What is the Identity of Opposites, What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
That opposites are one and the same is Hegel’s phrase. For Hegel, opposites are identical, they are synonymous in and alike with each other. Hegel arrives at the argument of the Eleans and Plato-Aristotle and all idealism as follows: If we abstract the table from its qualities, that is, from concepts, there is only ‘it’, that is, ‘it’, which is neither table, nor bird, nor tree, etc. It is an intangible entity. As with all idealism, there is a religious basis in Hegel’s argument: According to the Torah, Moses asks the name of the god who appears to him in Horeb.
God replies that I am. This is why the Jews call God ‘yaho’ meaning ‘he is’, which later turns into the word ‘yahova’ meaning ‘he is’. (According to idealism, there is only this god and nothing else.) If we abstract this being from its existence (in other words, it is or it is), only non-existence remains. That is, existence and non-existence are identical and are in each other. So the real is not the existent but the non-existent, not the individual, but the general and conceptual. So the table could only be something objective and outside of us by being something unknowable, since it is a known thing it is subjective and inside us.
Moreover, there is nothing that we cannot attribute a concept to, that is, there is nothing outside of us. So the subject and the object are identical. Every entity exists only conceptually. Since everything that exists is conceptual and concepts are intellectual, it means that everything that exists is thought. This argument of Hegel’s is the basic argument of classical thought and is nothing but a repetition of Berkeley immaterialism.