analysis. We have spoken of the identity of opposites, but we are not thereby committed to the absurd statement that all opposites are identical, and that it is a matter of indifference whether we say yea or nay. The categories are not themselves the world, they are at most the principles of it; and, although from a scientific point of view they are the more weighty aspect, yet in their abstractness they are a poor substitute for a world constituted by them. That is to say, when we have analysed a category we have only stated a demand; the task still remains of satisfying that demand, of finding or organizing an experience which manifests the form of unity that the category reveals. It is one thing, e.g., to determine in the abstract the nature of substance, and another to possess a content of knowledge which in all its concreteness is itself a substance. Similarly, in the notion the demand for a world or medium in which the unity of opposites is achieved is not lightly satisfied. Ignoring for the present the difficult problem of the ultimate relation of the various spheres to one another, we may represent the various categories as the principles of various grades or realms of experience. Form and matter are inter-dependent, and each matter has a limit to its capacity of yielding forms. Some matter of experience is, as it were, too coarse to take on the finer forms, and the higher categories cannot be realized in it; on the other hand, some matter is inherently too fine to be held by the rougher and less adequate forms. Hegel does not seek to find the notion and the ‘idea’ in their proper shapes in the purely physical world of space and motion; the lower categories in which externality predominates are the appropriate form of such stuff. Nor does he suppose that the categories of being, or even of essence, can give us the truth of the moral and intellectual life of mind. The proper field for the notion is self-conscious mind, and the ego is the realization of that principle. If we are unable to think the nature of the notion in the abstract, and must have examples of it in the concrete in order that the ‘identity of opposites’ be more than
- ‘When the notion has developed into such existence as is free, it is nothing else than the ego or pure self-consciousness. Of course, I have notions, i.e. determinate notions; but the ego is the pure notion itself, which, as such, has become a definite fact’ (WW. VI. pp. 13-14). Cf. Macran, Hegel's Doctrine of Formal Logic, p. 123.