Janko Stojanow



  Volume 2 

Further development of the Philosophy of Absolute Rational Will



IV. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy 





Hegel, who knew what a true philosophy is and what is true in philosophy, wanted to originate a philosophical scientific system built on the principle “Cognise yourself” and he reached his goal. He made philosophy a speculative science through and through. On the other hand, the very fact that so many great post-Hegelian philosophers have tried to sublate Hegel's philosophy witnesses how little were they satisfied  with it. There is no denying that being unable to sublate his philosophy, they simply put it aside, which is neither the true nor the best way to develop the Science of Philosophy. Yet, they felt - as we feel nowadays, - that the Rational Will of of our time definitely has other needs which cannot find their satisfaction in Hegel's philosophy. Its sublation is still on the agenda.  

Furthermore, the public in large does not care about Hegel's philosophy. This cannot be by accident; it is bound to have very sound reasons. As I will argue below, Hegel himself was aware of how disappointed the public in large could be by his philosophical system. We cannot but ask an important question: What is the reason that  - as Hegel confesses in the very beginning of the introduction of his Philosophy of Nature, - "now it is not widely admitted, as in the past, that studying philosophy has to be the necessary introduction and the base for each further scientific education and professional work." Why is it still the case? Why is Hegel's philosophy hardly known outside the walls of Universities and, despite of the fact that, it has influenced thinkers for almost two centuries, it never made it out of University auditoriums and the heads of enthusiastic philosophising individual thinkers?

 It is a substantial question. We have to find its answer if we want to understand the very nature of modern philosophy. I will argue that, as a matter of fact, there is no other reason but the essential contradiction of the theoretical and the practical approach to reality. Hegel claims - in unison with what many contemplative philosophers say, - that the ultimate aim and the ultimate business of philosophy is to reconcile Thinking with reality. However, this contemplative approach to reality is thoroughly unacceptable in practical life, in practical philosophy, whose purpose is not to reconcile thinking with reality but to put Theoretical Reason in use and make it serve the totally practical Will, and, in so doing, to change the reality in the World in which we live.

The latest and the newest development of the immanent higher principle of the Absolute can only be obtained as the result of the own dialectical development of Hegel's philosophical system. Hegel - definitely one of the greatest teachers of mankind, - taught us that if we want to refute a previous philosophy and, in so doing, to find the latest and the newest development of the immanent higher principle of the Absolute, we cannot do it from "outside" by arbitrary arguments but through unfolding and developing its own immanent and internal contradictions, which it is not yet aware about.

Beyond question, each subsequent true philosophy must necessarily contain within itself Hegel's philosophy as sublated. Hegel himself claimed that when a philosophy is refuted what is refuted is not the principle of a philosophy, but only the claim of its principle to be ultimate and absolute and, as such, to have absolute validity. The old principle is taken up into the new one so that the latest philosophy preserves all the previous principles and contains them into itself and as something that deserves to be eternally alive since they are moments of the Absolute truth. Modern philosophy cannot make a genuine headway until it sublates Hegel's philosophy. Hegel's principle is not the highest one; it is not the ultimate, the absolute determination.

Let us now undertake a close examination of the dialectics of the principle of Hegel's intellectual philosophy "Cognise yourself." This study will be especially concerned with the sublating principle of the immanent contradictions of Hegel's philosophy, which the latter is essentially necessary. 

The method of Hegel's philosophy is a modality of cognition, and as such is posited as determined by the self-knowing Notion, which finds and cognises itself by means of itself in everything. For Hegel the method of his philosophy is the only true one since it is the absolute form, which is identical with its content. For this reason, the Notion knows itself and everything as Notion and there is no content that could stand over against it and determine it to be a one-sided external form. The method is nothing else but the self-determining and self-realising movement of the Notion itself, its universal absolute activity.

