Introduction to the Reading of Hegel
Eighth Lecture

by Alexandre Kojève, 1947
translated by James H. Nichols, Jr., published by Cornell University Press, 1980

With Hegel, we move on to the third possibility: namely, the one that identifies the Concept with Time.

At the dawn of philosophy, Parmenides identified the Concept with Eternity. Hence Time had nothing to do with the Concept; with absolute Knowledge, epistēmē, or truth; nor, finally, with Man, to the extent that, as the bearer of the Concept, he is the empirical existence of Knowledge in the temporal World. Moreover, this temporal existence of the Concept in the World is inexplicable from Parmenides' point of view. Man's temporal existence is just as inexplicable for him as it is for Spinoza, who also identified the Concept with Eternity.

With Plato, the existence of Man becomes necessary for Knowledge. True Knowledge — that is, the Concept — is now a relation. Therefore, absolute Knowledge necessarily implies two elements, and one of them can just barely be called "Man." But the Concept is eternal, and it is related to Eternity situated outside of Time. The Eternal, to be sure, is not Eternity. The eternal Concept is something other than Eternity; already it is closer to Time, if I may say so, than the Parmenidean-Spinozist Concept. But, although not Eternity, it is nonetheless related to Eternity, and the Eternity to which it is related has nothing to do with Time.

Only with Aristotle does Time make its way into absolute Knowledge. The Eternity to which the (eternal) Concept is related is now situated in Time. But Time enters into absolute Knowledge only to the extent that Time itself is eternal ("eternal return").

Kant is the first to break with this pagan conception and, in metaphysics itself, to take account of the pre-philosophical JudaeoChristian anthropology of the Bible and the Epistle to the Romans, which is the anthropology of historical Man endowed with an immortal "soul." For Kant, the Concept — while remaining eternal — is related to Time taken as Time.

Therefore, there remains only one possibility of going further in the direction of bringing the Concept and Time together. To do this, and to avoid the difficulties of earlier conceptions, one must identify the Concept and Time. That is what Hegel does. And that is his great discovery, which makes him a great philosopher, a philosopher of the order of Plato, Aristotle, and Kant.

Hegel is the first to identify the Concept and Time. And, curiously enough, he himself says it in so many words, whereas one would search in vain in the other philosophers for the explicit formulas that I have used in my schematic exposition. Hegel said it as early as the Preface to the Phenomenology, where the paradoxical sentence that I have already cited is found: "Was die Zeit betrifft, ... so ist sie der daseiende Begriff selbst" (As for Time, it is the empirically existing Concept itself). And he repeats it word for word in Chapter VIII.

This sentence marks an extremely important date in the history of philosophy. Disregarding Parmenides-Spinoza, we can say that there are two great periods in this history: one that goes from Plato to Kant, and one that begins with Hegel. And I have already said (although, of course, I was not able to prove it) that the philosophers who do not identify the Concept and Time cannot give an account of History — that is, of the existence of the man whom each of us believes himself to be — that is, the free and historical individual.

The principal aim, then, of the reform introduced by Hegel was the desire to give an account of the fact of History. On its phenomenological level, Hegel's philosophy (or more exactly, his "Science") describes the existence of Man who sees that he lives in a World in which he knows that he is a free and historical individual. And on its metaphysical level, this philosophy tells us what the World in which Man can appear thus to himself must be. Finally, on the ontological level, the problem is to see what Being itself must be in order to exist as such a World. And Hegel answers by saying that this is possibly only if the real Concept (that is, Being revealed to itself by an empirically existing Discourse) is Time.

Hegel's whole philosophy or "Science," therefore, can be summed up in the sentence cited: "Time is the Concept itself which is there in empirical existence" — that is, in real Space or the World.

But of course, it is not sufficient to have read that sentence in order to know what Hegelian philosophy is; just as it is not sufficient to say that the eternal Concept is related to Time in order to know what Kant's philosophy is, for example. It is necessary to develop these condensed formulas. And to develop the formula entirely is to reconstruct the entirety of the philosophy in question (with the supposition that its author has made no error in his own development of the fundamental formula).

Of course, we cannot try to reconstruct here the entirety of Hegelian philosophy from the identification of the empirically existing Concept and Time. I must be satisfied with making several quite general remarks, like those that I made in discussing the other conceptions of the relation between the Concept and Time.

