Download this text in Microsoft Word 6 format /Copiar este texto como documento MS Word 6

Glosario de términos filosóficos zubirianos / Zubiri Glossary List

por Thomas B. Fowler, Juan Diego Blanco, A. R. Caponigri

Abierto / Open
Actividad / Activity
Actualidad / Actuality
Campo / Field
Carácter / Character
Categoria / Category
Ciencia / Science
Clausura / Closure
Concipiente / Concipient
Cosa / Thing
Cosa sentida, cosa real / Meaning thing, real thing
Cosmos / Cosmos
Dar de sí / "Gives"
De suyo / De suyo [in its own right]
Dinamismo / Dynamism
Dios / God
Entificación de la realidad / Entification of reality
Esenciable / Essentiable
Esenciado / Essentiated
Especie / Species
Esse real / Real existence
Estado constructo / Constructed state
Estar siendo / To be now or actually being
Estructura / Structure
Existencia / Existence
Filosofía / Philosophy
Físico / Physical
Formalidad / Formality
Función / Function
Fundamentar / To ground
Hyperformalización / Hyperformalization
Inteligir, inteligencia / To intellectively know, the intelligence
Logificación de la inteligencia / Logification of intelligence
Logos / Logos
Marcha / Progress
Metafísico / Metaphysical
Modalización / Modalization
Momento / Moment
Mundo, mundificación / World, world-ification
Noesis, noema, noergia / Noesis, noema, noergia
Nota / Note
Persona / Person
Postulación / Postulation
Razón / Reason or explanation
Realidad / Reality
Reidad / Reity
Respectividad / Respectivity
Sentiente / Sentient
Ser / Being
Sistema / System
Sustancia / Substance
Sustantividad / Substantivity
Talidad / Suchness
Transcendencia y Transcendentalidad / Transcendence and Transcendentality
Verdad / Truth

Definitions of Terms in English


Closure [clausura]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. Closure is a character of the constitutional system (q.v.) (On Essence 146 [163]). It is not, however, an incommunication with other realities, but resides within the order of the notes which constitute the system. Consequently, what closure confers on the constitutional system is its totality, i.e., precisely its character as a whole. It is directly related to the suchness (talidad q.v.) of the thing. As a unity of physical notes, the essence is a totality limited in and by its notes. This limitation of the notes impresses a concrete form on their "suchness": each one is what it is by way of a mutual "co-limitation" of the notes in their suchness. This "co-limitation" of the suchness is the form of coherence which Zubiri calls "clausura" (closure) (On Essence 367 [336]). Zubiri compares closure to cyclicalness, but insists that this is only a figure since "not all systems are circular, though all possess what circular systems have in their circularity: conclusion, closedness (On Essence 146 [163]). The relation of the notes in the constitutional system as establishing closure is "co-determination". (On Essence 265; 367 [257; 337]). Closure also has a function in the transcendental order (q.v.). [ARC]



Construct state [estado constructo]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. The "estado constructo" (construct state) expresses the intrinsic system of the dimensions of the essence as dynamic; the real is conceived as a unitary system of things constructed in intrinsic relations to each other and thus forming a whole within itself. Thus "note-of", which Zubiri uses to describe the notes characterizing a system, is a particularly tight relationship—a constructed state—not just inherence. (Estructura dinámica, 36). He says, "… ‘constructo’ means not that to one note others are aggregated, but that each note is not what it is except as being precisely and formally of the rest, and being referred to them." (Ibid.) The concept "estado constructo" is the most inclusive expression of this total situation with respect of essence; thus it forms the most adequate organon for conceptualizing essence (On Essence 355-356 [328]).

(b) Historical background of the term. Zubiri takes this term from the Semitic languages, where it expresses the relationship of possessives to the whole. For example, in the constructed state, the "house-of" Peter denotes something different than "Peter’s house". The ‘of’ affects ‘house’ and not ‘Peter’. [TBF & ARC]



