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Part I

obvious at it seems, to slip away from our understanding. The usual interpretation fails to exploit Aristotle’s hint that the basic function of λόγoς is ἀπόφασις—indicative speech that shows something. This merely says more pointedly what Plato had already nailed down and what was part of the Greeks’ basic understanding of λόγoς. The function of speaking is δηλοῦν, making things manifest.

Have we gotten anywhere with this, especially regarding the question about the unified phenomenon of σύνθεσις-διαίρεσις, which presumably makes statement possible in the first place?

In the Sophist, Plato asks: What makes a plurality of words that follow one after the other form a κοινωνία, an ensemble in which the words are present to each other? The answer, he says, consists in the fact that λόγoς is λόγoς τινός: speaking is speaking of and about something. The unity is constituted and becomes intelligible from what is being spoken about.

The question we now pose is that of the unity of a succession of words. We have not yet arrived at the statement as something expressed. [143]


a) The as-structure of our primary way of understanding:
the hermeneutical “as”


We now inquire into a structure of λόγoς that first makes λόγoς as such possible. Will Plato’s indication help us along here, or that of Aristotle? Λόγoς is the act of indicatively showing the thing being spoken about, which earlier, when we were clarifying the concept of statement, we characterized as the statement’s subject matter [das Worüber]—as contrasted with what the statement predicates [das Wovon] about that subject matter. In actually showing and determining something, we grasp the subject matter. Or more precisely: the subject matter is already present, and from that present thing the statement—the blackness of the chalkboard—is lifted out and highlighted, as it were, not as a new object but at first only in the sense of making the subject matter more accessible as what it is.

But in order for something like a predicative highlighting and determining to be possible, the subject matter must have already become accessible. In the case we have been discussing, the usable thing in front of us must be already familiar, already accessible. For example, it might be familiar in terms of the service it can render, what it can be used for, the use for which we meet up with it at all—in a word, its “for-writing-on.” This end-for-which [Wozu] is itself already comprehensible and known, as is the thing itself that is there for this purpose and as this: the chalkboard. (We restrict our investigation to statements about things in the lived world, postponing discussion about whether this is proper or not. Later it will become clear that this limitation is not a limitation at all.)

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