In the previous chapter, we have seen what sensible apprehension is and what its modes are: apprehension of a mere stimulus and apprehension of reality. The first constitutes pure sensing, proper to animals. The second is what constitutes human sensing. Human sensing is essentially and formally the impression of reality. Now, it is necessary to inquire diligently about the formal structure of the apprehension of reality. This is the third of the questions which I enunciated at the end of Chapter I.

Since human sensing has as its essential nature the impression of reality, to analyze the apprehension of reality is but to analyze the impression of reality. We shall accomplish this in two steps:


1. What is the impression of reality?

2. What is the structure of the impression of reality?





The impression of reality is always and only proper to an act of apprehension. This apprehension qua impressive apprehension is an act of sensing. In fact sensing is, formally, apprehending something in impression. This we have already seen. It is the first moment of the impression of reality. But this impression is of reality in addition to being an impression. That is the second moment. Hence, the following are necessary:

1. Clarify each of the two moments in and of itself.

2. Analyze the unity of the two moments, i.e., the formal nature of the impression of reality.

1. Moments of the impression of reality. We have already carefully explained what an impression is: it is the moment of sensing. What we are missing, then, is an analysis of the other moment, the moment of sensed reality. Now, just as the first moment, the moment of impression, qualifies the apprehending act as an act of sensing, so also the moment of reality qualifies that same act in a special way: as apprehension of reality, this act is formally the act which we call intellective knowing.[1] That is what we must now clarify.

Classical philosophy never set itself this question, viz. In what, formally, does the act of intellective knowing consist? It described some intellective acts, but did not tell us in what intellective knowing consists as such. Now, I believe that {77} intellective knowing consists formally in apprehending something as real.

In fact, apprehension of the real is in the first place an exclusive act of the intelligence.[2] The stimuli apprehended by the intelligence are not apprehended as mere stimuli, but are apprehended really. Now, mere stimulus and reality are two different formalities, and the distinction between them is not gradual, but rather essential. A complex of stimuli, however formalized they may be, is always but a response-sign. It will never be something "in its own right," or de suyo; i.e., it will never be formally reality. Reality is, then, essentially distinct from sign-ness. To apprehend reality is, therefore, an act essentially exclusive to the intelligence.

But, in the second place, to apprehend something as real is the elemental act of the intelligence. Every other intellective act is constitutively and essentially grounded upon the act of apprehension of the real as real. Every other intellective act, such as forming ideas, conceiving, judging, etc., is a manner of apprehending reality. Thus, conceiving is conceiving how the real is going to be; judging is affirming how a thing is in reality, etc. In all intellectual acts this moment of turning to the real appears. The apprehension of reality is therefore the elemental act of the intelligence. Classical philosophy has described well or poorly (we will not pursue the matter) some of these intellective acts; but it has gone astray on this matter of the apprehension of a thing as reality, on this elemental act.

Finally, in the third place, apprehending reality is not merely an exclusive and elemental act of the intelligence, but is its radical act. Man is a {78} hyperformalized animal. The autonomization in which formalization consists has become changed into hyperautonomization in man, i.e., it has been changed from sign into reality. With this, the catalog of possible suitable responses to a stimulus becomes practically indeterminate. This means that in man, his sentient structures no longer assure his suitable response. That is to say, the unity of arousal, tonic modification, and response would be broken if man were not able to apprehend stimuli in a new way. When the stimuli do not suffice for a suitable response, man suspends, so to speak, his response and, without abandoning the stimulus, but rather conserving it, apprehends it according as it is in itself, as something de suyo, as stimulating reality. That is, he apprehends the stimulus, but not as mere stimulus: this is the radical dawn of intellection. Intellection arises precisely and formally at the moment of transcending or going beyond mere stimulus, at the moment of apprehending something real as real when pure sensing is suspended.

Hence, the apprehension of reality is the exclusive act, the elemental act, and the radical and primary act of intellective knowing; i.e., apprehension of reality is what formally constitutes the proper part of intellective knowing.