Being the unity of the Notion and objectivity Hegel's idea is the adequate Notion is objectively true, or the true as such. At the first stage of the process of its development the Idea is Life, in which the Notion is soul in the guise of the immediate and has individuality for the form of its existence. At this stage the Notion does not exist explicitly for itself as Notion; it is only in itself. Its realisation is the end and the task of the whole further development of Cognition. Being the self-determining and self-realising movement of the absolute activity, the Notion has the urge to posit the difference which it contains in itself so that the Idea of spirit proves itself to be the truth of the Idea of life. Thus, - as Hegel puts it, - the elevation of the Notion above life means that its reality is now the Notion form liberated into universality. 

In this second stage, the Idea is the Idea of the true and the good as cognition and volition. As the absolute form, which is identical with its content, the Notion is the absolute mover of its self-development. For this reason, each of these opposite Ideas in the process of their dialectical development - in and through themselves, - is a transition into its opposite the result being that the Notion posits the unity which it consists in itself. First of all, the Idea manifests itself as theoretical Idea, cognition as such. Its urge to objective truth is the Idea itself as the reality that corresponds to the Notion. The result of cognition is that now the Notion is explicitly determined in and for itself. It is the practical Idea, or action. The Notion is determined for itself as an individual. "It is the urge to realise itself, the end that wills by means of itself to give itself objectivity and to realise itself in the objective world." It is worth paying attention to the way Hegel presents the Aristotelian category of entelechy; it is essential to be meticulously examined and we will deal with it below. However, at this point of our examination, let us continue the presentation of Hegel's ideas. 

Discussing the practical Idea, volition, Hegel goes on saying that the "determinateness contained in the Notion and in the likeness of the Notion, and including within it the demand for an individual external actuality, is the good. It comes upon the scene with the worth of being absolute, because it is within itself the totality of the Notion, the objective that is at the same time in the form of free unity and subjectivity." Amazingly enough, Hegel acknowledges that the Good is the absolute actual - it is the objective that has at the same time the form of free unity and subjectivity. As the self-determining which possesses the content within itself, the Idea of the will "is superior to the Idea of cognition [...] for it possesses not only the worth of the universal but also of the out-and-out actual" However, the practical Idea still lacks the moment of the theoretical Idea. It is through the determined in and for itself objective Notion that the Idea of the good, the Will, receives the form of a true being and integrates itself with the Idea of the true. As a result "cognition is restored and united with the practical Idea; the actuality found as given is at the same time determined as the realised absolute end." This is the absolute Idea.    

In this turning point of the method, as the unity of the Subjective and the Objective Idea, the Absolute Idea is the absolute and all truth. Hegel finds nothing else but the very thing he has wished for - the Idea which thinks itself, "the noesis noeseos which Aristotle long ago termed the supreme form of the idea." (The Encyclopaedia, §236n

The position taken up by Cognition and the notion is that of absolute idealism. For Hegel "Philosophy is a knowledge through notions because it sees that what on other grades of consciousness is taken to have Being, and to be naturally or immediately independent, is but a constituent stage in the Idea." (§160) We could admire the infinite self-confidence of Reason expressed in Hegel's the Science of Logic. The latter is thinking about Thought; the logical is the absolute form of Truth as it itself is the pure Truth. True, spiritual content exists in its truth only in thinking and as thought and that it is the only way through which it could be achieved in-and-for-itself. However, Hegel's Absolute Idea is not free from the inherent dialectical contradictions of the Absolute; contradiction is an essential moment of the Notion. Furthermore, not only can the thinking itself Absolute Thought bear in itself the strongest contradiction, but in the process of its self-development it also eternally creates and eternally solves its immanent contradictions. Now our task is to show that for Cognition, for the Thinking I, the Absolute Idea is a true sublation of the contradiction between the practical Idea and the theoretical Idea, between the Idea of Will and the idea of Cognition. Yet, the true is not the complete totality of the Absolute, but only an inherent moment of the absolutely actual Rational Will. Furthermore, I will show that although Hegel's Absolute Idea is an immanent moment of the the Absolute, it is neither the only nor the highest way of  sublating the dialectical contradiction between Truth and Freedom, between the theoretical and the practical, between theoretical philosophy and practical philosophy.    

