WHEN we say that knowledge is possible, we imply that the intelligence can raise itself above the accidental, partial, changing point of view which belongs to the individual as such. If each man were forced to make himself the center of the universe, and to regard things as important and real in proportion as they immediately affected his senses or were directly instrumental to the satisfaction of his wants, neither intellectual nor moral life could possibly be his. To make either attainable, he must be able to look at things in ordine ad universum-i.e., he must be able to discount the influences of his immediate position and circumstances, even of his personal wishes and feelings, and to regard himself individually as one object among the other objects he knows. He must feel something of the same indifferent interest in himself, and apply something of the same impartial judgment to himself, which he feels and applies in relation to that which does not affect him at all, to that which is distant in time and space from the immediate circle of his concerns. To live as a moral being, the individual must look at himself and treat himself from the point of view of the family, of the state, or of humanity, giving to his own desires and interests just the weight which they deserve when regarded from such higher center, and not the exclusive weight which they claim when they are allowed to speak for themselves.
The precept, that we should do to others as we would that they should do to us, has a practical value, not because in its literal sense it clearly marks out the path of duty, for our wishes for another might be as unreasonable as our wishes for ourselves,-but because the effort to put ourselves sympathetically in another's place is generally the surest way of lifting us out of the close atmosphere of personal feelings. In like manner, intellectual life, the life of knowledge, is primarily an effort to break away from those things that are, as Aristotle says, "first for us," the immediate appearances and apprehensions of sense, which are different for each of us, and continually changing, and to reach those things that are "first by nature" - the laws or principles which manifest themselves no more and no less in one set of appearances than another. To use an illustration of Kant, the confused Ptolemaic system is the one most natural to us: we would fain account for everything, in however complex and difficult a way, on the supposition that the universe revolves round our individual selves. But science and philosophy seek to introduce the Copernican system, with its simple and transparent order, by changing our point of view to the sun, the universal center around which all things really revolve.
UNIVERSALITY OF MIND
But can we thus really get out of ourselves? Can we free ourselves from the influence of our surroundings, and our very nature as individuals? Or, if we can do so to some extent, is there not a limit to the process in our very humanity? "Man never knows," says Goethe, "how anthropomorphic he is." If we can overleap the chasm that separates us from our fellow-men, can we expect also to get rid of the tendency, more or less definitely to humanize nature in the very act of taking knowledge of it? Or, even supposing that we can transcend all the divisions that separate finite things and beings from each other, is there not still an absolute gulf fixed between the finite and the infinite, which confines us to time and space, and hinders us from seeing things sub specie aeternitatis?
This problem was one which already troubled Aristotle in the dawn of psychology. He solves it by the doctrine that the intelligence is not, strictly speaking, one thing or being to which you can assign separate qualities or attributes, and so distinguish it from other things and beings. It is, he declares, a universal capacity, and "has no other nature than this, that it is capable." It has "no foreign element" mingled with its pure universality, "which might confuse and interrupt its view of the object." Hence it is able "to master all objects-that is to say, to understand them." Translating these pregnant words into more modem terms, what they imply is, that the intelligence is not one thing among others in the intelligible world, but the principle in reference to which alone that world exists; and that, therefore, there is nothing in the nature of intelligence to prevent it from understanding a universe which is essentially the object of intelligence.
The thinking subject, no doubt, is also an individual among other individuals; but, as a thinking subject, he is free of the world, emancipated from the limitations not only of his own individual being, but even of his generic nature. The individuality of a self-conscious being, as such, rests on a basis of universality ; if he is conscious of himself in opposition to that which is not himself, he is at the same time conscious of self and not-self in relation to each other; and that implies that he is conscious of the unity that includes both. "We may say, therefore, that he is not limited to himself; that just because he is a self, he transcends himself; that his life includes, in a higher sense, even that which it seems, in a lower sense, to exclude. Or, to approach more nearly to Aristotle's language, a self is not merely one thing or being, distinguished by certain qualities from other things or beings; rather he may be said to have all qualities or none; for he is capable of relating himself to all, and so making them parts of his own life: yet he is limited to none as a definite and final qualification of his own being. If he were, he could not be conscious of it as an object.
OBJECTIVITY OF THOUGHT
If this view be true, it follows that the intelligence of man, as it is implicitly universal, is capable of rising above, and abstracting from, all purely subjective associations, and seeing objects as they are in themselves, or, what is the same thing, from a universal point of view. This act of abstraction, in a more or less definite form, is implied in all man's existence, intellectual, moral, and even natural, in so far as even in his simplest sensuous experience there is the latent working of a rational principle. But it is implied in a higher degree in science: for science is essentially the conscious and deliberate effort to break away from subjectivity, and see things as they objectively are. As such it involves a severe discipline of self-restraint, and even, we might say, a painful process of self-abnegation; for it is by no means an easy thing to thrust aside all our preconceptions and assumptions, or to allow them to be weighed in the scales of nature, without any attempt to bias the decision by which they may be found wanting.
Yet in thus renouncing its subjective prepossessions, the mind is not renouncing itself. It is not, as Bacon seems to think, reducing itself to a passive mirror of an objective world. Rather it is thus making room for its own true activity, bringing itself into that central or universal attitude in which alone it can show what it is as mind. The activity of an intelligence is not pure till it has got rid of the accidental or particular element that clings to its immediate self, for then only can it rise to a new universal life, in which its movement is one with that of the object which it contemplates. For it is not, as Aristotle showed, like a thing which has special qualities, and which perishes when they are changed. It is not involved in the fate of the particular opinions and prepossessions which keep it from the knowledge of objects, but rather begins to energize freely and powerfully only when these have been cast aside.