Now, the impression of reality is the formality of an apprehending act which is "one". This impression qua impression is an act of sensing. But insofar as it is of reality, it is an act of intellective knowing. And this signifies that sensing and intellective knowing are precisely the two moments of something which is one and unitary; two moments of the impression of reality. And that is what we must examine now: the unity of the impression of reality. {79}

2. Unity of the impression of reality. Above all it is necessary to describe this unity of the impression of reality. That will give us an idea of intelligence, to wit, sentient intelligence. Then it will only be necessary to repeat what we have obtained in order to better confront the usual idea of intelligence.

A) Formal unity of the impression of reality: sentient intellection. Sensing is not the same thing as intellective knowing. But is this difference an opposition? Classical philosophy has always set intellectual knowing over against sensing. Even the one time when Kant sought to unify them, it was always a "unification", but not a formal structural "unity" which was in question. The fact is that classical philosophy, just as it failed to conceptualize what intellective knowing is in a formal sense, never conceptualized what sensing is in a formal sense either. Given this situation, the foregoing presumed opposition remained, as I said before, as part of the intellectual atmosphere. We have already seen what intellective knowing is: it is apprehending something as real, i.e., in the formality of reality. What is sensing? Here there lurks a hidden confusion which it is necessary to dispel. Indeed, failure to realize this confusion has had grievous consequences for philosophy. Sensing, in fact, consists in apprehending something impressively. But "sensing" can denote "only sensing", where the "only" is not merely a negative conceptual precision, but a proper positive mode of sensing as impression; this is what I have called "pure sensing". Sensing apprehends something impressively. Pure sensing apprehends this something which is impressing in the formality of mere stimulation. Therefore, sensing is not formally identical to pure sensing. Pure sensing is only a mode of sensing as such. Whence the necessity to carefully distinguish these two aspects in that which we designate with the single word ‘sensing’: sensing as sensing and pure sensing. {80}

The failure to recognize this difference has had serious repercussions, the first and most radical of which is the opposition between intellective knowing and sensing. But there really isn’t any opposition; intellective knowing and sensing are not opposed. Pure sensing senses what is apprehended in the formality of mere stimulation; intellective knowing apprehends what is known in the formality of reality. If one wishes to speak of faculties, it will be necessary to say that pure sensing is the faculty of mere stimulation, and that intellective knowing is the faculty of reality. To be sure, as we shall soon see, this expression "faculty of reality" is here absolutely incorrect, but for the time being it is useful to us. In any case, it is clear that pure sensing and intellective knowing are only modes of sensible apprehension. For this reason, they are both inscribed within the ambit of sensing. To pure sensing there corresponds another mode of sensing which is (as I shall explain forthwith) intellective sensing. And therein lies the strict opposition: pure sensing and intellective sensing. But both are modes of sensing.

Classical philosophy confounded sensing with pure sensing, and hence thought that there is opposition between sensing and intellective knowing. This is not true, and the proof is that there is an impression of reality. An impression of reality as impression is sensing; but, because it is of reality, it is intellective knowing. Impression of reality is formally sensing and intellective knowing. In the impression of reality sensing and intellective knowing are but two of its moments. This is a radical and essential overcoming of the dualism between sensing and intellective knowing. From Parmenides through Plato and Aristotle, philosophy was based on the dualism according to which a thing is something "sensed", and which at the same time "is". In the midst of all of the discussions about the dualism or non-dualism of things, the duality of the two acts has been left intact: the act of sensing and the act of {81} intellective knowing. But, I believe that in man, sensing and intellective knowing are not two acts, each complete in its order; rather, they are two moments of a single act, of one unique impression, of the impression of reality. Now it is necessary to determine this intrinsic and formal unity.

