New Translation of Hegel’s Science of Logic

If you weren’t aware of this, you are now – start saving money! George di Giovanni’s new translation of the formidable Science of Logic is out in September 2010 (but it’s already listed on at a whooping $180, $121.50):

This new translation of The Science of Logic (also known as ‘Greater Logic’) includes the revised Book I (1832), Book II (1813), and Book III (1816). Recent research has given us a detailed picture of the process that led Hegel to his final conception of the System and of the place of the Logic within it. We now understand how and why Hegel distanced himself from Schelling, how radical this break with his early mentor was, and to what extent it entailed a return (but with a difference) to Fichte and Kant. In the introduction to the volume, George di Giovanni presents in synoptic form the results of recent scholarship on the subject, and, while recognizing the fault lines in Hegel’s System that allow opposite interpretations, argues that the Logic marks the end of classical metaphysics. The translation is accompanied by a full apparatus of historical and explanatory notes.

• Includes a substantial introductory study that places Hegel’s Logic in an historical and conceptual context • Explains key terms and translations • Sets the text out in a clear and accessible manner, including Hegel’s own style points, making it easier to read


Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Notes on the translation; The Science of Logic: Preface to the first edition; Preface to the second edition; Introduction; Book I: the doctrine of being; Book II: essence; Book III: the doctrine of the concept; Appendix: Hegel’s logic in its revised and unrevised parts; Bibliography; Index.

The Cambridge Hegel Translations will have An Encyclopedia Logic out in September as well.

15 thoughts on “New Translation of Hegel’s Science of Logic

  1. I have a copy of Miller’s–does this translation mark a significant improvement? Why is it priced so outrageously high? Feeling overcome with sadness.

    • I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, but I’m assuming that a new translation will have a long introduction explaining why it is better than the old. It’s a hardback and eventually it’ll probably be available as a paperback – for an almost 1000-page hardback though $100 is not that bad. It’s those slim Continuum volumes that cost $120 that really bother me. Clearly the implication is that the library will buy them, not people.

  2. @bryklaus Miller’s translation is fine and if you have already read the POS in Miller’s translation then best to stick with him. If you’re willing to spend 120 dollars on a Hegel translation it might be cheaper to buy a bunch of ‘reading German’ books and aim for the real thing – plus if someone is reading the Logic chances are they are working on Hegel at PhD level so they ought to have German anyway. This edition seems to be aimed squarely at Hegel aficionados who need to have everything that gets published on him.

    But I reckon as Mikhail notes that you just hang on for the paperpack. This is not exactly an event so much as an interesting new translation to add to the amazon wish list.

    • I don’t know if reading Hegel means you’re doing it at a PhD level, and knowing German in Hegel’s case might mean studying for a very long time. I think that as scholarship and language change, it’s reasonable to assume that a new translation of a classic work would appear every decade or so. A new translation is a real cultural event, I think, again, it’s sad if the only time you get to Hegel’s Logic is by the time you are “serious” about it on a doctoral level. Of course, the book was not written for the general public, but it needs to be read by anyone interested in philosophy.

  3. The fact that a new translation is being issued strikes me as an extraordinary event, since it implies a new English readership for whom Miller’s wordy, unfaithful to the letter translation may not be adequate. It means that studying Hegel in traditionally analytic philosophy departments has become feasible. I would expect some very interesting readings in the near future. Just think of the leap forward that occurred when Hackett released a new, and sorely needed translation of the Shorter Logic; the previous attempt included ridiculous mistranslations like “telling the tale” for “summation”. And let’s face it: everyone prefers to read and work in their native tongue whenever possible and simply spot check a translation. Besides, A new edition would be worth its weight in gold if it actually provides a genetic account of the text’s development, and has a decisive story to tell about the place of the Greater Logic with Hegel’s system (hopefully ending the tedious debate about the status of the Phenomenology). It seems to me that this is a very interesting event indeed.

    • What Rasmus said. I’m sure even if one is an expert in German (or, God forbid, a German expert), it’s still an interesting thing to see how others decided to render this or that expression. Plus, the description does promise a good introductory essay/explanation. But $120 is a bit pricey for the general public…

      • It is dense, but it’s dense in just the right amount of places, I think. That is to say, density complements ideas, not hingers their delivery since he repeats the same sort of conclusion/thesis throughout and eventually it sort of arises out of density (but, yes, for those who know the lingo and the context, so not very democratic and accessible) – I ended up reading sections of the Logic here and there to fill in the details and I have to say it made sense, but maybe I’m just a deluded correlationist who found the confirmation of what he already knew to begin with. I think the combination of Garbiel and Maimon (and Hegel, Schelling, Fichte in Zizek’s essays) could be just the right concoction to kick me into full “summer of German Idealism” gear after an always tiring teaching year (not to mention the traditional “thinking deep thoughts deeply” routine)…

  4. ”I don’t know if reading Hegel means you’re doing it at a PhD level, and knowing German in Hegel’s case might mean studying for a very long time.”

