Preliminary remark

The following treatment of Hegel’s four paragraphs 79-82 in the Encyclopaedia deals with the “three moments of every logical-real.”

In doing so, these remarks also explain why we on and represent Hegel’s system in the form of triangles.

Compare also the article “Method Triangle”. The following commentary also explains how the triangle representation on and is to be understood and how one can deal with it.

Closer concept and subdivision of logic

The actual classification of Hegel’s logic is not dealt with until paragraph 83. So to what extent do paragraphs 79-82 give a “closer concept and subdivision of the Logic” (as Hegel’s title to this section suggests)?

In any case, these paragraphs do not mention directly the first subdivisions of Hegel’s logic “being,” “essence,” “concept” (which are mentioned systematically for the first time in paragraph 83), but rather discuss a kind of “superstructure” or method which precedes this division, but which one will then therefore also find again in the subdivision. More details below.

Please note that this “superstructure” is not to be confused with the Fichtian dialectic steps of Position, Negation and Synthesis, while there is certainly a historical relation between the two.

§ 79 - Subdivision

The logical has three sides according to form:

    1. the abstract or intelligible/understanding (“verständige”),
    1. the dialectical or negative-reasoning (“vernünftige”),
    1. the speculative or positive-reasoning (“vernünftige”).

Comment on/explanation of §79.

The three sides as “moments of every logical-real.”

These three sides do not make up three parts of logic, but are moments of every logical-real, that is, of every concept or truth at all.

3rd sentence

They can all be placed under the first moment, the intelligible/understanding, and thereby kept apart, but in this way they are not considered in their truth.

Excursus 1: The triangular representation on and are thus in themselves a formal, “intelligible/understanding” representation in which the three moments are only represented separately. In this respect, this triangular representation thus falls under the 1st moment. Therefore, the triangles only represent first determinations, not the whole truth (cf. also “Truth”).

Excursus 2: The above could become important in the dialogue with other positions, therefore briefly on the discussion with others: Both sides of reason are needed here: the negative one, to show what is wrong - otherwise you don’t need to change anything (and if possible as an implicit critique, so that it affects you directly. but in practice, a polemic or a paradox that makes the other person think and brings him or her to the implicit critique is often even more effective), on the other hand, the positive one, in order to also show to what extent the rational of what has been represented so far can be cancelled out and yet the existing contradictions/paradoxes can be solved (without the previous/simultaneous critique, there is otherwise also the danger that what is otherwise simply subsumed under the existing world view, the differences are not perceived, etc.).

4th sentence

The indication given here of the determinations of the logical, as well as the division, is here also only anticipated and historical. 8/168

on the three perspectives (more generally on the 3rd proposition), and their respective justification:

80 - Abstract

α) Thought as understanding stops at the fixed determinateness and the distinctness of the same against others; such a limited abstract is regarded by it as existing and being for itself.

Literal analysis of the quotation

further thoughts on this 1st moment

81 - Dialectical

β) The dialectical moment is the own cancelling out of such finite determinations and their passing into their opposite ones.

literal analysis of the quotation

Essential … …:


    1. the dialectic, taken apart from the understanding for itself, constitutes, especially shown in scientific terms, scepticism; it contains mere negation as the result of the dialectic.
  • Dialectic is usually regarded as an external art, which by arbitrariness produces a confusion in certain terms and a mere appearance of contradictions in them, so that not these determinations, but this appearance, is a nullity, and that which is intelligible, on the contrary, is the true. Often dialectics is nothing more than a subjective seesaw system of back-and-forth rsonnement, where the content is lacking and the nakedness is covered by such acumen as produces such rsonnement. - In its peculiar determination, dialectic is rather the own, true nature of the determinations of understanding, of things and of the finite in general. Reflection is first of all the going beyond the isolated determinateness and a relating of it, by which this is set in relation, incidentally preserved in its isolated validity. Dialectic, on the other hand, is this immanent going out, in which the one-sidedness and limitedness of the determinations of understanding presents itself as what it is, namely, as their negation. Everything finite is this, to annul itself. 8/172 The dialectic, therefore, constitutes the moving soul of scientific progress and is the principle by which alone immanent coherence and necessity come into the content of science, just as in it in general lies the true, not external elevation above the finite.

Further considerations on the 2nd moment

82 - The Speculative or Positive-Reasonable

γ) The speculative or positive-reasonable grasps the unity of determinations in their opposition, the affirmative contained in their dissolution and passing over.

  • The dialectic has a positive result because it has a definite content, or because its result is truly not the empty, abstract nothing, but the negation of certain determinations, which are contained in the result precisely because this is not an immediate nothing, but a result.
  • This rational thing, therefore, although a thought, is also abstract, and at the same time concrete, because it is not simple, formal unity, but unity of differentiated determinations. Philosophy, therefore, has nothing at all to do with mere abstractions or formal thoughts, but only with concrete thoughts.
    1. speculative logic contains the mere logic of understanding and can be made out of it at once; nothing is needed for this but to omit from it the dialectic and the rational; thus it becomes what ordinary logic is, a history of various compiled determinations of thought, which in their finiteness are regarded as something infinite.

further considerations on the 3rd moment

Parallel passages in the Nuremberg Encyclopaedia


Logic is the science of pure understanding and pure reason, of the peculiar determinations and laws thereof.

Accordingly, the logical has three sides:

  1. the abstract or intelligible,
  2. the dialectical or negatively rational,
  3. the speculative or positively rational.

The intelligible stops at the concepts in their fixed definiteness and distinctness from others; the dialectical shows them in their passing over and dissolution; the speculative or the sensible grasps their unity in their opposition or the positive in its dissolution and passing over.


Understanding and reason are here usually taken in the subjective sense, insofar as, as thinking, they belong to a self-consciousness, and logic is thus a merely formal science, which first requires another content, an external substance, if anything really true is to come into being.


According to its content, logic considers understanding and reason in and for themselves and the absolute concepts as the in and for itself true ground of everything or the intelligible and reasonable, inasmuch as it is not merely a conscious apprehension.

Logic is therefore in itself speculative philosophy, for the speculative way of looking at things is nothing other than the looking at the essence of things, which is as much a pure concept proper to reason as nature and the law of things.