The Duality of Existence: Universal and Instanceby Hegel
The fundamental difference is that in our perceptions (sense-experience), pure being immediately breaks up into the 2 “thises”:
- The ‘I’
- The object of the ‘I’
This is the distinction between:
- essential truth and particular example
- essence and instance
- immediacy and mediation.
We find this in our perception (sense-certainty) itself. It has to be taken up in the form in which it exists there, not as we have just determined it.
- One of them is put forward in it as existing in simple immediacy, as the essential reality, the object.
- The other, however, is put forward as the non-essential, as mediated, something which is not per se in the certainty.
But there, through something else, ego, a state of knowledge which only knows the object because the object is, and which can as well be as not be.
The object, however, is the real truth, is the essential reality. It is, quite indifferent to whether it is known or not. It remains and stands even though it is not known, while the knowledge does not exist if the object is not there.
94 Thus, we have to consider whether the object exists in perception (sense-certainty) itself.
To do this, we do not need to reflect about it and ponder what it might be in truth. Instead, we deal with it merely as the perception contains it.
95 What is the This or perception?
It exists in a two-fold form* as:
- the Now
- the Here
*Superphysics Note: From starting with the aethereal consciousness, Hegel’s reasoning goes to the spacetime ‘here’ and ’now’.
Its dialectic will take a form as intelligible as the This-perception itself.
What is the Now?
- The Now is night-time, for example.
To test the truth of this perception (sense-certainty), a simple experiment is all we need: write that truth down.
- A truth cannot lose anything by being written down, and just as little by our preserving and keeping it.
- We then look at the truth we have written down now, at this noon-time.
We say it has turned stale and become out of date.
96 But the Now that was night is kept fixed.
- The night-Now is still the night-Now, but not the noon-Now.
- The noon-Now maintains itself.
- The Now-idea maintains itself, but is no longer the night-Now-perception.
This self-maintaining Now is therefore not something immediate but something mediated.
- By this mediation, the Now-idea is indifferent to what is associated with it.
- Now has both day and night as its being.
- It is not at all affected by this otherness, as either night or day
*Superphysics Note: Because of spacetime, perceptions are now split into Universal and Instances of the Universal. This matches David Hume’s entity within an entity or citizens within a Republic.
A ‘Universal Idea’ is a simple entity of this sort.
- Through negation, it is neither this nor that.
A Universal Idea is therefore the truth of perception (sense-certainty), the true content of sense-experience.
97 Sensuous fact is also a Universal.
- when we say “this”, we mean a universal this.
- when we say “It is”, we mean being in general.
Of course, we do not philosophize about the universal “this” when we say it. Instead, we utter what is universal without thinking about it being a Universal.