The Spirit of Modern Philosophy*
Appendix C: The Hegelian Theory of Universals
In the text, pp. 222-226, I have briefly set forth Hegel's theory as to the reality of the "concrete" universal. The one true Genus, according to him, is the divine Idee, in which, according to Hegel, every genuine individual reality has its organic place. This theory of the Organic Universal as the Totalität containing and determining all the interrelated and true Individuals, which latter have genuine being only as members of the organized body of their Universal, has been shown in the text to be a necessary result of the Hegelian metaphysics of Self-consciousness. The historical importance of the matter justifies here the addition of a few citations and references for the use of the more technical student.
The Hegelian theory of Universals is intended, of course, as the text has also shown, to offer a solution of the ancient question as to the reality of universals. What objective validity have our general concepts? "They must have validity, they must correspond to objective truth," so some thinkers have said, "because all science is of the general, and all science is also of the truth." "They cannot have, as general ideas, objective validity," so other thinkers have said, "because all that truly exists in the world is individual. For there is no such thing as dog in general. There are in the world only individual dogs. The universal, therefore, exists only as realized in the single individual."
In view of this antinomy of traditional discussion, Hegel offers his characteristic solution. The real world is the world of the Absolute Self. His truth is organic, is allumfassend, is a Totalität, and is, in logical formulation, the universal Idee. Now the Idee is not an "abstract universal," nor a general idea that is merely exemplified by the individual objects of the world.
On the contrary, they are in it; for in it they live and move and have their being; and it, on the other hand, is in them only in so far forth as they are first in it. No finite individual, in its isolation, embodies the Idee, or corresponds to this true Universal. Only the organic totality of the finite embodies the Universal. And in this sense the Genus is real. Hegel's theory, expressed in his own words, is: -
"Alles Wirkliche, in sofern es ein Wahres ist, ist die Idee, und hat seine Wahrheit allein durch und kraft der Idee. Das einzelne Seyn ist irgend eine Seite der Idee; für dieses bedarf es daher noch anderer Wirklichkeiten, die gleichfalls als besonders für sich bestehende erscheinen; in ihnen zusammen und in ihrer Beziehung ist allein der Begriff realisirt. Das Einzelne für sich entspricht seinem Begriffe nicht; diese Beschränktheit seines Daseyns macht seine Endlichkeit und seinen Untergang aus."1
To the illustration of this theory it is worth while, however, to devote some further space. With his customary manysidedness of treatment, Hegel, of course, endeavors to show how previous theories of the universal have a relative and historical justification as stages on the way to the true insight, and as embodiments of lower and partly untrue forms of the universal forms, which are presented to us in the phenomenal appearances of the finite world.
To these lower forms of the universal, Hegel devotes a patient and extended attention; and we must first briefly refer to the principal one amongst them.
In particular, then, Hegel's theory of Universals cannot be understood without a clear distinction between the lower form of what he calls Verstandes-Allgemeinheit, and the true or higher form of the Vernunft-Allgemeinheit or Allgemeinheit des Begriffes. The Understanding, according to Hegel, is the first form of the activity of thought.2 As such it produces, not Begriffe in the proper sense at all, but what Hegel technically calls Gedanken.3 Gedanken of this first sort are the universals of the understanding, such ideas as man or house or animal. These are often called Begriffe, but wrongly.4 On this stage they are the product of analysis and abstraction; and abstraction is as necessary in the beginning of our thinking as it is untrue from the higher point of view. It is the very business of philosophy to transform Gedanken into Begriffe.5 The Gedanke, as it is first reached, embodies the universal qualities or characteristics present in each of many individuals. Out of such individuals it thus makes an abstractly defined class or Gattung. This class, or genus of the understanding, is related to the sub-classes and individuals that fall within its Umfang in the fashion that the Aristotelian logic originally defined.6 The Gattung, namely, has species or Arten, which as subordinate classes are subsumed under it, forming each a part of its Umfang, while the individuals are in their turn subsumed under the various Arten. Both Gattung and Art, for this stage of thinking, express only das Gemeinsame found in each and all of many individuals. In experience, meanwhile, only the individuals can be shown, not the Gattung. For the Gattung is not yet the Begriff, which will turn out to be much more than ein Gemeinschaftliches. This Gattung of the understanding has no Existenz. For it is thus far, on its subjective side, the Gedanke of the observer, which, being formal, does not explain either the content of the individual thing, or the totality of the actual relations of this individual thing to others in the real world.7 Speaking in objective terms we can indeed already say that the Gedanke corresponds to an allgemeine Natur, present as das Wesentliche, or as die bestimmte Wesentlichkeit of the finite individuals that belong to the Gattung. For the thoughts even of the understanding have a lower sort of truth. Whatever is in the world is the embodiment of thought; and in so far as the Gedanken of the understanding are also the product of thought, they do correspond to the inner nature of things. Only, the universals of the understanding tell but a portion of the real truth about the objects present in experience. And in just so far these universals are untrue. The Begriff, or the truly objective thought of the whole nature of things, will be "mehr als nur die Angabe der wesentlichen Bestimmtheiten, d. i., der Verstandesbestimmungen einer Sache."8 The universal of the understanding, applying to a nature which is only exemplified by each individual, and which exists nowhere but in such individual examples (as animality exists only in individual animals), tells us nothing about the interrelationship of the individuals themselves, gives us therefore no Einheit des Begriffes.
