§11. Phenomenological Clarification [153-154]

[extant] disposable. Essentia is only the literal translation of οὐσία. This expression essentia, which was employed for whatness, reality, expresses at the same time the specific mode of being of a being, its disposability or, as we can also say, its at-handness, which belongs to it due to its having been produced.

The characteristics of essentia developed in reference to what is produced in producing or else to what belongs to producing as producing. The basic concept of οὐσία, in contrast, lays more stress on the producedness of the produced in the sense of things disposably present at hand. What is meant here primarily is what is present at hand, house and yard, the Anwesen, as the German has it—property as the present premises—the extant as what is present in that way. The verb εἶναι, esse, existere, must be interpreted by way of the meaning of οὐσία as the present-at-hand and that which is present [as property and premises are present]. Being, being-actual, or existing, in the traditional sense, means presence-at-hand. But producing is not the only horizon for the interpretation of existentia. With regard to its presence at hand, the extant is conceived of ontologically not so much by referring to the disposability for use or by reverting to the productive and in general the practical mode of activity as, rather, by reverting to our finding present [finding there before us, Vorfinden] what is thus disposable. But this comportment, too, the finding present of the produced and present-at-hand, belongs to producing itself. All producing is, as we say, fore-sighted {vorsichtigJ and circum-sighted [um-sichtigJ. It really has its sight; it is sighted, and only because it is so can it sometimes set about things blindly. Sight is not an appendage to productive behavior but belongs positively to it and to its structure, and it guides the action. Therefore it is not surprising if this seeing, in the sense of the circumspective seeing that belongs to the ontological constitution of producing, becomes prominent also where ontology interprets the what which is to be produced. All shaping and forming has from the first an out-look upon the look (εἶδος) of that which is to be produced. Here it may already be seen that the phenomenon of sight which pertains to producing comes forward in characterizing the whatness of a thing as εἶδος. In the process of producing, that which the thing was is already sighted beforehand. Hence the pre-eminence of all these expressions in Greek ontology: ἰδέα, εἶδος, θεωρεῖν. Plato and Aristotle speak of omma tes psuches, the soul's eye, which sees being. This looking toward the produced or the to-be-produced does not yet need to be theoretical contemplation in the narrower sense but is at first simply looking-toward in the sense of circumspective self-orientation.

Nevertheless, for reasons which we need not further touch on here, the Greeks define the mode of access to the extant primarily as an intuitive finding present [das anschauende Vorfinden], a beholding perception, νοεῖν,

Basic Problems of Phenomenology (GA 24) by Martin Heidegger