A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Archive for November 6th, 2006

The Balls That Didn’t Exist

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on November 6, 2006

In a previous post I tried to give simple explanation of the Hegel’s dialectical method. In short, Hegel considers some dichotomy of abstract notions A and B, and while analyzing the notions discovers a contradiction in them. The resolving of the contradiction, claims Hegel, happens when we figure out that these notions are not self-subsistent, but should be taken just as moments of some “wealthier” notion C. It is said that notions A and B are “sublated” in the notion C. Going through this kind of dialectical considerations Hegel builds a tower of notions, from the most abstract ones to more and more determinate and “True” ones, each level containing the previous as moments.

As it is probably well known the starting notion of this dialectical development is that of indeterminate Being. And because it is a starting notion, and because lower notions are sublated in the higher ones, being is found to be included as a moment in all “higher” notions. So to say, all of those other notions have on themselves the mark of being. However those new notions are not merely a being, but become more and more determinate as one progresses through the dialectics.

For example, one of the notions that appear in the dialectics is that of Something (I will use Thing here, which if not equal to Hegel’s Something , probably falls under it). As all other higher notions, the notion of Thing is not devoid of that of Being, but it is a determined (somehow, let’s not get into the analysis of the notion of Thing here) being. And really, it is something very normal that as far as we think of a thing, we can’t think of it as devoid of being/existence.(Hegel doesn’t put equation between indeterminate being and existence, but that is not important here). Let me point to this by a story:

A Story

Mrs.Bailey gave her students a question – “Imagine two balls A and B that have same mass. The ball A rolls towards ball B which is stationary. What will happen on the time of impact?”
Evan said “The ball A will transfer all or a part of its momentum to ball B”
“No, my little boy…”, Mrs.Bailey said smiling – “Not so, because balls A and B don’t exist”


I guess you agree this is invalid reasoning on part of Mrs.Bailey. As far as we imagine balls A and B, we can’t imagine them differently but as having existence. Their being, or their existence, is inherent in their “thingness”.

Posted in Hegel, Metaphysics, Philosophy | Leave a Comment »