1.1.2 “I think I am”
The philosopher starts by reasoning about where to start, and therefore takes this very reasoning that asks for a starting place as the very starting place for the inquiry, and delves right into the work, asking the question: what is “reason” that enquires into the essential starting point of things? Reason is adopted as the first self-evident starting point. This is made famous by the “cogito ergo sum”, which is generically stated as “I think therefore I am”, but in alignment with the difficulty of a starting point in metaphysics, Reason brings into doubt its own self, and the more appropriate predication that Descartes presupposes for the cogito argument characterizing his methodological skepticism is the following: ‘I think I am’. [D]
The elimination of the “ergo” from the cogito argument changes the structure in the translation to English but maintains the same meaning in Latin. The “cogito ergo sum” translates to “I think therefore I am”, while “I think I am” translates to “ cogito sum ego sum”. The simple removal of “ergo” requires the introduction of “ego sum” in addition to “cogito sum” but when “ergo” is present, “ego” is not required and only one “sum” is used. This is because the “ego” is implied in the “ergo”, in other words, the notion of the “I” or the self identity follows naturally from the conclusion. In Latin “cogito sum ego sum” lacks the interrogative clause as the English “I think I am”. Descartes was introducing “cogito ergo sum” into a question because it is already a statement in Latin.
Descartes did not begin with uncertainty and then move to find certainty, he rather took a certain position and made it into a clause for uncertainty, only then to conclude that uncertainty is itself the first certainty. In other words, uncertainty is still a rational principle because it results logically. Whether something is certain or not to logically prove it is the only way you can come to discern it at all. This is a very simple idea, reasoning structures an undistinguished mess of uncertainty into a distinguished and organized phenomenon, in the same we take sand and mould it into a castle, except the difficulty is that the although the sand appears undifferentiated from one scale, it has absolute order from another, and although the castle exhibits order in one sense, it is rather arbitrary from an alien position. Uncertainty is a mass taken by reason and moulded into a structure, except the activity is itself the mass, and moulds itself into a figure based on its motion.
1.1.5 Every science is an idealism
The more specialized and scientific study defining the loose term “metaphysics” is the science of “Ontology”, means ideas about the ultimate nature of reality. In this inquiry the terms “metaphysics” and “ontology” will be used interchangeably to define the study of Reason, which alludes to the principle of nature wherein abstract notions constitute fundamental physical changes both being models of each other. How far will their connection be carried out determines the success of the inquiry.
We have to note in the onset that the term “idealism” should not be confused with unattainable fancy, like we commonly say, “that individual is too idealistic” as if to distinguish them from someone who is so and so “realistic”, with the latter supposedly pragmatic and the former perfectionist. We confuse a subject matter that is specific and specialized as realistic while general and abstract as idealistic, but we do not ask how did that fact get to be specific? It is precisely the aim for specification that is the ideal for any science. Any science aims to describe its object as specifically and precisely as possible but it never exactly does so. Hegel says that “Every genuine philosophy is an idealism” because it takes its subject matter as an object for attainment having presupposed that it has not fully apprehended it yet. (Encyclopedia Hegel 95) For example, even for the idea of the infinite, we take it to be the ideal because it comprises everything, but for itself the finite is its ideal because within itself is an innumerability of finites, the question becomes which one of those and why one over the other? The crude distinction between what is ideal and what is real has ruined their relation as being a mechanics of the same logic. The realism of sciences is that they are idealisms. Hegel says that every science is fundamentally an “idealism”, he goes on;
1.1.3 All the sciences assume each other
When Aristotle says that metaphysics investigates not a specific part of Being but Being in and of itself, he is talking about the difficulty of grasping the “first causes” because in order for Being to be a specific kind of thing defines what it means for it to be a general process. The notion of Being groups all the sciences together by converging them into a discussion about the same phenomenon. The sciences talk about certain kind of objects, all of which are certain kinds of being, or being a certain kinda way. The principle that all the sciences pertain to the same thing is primarily first before they are particular divisions of it. For example biology dealing with biological facts just means that Being has an aspect of itself that is biological. Whitehead explains that the specialized sciences always presuppose knowledge from each other, he says;
“Every special science has to assume results from other sciences. For example, biology presupposes physics. It will usually be the case that these loans from one specialism to another really belong to the state of science thirty or forty years earlier. The presuppositions of the physics of my boyhood are today powerful influences in the mentality of physiologists. Indeed we do not need even to bring in the physiologists. The presuppositions of yesterday's physics remain in the minds of physicists, although their explicit doctrines taken in detail deny them.” [Whitehead 178-179)
The specialized domains of science we know as physics, chemistry, biology etc., assume an order where one is prior to the other. For example, we learn in school physics before biology and biologist take courses in chemistry, i.e., biochemistry. In other words, there is a general overlapping in content between the sciences but the specific facts of each are suppose to distinguish one science from the other. To what degree does a scientist maintain fidelity to one special science while partaking in another science suggests that no thinker probably speaking is a pure specialist in one field, only that they contribute to and partake in a specialized body of knowledge about an aspect of Being. Fields can be specialization of being but no being can be a specialization of science. A true specialist can only apply the specialized facts in a generally true way.