Essentiable [esenciable]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. This term relates to the problem of the ambit or range of essence. According to Aristotle, this is the realm of the "natural" (On Essence 383-385 [351-352]). Zubiri posits a question which is latent in, but not sufficently appreciated by, earlier thinkers. Since for him reality (realidad q.v.) is a more basic notion than either being (ser) or essence (esencia) while other thinkers have traditionally limited the question to what essences there are, Zubiri is led to go a step further and ask what, within reality, may be the range of essence, not merely in its actuality (q.v.), but in its intrinsic character as a possible dimension of reality. Only thus, in Zubiri’s view, can the question of essence be addressed metaphysically. The question, however, cannot rest at the level of possibility; it turns about necessity of some kind. Reality takes the form of essence under some necessity. The question then arises, what kind of necessity (On Essence 103 [128]) It is the necessity which brings it about that the thing be such (para que la cosa sea tal) (On Essence 103 [ibid.]). To understand the range of essence it is necessary to understand what is meant by "such a thing. Since the "such a thing" is in the order of reality, it is necessary to determine the sense of "reality". Zubiri’s position will be that the range of the "essentiable" is that range of reality which is susceptible to becoming "such" (tal). What then is the formal and intrinsic character of the "essentiable"? Zubiri replies that the essentiable and the essentiated can be determined in this intrinsic and not merely actual character only by the prior determination of the meaning of "reality" (On Essence 175 [187]). [ARC]



Essentiated [esenciado]


(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. As the ambit of the "essentiable must be determined in terms of necessity within reality, so the essentiated must be determined within the province of the essentiable. The range of the essentiated is, for Aristotle, substance (On Essence 146, 147 [162, 164]). For Zubiri, it must be identified by way of the necessity which must be present in order that the real be real as essence. Things have essence, i.e., are essentiated only by that by reason of which they are real (On Essence 111 [134]), in the sense of realidad simpliciter (q.v.) and not merely as reality as such (On Essence 123-124 [145-146]). The essentiated is not such, however, simply as actual (q.v.) but transcendentally (q.v.) as well (On Essence 474-481 [423-428]). [ARC]



Formality [formalidad]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. ‘Formality’ is used to describe an essential characteristic of all perception. When we sense, we sense specific and very concrete things, such as particular colors, sounds, tastes, and so forth. But, sensing is not exhausted with this content, as previous philosophy thought. Rather, we sense not just content (that would probably be impossible), but necessarily something more. We sense the content in a determinate form, as something other; and this form of otherness, which completes the content but is not reducible to it, is formality. In the case of human beings, the formality is the formality of reality, which means that what is sensed is real. That is, we directly perceive reality at some level, and perceive real things as other. The formality is always given together with the content, and perceived (i.e., sensed in an impression of reality) just as directly.

Formality is not something added to the content of an impression; rather, it is just another aspect of the same impression. Nor is it the result of any sort of complicated reasoning process, or conceptual elaboration. Moreover, content is always specific, whereas formality is always nonspecific, which has two consequences: (1) it is identical for impressions arising from different sensory organs (for a rough analogy, consider a shell which can have different contents); and (2) it is open and transcendental. This is especially significant for Zubiri, since he believes that things such as mathematical entities are also sensed, though the impression we have of them is different than that which we have of, say, colors and sounds. But the formality of reality remains the same in all cases, however. The formality of reality Zubiri sometimes terms ‘reity’ [reidad]. The formality of human perception, i.e., the formality of reality, is in contrast to the (hypothetical) formality of animal perception, the formality of stimulation [formalidad de estimulidad], in which the content of sensation is delivered in a form which is such that the things perceived are perceived as other but not as real, merely as objective signs of a response.

To make a very crude analogy, consider a play by Shakespeare, for example, Hamlet. This play may or may not exist as an abstract entity of some sort; but there is no doubt that for us to experience it—to experience its content—there must be a vehicle. I can read the play from the printed pages in a book, or I can watch the play on a stage, or I can listen to the play on an audio tape. In each case, the content is the same—Shakepeare’s text—but the form, the formality, is different. And there must be a formality; I cannot have the play miraculously delivered into my mind without some form, which is given together with the content. To pursue this analogy a bit further, consider the case of hearing someone speak in a language which you do not know, say Chinese. Then there is no real content, except for the sound itself, which might be melodious, i.e., pleasant. Compared to the previous case, this is roughly the equivalent of the (hypothetical) formality of stimulation, in that the content comes not in the form of something bearing an intelligible content, but something in the form which causes a type of stimulation. (Bear in mind that this is a very crude analogy only, insofar as we still perceive the sound as real).

Zubiri himself describes formality as a formal unity, in virtue of which perceptions have a certain unity, autonomy, and closure; there is no "free-floating" content. In Zubiri’s words, "Formalization is that function in virtue of which the impressions and stimuli reaching an animal from internal and external media are related so as to form outlines or profiles of autonomous, unified things. With respect to these, the animal behaves in a unitary fashion….All of the richness of the psychic life of an animal—or at least most of it—may be ascribed to this function of formalization. Thus a simple light wave can produce a response of flight or approach; on the other hand, in a higher animal, it takes on the character of an objective sign of response, i.e., it denotes a much more complex stimulating object."

