The Science of Logic is perhaps Hegel's most notoriously impenetrable work. Despite well over a century of commentaries as well as the recent proliferation of scholarship, there exists little agreement concerning the text, whether with regard to particular details or the project of speculative logic in general. Nonetheless, the Logic has often been regarded as exemplifying totalizing metaphysics at its worst. Contemporary philosophers concerned with overcoming metaphysics have thus sought to show not only the incoherence of speculative logic but also the perils of Hegel's supposedly totalizing philosophy.
In contrast, showing the continuity between Kant and Hegel has been the strategy for establishing a ‘non-metaphysical’ view of Hegel's speculative logic. Against readings of Hegel as a metaphysical monist who defends the reality of the Absolute Idea developing in nature and spirit, speculative logic is presented as the absolute-idealist successor to Kantian transcendental logic. Hegel's speculative logic is an ‘idealist logic’, since it aims at expounding the conditions necessary for the determinacy of any possible object of thought. Speculative logic thus clarities that experience is dependent on non-empirical concepts and, ultimately, on selfconsciousness. Along this interpretative line, Hegel's Science of Logic offers an account of thinking as a norm-based activity, and of concepts as rules for fixing determinacy. The great insight of Hegel's Logic is, on this view, twofold. First, Hegel's notion of the concept [der Begriff] is understood as a holistic-inferential system of logical concepts, since it provides an account of conceptual content as determined by every other possible content. Second, Hegel's analysis of the actualization of the concept — of the concept that has ‘made itself the foundation’, in Hegel's obscure phrasing — provides an account of the fundamental role of authority involved in the process of fixing determinacy. To be bound to a rule is to acknowledge it as having authority over us and at the same time to institute it as authoritative over the states of affairs that we seek to determine. That Hegel spoke of the freedom of the concept is, therefore, crucial. It suggests that determinacy is ultimately a matter of the authorization of reason, of establishing one way of fixing intelligibility over against others.