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to predication. In dealing with something, I make no thematic, predicative statements about the thing.13


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Therefore, we must explicitly emphasize the pre-predicative nature of the as-structure, because otherwise we might rely on the readily available linguistic expression and think that this as-structure is primarily and properly given in the form of a simple propositional statement such as “This chalkboard is black”—that is, in a thematic discussion [145] of this chalkboard as black.

Yes, we certainly can interpret the sentence that way, but in doing so we have to understand that, in the first and authentic instance, this “as” is not the “as” of predication qua predication but is prior to it in such a way that it makes possible the very structure of predication at all. Predication has the as-structure, but in a derived way, and it has it only because the as-structure is predication within a [wider] experience.

But why is it that this as-structure is already present in a direct act of dealing with something? The most immediate state of affairs is, in fact, that we simply see and take things as they are: board, bench, house, policeman. Yes, of course. However, this taking is always a taking within the context of dealing-with something, and therefore is always a taking-as, but in such a way that the as-character does not become explicit in the act. The non-explicitness of this “as” is precisely what constitutes the act’s so-called directness. Yes, the thing that is understood can be apprehended directly as it is in itself. But this directness regarding the thing apprehended does not inhibit the act from having a developed structure. Moreover, what is structural and necessary in the act of [direct] understanding need not be found, or co-apprehended, or expressly named in the thing understood. I repeat: The [primary] as-structure does not belong to something thematically understood. It certainly can be understood, but not directly in the process of focally understanding a table, a chair, or the like.

Acts of directly taking something, having something, dealing with it “as something,” are so original that trying to understand anything without employing the “as” requires (if it’s possible at all) a peculiar inversion of the natural order. Understanding something without the “as”—in a pure sensation, for example—can be carried out only “reductively,” by “pulling back” from an as-structured experience. And we must say: far from being primordial, we have to designate it as an artificially worked-up act. Most important, such an experience is per se possible


13. [Here (Moser, p. 304) Heidegger ends his lecture of Monday, 7 December 1925, to be followed by that of Tuesday, 8 December, which opened with a 1,030 word summary that is omitted in GA 21.]


Martin Heidegger (GA 21) Logic : the question of truth

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