spirit, we are assured, is to pass for ever into forms which are unique and new. Hegel might agree with this, but he would certainly add that at the same time spirit was only coming to its own full stature. The notion is a principle whose nature is to elaborate itself from within and to become a concrete system. The factors are embodiments of the whole, they are organs in which the whole is present as such, and each, when taken in its context and truth, has the power and value of the whole. Thus the notion—unlike substance—expresses itself in a form which is worthy of it, and in going into its opposite it is realizing what there is in it to be. Its inherent nature is brought out in its development; and it is—in Hegel’s terminology—for itself what it is in itself, an und für sich, the absolute.
It may be useful to express this conception with reference to the terms universal and particular. Previous to Hegel no thinker succeeded in resolving the opposition between these two. Aristotle’s conception of the individual is ambiguous, because at times he seems to regard it as the union of two disparate elements, matter and form, while at others he treats it as the infima species itself. It seems fair to suppose that, on the whole, Aristotle’s thought was dualistic, and that he regarded the universal as incapable in itself of giving the concrete detail of life. Universal and particular do come together for him, as in Hegel’s categories of essence, but the reason of their union is not present in their nature. Even Spinoza failed to meet the difficulty. Unlike Aristotle he refuses to give the particular any content that is beyond the universal; but in bringing the particular within the universal he restricts the nature of the former and does not do justice to its negative aspect. In Hegel’s category of the notion the universal is not merely an abstract principle which is made concrete by being dipped in a foreign matter, such as the matter of sense intuition; it is a concrete whole having internal differences, the equipoise of opposed yet united aspects. On the other hand, the particular is not an exclusive unit—it is a way in which the system appears; its nature is in no part merely private but is drawn from the whole. The notion obliges us to affirm the identity of the universal and the particular; and in concrete thinking the two aspects are at one with each other, and each is the other.