Of this universal of the understanding Hegel gives us many accounts. No intelligent student of his works can confound this sort of universality with the true Vernunft-Allgemeinheit, whose exposition forms Hegel's peculiar contribution to the theory of universals. To sum up so far: The universal of the understanding is the first discovery of our thought when the latter is applied to things. Of this universal it was that Aristotle's logic gave the traditional theory. Aristotle himself, to be sure, in his metaphysical theory, really transcended the limitations of his logical theory, and implied the existence of a deeper and truer sort of universality in the nature of things. But he did this haltingly.9 His metaphysical instinct is truer than his logic. He uses the higher universal, but has a logical theory only of the lower. And as for this lower, it appears to the understanding as objectively existent only in each individual, as constituting the essence or wesentliche Bestimmtheit thereof. Subjectively it is represented by the Gedanke, which is the thought of some abstractly defined class-essence. And such class-essences appear to the understanding to have no Existenz as such, apart from the individuals in which they are exemplified. This is why we are accustomed to say, from the point of view of ordinary thought, that general ideas do not represent concrete realities, and that only the individual is real.
Principal Caird, in his "Philosophy of Religion,"10 after describing the foregoing lower sort of universality, and pointing out its inadequacy to the expression of the truth of the real world, proceeds, in a confessedly Hegelian spirit, to set forth the nature of the Vernunft-Allgemeinheit, and its application to the comprehension of the relations of God and the world, as follows: -
"But thought is capable of another and deeper movement. It can rise to a universality which is not foreign to, but the very inward nature of things in themselves, not the universal of an abstraction from the particular and different, but the unity which is immanent in them and finds in them its own necessary expression; not an arbitrary invention of the observing and classifying mind, . . . but an idea which expresses the inner dialectic, the movement or process towards unity, which exists in and constitutes the being of the objects themselves. This deeper and truer universality is that which may be designated ideal or organic universality. The idea of a living organism . . . is not a common element which can be got at by abstraction and generalization, by taking the various parts and members, stripping away their differences, and forming a notion of that which they have in common. That in which they differ is rather just that out of which their unity arises and in which is the very life and being of the organism; that which they have in common they have, not as members of a living organism, but as dead matter, and what you have to abstract in order to get it is the very life itself. Moreover, the universal, in this case, is not last but first. We do not reach it by first thinking the particulars, but conversely, we get at the true notions of the particulars only through the universal. What the parts or members of an organism are their form, place, structure, proportion, functions, relations, their whole nature and being, is determined by the idea of the organism which they are to compose. It is it which produces them, not they it. In it lies their reason and ground. They are its manifestations or specifications. It realizes itself in them, fulfills itself in their diversity and harmony. . . . You cannot determine the particular member or organ save by reference to that which is its limit or negation. It does not exist in and by itself, but in and through what is other than itself, through the other members and organs which are at once outside of and within it, beyond it, and yet part and portion of its being. . . . Here, then, we have a kind of universality which is altogether different from the barren and formal universality of generalization, and the indication of a movement of thought corresponding to an inner relation of things which the abstracting, generalizing understanding is altogether inadequate to grasp."
