Quick Thought on Hegel

At least half of Hegel’s Logic, his Objective Logic, corresponds to or is based on this Transcendental Logic, and when Hegel speaks of logic prior to this, it is usually this that he has in mind, though it must be admitted that he often runs the two together. Hegel’s quarrel with Kant over the nature of logic was that while Kant insisted correctly that logic treated of the concepts which refer a priori to objects, he went on to say that these concepts could only be known to refer to objects of experience, and not to objects in themselves. This meant effectively that there was a sphere of thought, and a spehere of things, and no way of getting from one sphere to the other. The mind was encased in a prison of it own making. This position is regarded by Hegel as the more concrete expression of the general assumption of the separation of the form and content of cognition.

Hegel thought that Kant had shrunk from attributing real objectivity to the categories, and left them ultimately as subjective forms to be contrasted with a content which since we only come across it in those subjective forms, remains unknowable in itself. Hegel reversed this framework: he assumed that the given material of experience was the truly subjective element in cognition, and the forms we give to that material, the objective element. Thus, the categories were no longer to be conceived of as empty forms which have to be given content from outside, but objects worthy of consideration in themselves, not just forms of truth, but its content.

Philosophical knowledge was true cognition because its content was its own form: the pure subject was the true subject, because it had itself for its object; and the pure concepts are truly objective, because they are universal and necessary and have a being which is neither mental nor physical.


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