Hegel on the Universe of Meaning: Logic, Language, and Spirit’s Break from Nature
I argue that Hegel’s Science of Logic is not, as the tradition believes, a metaphysical treatise. Quite to the contrary, it is a highly original theory of semantics. It describes how logic, the categories of which are deposited in language, displays a deep bond with the latter. This entails that logic, rather than being simply concerned with the principles of proof, must also explain the conditions of the possibility of the universe of meaning that we, as linguistic beings, create. More than this, however, it also explains how we, in the very act of giving meaning to the world, place demands for intelligibility that the latter cannot meet. As such, it explains how spirit is driven to break from nature and produce a world of its own, thereby offering us as yet unexcavated resources for comprehending the relationship between first and second nature.