First and foremost, let us express distinctly the defect of Hegel's Absolute Idea, i.e. to present its immanent dialectical contradiction. Hegel himself knows very well that his readers are bound to be disappointed by this only thinking or Logical Idea; however, he refuses "to indulge in a vast amount of senseless declamation about the idea absolute." (The Encyclopaedia, §237n) He claims that "its true content is only the whole system of which we have been hitherto studying the development," it is "the living development of the Idea."  Nonetheless, Hegel is conscious of the fact that his Absolute Idea is not and cannot be satisfactory for he goes on to say: "The Absolute Idea may in this respect be compared to the old man who utters the same creed as the child, but for whom it is pregnant with the significance of a lifetime. Even if the child understands the truths of religion, he cannot but imagine them to be something outside of which lies the whole of life and the whole of the world. The same may be said to be the case with human life as a whole and the occurrences with which it is fraught. All work is directed only to the aim or end; and when it is attained, people are surprised to find nothing else but just the very thing which they had wished for. The interest lies in the whole movement. When a man traces up the steps of his life, the end may appear to him very restricted: but in it the whole decursus vitae is comprehended." (The Encyclopaedia, §237n) As will be argued below, the problem with the decursus vitae of Hegel's Absolute Idea is that the latter is not yet the whole movement of the Absolute itself. 

Hegel can apply and does apply the categories of his pure logic everywhere else in his philosophy of Nature and philosophy of Spirit as well as in his philosophy of Right, which does not change at all the substantial fact that his Science of Logic is a poor means to develop the infinite wealth of the absolute, of the Divine. His logic expresses brilliantly the idea of the Absolute Truth. However, it still does not express all the categories of the Absolute, which categories are to be developed and revealed so that they include the real and complete totality of the Absolute, i.e. to attain to the standpoint in which its material-entelechial volitions, - the ends of the good, - and  the true equalise in the Absolute Rational Will. Hegel announces the completion of philosophy, his philosophy being the highest apex of philosophy but in spite of the great speculative power of his Science of Logic, the latter is still not enough and will never be enough. Hegel’s old man is still a boy.

Hegel's philosophy does not express genuinely the standpoint of the public in large, the reason being that his Science of Logic is the fundamental foundation to his entire philosophical system. In his Science of Logic Hegel says: "Accordingly, logic is to be understood as the system of pure reason, as the realm of pure thought. It can therefore be said that this content is the exposition of God as he is in his eternal essence before the creation of nature and a finite mind." It is beyond doubt the Absolute Idea has real being; only that which is Idea has being. True, Hegel is right saying that all actual has being only inasmuch as it has in itself and expresses the Idea. Only the latter - as the objective Notion, - has true being. However, Hegel examines the Absolute from the standpoint of reason, self-consciousness, Spirit; in his first and foremost cognitive philosophy Will is nothing more but manifestation of reason

Here we can see the contradiction between Cognition and Volition, between the theoretical Idea and the practical Idea, and its Hegelian sublation - the Absolute Idea has them in their unity as sublated. Yet, this unity is posited through the dialectical self-development of the Notion. Thus, the total and infinitely rich content of Volition is lost and not taken into consideration at all. The Absolute Idea is not yet the true sublation of Cognition and Volition for only the intellectual moment - only the Notion, - is taken out-and-out into consideration, while the volitional one is not truly sublated by the Absolute Idea and, consequently, the Absolute Idea is devoid of Volition. We could not expect more from the Science of Logic: the latter is only looking for truth, the whole truth, the Absolute Truth. Hegel solves the contradiction of the Absolute in favour of cognition, thinking, the Spirit. I will argue that this is not what the public in large does. Its realistic consciousness recognises the primacy of Will over Reason, recognises the hegemony of Will. It recognises that the Absolute, God, wills itself and governs itself in its World; it is the power over the World, which has as its final object the Good in the World. The Will is totally practical; it is the Absolute Rational Will which lays down the identity of Good and reality.

