1. The still uninherited legacy from Hegel 10/06/1999
Hello, I'm new to the list and much interested in the ontological side of Hegel's philosophy.
Today many people take Hegel as a 'dead dog,' and
there may be something of right in it. But in my view his so-called 'totally new way of
thinking about the world' is not yet understood properly even now.
So he, not a structural linguist in the 20th century, could say, "For example, 'now' has its being only through its relation to 'ago' and 'later.' Similarly 'red' exists only when it is contraposed to 'yellow' and 'blue.'" (*3)
(*1) Phänomenologie des Geistes, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 3, S. 23
(*2) See 6. The three aspects (3) 10/27/1999.
(*3) "So hat z. B. 'Jetzt' nur Sein in Beziehung auf ein Vorher und ein Nachher. Ebenso ist das Rot nur vorhanden, insofern demselben Gelb und Blau entgegensteht." (Enzyklopädie, Abschn. 42, Zusatz 1)
2. The three aspects of Hegelianism 10/09/1999
In order to interpret Hegel's philosophy today, I suppose, it may be helpful to investigate its three aspects:
Because each of these aspects surpasses fundamentally the
frame of the modern world-view, which began with Descartes and still prevails
nowadays, Hegelianism perplexes us very much.
3. Sorry, I sent a draft by mistake. 10/10/1999
I'm sorry, but I carelessly posted a rough draft for the reply to 'Re: The three aspects of Hegelianism' on October 10. Yes, I'm a beginning E-mail user.
In my childhood there wasn't even water service
but wells in our countryside. When I first used a public telephone as a schoolboy, I
unfortunately dialed before picking up the receiver . . . then I felt hostility to
Well, I must ask for tolerance for the delay of my reply. It still takes several days.
4. The three aspects (1) 10/14/1999
In a message dated 10/10/1999, Mr. Wxx wrote:
contribution: the recognition of self in the other which is his dialectic.
I tend to look for this dialectic in everything he says as the kernel
of his entire philosophy.<
I agree to these points;
though I don't know well about Weber. And it was natural for him to write:
The first aspect: the monism of consciousness or Spirit (1)
In the case of studying cognition in general, the so-called 鍍hree-term
schema・is often used by modern epistemologists: an
object of cognition (e.g., a tree itself)--contents of my consciousness
(representations or images of the tree)--a cognitive subject (the workings of
Opposing this schema, Hegel took notice of the
relation between the object and the subject and called this relation 'consciousness,' somewhat
So 'consciousness' in the Hegelian sense is not equal to that
of modern epistemology, i.e., the subjective term of the 'three-term schema,' which
could purely subsist by
itself. He denied such pure consciousness, saying: "consciousness is, in general, knowledge of an object
whether it be external or internal." (*3)
Therefore his 'consciousness' seemingly indicates the total of 'representation' or the middle term of the 'three-term schema.' But unlike 'representation,' it is not produced nor modified by the objective thing in itself and its subjective counterpart, both of which do not indeed exist from the beginning for Hegel. Consequently it would be appropriate for us, at the moment, to take his consciousness as the whole of the cognitive field. (*5)
By the way, our sketch of Hegelian monism from the viewpoint of relationism is, to our disappointment a bit, not quite new. Many people must have made it. (*6)
(*1) "Das Ganze aber, was im Wissen vorhanden ist, ist nicht nur der Gegenstand, sondern auch Ich, der weiß, und die Beziehung meiner und des Gegenstandes aufeinander: das Bewußtsein." (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4. S. 111)
(*2) "Hier sind die allgemeinen Bestimmungen der Dinge nur überhaupt
als bestimmte Beziehung vom Objekt auf das Subjekt zu betrachten." (ebenda, S. 112)
(*3) "Das Bewußtsein ist überhaupt das Wissen von einem Gegenstande, es sei ein äußerer oder innerer, . . . " (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4, S. 112)
reine Bewußtsein kann im empirischen nicht mehr und nicht weniger
nachgewiesen werden als das Ding-an-sich des Dogmatikers. . . . das rein
Subjektive ist Abstraktion so gut wie das rein Objektive;" (Differenz
des Fichteschen und Schellingschen Systems der Philosophie, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 2,
S. 61 f.)
(*5) cf. "Weder das Subjektive noch das Objektive allein füllt das Bewußtsein aus;" (ebenda, S. 61 f.)