Applying the notion of universality thus reached to the relations of our own thought to the reality about which we think, Principal Caird next proceeds, on p. 233, sqq., to "a brief consideration of the relation of Nature to Finite Mind." He dwells upon the well-known opposition between matter and mind, which, for the understanding, are two separate and opposed realities. He states the familiar problem as to how mind can know the natural order outside of our minds, shows that this problem is the same in principle with the problem about the relation between finite mind and God, and suggests, as a solution of both problems, the thought, the "Nature," the finite mind, and God or the infinite mind, are not discordant or irreconcilable ideas, but ideas which belong to one organic whole or system of knowledge. After devoting considerable space to the illustration of this view, and dwelling further on the "principle of Organic Unity" (p. 238), he points out (p. 239) that the problem of knowledge is to be solved on the basis of the theory of the organic universal itself. "It is but a spurious idealism which makes the world without only the illusory creation of the individual mind. Rather the truth is that the individual mind must renounce its own isolated independence, must cease to assert itself, must lose itself in the object, before it can attain to any true knowledge of Nature. . . . In order, therefore, to attain to the universal life of reason that is in the world, it is an indispensable condition that I renounce my own individuality, my particular thought and opinion, and find the true realization of my own reason in that absolute reason or truth which Nature manifests. . . . The principle in fine that solves the difference between Nature and Finite Mind is, that their isolated reality and exclusiveness is a figment, and that the organic life of reason is the truth or reality of both."
On page 240, Principal Caird continues his discussion by applying the same principle to "the solution of the higher problem of Religion, or of the relation of the Finite Mind to God." "Here, too, it will be seen that the understanding, which clings to the hard independent identity of either side . . . renders any true solution impossible. . . . A true solution can be reached only by apprehending the Divine and the Human, the Infinite and the Finite, as the moments or members of an organic whole, in which both exist, at once in their distinction and their unity." Principal Caird then gives as a further illustration of the true theory of universals, and as an aid in comprehending the organic unity first mentioned, "the relation of the individual to other individuals" in the "case of our social relations." "The ordinary conception of self-identity isolates the individual from his fellow-men." But this, says our author, is wrong. "The abstract individual is not truly man, but only a fragment of humanity, a being as devoid of the moral and spiritual elements which are of the essence of the man's life, as the amputated limb of participation in the vital existence of the organism. The social relations are a necessary part of the being of the individual. . . . It is not by supposing in the first place a number of individual human beings, each complete in himself, and then combining these individuals, that we reach the idea of the Family; rather must we first think the Family in order to know the individual. . . . Here, as elsewhere, the universal is the prius of the particular. Yet the universal must not be conceived as having any reality apart from the particulars, any more than the body apart from its members. The true idea is reached only by holding both together in that higher unity which at once comprehends and transcends them, that organic unity, whether of the Family or the State, which is the living integration of the individual members which compose it." "In the same fashion," continues Principal Caird, "the true Infinite is not the negation of the Finite, but that which is the organic unity of the Infinite and Finite."
The foregoing quotations from Principal Caird will serve both to give an excellent summary of certain aspects of the Hegelian theory of universals, and to show that the theory itself is no novelty to English readers.11 It has become a common-place of discussion for one whole school of neo-Hegelians.
To pass, however, to Hegel's own account of the matter. "Thought," says Hegel, "is in the first place thought after the fashion of the understanding; but thought does not remain on this stage, and the Begriff is not a mere Verstandesbestimmung."12 The higher movement of the Vernunft depends on the well-known Dialektik of thought, which takes the abstract facts and qualities that the understanding has sundered, the Bestimmungen, or Seiten, or Individuen of the finite world, and discovers "die Einheit der Bestimmungen in ihrer Entgegensetzung."13 This Dialektik has a "positive result," namely, the discovery of das Vernünftige, which is not merely ein Abstraktes, but "zugleich ein Konkretes,14 weil es nicht einfache, formelle Einheit, sondern Einheit unterschiedener Bestimmungen ist. Mit blossen Abstraktionen oder formellen Gedanken hat es darum überhaupt die Philosophie ganz und gar nicht zu thun, sondern allein mit konkreten Gedanken."