For millennia the immense influence of intellectual philosophers has been so powerful that Soul has been connected with categories - such as mind, spirit, thought, consciousness, Notion, - denoting the mental and intellectual aspect of man that the idealists tended to favour. As Hegel himself witnesses: "The name soul was formerly employed for the individual finite spirit generally, and rational or empirical psychology was intended to be synonymous with doctrine of spirit." Bearing in mind that cognition is biased, self-important and preoccupied with itself only, it is easy to guess what philosophical questions cognitive  philosophy will ask as well as what answers it will provide to all of them. Hegel says that in nature Spirit cognises the logical Idea and elevates nature to its essence, the reason being that thought examines and is busied with nothing else but itself alone. For him, the Idea is the thinking itself thought. According to him, Spirit - which he examines in the concrete sciences of spirit, namely as soul, consciousness and spirit as such, - is the selfknowing actual Idea; the ultimate aim and business of philosophy is to reconcile the Notion with reality. Being first and foremost interested in cognition, Hegel claims that in his philosophy the World-Spirit has succeeded in apprehending itself as absolute Spirit. He is only interested in the ideal moment of the Absolute since he puts matter aside as the passive moment of the Absolute. However, it is not by accident that scientists as well as the public in large examine the world in its materiality, i.e. in its totality. In Hegel's absolute Spirit the absolute has not yet self-realised its absolute end; it has not yet come to its complete reality. It is for this reason that, in Hegel's absolute Spirit, the Absolute - having its infinite power in-and-for-itself, - is the posited dialectics of the very itself and has the urge to posit itself as practical Will as well as to give itself a totally corresponding reality.

Hegel is conscious of the strongest opposition between the theoretical (the pure speculative) and the practical, between Cognition and Volition. In his Science of Logic he says about the first stage of the Idea as life: "All that we need perhaps to remark is how far the logical view of life differs from any other scientific view of it; this is not the place, however, to concern ourselves with how life is treated in the unphilosophical sciences, but only with differentiating logical life as pure Idea from natural life which is dealt with in the philosophy of nature, and from life in so far as it stands in connection with spirit."(#1646) The opposition of speculative thinking and thinking empiricism is explicitly expressed here. 

As I have pointed out above Hegel treats life as the immediacy of the Idea - i.e. for him, in Nature life is only a Notion in itself; this is the standpoint of Hegel's absolute idealism and there is no denying of the fact that from this standpoint Hegel is absolutely right. From this standpoint, it is impossible for him to see the animal first and foremost as an in-itself and for-itself willing subject. For this reason, he fails to base philosophy on the Will to life and welfare. In practical philosophy, however, Life is considered to be a self-desiring Will so that the animal actions are nothing else but the deeds of Will. All animal organs and their functions are the means of its Volition to live, to possess and has power over itself and its inorganic other. Being an objective idealist, Hegel neglects all voluntaristic philosophies. In Hegel's cognitive philosophy and in cognitive philosophy as such, it is easy for the thinking "I" to eliminate the willing "I", to take its place, for it (the thinking "I") is not and cannot be impartial, with the result that being aware of its greatness, Hegel's  Absolute Spirit  usurps the rights of Absolute Will.    

Hegel's method is one-sided for it is based on the Notion only. He examines only the universal activity, the self-determining and self-realising movement without examining the latter with its inseparable other - matter, i.e. as acting (willing ) matter; in the second part of this article I will examine the latter and call it Material Entelechy. For Hegel, philosophy is a science about the Absolute Idea, which is that what is in-and-for-itself and is the absolutely true, so that Spirit is the self-knowing actual Idea. He is interested only in the pure activity of the Absolute, in its actus purus, in the ideal side of the Absolute and, consequently, his concept (Notion) is not entirely based on the Absolute Material Entelechy (actuality). That is exactly the defect  of Hegel's philosophical system and that is what has to be sublated and deserves to be sublated; it contains in itself the "Why" and the "How" of its own self-sublation and dialectical development. According to Hegel matter is the purely passive substratum of each alteration, becoming and activity; it is also a moment of the absolute, but Hegel always emphasises only the ideal moment of the absolute. The self-realising movement of the Notion consists in bringing into actuality what is somehow potentially contained in the material on which the Notion works. However, in Hegel's philosophy in no way is this "somehow" examined; Hegel just puts it aside. This is one of the inherent contradictions of Hegel's Absolute. True, the pure actuality, the actual, which Hegel presents us as through and through wholly and completely concrete is essentially one of the moments of the absolute. However, the absolute is true only as complete unity of matter and actuality (εντελεχεια), which are totally interwoven and either of them without its other is only a mere abstraction of the philosophising mind. The absolute is as much material entelechy as it is entelechial matter. 