(*6) For one, a popular guidebook by G. H. Lewes, Biographical History of Philosophy, first published in 1845-46.
5. The three aspects (2) 10/21/1999
The first aspect: the monism of consciousness (2)
Since Hegel disapproves such realism as presupposes things and their determinations that are out of consciousness and independent of it(*1), his consciousness occupies not merely the whole cognitive world, but also the ontic one. Thus his theory of consciousness is the monistic kind.
As mentioned in the preceding post dated
10/14/1999, the existents that emerge in Hegelian consciousness lack their footings, i.e., both
the objective thing in itself
and subjective pure consciousness. Hegelian epistemology then looks like some
kind of phenomenalism, which tells that only appearances exist, and that they must be
the foundation of all our knowledge.
Now our concern is how Hegelian self-production or self-alienation is made. This question leads us to the second aspect: the priority of relations to things. Hmm . . . it's really a tough question!
(*1) "Indem im Wissen die Dinge und ihre Bestimmungen sind, ist einerseits die Vorstellung möglich, daß dieselben an und für sich außer dem Bewußtsein sind und diesem schlechthin als ein Fremdes und Fertiges gegeben werden; . . . [Diese] Vorstellungsweise ist der Realismus . . . genannt worden. Hier sind die allgemeinen Bestimmungen der Dinge nur überhaupt als bestimmte Beziehung vom Objekt auf das Subjekt zu betrachten." (Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 4, S. 111 f.)
(*2) "Das Bewußtsein
hat . . . drei Stufen. . . . Es ist also:
6. The three aspects (3) 10/27/1999
The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (1)
-- What is the 'priority of relations'? --
"relationship is prior to a thing" was originally stated by Wataru Hiromatsu (1933-1994), who
was a creative thinker and probably the most important one in Japan
after the WW II.
For this example, consider a kind and loving individual, Mr. X. He works for an oil company. If he (a substance) did not exist, there would be neither his kindness nor his workableness (attributes). One day he met a girl (another substance) and got married to her. They made a good couple (a relation). In substantialism attributes and relations come only after substances.
On the contrary, relationists say, "The human essence is
the ensemble of social relations." The ensemble or the node of social
relations (e.g., his kindness, workableness, husbandship, etc.) is Mr. X.
Hiromatsu once commented on Hegel as a philosopher in
transition from substantialism to relationism; while Hegel grasped substance as
the subject, and in this way he made the former fluidic, but still presupposed the fundamental identity
7. The three aspects (4) 11/05/1999
The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (2)
-- 'Spirit = thinking = language' --
We can make a convenient formulation about Hegelian spirit: 'spirit
= thinking = language.' The kernel of spirit is thinking and its universality:
Consequently our strategy is to research the qualities of language
in order to throw light on Hegel's spirit. However, before starting our work, we should notice two problems.
The second problem is about intersubjectivity. Because
world-view bases on 'cogito' (I think), it always supposes consciousness to
belong to a certain individual or to individuals, never to a group or society as
a whole; So I can not in
principle know my neighbor's consciousness, but only infer it.
(*1) " . . . der Geist ist wesentlich Bewußtsein, somit von dem gegenständlich
gemachten Inhalt; als Gefühl ist er der ungegenständliche Inhalt
selbst . . . und nur die niedrigste Stufe des Bewußtseins, ja in
der mit dem Tiere gemeinschaftlichen Form der Seele. Das Denken macht die
Seele, womit auch das Tier begabt ist, erst zum Geiste . . . " (Enzyklopädie,
'Vorrede zur zweiten Ausgabe,' Suhrkamp
Verlag, Werke in zwanzig
Bänden, Bd. 8,
S. 24 f.)
(*2) "Indem die Sprache das Werk des Gedankens ist, so kann auch in ihr nichts gesagt werden, was nicht allgemein ist. Was ich nur meine, ist mein, gehört mir als diesem besonderen Individuum an; wenn aber die Sprache nur Allgemeines ausdrückt, so kann ich nicht sagen, was ich nur meine." (ebenda, Abschn. 20, S. 74)
(*3) "Und das
Unsagbare, Gefühl, Empfindung, ist nicht das Vortrefflichste, Wahrste,
sondern das Unbedeutendste, Unwahrste." (ebenda, S. 74)
8. The three aspects (5) 11/19/1999
I must apologize for this
series of my posts becoming, beyond my expectation, so long. With replying to
the message Re: The three aspects of Hegelianism dated 10/10/99, my
intention was to revitalize a 'dead dog' to living Hegel with modern,
the state of the art technologies.
