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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2018, Vol. 13 Issue (4) : 518-534
Why Is Being Nothing? An Apophatic Reading of Hegel’s Opening to the Science of Logic
Nahum Brown()
Department of Philosophy, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519000, China
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The aim of this article is to analyze Hegel’s famous transition from being to nothing in the opening of the Science of Logic, to outline a variety of interpretations from commentators, and to defend what I call the “indirect apophatic interpretation” as support for the conclusion that Hegel is an ambiguously apophatic thinker. One benefit of the “indirect apophatic interpretation” is that it leads to a reassessment of Hegel’s conception of totality. The prevailing understanding of “totality” as exclusionary exhaustion, completion, and finitude has often been attributed to Hegel’s thought. But the “indirect apophatic interpretation” of the transition from being to nothing that I defend prepares the way for an alternative reading of totality in his work: not as the exhaustion of all positive content, but as the coincidence of being and nothing, as the contradiction A is -A, and as the exhaustion of form and content by way of a dialectic with the apophatic.

Keywords Hegel      being      nothing      apophasis      beginning     
Issue Date: 03 January 2019
 Cite this article:   
Nahum Brown. Why Is Being Nothing? An Apophatic Reading of Hegel’s Opening to the Science of Logic [J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(4): 518-534.
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