Furthermore , the very attempt to define how a philosophical work is supposed to be connected with other efforts to deal with the same subject-matter drags in an extraneous concern , and what is really important for the cognition of the truth is obscured .

The more conventional opinion gets fixated on the antithesis of truth and falsity , the more it tends to expect a given philosophical system to be either accepted or contradicted ; and hence it finds only acceptance or rejection .

It does not comprehend the diversity of philosophical systems as the progressive unfolding of truth , but rather sees in it simple disagreements .

The bud disappears in the bursting-forth of the blossom , and one might say that the former is refuted by the latter ; similarly , when the fruit appears , the blossom is shown up in its turn as a false manifestation of the plant , and the fruit now emerges as the truth of it instead .

These forms are not just distinguished from one another , they also supplant one another as mutually incompatible .

Yet at the same time their fluid nature makes them moments of an organic unity in which they not only do not conflict , but in which each is as necessary as the other ; and this mutual necessity alone constitutes the life of the whole .

But one who rejects a philosophical system does not usually comprehend what one is doing in this way ; and one who grasps the contradiction between them does not , as a general rule , know how to free it from its one-sidedness , or maintain it in its freedom by recognizing the reciprocally necessary moments that take shape as a conflict and seeming incompatibility .


Demanding and supplying these explanations passes readily enough as a concern with what is essential .

Where could the inner meaning of a philosophical work find fuller expression than in its aims and results , and how could these be more exactly known than by distinguishing them from everything else the age brings forth in this sphere ?

Yet when this activity is taken for more than the mere beginnings of cognition , when it is allowed to pass for actual cognition , then it should be reckoned as no more than a device for evading the real issue , a way of creating an impression of hard work and serious commitment to the problem , while actually sparing oneself both .

For the real issue is not exhausted by stating it as an aim , but by carrying it out , nor is the result the actual whole , but rather the result together with the process through which it came about .

The aim by itself is a lifeless universal , just as the guiding tendency is a mere drive that as yet lacks an actual existence ; and the bare result is the corpse which has left the guiding tendency behind it .

Similarly , the specific difference of a thing is rather its limit ; it is where the thing stops , or it is what the thing is not .

This concern with aim or results , with differentiating and passing judgement on various thinkers is therefore an easier task than it might seem .

For instead of getting involved in the real issue , this kind of activity is always away beyond it ; instead of tarrying with it , and losing itself in it , this kind of knowing is forever grasping at something new ; it remains essentially preoccupied with itself instead of being preoccupied with the real issue and surrendering to it .

To judge a thing that has substance and solid worth is quite easy , to comprehend it is much harder , and to blend judgement and comprehension in a definitive description is the hardest thing of all .


Culture and its laborious emergence from the immediacy of substantial life must always begin by getting acquainted with general principles and points of view , so as at first to work up to a general conception of the real issue , as well as learning to support and refute the general conception with reasons ; then to apprehend the rich and concrete abundance by differential classification ; and finally to give accurate instruction and pass serious judgement upon it .

From its very beginning , culture must leave room for the earnestness of life in its concrete richness ; this leads the way to an experience of the real issue .

And even when the real issue has been penetrated to its depths by serious speculative effort , this kind of knowing and judging will still retain its appropriate place in ordinary conversation .


The true shape in which truth exists can only be the scientific system of such truth .

To help bring philosophy closer to the form of Science , to the goal where it can lay aside the title " love of knowing " and be actual knowing — that is what I have set myself to do .

The inner necessity that knowing should be Science lies in its nature  , and only the systematic exposition of philosophy itself provides it .

But the external necessity , so far as it is grasped in a general way , setting aside accidental matters of person and motivation , is the same as the inner , or in other words it lies in the shape in which time sets forth the sequential existence of its moments .

To show that now is the time for philosophy to be raised to the status of a Science would therefore be the only true justification of any effort that has this aim , for to do so would demonstrate the necessity of the aim , would indeed at the same time be the accomplishing of it .


To lay down that the true shape of truth is scientific — or , what is the same thing , to maintain that truth has only the Notion as the element of its existence — seems , I know , to contradict a view which is in our time as prevalent as it is pretentious , and to go against what that view implies .

Some explanation therefore seems called for , even though it must for the present be no more than a bare assertion , like the view that it contradicts .

If , namely , the True exists only in what , or better as what , is sometimes called intuition , sometimes immediate knowledge of the Absolute , religion or being — not at the centre of divine love but the being of the divine love itself — then what is required in the exposition of philosophy is , from this viewpoint , rather the opposite of the form of the Notion .

For the Absolute is not supposed to be comprehended , it is to be felt and intuited ; not the Notion of the Absolute , but the feeling and intuition of it , must govern what is said , and must be expressed by it .