The aim of Hegel's philosophy is to give an account of the fact of History. From this it can be concluded that the Time that he identifies with the Concept is historical Time, the Time in which human history unfolds, or better still, the Time that realizes itself (not as the motion of the stars, for example, but) as universal History.

In the Phenomenology, Hegel is very radical. As a matter of fact (at the end of the next to last paragraph of the book and at the beginning of the last page 563), he says that Nature is Space, whereas Time is History. In other words: there is no natural, cosmic Time; there is Time only to the extent that there is History, that is, human existence — that is, speaking existence. Man who, in the course of History, reveals Being by his Discourse, is the "empirically existing Concept" (der daseiende Begriff), and Time is nothing other than this Concept. Without Man, Nature would be Space, and only Space. Only Man is in Time, and Time does not exist outside of Man; therefore, Man is Time, and Time is Man — that is, the "Concept which is there in the [spatial] empirical existence" of Nature (der Begriff der da ist).

But in his other writings, Hegel is less radical. In them, he admits the existence of a cosmic Time. But in so doing, Hegel identifies cosmic Time and historical Time.

But for the moment, no matter. If Hegel identifies both Times, if he admits only one Time, we can apply everything that he says about Time in general to historical Time (which is all that interests us here).

Now, curiously enough, the crucial text on Time is found in the "Philosophy of Nature" of the Jenenser Realphilosophie. Mr. Alexandre Koyré has done a translation and commentary of this text in an article which resulted from his course on the writings of Hegel's youth: a conclusive article, which is the source and basis of my interpretation of the Phenomenology. Here I shall merely reproduce in a few words the principal consequences implied by Mr. Koyré’s analysis.

The text in question clearly shows that the Time that Hegel has in view is the Time that, for us, is historical (and not biological or cosmic) Time. In effect, this Time is characterized by the primacy of the Future. In the Time that pre-Hegelian Philosophy considered, the movement went from the Past toward the Future, by way of the Present. In the Time of which Hegel speaks, on the other hand, the movement is engendered in the Future and goes toward the Present by way of the Past: Future > Past > Present (> Future). And this is indeed the specific structure of properly human — that is, historical — Time.

In fact, let us consider the phenomenological (or better, anthropological) projection of this metaphysical analysis of Time. The movement engendered by the Future is the movement that arises from Desire. This means: from specifically human Desire — that is, creative Desire — that is, Desire that is directed toward an entity that does not exist and has not existed in the real natural World. Only then can the movement be said to be engendered by the Future, for the Future is precisely what does not (yet) exist and has not (already) existed. Now, we know that Desire can be directed toward an absolutely nonexistent entity only provided that it is directed toward another Desire taken as Desire. As a matter of fact, Desire is the presence of an absence: I am thirsty because there is an absence of water in me. It is indeed, then, the presence of a future in the present: of the future act of drinking. To desire to drink is to desire something (water) that is: hence, it is to act in terms of the present. But to act in terms of the desire for a desire is to act in terms of what does not (yet) exist — that is, in terms of the future. The being that acts thus, therefore, is in a Time in which the Future takes primacy. And inversely, the Future can really take primacy only if, in the real (spatial) World, there is a being capable of acting thus.

Now, in Chapter IV of the Phenomenology, Hegel shows that the Desire that is directed toward another Desire is necessarily the Desire for Recognition, which — by opposing the Master to the Slave — engenders History and moves it (as long as it is not definitively overcome by Satisfaction). Therefore: by realizing itself, the Time in which the Future takes primacy engenders History, which lasts as long as this Time lasts; and this Time lasts only as long as History lasts — that is, as long as human acts accomplished with a view to social Recognition are carried out.

