§70 [424-25]

specific to this relation must be ascertained and taken into account as being distinct from the 'and'-relation, for example. Yet it is precisely here that the fateful character of any formal characterization reveals itself. For it is questionable whether we do thereby grasp the essence of the 'as' at all, even if we attempt to identify its specific character. It is questionable because the whole phenomenon already gets leveled down through the apparently innocuous—because always correct—characterization of the 'as' in terms of a relation. What I mean is this: If for example we designate something as a relation, we thereby suppress the dimension within which the relevant relation can be what it is. On account of the suppression of this dimension, the relation in question gets put on the same level as every other relation. We have from the outset taken the relation self-evidently as something which moves between something and something else, as something which is present at hand in the broadest sense. Not only that, but the empty formal idea of relation is simultaneously thought to belong to any equally empty manifold of relational terms whatsoever, terms whose manner of being is taken as quite undifferentiated. Yet following what we have said earlier, that means taken as something present at hand in the broadest sense: something as something. And then from that perspective, we certainly found ourselves led to the assertion which expresses this relation as such. The simple form of the assertion, which we are familiar with as the categorical statement, is only the elementary propositional form within the undifferentiated and everyday way we comport ourselves toward and talk about beings (logic, grammar, discourse, and language). Consequently, when we elucidate the 'as' by designating it as 'relation', this implies that we unwittingly take the dimension of this relation to be the realm of the present at hand in general. Yet from this perspective it is quite hopeless to try to identify the essence of the 'as', unless, that is, we have already glimpsed something of the true essence of the 'as'.

Nevertheless, we can continue to call the 'as' a relation and to talk about the 'as'-relation. Only we must remember that this formal characterization does not give us the essence. On the contrary, it merely indicates precisely the decisive task of grasping the relation in terms of its proper dimension, instead of leveling down this dimension through such formal characterization. Designating the 'as' in terms of a relation tells us nothing about the 'as' as such, but merely directs us toward our proper and peculiar task. That is why I speak of formal indication in connection with such a characterization of the 'as'. The full import of this for the entire conceptuality of philosophy cannot be expounded here.

There is only one thing which should be mentioned now because it is of particular importance for understanding the problem of world—as well as both our other questions. All philosophical concepts are formally indicative, and only if they are taken in this way do they provide the genuine possibility

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