Universality is readily confused with emptiness, because it is a freedom from all that is particular. And so a universal activity may easily be taken for passivity, because it is not the self-assertion of the subject of it against anything else. In this sense it is sometimes said that true science consists in silencing our own ideas that nature alone may speak. Nature, however, can speak only to an intelligence, and as an intelligence speaks in it. The aim of the negative discipline of science is to free the subjective intelligence from all that separates it from the object; but if by this process thought were really made passive and empty, along with the partiality and one-sidedness of consciousness, consciousness itself would disappear.
The process of the liberation of thought from itself, therefore, is not the mere negation of thought, which would necessarily be the negation of the object of thought also; it is the negation of thought and being alike as separate from each other, and the revelation of their implicit unity. Nor is this a pantheistic unity in which all distinction is lost; it is simply the unity of the intelligence with the intelligible world, which is presupposed in their difference, and in the light of which alone their difference can be truly understood.
In abstracting from itself, as separate from and opposed to the object, in taking what is called a purely objective attitude, the intelligence has already implicitly shown that the object is not really a limit to it, or even something externally given to it. It could not take the point of view of the object if that point of view were not its own, if in the object it met with something which was absolutely foreign to it. That it can thus, in its utmost self-surrender, still maintain itself, that it can rise to a unity which is beyond its distinction from the object and its opposition to the object, is already the pledge that all such opposition and distinction may be overcome and resolved, or, in other words, that the world may be shown to be not merely the object but also the manifestation of intelligence. When, therefore, the mind seems to have freed itself of all content of its own, it is just then that it begins to find itself-i.e., to find the categories and forms of thought which constitute it -in the object. When it ceases to witness of itself, nature and history begin to witness of it. When it is silent, the "stones begin to cry out."
AIMS OF THE LOGIC
This doctrine, that we need only to cast aside all prepossessions, and take the world as it is, to find intelligence in it, is what Hegel attempts to prove in his 'Logic.' Commonly that 'Logic' is supposed to be the groundwork for something quite different,-for an attempt to construct nature a priori, and without reference to facts and experience. Now it is true that Hegel does there treat of the categories by which nature is made intelligible apart from the process of their application. This, however, is not because he is unaware that it is in the struggle to interpret experience that the intelligence is made conscious of its own forms. But he is of opinion that the categories must be considered in themselves and in their relation to each other, rather than in relation to the objects to which they are applied or in which they are realized, in order that it may be shown that there is law and order, unity in difference, in the mind as well as in the objects it knows.
Hegel, in short, is, in his 'Logic,' simply seeking to prove that these different categories are not a collection of isolated ideas, which we find in our minds and of which we apply now one, now another, as we might try one after another of a bunch of keys upon a number of isolated locks; he is seeking to prove that the categories are not instruments which the mind uses, but elements in a whole, or the stages in a complex process, which in its unity the mind is. For the mind has no key but itself to apply to nature; in spelling out the meaning of things, it can only move through the circle of its own self-consciousness in relation to them.
Its process is, therefore, a continuous process, with a beginning and end determined by the nature of self-consciousness itself. It is a method, and not merely an accidental succession of trials, that is needed to make the world scientifically intelligible, and in this method there is for the application of each category a time and place, which cannot be changed without confusion. "Where, indeed, shall logical order be found, if it be not in the succession of the categories, on which all logical method is based? From the first judgment of perception in which it is asserted that a particular object is, to the last scientific and philosophic comprehension of that object in its relations to other things and to the mind that knows it, there is a necessary sequence which cannot be inverted or changed. And our thorough comprehension of the world must depend on the order and completeness with which this process of thought is followed out in reference to it. Now this movement it is for logic, as the science of method, to trace "in abstracto" from category to category up to the idea of self-consciousness, which is the category of categories, the organic unity of all the other categories. Thus logic will reach at once a definition of intelligence as the principle of unity in the world, and a complete idea of method, as the process by which that principle of unity is to be traced out and discovered in all the manifold diversities of things.
THE UNSCIENTIFIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Why does Hegel begin with Being, and not, like Kant, with self-consciousness, if it be true that self-consciousness is the principle in which the explanation of all things is to be found? The answer to this question is implied in what has been already said. Hegel, no doubt, like Kant, holds that a relation to self-consciousness is implied in the first apprehension of an object, and that Being or Existence is essentially Being or existence for a self. But this relation of all existence, as object, to a conscious subject, is, in the first instance, implicit. In asserting that an object is, we do not assert that it is essentially related to other objects or to the intelligence. On the contrary, in our first way of looking at things, each object seems to be isolated from all the rest, as well as from the mind that knows it. The common consciousness at first seems to view the world as if it were a mere collection of things, one beside another, and a succession of events, one after another, without any vital or essential connection; nor does it regard the mind, to which these things and events are present, as related to them in any less external way than that in which they are related to each other. And though it might be shown that even in the external relation of things as in one space and time, a more essential connection of them to each other and to thought is presupposed, yet such connection, just because it is presupposed in the common consciousness, is not present to it.
