Monday, April 4, 2011

Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 59

With regard to the conduct of argumentation, both sides are to be observed in terms of which conceptual thought opposes it. In part, that negative relates in opposition to the conceived content, knows how to refute it and reduce it to nothingness. This insight is the bare negative, showing that something is not; it is the last thing, that cannot itself proceed beyond itself to a new content; in order for it to regain a content, something else must be undertaken somewhere else. It is reflection in the empty I, the vanity of its knowledge. Vanity of this kind brings out not only that this content is vain but also that this insight itself is vain; for it is the negative with no perception of the positive within it. In that this reflection does not even gain its own negativity as its content, it is not inside the matter, but ever above and beyond it; for this reason it imagines that by asserting emptiness it is going far beyond the insight that embraces and reveals a wealth of content. By contrast, in the case of conceptual thinking, as was above indicated, the negative falls within the content itself, and is the positive, both as its immanent movement and determination, and as the entirety of what these are. Looked at as a result, it is the determinate negative, the outcome of this movement, and consequently just as well a positive content.

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