Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 3, No 2-3 (2007)

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Hegel and the Becoming of Essence

David Gray Carlson


One of the more mysterious transitions in Hegelrsquo;s mnoumental lsquo;Science of Logicrsquo; is the transition from the last stages of Being into the shadowy negative realm of Essence. This paper assesses the logic of those steps, in which measure becomes fully present but unable to capture an absence Hegel will eventually name as Essence. The paper emphasizes that the correlativity that marks the realm of essence is already introduced in the final two chapters of Hegelrsquo;s analysis of measure. It concludes by explaining why Hegel thought bad astronomymdash;the division of planetary orbit into centripetal and centrifucal forcemdash;illustrates the final sublation of quality and quantity. While quality and quantity both have lsquo;beyondsrsquo;, the realm of essence does not. Essence is revealed to be a totality that contains both itself and other (measure, or appearance)nbsp; in a single correlation.

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