In the impression of reality we are dealing with a single complete act. To think that there are two acts would be the same as thinking that in pure sensing there are two acts, one of sensing and another of apprehending the stimulation. But there is nothing more than one act: the act of pure sensing. The moment of "pureness" of sensing is nothing but this: the moment of the unique act of pure sensing. Analogously, there is but one act of reality-impression. Intellective knowing and sensing are only two moments of a single act. To be sure, these two moments can be separated phylogenetically; but this does not mean that the separation consists in sensing and intellective knowing. Separated from intellective knowing, the terminus which remains to us is not "sensing", but rather "pure sensing". We could never have a separate sensing without its own proper formality. When it does not have the formality of reality (given that we have separated sensing from intelligence), sensing has the formality of mere stimulus. There are not two acts, then, but two moments of a single act. The sentient moment is "impression", the intellective moment is "of reality". The unity of the two moments is the impression of reality. What is this unity?

It is not a synthesis, as Kant thought, because we are not dealing with a case where the acts conform to a single object. The unity in question is not an objective synthesis, but a unity which is formally structural. It is necessary to emphasize this: it is sensing which senses reality, and it is the intellective knowing which intellectively knows the real impressively. {82}

The impression of reality in its structural unity is a fact. And this fact is, as I said, the overcoming of the classical dualism between sensing and intellective knowing which has so imperturbably cast its shadow across the long history of philosophy. Thus, in order to transcend this dualism, one does not have to engage in difficult reasoning processes, but to pay careful attention to the act itself of the impression of reality.

In the conception of the two acts, an act of sensing and the other of intellective knowing, one might think that what is apprehended by sensing is given "to" the intelligence so that the latter might intellectively know it. Intellective knowing would thus be apprehending in a new way what is given by the senses to the intelligence. Thus the primary object of the intelligence would be the sensible, and hence that intelligence would be what I term sensible intelligence. But this is not correct: the impression of reality is a single and unique act, the primordial act of the apprehension of reality. In what does it formally consist?

This act can be described in two ways, the two ways in which one can describe the impression of reality. In the impression of reality we can start from the impression itself. Then "in" this impression is the moment of reality. As impression is what formally constitutes sensing, and reality is what formally constitutes intellective knowing, it follows that saying that the moment of reality is "in" the impression is the same as saying that intellection is structurally "in" the sensing; i.e., the impression of reality is intellective sensing. For this reason, when we apprehend heat, for example, we are apprehending it as real heat. An animal apprehends heat only as a thermic response sign; this is pure sensing. In contrast, man senses heat as something "in its own right", as something {83} de suyo: the heat is real heat. But we can describe the impression of reality starting from the moment of reality. In that case the moment of impression is structurally "in" the moment of reality. For the above example, we apprehend the real as being warm. Sensing is thus "in" the intellective knowing. In virtue of this, that intellection is sentient intellection. In the impression of reality I sense real heat (intellective sensing), I sense warm reality (sentient intellection). The impression of reality is thus intellective sensing or sentient intellection. The two formulae are identical, and so I shall use them indiscriminately. But in order to better contrast my views with the usual idea of the intelligence, I prefer to speak of sentient intelligence, embracing in this denomination both intellective sensing and sentient intellection. Hence I shall say that the impressive apprehension of reality is an act of the sentient intelligence.

