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§73 [488-90]

of λόγος-also fell victim to this illusion in Being and Time (cf. as exempt from this illusion Being and Time, pp. 222 and 285f.1). In the interpre­tation that follows, while it does not really invalidate what I have said before in Being and Time, I must deviate essentially and decisively from this.

We are as yet unable to get a central perspective on the inner and essential construction of the λόγος, even if we take full account of the possible forms it can assume: the true positive judgement and the false positive one, the true negative judgement and the false negative one. The essence of the λόγος consists precisely in its containing as such the possibility of 'either true or false', of 'both positive and negative'. It is precisely the possibility of all these kinds of transformation-which have merely been outlined in a rough and ready fashion—that comprises the innermost essence of the λόγος. Only when we grasp this will we have the place from which to leap back into the origin.2 The λόγος is not some figment at hand that simply appears first in this form, then in that one; rather by its very essence it is this possibility of one or the other. We say that it is an ability for ... [Vermögen zu ...]. By ability we always understand the possibility [Möglichkeit] of a comportment toward, i.e., the possibility of a relation to beings as such. The λόγος is an ability, i.e., it intrinsically entails having a relating toward beings as such at one's disposal. In contrast to this, we called capacity [Fähigkeit] the possibility of behaving, of being related to something in a captivated and taken manner.

The λόγος ἀποφαντικός is able to allow for an 'either/or' in the revealing and concealing that point out both in the manner of pointing toward and pointing away, that is, in a pointing out in which the 'is' (being) comes to be expressed in some meaning or other. The character of ability having this orientation is the essence of the λόγος ἀποφαντικός; its essential construction is centred in this ability. It is from here that we must pursue the question of whether we can see anything pointing to the ground that makes this essence possible. What underlies this ability of the λόγος, what must underlie it if the λόγος is to be able to prevail in its essence that it proclaims to us, namely as the possibility of the 'either/or' of that revealing and concealing which points out and which expresses being? When we have answered these questions we will see how here too, as everywhere in philosophy, this trivial and elementary phenomenon of judgement and of the assertion—a phenomenon that has already been exhaustively pursued in every possible direction—returns us at a stroke to a dimension which is none other than that expanse and uncanniness to which the interpretation of our fundamental attunement was initially to lead us.


1. [Tr: Translation: Being and Time, pp. 264 and 330f.]

2. 'Erst wenn wir das fassen, haben wir den Ort des Absprungs, von dem aus wir in den Ursprung Zurückgehen.'

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