For it, therefore, each thing stands by itself, without any but an accidental connection with anything else. Thus the common consciousness lives in abstraction, though it has never abstracted. It has never, indeed, needed to abstract, just because it has never been conscious, or at least never been clearly conscious, of the whole to which belong the different objects and elements which it isolates. Nor does science at first correct this isolating tendency of common thought; rather it seeks in its first movement to exaggerate that tendency, and press it to the utmost point of abstraction. For the first accidental connection of things in the experience of the individual must be seen to be accidental, and the first subjective associations produced by such experience in the individual mind must be broken, before the true relativity and connection of objects can be known. This is the meaning of the scientific discipline of which we have been speaking, - the discipline by which the mind, in Baconian phrase, is taught to renounce its "idols." The ordinary experimental methods destroy such false associations by what is really a practical development of the process of abstraction-i.e., by isolating the object or quality in question from the others with which it has been accidentally united.
Thus, then, the method of exclusion, negation, abstraction, in which an object is fixed by itself, and isolated from all its usual surroundings, has its place and value as the first step in scientific investigation. But that method may easily be misinterpreted, and made the basis of a false theory, if it be considered by itself; for then it will give rise to the doctrine that what a thing is, it is in itself, apart from all relation to other things or the mind. Such a doctrine is easily accepted by common-sense, for it is only its own isolating external way of thinking, brought to a clearer consciousness of itself. But, grasped by the understanding, and logically worked out to its consequences, it leads directly to the conclusion that the reality of things,-that which things are in themselves,-is unknown and unknowable. For all existence is but the manifestation, and all knowledge but the apprehension, of relations; and the attempt to strip a thing of its relations must therefore end in reducing it to a caput mortuum of abstraction of which nothing can be said. The real meaning of the scientific abstraction is thus perverted: for science sets a thing by itself, not that it may find out what it is apart from all relations, but that it may disclose its immanent or native relativity. It rejects all accidental and extraneous associations that may force its object to reveal its own intelligible nature-i.e., its essential relation to other things and to the mind.
Now Hegel only applies this same method to the forms of thought implied in all existence. He takes the categories, the ideas of Being, Existence, Cause, &c., each by itself, not in order to divorce each of these thoughts from all other thoughts, and from the mind which they constitute, but rather for the opposite reason,-in order to prove that they cannot be so divorced. In other words, his object is to show in relation to each of the categories that it is not merely capable of being associated or combined with the others, but that it has an immanent relativity or necessary connection with them, so that the other categories spring out of it the moment we attempt to confine it to itself. All subjective associations being destroyed, the pure objective association, the connection of idea with idea, which arises from, or, more strictly speaking, is their own nature, will necessarily show itself.
As the elasticity of the spring manifests itself only the more evidently, the more firmly it is pressed home to itself, so the more decisively a thought is fixed by abstraction in its isolated definite-ness, the more clear it becomes that it has, or rather is, a relativity,-i.e., that it has other thoughts implicit in itself. Ideas are not dead things, hut "have hands and feet." And the way in which such relativity springs out of a category, just when it is fixed to itself and isolated from all other categories, has already been indicated in what has been said of the "thing in itself." Isolate a thing from all its relations, and try to assert it by itself; at once you find that you have negated it, as well as its relations.
The thing in itself is nothing. The absolute or pure affirmation, just because it is absolute or pure, is its own negation. Referred to itself and itself only, it ceases to be itself; for its definition, that which made it itself, was its relation to that which was not itself. Thus we come upon the apparent paradox, that opposites are distinguished only when they are related, and that, if we carry the opposition to the point in which the relation ceases, the distinction ceases at the same time. And this leads us to the further result, that the relation to its opposite or negative is the one essential relation out of which a thought cannot be forced,-the relation which maintains itself when all extraneous associations are swept away. A thought is essentially the relation or the movement towards its opposite or negative; and this is proved by the fact that if it be absolutely isolated from that opposite, it immediately becomes indistinguishable from. it. Its connection with its opposite is, therefore, the first link in the chain of essential relativity that connects it with the whole body of other thoughts and with the intelligence.
UNITY OF OPPOSITES
"Being and not-Being are identical." This mysterious utterance of Hegel, round which so much controversy has waged, and which has seemed to many but a caprice of metaphysic run mad, may now be seen to have a serious meaning. It does not mean that Being and not-Being are not also distinguished, but it does mean that the distinction is not absolute, and that if it is made absolute, at that very moment it disappears. The whole truth, therefore, cannot be expressed either by the simple statement that Being and not-Being are identical, or by the simple statement that they are different. But the consideration of what these abstractions are in themselves when we isolate them from each other, just as a scientific man might isolate a special element in order to find the essential relativity or energy that lies in it, shows that their truth is not either their identity or their difference, but is their identity in difference.
But one who has apprehended this thought has already risen above the abstractions whose unity in difference he has seen. He is like the scientific man who has discovered an identity of principle connecting phenomena between which formerly he had seen no essential relation. By such discovery the mere external view of them as different things, related only by adjacent place or time, has disappeared, and the one phenomenon has become the counterpart or complementary aspect of the other. In like manner, the thinker who has fully seen into the correlativity of given opposites has reached a new attitude of thought in regard to them. They have become for him inseparable elements of a higher unity, which is now seen to be organic or vital Or the whole thought is seen to be a process through certain phases, each of which necessitated the other, and by the unity of which it-the whole thought-is constituted. Nor does the movement stop here. The whole thought reached in this way has again its opposite or negative, which it at once excludes and involves, and the process may be repeated in regard to it, with the result of reaching a still higher unity, a more complex thought, in which it and its opposite are elements. And so on, through ever-widening sweep of differentiation and integration, till the whole body of thought is seen in its organic unity and development,-every fiber of it alive with relation to the whole in which it is a constituent element.