The Allgemeinheit des Verstandes is, therefore, transformed into the Begriff whenever two related processes have been carried out: (1) When the formal abstractions or wesentliche Bestimmungen, 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 inseparable15; 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 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."16 For example, in the case of any man such as Caius or Titus, Hegel says,17 "Was der einzelne Mensch im Besonderen ist, das ist er nur in sofern, als er vor allen Dingen Mensch als solcher ist und im Allgemeinen ist, und diess Allgemeine ist nicht nur etwas ausser und neben andern abstrakten Qualitäten . . . sondern vielmehr das alles Besondere Durchdringende und in sich Beschliessende." Moreover, as he tells us, das Allgemeine is here, in case of humanity, and in its deepest truth, something more than all men.18 It does more than include in an indifferent way the individuals. It is for them all not "bloss etwas denselben Gemeinschaftliches," it is their Grund, their Boden, their Substanz. Now here is humanity regarded as something universal and konkret. As such it is at once all men, and it is more. It is something pervading and determining all the characteristics of each man, and binding together all his besondere Qualitaten. It is thus konkret in two senses, namely, in so far as in it all men are together, and in so far as through it all Qualitaten of each man are united. Yet not even in this passage is Hegel expounding the completely organic universal, but only a form on the way towards the realization of it. It will be noticed, however, that here he distinctly declares that the individual is im Allgemeinen, "in the Universal," which is, therefore, the inclusive Substanz of the individuals.
The notion of the Vernunft-Allegemeinheit thus introduced receives a lengthy development in the "Logik." The way for this Allgemeinheit des Begriffes is prepared, in the larger "Logik," by elaborate discussions under the head of Wesen (that is, in Part Second of the work). In the second division of Wesen, in discussing the Erscheinung, Hegel shows, in a fashion which he was elsewhere fond of dwelling upon, and illustrating, that the qualities or Eigenschaften of every finite thing are its Weisen des Verhaltens zu Andern;19 so that all the things of the finite world are what they are by virtue of their relations to one another. They are in Wechselwirkung,20 and it is their nature to be so. Hence the world of these finite things is a world of a Gesetz, or all-embracing law, of which the things and qualities are the appearance, while this Gesetz or Reich der Gesetze is a self-determined Totalität. As the law at the basis of the finite world is, however, fully expressed, but only expressed in the phenomena themselves, the result here is an Einheit des Innern und des Aeussern wherein, as Hegel tells us, the Begriff is already present in a latent form; for our world of finite things is thus a totality of interrelated individuals that embody a law and make it manifest. It is, however, just this Totalität that in Begriffe als solchem appears as das Allgemeine.21 In the world of Wesen this unity of inner and outer is so far called die Wirklichkeit.22 The true nature of Wirklichkeit appears in the exposition of the category of Substanz at the end of Wesen, where finally die absolute Substanz, or general nature of things, appears as a "Totality" that is as a "simple Whole," which determines itself "and contains its self-determinations in itself." This Totality is das Allgemeine, which, together with its correlated categories, das Einzelne and das Besondere, makes up the Begriff, to which Hegel herewith passes.
The intricate exposition of the Begriff, in the third part of the "Logik," is rendered somewhat clearer by the lecture notes which were added by Hegel's editors to the corresponding paragraphs of the "Encyklopädie." From these one or two quotations have been made in the text. It is perhaps enough to point out here that one best and most easily sees what the Begriff is meant to be if one passes forthwith to the place where its nature is "writ large" in the world of Objektivität,23 into which it "passes over," and in which it expresses itself. Here one has a repetition on a higher stage of what took place in Wesen. Once more one deals with a world of objects, only now they are known to embody the Begriff, whose true universality they show in three ascending phases, mechanism, chemism, and teleology. The world of mechanism, or, as one might say, the world as "Machine," is the world whose parts have indeed interrelationships, but only those of abstract law. In the world of "affinities" or of "Chemism," the individuals exist only as interrelated, and only by virtue of their affinities and the results of these. In the still truer and more inclusive world of "Teleology," or, as one might say, in the world as "Organism," the interrelatedness of the individual objects and their cooperation as instruments of one immanent purpose, which is their true universal, prepares the way for that complete union of Begriff and Objekt which is given us in the Idee. The Idee, in fact, is the world as "Person" so far as the categories of the "Logik" enable the notion of personality to be introduced. The full notion of personality is developed, later in the system, in the philosophy of spirit.
