Friday, March 4, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 24

Among the many consequences that follow from what has been said, this may be emphasized, that only as science, or as system, is knowledge real and capable of being expounded; that, furthermore, a so-called fundamental statement or first principle of philosophy, to the degree that it is only a fundamental statement or first principle, is yet for this reason also false, even if it is true. It is for that reason easily refuted. The refutation consists in bringing out its defective character, and it is defective because it is merely the universal or principle, the beginning. If the refutation is thoroughgoing, it is derived from it and developed, and not accomplished by bringing in contrary assurances and notions from the outside. Such would thus actually be its development and thereby the amendment of its deficiency, were it not that it fails to recognize that it is only taking the negative action into account rather than apprising itself of progress and results in terms of their positive aspect. The really positive pursuance of the beginning is at the same time just as much the very reverse: it is a negative relation towards the beginning, to wit, against its one-sided form, only to be immediate or goal. It may thus likewise be regarded as a refutation of what constitutes the basis of the system; but more correctly, it should be looked upon as a demonstration that the basis or principle of the system in fact is only its beginning.

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