The Concept and Its Double

Power and Powerlessness in Hegel’s Subjective Logic
  • Iain Macdonald


In a well known passage from the end of the Science of Logic, Hegel writes that the dialectical method is to be recognized ‘as the absolutely infinite force [die schlechthin unendliche Kraft], to which no object, presenting itself as external, remote from and independent of reason, could offer resistance or be of a particular nature in opposition to it, or could not be penetrated by it.’1 The power of reason is infinite and irresistible or, in a word, absolute – which means first and foremost that reason understood as the movement of the concept reveals the ‘soul and substance’2 of things in such a way that, in principle, they are in themselves completely given over to and unravelled by the Concept. The method ‘is therefore not only the highest force, or rather the sole and absolute force of reason,’ says Hegel, ‘but also its supreme and sole urge to find and cognize itself by means of itself in everything.’3 The dialectical method, understood as absolute power, entitles us to adopt an attitude of logical optimism in respect of anything that presents itself as resistant to reason.


Supra Note Absolute Power Individual Consciousness Conceptual Determination Absolute Force 
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© Iain Macdonald 2005

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  • Iain Macdonald

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