|About the Book|
An excerpt from the beginning of the:PrefaceThe student of Hegel usually finds the Logic the most forbidding and impossible part of the System. At the same time he is aware, not merely from Hegel’s own statements, but from the general nature of HegelMoreAn excerpt from the beginning of the:PrefaceThe student of Hegel usually finds the Logic the most forbidding and impossible part of the System. At the same time he is aware, not merely from Hegel’s own statements, but from the general nature of Hegel’s philosophy, that unless he can discover the clue to the tale of the categories, Hegel’s System will remain for the most part a sealed secret. In his perplexity he generally abandons, after a short struggle, the effort to understand the System, and regards it either with contempt or despair according to his temperament.The difficulties felt are due partly to the strangeness of the System, the absence of apparent points of contact with ordinary thought, and partly also to the fact that Hegel has made no confession regarding the path which led him to his final result. Other difficulties of course remain, even when the preliminary obstacles are overcome- but they are of a different kind and hardly so paralysing to continued interest. It is one thing not to understand what an author means in given context, for this difficulty arises from what we already know of the author and the context in question- it is quite another matter not to be sure what the author really intends to say in any context at all.It is the aim of the present work to attempt to remove these initial difficulties more particularly in the way of understanding the Logic, but also regarding the point of view of the System generally. The author has tried to show how the Science of Logic as expounded by Hegel arose in the course of the development of his System, and to state its general meaning. He has thought that if the way could be indicated by which the Logic grew up in the mind of its author, much of the preliminary obscurity which hangs over it might be removed, and such philosophical value as it claims to possess might be more easily appreciated. The purpose of the inquiry is thus primarily historical. So far as the author has deviated from this, it is mainly to bring out by critical suggestions the connexion between one period in Hegel’s development and the succeeding. The concluding chapter is devoted solely to criticism, in order to refer, as shortly as the scope of the inquiry would allow, to some of the points of importance which must be taken into account in estimating Hegel’s result.It does not claim in the least to be exhaustive or even, as it stands, quite sufficient- but to have done less would have left the work more incomplete than it is, and to have done more would have been to go beyond the natural limits of the inquiry, and probably of the patience of the reader. The same may also be said of the Notes appended to Chapter IX, the subjects of which could not possibly be treated fully in short compass. Such views as have been expressed the writer expects to develop in a further treatment of Hegel’s System, which he hopes shortly to undertake.The method of exposition adopted may seem at times a little misleading.The author has identified himself so much with Hegel’s point of view that, it may be objected, it is difficult to distinguish Hegel from his interpreter. There is perhaps something to be said against this method.Still it seems the best in the circumstances, if one is to avoid the unsympathetic attitude of the mere onlooker, or, what is quite as common in expositions of Hegel, the mere restatement of Hegel’s position in his own words. But in fact the method is not so dangerous as it seems, for it will be easy to detect at what points the writer is giving his own views, and where the narrative is purely historical.It ought perhaps to be mentioned that all the stages in Hegel’s development are not equally important for the understanding of the Logic.