§ 43. Confirmation of the Connection between αἴσθησις and διάνοια through Broadening the Field of the Present

We thus come to the second question of the main investigation. How are the indicated phenomena (of making-present) connected to αἴσθησις; and διάνοια? Strictly speaking we need only repeat, somewhat more pointedly, what has already been said. The new phenomena of retention (making- present in the broadest sense) have already been set over against the immediate having-present of what is bodily present, i.e. perception (αἴσθησις) in the broadest sense. Now we see: the domain of beings to which we constantly comport ourselves is not at all exhausted by the region of those beings we hold in immediate presence, but is essentially wider. For this reason the usual starting point of epistemology, which asks after an object, after something given, is erroneous.

We are always comporting ourselves to beings, even when we do not immediately perceive them. However, there is something peculiar here: we can hold (comport) ourselves towards beings without actually perceiving them (or bringing them to mind), but precisely these merely retained beings can also, from time to time, be perceived in a having-present — just as every perceived being is retainable in the sense required for making-present. We thus arrive at the insight that there are two ways in which every being accessible to us can stand, and be had, in our presence. At bottom it is this essential twofold possibility, pertaining to every accessible being, that Plato wants to bring out.

Correspondingly, the faculty of retention has the twofold possibility of explicit apprehension within making-present and mere awareness that such making-present is at any time possible. But all this immediately shows that the relationship to being (which is what constitutes the soul) not only goes beyond what is perceived, but that every accessible being can enter into this wider region of retainable beings. Thus Plato speaks of εὐρυχωρία and στενοχωρία τῆς ψυχῆς (194 d 5, 195 a 3), of the spaciousness and confinedness of the individual's soul. He does not mean a greater or less amount of memory, but differences in power and degree of familiarity with beings themselves.

From this demonstration of the interrelation between the making-present and the having-present of one and the same being it is now clear that the earlier thesis 'either we know something or we do not know it' ultimately says nothing useful. For we can know something by having it before us in immediate presence, but we can also know it through

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