§11. Phenomenological Clarification [147-148]

meaning, which is ontologically prior, that is, actuality understood with reference to actualization and being enacted. That which acts inwards upon the subject must itself already be actual in the first sense of the word, and interconnections of efficacious action are possible only if the actual is extant. It is ontologically incorrect and impossible to interpret actuality and its ontological sense in terms of these two meanings just mentioned. Rather, actuality, as the traditional concept actualitas implies, must be understood with reference to actualization. It is completely obscure, however, how actuality should be understood in this way. We shall try to shed some light on this obscurity, to explain the origin of the concepts essentia and existentia, and to show how far the two concepts are derived from an understanding of being that comprehends beings with respect to an actualizing or, as we say generally, to a productive comportment of the Dasein. The two concepts essentia and existentia are an outgrowth from an interpretation of beings with regard to productive comportment, and indeed with regard to a productive comportment that is not expressly and explicitly conceived in this interpretation. How is this to be more particularly understood? Before answering this question, we must show that the horizon of understanding that has just been pointed to—the Dasein as productive.—has not been merely fixed by us on the basis of the relation of* the being of a being to the subject and to God as producer of things, but that the basic ontological determinations of a being grow universally out of this horizon. We shall attempt this proof in reference to the interpretation of thingness, realitas, by which the common origin of essentia and existentia becomes clear.

We shall not at first characterize particularly the Dasein's productive mode of behavior. We shall attempt solely to show that the determinations adduced for Sachheit [thingness, reality], essentia—forma, natura, quod quid erat esse, definitio—are obtained with regard to the producing of something. Production stands in the guiding horizon of this interpretation of whatness. For this proof we cannot keep to the medieval terms, because they are not original but translations of ancient concepts. It is only by turning to the latter that we shall be able to make visible their true origin. In doing so, we must stay clear of all modem interpretations and revisions of these ancient concepts. We can only outline the proof that the chief ancient determinations for the thingness or reality of a being originate in productive activity, the comprehension of being by way of production. What would be required would be an investigation of the individual stages of development of ancient ontology up to Aristotle and an account of the subsequent development of the individual fundamental concepts.

*The text reads "the relation for the being of a being," which is awkward and possibly represents a typographical error.

Basic Problems of Phenomenology (GA 24) by Martin Heidegger