Page:Ethical Theory of Hegel (1921).djvu/42
essence in Hegel’s sense of the word; for the defect of all the categories of essence is that in their nature they involve other factors which are also external to them. Indeed, for theoretic reason, the transcendental ego is in a more evil plight than the thing, for the latter is at least present—at the minimum it is the unity of the ‘here’, and has spatial identity—but the pure ego must be abstracted even from space, it is pure identity as such and has no realization.
We may now come to the last main subdivision of the realm of essence, viz. reality; and in particular we may consider the transition from the conception of substance to the notion. As Hegel’s analysis goes deeper it endeavours to lose nothing that has been already gained; the distinction of mediate and immediate, or of essence and appearance, must therefore remain in the higher categories, but it must be thought in such a way that its incoherence disappears. Kant had already analysed substance in a somewhat one-sided way. He began with the fact of change, and found that change implies identity; change is change of something. If objects consisted of a mere succession in time we could not be conscious of change; each impression as it appeared would be all, and the problem of permanence would not arise for us. Change is essentially a principle of contrast, and has meaning only by reference to an underlying substance which has the change and remains one and the same throughout. Kant’s conception is very much that of an indestructible matter whose appearance alters and which takes different shapes, but whose quantity is constant. Kant’s analysis, however, is incomplete and one-sided. Substance, like the other categories of essence, is a correlative conception. Kant presupposes the one aspect, viz. difference or change, and deduces the other: Hegel tries to bring out the nature of both alike. Generally speaking, the elements of substance are those of thinghood over again at a deeper level and more closely bound together. Change, Kant has taught us, in order to be perceived must be determinate and must proceed in accordance with a rule. A mere flux would not be per-