Thursday, April 7, 2011
Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface, paragraph 62
To explain what has been said by examples: in the proposition “God is being,” the predicate is “being;” it has substantial significance, in which the subject dissolves. Being is here not meant to be predicate but essence; thereby does God seem to cease being what He was when the proposition was posed, viz., the fixed subject. Thinking, instead of getting any farther with the transition from subject to predicate, feels itself, in that the subject is being lost, rather inhibited and, because it misses the subject, thrown back on the thought of the subject. Or again, since the predicate has itself been pronounced to be a subject, to be being, essence, which exhausts the nature of the subject, it finds the subject directly present in the predicate too: and now, instead of having, in the predicate, gone into itself, and preserved the free position of argumentation, it is absorbed in the content, or, at any rate, the demand is present to be so. Similarly when it is said: “the real is the universal,” the real, as subject, passes into its predicate. The universal is not only to have the significance of a predicate, as if the proposition expressed this: the real is universal; rather, the universal is meant to express the essential nature of the real. Thinking thereby loses that fixed objective ground which it had in the subject, just as much as in the predicate it is thrown back on the subject, and therein returns not into itself but into the subject of the content.