The issue of what it means for a science to be fundamental is an ontological question not a technical concern. The specialized sciences derive abstractions demonstrating the fundamental nature of a phenomena, but as to “How much of the particular parts is requisite to constitute a particular branch of knowledge is so far indeterminate, that the part, if it is to be something true, must be not an isolated member merely, but itself an organic whole. The entire field of philosophy therefore really forms a single science; but it may also be viewed as a total, composed of several particular sciences”.[Hegel 16] Any given phenomenon at any given moment is a simultaneity of all the sciences because it involves facts from every one of them. However every fact from a science must be taken as an objective illustration of the whole. For example, when we talk about something as specific as a “cell” we do not say it is specialized to a particular animal but it belongs as the basic unit for all life forms. Any objective fact of science must include the truth of the whole.
Specialized sciences become ontological by reaching a limit of knowledge, and it is at this limit that one science preaches into the territory of the other, and it is at this moment that the sciences belong to a more fundamental union. Where a cell stops being a cell and becomes a molecule and a molecule starts to become an atom is a distinction between the sciences that is not all together defined, and we can say that ultimately speaking a cell is just another way of being an atom and an atom is another way of being a molecule. So we have particular facts that each correctly describe the whole. How we dispense with a particular phenomenon that is part of being as related to the facts about it as a description of the whole of being, is based on how fundamental of an abstraction they depict from the phenomena. The abstraction although depicts something concrete, that concrete presents itself through that abstraction an abstract fact.
 Hegel, Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830) Part One, 18
1.1.2 Problem of structure
The problem of establishing a beginning relates to the issue of trying to produce structure in a work of metaphysics. The issue of how to structure a body of metaphysical work is difficult because it is the attempt of trying to talk about “everything” while at the same time maintaining some specific order for the reader to follow. Hegel says;
“As the whole science, and only the whole, can exhibit what the Idea or system of reason is, it is impossible to give in a preliminary way a general impression of a philosophy. Nor can a division of philosophy into its parts be intelligible, except in connection with the system. A preliminary division, like the limited conception from which it comes, can only be an anticipation.” [Hegel 18)
All scholastic pedagogy assumes that there is a specific order in which subjects must be taught. It is proposed that we begin with the most abstract of subjects like mathematics and then move on to the more concrete subjects like the social sciences. In highschool we learn mathematics and sciences in the morning, and then all the social studies in the afternoon. Although this structure is valid on some level because the abstract is more general which can be made applicable to the more specialized and specific cases. In the field of metaphysics we cannot presuppose an already established order of the sciences without explaining how they equally pertain to the more broader concept of Being — what they have in common. Except the Being they have in common involves infinite complexities of structure to which a particular abstraction does not suffice to depict the whole.