I have already shown above that in Hegel's philosophy, the contradiction between the Theoretical Idea and the Practical Idea is sublated in the Absolute Idea through the dialectical self-development of the Notion. This is the way Hegel apprehend the sublation from the standpoint of absolute idealism. Now I will argue that it is the Absolute which in its infinite elasticity not only bears its immanent contradictions but also sublates them in-and-through itself and in a way different than Hegel's one.  

Hegel's Notion is nothing else but Aristotle's entelechy being put in use in Hegel's Science of Logic. He examines only the universal activity, the self-determining and self-realising movement. He does not examine it with its inseparable other - matter, as acting (willing ) matter. In Hegel's Absolute Idea and Absolute Spirit, the Absolute still lacks the absolutely actual matter and its highest principle  - Freedom. Another way of regarding this defect is that the Absolute still lacks the moment of Volition, Will. This is the strongest contradiction of the Absolute.  The Supreme Good of the theoretical, of bios theoretikos , and the Supreme Good and highest End of the practical, of men of action, are not one and the same; that is why we unavoidably will come to different ways of solving the contradiction. In the practical philosophy of every man, of mankind, - in all practical as well as productive sciences, - the goal of thinking is not pure knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but to make actions and practical activities rational. 

Thus, we come to the contradiction of the practical Willing I and the cognising I as well as the two ways of solving this contradiction - by acknowledging the primacy of Volition (Will, the practical) over the Notion, or by acknowledging the primacy of Notion over Will. They present  the two possible ways of developing the science of philosophy. Philosophy could be developed from the standpoint of the theoretical and then we have an intellectualistic philosophy, or it could be developed from the  standpoint of the practical and then we have a purely practical voluntaristic philosophy.

In Hegel's intellectualistic philosophy, the Absolute is examined from the standpoint of a philosophical interest searching for truth and asking only the question - the sole question of cognitive, theoretical philosophy, - what is the truth of the Absolute.  As far as Cognition is concerned, Hegel fails to ask the absolutely important question "Why and how do we cognise?"  Why do we cognise? - The answer of practical philosophy is: to live better. Are we only spiritual? Definitely, not! Spirit is only a moment of the Absolute Good, which has its ends - this ends being the Volitions of its Rational Will, which inherently has the sphere of all its principles and manifests them in its complete reality. For this reason, the truly higher questions concerning the absolutely actual are: "What is Freedom? Why and how do we have Freedom?" These are the supreme questions of practical philosophy. While for Hegel, philosophy is first and foremost a truth-seeking Science, in practical life Truth serve the practical Will. Cognition in its truth-seeking is theoretically oriented, Will is totally practical. In real life the latter manifests the practical Volitions of Material Entelechy as such, i.e. its total Freedom.

 For Hegel, Truth is the object of philosophy; he says that "it is only in the Notion, in thought, that Philosophy can find its truth, and that the Absolute can be expressed and likewise is as it is in itself." Contradictorily enough, what is the purpose of philosophy for Hegel, is not the purpose of real life philosophy, of practical philosophy. It is exactly in real life, in labour, in industry, agriculture, the trades, etc. - that the principle of the Absolute is "Will yourself," take power over yourself as a material being in a material world. Practical philosophy carries out a further examination into the Volition of the Absolute, which beyond all question in its pure practical actuality strives for its Supreme Good and has Cognition in itself as sublated. 