The nature of the formality which forms part of a perception is ultimately a function of the physiological structure and state of development of the perceiving organism. Zubiri gives the example of a crab, which can only perceive the combination "rock-prey", i.e., prey on a rock. Organisms with more complex nervous systems can perceive the world in more complex ways, e.g., separating the rock from the prey. This "scala natura", so to speak, culminates in man, for whom the perception of reality is much richer than for any other animal, and for whom there is a qualitative difference as well, namely that he perceives things as real, and not just as triggers for physiological response. Zubiri sometimes refers to man as "hyperformalized", and believes that neurophysiological structures of the brain are responsible for the hyperformalization which we experience. The gradual increase from primitive organisms to man takes place not so much in the quality of the stimulations, but in their formal unity. In general, higher levels of formalization correspond to greater independence of the content from the sentient being. It is important to note that formality has a physical, not a conceptual character, and arises from physiological structures and their functioning. It does not result from any logical or thinking operations of the brain; thus, an animal (including man) cannot change its mode or degree of formalization by any sort of learning process.

(b) Historical background of the term. It is certain that ‘formality’ is a term which originates in Scholasticism, and in particular, en the work of Duns Scotus. And in this, as in everything, Scotus is the "Doctor Subtilis": a formalitas is what is delimited by the distinctio formalis a parte rei. As A.B. Wolter says, "this formal distinction is something less than a real physical distinction (realis simpliciter) which exists between two or more physical entities (inter rem et rem). At the same time it is not a mere distinction created by the mind (distintio rationis). It is real in the sense that the mind discovers it but does not project it into reality (realis secundum quid). It exists between rationes reales or formalitates, and not between res et res ".

What is important is to see how Zubiri’s "formality" funcions like the Scotist formalitas, on the outskirts of their respective—and quite different—domains, viz. the physical-sentient and the metaphysical-concipient. Formalitas would be, paraphrasing Scotus, res in distinctione, as ‘formality’ would be, paraphrasing now Zubiri, "reality in formalization"—both as "autonomization" of what is conceptualized or what is sensed: true res in ratione as also is true the "reality in impression" (and not ‘beyond’ it; cf. Inteligencia sentiente, p. 35ff). Naturally, in the same way that the Scotish philosopher ontologically generalized the forma of medieval logic, the Basque philosopher has generalized the "formality" of the Scotist ontology in order to make it refer to reality itself, carrying it to its logical conclusion ("hyperformalizing"?) the formaliter mode of thinking (cf. Estructura dinámica de la realidad, pp. 244 and 316), centered in the ut sic and in the qua (cf. Sobre la esencia, pp. 457f). Therefore "reality" is "formality", and hence, is the "transcendental". Kant was not the only one to (subjectively) mutate the (objective) scholastic transcendental: Scotus did it first, and subsequently so did Zubiri, both, precisely, starting from the formalitas and from the "formality" of the real, the transcendental ambit of the inter-sub-ob-jective. But to be sure, because both were so "moderate", it seems that few are aware of the change.

Zubiri always asserts that in his case, he is not dealing with medieval metaphysical conceptes, "but rather with something completely different" (cf. Inteligencia sentiente, p. 35): they are not concepts, but "physical moments". Zubiri, naturally, distances himself from the content of these and other thoughts, but retains their "form", because he knows how to "use" the modi pensandi of philosophy and of science to say something else, something radically new.



Logos [logos]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. Logos is more radically conceived in Zubiri than in the original Greek conception, viz. saying something about something, the supreme form of nous or intelligence. For Zubiri, it is something prior to being; it is intellection of a field thing based upon another. Logos is therefore not intellection of being, but of reality sensed in impression; i.e., it is a mode of sentient intellection, a human, not a divine mode. Logos is intellectively knowing what a real thing is as a function of other realities, in the field sense; or in other words, intellection of what the real is in its field nature reality. Or in still other words, logos is the dynamic field-sense intellection of what something is in reality. Its foundation is field-sense openness; that is, logos is based on the fact that a real thing refers, in the field manner, in transcendental openness, to another real thing. (The analogy with things in the fields of physics is again apparent).

Logos tells us what something is in reality (as opposed to in the reality). It is determined by the impression of reality in its field-sense moment. Logos depends entirely upon what has been actualized in primordial apprehension; it is indeed a reactualization of what was originally actualized in primordial apprehension. The logos is imposed upon us by the impression of reality, in the sense that it bears us sentiently to the logos.

