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concrete universal

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics A term introduced by Hegel to correct the traditional view that a universal is abstract through referring to the common nature of a kind of entity by abstraction. Hegel held that a universal is concrete rather than an abstract form. A true universal is not a mere sum of features common to several things, but is self-particularizing or self-specifying. A universal is not isolated from particulars, nor does it transcend them. Rather it inheres in particulars as their essential determination. Hegel even claimed that particulars are nothing but dialectical relations among universal concepts. Further, a universal concept is not isolated from other universals, but can be derived from them and, hence, is one item in a system. In Hegel's logic, each category contains its contrary and develops into that contrary. Together, the category and its contrary are synthesized into a third category, which becomes a member of a new triad. The absolute idea is the culmination of this development as the largest concrete universal. “End … is the concrete universal, which possesses in its own self the moment of particularity and externality and is therefore active and the urge to repel itself from itself.” Hegel, Science of Logic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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