Introduction-13

13. By resolving, the will posits itself as the will of a specific individual and as a will separating itself off against another individual. But apart from this finitude as consciousness (see Paragraph 8), the immediate will is on account of the difference between its form and its content (see Paragraph II) a will only in form. The decision which belongs to it as such is only abstract and its content is not yet the content and product of its freedom.

In so far as intelligence thinks, its object and content remains something universal, while its own behaviour consists of a universal activity. In the will, ‘the universal’ also means in essence ‘mine’, ‘individuality’; and in the immediate willthe will which iswill in form only it means abstract individuality, individuality not yet filled with its free universality. Hence it is in the will that the intrinsic finitude of intelligence has its beginning; and it is only by raising itself to become thought again, and endowing its aims with immanent universality, that the will cancels the difference of form and content and makes itself the objective, infinite, will. Thus they understand little of the nature of thinking and willing who suppose that while, in willing as such, man is infinite, in thinking, he, or even reason itself, is restricted. In so far as thinking and willing are still distinguished, the opposite is rather the truth, and will is thinking reason resolving itself to finitude.

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8 Responses to “Introduction-13”

  1. arybudhi Says:

    The will that is free, immediate, infinite, universal, and individual whether in form and content in Hegel’s scheme may lead human to either Nafs al-Ammara Bissu’ (the Nafs that urges evil [tempted by Jins, satan, or evil] ) or Nafs al-Lawwama (the Nafs that Blames). The fundamentalist will says that only trough total obeying God’s will an individual could attain and gain the character of Nafs al-Mutma`inna (the Nafs at Peace [guided by God’s will]). Thus our thinking and willing in fundamentalist’s view should be suppressed by God’s will. Only God’s will that is free and absolute, thus who are in tuned with God’s will (i.e. jihad) is absolutely free to manifest and actualized God’s will. And God’s will is the absolute Right, thus human rights is also suspicious.

  2. P Says:

    Here, Hegel further substantiates the distinction he makes between immediate will and the actual will, and dynamics of its transformation.
    But what is this universality that he attributes to will? How does it come about? Hegel stresses that the will is an intellectual and rational faculty (21).The object and content of the will is universal, so is its behavior. It is in essence abstract individuality. For Hegel both morality and abstract rights deal with the person’s rights and duties as an individual, which for him are also universal. Where as ‘ethical life’ considers the individual as an integral part of the social and political whole. ‘Morality is an abstract universal: it makes the part prior to the whole, as if each individual were self sufficient or independent. Ethical life is a concrete universal: it makes the whole prior to the part, such that the very identity of the individual depends on its place in the whole. (Beiser 2008, 234). “Hegel’s emerging political theory is an attempt to achieve a universality ( a general will) that would not be, on the one hand, an aggregate of individual wills yet would not appear, on the other hand, as a merely external, coercive antithesis to the individual wills.” ( Avineri 1972, 99).
    At the end of this paragraph, Hegel synthesizes from the previous dialectics, the definition for will: it is thinking reason resolving itself into finitude.

  3. Anu Says:

    The will is posited in two different ways: as the specific will of an individual and as a will that distinguishes itself from another individual. Such a will has two characteristics: as consciousness, it is finite in its potential, and in terms of possessing form and content, it only has form. Its decisions are abstract, and what content it possesses is not yet reflective of its freedom. In the higher form of ‘thinking’, the object and content of intelligence is universal. The distinction between will and the immediate will is that in the former, universality also means individuality, whereas in the latter it is only an abstract individuality. Intelligence, by raising itself to thought in the will, progresses from the finitude of intelligence. Thus the will comes to possess immanent universality, and in doing so becomes the objective, infinite will by canceling the difference between form and content. Thus to think that in willing man is infinite and in thinking he is restricted is not true. On the contrary, it is in thinking reason resolves itself to finitude that the will is found to be.

  4. Anu Says:

    The will is posited in two different ways: as the specific will of an individual and as a will that distinguishes itself from another individual. Such a will has two characteristics: as consciousness, it is finite in its potential, and in terms of possessing form and content, it only has form. Its decisions are abstract, and what content it possesses is not yet reflective of its freedom. In the higher form of ‘thinking’, the object and content of intelligence is universal. The distinction between will and the immediate will is that in the former, universality also means individuality, whereas in the latter it is only an abstract individuality. Intelligence, by raising itself to thought in the will, progresses from the finitude of intelligence. Thus the will comes to possess immanent universality, and in doing so becomes the objective, infinite will by canceling the difference between form and content. Thus to think that in willing man is infinite and in thinking he is restricted is not true. On the contrary, it is in thinking reason resolving itself to finitude that the will is found to be.

  5. avishek Says:

    Response for 11, 12, 13:

    Hegel starts of by inferring: Natural will (still) lacks rationality (PR#11). What is that form of ‘rationality’ that Hegel would find sustainable? What would have been achieved if it were to attain ‘rationality’?

    The content of the arbitrary will consists merely of our natural drives and inclinations, which is thoroughly contradictory with the universal form of the will. On the other hand, the ‘rational will’ – which seems to Hegel as the ‘true’ free will — must will the universal, freedom, itself. How? This it does by willing law and the state. The state and its law, for Hegel, no way constitute a hindrance for (wo)man’s freedom, unless it is (mis)understood as arbitrary caprice and the satisfaction of our particularity, which otherwise manifest the highest fulfillment of freedom understood as ‘rational’ freedom. Hegel says accordingly:

    ‘The role of the Estates [in the political sense] is to bring the universal interest into existence not only in itself but also for itself, i.e. to bring into existence the moment of subjective formal freedom…The proper significance of the Estates is that it is through them that the state enters into the subjective consciousness of the people, and that the people begins to participate in the state.’ (PR#301, 301A, also see, PR#258).

    The contrast of the ‘for itself’ character of the individual will to the objective, ‘in itself’ rationality of the genuinely free will in this passage clearly encapsulates not only the unique Hegelian departure from the conventional liberal understanding of freedom but also his vision of ‘rationality’. Unlike the individual will, the rational will does not derive its content from something other than itself, namely, from our inclinations and desires. Rather, the rational will derives its content from the concept of will, freedom, itself. The rational will is simply the will that wills freedom and hence itself. While for the individual will it is the mere fact that the individual chooses that is important, for the rational will it is what is chosen that is decisive, preventing individuals from degenerating into a ‘collection of scattered atoms’. (PR#290A) Individual will is thus merely abstract unless testified by universality. It is through this cognition that the will achieves its finitude couching itself in immanent universality, thus bridging the gap between its form and content.

  6. Nalini Says:

    Will is something that is peculiar to the individualm and yet something that is universal. It is as if intelligence fills out the will which is the skeletal structure of the individual.

  7. zubin Says:

    I sometimes wonder if it would be a gross oversimplification to think of the universal will as a whole that is greater than the sum of its (individual) parts. If one thinks of the state, keeping with Hegels eventual conclusion that the state is the highest individuation of the will, one can think about this as being a ‘larger’ substantial product of some assortment of individual wills. Not any ONE person in particular, but somewhere it can certainly be conceived that such a will belongs in some way and is tied to some individual subject that does exist. However, this is not an atomistic relationship, but a whole that is entirely independent of an yet in some ways tied to the individual part.

  8. Udayakumar Says:

    It is by positing against itself that the will overcomes this disintegration i.e. the immediate practical necessity of the will is to enter into relationship with what is external to it. It is important here to note the distinction Hegel makes between form and content.

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