The night (and day) in which all cows (including Hegel’s) are black

Cows at sunset

‘To pit this single insight, that in the Absolute everything is the same, against the full body of articulated cognition, which at least seeks and demands such fulfilment, to palm off its Absolute as the night in which, as the saying goes, all cows are black – this is cognition naïvely reduced to vacuity.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, trans., A.V.Miller, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977, 9


’…the absolute itself appears only as the negation of all predicates and as the void. …we have to exhibit what the absolute is; but this ‘exhibiting’ can be neither a determining nor an external reflection from which determinations of the absolute would result; on the contrary, it is the exposition, and in fact the self-exposition, of the absolute and only a display of what it is.

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Science of Logic, Trans., A.V.Miller, Humanities Press, New York, 1976, 530

‘…the absolute…is not…an uttering or expressing of itself…’

Ibid., 531

It is essentially only spirit that can comprehend the Notion as Notion; for this is not merely the property of spirit but spirit’s pure self. …In fact, anything else which might be supposed to serve as a symbol (for the Notion) can at most, like symbols for the nature of God, evoke intimations and echoes of the Notion; if, however, one should seriously propose to employ them for expressing and cognising the Notion, then the external nature of all symbols is inadequate to the task; the truth about the relationship is rather the converse, namely, that what in symbols is an echo of a higher determination, is only truly known through the Notion and can be approximated to the Notion only by separating off the sensuous, unessential part that was meant to express it.’

Ibid., 618 red-star


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