 Practical philosophy solves the dialectical contradiction of the theoretical (Thought, Cognition, Spirit) and the practical (Will) by vindicating the rights of material Volition. It is of significant importance to say that when I speak about the dialectics of the theoretical and the practical, I do not treat the practical as practical consciousness only - only the mental abilities of the soul; the soul as single spirit, - but the practical taken in its totality of Material Entelechy. The Absolute Rational Will has in itself the infinite opposition of its moments - Spirit and Will. But it is one and the same in Spirit as well as in Will. For this reason not the Absolute Idea but the Absolute Rational Will is the unifying principle, the unifying third of Spirit and Will. For this reason, it is the philosophy of the Absolute Rational Will that sublates Intellectualism and Voluntarism, sublates Idealism and Materialism. Through thinking, the Will frees itself from Volition - its natural willing in the animal kingdom, - cognises itself and becomes theoretical immaterial Will. However, this is not the real way of action and existing of the will. It has the urge to sublate theoretical Will, to unite it with Volition - the absolutely actual, - so that as Practical Rational Will it sublates the only theoretical, Freedom sublates Truth into itself. This is the Absolute Rational Will.  

 What is important for practical - or applied, - philosophy is not the Idea of Absolute Truth but true concrete knowledge serving the Will in its practical activities. If we want to make philosophy a thoroughly applied science - and we do want, - we have to take into consideration the incredible achievements of practical philosophy, which has developed the completely different method  of thinking empiricism and advances on its own way. It has been created by the greatest thinking empiricist ever, - the empirically thinking mankind, - for it is the result of the collective work of all the countless human generations in  history; a philosophy, to which thousands of unknown philosophers contributed and, - what is more, - willingly developed. They were men of practical science, men of deed and action. True, as Hegel says: "The most perfect method of knowledge proceeds in the pure form of thought: and here the attitude of man is one of entire freedom. That the form of thought is the perfect form, and that it presents the truth as it intrinsically and actually is, is the general dogma of all philosophy." It is the general dogma of all practical philosophy as well. The men of practice I have mentioned above have definitely made a good use of their thinking power- in the way they use all their other active powers of life such as nutritive, sensitive, appetitive, and locomotive, but they have asked and still ask absolutely different philosophical questions; no wonder the answers they have provided and provide are different.

At this point we can see the immanent dialectical contradiction of thinking. Thinking is in itself, examines all its forms, but it cannot stay within itself only. It cannot be satisfied with itself only. It has the urge to unite with the volitions, the activities of practical life. This contradiction manifests itself in real life as academic thinking and practical philosophy.  While academic thinking becomes busied first and foremost with Thought, the immanent practical thinking of the greatest philosopher - mankind, - has its healthy Reason and its standpoint is to find the proper balance between thought and action, between Reason and Will. The practical Philosopher, mankind, acknowledges that Volitional action is not inherently inferior to knowledge but it is as essential a moment of the Absolute as Spirit. Practical philosophy pays equal attention to both Reason and Will; it appreciate not only the theoretical knowledge of Truth, but the practical volitional activities of Will as well. Being a thinking empiricist, Aristotle says that the goal of practical reason is action not knowledge, the truth attained by the intellect must be caused by its conformity to right desire. One of the tasks of our time is to make sure that the true verification of our knowledge of Truth is its practicability, its practical effect in volitional actions. We cannot really develop the Science of philosophy until we unify Practical and theoretical Philosophy, Intellectualism and Voluntarism, Idealism and Materialism. This and this exactly the philosophy of the Absolute Rational Will does.