These Hegelian formulations of the theory of universals have no doubt many antiquated features. Their presence and importance in the system is indubitable. As pointed out in my text, the most interesting expressions of the whole doctrine occur in Hegel's ethical and theological works. A full collection of passages is impossible in the present space. A few more may yet be given. It is an explicit and deliberate application of the theory of the organic universal when Hegel says, in his "Rechtsphilosophie," that the individual man is no person "ohne Relation zu anderen Personen."24 This notion, closely related to that of the Allgemeinheit des Bewusstseins mentioned in the text, appears very prominently in the whole structure of the "Rechtsphilosophie." It is another application of this same theory when Hegel says, in the "Religionsphilosophie," in describing the life of the church, that the subjective religious consciousness has to be realized by eine Vielheit Von Subjekten und Individuen, but that, since this consciousness is to be universal in the deeper sense, "so ist die Vielheit der Individuen durchaus zu setzen als nur ein Schein, und eben dieses, dass sie sich selbst als diesen Schein setzt, ist die Einheit des Glaubens. . . . Das ist die Liebe der Gemeinde, die aus vielen Subjekten zu bestehen scheint, welche Vielheit aber nur ein Schein ist."25 "Many members," then, but only one body, one Lord, one faith. Further on Hegel discusses in the same spirit the relation of the individuals to their universal as illustrated by the relation of the faithful to the person of Christ. The application of the same theory of universals to the general problem of the relation of God to the world appears at the close of the "Encyklopädie." The "Naturphilosophie" is also full of applications: so, for instance, the explanation of the relations of the sexes, and of the struggle of the various species of animals for existence, as in both cases due to the fact that the universal can nowhere completely realize itself in any one individual, or in any group of individuals.26 Since, according to Hegel, the Idee cannot come to full expression in outer nature, the Universal is in all these cases displayed to us only imperfectly, as an endless series of efforts towards the completely organic, which is perfectly realized only in the world as spirit.
To return, finally, for one moment, to the logical theory itself: It is the immanently organic nature of the true universal that in the doctrine of the subjektiven Begriff forces the Begriff to develop its various Seiten in the Urtheil, since only by virtue of the relation of apparently divided, but really and organically inseparable, aspects or individuals can any universality be realized. Of Urtheile the highest sort, before the class in the Urtheile des Begriffes proper is reached, is the disjunctive judgments, just because they represent the Unterschiede or Besonderungen of their subjects as in every case an interrelated group of species or of individuals.27 For "das Allgemeine ist das Einfache welches ebensosehr das Reichste in sich selbst ist,"28 and this wealth of the universal gets unfolded in the disjunctive judgment. The universal is die Negativität überhaupt;29 and this self-differentiation gets an expression in the disjunctive judgment. It is the Begriff itself that sich disjungirt in the true disjunctive judgment.30 But the genuine Urtheil des Begriffes is something still higher, since not only the fact, but the inner necessity and self-determination of this differentiation must be made evident, a thing which can only be done by forms of judgment that carry us on to the Schluss.31 The Schluss passes through a number of successive forms whose highest is the disjunctive conclusion,32 wherein once more the reason for the result reached by the conclusion lies in the relation of one included member or Moment of some universal to the universal itself, and to the other members or Momente of the same organic and self-differentiated whole. With the disjunctive conclusion the transition is made to the world of Objektivität, where, as before shown, the universal is realized in explicitly organic form as the totality of the related individuals or Momente, whose perfection and truth is the Idee.
One word still in conclusion as to the relation of the lower or Aristotelian form of the "universal of the understanding," to Hegel's own "universal of the reason." Hegel himself says:33 "The logic of the mere understanding is contained in the logic of reason, and can be made at once therefrom. Nothing is needed for this purpose but the omission from the latter of the dialectical and so distinctively rational element." It is well to observe that, as Hegel himself has confessed, in one of his letters to Niethammer,34 it was according to this method that he felt himself obliged to proceed in the exposition of his logic, which he undertook for the boys in the Nürnberg gymnasium. Only die verständige Logik, he tells Niethammer, is suited to gymnasial instruction. Youth at this time needs purely positiven Inhalt and is not ripe for das Spekulative. The dialectical can be only here and there suggested, and never correctly presented in such elementary work. Hence it happens that in the so-called Propaedeutik, which Rosenkranz edited from Hegel's posthumous MSS and published in 1840 as the eighteenth volume of the "Werke," and which contains the gist of Hegel's instruction to the boys at Nürnberg, one finds but few hints of the Hegelian theory of Universals. If this little volume, in fact, were our only record of Hegel, all his peculiar theories, whether as to Idealism in general or as to the nature of Self-consciousness, or as to Universals, would remain almost wholly unknown to us; and such theories must not be sought there, but in Hegel's own deliberate expressions of them, and above all in the works which he himself published during his life.
