Hegel on the Logic of Basic Metaphysical Concepts (Part Two)

Mar 21, 2016, 12:00 PM

The last of our four releases on G.W.F. Hegel's The Encyclopaedia Logic (1817). Here we finish sections 78–99 (still with guest Amogh Sahu), giving Hegel's account of how Being supposedly leads, when you analyze the concept itself, to Nothingness, and then Becoming, Quality, and Quantity. And we also get Infinity in there, which is nice.

So, how does this work? Well, Being, which is the only starting point you could possibly have if you don't want to smuggle in any prejudices in kicking off your philosophy (in fact, you could just start with the concept "beginning" and you could figure this out), is totally undifferentiated, right? It's not "horse-being" but Being in general, what everything that IS has. So there's nothing that would distinguish it as the Being of anything in particular. Well, then there's no definition, no defined entity to it at all: it's Nothingness! Just like the notion of God as the wholeness of everything is really the same as the Buddhist notion of Void. So you contemplate those terms and see how they flip back and forth one to the other in your mind, and HEY! That flipping there, that's Becoming! So you just got Becoming out of Being.

But what is Becoming? It's finitude: anything that Becomes (anything real, not just abstract Being) comes into being and at some point ceases to be. It is a specific thing, which is what Hegel calls "determinate being" (the German is Dasein, literally "Being-There"). And if someone is thinking about that something in particular, that determinate being, then it gets picked out by its Quality, so there's that basic category of metaphysics right there.

Well, what's the flip side of this? If you've got something determinate, then by definition you have Otherness, i.e. determinate negation, and if you think about the Otherness of Otherness you get a loop, which is Infinity.

And unfortunately, we ran out of time and energy before really talking about Quantity, so too bad for you!

Yes, the matter is more complex than what I said here, but it's no less weird. This "practical application" is the big pay-off from listening to those three previous hours of us talking about Hegel's logic. Here's part one, or better yet, listen to part one of ep. 134 where this all starts. #philosophy #reason #logic #metaphysics #being #becoming #hegel Go to the blog: http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2016/03/21/ep135-2-hegel-logic/