200 I. 5
Being and Time

But to what extent does it become a derivative mode of interpretation? What has been modified in it? We can point out the modification if we stick to certain limiting cases of assertion which function in logic as normal cases and as examples of the 'simplest' assertion-phenomena. Prior to all analysis, logic has already understood 'logically' what it takes as a theme under the heading of the "categorical statement"—for instance, 'The hammer is heavy'. The unexplained presupposition is that the 'meaning' of this sentence is to be taken as: "This Thing—a hammer—has the property of heaviness". In concernful circumspection there are no such assertions 'at first'. But such circumspection has of course its specific ways of interpreting, and these, as.compared with the 'theoretical judgment' just mentioned, may take some such form as 'The hammer is too heavy', or rather just 'Too heavy!', 'Hand me the other hammer!' Interpretation is carried out primordially not in a theoretical statement but in an action of circumspective concern—laying aside the unsuitable tool, or exchanging it, 'without wasting words'. From the fact that words are absent, it may not be concluded that interpretation is absent. On the other hand, the kind of interpretation which is circumspectively expressed is not necessarily already an assertion in the sense we have defined. By what existential-ontological modifications does assertion arise from circumspective interpretation?

The entity which is held in our fore-having—for instance, the hammer—is proximally ready-to-hand as equipment. If this entity becomes the [158] 'object' of an assertion, then as soon as we begin this assertion, there is already a change-over in the fore-having. Something ready-to-hand with which we have to do or perform something, turns into something 'about which' the assertion that points it out is made. Our fore-sight is aimed at something present-at-hand in what is ready-to-hand. Both by and for this way of looking at it [Hin-sicht], the ready-to-hand becomes veiled as ready-to-hand. Within this discovering of presence-at-hand, which is at the same time a covering-up of readiness-to-hand, something present-at-hand which we encounter is given a definite character in its Being-present-at-hand-in-such-and-such-a-manner. Only now are we given any access to properties or the like. When an assertion has given a definite character to something present-at-hand, it says something about it as a "what"; and this "what" is drawn from that which is present-at-hand as such. The as-structure of interpretation has undergone a modification. In its function of appropriating what is understood, the 'as' no longer reaches out into a totality of involvements. As regards its possibilities for Articulating reference-relations, it has been cut off from that significance which, as such, constitutes environmentality. The 'as' gets pushed back into the