1. The passage here given in full is referred to and in larger part translated in the text, p. 224. [["All reality," says Hegel, in one striking passage, "is the Idea. . . . The individual being is some aspect (Seite) of the Idee. As such it therefore needs other realities [beside it], which seem as if they also existed all by themselves; yet only in them together and in their relationship is the universal realized. The individual by itself does not embody its universal." Werke, vol. vi. p. 385. - CM]]
2. Encycloped. § 467, Werke, vol. vii. 2, p. 355.
3. Phänomenol., Werke, vol. ii. pp. 24-25.
4. Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. p. 324.
5. Phänomenol., Werke, vol. ii. p. 26. On the definition of the Verstand, see, also, Werke, vol. vii. 2, p. 356. The understanding is there "formal." Its activity depends upon Abstrahiren. "Trennt er das Zufällige vom Wesentlichen ab, so ist er durchaus in seinem Rechte und erscheint als Das was er in Wahrheit seyn soll." Das Wesentliche, so abstracted, the understanding uses to define its universals.
6. "Aristoteles," says Hegel, in his Gesch. d. Philos., Werke, vol. xiv. p. 368, "ist der Urheber der verständigen Logik; ihre Formen betreffen nur das Verhältniss von Endlichen zu einander, und in ihnen kann das Wahre nicht gefasst werden." This observation occurs in connection with a discussion of the Aristotelian theory of universals, which is there said to involve the method used "in den endlichen Wissenschaften," namely, "das Subsumiren des Besondern unter das Allgemeine." It is just this sort of universality and this kind of subsumption that Hegel's theory is intended to supersede.
7. It is of this stage of thought that Hegel is speaking when, in the Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. p. 46, he says: "Das Thier als solches ist nicht zu zeigen, sondern immer nur ein Bestimmtes. Das Thier existirt nicht, sondern ist die allgemeine Natur der einzelnen Thiere." Thier is, so far, no Begriff, no true universal at all. And Existenz, with its verb existiren, has a special meaning in Hegel's logic. The Begriff, when we get to it, will have a higher sort of reality, namely, what Hegel calls Objektivität, something much more than bare Existenz.
8. Logik, Werke, vol, iii, p. 274. Compare Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. p. 65, where the business of the understanding in grasping the wesentlichen Inhalt of finite things, in classifying abstractly, and in applying predicates accordingly, is further illustrated. The technical phrases wesentliche Bestimmtheit, bestimmte Wesentlichheit, etc., refer, then, only to universality as conceived by the understanding.
9. Gesch. d. Phil., Werke, vol. xiv. p. 283: "Hat Aristoteles aber auch . . . die allgemeine Idee nicht logisch herausgehoben, (denn sonst wäre seine sogenannt Logik, die etwas Anderes ist, für die Methode als der eine Begriff in Allem zu erkennen), so erscheint doch andererseits bei Aristoteles die Idee Gottes, selbst auch als ein Besonderes an ihrer Stelle neben den Andern, obzwar sie alle Wahrheit ist."
10. Page 229, sqq.
11. Cf. also Professor Edward Caird's Social Philosophy of Auguste Comte, p. 199: "The universal of science and philosophy is . . . not merely a generic name, under which things are brought together, but a principle which unites them and determines their relation to each other."
12. Encycl., Werke, vol. vi. p. 147. The following pages contain a repetition of the account given above of the nature and limitations of the Verstandes-Allgemeinheit.
13. Loc. cit., p. 157.
14. On the Hegelian use of konkret, see the excellent definition of Falckenberg's Gesch. d. neueren Philosaphie, p. 478: "The concrete Begriff of Hegel is an Universal that has the Particular in itself, and that produces its own particulars (sich besondert)."
