Monday, February 28, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 2

In the same way too, by determining the relation which a philosophical work is considered to have to other aspirations on the same subject, a foreign interest is introduced, and that which is at stake in the recognition of the truth is obscured. As opinion regarding the opposition of true and false becomes fixed, agreement or contradiction with a given philosophical system comes to be expected, and only the one or the other is wont to be seen in any explanation of the matter. It does not conceive the diversity of philosophical systems as the progressive evolution of truth but rather as contradiction. The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant’s existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another. But their fluid nature makes them at the same time moments of an organic unity, where they not only do not contradict one another, but where the one is as necessary as the other; and this equal necessity first makes up the life of the whole. But opposition to a philosophical system partly is not wont to be conceived in this way, and partly is it so that the conceptualizing consciousness does not commonly know how to free itself or keep itself free from its one-sidedness, so as to recognize mutually necessary moments in that which seems to be in conflict and inherently antagonistic.

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