Summary Of The Chapter
Consciousness defines its object as a universal being: the subject is a universal and the object is a universal. (Universal means: a determination of thought that has a negative relation to its other.) It still wants to just ‘take’ the object as a given, and sees the identity of its object with itself (“remaining the same”) as the criterion of truth. The object nor the subject of consciousness however are without contradiction and that contradiction is even vital for perception. It will be demonstrated that perception is not receptivity but a form of thinking – and consciousness will therefore make the experience that it is self-contradictory.
The first movement takes the concept of the thing and show the experience of consciousness in its actual perceiving. Consciousness goes from the Also of properties through the One defining the Thing as distinct to the properties themselves as the essential synthesis of the two.
The first cycle now takes us back into sense-certainty. We move from the One through the Also to the properties itself. The properties as such however are self identical only when taken as independent ‘matters’ that as such do not constitute a thing – and then we’re back in sense-certainty which took the ‘this’ and ‘that’ as purely positively given. The movement from sense-certainty to perception then has to start all over again.
Consciousness now runs through the cycle again, but with the intent not to fall back into sense-certainty, i.e. to remain focused on the self-identity of the Thing. The one and the many properties are in a contradiction that can only be resolved by taking consciousness itself as the non-identical and affirming the object as the self-identical. When the Thing therefore is taken as One, consciousness takes responsibility for the illusion of the many properties. The Thing however in order to be determinate needs determinate properties, which require consciousness to accept that it attributes Oneness to the manifold of properties contained in the Also.
The third position takes the movement as a whole and objectifies it. The Thing is now both One and Many, and subjective consciousness is now One and Many. Consciousness is at the same time reflected out of this movement and stands opposite its object. In its attempt to hold fast to the objective side of consciousness, the contradiction is now to be divided over many Things – one thing as the for itself and the other as the for another.
In the experience of this movement the Thing however is dissolved, because its basic relationship is now to the other thing in which its inner determinateness is lost. The determinateness of the thing is its being for another, and no longer within the oneness that defines its being for itself.
The result of this experience is the understanding that the Thing is also conceptually self-contradictory. The object of perception is then ultimately an empty play with abstract concepts, in which sense certainty is moved around – to common sense this movement is all there is. But in actual fact, in stead of truly grasping the concept as such in its purity, perception sticks to the sensuous universality that is conditioned, and only reaches the Unconditional Universal as an abstract concept.
The chapter is divided by Lasson in the following three sections:
Introduction: the transition to Perception (111-112)
A. The simple concept of the Thing (113-115)
B. The inner contradictions of Perception (116-122)
C. The movement toward (finite) Understanding (123-131)