Science cannot take the structure it derives from a phenomenon as the framework for an absolute order because even if that structure is true in describing the whole, metaphysics is interested in what allows concepts to be ordered in a specific way not only that they are ordered in a certain way. Aristotle says
“The subject of our inquiry is substance; for the principles and the causes we are seeking are those of substances. For if the universe is of the nature of a whole, substance is its first part; and if it coheres merely by virtue of serial succession, on this view also substance is first, and is succeeded by quality, and then by quantity.”[Aristotle 1)
We can argue whether quality is first before quantity, or whether there is no first and the concepts are equal and their distinction is not real but only abstractions, thinkers like Allan Watts argue against the “outdated” model that makes matter and mind into separate categories; and these are true problems of metaphysics, but even prior to these distinctions can be made there is the requirement for the capacity which serves as the framework where the ordering of these concepts can take place in accordance with a truly logical model identical with framework that facilitates the doing so. Substance deals with what is first for any first principle.
Objective idealism is a measure of how fundamental a science is, but in the onset the reader is urged to refrain from placing an already preconceived notion on what objective idealism – a fairly confused philosophical topic – might constitute. Objective idealism is confused in the same way that the term “metaphysics” is confused because both are assumed to investigate the nature “beyond” the physical implied as to exclude matter; an error of language derived from the term “meta” which denotes the double meaning of a position “after” and/or “beyond”, which do not mean the same thing. The work of Aristotle labeled as “metaphysics” is used to denote studies “after” the physics, which means following or building on top of it, to justify it so as to not blindly accept it as fact. While the term to go “beyond” something suggests leaving it behind and not to include it as part of an analysis, however even this may not necessarily be truly characteristic of the term.
Objective idealism is not the discussion of abstract ideas devoid of any concreteness in the same way that metaphysics is not the study “beyond” matter. In fact Metaphysics for Aristotle does not investigate nature beyond the physical but rather investigates the most essential nature of matter, it just so happens that the essential nature of matter is abstract. Metaphysics is the inquiry into the very essential nature of the object rather than simply what is said about it (3 Aristotle tr. Jowett rev. Barnes, Metaphysics IV.1.1003b1).
We know the claim that “language is the enemy of metaphysics” because the problem that “language has come to use one and the same word for two opposite meanings” is actually a philosophical feature. Hegel uses the word “sublate” which is an important term in our inquiry as an example that there is an implicit speculative meaning in our ordinary language:
“The two definitions of 'to sublate' which we have given can be quoted as two dictionary meanings of this word. But it is certainly remarkable to find that a language has come to use one and the same word for two opposite meanings. It is a delight to speculative thought to find in the language words which have in themselves a speculative meaning; the German language has a number of such. The double meaning of the Latin tollere (which has become famous through the Ciceronian pun: tollendum est Octavium) does not go so far; its affirmative determination signifies only a lifting−up. Something is sublated only in so far as it has entered into unity with its opposite; in this more particular signification as something reflected, it may fittingly be called a moment. (186 Science of Logic)”
This property in language that outlines disagreeing meanings defining the same word is the logical feature of language because it is pointing out all the possibilities that a single word hopes to elicit, and this is not only for the technical usage of a word in different contexts, but because the very phenomenon a word is hoping to communicate inherently involves this indeterminacy of possibilities that comprehensively define it. To sublate defines the natural way thought operates ad a constructive form of communication, Hegel defines it as:
“ 'To sublate' has a twofold meaning in the language: on the one hand it means to preserve, to maintain, and equally it also means to cause to cease, to put an end to. Even 'to preserve' includes a negative elements, namely, that something is removed from its influences, in order to preserve it. Thus what is sublated is at the same time preserved; it has only lost its immediacy but is not on that account annihilated.” (185)
We can say on some level that the structure of ontology is language itself. The problem is that language is a tool so anyone with some rhetoric skill can make anything sound good. But ontology deals with communicating meaning that goes beyond mere language, communicates thought that are substances for constructing reality.
