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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Excerpts from Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline (1817)

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Philosophy is here represented as the science of reason, particularly insofar as reason becomes conscious of itself as of all being. All knowledge other than philosophy is knowledge of finite things or a finite knowledge, for by this knowledge reason is presupposed as subjective, given, and thus does not recognize itself in this knowledge. Even when topics are found in self-consciousness, such as laws, duties, and values, these are still particulars seen in contrast to both the self-consciousness that is aware of them and the remaining variety of the universe. To be sure, the topic of religion is the infinite topic for itself, which is supposed to contain everything within itself. But the representations of religion do not stay true to themselves. For here again the world remains independent, apart from the infinite, and what religion offers as the highest truth remains at the same time unfathomable, a secret, unknowable, given, and available to differentiating consciousness only in the form of a given and external entity. In religion the true is presented as feeling, intuition, presentiment, as representation or as worship in general, as well as interwoven with thoughts, but truth is not presented in the form of truth. Above all, religion constitutes its own world, separate from the rest of consciousness, even though its attitude is all-embracing.

Philosophy can also be seen as the science of freedom, because in philosophy the heterogeneity of topics and with it the finitude of consciousness disappear. Thus only in philosophy do contingency, the necessity of nature, and the relation to exteriority in general fall away, as well as dependence, longing, and fear. Only in philosophy is reason altogether by itself.—On the same basis, reason in this science does not concern itself with the one-sidedness of subjective rationality, neither as the property of an unusual talent nor as the gift of a particularly divine favor or disfavor, like the possession of artistic skill. Since it is nothing but reason conscious of itself, it is capable by its very nature of being a general science. Nor is it an idealism in which the content of knowledge is determined merely by the self, or has subjective validation enclosed within self-consciousness. Since reason is conscious of itself as being, the subjectivity of the self, which sees itself as something particular in contrast to objects and can distinguish its own determinations in itself as different from others outside of itself and over against itself, is suspended and transformed into rational generality.

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