Translation used: Cambridge
The Science of Logic is Hegel’s exposition and explanation of the concept of Science (true knowledge) itself. Functioning as the general foundation of all other specific sciences, it is peculiar in its task to generate itself out of itself with no external foundation. Setting itself apart from all formal logic which takes the character of thought as a given reflection, such as the law of non-contradiction, Hegel’s logic begins and remains as the thinking of thought in full freedom of itself. Logic is the thinking about thinking. The work is unparalleled in its antifoundationalism and technically requires nothing outside it to comprehend it, but Hegel makes ample commentary on the past in order to show how different the account of his logic’s concepts are from those prior to his.
Part of the great difficulty of this work is that, like all of Hegel’s works, it requires one to relinquish the natural desire to oppose at every turn what one is comfortable with thinking of the world with Hegel’s seemingly arbitrary and unexplained concepts. Hegel says Being, and most of us seem to jump for the nearest defined concept or experience which we associate with it only to find Hegel’s own Being makes no sense to us. This work asks of us as an individual to have humility in our own conceptions and patience towards Hegel’s so that we may not just read these thoughts, but also think through them. It is hoped that we may in the process come to a realization of just what the great mystery of Hegel’s method is, and what it can be seen to lead to. To tantalize a bit: only an absolute method can generate an absolute content/form. Only an absolute thinking can generate an absolute thought, and only an absolute thinking may explain itself to itself.
Here are a couple of expositions of the conceptual moves in the Science of Logic. I tend to try to keep to the pure logical structure and moves, and do not note any of the historical points Hegel makes on some of his in-text comments. These are a work-in-progress and hopefully they help more than confuse, but though I don’t offer here a guarantee of correctness I feel quite confident I’m more rather than less on the right track (you can be the judge). Reading Hegel in a genuine way is always a real learning and rethinking experience, especially as one builds up the system and looks back. Every further concept illuminates prior ones.
Because the Logic deals in pure thought abstractions it is the case that, given the content, any form which tries to make this more familiar by relying on “picture thinking” will muddle the intended point and meaning of a concept’s logic. Thus, I am afraid I must side with Hegel and offer my own serving of the torture house of language on top of his. So, if pure ideas seem spooky to you…