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Hegel - Logic

Hegel - Logic

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Published by: Druane on Jan 25, 2010
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 Forewordto OUP Edition of 
The Logic
, by J NFindlay 1973
THE present volume is a reprint, with one or two minor alterations, of the mostmasterly and influential of all English translations of Hegel: the
 Logic of Hegel 
translated from the
 Encyclopaedia of the
 Philosophical Sciences
 by WilliamWallace, Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Oxford,first published close on a century ago. Wallace, like Edward Caird, came toOxford from across the Border, and was able, owing to some strange affinity of the then Scotland with an earlier Germany, to enter into the finer shades of Hegel's thought, language, and historical milieu in a manner impossible to hissouthern-born contemporaries, who might adopt and display Hegelian show- pieces in their heavily written works on Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology, but who could never follow, in its odd, wavering integrity, the line of a dialecticthat was often most tellingly true when it leapt with what seemed the greatestirresponsibility to view matters from some higher, different point of view. ThatWallace's often loose paraphrase of the Hegelian text is at all points beyondimprovement will not here be maintained: it is, however, a translation for whichone may be devoutly thankful, as one cannot be for the first translations of Hegel's other major works. And while the
to the dense text whichLeopold von Henning compiled from his own notes, and from the notes of hisvalued colleagues Hotho, Michelet, and Geyer — whose gaps he had at times theaudacity to fill from his own personal memory of what Hegel had said — mayfail to satisfy our new-found passions for documentation and doxography, wemay be immeasurably glad that we have them too. Some passages from the
in Wallace's rendering have led whole generations of students to a better understanding of Hegel. That 'a progression to infinity is not the real infinitewhich consists in being at home with itself in its other', that 'the consummationof the infinite End consists merely in removing the illusion that makes it seemyet unaccomplished' and that 'the Absolute Idea may be compared to the old manwho utters the same creed as the child, but for whom it is pregnant with thesignificance of a lifetime': these are almost scriptural statements, contributing as
 preciously to our thought and language as some of the passages in the KingJames Bible. The last of the three passages just cited has a peculiar significancefor the present writer, since Wallace's
was among the first books on philosophy that he ever read, and will probably be among the last.The importance of Wallace's work depends further on the importance of the
which Wallace was not wrong in describing as 'the onlycomplete, matured, and authentic statement of Hegel's philosophical system'.First published in 1817, and with many of the points made by Hegel in lecturesadded by him to the 1827 edition, it represents the endlessly proliferating
of Hegel's thought, reduced at least to a modicum of translucencyand settled repose. The
 Phenomenology of Spirit 
of 1807 was, as Wallace says,the flight of a young Pegasus on which only a kingly soul could soar to theempyrean of the Idea: it might have all the 'diamond purity' of Hegelianism, butonly consummate skill and patience could hope to use it with advantage. And, asHegel himself said in
 § 25, the
though intendedto be the introductory first part of his system, which would show how immediateconsciousness must necessarily progress to the philosophical point of view, wasin fact forced to take account of numberless concrete 'formations of consciousness', Religion, Morality, Art, etc., which were really the subject matter of other special branches of philosophy, and which included much that had goneon 'behind consciousness' and now required to be raised into consciousness. The
accordingly had to drag in much that properly belonged inanother context, and as such it had defects which led to its replacement in the
(§§ 1-78
) by what amounts to a new Introduction, including a
and a study of the three main attitudes of previous philosophicalthought to objectivity. The
for all its brilliance, is thereforeceremoniously trundled away as an Introduction to the whole system, and whenHegel planned its republication in 1831, he penned the following note,reproduced by his publisher after his death: ‘Characteristic early work not to berevised — relevant to the period in which it was written — the abstract Absolutewas dominant at the time of the
’ (
Hoffmeister edition, p. 578). Its essential content, the development of Consciousness from a stagewhere it confronts an uninterpreted, objective presence in sense-certainty, to thestage at which it both recognises and is recognised by countless other embodiments of the same shared rationality, is presented, freed from brilliantincrustations and additions, in §§ 413-39 of the
.The other great work that preceded the publication of the
, the
Science of Logic,
first published in three parts in 1812, 1813, and 1816, and in a partially revised form after Hegel's death, can be said, despite its vastly greater 

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