Boumann's Pref. to Hegel's Phil. of Mind/Spirit

"Contradiction is the rule of the true."—G.W.F. Hegel
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class="first">Boumann's Pref. to Hegel's Phil. of Mind/Spirit

Post by JustinB » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:31 am

Forward to the Philosophy of Mind by Ludwig Boumann (1801-1871), editor of part three of Hegel's Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences in Outline


Lack of time has forced the undersigned editor of this edition of the third part of the Hegelian Encyclopaedia to drop the idea of providing a scientific consideration of the work, and to confine himself to giving an account of the materials used in compiling it, and a brief outline of the procedure it was thought advisable to adopt in making use of these sources in the preparation of the Additions.

He should state at the outset with regard to the first point, that he has only been commissioned to furnish the doctrine of Subjective Spirit with Additions, the sections of the work devoted to objective and absolute spirit having already been sufficiently elucidated by means of the new edition of the Philosophy of Right and the publication of Hegel's lectures on the Philosophy of History, Aesthetics, the Philosophy of Religion and the History of Philosophy. It was out of the question that the paragraphs relating to the doctrine of Subjective Spirit should have received satisfactory treatment in the necessarily extremely condensed lectures Hegel delivered on the Encyclopaedia as a whole. The bulk of the material for the task in hand was therefore provided by the lectures dealing exclusively with this particular branch of philosophy. - Hegel's own note-books constituted the editor's primary sources. The first of these, dated May I8I7, displays great unevenness in the working out of its various sections.

The second, which was prepared in Berlin and first used during the summer term of I820, is written up somewhat more uniformly. Both are devoid ofa treatment of the subject matter in rounded sentences however, and consist for the most part of nothing but general reminders and isolated words. -- Five sets of lecture notes were also available.

Apart from his own, the editor made use of two which Hegel himself had had prepared. The lectures given by Hegel in I828 and I830 were based on one of these, with the result that the manuscript is profusely annotated with his own marginal notes. Major von Griesheim's very carefully prepared and comprehensive record of the lectures given in I825, and the somewhat more compact but well-arranged notes taken by Dr. Mullach in I828, were also found to be extremely useful.

With regard to the second point mentioned above, the procedure adopted in making use of this material, the editor has assumed that he was necessarily obliged to give the comparatively raw material of these lectures the artistic form justifiably required of a scientific work. Had the sources not been recast in this manner, there would in this case have been a disagreeable lack of harmony between the book to be elucidated and the Additions prepared for this purpose. It was however by no means easy to overcome this discordance.

Since he was in the habit of delivering them freely, Hegel's lectures had all the freshness and fascination of a world of thought in the process of being created. As they were more or less entirely a matter of improvisation however, they were not infrequently marred by inadvertent repetitions, want of precision, disconnectedness and lack of proportion. These flaws had to be painstakingly removed in the working over of the sources. Although alterations were necessary however, they were only made in accordance with what was indubitably Hegel's own procedure. The editor believes that he has also kept to the sense of this procedure by not omitting from these Additions the dialectical development which constitutes the soul of Hegelian lecturing. Since this development, as rendered in the extraordinarily condensed exposition of the printed text, often assumes the appearance of being an imposition and a mere assertion, Hegel usually considered it necessary to expound it more fully in the lectures, and to some extent in greater depth. It is often the case therefore, that a point made in the initial Paragraph has also had to be dealt with in the subsequent Addition.

It is to be hoped however, that this has been so carried out that it never constitutes a superfluous repetition, but always establishes a more complete development and clarification of the point at issue.

Nothing remains for the editor but to hope that this edition of the third part of the Hegelian Encyclopaedia may prove a worthy companion to the highly distinguished works relating to the same subject already published by Michelet, Rosenkranz and Daub.

Berlin, 12 April 1845.

(Translated by M.J. Petry in Hegel's Philosophy of Subjective Spirit, vol. 1., 1978)

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