THE THREEFOLD LOGIC
Has the process that has just been described a natural beginning and end? If it be true that self-consciousness includes or involves in it all the categories, it is obvious that the end is in the full definition of self-consciousness-i.e., the full analysis or differentiation of all the contents of the idea of self-consciousness, and their integration in that idea, as the unity of them all. And, on the other hand, its beginning must obviously be in the simplest and most abstract category, -which, as we have seen, is the category of Being,- the category by which a thing is referred, to itself, as if it had no relation to other things or to the mind. And the process which connects the beginning with the end is just the gradual revelation of these two relativities, -to things and to the mind, -which are implicit or presupposed, but not explicit or consciously present, in our first immediate attitude of thought. The first main division of logic, then, will have to do with the categories in which, as yet, relativity is not expressed; categories like Being, Quality, Quantity, which, though they involve, do not immediately suggest, any relation of the object to which they are applied to any other object.
The second main division will have to do with categories such as Essence and Existence, Force and Expression, Substance and Accident, Cause and Effect, which force us to go beyond the object with which we are dealing, and to connect it with other objects, or at least with something that is not immediately presented to us in the perception of it. And the last main division will have to do with categories, such as those of final cause and organic unity, by which the object is characterized as related to intelligence, or as having in it that self-determined nature of which the intelligence is the highest type; or to put it otherwise, it will have to do with categories by which the object is determined as essentially being, or having in it, an ideal unity which is reached and realized in and through all the manifoldness of its existence.
The general argument of the 'Logic,' when we pursue it through all these stages, therefore is this: that reality, which at first is present to us as the Being of things which are regarded as standing each by itself, determined in quality and quantity, but as having no necessary relations to each other, comes in the process of thought to be known as an endless aggregate of essentially related and transitory existences, each of which exists only as it determines and is determined by the others, according to universal laws, and finally, is discovered to lie in a world of objects, each and all of which exist only in so far as they exist for intelligence, and in so far as intelligence is revealed or realized in them.
And that this, indeed, is the movement of thought by which the reality of things is disclosed, is proved by the demonstration that categories of Being, used in the first attitude of thought, which corresponds to our simplest and most unsophisticated consciousness of things, when fully understood and reasoned out, necessarily lead us to the categories of Relation, employed in the second attitude of thought, which corresponds generally to the scientific or reflective consciousness; and that these in turn, when fully comprehended and pressed to their consequences, necessarily pass into the categories of Ideal Unity, or, as it is sometimes expressed, "the Concept," categories used in the third stage of consciousness, which corresponds to philosophy.
Science is the truth of common-sense, because the points of view from which the former considers the world, include and transcend the points of view from which it is regarded by the latter, and philosophy is the truth of science for the same reason, because it is science and something more. This something more, however, in each case is not merely something externally added to what went before; it is a vital growth from it, a transformation which takes place in it, by reason of latent forces that are already present. In this way self-consciousness - the last category or point of view - is seen to sum up and interpret all that went before; for while, like our first immediate consciousness of things, it is a direct assertion of independent Being-and while, like reflection, it includes difference and relation, it goes beyond both in so far as it expresses the integration of differences - a relation of elements which, though opposed, are yet identified.
THE PRE-SCIENTIFIC CONSCIOUSNESS
To attempt to prove these points in detail would be to work out again the whole process of the Hegelian Logic. The general account of it just given may, however, be made a little more distinct, if we consider more closely the process of knowledge as it advances through science to philosophy. It is obvious that the beginning of knowledge lies in taking things by themselves, as they lie before us in perception; in excluding all preconceptions, and accurately observing their qualities, and determining the quantity of each quality. Such observation is the first indispensable basis of science; but it can hardly yet itself be called science. It deserves the name, if at all, only where the observer, in his selection of facts to observe and his determination of their relative importance, is really guided by ideas of relation of which he is not definitely conscious; for scientific genius shows itself first in a kind of " instinct of reason," which anticipatively apprehends the fruitful direction for observation and experiment. But the pure observer soon finds that the qualities and quantities with which he deals are continually changing, and that the intelligence cannot find in them the fixed object which it seeks, unless it is able to go beyond them or beneath them to something that cannot be observed.
Such a deeper reality, such a principle of permanence in change, is already suggested to him by the fact that he does not find the quality and quantity of things to change altogether irrespectively of each other, but to be linked together in a certain mutual dependence, so that, with a little more or a little less of the same element, the quality of a thing is suddenly altered. But this, as a mere fact, is not any longer sufficient for him, when he has come to apprehend that change of quality is not an accidental or partial phenomenon, but that every quality as it exists is in process of changing. Thus the final experience of that mode of thought, which fixes each finite thing to itself and takes it to be only what it is in itself, is that such things can quite as truly be said "not to be" as "to be." Their being is a "becoming" or change. Unless, therefore, we can get beyond this continual flux of unsubstantial things, this endless change of phenomena, the intelligence is denuded of its objects, and falls back upon itself in skepticism.
This, in fact, is the first natural effect of the growing consciousness that appearances-things as they are immediately present to us for observation- are essentially inconstant and fluctuating; for by this experience all that common-sense held to be reality is discerned to be unreal, and as yet nothing else had disclosed itself to take the place of that which has disappeared. In this skepticism, however, science is born, -science, of which the essential characteristic is to recognize that things are not as they seem, but that beyond and through the seeming we can apprehend that which really is, the one force through the manifold expression, the abiding law through the fleeting phenomena. The scientific or reflective consciousness, therefore, may be said to begin with the negation of the immediate reality of finite things, and to aim at finding some deeper ground or principle in reference to which they may be conceived to have a kind of secondary or mediated reality.
THE SCIENTIFIC CONSCIOUSNESS
This scientific consciousness has, however, a certain growth or development within itself by which its first antagonistic or dualistic mode of thought is gradually transcended and transmuted. And as in the first stage of thought, which began with purely affirmative determination of things, - as if they existed in themselves,independent of all relation, - there was a continual progress toward the recognition of the negative or relative aspect of them, the aspect in which they are seen to be essentially finite and transitory; so in this second stage, which begins with the absolute contrast of real and apparent, substance and accident, there is a continual progress toward an ever clearer apprehension of the essential connection of these two opposite aspects of things, and finally, to the discerning of the unity that binds them to each other. At first, as is natural, the opposition is stated most strongly, so strongly that it seems to involve a denial of all relations whatever; as when, in the early Eleatic school, the "one" was abstractly opposed to the "many," which was regarded as purely apparent and unreal But it was soon recognized that, by this absolute separation, both terms are deprived of their meaning.
If the many, the changing, the phenomenal, is unreal in the sense that it contains its negative in itself, equally unreal is the one, the permanent, the substance, which is abstractly opposed to these, and which is, in fact, nothing but that negative positively expressed. Plato, and still more Aristotle, found that what was wanted was not "the one beyond the many " merely, but "the one in the many." And the progress of science up to the present day has been a continuous advance towards the reconciliation of the two terms in a conception of the inner reality or principle of things, which should make that reality or principle the complete explanation, and nothing but the explanation, of their external appearances and changing phenomena. Looking at this progressive movement of the scientific consciousness, we can understand how it is that modern science, though it has not itself got beyond the dualism of phenomenal and real, yet takes up so marked an attitude of antagonism to the more decided dualism of earlier days, and is prone to denounce as " metaphysical " what is really just an initial stage of its own mode of thought.
Thus, for example, Comte condemns the reference of phenomena to "forces" and "substances," which are, he maintains, either pure negations or the abstract repetitions of the phenomena they are adduced to explain. Science, in his view, should confine itself to the investigation of the "laws" of the resemblance, coexistence, and succession of phenomena, these laws being regarded simply as the generalized restatement of the phenomena themselves. In thus speaking, however, Comte is really admitting what he seems to deny. Such "generalized restatement " is obviously something more than a simple reaffirmation of the phenomena themselves. A law is at once the negation and the reaffirmation of the phenomena that fall under it: it is contrasted with them, as permanent with changing, as unity with multiplicity, and yet it is one with them, as the principle by reference to which alone they are lifted above mere appearances, or illusions of the moment.
DEFECTS OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT
The defect, however, of this whole scientific mode of thought is that, while it goes beyond the immediate phenomena to seek for an explanation of them, it is never able to find a complete explanation. For the principle, to which the phenomena are thus referred, never exhausts their meaning, but rather itself presupposes those very phenomena. In other words, the law, which is supposed to explain the phenomena, though necessarily distinguished from them, is essentially related to them, and, in its turn, looks for explanation to them. This double aspect of the idea of law sometimes leads writers who are not clearly conscious of their own categories into a curious inconsistency of statement. For, while at one time they tell us that the law is merely the generalized expression of the phenomena, as if their translation into the form of law were something indifferent and unnecessary, at another time they declare with equal emphasis that we know the phenomena only when we know their laws, as if the law were not merely a generalized repetition of the phenomena, but the central principle, in reference to which alone the true value and significance of the phenomena can be known.
THE SCIENCE OF PHILOSOPHY
The key to the difficulty, however, is found when it is seen that the scientific mode of thought, though necessary as a stage of knowledge, has an essential imperfection clinging to it, which can be corrected only by going beyond it to the philosophical mode of thought, or what Hegel calls the Begriff. In scientific reflection we have always two terms that are essentially related, and in one of which the explanation of the other is sought. Yet, just because of this essential relation, the explanation can never be complete. The categories used are such as substance and accident, force and expression, inner and outer being, cause and effect. In each of these cases we have an essential relation of two terms of such a kind that, though the explanation of the second term is always sought in the first, yet the first term has no significance except in relation to the second.
We have, therefore, in employing such categories, necessarily involved ourselves in a self-contradiction, the self-contradiction of explaining everything by a term, which yet is essentially relative to that which is to be explained. Thus we explain the accidents by referring them to the substance; but the substance has no meaning apart from the accidents. Nor does it make any difference if, instead of such a reciprocity of terms, we have a series, as when we say that the cause explains the effect, but is itself to be explained by the effect of another cause; for this further need of explanation simply means that the cause does not fully explain its effect. Its difference from the effect, and its essential relation to it, is the very reason that forces us to seek explanation of it in another cause. We have therefore, in this and every similar movement of thought, a contradiction which needs to be solved: for that which is set up in opposition to the relative as absolute, and, indeed, as its absolute, is yet itself correlative with it, and so again must be recognized as not being absolute. Those who deal in such categories, therefore, fall into a kind of fluctuation or alternation of language, of which the above-mentioned uncertainty in regard to law is one instance. Nor is this fluctuation a mere accident. The category that rules their thoughts forces them to contradict themselves, as it turns first one and then the other of its sides to the light.
For the most part, however, they do not bring together the different aspects of their thought, and hence they do not feel the difficulty, or the need of solving it by a higher category. Often, indeed, this unconsciousness may be an advantage in a work, which requires rather the thorough and unhesitating application of a category than the perception of its limits. For, as the higher categories have their full value, only when they come as the solution of difficulties which arise out of the lower categories, so the philosophical explanation of things, by means of the former, can only be legitimately arrived at as the last reinterpretation of the scientific explanation of them by means of the latter. But, on the other hand, the unresolved dualism, which is left by the application of the scientific categories, shows the necessity of a reinterpretation of the results of science by other higher categories, as it also shows that this reinterpretation-which constitutes the peculiar work of philosophy is no mere useless or extraneous addition to science, but a necessary development of it.
Comte, indeed, as we have seen, has an easier method of dealing with the difficulty, by simply denying altogether the distinction between real and phenomenal, between fact and law, which gives rise to it. But this, if it were taken as meaning what it expresses, would be no true solution of the problem, but simply a recurrence to that first sensuous consciousness for which the opposition of seeming and reality did not exist, a consciousness which must be disturbed and overthrown, before even the dawn of science is possible. For the doubt and wonder in which science arises, is the doubt and wonder that things are not what they seem; and if it is possible, again to find the reality in the seeming, it must be by a reconciliation of those opposites, and not simply by obliterating the opposition.
Where, then, are we to find such a complete reconciliation? The highest conception of the world which science presents to us is the conception of a multiplicity of substances, acting and reacting on each other, and by their action and reaction producing continual changes in each other according to unchanging laws. Each substance, thus, by the condition of its being, stands in relation to that which is opposed to it, and which gives rise to changes in it; yet each maintains itself in change, in so far as it changes according to a law-i.e., it has a definite relation to the other substance, which manifests itself in its change. In this way of looking at things, however, there is a certain ambiguity and inconsistency. For, while we start with the idea of isolated substances which have an existence of their own, and which change only because they are brought into relation to each other, it appears as we go on that what maintains itself is the law of the relation itself, apart from which the substances have no existence whatever.
Substantiality and Relativity are thus seen to be not two ideas, but one, and the truth is to be found not in either separately but in their union; which means that nothing can be said to be substantial in the sense of having an existence independent of relation, but only in the sense of including its relativity in its own being. In other words, nothing is substantial except in so far as it is a subject or self that maintains itself in change, because its change is determined by its own nature, and is indeed only the necessary manifestation of that nature. To speak of different substances, which yet have no independent nature apart from their action and reaction on each other, is a manifest contradiction; for the necessity to which, according to this view, the different substances are supposed to be subjected, is itself the only true substance. Or what we really have before ns in such a reciprocity is not a duality of things externally related, but a unity which expresses itself and maintains itself in duality. The real substance has to be sought for, not in the two things taken separately, but in the principle which divides, and at the same time unites, them.
THE TRUTH OF NECESSITY IS FREEDOM
Determination by another is thus always ultimately to be explained as self-determination, though we may have to seek the self in question somewhere else than in the things which were at first taken to be substantial, but which may turn out to be mere "moments" or elements in some higher existence. This is what Hegel means by saying that the "truth of necessity is freedom." Necessity exists for any thing or being only in so far as it is determined by another, and if it has no life or movement of its own which is not so determined, it in itself has no reality whatever that should make us regard it as an individual thing or substance at all: it is but one side or phase of the existence of something else, which is not determined by another, but by itself.
The ultimate reality of things, therefore, which the common consciousness seeks in their purely unrelated or independent being, and which science seeks in their existence as essentially related to each other, is only to be found in what we may call their ideal character, as unities of correlative differences, or unities which manifest themselves in difference yet in this difference are still one with themselves. Thus that alone can truly be called a reality that maintains and realizes itself in a process of differentiation and reintegration of differences. "Nothing really exists which is not determined and relative,- nothing which is not in a process of becoming or change." This was proved by the first stage of the 'Logic,' which carried us from the immediate consciousness of things to science.
"Nothing really exists which is not self-determined and self-related, which has not a self that it maintains through all its changes." This is proved by the second stage of the 'Logic,' which carries us from the first scientific consciousness of the opposition-of appearances and reality, to the perception that the real manifests itself in the appearance and its change: or, what is the same thing, the perception that what we call the real is fundamentally ideal. For, whereas to the reflective consciousness the ideal seems to he an abstract law or principle, which is different from the facts, or represents only one side of the facts, through which we apprehend it, it is now seen that this ideal unity is the fact of facts, the principle from which they all spring, and to which they return. Reality lies, not, as common-sense supposes, in the mere individual taken by itself - nor, as science seems to teach, in the mere particular which is related to other particulars; it lies in the relation, or principle of relation, itself, in the universal which differentiates or particularizes itself and yet is one with itself in its particularity. Or, to express all in a word, "the real is the rational or intelligible;" i.e., it is that which is capable of being thoroughly understood by the intelligence, just because it has in it the essential nature of the intelligence or self-consciousness, as a unity which is one with itself, not by the absence of difference, but rather by means of the difference, which it at once asserts and overcomes.
