8 Jan 2009

Simon Duffy. The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze, Chapter 1, §5

[The following summarizes Simon Duffy's extraordinary book, The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze, Chapter 1, §5.
Duffy's work is remarkable, so I highly recommend this book. If it costs too much, perhaps encourage your library to obtain a copy. Also, please consult original texts to confirm the accuracy of this summary.]

Simon Duffy. The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze,
Chapter 1 "Spinoza from the point of view of an idealist or a materialist dialectic",
§5 "Hegel's refutation of Spinozism"

For Spinoza, substance and its modifications are all there is. However, for Hegel substance forms only part of his larger system.

Hegel thinks 'being' simply. But doing so is no less to think its absolute opposite: nothing. So when we think pure indeterminate being, our thought passes over to the thought of nothing, and vice versa, thereby collapsing their differences. Being and nothing are interdependent concepts making up a larger thought determination: becoming. So when we think pure being, we thereby think pure becoming. For Hegel, thought determinations require "contrastive determinations." When they resolve, thought progresses to more complex categories, advancing evolutionarily in accordance with this dialectical logic. (13b.c)

Hegel begins with being-logic. He develops it through its contrasting determination, essence-logic, which negates the immediate givenness of being-logic. We negate the given by considering it as appearance so to determine its underlying essence.

Being-logic's and essence-logic's categories are negated by concept-logic, hence the concept subsumes being and essence.

Initially: being-logic provides the given.
Negation 1: essence-logic negates being-logic to produce essence.
Negation 2: concept-logic negates essence-logic to produce the concept.
Hence the concept is a negation of a negation.

For Hegel, substance results when essence is united with being [by means of the first negation that produces the concept]. Because the Concept results from the union of essence and being by means of their becoming substance, the Concept presupposes substance. So what is implicit in substance explicates in the Concept. And because what is implicit in substance is this dialectical logic, the Concept expresses the process of substance's becoming. (13d.14b)

The pure form of the Concept is the absolute idea, which is self-determination. Our thought's rational structure is no different from that of true reality. Science of Logic itself likewise is structured this way. Empiricism does not hold up as well to this truth criteria, so Science of Logic provides a philosophical means to investigate spirit. (14b.c)
The Concept is identical to the "I" of pure subjectivity or pure self-consciousness.

Individual selves reside in their respective cultural realm. This is the substance determining their subjectivity or self-consciousness.

When consciousness stands to its other, it faces a negativity that determines it.

When consciousness stands to substance, it determines itself both as being distinct from substance while also being itself a thinking substance. In this way substance as well attains self-consciousness. (14d.15a)

So consciousness separates from its object. Substance and spirit likewise undergo this process, so Hegel attributes to them the terms "subject" and "self" also.

We said before that the objective cultural realm is subjectivity's substance. So when out of a culture emerges its defining representative forms, the substance becomes subject. For, it thereby determines itself as its own object by means of self-representation, namely, through art, religion, politics, and philosophy. Thus absolute idea as spirit is a self-consciousness, and human history mediates its becoming.
Individual subjects attain greater self-consciousness through their social and political structures and conditions. Thus for Hegel, the realm of spirit is found in Europe's social and political structural conditions. (15a.b)

Duffy, Simon. The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2006.

Spinoza. Ethics. Transl. Elwes. available online at:


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