Now, if Desire is the presence of an absence, it is not — taken as such — an empirical reality: it does not exist in a positive manner in the natural — i.e., spatial — Present. On the contrary, it is like a gap or a "hole" in Space: an emptiness, a nothingness. (And it is into this "hole," so to speak, that the purely temporal Future takes its place, within the spatial Present.) Desire that is related to Desire, therefore, is related to nothing. To "realize" it, therefore, is to realize nothing. In being related only to the Future, one does not come to a reality, and consequently one is not really in motion. On the other hand, if one affirms or accepts the present (or better, spatial) real, one desires nothing; hence one is not related to the Future, one does not go beyond the Present, and consequently one does not move either. Therefore: in order to realize itself, Desire must be related to a reality; but it cannot be related to it in a positive manner. Hence it must be related to it negatively. Therefore Desire is necessarily the Desire to negate the real or present given. And the reality of Desire comes from the negation of the given reality. Now, the negated real is the real that has ceased to be: it is the past real, or the real Past. Desire determined by the Future appears, in the Present, as a reality (that is, as satisfied Desire) only on the condition that it has negated a real — that is, a Past. The manner in which the Past has been (negatively) formed in terms of the Future is what determines the quality of the real Present. And only the Present thus determined by the Future and the Past is a human or historical Present. Therefore, generally speaking: the historical movement arises from the Future and passes through the Past in order to realize itself in the Present or as temporal Present. The Time that Hegel has in view, then, is human or historical Time: it is the Time of conscious and voluntary action which realizes in the present a Project for the future, which Project is formed on the basis of knowledge of the past.

Therefore, we are dealing with historical Time, and Hegel says that this "Time is the Concept itself which exists empirically." For the moment let us disregard the term "Concept." Hegel says, then, that Time is something, an X, that exists empirically. Now, this assertion can be deduced from the very analysis of the Hegelian notion of (historical) Time. Time in which the Future takes primacy can be realized, can exist, only provided that it negates or annihilates. In order that Time may exist, therefore, there must also be something other than Time. This other thing is first of all Space (as it were, the place where things are stopped). Therefore: no Time without Space; Time is something that is in Space. Time is the negation of Space (of diversity); but if it is something and not nothingness, it is because it is the negation of Space. Now, only that which really exists — that is, which resists — can be really negated. But Space that resists is full: it is extended matter, it is real Space — that is, the natural World. Therefore, Time must exist in a World: it is indeed, then, something which "ist da," as Hegel says, which is there in a Space, and which is there in empirical Space — that is, in a sensible Space or a natural World. Time annihilates this World by causing it at every instant to sink into the nothingness of the past. But Time is nothing but this nihilation of the World; and if there were no real World that was annihilated, Time would only be pure nothingness: there would be no Time. Hence Time that is, therefore, is indeed something that "exists empirically" — i.e., exists in a real Space or a spatial World.

Now, we have seen that the presence of Time (in which the Future takes primacy) in the real World is called Desire (which is directed toward another Desire), and that this Desire is a specifically human Desire, since the Action that realizes it is Man's very being. The real presence of Time in the World, therefore, is called Man. Time is Man, and Man is Time.

In the Phenomenology, Hegel does not say this in so many words, because he avoids the word "man." But in the Lectures delivered at Jena he says: "Geist ist Zeit" ("Spirit is Time"). Now, "Spirit" in Hegel (and especially in this context) means "human Spirit" or Man, more particularly, collective Man — that is, the People or State, and, finally, Man as a whole or humanity in the totality of its spatial-temporal existence, that is, the totality of universal History.

Therefore, Time (that is, historical Time, with the rhythm: Future > Past > Present) is Man in his empirical — that is, spatial — integral reality: Time is the History of Man in the World. And indeed, without Man, there would be no Time in the World; Nature that did not shelter Man would be only a real Space. To be sure, the animal, too, has desires, and it acts in terms of these desires, by negating the real: it eats and drinks, just like man. But the animal's desires are natural; they are directed toward what is, and hence they are determined by what is; the negating action that is effected in terms of these desires, therefore, cannot essentially negate, it cannot change the essence of what is. Therefore, in its entirety — that is, in its reality — Being is not modified by these "natural" desires; it does not essentially change because of them; it remains identical to itself, and thus it is Space, and not Time. To be sure, an animal transforms the aspect of the natural World in which it lives. But it dies and gives back to the earth what it has taken from it. And since the animal is identically repeated by its offspring, the changes that it brings about in the World are repeated, too. And hence in its entirety, Nature remains what it is. Man, on the other hand, essentially transforms the World by the negating Action of his Fights and his Work, Action which arises from nonnatural human Desire directed toward another Desire — that is, toward something that does not exist really in the natural World. Only Man creates and destroys essentially. Therefore, the natural reality implies Time only if it implies a human reality. Now, man essentially creates and destroys in terms of the idea that he forms of the Future. And the idea of the Future appears in the real present in the form of a Desire directed toward another Desire — that is, in the form of a Desire for social Recognition. Now, Action that arises from this Desire engenders History. Hence there is Time only where there is History.