It is definitely worth taking into consideration the way other philosophers examine the contradiction between Cognition and Volition. In her book "The life of the Mind: 2. Willing" - a book written from the standpoint of a cognitive (Intellelectualistic) philosophy, while I aim at uniting Intellectualism and Voluntarism in philosophy, - Hannah Arendt examines the correlation between the thinking I and the willing I. She fights vigorously against the main objections to Will in modern philosophy. Being conscious of the danger that the thinking I is undoubtedly biased and tempted to proclaim - as it proclaims, - its primacy over the willing I, she writes: "The aim of all these introductory notes is to pave the way for understanding the complicated nature of the willing I. If we want to find the proper method of this examination we cannot overlook the simple fact, that each philosophy of Will is a product of the thinking I, not the willing I. Although it is obvious that the intellect, which thinks, and the intellect, which wills, are always one and the same intellect, we cannot take it for granted that the judgments formulated through the thinking I in relation to other intellectual activities will be impartial. The fact that we still have to do with thinkers who proclaim absolutely opposite (exactly contrary) philosophies, but raise identical arguments against Will, has to awake our distrust."

On the other hand, it is possible to overcome the bias of cognition; great philosophers do it. They are able to subdue the thinking I to the willing I, and acknowledge the primacy of the willing I over the thinking I. Fichte's solution of the inherent contradiction of the willing-thinking I is definitely the first to be taken into consideration. He claims the primacy of practical reason. For him the pure Will is prior to all empirical cognition. The latter presupposes for its possibility the concept of a goal set for it by the pure Will. Without pure Will, there is no pure cognition. Further, Fichte says that our life begins with an action - not a thought; we do not act because we know, but we act because we are called upon to act. 

One can doubt whether Hegel's philosophy truly sublated Fichte and Schelling's philosophies. For Hegel, Spirit is the absolutely self knowing actual Idea; it is the infinite Idea in which cognition and action are equalised with the result that it is the absolute knowledge of itself. He is occupied with the total realization of the principle “Cognise yourself” without regarding the material actuality. As the thinking itself thought intelligence attains its goal – the identity of thought with its general object, - and is the self-knowing truth, the self-cognising reason, i.e. the final result of the development of theoretical spirit is the mutual self-penetration of the objective and subjective reason. The will is automatically given a subordinated role; true will is simply practical reason: “Theoretical intelligence appropriates the immediate determinateness, and in that it has now completed the acquisition, it is within its possession, it is being posited implicitly, through the last negation of immediacy, that for intelligence the content is determined through intelligence. As the free Notion, thought is now also free in respect of content. Intelligence, knowing itself to be the determinant of the content, which is determined as its own no less than as being, is will.”

However, for practical philosophy and in real life animals behave as pure Will (which is rational in itself only) to other physical, chemical or organised forms of the Will of material Entelechy. Beyond all question, both Fichte and Schelling were tremendously closer to practical philosophy than Hegel. They both sought the primacy of philosophy and its principle not in knowledge or cognitive Reason. Fichte, who originated rational voluntarism, did not seek the principle of philosophy in cognition, in cognitive reason but in will or volition. However, he still treats Will in the sense of practical reason. Actually, only Schelling's departure from cognitive reason, from self and consciousness was complete and unconditional. He saw the principle of philosophy in the creative power and activity of Nature. He wrote: "In the last and highest instance there is no other being but willing. Willing is primal being, and all the predicates of primal being only fit willing: groundlessness, eternity, being independent of time, self-affirmation." 

However, Hegel failed  to exalt philosophy to the standpoint that Will is a truly higher moment of the absolute and contains in itself the concept, the reason, the spirit, as sublated because “Will yourself” is a higher principle of the absolute rational will in comparison with “Cognise yourself.” Consequently he did not raise his Absolute Idea to the higher unity of reason and will; a unity in which the Absolute Idea becomes the rational will of the absolute. The Notion and the volition reveal themselves as moments of the infinite contradiction of the united and speculative Absolute, in which reaching its totality either of them passes over into its opposite, so that the concept totally wills itself and unhesitatingly wants to possess itself, to materialize and become material actuality, and the volition is through and through wholly and completely rational and thinks itself in order to come into possession of itself. Man is the thinking itself thought as well as the willing itself will. 

