We have already begun too late, representing the two determinacies of humanity and animality before us and then, in trying to distinguish them, find that we're led back to their indistinguishability (in this respect it is no accident that The Open begins with an image--a representation or Vorstellung that gets the discussion off the ground).
That is if we begin, not with a presentation of pre-given determinacies in a curio cabinet tour, but rather with the minimal conceptual determinacy of "the mechanical" per se in abstraction from empirical referents, a self-contradiction within that determinacy can be demonstrated whose implications, when made fully explicit, suggest a determinacy that is "for itself" in a way that can no longer be adequately characterized by the mechanistic determinacy we began with, a new determinacy that can be appropriately called "life.
Hegelian methodology demands that we systematically derive determinacies without naively presupposing and uncritically adopting pregiven determinacies.
It is the unsustainability of mechanical determinacy due to its own inherent contradictions that, in Hegel's critical derivation of ontological determinacies, will lead to its collapse.
For this reason the derivation of determinacy cannot be limited to a merely epistemological exercise without abandoning the very point of the derivation in the first place, namely, to derive determinacies without naively presupposing them as pregiven.
Entertaining such pregiven determinacies to ourselves as representations serves to fix them in thought as something already "there" and present to us, self-contained and separate from other determinacies likewise represented within the cabinet.
Hence also any possible transition into more developed determinacies is overlooked.
Perhaps, then, what is needed is not a return to bare life, nor to a zone of indeterminacy rendered visible as the hidden ground upon which pregiven determinacies are now thereby rendered indistinguishable, but rather an attempt to first think the category of life in its ontological determinacy without prior reference to humanity or to a project involving humanity.
Chemism has become "purpose" or "end" (72) an explicitly self-determining process for which externality counts as a mere means, and thus it is no longer reducible to mechanical or chemical determinacies insofar as 1) it cannot be exhaustively accounted for in terms of the latter, and 2) the latter has shown itself to be unsustainable in its own terms.
In Hegel's account, mechanism does not just go away; it becomes an underdetermination within living process, an underdetermination which when represented as the sole sphere of determinacy in relation to life is an abstraction, and for this reason determinacies appropriate to life are neither incompatible with mechanism nor reducible to it.
This is due to the fact that the fully developed conceptual determinacies of universality, particularity, and individuality that entered into the sphere of objectivity and constituted the self-subsistent character of the latter are operative here in the modified form of the mutual oppositional tension of chemical objects.
When Heidegger calls for a new beginning beyond the so-called end of metaphysics, he may be right about the need for something other to calculative thinking, and so beyond the determinacies
of curiosity, but this other thinking is not just back there before Plato and Socrates did their "bad" work, nor yet before us in the future, in the coming mission of being.