§71. The task of returning to the originary dimension of the
'as', taking an interpretation of the structure of the
propositional statement as our point of departure.
We said that world means the manifestness of beings as such as a whole. Our explication of the problem began with the 'as'. We found that it is a structural moment of the statement, or more precisely that it expresses something which is always already understood in every propositional statement. But it thereby already becomes questionable whether the 'as' belongs primarily to the statement and its structure or is not rather presupposed by the propositional structure. Consequently it is necessary to ask positively about the dimension in which this 'as' originarily moves and within which it arises. But the return into this origin must thereby open up for us the whole context within which whatever we mean by the manifestness of beings and the 'as a whole' essentially prevails. Yet in order genuinely to accomplish this return to the origin of the 'as', we must be much more circumspect within the approach we have adopted, i.e., we must ask about the direction in which the propositional structure as such points us back.
There are various possible paths we can take in this interpretation of the propositional statement. Here I shall choose one that will simultaneously lead us toward a phenomenon which, however obscurely, has always already stood at the centre of our questioning: the 'as a whole'. The statement 'a is b' would not be possible with respect to what it means and the way in which it means what it does if it could not emerge from an underlying experiencing of 'a as b'. If accordingly the 'as' is not specifically expressed in the linguistic form of the statement, that does not prove that it does not already underlie the accomplishment of understanding the statement. Why must the 'as' underlie the statement and how does it do so? What is a statement in general? We talk about sentences and statements in various senses. We are familiar on the one hand with statements of wish, with interrogative statements, with imperative statements, with propositional statements. But we are also familiar with statements of principle, statements of inference, statements of instruction, and auxiliary statements. In both groups the term 'statement' means something different. In the first case we mean particular forms of linguistic expression, which we can also articulate and distinguish through particular signs (the question mark, the exclamation mark, the full stop), but above all through a particular rhythm or tone. In the first group we mean units of linguistic expression, by means of which a particular comportment of human beings is expressed in each case—wishing, questioning, commanding, requesting, discovering, ascertaining. In the second case on the other hand we do not mean the sort of statement which serves to express various kinds of human comportment, but rather statements in which something is established about something