Therefore: "die Zeit ist der daseiende Begriff selbst" means: Time is Man in the World and his real History. But Hegel also says: "Geist ist Zeit." That is to say, Man is Time. And we have just seen what this means: Man is Desire directed toward another Desire — that is, Desire for Recognition — that is, negating Action performed for the sake of satisfying this Desire for Recognition — that is, bloody Fighting for prestige — that is, the relation between Master and Slave — that is, Work — that is, historical evolution which finally comes to the universal and homogeneous State and to the absolute Knowledge that reveals complete Man realized in and by this State. In short, to say that Man is Time is to say all that Hegel says of Man in the Phenomenology. And it is also to say that the existing Universe, and Being itself, must be such that Man thus conceived of is possible and can be realized. Hence the sentence that identifies Spirit and Time sums up Hegel's whole philosophy, just as the other schematic formulas enumerated above sum up the whole philosophy of a Plato, an Aristotle, etc.

But in those schematic formulas, the Concept is what was mentioned. Now, Hegel too says not only "Geist ist Zeit," but also "die Zeit ist der Begriff der da ist."

To be sure, these are two different ways of saying the same thing. If Man is Time, and if Time is the "empirically existing Concept," it can be said that Man is the "empirically existing Concept." And so, indeed, he is: as the only speaking being in the World, he is Logos (or Discourse) incarnate, Logos become flesh and thus existing as an empirical reality in the natural World. Man is the Dasein of the Begriff, and the "empirically existing Concept" is Man. Therefore, to say that Time is the "empirically existing Concept" is indeed to say that Time is Man, provided that Man is conceived of as Hegel conceives of him in the Phenomenology. Hence everything that Hegel says of Man in the Phenomenology is also valid for Time. And inversely, everything that can be said of the "appearance" (Erscheinung) or "Phänomenologie" of Time (that is, of Spirit) in the World is said by Hegel in the Phenomenology.

Therefore, to understand the paradoxical identification of Time and the Concept, one inust know the whole of the Phenomenology. On the one hand, one must know that the Time in question is human or historical Time-that is, Time in which the Future that determines the Present by way of the Past takes primacy. And on the other hand, one must know how Hegel defines the Concept. It remains for me, then, briefly to go over what the Concept, the Begriff, is for Hegel.

In Chapter VII of the Phenomenology, Hegel said that all conceptual understanding (Begreifen) is equivalent to a murder. Let us, then, recall what he had in view. As long as the Meaning (or Essence, Concept, Logos, Idea, etc.) is embodied in an empirically existing entity, this Meaning or Essence, as well as this entity, lives. For example, as long as the Meaning (or Essence) "dog" is embodied in a sensible entity, this Meaning (Essence) lives: it is the real dog, the living dog which runs, drinks, and eats. But when the Meaning (Essence) "dog" passes into the word "dog" — that is, becomes abstract Concept which is different from the sensible reality that it reveals by its Meaning — the Meaning (Essence) dies: the word "dog" does not run, drink, and eat; in it the Meaning (Essence) ceases to live — that is, it dies. And that is why the conceptual understanding of empirical reality is equivalent to a murder. To be sure, Hegel knows full well that it is not necessary to kill a dog in order to understand it through its Concept — that is, in order to give it a name or define it — nor is it necessary to wait for it actually to die in order to do so. However, Hegel says, if the dog were not mortal — that is, essentially finite or limited with respect to its duration — one could not detach its Concept from it — that is, cause the Meaning (Essence) that is embodied in the real dog to pass into the nonliving word — into the word (endowed with a meaning) — that is, into the abstract Concept — into the Concept that exists not in the dog (which realizes it) but in the man (who thinks it) — that is, in something other than the sensible reality which the concept reveals by its Meaning. The Concept "dog" which is my Concept (of the dog), the Concept, therefore, which is something other than the living dog and is related to a living dog as to an external reality — this abstract Concept is possible only if the dog is essentially mortal. That is, if the dog dies or is annihilated at every instant of its existence. Now, this dog which is annihilated at every instant is precisely the dog which endures in Time, which at every instant ceases to live or exist in the Present so as to be annihilated in the Past, or as Past. If the dog were eternal, if it existed outside of Time or without Time, the Concept "dog" would never be detached from the dog itself. The empirical existence (Dasein) of the Concept "dog" would be the living dog, and not the word "dog" (either thought or spoken). Hence, there would be no Discourse (Logos) in the World; and since the empirically existing Discourse is solely Man (actually speaking Man), there would be no Man in the World. The Concept-word detaches itself from the sensible hic et nunc; but it can thus detach itself only because the hic et nunc — i.e., spatial being — is temporal, because it annihilates itself in the Past. And the real which disappears into the Past preserves itself (as nonreal) in the Present in the form of the Word-Concept. The Universe of Discourse (the World of Ideas) is the permanent rainbow which forms above a waterfall: and the waterfall is the temporal real which is annihilated in the nothingness of the Past.

