§12. The basic structure of λόγος

abiding with the source of meaning and understanding, while returning to whatever we encounter.” This “abiding” is a matter of (1) staying with the what-as I take the encountered object, and (2) staying with the returning from there, i.e., from the source that is the basis for understanding the object. This returning is precisely what discloses whatever we encounter, for example, as a door or as chalk. Therefore this returning from the whence-and-whereby with which I already am present is precisely what has the special function of disclosing. This is the first level in our interpretation of such as-structured behavior. Later, in clarifying the statement even further, we will need to track its structure (as interpreted thus far) further back. Then you will see that truly understanding a phenomenon as simple as the statement, “This chalkboard is black,” requires that you have already undertaken a good deal of preparation and study.

Now as regards the structure we have been characterizing, which has the as-structure—the “already-ahead-of-oneself that returns to something and by returning discloses it”—we could also determine this making-sense-of-something (as I put it briefly) in this way: That in terms of which one makes sense of something must be brought together and taken together with what is being made sense of. This is the σύνθεσις part. At the same time this bringing together and taking together [149] entails that both of them—the whence of the sense-making and the thing to be made sense of—are separated and must be kept separate in the act of sense-making. This bringing together and taking together is possible only by keeping them separate. And vice versa: keeping them separate is possible—as this specific act of keeping separate—only in an encompassing act of keeping them together.

So we see that the act of sense-making, owing to its as-structure, can in fact be understood with the help of these formal determinations of σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις. But then at the same time you can see that this as-structure can be characterized, with demonstrable legitimacy, as the unity of σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις only if beforehand the phenomenon of sense-making has already been laid out and seen as such, since this phenomenon of sense-making cannot be construed in a purely formal way by means of the structures of a synthesizing separation and a separating synthesizing. In other words, the formal structure of σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις does not get to the authentic sense of the comportment itself. Of itself, the mere structure of a separating synthesis does not explain why a comportment that has this structure is a sense-making and intelligent comportment of the kind we indicated earlier. Σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις are merely empty, formal determinations, and they are not intrinsically and exclusively adapted to making-sense—even though their own ultimate origin may have to be understood in terms of sense-making.