The apprehension of reality is, then, an act which is structurally one and unitary. This structural unity is what the "in" expresses. Classical philosophy, on the other hand, believed that there are two acts: the act of sensing gives "to" the intelligence what it is going to work on, i.e., to know intellectively. But this is not the case. The difference between "to" and "in" is essential. That difference expresses the difference between the two concepts of the intelligence. To say that the senses give "to" the intelligence what it is going to work on is to suppose that the intelligence has as its primary and suitable object that which the senses present "to" it. If this were true, the intelligence would be what I call a sensible intelligence. A sensible intelligence is an intelligence "of" the sensible. On the other hand, to say that the senses sense what is sensed "in" the intelligence does not mean that the primary and suitable object of intellective knowing is the sensible, but rather something more than that, viz. that the very mode of intellective knowing is to sense reality. {84} Hence, it is a sensing which is intellective qua sensing. In this case the intelligence is sentient. Sentient intelligence consists in intellective knowing being only a moment of impression: the moment of the formality of its otherness. To sense something real is, formally, to be actually sensing intellectively. Intellection is not intellection "of" the sensible, but rather intellection "in" the sensing itself. It is clear, then, that sensing is intellective knowing: it is intellective sensing. Intellective knowing is thus nothing but another mode of sensing (different from pure sensing). This "other mode" concerns the formality of what is sensed. The unity of intelligence and sensing is the unity of the content and formality of reality. Sentient intellection is impressive apprehension of a content in the formality of reality; it is precisely the impression of reality. The formal act of sentient intellection is, I repeat, impressive apprehension of reality. The senses do not give what is sensed "to" the intelligence, but rather are actually sensing intellectively. There is no object given "to" the intelligence, but rather an object given "in" the intelligence itself. Sensing is in itself a mode of intellective knowing, and intellective knowing is in itself a mode of sensing. Reality is apprehended, then, in the impression of reality. This is sentient intelligence. That which we call ‘intellective knowing’ and ‘sensing’, I repeat, are but two moments of the single act of sentiently apprehending the real. As it is not possible to have content without formality nor formality without content, there is but a single act, viz. intellective sensing or sentient intellection: the sentient apprehension of the real. This act is, then, intrinsically and structurally "one": it is, I emphasize, the impression of reality. Sentient intellection is, then, purely and simply impression of reality. In this apprehension intellective knowing is the very mode of sensing. {85}

Classical philosophy has erred with respect to the impression of reality. It is this impression, nonetheless, which comprises the primordial intellective knowing, and not the combinations, however selective, of what is usually called "animal intelligence". Still less can one speak—as is commonly done today—of artificial intelligence. In both cases what is carried out, whether by the animal or some electronic apparatus, is not intelligence because what they operate on and are concerned with is just the content of an impression, but not its formality of reality. What these animals or machines have are impressions of content, but without the formality of reality. It is for this reason that they do not have intelligence.

Intellection is, then, constitutively and structurally sentient in itself qua intellection. Conversely, sensing in man is constitutively and structurally intellective in itself qua sensing. Thus it is that sensibility is not a type of residual "hyletic" of consciousness, as Husserl says, nor a factum brutum as Heidegger and Sartre call it, but rather is an intrinsic and formal moment of intellection itself.

The impression of reality is a fact which it is necessary to emphasize as against the classical dualism. Sentient intellection is a fact. On the other hand, the dualism between intellective knowing and sensing is a metaphysical conceptualization which distorts the facts.

It is only necessary to repeat what has been said above in order to confront the idea of the concipient intelligence.

B) Sentient intelligence and concipient intelligence

1. The sentient intelligence:

a) Has an object which is not only primary and suitable, but a normal proper object: reality. {86}

b) This formal object is not given by the senses "to" the intelligence, but is given by the senses "in" the intelligence.

c) The proper formal act of knowing intellection is not conceiving or judging, but "appre-hending" its object, viz. reality.

d) What is apprehended in impression, i.e., what is apprehended sentiently, is so in the impression of reality. In virtue of this, there is but one single act: the sentient apprehension of the real as real.

2. In contrast, classical philosophy has always believed something quite different. Classically, intellective knowing would be, as I have repeatedly said, newly apprehending what is given by the senses "to" the intelligence. The primary and suitable object of the intelligence would be, therefore, the sensible. Thus, by reason of its suitable object, this intelligence would be what I call sensible intelligence. We are not told in what intellective knowing consists; the only thing we are told is that when intellective knowing takes place, there is a conceiving and judging of what is given by the senses. In this way intellection is progressively converted into being a declaration of what a thing is, i.e., there is an identification of intellection and predicative logos. This was the great discovery of Plato in the Sophist which culminated in the work of Aristotle, for whom the logos itself is the apophanesis of what a thing is. That is what I term the logification of the intelligence.

