Metaphysics of Principle of Reason [162-163]

and ground. To do so we need to clarify the essence of truth, first along traditional lines which hold that truth is equivalent to propositional truth. Our interpretation of the proposition showed it to be founded in being-already-by-things. In the latter, primordial truth is to be found. Being-by as existential is of course itself a problem. It is a problem precisely because of the seeming selfevidence of the premise of a subject-object relation.

It is remarkable that the problem addressed by this claim cannot be budged. It is as old as philosophy and appears already in Parmenides. The view, developed early and easily in the prephilosophical understanding of Dasein, that the soul, thinking and rep­ resenting, consciousness, establishes a relationship to objects, or put conversely, that beings occur before and lie opposite to (VTUcE':Tac.) thinking, seeing, and representing; this view, this understanding of Dasein also persisted for a long time in this general and vague form. The problem offers the seductive look of the obvious and simple. Thus the problem has been discussed since antiquity, in the Middle Ages and in modem philosophy, until Hegel's dialectic; especially in Kant, the relation of consciousness to the object becomes a problem. In a letter (to Marcus Herz, February 21, 1772) Kant wrote: "I asked myself, on what basis rests the relation of that in ourselves called 'representation' to the object?"

But it is typical of Kant, as well as his successors, all the more so of the contemporary epigones, to ask all too hastily about the ground of the possibility of the relation of consciousness to the object, without clarifying sufficiently beforehand what is meant by this relation whose possibility is to be clarified, what this relation is standing between, and what sort of being is applicable to it.

What "relation" really means remains vague. The vagueness falls back on the vagueness of that which stands in relation. It emerges particularly in the vagueness of the concept of the subject, and on the other hand, in the naiveté and presumptive obviousness of the being of the being. The being's "independence" is only a negative determination, and yet it can only mean non-dependence from the subject, while this non-dependence precisely in relation to the subject is what is to be explained, to be made as such into a problem.

Two things are to be kept in mind regarding the "relation" of subject and object. The problem we are touching on has a simplicity in its breadth and primordiality, and, correspondingly, it is to be conceived as a whole or not at all. Herein lies the difficulty, since the obviousness of the starting point misleads one