We have shown that "Cognise yourself" is the principle of cognitive philosophy only; in no way is it the principle of practical philosophy. The principle laid down in the foundation of the latter is "Will yourself." In its immanent development this principle realises all its particular principles, one of which - the highest commandment of Rational Will, - is "Cognise yourself." The Absolute Rational Will contains in itself Thinking and Willing (objective material volition) as moments of its strongest opposition. Thus, it gives rise in and through itself to its infinite contradiction; it is as much the one as the other and in each of them it is precisely at home with itself. It has the Will to sublate the contradiction, to unite the opposites and thanks to itself, it cognises itself and comes to possession of itself in its own unity. In all epochs people have striven to cognise the world, to take it in possession and to have it as their property. This is the determinate way in which the entelechy attains its absolute purpose: “Will yourself”. It is the absolute principle, which has these two moments in itself - on the one hand the purpose, the practical good, the irrational part of the soul, the volition, the absolute commandment of the will "Will yourself", and on the other hand, the Will to think, “Cognise yourself.” The material entelechy unites them in the infinite power and flexibility of its unity and, thus, in virtue of its highest principle “Will yourself” it governs its own deed - the world.

It is of great importance to say that while true practical Freedom - the absolute end of Rational Will, - is as much through and through wholly and completely realised as it is developing new stages of its self-development. It is true Freedom that sublates the opposition between Cognition and Volition and is their unity. As a matter of fact, Hegel's Absolute Spirit is nothing more but a moment of the Absolute. And being just a moment of the totally practical Absolute Rational Will, which contains Spirit as sublated; the latter (Spirit) finds its true place in practical philosophy as well as its true application in life. 

Today we can no longer occupy Hegel's standpoint. The Absolute Rational Will, which knows, possesses and rules its infinite power, wills to overcome the standpoint of Hegel's philosophy in order to come to deeper possession of itself. As a spirit I am only inasmuch as I know myself, as a Will only inasmuch as I will myself. “I will that” is the truly higher standpoint. Knowledge does not have another purpose but to serve the willing “I,” who wants to have and rule himself for himself, in other words, knowledge serves the Will, which wills to come into the possession of its highest good - itself alone, - in order to know, possess and rule for itself. I will - namely I will, - occupies a higher standpoint than I know and contains in itself the latter as sublated. The Absolute Rational Will, which knows, possesses and rules its infinite power, wills to overcome the standpoint of Hegel's philosophy in order to come to deeper possession of itself. As a spirit I am only inasmuch as I know myself, as a Will only inasmuch as I will myself. “I will that” is the truly higher standpoint. Knowledge does not have another purpose but to serve the willing “I,” who wants to have and rule himself for himself, in other words, knowledge serves the Will, which wills to come into the possession of its highest good - itself alone, - in order to know, possess and rule for itself. I will - namely I will, - occupies a higher standpoint than I know and contains in itself the latter as sublated.



         The following parts of this chapter are still to be published:

          1. Development of Aristotle's category of Entelechy 

          2. The Absolute Rational Will 











Janko Stojanow



(an online book published on 29.10.2001 Copyright © 2001 Janko Stojanow)





Preface Philosophy of the Absolute Rational Will


I. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy

II. On the Absolute Material Entelechy

III. On Aristotle's concept of Will 

IV. On the Absolute Rational Will 

V. Political Will - the totally practical universal Rational Will




Preface to the further development of the Philosophy of Absolute Rational Will

            1. On the Absolute Rational Will                                        (Published on 5.05.2002)

            2. On the Soul                                                                       (Published on 16.06.2002)

            3. On Property                                                                         (Published on 5.02.2003)  

            4. Sublation of Hegel's philosophy                                         (Published on 28.08.2002)

            5. WILL YOURSELF                                                             (Published on 10.09.2002)

             6. A Copernican Revolution in Philosophy                            (Published on 19.10.2002)

             7. The totally practical universal Philosophy                        (Published on 26.12.2002)


A quotation





Copyright © 2001 Janko Stojanow. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.





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