To be sure, the Real endures in Time as real. But by the fact of enduring in Time, it is its own remembrance: at each instant it realizes its Essence or Meaning, and this is to say that it realizes in the Present what is left of it after its annihilation in the Past; and this something that is left and that it re-realizes is its concept. At the moment when the present Real sinks into the Past, its Meaning (Essence) detaches itself from its reality (Existence); and it is here that appears the possibility of retaining this Meaning outside of the reality by causing it to pass into the Word. And this Word reveals the Meaning of the Real which realizes in the Present its own Past — that is, this same Past that is "eternally" preserved in the Word-Concept. In short, the Concept can have an empirical existence in the World (this existence being nothing other than human existence) only if the World is temporal, only if Time has an empirical existence in the World. And that is why it can be said that Time is the empirically existing Concept.

Therefore: no Concept in the World as long as there is no empirically existing Time in this World. Now, we have seen that the empirical existence of Time in the World is human Desire (i.e., Desire that is directed toward a Desire as Desire). Therefore: no conceptual understanding without Desire. Now, Desire is realized by negating Action: and human Desire is realized by the Action of the Fight to the death for pure prestige. And this Fight is realized by the victory of the Master over the Slave, and by the latter's work in the Master's service. This Work of the Slave is what realizes the Master's Desire by satisfying it. Therefore, and Hegel says so expressly in Chapter IV, no Concept without Work; it is from the Slave's Work that Denken and Verstand, Understanding and Thought — that is, conceptual understanding of the World — are born.

And now we understand why. It is Work, and only Work, that transforms the World in an essential manner, by creating truly new realities. If there were only animals on earth, Aristotle would be right: the Concept would be embodied in the eternal species, eternally identical to itself; and it would not exist, as Plato claimed it did, outside of Time and the World. But then it would not be understandable how the Concept could exist outside of the species, how it could exist in the temporal World in the form of a word. Therefore, it would not be understandable how Man could exist — Man — i.e., that being which is not a dog, for example, and in which the Meaning (Essence) "dog" nonetheless exists just as much as in the dog, since there is in it the Word-Concept "dog." For this to be possible, Being revealed by the Concept must be essentially temporal — that is, finite, or possessing a beginning and an ending in Time. Now, not the natural object, nor even the animal or plant, but only the product of human Work is essentially temporal. Human Work is what temporalizes the spatial natural World; Work, therefore, is what engenders the Concept which exists in the natural World while being something other than this World: Work, therefore, is what engenders Man in this World, \Vork is what transforms the purely natural World into a technical World inhabited by Man — that is, into a historical World.

Only the World transformed by human Work reveals itself in and by the Concept which exists empirically in the World without being the World. Therefore, the Concept is Work, and Work is the Concept. And if, as Marx quite correctly remarks, Work for Hegel is "das Wesen des Menschen" ("the very essence of Man"), it can also be said that man's essence, for Hegel, is the Concept. And that is why Hegel says not only that Time is the Begriff, but also that it is the Geist. For if Work temporalizes Space, the existence of Work in the World is the existence in this World of Time. Now, if Man is the Concept, and if the Concept is Work, Man and the Concept are also Time.

If all this holds true, it must first be said that there is conceptual understanding only where there is an essentially temporal, that is, historical, reality; and secondly, that only historical or temporal existence can reveal itself by the Concept. Or in other words, conceptual understanding is necessarily dialectical.

Now, if this holds true and if Nature is only Space and not Time, one would have to conclude that there is no conceptual understanding of Nature. One would understand, in the full sense, only where there is Time — i.e., one would truly understand only History. In any case, it is only History that can and must be understood dialectically.

