Wissenschaft der Logik I & II

The gist

I’ve just picked up Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik, vols. I and II, following Roger Scruton’s recommendation for it as an entry point into Hegel’s thought. There are about 900 pages in all—in the bookshop, having dipped into various parts of the the two books, I figured on covering three pages a day for a year.

The detail

Reading Hegel in German

At home now, and having read a few pages of Hegel’s introduction to the first edition, it’s clear that, although I seem able to mostly handle the German without recourse to a dictionary, the sentences, intriguing as they are, are, featuring multiple subordinate clauses and with solitary verbs manifest amongst commas, tricky to untangle. Haha! This is the delight of what the German syntax affords—I’ve developed an admiration and fondness for it, but need to do adopt a specific strategy that covers both language and content issues here.

Revised strategy

  1. Read, with minimal hesitation, but aiming for fairly full comprehension, until a suitable break suggests itself—typically this will come from a change in tack of thought being expressed; three pages seems overly ambitious to begin with, maybe three paragraphs would be more practical.
  2. In German, write a brief synopsis of my initial understanding of what has just been read—just giving a broad gist of the content covered; a few sentences at most. This commitment to writing will begin to raise awareness of key parts of the passage that I am fuzzy on, making a useful transition to the following stage, but also helping to engage with the concepts involved.
  3. Re-read the passage more carefully, seeking a fuller meaning, identifying lexical issues that are a source of uncertainty.
  4. Address the lexical issues, working carefully through the passage.
  5. Re-read the passage again—any linguistic fog should be clearing now…what remains lies within the content itself.
  6. Adjust the synopsis sentences and capture any questions that have surfaced regarding the content.
  7. Use the outcome of 6. as a basis for simple blogposts here.
  8. Identify any useful language patterns for subsequent follow up.
  9. Repeat the process.

At suitable points, and at any time:

  • take time for a creative response to Hegel’s thought;
  • identify and exploit more in-depth (German) writing opportunities;
  • address language patterns;
  • review and select choice lexical items for use in other areas of life.

Closing remarks

I’m looking forward to engaging with Hegel. It seems like it’s been on the cards for a while. I like the freedom I’m beginning to move into, reading German books according to interest, rather than being restricted by limited lexico-grammtical range.

Hegel’s Wissenschaft der Logik, vols. I and II—maybe a couple of years will see me through…given life and all the other interests that call. Maybe it’ll go faster though. Mal sehen.


About Christopher J
I teach English, make digital images, write and encourage others. I believe.

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