199 I. 5
Being and Time

demands that we do not choose such unstable concepts as a clue to Interpretation. We make no advance restriction upon the concept of "meaning" which would confine it to signifying the 'content of judgment', but we understand it as the existential phenomenon already characterized, in which the formal framework of what can be disclosed in understanding and Articulated in interpretation becomes visible.

If we bring together the three significations of 'assertion' which we have analysed, and get a unitary view of the full phenomenon, then we may define "assertion" as " a pointing-out which gives something a definite character and which communicates ". It remains to ask with what justification we have taken assertion as a mode of interpretation at all. If it is something of this sort, then the essential structures of interpretation must recur in it. The pointing-out which assertion does is performed on the basis of what has already been disclosed in understanding or discovered circumspectively. Assertion is not a free-floating kind of behaviour which, in its own right, might be capable of disclosing entities in general in a primary way: on the contrary it always maintains itself on the basis of Being-in-the-world. What we have shown earlier in relation to knowing the world, holds just as well as assertion. Any assertion requires a fore-having of [157] whatever has been disclosed; and this is what it points out by way of giving something a definite character. Furthermore, in any approach when one gives something a definite character, one is already taking a look directionally at what is to be put forward in the assertion. When an entity which has been presented is given a definite character, the function of giving it such a character is taken over by that with regard to which we set our sights towards the entity.1 Thus any assertion requires a fore-sight; in this the predicate which we are to assign [zuzuweisende] and make stand out, gets loosened, so to speak, from its unexpressed inclusion in the entity itself. To any assertion as a communication which gives something a definite character there belongs, moreover, an Articulation of what is pointed out, and this Articulation is in accordance with significations. Such an assertion will operate with a definite way of conceiving: "The hammer is heavy", "Heaviness belongs to the hammer", "The hammer has the property of heaviness". When an assertion is made, some foreconception is always implied; but it remains for the most part inconspicuous, because the language already hides in itself a developed way of conceiving. Like any interpretation whatever, assertion necessarily has a fore-having, a fore-sight, and a fore-conception as its existential foundations.

1 'Woraufhin das vorgegebene Seiende anvisiert wird, das übernimmt im Bestimmungsvollzug die Funktion des Bestimmenden.'

Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger