§26 [184-186]

The connection and separation of representations are taken to be the respective structures of positive and negative judgments. This is a complete perversion of what Aristotle, in keeping with the phenomena, says. Both κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις have the character of σύνθεσις, and both have the character of διαίρεσις. Σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις are original structures, which, as founding, precede κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις. ἔτι πᾶν τὸ διανοητὸν καὶ νοητὸν ἡ διάνοια ἢ κατάφησιν ἢ ἀπόφησιν... ὅταν μὲν ὡδὶ συνθῇ φᾶσα ἢ ἀποφᾶσα, ἀληθεύει, ὅταν δὲ ὡδί, ψεύδεται (Met. IV, 7, 1012a2ff.). "Everything that is the theme of a discerning and a thorough discerning is discerned or perceived by thinking in the mode of affirmation or denial. If thinking puts together what is discerned in one way, affirming or denying (i.e., positing and discerning as νοῦς-and precisely here it becomes clear that κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις are ordered into σύνθεσις) then the thinking is true, then it uncovers; if it puts together in another way, then it is false, then it distorts." I cite this passage to confront a common mistake in logic and in the interpretation of Aristotle. It is said that affirmation is σύνθεσις, connecting; denial is διαίρεσις, separating. The quotation above, however, says that both, κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις, letting be seen in affirmation and in denial, are σύνθεσις. And this applies not only when the κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις are true but also when they are false. τὸ γὰρ ψεῦδος ἐνν συνθέσει ἀεί. καὶ γὰρ ἂν τὸ λευκὸν μὴ λευκόν, τὸ μὴ λευκὸν συνέθηκεν (De An. III, 6, 430b1ff.). There is falsity only where there is a σύνθεσις. For even if I speak of what is white as not white, the not white is put together with the white. Every affirmation or denial, whether true or false, is hence at the very outset a σύνθεσις.

And, conversely, both, affirmation and denial, κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις, letting be seen in affirmation and denial, are at the very outset διαίρεσις as well. Aristotle says this with reference to ψεῦδος in the continuation of the passage cited from the De anima: ἐνδέχεται δὲ καὶ διαίρεσιν φάναι πάντα (b3f.). Affirmation and denial are likewise to be interpreted as διαίρεσις, taking apart. Taking apart is indeed a mode of carrying out perception, a mode of carrying out νοεῖν, i.e., having the ὄν in view, having the whole in view; it is a preserving letting the whole be seen, a positing of a one with an other.

Σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις constitute the full mode of carrying out νοεῖν, and νοεῖν itself, insofar as it is the νοεῖν of the λόγον ἔχον, can be κατάφασις or ἀπόφασις. What is essential to both forms of carrying out νοεῖν, essential to their σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις, is the primarily unitary having in sight of the ὑποκείμενον, that which is spoken about, that which is under discussion. In the σύνθεσις there comes to the fore the moment by which the assertion sees together the one with the other and in this way sees the whole.