Absorbing, as is justified, conception and judgement under one rubric, I shall say that this intellection, which is sensible by reason of its proper object, would by reason of its act be concipient intelligence.

The concipient intelligence:

a) Is that whose primary object is the sensible. {87}

b) This object is given by the senses "to" the intelligence.

c) The proper act of this intellection is conceiving and judging that which is given to it. This intelligence is concipient not because it conceives and judges, but because it conceptualizes concipiently, i.e., it conceptualizes what is given by the senses "to" the intelligence.

Abandoning the concipient intelligence does not mean that the real is not conceptualized. That would be simply absurd. What it means is that the conceptualization—even though it is an inexorable intellectual function, as we shall later see—is not what is primary and radical about intellective knowing, because intellection is primarily and radically sentient apprehension of the real as real. Conceptualizing is just an intellective unfolding of the impression of reality; hence, we are not talking about not conceptualizing, but rather about the fact that concepts are adequate not primarily to things given by the senses "to" the intelligence, but to the modes of intellectively sensing the real given "in" the intelligence. Concepts are necessary, but they must be concepts of the sentient intelligence and not concepts of the concipient intelligence.

Here we have, then the unity of the impression of reality: sentient intellection. What is the structure of that unity? Or what comes to the same thing, what is the structure of the impression of reality? {88}






The dualism between acts of sensing and acts of intellective knowing led to conception of dualism of faculties: the faculty of sensing and the faculty of intellective knowing. But this conceptualization, besides not being a fact, distorts the facts. If one wishes to achieve a conceptualization which does justice to the facts, I believe that it is necessary to follow a different route. I shall indicate it in the spirit of not evading the question, but I shall do no more than indicate it because our present problem is the analysis of the facts and not theoretical conceptualizations, be they metaphysical or even scientific.

This conceptualization has two essential points: what is sentient intellection as a faculty, and what is this faculty within the structures of human reality.

1. The sentient intelligence as a faculty. Man can sense and can know intellectively. This idea of "being able to" is what the Greek word dynamis expresses. But dynamis is something very rich, and its diverse aspects have not been outlined with conceptual rigor.

a) On one hand, since Aristotle’s time, dynamis has signified potency, that according to which something can receive actuations or actuate itself, and this acting is not just on something apart from the agent, but also on the agent itself (though insofar as this is distinct from its own actuation). {90}

b) On the other hand, the Latins rendered the word dynamis by potentia seu facultas, potency or faculty.

Now, to my way of thinking, this equivalence cannot be admitted. Not every potency is a faculty by the mere fact of being a potency. In order to be able to realize its acts, it is not enough for the potency to be a potency; rather, it must be "facultized" to realize them. To be sure, there are potencies which by themselves are facultized to produce their acts. Thus these potencies are also faculties. But there are cases in which this does not occur, and then the potency cannot produce its acts unless it is intrinsically and structurally "united" to another potency, unless it is "one" with it. That is to say, the potency is not now facultized by itself to produce its own acts; it is only so in its structural unity with another. In that case the two potencies structurally comprise a single faculty, and that faculty realizes one single act. Neither of the two potencies acts by itself to carry out with its actuation part of the total act; i.e., the two potencies do not each produce a partial act of the total act. On the contrary, the two potencies act only in structural unity; they do not act by themselves either totally or partially, but only unitarily. The two potencies are "co-determined" as a faculty. The potencies are not concurrent, but co-determinate, and only in this and through this codetermination do they produce a single act. The real act is only in the "co" of the co-determination. In the act itself the two potencies are structurally "one". The two potencies constitute the two moments of a single faculty and a single act.

