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Becoming v1

Becoming v1

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BECOMING VI: DEGREE"The limit (in a quantum) is identical with the whole of the quantum itself"(103).Having identified limit and quantum in this at first sight unintelligible way Hegel specifies, asif ramming home this identification, that the limit, as the quantum, can be "
in itself 
multiple",as "extensive magnitude". Less startlingly, the limit is, "as Intensive magnitude or 
Degree
","in itself 
 simple
determinateness (qualitative simplicity)."Extensive or Intensive magnitudes, as conceived here, apply only to specified or limitedquantity, the "how much" (quantum), whereas Quantity itself may be viewed as having bothContinuous and Discrete magnitude. In either case we have not to do with two differingspecies of a more general reality but with two reciprocal aspects of the latter.It comes out here, more than ever, how "Quantity", and the same will apply to "Degree",names,
qua
category, a specific
moment 
in the dialectical march to the Absolute Idea, in turndetermining this moment, and nothing else. Although this might apply to any doctrine of categories it is more strictly true of Hegel's than of either Aristotle's or Kant's, as beingcategories of predication and of phenomenal mind respectively. Quantity is the extreme or lastresult of Quality as such, but also only as this category too was here defined. This applies allthe way back to the immediate Beginning which
began
the dialectic and which was only
called 
Being, as Becoming was only called Becoming, whatever we say of Nothing and, for example, why it was not rather called non-Being. The dialectic does not merely pick or takeup its stages as, so to say, previously named. Naming and extensional linguistic explanation(also of a certain
intensive
"magnitude" of course) are rather used here as ways focommunicating the
 prior 
reality of Thought or Reason,
logos
. Hence this study, thiscommunication, is Logic. If correct, therefore, it represents a huge advance in philosophical
method 
, though even this term,
qua
term, must be regarded as analogically taken from theworkaday world of established practices. As speculative Hegel will identify such method withthe Absolute Idea itself, at least as "the specific consciousness", which the Idea has in
thinking itself 
, "of the value and currency of the 'moments' in its development." The "Methodof this content" will be, as it were finally, all "that at this stage is left as form for the idea"(237). It is analogical as referring first to the concrete process, or rather action, of thinking(ideating*?) the Idea and not to the chapter and verse of the various texts (at least two) settingforth or, rather,
recording 
, like fossils in a rock, such a life. This is the mystery of 
reading 
, or,
a fortiori
, of writing. It lies behind a question once asked by Aquinas, "Can one man or woman teach another?" He answers that teaching is activating the other's own intellect(making the flame leap, said Plato) as the physician only "heals" by getting the other's natureto heal itself. Ultimately, as implicit ground for this possibility, self and other are the sameand what is done to one is done to all (the essential misery of murder).As Thought the dialectic has a stake in thus transcending language. Hegel deals with this,though without the exclusive emphasis of a more partial or technical "linguistics", in hisPhilosophy of Spirit, under the more general rubric of a theory of signs, of semiotic.
1
So here, under Quantity
2
, quantity is dealt with not in abstraction from but in disregard of mathematics, as a more pure
a priori
. One can say this despite the hundred or so pages of disquisition upon mathematical themes in Hegel's
The Science of Logic
and even though Number itself, as with Pythagoras, has here presented itself as a genuine category. From this
1
Cf. Derrida,
op. cit.
2
By using initial capitals I attempt to keep the category-name distinct from the more general term, begging thereader's indulgence where, I fear, I may fail to keep to this rule.
 
