§16. Arguments in History of Logic [270-272]

in general, anything is given as a being to animals. It is as yet a problem to establish ontically how something is given to animals. On closer consideration we see that, speaking cautiously, since we ourselves are not mere animals, we basically do not have an understanding of the "world" of the animals. But since we nevertheless also live as existents—which is itself a special problem—the possibility is available to us, by going back from what is given to us as existents, to make out reductively what could be given to an animal that merely lives but does not exist. All of biology necessarily makes use of this methodological continuity, but it is still far from being clarified. We have indeed reached the point today where these fundamental questions of biology regarding the basic determinations of a living being and its world have become fluid. This indicates that the biological sciences have once again uncovered the philosophy necessarily immanent in them. Hobbes contents himself on this score with saying that animals have no language, and thus the given is not given to them as true or false, even though it is given as similar. Quemadmodum igitur orationi bene intellectae debent homines, quicquid recte ratiocinantur; ita eidem quoque male intellectae debent errores suos; et ut philosophiae decus, ita etiam absurdorum dogmatum turpitudo solis competit hominibus,30 just as for men [and with this he sharpens the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of language] it is to well-understood speech that they owe everything they know rationally, so they are indebted to the same speech and language, when badly understood, for their errors. Just as the ornament of philosophy belongs solely to man, so also does the ugliness of meaningless assertions. Habet enim oratio (quod dictum olim est de Solonis legibus) simile aliquid telae aranearum; nam haerent in verbis et illaqueantur ingenia tenera et fastidiosa, fortia autem perrumpunt,31 language and speech are like the webs of spiders, which was also said of Solon's laws. Tender and squeamish minds stick to the words and get ensnared in them, but strong minds break through them. Deduci hinc quoque potest, veritates omnium primas, ortas esse ab arbitrio eorum qui nomina rebus primi imposuerunt, vel ab aliis posita acceperunt. Nam exempli causa verum est hominem esse animal, ideo quia eidem rei duo illa nomina imponi placuit,32 it can be inferred from this that the first truths sprang from the free judgment of those who first imposed names on things or received them from others as already imposed. For, to take an example, the proposition "Man is a living being" is true because they were pleased to impose the two names on the same thing.

So much for Hobbes' view regarding assertion, the copula, truth, and

30. Thomas Hobbes, "Logica," chap. 3, 8.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

Basic Problems of Phenomenology (GA 24) by Martin Heidegger