The structure of the logos is threefold:

Duality: says something about something

Dynamism: how it moves in duality

Mediality: declares what something is in reality, and how it is installed in field-type reality as constitutive of the medium of intellection

Logos involves taking distance from what is given in the impression of reality given in primordial apprehension, and then returning to it. There are three forms of this reversion: strength, complexive and connective, and positional. The logos tells us what something is by the unity of the field and individual moments in these three ways.

Logos is needed only by a sentient intelligence; a non-sentient intelligence would be unable to have, nor would it have need of any logos whatsoever. [TBF]



Physical [físico]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. A basic concept in Zubiri because his is, radically, a physical theory of essence; or, more precisely, a theory of the physical essence. In his employment and development of this term and concept, Zubiri adheres closely to his classical antecedents but presses his analysis beyond certain stereotypical interpretations of them which have become dominant in philosophical usage. The term "physical", he notes, has long designated the character proper to inanimate bodies; this, however, is only a restriction or specialization of a much wider and more profound concept, rooted in ancient thought, which must be recovered for the purposes of metaphysics and specifically for the problem of essence. In this latter sense "physical" designates not a class of things but a mode of "to be" (ser). As a mode of "to be" (ser) it means to proceed from a principle intrinsic to the thing which is born or grows. "Physis" (fujis), as substantive, came to designate this intrinsic principle. All the characters of the thing, as thus proceeding, are, consequently, physical. The physical is contrasted to the "artificial" and the "intentional" and comes to be the synonym of "real" in the strict sense of the latter term (On Essence 11-13 [49-50]). [ARC]



Real existence [esse reale]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. "Esse reale," Zubiri warns, exhibits a persistent ambiguity: "the tendency of the esse, the to be as something which embraces existence, the essence and the copula without formally signifying any of these three moments" (On Essence 403 [366]). Scholasticism in particular exhibited this ambiguity. "Esse reale" must be considered under the specific aspect of reality. "Reality is ... everything which, on being conceived, presents itself to me not as receiving its being from the conception itself but is extra animam ... where anima is taken only in the sense of the conceiving act of the intellect. Extra animity is existence. The existent produces real effects independently of whether it is conceived or not" (On Essence 390 [355]). The basic problem of the proper ordering of these three, existence, essence, copula, is the real issue in the determination of "esse reale."



Species [especie]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. Zubiri imparts particular weight and meaning to this classical concept especially by the way in which he relates it to the different dimensions of his concept of essence. The physical essence is that in a thing which makes it "one, clearly circumscribed and determined, thing. One way of understanding this "circumscription" or determination is as a "species" — "that conjunction of features which permits us to locate a thing in the line…of the genera, and which, within the genus, represents a determined figure" (On Essence 176 [187]). Species is also discussed in relation to the "constitutive essence." The function of essence is not exhausted in its specifying function; indeed, this is a lesser function of essence. More basic is its "structuring" function. "The essence as a physical moment of substance exercises a structuring and not (merely) a specifying, function) (On Essence 92 [116]). Care must be exercised to distinguish properly the philosophical from the biological concept of species (On Essence 244-246 [242-244]). A condition is indicated between having and being species (On Essence 318 [299]). The reason (razón q.v.) of species is identified as "Those constitutive characteristics, by reason of which each individual thing belongs really and physically to a phylum (q.v.), are precisely those which constitute the species ..." (On Essence 235 [235]). Specificity does not exist "in re" (On Essence 229 [230]) and must carefully be distinguished from the concept of "class" (On Essence 231 [231]). The unification of the multitude of individuals by way of similarities is what constitutes a "class of real things; but "class" is not necessarily "species" ... "for if we try to reach a real species, not just any classificatory concept is adequate" (On Essence 231 [231]). The problem of species is not to be confused with that of "universals." "The reality of the species in the individual is not the reality of the universal in the singular ... for this reason the species as problem is not the problem of universals, but ... the problem of whether or not every essence is or is not physically erected on a constitutive schema ...( On Essence 311 [293]). [ARC]



Structure [estructura]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. This concept emerges so centrally that Zubiri may correctly be said to be advancing a "structuralistic" theory of essence, provided this term be protected from confusion with other uses of the term "structuralist" and "structuralism"; for the thrust of his theory is essence as "structure" and as "structuring." For this reason he speaks of structure as the "essence of essence" (On Essence 512 [453]). Structure in intimately related to the notion of essence as principle. Principle means for Zubiri, at least in its reference to essence, the "whence" or source of anything insofar as it is "de suyo" (q.v.). Essence is this principle in all entities which are "de suyo." The particular manner in which it is principle, its efficasiousness as principle is the construction of the entity, the generation or imparting of its characteristics in the particular configuration proper to it (v. constructed state). Structure is the character of this construct of the entity de suyo viewed under its formal (as distinct from its genetic, etc.,) aspects (On Essence 511-512 [453]). Zubiri also speaks of structure as the essence of the living entity (On Essence 514 [454]). Of particular interest and importance is the notion of transcendental structure. Structure is transcendental by virtue of its relation to transcendental function (q.v.). Reality possesses a transcendental structure which consists both in certain transcendental properties and in certain transcendental functions (On Essence 424 [383]). The transcendental function is that by which and only by which the reality (res not ens) possesses transcendental properties. The transcendental function is the function of essence. It functions by way of establishing the suchness (talidad q.v.) of the entity (On Essence 425 [384]). The transcendental function is then the function by which a "suchness" constitutes the transcendental properties of the reality. In virtue of this function the reality, as reality, not only possesses "materially" but also "formally" transcendental structure (On Essence 425 [384]). Transcendental structure is of two types: i.e., the transcendental structure of each thing in and by itself and the transcendental structure determined by the linking of each thing with others or all others (On Essence 426 [385]). [ARC]



Transcendence and transcendentality [transcendencia y transcendentality]

(a) Zubiri’s use of the term. Historically (Greek, Medieval, and Kantian thought) transcendence has meant the idea of that in which everything coincides, something of maximum generality. The four trancendentals are unity, being, goodness, and truth. Kant attempted a transcendental deduction of the categories (of being). Zubiri believes that it is necessary, at the very least, to refine the traditional idea and make some crucial distinctions. These distinctions stem from the distinction which in many ways is the cornerstone of his philosophy, that between content of reality and formality of reality. In response to the question, What is transcendentality? Zubiri replies (IRE, p. 114) that "Transcendentality is the structural moment by which something transcends itself.". How does this occur? He emphasizes that "‘trans’ does not mean being outside of or beyond apprehension itself but being "in the apprehension", yet "going beyond" its fixed content. In other words, that which is apprehended in the impression of reality is, by being real, and inasmuch as it is reality, "more" than what is it as colored, sonorous, warm, etc." (IRE, p. 115-116). But the "more" refers not to community in the classical sense of the transcendentals, but to communication: "Transcendentality is something which…extends from the formality of reality of a thing to the formality of reality of every other thing. Thus transcendentality is not community, but communication." (IRE, 118) Its moments are openness, respectivity, its-own-ness, and worldliness. (IRE, 119-122). This is the primary sense of "trans" for Zubiri, of "going beyond itself". Transcendence, in the classical sense, must be grounded upon transcendentality, and not the other way around. If one likes, transcendence refers to the content of reality; while transcendentality refers to the formality of reality. Stated in another way, all things have two inseparable aspects, suchness (talidad) and transcendentality (transcendentalidad). The impression of the content of reality is always specific; whereas the impression of the formality of reality is inspecific, characterized by transcendentality, with its four moments of openness, respectivity, its-ownness, and worldliness. Transcendentality is a physical moment of real things, given in the impression of reality, not a conceptive character of maximum universality nor something beyond impression. It does not refer to an order separated from concepts. It is not a sensible, but a physical moment given impressively, because it is a moment of the formality of reality. The formality of reality is transcendental in the sense of "trans" because it is more than any particular content of the real. The study of transcendentality is the object of metaphysics, not the study of specific contents of reality, the suchness (that is the task of science). [TBF]



Definiciones en español



(a) Uso del termino por Zubiri. Al igual que "momento", "carácter" es otra de las palabras que Zubiri tampoco describe nunca como tal. En este caso, ciertamente, el sentido en que usa Zubiri este término no parece ser distinto, en la mayoría de los casos, de su mera acepción gramaticalmente neutra.

