190 I. 5
Being and Time

That which is understood gets Articulated when the entity to be understood is brought close interpretatively by taking as our clue the 'something as something'; and this Articulation lies before [liegt vor] our making any thematic assertion about it. In such an assertion the 'as' does not turn up for the first time; it just gets expressed for the first time, and this is possible only in that it lies before us as something expressible.1 The fact that when we look at something, the explicitness of assertion can be absent, does not justify our denying that there is any Articulative interpretation in such mere seeing, and hence that there is any as-structure in it. When we have to do with anything, the mere seeing of the Things which are closest to us bears in itself the structure of interpretation, and in so primordial a manner that just to grasp something free, as it were, of the "as", requires a certain readjustment. When we merely stare at something, our just-having-it-before-us lies before us as a failure to understand it any more. This grasping which is free of the "as", is a privation of the kind of seeing in which one merely understands. It is not more primordial than that kind of seeing, but is derived from it. If the 'as' is ontically unexpressed, this must not seduce us into overlooking it as a constitutive state for understanding, existential and a priori.

But if we never perceive equipment that is ready-to-hand without already understanding and interpreting it, and if such perception lets us [150] circumspectively encounter something as something, does this not mean that in the first instance we have experienced something purely present-at-hand, and then taken it as a door, as a house? This would be a misunderstanding of the specific way in which interpretation functions as disclosure. In interpreting, we do not, so to speak, throw a 'signification' over some naked thing which is present-at-hand, we do not stick a value on it; but when something within-the-world is encountered as such, the


1 '... was allein so möglich ist, dass es als Aussprechbares vor-liegt.' Here we follow the reading of the earlier editions. The hyphen in 'vor-liegt' comes at the end of the line in the later editions, but is undoubtedly meant to suggest (like the italicization of the 'vor' in the previous sentence) that this verb is to be interpreted with unusual literalness.

This paragraph is noteworthy for an exploitation of the prefix 'aus' ('out'), which fails to show up in our translation. Literally an 'Aussage' ('assertion') is something which is 'srud out'; an 'Auslegung' ('interpretation'} is a 'laying-out'; that which is 'ausdrücklich' ('explicit') is something that has been 'pressed out'; that which is 'aussprechbar' (our 'expressible') is something that can be 'spoken out'.

The verbs 'ausdrücken' and 'aussprechen' are roughly synonymous; but 'aussprechen' often has the more specific connotations of 'pronunciation', 'pronouncing oneself', 'speaking one's mind', 'finishing what one has to say', etc. While it would be possible to reserve 'express' for 'ausdrücken' and translate 'aussprechen' by some such phrase as 'speak out', it is more convenient to use 'express' for both verbs, especially since 'aussprechen' and its derivatives have occurred very seldom before the present chapter, in which 'ausdrücken' rarely appears. On the other hand, we can easily distinguish between the more frequent 'ausdrücklich' and 'ausgesprochen' by translating the latter as 'expressed' or 'expressly', and reserving 'explicit' for both 'ausdrücklich' and 'explizit'.


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger