§21. Grasping the essence [79-80] 71

which are supposed to serve as proofs for the legitimacy of the essential determination? Indeed, we could do so only if we separated them from false propositions, and we could do that only if we already knew in advance what true propositions are, that is, only if we already knew what their truth consists in. Every time we attempt to prove an essential determination through single, or even all, actual and possible facts, there results the remarkable state of affairs that we have already presupposed the legitimacy of the essential determination, indeed must presuppose it, just in order to grasp and produce the facts that are supposed to serve as proof.


§21. Grasping the essence as bringing it forth. First directive.

Accordingly, the foundation of an essential statement possesses its own peculiarity and its own difficulty. The grasping of the essence and consequently the foundation of the positing of the essence are of another kind than the cognition of single facts and factual nexuses, and correspondingly different from the foundation of such factual cognition. In order to see more clearly here, we will deliberate further on a single case.

How could the essence "table," what a table is, be determined and set forth at all if we did not encounter i n advance at least one single real table, on the basis of which—by means of so-called "abstraction"—we draw out and read off the general essence "table" and disregard the particularities of any individual table? But then again, we have to ask, where would this one single table—as table—come from if the idea of what a table is in general were not already guiding its very fabrication and realization? Must the idea "table"" not be brought forth in advance even for the first of all tables to be crafted? Or do both of these go hand in hand? In any case, is the grasping of the essence not of such a kind that, as grasping, in a certain sense it first "brings forth" the essence and does not somehow patch it together subsequently, out of already present at hand single cases?

But according to what law and rule is the "bringing forth" of the essence accomplished? Is it an arbitrary product of thought, which is then supplied with a word? Is everything a matter of