Lecture Ten [135-136]

a manner and a standard by which omne ens qua ens is measured; for example, omnes ens est unum, every being is a being and as this being it is not another being. More precisely, this modus of beings is defined as modus generaliter consequens omne ens. Consequens here is thought as the determination opposite of antecedens. It is important to take heed of this. The most general determinations of every being as such follow beings and are yielded from out of them. It is in this sense that they pass, they step across (transcendere) what belongs to every being; hence they are called "transcendentals." But for Kant, what the transcendental method investigates is not the sort of thing that is a consequens as are those things that stand in relation to beings in the sense of the objects of experience. Rather the abjectness that affords objects the ground of their possibility is the antecedens, that which precedes, the a priori.

The medieval-scholastic definition of the ens qua ens stems from Aristotle and indeed from the beginning of Book IV of the Metaphysics. What we are familiar with under the title The Metaphysics of Aristotle is not a "work," rather a compilation, not undertaken by Aristotle, of essays whose questions at times go off into completely different regions and directions.

Seen from a literary point of view, the Metaphysics of Aristotle is wholly ununified; thought in terms of contents, it is made of pieces each of which has a different way of questioning.

The first sentence of the first chapter of Book 4 reads: ἔστιν ἐπιστήμη τις ἣ θεωρεῖ τὸ ὂν ᾗ ὂν καὶ τὰ τούτῳ ὑπάρχοντα καθ᾽ αὑτό.37 When one interpretively translates, this says: ''There is something like an understanding that takes into view what is present as coming to presence and at the same time thereby (takes into view) that which is at the disposal of presencing, tendering itself from out of itself."

What is at issue here is neither the transcendental, which in Kant's sense determines beings as objects in their objectness, nor is what is at issue a modus entis generaliter consequens omne ens. And this for the simple reason that what is at issue is thought in a Greek way, namely ὄν. The ὄν is φύσις τις, the sort of thing that is an emerging-on-its-own. The ὄν is not ens in the sense of the ens creatum of the medieval scholastics, beings created by God. Nor is ὄν the object with respect to its abjectness. What determines beings with respect to their being in Aristotle's sense, and how this happens, is experienced differently than in the medieval doctrine of ens qua ens. Yet it would be silly to say the medieval theologians misunderstood Aristotle; rather, they understood him differently, responding to the different manner in which being proffered itself to them. Then again, the Geschick of being is different for Kant. A different understanding becomes a misunderstanding only where it comes to a peak in a uniquely possible truth and simultaneously is subsumed under the order of what is to be understood. The method by which thinking investigates the being of beings first became the transcendental method for Kant. What is distinctive