One would have to say so. But Hegel does not. And that, I believe, is his basic error. First of all, there is a vacillation in Hegel. On the one hand, he says that Nature is only Space. On the other, he clearly sees that (biological) life is a temporal phenomenon. Hence the idea that Life (Leben) is a manifestation of Spirit (Geist) . But Hegel also sees, and he is the first to say so in so many words, that truly human existence is possible only by the negation of Life (as we know, the Risk of life in the Fight for prestige is constituent of Man) . Hence an opposition of Leben and Geist. Bur if this opposition exists, Life is not historical; therefore there is no biological dialectic; therefore there is no conceptual understanding of Life.

Now, Hegel asserts that there is such an understanding. He imagines (following Schelling) a dialectical biology, and he sets it forth in the Phenomenology (Chapter V, Section A, a). To be sure, he denies the conceptual understanding or dialectic of non-vital reality. But this merely leads him to say that the real World is a living being. Hence his absurd philosophy of Nature, his insensate critique of Newton, and his own "magical" physics which discredited his System in the nineteenth century.

But there is yet more to say. Dialectical understanding applies only to historical reality — that is, to the reality created by Work according to a Project. To assert, as Hegel does, that all understanding is dialectical and that the natural World is understandable is to assert that this World is the work of a Demiurge, of a Creator-God conceived in the image of working Man. And this is what Hegel actually says in the Logik, when he says that his "Logic" (that is, his ontology) is "the thought of God before the creation of the World." It would follow that Hegel understands the World because the World is created according to the Concept that Hegel has. And thus we are in the midst of a paradox. Hegelian anthropo-theism ceases to be an image; Hegel is actually God, God the creator, and the eternal God. Now, (unless he is mad) a man cannot assert that he created the World. If, then, the thought that is revealed in the Logik is the thought that created the World, it is certainly not Hegel's thought. It is the thought of a Creator other than Hegel, other than Man in general; it is the thought of God. And therefore the Logik, in spite of its title, is not simply logic; like Spinoza's Ethics, it is theo-logy — that is, the logic, thought, or discourse of God.

But enough of the natural World. Let us note that Hegel realized an immense philosophical progress by identifying the Concept and Time. For by doing this — that is, by discovering dialectical knowledge — he found the means of establishing a phenomenology, a metaphysics, and an ontology of History — that is, of Man as we conceive of him today and as he is in reality.

Let us see the decisive consequence for Man following from this discovery.

The Concept is Time. Time in the full sense of the term — that is, a Time in which there is a Future also in the full sense — that is, a Future that will never become either Present or Past. Man is the empirical existence of the Concept in the World. Therefore, he is the empirical existence in the World of a Future that will never become present. Now, this Future, for Man, is his death, that Future of his which will never become his Present; and the only reality or real presence of this Future is the knowledge that Man has in the present of his future death. Therefore, if Man is Concept and if the Concept is Time (that is, if Man is an essentially temporal being), Man is essentially mortal; and he is Concept, that is, absolute Knowledge or Wisdom incarnate, only if he knows this. Logos becomes flesh, becomes Man, only on the condition of being willing and able to die.

And this causes us to understand why possibility III, adopted by Hegel, appears so late in the history of philosophy. To deny that the Concept is eternal, to say that it is Time, is to deny that Man is immortal or eternal (at least to the extent that he thinks, to the extent that he is truly a human being). Now, Man accepts his death only in extremis; and it was also in extremis that philosophy accepted possibility III. "Alles endliche ist dies, sich selbst aufzuheben," Hegel says in the Encyclopaedia. It is only finite Being that dialectically overcomes itself. If, then, the Concept is Time, that is, if conceptual understanding is dialectical, the existence of the Concept — and consequently of Being revealed by the Concept — is essentially finite. Therefore History itself must be essentially finite; collective Man (humanity) must die just as the human individual dies; universal History must have a definitive end.

We know that for Hegel this end of history is marked by the coming of Science in the form of a Book — that is, by the appearance of the Wise Man or of absolute Knowledge in the World. This absolute Knowledge, being the last moment of Time — that is, a moment without a Future — is no longer a temporal moment. If absolute Knowledge comes into being in Time or, better yet, as Time or History, Knowledge that has come into being is no longer temporal or historical: it is eternal, or, if you will, it is Eternity revealed to itself; it is the Substance of Parmenides-Spinoza which reveals itself by a Discourse (and not by Silence), precisely because it is the result of a historical becoming; it is Eternity engendered by Time.

And this is what Hegel is going to explain in the text of the Second Stage of the Second Section of the Second Part of Chapter VIII.


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