Hegel, G.F.W.: Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Basic Outline, Part I: Science of Logic.
During his lifetime, Hegel published three editions of his Encyclopedia (in 1817, 1827, and 1830). The text, which included his accounts of logic, the philosophy of nature, and the philosophy of spirit, was supposed to serve as a guide for his students, providing an outline of his mature thinking, the details of which he supplied in his lectures. In addition to the text of his Encyclopedia logic, this volume also includes the three forewords that he wrote to the various editions, and the general introduction to the Encyclopedia, as a whole. The brief numbered paragraphs that constitute the logic itself are supplemented with an introduction to the logic in particular, a "Preliminary conception" of the logic (a critical examination of the different "Positions" that "thought" can assume with regard to "objectivity"), a set of "remarks" that Hegel appended to the paragraphs themselves in later editions, and a series of "additions" (Zusatze) that Hegel's students drew from lecture notes and added after his death.
The subject matter of the logic is "thinking" itself. However, for Hegel, thinking is not merely a subjective activity, but rather occupies itself with what is essential and true of objects as well. Hence, insofar as logic is concerned with the "essentialities of things" it "coincides with metaphysics." While objects of thought, like God, the soul, and the absolute, might be excluded from logic when it is considered to be a merely formal study of concepts, judgments, and inferences, they play an important role in Hegel's speculative logic, which is concerned with "objective thoughts." Accordingly, the logic is subdivided according to the different kinds of concepts of objectivity that we might have. In the doctrine of being, objectivity is considered "immediately," that is, without the aid of reflection. In the doctrine of essence, objectivity is thought as necessarily reflected in and mediated by an other, namely, what is "essential." Finally, the doctrine of the concept aims to demonstrate that objectivity is most adequately understood explicitly as a determination of the "concept," that is, as embodying the dialectical and speculative structure that Hegel claims is inherent in thought itself. Hegel aims to present an immanent derivation of these concepts from one another, demonstrating that the limitations inherent to the thought of being point to the need to appeal to a concept of essence, and that that concept, in turn, entails the need to understand objective reality in terms of the "idea."
In their succinct introduction, Brinkmann and Dahlstrom trace the development of Hegel's thinking about the subject matter of logic and its role in his philosophy from the first decade of the 19th century up until his death. They offer a clear account of the place of the logic within the general structure of Hegel's mature thinking. Emphasizing Hegel's insistence that philosophy must be systematic, they provide a helpful treatment of the difficult question of the sense in which thoughts can be "objective." Their translation of the text of the logic itself is based on the Theorie Werkausgabe edition of the German text. They provide a brief translators' note accounting for their decisions concerning some of the more thorny issues which any translator of Hegel's logic faces. With regard to the text itself, their stated aim is "to strike a balance between the need to be faithful to Hegel's prose in its historical context and the desire to convey the force of his thinking as clearly as possible."
They succeed overwhelmingly in accomplishing this aim. Their translation embodies a great sensitivity to rigor and consistency, and they are responsible to Hegel's original text insofar as they both retain as much of the structure of Hegel's German and comprehensibly render many of Hegel's stylistic idiosyncrasies. At the same time, they have also produced a very readable edition of an infamously difficult work. Their prose is as uncomplicated as possible, and they avoid reliance on footnotes. Their successes in both of these areas mark significant advances on existing translations. Unlike the otherwise reliable translation of the minor Logic of Geraets et al., Brinkmann and Dahlstrom do not rely on neologisms, instead rendering Hegel's often tricky terminology in terms familiar to English-speaking philosophers. They are admirably sensitive to possible terminological difficulties, and frequently include the original German terms in square brackets within the text itself. Likewise, the balance that they strike between retaining the structure of Hegel's original text and rendering that text in straightforward contemporary English prose recommends their translation over the older and often arduous Wallace translation. Moreover, unlike Wallace's text, in which Hegel's original numbered paragraphs are often difficult to distinguish from the remarks he appended to them in later editions, the printing conventions in this edition more closely mirror those of the Theorie Werkausgabe edition, in which those distinctions are clear. Finally, readers will be pleased to find significant consistency in translation between this text and others that have appeared in the "Cambridge Hegel Translations."
This highly successful translation constitutes a welcome addition to that series, and to the existing body of translation of important texts from the history of German idealism.--Timothy Brownlee, Xavier University.
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|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2011|
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