relation to history? They mean to suggest that, for Hegel, the matter of thinking is in itself historical—but historical in the sense of occurrence. The process.character of thinking is determined by the dialectic of Being. For Hegel, the matter of thinking is: Being, as thinking thinking itself; and thinking comes to itself only in the process of its speculative development, thus running through stages of the variously developed, and hence of necessity previously undeveloped, forms.

Only from the matter of thinking thus experienced does a peculiar principle arise for Hegel—the criterion for the manner in which he speaks with those thinkers that preceded him.

Therefore, when we attempt a thinking conversation with Hegel, we must speak with him not just about the same matter, but about the same matter in the same way. But the same is not the merely identical. In the merely identical, the difference disappears. In the same the difference appears, and appears all the more pressingly, the more resolutely thinking is concerned with the same matter in the same way. Hegel thinks of the Being of beings speculative-historically. But inasmuch as Hegel's thinking belongs to a period of history (this does not mean at all that it belongs to the past), we are attempting to think of Being, as Hegel thought of it, in the same manner, that is, to think of it historically.

Thinking can stay with its matter only if it becomes ever more