§13. Kantian Formulation of Problem [175-177

there yawns a veritable abyss of meaning."2 Husserl continually refers to this distinction and precisely in the form in which Descartes expressed it: res cogitans—res extensa. How is this distinction more exactly defined?

How is the being of the subject or ego conceived as compared with reality, which here means actuality, extantness? The fact that this distinction is asserted does not yet imply that the differing ways of being of these entities are also expressly conceived. But, if the being of the subject should reveal itself as other than extantness, then a fundamental limit would be set to the hitherto prevailing equation of being with actuality, or extantness, and thus to ancient ontology. The question of the unity of the concept of being becomes all the more pressing in the face of these two diversities of being which first come to view.

In what respect are subject and object distinguished ontologically? To answer this question we could conveniently tum to Descartes' formulation. He moved this distinction for the first time explicitly to the center. Or we could seek for particulars at the decisive terminus of the development of modern philosophy, in Hegel, who formulates the difference as that between nature and spirit or between substance and subject. We choose neither the beginning nor the end of the development of this problem but instead the decisive intermediate station between Descartes and Hegel, the Kantian version of the problem, which was influenced by Descartes and in its turn influenced Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.

b) Kant's conception of ego and nature (subject and object) and his definition of the subject's subjectivity

How does Kant conceive the distinction between ego and nature, subject and object? How does he characterize the ego—what does the essential nature of egohood consist in?

α) Personalitas transcendentalis

Basically Kant here retains Descartes' conception. However essential Kant's own investigations have become and will always remain for the

2. Ideen, p. 117. [Ideas, p. 153.]