Science of Logic  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hegel's work The Science of Logic (Wissenschaft der Logik; 3 vols., 1812, 1813, 1816) outlined his vision of logic, quite far removed from the traditional syllogism. Since for Hegel all of reality is ultimately rational, logic is not merely about reasoning or argument but rather is also the rational, structural core of all of reality and every dimension of it. Thus Hegel's Science of Logic includes among other things analyses of being, nothingness, becoming, existence, reality, essence, reflection, concept, and method. As developed, it included the fullest description of his dialectic.

Excerpt on 'Klarheit' and 'Finsterniß' (Clarity and darkness)

"Aber man stellt sich wohl das Seyn vor – etwa unter dem Bilde des reinen Lichts, als die Klarheit ungetrübten Sehens, das Nichts aber als die reine Nacht, und knüpft ihren Unterschied an diese wohlbekannte sinnliche Verschiedenheit. In der That aber, wenn man auch dieß Sehen sich genauer vorstellt, so kann man leicht gewahr werden, daß man in der absoluten Klarheit so viel und so wenig sieht, als in der absoluten Finsterniß, daß das eine Sehen so gut als das andere, reines Sehen, Sehen von Nichts ist. Reines Licht und reine Finsterniß sind zwei Leeren, welche dasselbe sind. Erst in dem bestimmten Lichte – und das Licht wird durch die Finsterniß bestimmt, – also im getrübten Lichte, ebenso erst in der bestimmten Finsterniß, – und die Finsterniß wird durch das Licht bestimmt, – in der erhellten Finsterniß kann etwas unterschieden werden, weil erst das getrübte Licht und die erhellte Finsterniß den Unterschied an ihnen selbst haben, und damit bestimmtes Seyn, Daseyn, sind."
But one pictures being to oneself, perhaps in the image of pure light as the clarity of undimmed seeing, and then nothing as pure night — and their distinction is linked with this very familiar sensuous difference. But, as a matter of fact, if this very seeing is more exactly imagined, one can readily perceive that in absolute clearness there is seen just as much, and as little, as in absolute darkness, that the one seeing is as good as the other, that pure seeing is a seeing of nothing. Pure light and pure darkness are two voids which are the same thing. Something can be distinguished only in determinate light or darkness (light is determined by darkness and so is darkened light, and darkness is determined by light, is illuminated darkness), and for this reason, that it is only darkened light and illuminated darkness which have within themselves the moment of difference and are, therefore, determinate being. --tr. A. V. Miller, 1969

Editions of Science of Logic

Secondary literature

  • Hartnack, Justus, 1998. An Introduction to Hegel's Logic. Indianapolis: Hackett. ISBN 0-87220-424-3
  • Wallace, Robert M., 2005. Hegel's Philosophy of Reality, Freedom, and God. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-84484-3.
  • Houlgate, Stephen, 2006. The Opening of Hegel's Logic: From Being to Infinity. Purdue University Press

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