The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (3)
Now, the world is divided by meshes of language.(*1) Each mesh is a supposed unit of meaning (roughly speaking, a word or a sentence) and 'corresponds' to part of the world.
Some people insist, after the later Wittgenstein,
language has no correspondence to reality or the world, but is a kind of game or
just an instrument of communication and expression.
In contrast to his early view, our meshes of language are
adjoined to each other. (*3) The totality of language corresponds to the totality
of reality, the world. So part of language divides the world and has 'correspondence' to part of
(*1) We are here taking up only the 'second language,' (Yoshiro Takeuchi) which is autonomous and makes a self-contained system, such as literary, scientific and philosophical language. The ordinary or everyday language, whose meaning depends on each situation, is not to be handled.
(*2) Tractatus, sec. 2.
(*3) By the way, they enlarge if their neighbor mesh diminishes or does not exist at all, as is said: "if there were not the word, 'wolf,' then 'dog' would be used as a substitute for it." And if not an imperative sentence, then a declarative sentence, etc.
(*4) Strictly speaking, these correspondences overlap nearly everywhere. But as our argument will not be influenced by the fact of overlapping, we do not deal with it.
9. The three aspects (6) 12/03/1999
The second aspect: the priority of relations to things (4)
-- The system of difference and Hegelian idealism --
Structural linguistics pointed out to us:
We agree the
structuralistic view of language above. And common sense also tells us that the word, e.g., 'good' keeps its meaning only in contrast to the word
'bad.' The meaning of the word 'blue' of childrenese would differ from that of our 'blue,' if a child
does not know the word 'ultramarine.'
(By the way, my argument about language is a sort of structure analysis, i.e., an analysis done after the formation of language system. If we analyze some language in its genesis, e.g., when a mother speaks the word 'dog' to a child with her finger pointing to an animal, it would be a different story.)
On the other hand, the totality of language consists of ideal elements. It is the result and accumulation of their workings. They are preserved as ideal moments in it and derive their being from it. Hegel calls this insight 'absolute idealism.' (*3)
A point to notice: what actually appear are
elements or, so to
speak, 'figures,' not the totality, 'ground.' Even when you face a thick
dictionary or a grammar of English, they are only the accumulation of the
elements of English. You can deal with the elements only one by one at a time, not
English as a whole, which, the totality, is also ideal.
To Hegel the argument about 'existence for another' is valid for reality itself: "'Now' has no meaning except in reference to a before and a hereafter. Red, in the same way, only exists through being opposed to yellow and blue . . . which (the former) is, only in so far as it is not the other, and only in so far as that other is." (*4)
Many people should contend that even if the idealistic view holds
its validity for language, concepts and thoughts, which are inherently, from
the beginning, imaginary and unsubstantial, however, real things are not
idealistic because they do have matter indeed.
(*1) Wissenschaft der Logik, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 5, S. 172
(*2) ebenda, S. 172
(*3) z. B. ". . . daß dieses die eigene Bestimmung der . . . endlichen Dinge
ist, den Grund ihres Seins nicht in sich selbst, sondern in der allgemeinen
göttlichen Idee zu haben. Diese Auffassung der Dinge ist . . . als
absoluter Idealismus zu bezeichnen, . . . "
(Enzyklopädie, Abschn. 45, Zusatz)
(*4) "So hat z. B. ›› Jetzt ‹‹ nur Sein in Beziehung auf ein Vorher und ein Nachher. Ebenso ist das Rot nur vorhanden, insofern demselben Gelb und Blau entgegensteht. Dies Andere aber ist außer dem Sinnlichen [d. i., dem Rot--Taki], und dieses ist nur, insofern es das Andere nicht ist, und nur, insofern das Andere ist." (ebenda, Abschn. 42, Zusatz 1)
(*5) "die Struktur des Etwas als Etwas" (Sein und Zeit, Paragraph 32)
10. Re: The three aspects (6) 12/04/1999
Dear Ms. Bxx,
Thank you for your remark on 'The three aspects (6)'. You
That's right and I agree with you. But I, as a light or soft-boiled Hegelian, should conceptualize (begrifflich erfassen) 'god,' and explain to impious contemporary non-Hegelians in philosophical terms how our world has the structure of absolute idealism. So in that post my intention was:
Whether or not actual things with their material moment have the structure of idealism, and where historical materialism's gone long time ago,--I am going to deal with these questions hereafter, if I had divine protection.
I suppose, as you wrote, that Trinitarian grasp of god decided Hegel's philosophy (absolute idealism) fundamentally. However I don't regrettably know this side of Hegelianism. I hope you (or anyone else) elucidate it for us.
11. Re: language, totality, correspondence 12/09/1999
Thank you for your sincere comment. I have no problems with redefining our title as "language, totality, correspondence"; I feel like I visit a new cafe.
Practically I too believe in what you wrote:
Now there are two ways to research language: synchronic
linguistics, which analyze its inherent structure, and diachronic one, which
deal with its historical changes and development.
I agree with your argument above, but that does not mean to
deny the inherent, idealistic structure of language, i.e., the distribution of
meanings or referents to its elements through the totality of language. Diachronic changes of language occur within, and in
accordance with, its synchronic structure, inherent rules, or, in our
wording, the idealistic
structure of language.
By the way, we can not rely on (natural) science in
a philosophical argument very much, for the method of science, induction, has, as
is well known, the fallacy of begging the question:
Logically, de jure, Science always suffers that kind of fault. A sarcastic person would then say, "Science is a refining process of prejudices." A historical materialist: "Modern science is just one of ideologies, each of which has its own rationality in its peculiar way." I myself: "The development of cognition is not to get near to truth, but to go away from a preceding untruth." (Oops, didn't I teach science to junior high school students for many years, boasting, "Science is the greatest achievement of humankind!"?)
12. Re: language, totality, correspondence 12/16/1999
Dear Hxx, (and Cxx, in the latter half of this post)
Thank you for your message dated 12/13/1999 JST.
There are, as you know, a whale of a crowd of schools in the
field of semantics and they have each and all presented so many language models.
(1) About 'correspondence'
Many linguists today think that language has two functions, denotation and connotation, though there are as many definitions of these terms as linguistic schools.
It is quite natural for laymen to take an actual entity or a set of actual entities of a same kind for denotation, and to understand the latter for the meaning of language. Very few linguists, however, do so except some symbolic (mathematical) logicians. As Mr. Byy and Mr. Cxx pointed out, "the meaning of language = an entity (or a set of entities)" thesis has fundamental difficulties.
Then how about taking a genus or a general
concept for denotation and looking upon understanding it as the meaning of language? With such a
sheerly universal language, however, we could not describe particular, individual
things or events. (Mr. Cabrera cited an example, "a warm blooded
creature," in his post.)
Finally, is it favorable to take connotation or an image for the meaning of language? They are a sort of representations of actual entities. When automobiles and democracy did not exist in old times, there were also no representations of them. The ground and contents of connotations, in their most basic level, consists in actual entities and events. (We have the word and the image of a nonactual Pegasus. But it is regarded as 'a horse + two wings.')
Consequently it may be said that simple, direct equations of an actual entity, a genus, and connotation with the meaning of language are all irrelevant. Maybe we should now ask why language can have meaning at all, that is, show something else to us than its own corporeality, i.e., a spot of ink or an oral sound before we start to determine what is meaning.
At once some people would answer, "That's an effect of
conditioned reflex between language and its meaning."
For that purpose we had better give our attention rather to
existents and events in general, and >to the 'structure of something as
something' of our cognition< (*1) than to language.
(2) About proposition and Hegel's concept
In his post dated 12/13/1999 JST, Mr. Hxx wrote:
So was I exactly. It seemed to me, though, that you had
misinterpreted Hegel's logic a bit, which, of course, did not injure your
great scholarship in the least. You wrote:
But Hegel's concept (Begriff) includes judgment that
is in a
propositional form: strictly speaking, "a judgment is concept's
determination that is posited at a concept." (*2) For an simple example:
(*1) cf. 9. The three aspects (6) dated 12/03/1999.
(*2) "Das Urteil ist die am Begriffe selbst gesetzte Bestimmtheit desselben." (Wissenschaft der Logik, Suhrkamp Verlag, Werke in zwanzig Bänden, Bd. 6, S. 301)
Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.
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