Formal logic has held sway for more than two millennia and was the basis of experiment and the great advances of modern science. The development of mathematics was based on this logic. You cannot teach a child to add up without it. One plus one equals two, not three. Formal logic may seem like common sense and is responsible for the execution of a million and one everyday things, but - and this is the big but - it has its limits. When dealing with drawn out processes or complicated events, formal logic becomes a totally inadequate way of thinking. This is particularly the case in dealing with movement, change and contradiction. Formal logic regards things as fixed and motionless. Of course, this is not to deny the everyday usefulness of formal logic, on the contrary, but we need to recognise it limits.
Kant’s critical method was taken much further and completed by Hegel in a staggering system of idealism built by means of what he termed the dialectical method. This method of Hegel consists in the constructive dialectical process of opposition and reconciliation. Thesis, antithesis and synthesis are its moments. The existence of the finite and its assertion of itself as such is the thesis. This thesis naturally evokes the existence and assertion of the finite that is its opposite. This is its antithesis. The relation between the thesis and the antithesis implies a reconciliation of these two in a higher synthesis brought about by the evolving force of the Whole, which transcends the isolated factors of the existence and the assertion of the thesis and the antithesis. This reconciliation results in the cooperation of the thesis and the antithesis and in a blend of the existence and the assertion of the unity of the synthesis. Then this synthesis itself becomes a thesis to which there is an antithesis. The two again get unified and transcended in a still higher synthesis. This process of dialectical unification in higher and higher syntheses continues in various grades, progressively, until the Absolute is reached, where all contradiction is finally and fully reconciled. For Hegel, the forms and matter of Kant constitute an organism in which they blend to make up the universal Whole. Forms are one with matter; thought is one with reality; knowledge is being. The internal and external are identical processes. The categories of Kant are the framework, not merely of thought, but of reality itself.
The chair is thinking to itself . .
WHERE? In one of its parts? Or outside its body; in the air around it? Or not anywhere at all? But the what is the difference between this chair’s talking silently to itself and another one’s doing so, next to it? — But then how is it with man: where does he talk to himself? How come that this question seems senseless; and that no specification of a place is necessary, except just that this man is talking silently to himself? Whereas the question of where the chair talks silently to itself seems to demand an answer. — The reason is: we want to know how the chair is supposed to be like a human being; whether, for instance, its head is at the top of the back, and so on.
What is it like to talk silently to oneself; what goes on there? — How am I to explain it? Well, only in the way in which you can teach someone the meaning of the expression “to talk silently to oneself”. And we do learn the meaning of that as children. — Only no one is going to say that the person who teaches it to us tells us ‘what goes on here’.