15. Logik, Werke, vol. iv. pp. 63, 64.
16. "Das einzelne Seyn ist irgend eine Seite der Idee," Hegel has said in the passage quoted above. In various passages he identifies Seite with Bestimmung; so, for instance, in the Religionsphilosophie, Werke, vol. xii p. 422, where he speaks of the Zusammenhang zweier Seiten oder Bestimmungen. From these and many other passages it easily becomes evident that for Hegel both abstract characters and abstract individuals are to be treated alike, in so far as they have their truth only in the organic whole of which they are elements. Compare once more Falckenberg's definition of Hegel's use of "concrete," as given above. That the Individual is contained in the Universal is also expressly asserted by Hegel (Werke, vol. vi. p. 323; compare p. 316).
17. Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. p. 340.
18. Id., p. 339. In case of the form of logical judgment which Hegel is discussing in the passage now cited, he is laying special stress upon the fact that here already, although the true Vernunft-Allgemeinheit has not been fully reached, the individual stands in relation to others, and is not conceived by himself, or apart from his relations.
19. Logik, Werke, vol. iv. p. 125.
20. Id., p. 128.
21. Logik, Werke, vol. iv. p. 174.
22. Id., p. 178. Die Wirklichkeit appears first as das Absolute, which corresponds (loc. cit. pp. 187-190) to Spinoza's Substance.
23. Logik, Werke, vol. v., pp. 167-228; Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. pp. 365-384.
24. Werke, vol. viii., p. 417. Cf. p 110: "Es ist durch die Vernunft ebenso nothwendig dass die Menschen in Vertrags-Verhältnisse eingehen als dass sie Eigenthum besitzen."
25. Werke, vol. xii., pp. 313, 314. The important thing here is that Hegel expressly regards this as an application of his logical theory. Compare p. 309.
26. Werke, vol. vii., 1, pp. 640, 641, 643, 645, 648, 649. In particular, p.648, "Die Gattung existirt in einer Reihe von einzelnen Lebendigen," - not in any single individual.
27. Werke, vol. v., pp. 102-107.
28. Id., p. 36.
29. Id., p. 39. Readers of the discussion of Negativität in the text will see the significance of this consideration.
30. Id., p. 105.
31. Id., p. 115, sqq.
32. Id., p. 162, sqq.
33. Encyclop., Werke, vol. vi. p. 159: "In der spekulativen Logik ist die blosse Verstandes-Logik enthalten, und kann aus jener sogleich gemacht werden; es bedarf dazu Nichts als daraus das Dialektische und Vernunftige wegzulassen."
34. See the recently issued vol. xix. of the Werke, edited by Karl Hegel (Leipzig, 1887), part i. p. 340.
Lecture VII: Hegel (excerpts - pp. 222-26)
One fundamental consideration remains to be mentioned as characterizing the "Logic." Old-fashioned logic called itself formal. It discussed categories and methods of thinking, but it did not undertake to construct concrete truths. Its forms of thought were never real things for it. But Hegel's categories are, of course, more than this. The laws of thought aren't mere abstractions; they are the soul of things. In the "Logic" one is constructing the very essence of the world-self.
Now, Hegel further expressed this aspect of the matter by his remarkable doctrine about the relation between Begriffe, or universal notions, and the individual facts that fall under these notions. There is an old controversy as to whether individual things, or the classes that correspond to general conceptions, are the deepest realities in the world. Science, as Aristotle said, is always of the general. When we think, we always think of classes, of categories, in brief, of universals. But, on the other hand, the facts of the world always appear to our senses to be individual. Man, as a mere. abstraction, doesn't exist; individual men do. Here is one of the most perplexing of the paradoxes of common sense: The business of science, namely, is with truth, and truth is always universal, is known to us as the notion of things, the law of things, the essence of the world. And, on the other hand, science is to be true of facts, and yet the facts, at all events as sense views them, aren't universal, but are just the individual facts. This opposition between the form of science, which is universality, and the matter of science, which is individual fact, gave much trouble already to Aristotle, a. into whose system it introduced a fundamental contradiction. Hegel was well aware of this contradiction between the Aristotelian ideal of universal knowledge, and the actual theory of the relation of universals and individuals, as Aristotle developed it in his logical treatises. b. But this ancient paradox, which had given ground for one of the most famous of the controversies of the philosophy of the Middle Ages, was precisely the kind of paradox that Hegel's method was peculiarly apt to characterize and deal with. In attempting his own solution of the problem be was therefore fully conscious of its difficulty, and of the relative novelty of his own theory. "The universal in its true and inclusive sense is a thought," he once says, c. "that it has cost thousands of years to bring to human consciousness, and that received its full recognition only through the aid of Christianity. The Greeks knew neither God nor man in their true universality." The philosophical formulation of this thought is of course, according to Hegel, later than its concrete realization; yes, this philosophical formulation of the "inclusive" nature of the universal is to be one of Hegel's own peculiar contributions to philosophical theory. 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, which we have now so fully exemplified. The true universal of the whole world is, then, the divine Idee, or "all-enfolding" nature of things, the true genus within which all individual facts fall. This universal is no abstraction at all, but a perfectly concrete whole, since the facts are, one and all, not mere examples of it, but are embraced in it, are brought forth by it as its moments, and exist only in relation to one another and to it. It is the vine; they, the individuals, are the branches. It is in nature the self. They are the individual thoughts, aspects, finite expressions, embodiments of the self. "All reality," says Hegel, in one striking passage, "is the Idea. . . . The individual being is some aspect (Seite) of the Idee. As such it therefore needs other realities [beside it], which seem as if they also existed all by themselves; yet only in them together and in their relationship is the universal realized. The individual by itself does not embody its universal." d.