viewpoint one cannot even be sure antecedently that mathematicians, as such, concernthemselves with Number itself. Thus in attempting this Frege, the mathematician, became aself-reflective philosopher 
in actu
while, conversely, it is still not clear whether extensional"mathematical logic" is indeed logic. Its famous "great strides" may rather argue the opposite,a striding
away
, a reduction of everything to "Extensive magnitudes" in search of a"convenience" better served by not thinking at all, as Hegel remarks (103,
 Zus.
).
3
It is rather the other way round. What
 first 
confronts us is the unitary or continuousmagnitude, though in the first place, as Hegel (along with Spinoza) emphasises, this refers primarily to the whole. By analogy or, rather, metonymy with this we single out or "break off"other wholes. Analytic "discretion", to pun in irony, the discrete, comes later and to thus break something (a quantum) off is a tool, a praxis
4
, which often or always harms or distorts what itworks with, as,
ex hypothesi
, does the observer of "quanta" (no punning intended) incontemporary physics. For he is himself an
analysis
or abstracted aspect (thus by no means afragment) and not the whole which "counts itself".
5
Quantity, again, is only contingentlyconnected (not to say "related") to our "normal" more mathematical notion of it.Quantity first appeared, in fact, as the quality not which changes but which occurs to or isinstanced in but without affecting "the being itself", to which it is "external". Nonetheless,"the Absolute is pure Quantity" (99), which however Hegel relates to the "definition" of it asMatter.
6
The material realm, namely, is that where things are outside of or alienated from oneanother,
 partes extra partes
, precisely the situation the "analytical method" tries to bringabout in regard to thoughts.Thus Quantity as a "stage of the Idea" refers more to negation than to externality. The latter ismere picture. Thus intensive magnitude permits the notion "more of the same", i.e. without being different, more without becoming several,
mehr 
that is not
mehreres
. Greek scienceworked in general with opposites and their relative proportions, like hot and cold, dry andwet. Even in Aristotle's ethics there is not much room for growth in virtue, though he has of course the notion of habit. However it only becomes a virtue at all when it is thus "had", as
hexis
,
habitus
, the "having" of it which it is, in perfection! You either have it or you don't. Butcontrast growth in spirit or in wisdom, in "grace"? Here intensive magnitude, more of thesame without being different and in
that 
sense an external quality, is needed.In the sense that the Absolute is pure quantity we cannot but be referred to the dialectic asHegel's attempt to get behind the ultimately sham discreteness of language, the "broken off"spaces between words, to the continuum as reflected in the being of finite things. Such beingis identical with just their specific finitude, their degree on a scale, the limit, the finiteintensity (of "magnitude") appropriate to each thing (its "measure", we will see later). In thissense qualitative
changes
, for example (change is not essential to this picture), are at bottomquantitative, as water gets more and more cold to become ice. Or as, in Christian theology, the
3
In support of these suggestions (not meant as mere insinuations) I cite the work on logic of a late friend andmentor, Henry B. Veatch, especially his
 Intentional Logic
of 1952. For exposure of the misapprehension etc.evidenced in reviews of and comments upon this work see my
 Philosophy or Dialectic
, Peter Lang, Frankfurt,1995, I, 5 (pp. 61-70).
4
Cf. 104: "Not only therefore
may
the quantum be increased or diminished without end: the very notion of quantum is thus to push out and out beyond itself." Thus Hegel overcomes the restrictive Kantian (or Lockean)conceptualism by maximising it, in true dialectical fashion. All possible conceptions, like all the possible worldsof modern physics, are stabs at the final result, moments of the method. This is not of course to say that allconceptions are possible.
5
A conception broached in V, q.v.
6
Hegel writes "when it is defined to be" (if I can rely on the translation) and that is exactly right, given Hegel'saccount of ideal reality. Here definition becomes a more open or less exclusive variety of identification than weusually intend with this latter term. The Absolute may and has to be thus identified with any and every category"in passing", as it were. Here Hegel, having recast definition, rescues identity from "the Philosophy of Identity"(cf. 103,
 Zus
., last paragraph).
 
Devil is not God's opposite but a kind of final minimum of good. He is good as a createdspirit. This conception implicitly rejects the idea that "moral" and "physical" good areequivocal varieties of the latter. The Kantian "good will" is,
malgré 
Kant, good as is a given bottle of beer, viz. good in its kind, though, we may agree, of more practical and indeed onticimportance. Here, however, if we are moving towards an ontology of pure spirit or spirits, partially heralded by Kant's two spheres (and Manicheism everywhere), the picture, thoughnot perhaps the meanings of words, changes. We may compare Hegel's distinction betweentruth and correctness. Nonetheless if we
 said 
it is true that the cat is on the mat we would
 say
the same, by "true", as if we said "It is true that God exists". Here too Hegel's distinction between saying and meaning must hold, in so to say the opposite direction to his whenspeaking of "I", where we
 say
the universal of universals, though meaning (trying to mean),impossibly, "this individual". "I cannot say what I merely
mean
" (20).In this sense, equally, a man can always become worse, "piling sin on sin" (Aquinas), andcontrariwise. The Absolute here is Quantity itself, along with, in final identity, goodness, butnot evil as antithesis or second member of a putative triad. The antithesis is always finite, aseven Nothing
denies
Being before itself being anything.
7
 But the movement is after all similar to that of Aquinas's Fourth ("Platonic") Way to God, miscalled proof, reasoning from themore or less "external" to absolute and hence mutually identical qualities as such.So we have quantity, matter, degree. Hegel cannot but have had in mind the Augustiniancatch-phrase, culled from the Psalter and handed down (
traditum
) further by Leibniz, thatGod created all things "in" number, weight and measure. Still, the notion of 
matter 
suggestedat 99 has little to do with weight (
 pondus
) and more with "substrate",
hypokeimenon
in Greek  philosophy, introduced with or without need in the earlier 
The Science of Logic
. This
materia prima
or pure potentiality easily switches over, in materialism, to absolute
 power 
, an intrinsicdialectical relation more than it is a misunderstanding merely, as some would loftily maintain.So we have indeed "nullified" quality. As regards Atomism, Hegel distinguishes sharply a philosophical (dialectical)
moment 
of that name, first appearing in antiquity, from thecorresponding reductionist or extensionalist temptation in a later physics. Here the crucialreciprocity of repulsion and attraction is discarded or simply missed. Instead, a newautonomous or natural "attractive force" is "put beside" Repulsion. Hegel finds this"confusion" also in Kant. He relates it to the political notion of a group of existing "atomic"individuals willing to form a compact as State. We are rather attracted to one another,however, to the point of compenetration,
inasmuch as
we repel one another, "One and manyones" (98). Again one notes the kinship with a later, post-Nietzschean psychology, without it being a matter of "reading in". Rather, to read just is to read in, as Hegel himself amplydemonstrates, in his reading of ancient Atomism, for example. The "mutual implication of thetwo" has to be "wrested from obscurity and confusion". The "Many are one the same asanother" so that Repulsion "is just as essentially a connective reference", the Void being amere picture for "the Nothing" which separates, i.e. does
not 
separate them, since it isnothing. The One, it is implied, is wrongly "fixed as one". One is rather or as well "Being-for-self in the shape of the Many" and not only in Atomism. Thus the Infinite, the Idea, isnecessarily differentiated or, which is the same, "in its own absolute truth it resolves to let the'moment' of its particularity", as "immediate idea", "go forth as Nature".
8
7
One might think, all the same, that Hegel, in his first triad, posits purely abstract being as "no better than" (theBuddhistic) nothing, as if he might as well have begun with Nothing instead. This speculation, however, I atleast suspect will not go through. Such a nothing would be something, if not yet an
 Etwas
or "somewhat". Wewould anyhow, whatever ontic prejudices are implied in our language, never be warranted in reality in passingfrom nothing to being. What reality? If "nothing" is a name for not anything it is not a name for any
thing 
. It isnot a name, as its use thus absolutely pretends of it. The "nothing of the Buddhists" is unavoidably a something
else
, as they go on to describe.

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