Now, such is the case with sentient intellection. To be sure, there are two potencies, the potency of sensing and {91} the potency of intellective knowing. As potencies they are essentially distinct. In as much as it is a potency, the intelligence is essentially irreducible to pure sensing, because a formality of reality will never emerge from a sign-based formality. But this intellective potency is not by itself facultized for producing its act. Nor can it produce other than as intrinsically and formally united with the potency of sensing—the unity in virtue of which, and only in virtue of which, the intellective potency acquires the character of a faculty. By the same token, sensing cannot be human sensing, i.e., cannot produce the act of impression of reality unless it is intrinsically and formally "one" with the intellective potency. This unity is the sentient intelligence. On the other hand, pure sensing is already facultized: it is a "potency-faculty". The sentient intelligence is not a potency but a faculty. It is a faculty composed not only intrinsically but also—and this is the essential point—structurally by two potencies, that of sensing and that of intellective knowing. Hence, it is not the case that these two potencies concur in the same object (the classical idea until Kant’s time), nor that they concur partially in a total act (Kant’s objective synthesis); there is no concurrence, but rather codetermination. They are codetermined in a single act of sentient intellection, in the act of impressive or sentient apprehension, in the impression of reality. The intelligence as a faculty is sentient, and human sensing as a faculty is intellective. Hence the unity of the impression of reality is the unity of the act of a single faculty.

This conceptualization is not a fact—that I have already noted—but it is to my way of thinking the unique conceptualization which permits us to realize the fact of the impression of reality. The impression of reality is a fact, and therefore {92} so is intellective sensing or sentient intellection. The conceptualization of a faculty structurally composed of sentient and intellective potency is, I repeat, the only scientific conceptualization of the fact of the impression of reality.

It should also suffice to note that potency and faculty do not exhaust the nature of the "being able to". There is at least a third sense of being able to, different from potency and faculty, and that is capacity. But this is not relevant to the present question.

Here, then, we have what sentient intelligence is as a faculty. Now, this faculty is the faculty of the structures which comprise human reality. Thus it is necessary to explain (though rather summarily) in what this faculty consists when considered as a structural moment of human reality.

2) Human reality and the faculty of sentient intelligence. The question is very appropriate since up to now we have spoken of sentient intelligence as a habit, as a mode of having to do with things. Thus, if we wish to conceptualize the faculty of sentient intelligence with what we have termed ‘habit’, we shall be compelled to return to the idea itself of a habit.

In every living being there are, ultimately, three distinct strata which must be considered.

A) First, there is the most visible stratum: the execution of the vital acts. This is the "arousal–tonic–modification–response" structure of which we spoke some pages back. A living organism carries out these actions while finding itself "among" things, some external, others internal to itself. This "among" in which the living organism finds itself has two characteristics. First, there is that according to which the living organism finds itself placed among things: it has its fixed locus among them. {93} This is a characteristic essential to the living organism, though one which it shares with all other non-living realities. But the living organism has a proper modal characteristic exclusive to it: when it is thus placed among things, it is situated in a determinate form among them; i.e., it has its situs among them. The category of situs had no role in Aristotle’s philosophy because he considered it as a highest category of being. Nonetheless, to my way of thinking this is not true. It is an essential metaphysical category, but only of the living organism. Position and situation, taken in the widest sense and not just in the spatial sense, are two radical concepts of this stratum of the living organism. They are not identical, but neither are they independent: a single positioning gives rise to quite diverse situations. Thus positioned and situated among things, the living organism lives by its vital processes. This stratum, nonetheless, is the most superficial.

B) The living organism never remains univocally characterized by the web of its vital processes. In the vital processes of a mole and a blind dog we shall never encounter a situation of luminous character. But the difference is essential: the mole does not visually cope visually with things "before him", but the dog does. Therefore, beneath the vital processes there is in every living organism a primary mode of dealing with things and with itself: the habit. Habit is the foundation of the possibility of every possible vital process. In fact, through its habit, through its mode of dealing with things, these latter "are situated" for the living organism in a certain formal respect; this is the formality. In Aristotle’s philosphy and in all of medieval philosophy one sees this category completely shipwrecked. But to my way of thinking, this owes to the fact that Aristotle considered the habitus as a highest category of being, ultimately reducible to a {94} quality. