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Science of Logic

Science of Logic

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§ 860

Reflection is determinate reflection; hence essence is determinate essence, or it is an essentiality.

Reflection is the showing of the illusory being of essence within essence itself. Essence, as infinite
return−into−self, is not immediate but negative simplicity; it is a movement through distinct moments,

Science of Logic

Chapter 2 The Essentialities or Determinations of Reflection

65

absolute self−mediation. But it reflects itself into these its moments which consequently are themselves
determinations reflected into themselves.

§ 861

Essence is at first, simple self−relation, pure identity. This is its determination, but as such it is rather the
absence of any determination.

Secondly, the proper determination is difference, a difference that is, on the one hand, external or indifferent,
diversity in general, and on the other hand, is opposed diversity or opposition.

Thirdly, as contradiction, the opposition is reflected into itself and withdrawn into its ground.

Remark: A = A

A IDENTITY
B DIFFERENCE
(a) Absolute Difference
(b) Diversity

Remark: The Law of Diversity

§ 902

Diversity, like identity, is expressed in its own law. And both these laws are held apart as indifferently
different, so that each is valid on its own without respect to the other.

§ 903

All things are different, or: there are no two things like each other. This proposition is, in fact, opposed to the
law of identity, for it declares: A is distinctive, therefore A is also not A; or: A is unlike something else, so
that it is not simply A but rather a specific A. A's place in the law of identity can be taken by any other
substrate, but A as distinctive [als Ungleiches] can no longer be exchanged with any other. True, it is
supposed to be distinctive, not from itself, but only from another; but this distinctiveness is its own
determination. As self−identical A, it is indeterminate; but as determinate it is the opposite of this; it no
longer has only self−identity, but also a negation and therefore a difference of itself from itself within it.

§ 904

That everything is different from everything else is a very superfluous proposition, for things in the plural
immediately involve manyness and wholly indeterminate diversity. But the proposition that no two things are
completely like each other, expresses more, namely, determinate difference. Two things are not merely two
−− numerical manyness is only one−and−the−sameness −− but they are different through a determination.
Ordinary thinking is struck by the proposition that no two things are like each other −− as in the story of how
Leibniz propounded it at court and caused the ladies to look at the leaves of trees to see whether they could
find two alike. Happy times for metaphysics when it was the occupation of courtiers and the testing of its
propositions called for no more exertion than to compare leaves! The reason why this proposition is striking
lies in what has been said, that two, or numerical manyness, does not contain any determinate difference and
that diversity as such, in its abstraction, is at first indifferent to likeness and unlikeness. Ordinary thinking,
even when it goes on to a determination of diversity, takes these moments themselves to be mutually
indifferent, so that one without the other, the mere likeness of things without unlikeness, suffices to
determine whether the things are different even when they are only a numerical many, not unlike, but simply

Science of Logic

Chapter 2 The Essentialities or Determinations of Reflection

66

different without further qualification. The law of diversity, on the other hand, asserts that things are different
from one another through unlikeness, that the determination of unlikeness belongs to them just as much as
that of likeness, for determinate difference is constituted only by both together.

§ 905

Now this proposition that unlikeness must be predicated of all things, surely stands in need of proof; it cannot
be set up as an immediate proposition, for even in the ordinary mode of cognition a proof is demanded of the
combination of different determinations in a synthetic proposition, or else the indication of a third term in
which they are mediated. This proof would have to exhibit the passage of identity into difference, and then
the passage of this into determinate difference, into unlikeness. But as a rule this is not done. We have found
that diversity or external difference is, in truth, reflected into itself, is difference in its own self, that the
indifferent subsistence of the diverse is a mere positedness and therefore not an external, indifferent
difference, but a single relation of the two moments.

§ 906

This involves the dissolution and nullity of the law of diversity. Two things are not perfectly alike; so they
are at once alike and unlike; alike, simply because they are things, or just two, without further qualification
−− for each is a thing and a one, no less than the other −− but they are unlike ex hypothesi. We are therefore
presented with this determination, that both moments, likeness and unlikeness, are different in one and the
same thing, or that the difference, while falling asunder, is at the same time one and the same relation. This
has therefore passed over into opposition.

§ 907

The togetherness of both predicates is held asunder by the 'in so far', namely, when it is said that two things
are alike in so far as they are not unlike, or on the one side or in one respect are alike, but on another side or
in another respect are unalike. The effect of this is to remove the unity of likeness and unlikeness from the
thing, and to adhere to what would be the thing's own reflection and the merely implicit reflection of likeness
and unlikeness, as a reflection external to the thing. But it is this reflection that, in one and the same activity,
distinguishes the two sides of likeness and unlikeness, hence contains both in one activity, lets the one show,
be reflected, in the other. But the usual tenderness for things, whose only care is that they do not contradict
themselves, forgets here as elsewhere that in this way the contradiction is not resolved but merely shifted
elsewhere, into subjective or external reflection generally, and this reflection in fact contains in one unity as
sublated and mutually referred, the two moments which are enunciated by this removal and displacement as a
mere positedness.

(c) Opposition