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§26. The original a priori of all combining

As the ur-action of the understanding, combining presupposes the [prior] presenting of a unity. Therefore, this presenting of a unity is even more original than any given act of combining. The question now is: How are we to understand this unity—or better, this most original presenting of unity—as a priori, i.e., as a cogitatio?

We must remember that what is given first of all is the manifold of the presentations given in inner sense. In these presentations (which are intuitions) something is presented, i.e., given. In order for there to be anything known at all [323] in knowledge—i.e., for anything to be a given—it must be given to me and must be, in some sense, an object “for me.” The presentation therefore cannot simply flow on, one after the other. Rather (according to Kant), this presenting (of something) must be given to me. That is, the presenting must be presentable to me myself (and this must be a permanent possibility) if what is given in these presented-to-me presentations is to be accessible to me at all. Knowledge—or the possibility of something being known—necessarily entails the possibility of the belongs-to-me-ness of whatever is presented. A knowing entity—in the broadest sense: presenting entities, thinking the given—must, in its essence, be a presenting of this presenting. Or more precisely, [knowing entities must be] a presenting of the fact that I am currently presenting something as in-being—not as a bare cogitare[“thinking”], but rather as cogito me cogitare [“I think myself thinking”], as Descartes says in his Second Meditation. Kant says as much, almost word-for-word, in his Logic: “Consciousness {as res cogitans} is really a presentation that another presentation is in me.”75

He does not know just some presenting-of-something. Rather, this presenting is such that, in carrying it out, I think myself—i.e., “I think sum cogitans” [“I think the I-am-the-one-who-is-thinking”]. Every intuition and presentation must be able to be accompanied by this “I think” (cogito me rem cogitantem [“I think myself as a thing-that-is-thinking”]), because only in this way is something-given possible at all as given-for. . . . Every intuition (in the sense of what can be intuited) is necessarily referred to a possible “I think.” Whatever can be given is referred to a “for.” This phenomenon of the “for”—for me, for us—is something we should always keep in mind. Kant calls it the


75. Kant, Akademie-Ausgabe, vol. 9, p. 33. [Heidegger’s interpolation is taken from the Moser transcript (p. 651.30). The text is from “The Jäsche Logic,” published with Kant’s permission in 1800 by Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche (1762–1842) as Immanuel Kants Logik. Ein Handbuch zu Vorlesungen (Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1800). This is published in English as Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Logic, trans. and ed. J. Michael Young (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). The text Heidegger cites is at page 544.31–32 (introduction to chap. 5); Young remarks in his introduction that “a great deal of the text is attributable to Jäsche” (p. xvii).]


Martin Heidegger (GA 21) Logic : the question of truth

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