DEFECT OF MONADISM
The idea which we are now examining may be illustrated by the Leibnitzian conception of the world as a universe of monads, each of which is itself a world. Each monad or real substance, on this view, is a microcosm, which ideally, or in its perceptions, takes the whole life of the world into itself, and yet, in spite of all this ideal relativity, is not really determined by anything but itself. Each is thus in itself a reflection of the whole, while yet it remains a complete whole in itself, developing entirely for itself in absolute freedom through all the changes of its purely inward life, though these changes correspond exactly to the outward movements of the great world without it. In this way, by the distinction of the real and ideal aspects of the monad, Leibnitz thinks to avoid the difficulty of combining in it the opposite conceptions of relativity and independent being, universality and individuality, necessity or determination by others and freedom or determination by itself.
This distinction is, however, really an evasion of the difficulty, and Leibnitz himself is obliged to give it up in relation to God, the monad of monads, in whom, as the absolute unity of ideality and reality, he finds the ground of the harmony between the perceptions of each monad and the existence of the rest, and the reason why, notwithstanding their independence, they form parts of one world. Thus, though in relation to each other these monads may be free, in relation to God they have no freedom or self-determination whatever.
At this point, however, we come upon a great difficulty that arises in connection with the conception of reality that has just been presented. So soon as we are driven to recognize that reality can be found in that and that only which has a principle of self-determination in itself, we seem forced to recognize that the only reality is God. Though, therefore, the necessity of nature may have been shown to be freedom, yet it would seem that there is room for only one freedom in the world, the freedom of the absolute Being, which reduces all other things and beings to his mere determinations or the modes of his attributes; and the only other alternative to this would seem to be a monadism which isolates each substance from all the others, and absolutely confines it to itself, and which leaves room neither for ideal nor for real relations between it and anything else. In order to escape from this dilemma we would require what at first must seem to be an absolute contradiction-viz., such an idea of the absolute unity to which we are obliged to refer all existence, as should yet leave room for a real freedom and independence, a real self-centered life, in other beings than itself. And if such a conception is impossible, we do not seem to have gained much more by referring all things to an absolute subject, than if we had referred them merely to an absolute substance.
THE IDEA OF SELF-DETERMINATION
Now it is the main work of the third part of the 'Logic' to develop such an idea out of the simple conception of the monad or self-determining principle, which was the result reached by the second part of it. Here, as in the other cases, we must confine ourselves to indicating the general thought which runs through this development. The key to the difficulty was partly seen by Leibnitz himself, when he pointed out that a true organism is a unity of organisms, organic in all its parts. The life of the body is not a principle that dominates over dead members, and uses them as instruments to realize itself; it is all all the members, so that each of them in turn may be regarded as means and end to the others. There is, no doubt, a unity of the whole that subordinates all the parts, but it only subordinates them, so to speak, by surrendering or imparting itself to them, and giving to them a certain independent life, -a life which, though embraced in a wider circle, is still centered in itself. Now a self-determining principle, as such, is necessarily of this sort, it is not like a law that is imposed upon a foreign matter, for its only matter is itself.
In determining, it determines itself; in producing differences, it produces itself in them. Its assertion or manifestation of itself is, therefore, in a sense, a denying of itself, a giving of itself away. Its life is a dying to live. It is true that we must add that this negation of itself can never be absolute. In the differences and opposition the unity must be maintained. The independence of the separate organs in the body must not be such as to break their connection with each other, and with the unity of the whole. But this connection is maintained, not by an external subordination, but by the completeness with which the life of the whole is communicated to the parts, so that, to realize themselves, they must become subservient to it.
In like manner a world in which the central principle is a self-determining Being, while, in one aspect of it, it seems to be a unity in which no room is left for difference, in another aspect of it breaks into an infinite number of fragments, each of which seems to be centered in itself. It is not like the universe of Spinoza, in which every difference of mind is lost in the abstract attribute of infinite intelligence, and every distinction of matter in the abstract attribute of infinite extension; it is a universe in which "every thought is a truth, and every particle of dust an organization;" a macrocosm made up of microcosms, which is all in every part.
"Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies;
Hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower,
but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."
Under such a conception the usual antithesis of individualism and pantheism fails us, and our idea of the world seems to involve both at once, or to fall into a kind of alternation between them, such as is found in the monadism of Leibnitz, or in the later theory of Schelling, in which all the differences of things were said to be "not qualitative but merely quantitative," i.e., to be differences that from the highest point of view might be neglected as unessential. This, however, were to forget that though the organism is organic in all its parts, yet these parts have their specific determination, and that it is through this specific determination that they form one whole. It were to forget that though a self-determining principle necessarily is present in its determinations, and gives them thus a certain independence, yet that they in turn are limited in themselves, and only maintain themselves as the principle realizes itself in them; or, in other words, as they in turn surrender themselves to the life of the whole. Their capacity of so surrendering themselves, in short, is the measure of their reality. Thus the unity as a self-determining principle is in the differences, but it is also in their negation, by which they pass beyond themselves as individuals and so return into the unity.
IDEA OF ORGANIC UNITY
"The reality is the universal, which goes out of itself, particularizes itself, opposes itself to itself, that it may reach the deepest and most comprehensive unity with itself." Such expressions seem to be breaking through the very limits of language, by continual self-contradiction ; yet they only distinctly analyze a thought which we continually use without analysis when we speak of a self, of self-consciousness or of self-determination. And as it has been shown that the "truth of necessity is freedom," we are compelled by the very development of the scientific conception of law to recognize that the ultimate interpretation of things must be in harmony with this idea. This, as we have seen, is equivalent to saying that the world is an organic unity. By the organic unity of the world, however, it is not meant merely that the world as a whole is to be interpreted on the analogy of the living body, or of a plant or animal. Such an organism only imperfectly realizes the idea of which we are speaking; and if the world were organic in this fashion, it would not be a self-determined whole, in which all differences were brought back to unity.