"Carácter", en efecto, no es más que un nombre abstracto y semánticamente casi vacío cuando sirve de como apoyo a un adjetivo, cuya presencia es necesaria si la cualidad expresada por este adjetivo no tiene expresión nominal abstracta adecuada; se dice, por ejemplo, "carácter concreto" cuando no se puede o no ser quiere decir "concretud". En este sentido, "carácter" funciona sintácticamente como la locución "calidad de". Zubiri, por ello, habla indistintamente de "el carácter formal de lo aprehendido" y de la "formalidad de lo aprehendido" (SE,144), ya que son expresiones idénticas y "carácter" no tiene aquí un significado propio. En este sentido y uso de la palabra, cuando aparece como predicado, "carácter" reclama el verbo "tener", como cuando Zubiri dice que "el mundo tiene carácter árquico" (EDR,262). En estos casos, "carácter" funciona simplemente como el término "propiedad" (SE,15), una cualidad que tiene la cosa.

No son, sin embargo, estos casos los que marcan la norma del uso zubiriano de "carácter". Desde sus primeros textos, el pensamiento de Zubiri se mueve en el orden de la esencia y no en el de la "tenencia" y, de este modo, al hablar, por ejemplo, de "el carácter misivo de la vida", subraya que "la vida no tiene misión, es misión" (NHD,427). En tanto que momento, y al igual que "nota", "carácter" no es algo tenido, sino "sido" por la cosa, por el sistema que es toda cosa. "Carácter", pues, no es "propiedad", ya que no hay cosa-sujeto o sustancia que preceda a sus propiedades o "características".

"Carácter" y "nota", ambos, son momentos del sistema de toda cosa, pero mientras las notas de un sistema son los momentos que constituyen la talidad de la cosa, los caracteres de un sistema son los momentos que marcan ("karactêr" es "marca" en griego) la transcendentalidad de la cosa, es decir, su realidad, que es el principal carácter de la cosa: "realidad significa, en efecto, el carácter del « de suyo »... el carácter transcendental de la cosa" (SE,460).

No son los caracteres, por tanto, cualidades abstractas en el sentido gramatical aludido, sino "momentos físicos" de la cosa, transcendentalmente sentida y considerada, pues, como dice Zubiri, "el hombre no sólo siente las cosas reales, sino su propio carácter de realidad" (PFMO,334). "Realidad", "reidad", "formalidad", "sustantividad", "personeidad"... todos los "abstractos" zubirianos son, en tanto que momentos físicos de las diversas realidades, los modos de ser reales los sistemas de notas que son esas realidades.

Toda característica, en su sentido ontológico de "propiedad" y "atributo", está fundada así en este sentido físico y metafísico de "carácter". El término en cuestión, obviamente, detenta también un valor psicológico y moral: "el carácter es la definición misma de lo que es una propiedad por razón de su apropiación. Carácter no es mera denominación extrínseca, pero tampoco es una propiedad física" (SH,377). Pues bien, incluso este sentido moral humano descansa sobre aquel sentido metafísico general de momento transcendental de lo real que es "carácter". El carácter moral sería la modalización suprema del carácter físico de lo real como tal, en virtud de lo cual la moralidad sería uno de los modos supremos de la realidad misma, cuando precisamente el carácter "de suyo" deviene "suidad" y la cosa, persona.

En ésta y en tantas otras fundamentaciones filosóficas (el Ser está fundado en la Realidad; la sustancialidad, en la sustantividad; lo concipiente, en lo sentiente...), la filosofía de Zubiri está muy próxima al proyecto actual de "una ciencia de la filosofía" de la no-filosofía de F. Laruelle. [JDB]




(a) Uso del termino por Zubiri. Exceptuando tal vez "carácter", la palabra filosófica que más utiliza y menos explica Zubiri es, sin duda, "momento". Sin embargo, si importancia en el pensamiento zubiriano es notable; basta comprobar que Zubiri la usa abiertamente, bien como idéntica a "nota" (SE, 104), "carácter" (SE,157), "aspecto" (SE,285), "dimensión" (SE, 495), parte (IR,39) o "función" (RTE), bien en el sentido de "faceta", "proceso" (DHSH), "manera de ser" (SH,65), "formalidad" (NIH) o "dimensión" (IR,272) de nuevo. Aunque Zubiri tiene buen cuidado de no confundirla con "elemento" o "parte" (SE,178), "cosa" (SE, 212), "principio" (SE,137) o "propiedad" (SE,485), en ningún instante se detiene Zubiri formalmente en ella, definiéndola o describiéndola como tal, pese a ser indudablemente una noción muy relevante en su obra: "realidad es momento" (SE,458), "el momento de realidad" (SSV,365), "actualidad es un momento" (DHSH), "nota es momento" (RR), "el Ser es tan sólo un momento de la realidad" (Pról. NHD), "la cosa, momento del mundo" (IR,269).