Thus the paradox of the relation of universal and individual is to be solved in a manner peculiarly characteristic of the whole system. The true law is to be the organic total of the facts that fall under it. The true general class, the actual object of science, is not an abstract something exemplified by the individuals, nor yet an essence that is to be found in each individual. There is no such thing for Hegel as a merely individual object of thought existent all alone for itself. The total world of the interrelated individuals is all that exists. The universal is therefore realized in this totality of individual life. For the nature of the universal is the nature of the self, and the self is a world of organically interrelated selves, moments of the infinite organism, phases of its infinity. e.
One could not mention a formula more characteristic of the Hegelian doctrine than this account of what Hegel calls the "concrete universal," which constructs, brings forth, in the endless play and toil of rationality, its own "differences," the individuals of the world of experience. It is this which for him explains bow in the church or in the state we, the individuals, find ourselves "members one of another." It is this that shows us the whole world as an organism. Wherever this sort of universality is not found, as is the case in the world of uncomprehended sense-facts, where, for instance, only men as individuals seem to exist, and man appears to us as a dead abstraction, we are not dealing with the world of truth. The first sign that we are dealing with the truth itself is our success in discovering an organic connection amongst things. For organism is selfhood or personality viewed in its outward manifestation. There is, then, for Hegel a lower form of thinking that reaches only a Verstandes-Allgemeinheit. Such thinking finds itself in the presence of individual facts, and regards the universal either as a bare abstraction, or else as present only in each individual as its inner and separate nature. For such thinking the only concrete truth is the world of individual things as such. But the deeper insight into the world is revealed to us through a reflection upon the nature of self-consciousness, wherein the universal, or self, is the organic total of the facts of consciousness, which exist not save as related to one another, and to this universal. The true Universal of Hegel's theory is, then, what our own Shelley so well described when he told us in the "Prometheus" of the
"One undivided Soul of many a soul
Whose nature is its own divine control,
Where all things flow to all, as rivers to the sea." f.
a. See Zeller's Philosophie der Griechen, part II. section 2, pp. 304-313 (3d edition), for a technical exposition of the resulting difficulties.
b. Compare the two accounts of Aristotle's method of work in Hegel's own lectures on the History of Philosophy, Werke, vol. xiv. pp. 279, 282. See, also, the characterization of Aristotle's Logic, id., p. 368.
c. In a lecture, as reported by one of his students, Werke, vol. vi. p. 321.
d. Werke, vol. vi. p. 385.
e. Hegel's first published exemplification of this doctrine was in the before-mentioned theory of the Allgemeinheit des Bewusstseins, as expounded in the Phänomenologie. In the Logik the doctrine receives a most intricate and elaborate exposition. It is in later writings made the basis for Hegel's doctrine of the state and of the religious consciousness, although it was almost certainly reached, in the first place, through an examination of just these instances. For further citations see Appendix C.
f. The Hegelian theory of universals is well sketched in Principal Caird's Philosophy of Religion, pp. 229-232. See, also, p. 241, where Principal Caird illustrates the true universal by the example of a family with many members.
* The texts reproduced herein originally appeared in Royce's The Spirit of Modern Philosophy (Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1892). Appendix C spanned pp. 492-506 and the excerpts from Lecture VII, pp. 222-26.
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