“In no science is the need to begin with the subject matter itself, without preliminary reflections, felt more strongly than in the science of logic. In every other science the subject matter and the scientific method are distinguished from each other; also the content does not make an absolute beginning but is dependent on other concepts and is connected on all sides with other material. These other sciences are, therefore, permitted to speak of their ground and its context and also of their method, only as premises taken for granted which, as forms of definitions and such-like presupposed as familiar and accepted, are to be applied straight-way, and also to employ the usual kind of reasoning for the establishment of their general concepts and fundamental determinations. Logic on the contrary, cannot presuppose any of these forms of reflection and laws of thinking, for these constitute part of its own content and have first to be established within the science [...] Similarly, it is essentially within the science that the subject matter of logic, namely, thinking or more specifically comprehensive thinking is considered; the Notion of logic has its genesis in the course of exposition and cannot therefore be premised. Consequently, what is premised in this Introduction is not intended, as it were, to establish the Notion of Logic or to justify its method scientifically in advance, but rather by the aid of some reasoned and historical explanations and reflections to make more accessible to ordinary thinking the point of view from which this science is to be considered.”[Hegel 34)
1.1.1 Starting point
The matter of where to begin is a peculiar task in the subject of metaphysics because the “first philosophy” cannot merely introduce the topic at hand, but must rather make a statement about the “beginning” in general. Hegel writes:
“Every philosophy is essentially an idealism or at least has idealism for its principle, and the question then is only how far this principle is actually carried out. This is as true of philosophy as of religion; for religion equally does not recognise finitude as a veritable being, as something ultimate and absolute or as something underived, uncreated, eternal. Consequently the opposition of idealistic and realistic philosophy has no significance. A philosophy which ascribed veritable, ultimate, absolute being to finite existence as such, would not deserve the name of philosophy; the principles of ancient or modern philosophies, water, or matter, or atoms are thoughts, universals, ideal entities, not things as they immediately present themselves to us, that is, in their sensuous individuality — not even the water of Thales. For although this is also empirical water, it is at the same time also the in-itself or essence of all other things, too, and these other things are not self-subsistent or grounded in themselves, but are posited by, are derived from, an other, from water, that is they are ideal entities.” [H] 316 science of logic
 Whitehead, “Nature lifeless” 178-179
 Hegel, Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830) Part One, 16
 Aristotle tr. W. D. Ross, Metaphysics IV. Part 1
Every science is an idealism because it supposes its subject matter to constitute an absolute stance for reality. The question is how far does it carry out its facts towards an abstract limit as a fundamental source of knowledge. The sciences are fundamental not in suggesting that their subject matter constitutes the source of causation for the other. We cannot necessarily say that the facts of physics cause the organisms of biology because the inverse is also true, organisms produce movements that are fundamental in physics. Rather it is how much of an abstract factor does a science bring out from a concrete fact that explains the concrete fact in abstract terms that determines the standard for something to be objective, is A) for something to be abstract it has proved itself objective having been derived from something concrete and B) as an abstract fact it goes beyond the concrete fact it was derived from and is generally applicable and relevant to other facts as their potentiality, which if it did not have this theoretical application it would just be distinguished and not an applied phenomenon.
A science is more fundamental when the content it deals with is more abstract. Moreover when we say the term “general” we do not mean “bigger” or “greater” but relates to the definition of fundamental as facts reaching towards an abstract limit. When we say a fact reaches towards an abstract limit, or in other words, towards an ideal limit, we are referring to how many distinct details can disclosed to fit in a general rule.
The difference between ambiguity and generality is that it is in the definition of the word “deceive” is to exclude and hide specific details so that a fact can remain vague, whereas generality precisely takes a specific and particular feature and sees how it is shared among many different sources. Generality is the opposite of ambiguity because it is the evidence of particularity, the evidence for a specific feature is the fact that it is found among many different sources.
The more abstract, the more fundamental, and therefore the more general. This is why mathematics for instance is the most fundamental of the specialized sciences because it deals with pure relations of which there is an infinity independently of the character they take on in nature. In proper terms mathematics is the pure movements that are applicable to any body, a body is simply the conception of these movements, motion by division or multiplication are more fundamental than movements of one position to the other. In order for a body to maintain itself in motion it has to undergo a process of replication from space and within itself. Ontology is even more abstract because it deals with the source of abstract relations, their “original cause”, being itself an abstract principle, constitutes the central question of the inquiry.
The natural intuition of the understanding wants to eagerly spill out all the ideas comprising thought, but a logical system deserving the name of “first science” yields the requirement to establish a starting point to build on as a foundation of truth. The point of metaphysics is to formulate a beginning, not only to introduce science, but to develop the understanding that explains how a thing comes into being, which is identical with the question of what it means for a thing to exist.