses all else and that of which all particulars are but instantiations, is the Absolute Idea, the total thought of the world.
From this perspective, Hegel's philosophy may be viewed simply as the development of the universal: from the abstract universal given by the Understanding; to the Notion, wherein thinking is included as a moment of the universal (itself a thought determination known as such) and develops its content; finally to the Idea, the fully concrete universal, wherein the Notion is known as an aspect of the Absolute - the self-relating, self-developing totality.
** Note: For Hegel, reality is a totalizing circle which presupposes its end as its purpose, and thus has its end for its beginning. Hegel's language, too, is such a circle in that each concept implicates the rest and may itself be viewed from the standpoint of any of the other concepts or the totality at varying stages of their respective developments. Thus, a single concept may encompass several meanings and a single meaning may be expressed by several concepts. Moreover, from a dialectical perspective, concepts in isolation from the process of which they are a part are abstractions and are, accordingly, inherently limited and one-sided, i.e., false. The value and accuracy of the definitions presented, then, are circumscribed by these structural considerations. (For a parallel discussion with respect to Marx's language, see Bertell Ollman's Alienation.)
This document was created to facilitate my students' initial encounter with Hegel in light of their assigned readings. Its intended scope is limited accordingly. However, it may be subsequently supplemented and/or corrected as time, need, and inclination determine.