§ 3. The equation or the differentiation of beings and being.
Being as one in Parmenides
We have seen that the question τὶ τό βν-what are beings?-is the question τί τό εἶναι, what is being? How can Aristotle equate τὸ ὅν and τὸ εἶναι? Why say the question is about beings (ὅν) when it is about being (εἶναι)?
Even today, we still commonly make this equation, although more with a sense of a hopeless confusion. Thus we speak often in philosophy of being and mean beings. On the other hand, we say beings and mean being. Basically we comprehend neither the one nor the other. And yet we do understand something when we say this, even though everything dissolves into thin air when we attempt to grasp it. For example, this thing here, this piece of chalk, is a being, it "is"; we say this of the chalk because it, as it were, says this to us in advance. In the same way, my speaking now and your listening and paying attention are [ways of] being. We experience and grasp beings constantly and with ease. But "being"? In a certain sense we understand this also but do not comprehend it. How then are we to distinguish