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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hegel’s project in the Science of Logic is to generate a demonstrably complete list of categories and forms of thought while arguing that these are products of thought’s own self-determining (autonomous) activity. The chapter offers a compact introduction to the work’s first section, ‘Quality (Determinateness),’ without assuming prior knowledge. Key background sources in Kant (the table of categories, the table of nothing, the transcendental ideal) and Spinoza (monism, nihilism, and the principle omnis determinatio est negatio) are discussed in order to cast light on the specifics of Hegel’s approach. Analysis focuses on the main stations of Hegel’s exposition: the opening dialectic of being–nothing–becoming, the relation of the finite to ‘bad infinity’ and the ‘true infinite’, the concept of being-for-self in its relation to self-consciousness (apperception), and the transition from quality to quantity. The final section draws conclusions about the nature of Hegelian ‘idealism’ and its essentially practical character.

Keywords: Hegel, Kant, Spinoza, idealism, self-determination, logic, bad infinity

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