Or, even if we suppose all the differences of the world as an objective system could be brought to unity by means of such an idea, the thought or consciousness for which it exists would be left out; for the animal, though an organic unity, is not such a unity for itself. It probably never rises above the stage of feeling, in which the self is not yet clearly distinguished from, and related to, the world without. The supreme difference of subject and object is wanting to, or imperfectly expressed in, its life, and therefore there is not in it the possibility of the supreme reconciliation of intelligence with itself. If, therefore, the conception of an ideal or self-determining principle, with which we begin this third stage of the Logic, be fully developed, it will be seen to find its final form and expression only in self-consciousness, as the unity in difference of subject and object, self and not-self; for here only have we an ideal principle which is conscious of itself, and, consequently, complete in itself; here only have we a principle which develops to the utmost difference and opposition against itself, and yet returns into transparent unity with itself.
THE ABSOLUTE IDEA
This may be seen more clearly if we consider what the life of self-consciousness is. In the first place, self-consciousness presupposes consciousness, i.e., it is a consciousness of self in opposition, yet in relation, to a not-self. Yet in this distinction a higher unity is presupposed; for the self can be conscious of itself as so distinguished and related, only in so far as it overreaches the distinction between itself and its object. Thus beneath the conscious duality of self and not-self there is an unconscious unity, which reveals itself in the fact that the whole life of an intelligence is an effort to overcome its own dualism, - in knowledge to find itself, in action to realize itself, in an object or a world of objects, which at first presents itself as a stranger and even an enemy. For, as we have seen in our review of the previous stages of the 'Logic,' the world for the immediate consciousness of man is merely a world of things unrelated even to each other; and even when science so far overcomes this first consciousness, so as to discover law or relation in them, yet this relativity is not yet unity, not yet the pure transparent identity-in-difference of self-consciousness.
Hence the intelligence cannot yet find itself in the object, or, what is the same thing, cannot see the essential relation of the object to itself. "When, however, we become conscious that the truth of necessity is freedom, or, in other words, that the reality of things is to be found in the ideal unity or self-determining principle realized in them,-the mask of strangeness is taken from the face of nature, and we begin to find in it the same spiritual principle which we are conscious of in ourselves. The world, however it may seem to oppose, is really the field for the realization of intelligence; if it seems to resist us, it is because we are not yet at one with ourselves. For "all things must work together" for him whose nature is reason, and whose activity is only to realize himself as reason-i.e., to realize the spiritual principle, which is at the same time his own nature and the nature of things.
The whole theoretical and practical movement of self-consciousness thus culminates in what Hegel calls "the absolute idea" -i.e., in the idea of a self-consciousness which manifests itself in the difference of self and not-self, that through this difference, and by overcoming it, it may attain the highest unity with itself. This, the last category, contains and implies all the other categories; and, in another way, it shows itself to be implied in each and all of them. For what the whole 'Logic' has proved is, that if we take the categories seriously, abstracting from all subjective associations, and fixing our attention on their objective dialectic, or, in other words, if we leave the categories to define themselves by the necessary movement of thought through which they carry us, they lead us in the end to this idea of self-consciousness as their ultimate meaning or truth.
From the above sketch of the 'Logic,' which is necessarily somewhat summary and therefore external, it may at least be seen what is the general character of the task which Hegel proposed to himself. It was nothing but the completion of that work which had been begun by Plato in the 'Parmenides' and the 'Sophist,' and which had first reached something like a systematic form in the 'Metaphysic' of Aristotle. For it was Plato who first separated the categories from their concrete application, and tried to follow out for itself the dialectic that belongs to them when thus taken as independent objects. And it was Aristotle who first tried to gather these first principles of Being and Knowing into a systematic whole, culminating in the idea of the absolute reality, or of God as the "absolute self-consciousness" ("noesis noesios").
Hegel came back to the task with all the advantages of the modem development of science, by which the categories of reflection had been brought into clear consciousness, and shown to contain the keys to the secrets of nature. He came back to it after Kant had proved that the categories are only forms of expression for the unity of self-consciousness in relation to the world of objects. What remained for him, therefore, was to show that these categories are simply the necessary differentiation of the unity of intelligence; or, what is the same thing, that the idea of self-consciousness is the complete integration of them all. So far as he was successful in this, the result of his work was to overcome the dualism, which Aristotle had still left, between the pure intelligence and the intelligible world that is its object.
THE REAL AND THE RATIONAL
For if, as Kant had shown, objects exist only for the conscious self and through application of the categories, and if all these categories, from the simplest conception of Being up to the most complex idea of causality and final causality, are but elements or moments of a truth which is completely stated only in the idea of self-consciousness, it follows that the objective world is and can be nothing but the manifestation of intelligence, or the means whereby it attains the fullest realization of itself. Thus it is proved that there is a spiritual principle of unity, -a principle of unity which is renewed in every conscious self, - underlying all the antagonisms of the world, even its apparent antagonism to spirit itself. For such a self, therefore, there can be no absolute limit, or irreconcilable division, within or without. The native faith of the intelligence in itself has been justified by a thorough discussion and exhaustion of all the sources of skepticism. In spite of the apparent contingency or external necessity by which things seem to be ruled, it has been shown that "that only is real which is rational;" and in spite of the resistance which things present to what seem to be our highest aims and endeavors, it has been shown that "that only is rational which is real."