    My hat goes off to anyone not doing a PhD on Hegel who is having a casual read of the Logic, but I imagine it is a rare breed indeed. Of course the translation will be useful to anyone who simply needs a quote or two from the Logic (say if they are reading Braver and want to check up one of his many references to the Logic in ‘A Thing’).

    ”A new translation is a real cultural event, I think, again, it’s sad if the only time you get to Hegel’s Logic is by the time you are “serious” about it on a doctoral level. Of course, the book was not written for the general public, but it needs to be read by anyone interested in philosophy.”

    I suppose from experience I’ve simply never come across many non-Hegelians with a copy of the Logic (and I’ve never had to reserve a copy in the library whereas the Phen. of Spirit is never there!). But I think the price tag tells us everything. This is one for the libraries. One thing in its favour is that the Miller translation is badly layed out and confusing since it lists sections differently from other editions. It would be great if this became a definitive edition.

    The Encyclopaedia Logic that they are promising should be more accessible and cheaper though so that has a shot at the general public (at least here’s hoping!).

    • All true. I suppose Hegel’s Logic is pretty dense, but so is Kant’s First Critique and yet everyone and their mother seems to be referring to it, so why not Logic? I think it’s just a matter of fashion (Phenomenology is pretty complex as well, despite being loved by people who check out books at the library). People either read it or they don’t (reading just the secondary lit) – if they do, they can discuss it, if they don’t, they learn enough lingo to pass for someone who read it. I doubt many people actually finish Kant’s First Critique, but that doesn’t stop from saying all sorts of nonsense about Kant. Yes, Cool people get to “study” Logic if they are serious about their doctoral work, but Marx and Lenin (not doctoral students) studied Logic for some reason and, in fact, claimed it really defined their own work and their practical activity. How is that this book (according to Zizek) inspires Lenin for some pragmatic revolutionary activity and then just disappears from the popular radar, left only to nerds like us to explore? Did the book become more inaccessible or did we just get lazy and stupid so that any density is a cause for some ridiculous “If you can’t make it easier, you must be damned” outcry? I know, I know – elitist – “What if I spend a year or two and don’t get it anyway? When will I have time to create my very own philosophy (awesomicology)? Plus, I need to publish to survive etc etc” – I hear you, imaginary interlocutor. So maybe it was good that neither Marx nor Lenin were professional academics, just interested amateurs – there was no institutional pressure…

      I do hope they get a paperback out for a reasonable 40-50 of American dollars. When Heidegger’s Being and Time came out in English, it wasn’t cheap – the hardback is still $90 or so, but you can also get a cheap $10 version.

  5. You may have seen this. Relevant to the “we don’t need no damn original” argument. Reading the translation is just more efficient – better return on your intellectual investment!

  6. I would prefer to read the Science of Logic in English first, then perhaps the German. Either way, it does seem like the cost might be prohibitive unless acquired through a library. Granted this is a new translation, but the Miller version is fairly affordable at around $30, I can’t imagine the production costs of this are that much higher. Thankfully Hopkins Library has a policy where you can just ask them to acquire a book if they don’t have it, and they’ll buy it within the week. This seems like one of those cases.

  7. I will be having to read the Logic for my Masters – so i will be reading it seriously but will not be doing a PhD. We are suposed to have a copy of the text in German as well though.

  8. Just to say, on the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon (at least here in the UK) you can read the entire introduction to this for free – and its pretty long, about 60 pages.

    It’s a damn good introduction too, taught me a lot about Hegel (and is both better and disagrees with a lot of the popular introductions I’ve looked at – places quite a bit of emphasis on the work of spirit as the generation of meaning, and makes a very interesting substitution of the word ‘discourse’ for dialectic, which helped me understand it a lot better).

  9. Yes. The price is daunting. And, several people have noted that just to be reading the Logic is rather … unusual. Nevertheless, as Hegel predicated, this Logic is inescapable. Personally, it seems as important to me as the Kashmiri Shavist texts on Consciousness, Spanda, and Bhairava. And, well, that means in 20 or 40 years it could be as popular as Zen was in the 60s.

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