The Differences of The Diamond-Net

In the post Hegel and Concepts – The Diamond-Net I drew an analogy between Hegel’s hierarchy of notions and the pure concepts of understanding – the categories of Kant.

It was pointed that in this analogy, because notion like change can’t be reduced to the notions of being and not being (“is X”, and “isn’t X”), we are inclined to add the notion of “change” to our network of pure concepts, beside “being” and “not being”. If we go further with this analogy, Science of Logic, through series of arguments, shows how lot of richer notions can’t be reduced to the simpler ones, and thus will have to be accepted into the hierarchy of “pure notions of understanding”.

However the analogy goes just that far.

1. While categories in Kant form a basic set, in Hegel the notions from Logic form a hierarchy. In it every richer notion while seen as basic and irreducible, is related to the notions lower in the hierarchy. It was pointed how for example “change” would contain “being X” and “not being X” as moments.

2. Categories in Kant are functions of the Mind, which serve to organize the content from the senses. Instead for Hegel, who doesn’t accept Cartesianism, those “pure” notions are abstractions from reality.

black and pink diamond-net synthesis

One further note here should be added. In Science of Logic, Hegel doesn’t want just to point that things like change, can’t be reduced to being and not being; and that change will have to stand on itself as a notion, of which being and not being will be moments. Also, he goes to argue that those poorer, or more abstract notions, like being and not being, can’t be self-subsistent. Not just that the higher notions like change must be taken as irreducible, with being and not-being as moments, but that being and not-being can only appear as moments of those higher notions. Some kind of explanation of this, I gave a year ago, in this post.

This has an interesting consequence. For Kant the categories together with the pure forms of intuitions – space and time, are seen as a requirement for any experience, and everything in our experience will be determined in an absolute way by the a priori laws which are inherent to those categories and pure forms of intuition. On another hand for Hegel, because the notions from the diamond-net are abstraction from reality, they will fail to “capture” everything about it. The only exception is the highest and richest of the notions, which is supposed to coincide with reality. As a consequence of this, Hegel’s notions in which time and space appear merely as abstractions, don’t get into kinds of trouble in which Kantian system falls in relation to Einsteinian relativity. On the contrary.


Philosophy, then, according to Kant, is to abate its claims. It is warned off the premises of everything except immediate existence in space and time. It must give up all attempts to know reality, to penetrate behind appearances. But the effect of this solemn warning upon the philosophic world was truly astonishing. No sooner had Kant thus cried “Halt!” to philosophy than philosophy, forming its adherents into a sort of triumphal procession, proceeding, so to speak, with bands playing and flags waving, marched victoriously onward to the final assault, confident of its power to attain omniscience at a stroke, to occupy the very citadel of reality itself. And, strangest of all, this was to be done with the very weapons which Kant himself had forged. It was under the Kantian banner that philosophy moved forward. It was Kant’s own philosophy, hailed as the greatest discovery of all time, which was to accomplish this final and triumphant victory. Philosophy, instead of being sobered by the warnings of the master, rose at once to an exuberant ferment of enthusiasm. It set no bounds to itself. It was to accomplish the impossible, know the unknowable. Such is the confident enthusiasm of the philosophies of that time.

And one more interesting remark from that book (p.76)…

This idea [that there is an absolute separation between things and thoughts] was originated by Descartes and dominates modern philosophy until it culminates in Kant, whose philosophy is nothing else than the reductio ad absurdum of it.

Here the reductio that Stace has on mind is the notion of thing-in-itself, which on one side is supposed to be something which can’t fall under the categories, but which on other hand is described in the Critique as standing in the relation of cause and effect with the sensuous content which appears in the forms of space and time.