Podría pensarse en que, por una vez, como en un lapsus, Zubiri falta a su extraordinario y constante rigor (quodammodo bonus dormitat Homerus). Sin embargo, quizás es que no pueda haber ninguna "definición" de "momento", por la sencilla razón de que Zubiri no emplea este vocablo ni en su sentido lógico ni temporal.

En su sentido cronológico banal, "momento" es "instante", pero Zubiri no habla de los momentos de las cosas en el tiempo, sino de los "momentos" de las cosas en las cosas mismas; por su fuera poco, Zubiri, contra Bergson o Heidegger, no entiende la realidad desde el Tiempo y, por tanto, desde el Ser, sino justamente al revés.

"Momento" tampoco tiene en Zubiri el sentido lógico, estrictamente filosófico, de "abstracto", como en Hegel, cuando habla de que "el espíritu individual es un momento del espíritu objetivo" (SE,42), según la concepción peyorativa que éste último tiene de lo abstracto como momento o determinación separada de la única verdad total y concreta, la del Concepto, en sentido dialéctico (Logik, § 164). O como en Husserl, para quien "momento" es, en sentido fenomenológico, la "parte abstracta de... un todo; toda parte que es no-independiente relativamente a dicho todo" (Logische Untersuchungen, III, § 17). A pesar de la radical mutación de la filosofía husserliana en Zubiri, la filiación fenomenológica material es, sin embargo, evidente en este punto, como en tanto otros en que Zubiri usa a su manera el vocabulario de Husserl.

Lejos de ser abstracto, "momento" es en Zubiri, por tanto, tan concreto como todo lo que es "físico", y no sólo por el valor su valor en física como variable funcional (momento lineal, angular, etc). De este modo, por ejemplo, habla de "contenido" y "realidad" como "momentos físicos" (SE,178) o "momentos estructurales" (SE,482) de la impresión. Siendo las realidades sistemas y no sustancias, "momento" significa, realmente, "subsistema" (SE,212) del sistema en cuestión, distintos como momentos pero inseparables en tanto que momentos del sistema. Zubiri rechaza por ello el sentido meramente crono-lógico de "sucesión" y emplea el sentido metafísico de "fundación": "los momento se fundan unos en otros y no simplemente se suceden unos a otros" (DHSH).

Aún más general y lata que "nota" y "carácter" (pues ambos son "momentos"), "momento" enfatiza la dinamicidad todo lo real (EDR,171) en su estar siendo, la índole dinámica de la esencia como sistema de notas y de las notas como momentos de la cosa. Zubiri recupera, así, el significado original del vocablo latino momentum, que no es otro que "movimiento" ("dynamis", en griego): toda realidad es momento de la Realidad por ser intrínsecamente sistema de momentos.

Pese a su sentido no temporal, "momento" connota también el carácter de "finitud" de todo lo real en tanto que real (SSV,383), y no sólo en el sentido de que ninguna realidad agota la Realidad, siendo un momento finito de ésta, sino en el sentido de que el "momento de realidad" de cada cosa excede transcendentalmente su contenido.

Zubiri se sintió obligado a explicitar que su intelección de la esencia era dinámica y no estática, como algunos críticos dijeron (Pról. EDR). Pues bien, tal malentendido pudo tener mucho que ver con la inadvertencia de la importancia de este aparentemente inofensivo vocablo. "Sobre la esencia" no sólo no fue una rehabilitación del estaticismo escolático, sino una radicalización de las filosofías más o menos "evolucionistas" de los siglos XIX y XX (Spencer, Bergson, Chardin, Whitehead): no sólo "la" realidad es evolución por ser dinamismo; "cada" realidad es ese dinamismo. Tal es la crucialidad de "momento" en Zubiri. [JDB]




(a) Uso del termino por Zubiri. El lenguaje ordinario, las ciencias y la filosofía disponen de muchas palabras para definir y describir las cosas, los fenómenos y los objetos, sean éstos físicos o mentales. Algunas de estas nociones se refieren, ónticamente, a las cosas mismas: "propiedad", "característica", "cualidad", "elemento", "componente", "parte", etc. Otras se refieren, además, lógicamente, a los actos de percibirlas, definirlas y describirlas por parte del hombre: "aspecto", "faceta", "rasgo", "parámetros", "predicado", "atributo", etc.

