Stephen Houlgate, in his book The Beginning of Hegel's Logic, puts forward the argument that Hegel's Logic is to be seen as an ontology. But is this view convincing? I'll try my best to reconstruct the argument for you, so you can assess it.

The Logic starts with the thought of indeterminacy or pure Being. As this thought is indeterminate it doesn't allow for any opposition between conciousness and the external world to be contained in it. This is why the thought of Being must be thought of as the opening up of thought towards Being. This leads to the conclusion that the thought of Being is not merely a thought, but it is Being that is thought. The thought of Being and Being itself are indistinguishable in pure indeterminacy. Indeed, the thought of Being and Being itself are identical in pure indeterminacy.

Now every logical step that follows from Being ("nothing", "being-there" etc.) follows necessarily. But this means nothing other than that all that follows in the Logic is not only a determination of thought but also a determination of Being. So the categories investigated in the Logic are ontological as well as epistemological in character. They display the necessary structure of thought as it thinks Being as well as the necessary structure of Being which my be the object of thought.

Is this interpretation of the beginning of the Logic concincing? More precisely, is it convincing philologically, i.e. does the text really yield this reading? And second, systematically spoken, is it sound?

Have a nice day

Edit: The situation may be different for the "Logic of the Concept". For the sake of simplicity I would like to constrain my question to the "Logic of Being" and the "Logic of Essence".

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    See Hegel : "Hegel’s Science of Logic is divided into three books, dealing with the topics of being, essence, and the concept". So yes, hegel's "logic" is an ontology. Maybe it is not a logic (in the current sense)... Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 11:41
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    But also the introductory part of Aristotle's Logic, the Categories, is (in part) an ontology. In general, see Logic and Ontology. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 11:42
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    Maybe taken from another angle, on Hegel's definition an ontology and a logic are different approaches to the same thing, because consciousness (logic) and its object (being) turn out to be coordinate sides of logic/being. / If you mean is Hegel's logic an "ontology" on a definition other than Hegel's, then please tell us the definition you intend.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 12:14
  • Thanks for your answers. Ok, it seems that we all share the view that Hegel's Logic can be or even should be interpreted ontologically. However, do you think that the argument I tried to sketch is sound? Does the thought of pure indeterminacy allow for an investigation of Being without confusing determinations of thought with determinations of Being? I think from this it does not follow obviously that Hegel also talks legitimately about Being itself and not only about thought trying to think Being (like Kant for example). @virmaior no I intend no other definition than Hegel's. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 12:50

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Stephen Houlgate ... puts forward the argument that Hegels Logic is to be seen as an ontology. But is this view convincing?

Not only the logic, but also Hesiods Theogony, Genesis and the Tao begins with a similar principle of indeterminancy. So plenty of people (if not you or others) have found it convincing.

  • Your references are new to me in this context so I will check that out, thanks! But with my question I was aiming to arguments supporting or disapproving against such a view and not to historic examples that seem to espouse a similar position. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 10:57
  • @MoritzWolff: You asked whether this was convincing - and I showed that it has convinced a lot of people. If you read what I wrote it's that part of the question that I addressed. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 12:19
  • Well, lets leave it at that then. thanks for your comment. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 15:44

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