something essential is lacking in Aristotle and in antiquity in general. But we shall forgo this in order to bring the question as a question into its own. And yet, on the other hand, in connection with our guiding theme it was precisely through Aristotle that a decisive step was taken toward the proper formulation of this question.
That which has obstructed the proper formulation of the question has confronted us throughout this entire consideration, without our actually grasping it clearly enough. It is nothing other than the double character of our theme, which has made itself apparent in the presently discussed argument. The discussion is to be about the ἄψυχα, then it is not. but instead about αἴσθησις as δύναμις. But then again, neither is this what is under discussion. if this is simply an ἐμψθχον in the sense of something present in the soul. The topic is rather the ἄψυχα qua αἰσθητά—and it is αἴσθησις qua αἰσθάνεσθαι τὰ ἄψυχα. What is in question is not how soulless material things at hand exist among themselves in relation to each other, but rather how they can be manifest in themselves as beings in themselves without being infringed upon by the fact that the occurrence of this being manifest is bound in itself to the actuality of the besouled, that is, to the actuality of human beings.
Aristotle was not capable of comprehending, no less than anyone before or after him, the proper essence and being of that which makes up this between—between αἰσθητόν as such and αἴσθησις as such—and which in itself brings about the very wonder that, although it is related to self-reliant beings, it does not through this relation take their self-reliance away, but rather precisely makes it possible for such being to secure this self-reliance in the truth.
But this requires that it simply be possible for us to understand something as actually present, even and especially when this present being is present as something able to be this or that, in this case as what is able to be perceived. (This is the possible belonging to the world of beings, in which they first "become" beings and thus make themselves apparent as something which before this appearance also Was not nothing.) The independence of things at hand from humans Is not altered through the fact that this very independence as such is possible only if humans exist. The being in themselves of things not