Ningunas de estas palabras es, sin embargo, la preferida de Zubiri, a pesar de utilizarlas todas, con las necesarias matizaciones. Según entiende él la inteligencia y la realidad, todas suponen serios problemas para dar cuenta de la esencial complejidad de las cosas, precisamente porque todas serían demasiado simples, tan simples como la concepción de la inteligencia y de la realidad por parte del sentido común, las ciencias y la filosofía tradicionales. Zubiri, frente a todas ellas, ha escogido la palabra "nota". "Propiedad", "elemento", "aspecto", "atributo" son todos "tenidos" por las cosas. "Nota", por el contrario, es algo "sido" por las cosas. Aquéllas son una cuestion de "tenencia"; ésta, de "esencia". Aquéllas suponen que hay algo ya hecho que "tiene" propiedades o atributos; "nota", sin embargo, prohíbe esta suposición desde el momento que una cosa no es una sustancia o un sujeto estáticos que tienen notas, sino una sustantividad o sistema dinámicos "de" notas, es decir, las notas mismas en sistema sustantivo; desde el momento, a su vez, en que la inteligencia no consiste en concebir las cosas como sujetos que poseen propiedades o en atribuir propiedades a las cosas por parte de un sujeto que posee esa facultad, sino en algo más simple y radical, aprender la realidad.

"Nota", pues, no es ni algo óntico: "tomo el vocablo en toda su máxima generalidad... como sinónimo de propiedad... Aquí, en cambio, ... me refiero no sólo a estas « propiedades » de la cosa, sino a todos los momentos que posee... dándole no el sentido restringido que tiene en Aristóteles" (SE,104), ni algo lógico: "nota no designa una especie de signo indicador... sino que es un participio, lo que está « noto » (gnoto)... con tal de que se elimine toda alusioón al conocer..., como al saber" (IR,33). Como "nota" no es un concepto ontológico, en modo alguno puede ser, por tanto, "propiedad" o "atributo" que la cosa tiene. No, dice Zubiri, "la cosa es actual en sus notas" (SE,146). La cosa es sus notas; no hay la cosa más las notas de la cosa; la cosa no es más que sus notas, el sistema que éstas forman: "la nota no se tiene, se es en ella" (SE,442).

Zubiri inventa, por ello, la noción de "nota-de" (ETM,343), que es lo que él llama un "estado constructo": no es que una nota tenga la propiedad de ser nota "de" algo, sino que ser nota es precisamente el "de". Cada nota es nota "de" las demás notas del sistema y del sistema como unidad que es cada cosa, codeterminándose todas ellas cíclica y clausuradamente (EDR,33). Entre la cosa y sus notas, "esenciales" o "inesenciales", "coherentes" o "adherentes", según la tipología zubiriana (SE,476), no existe, pues, la relación que hay entre la sustancia y sus propiedades o entre el sujeto y sus atributos, puesto que cosa y notas, en rigor, al no ser realidades distintas, no pueden relacionarse; simplemente, las notas "notifican" a la cosa y ésta las "reifica" (SE,476).

"Propiedad" y "atributo" son deudoras de una visión conceptivista y substancialista de la realidad. "Nota", por el contrario, en tanto que "momento", es heredera del pensamiento post-fenomenológico de Zubiri y expresa el carácter estructural de su filosofía, según el cual todo elemento de una estructura es una función del resto de sus elementos. También, como en tanto otros casos, Zubiri recupera y transforma radicalmente el sentido originariamente escolástico del término: "notum" no es lo notado como "notio" por la inteligencia, sino lo dado a notar, noérgicamente, por las notas "de" la cosa como "notitia" o "actualidad" de la cosa misma (NHD,95). La célebre expresión medieval "per se notum" se convierten así en la expresión zubiriana "notas del de suyo" (SE,476) en que consiste toda realidad. Pues del mismo modo en que la realidad "da de sí", la realidad, diríamos en español coloquial, "da la nota", siendo como son "las notas... en sí mismas y por sí mismas formalmente activas" (EDR,60).

"Nota" con-nota asimismo la naturaleza esencialmente modesta y siempre abierta de la marcha de la razón en lo real. Contra lo que pudiera parecer, el sistema de Zubiri es todo lo contrario a un sistema filosófico absoluto de corte idealista; la obra zubiriana no es más que una prodigiosa "nota" sobre la realidad. Si el (ya anticuado) concepto filosófico de post-modernidad fue definido por el fragmento y lo débil, la de Zubiri es ciertamente una filosofía post-moderna.

(b) Origen del termino. Este termino viene del latín nota, pero probablemente tiene su origen filosófico en la lengua griega, gnwtÕj, "algo sabido", que viene del verbo gˆgnomai, "saber", "conocer". [JDB & TBF]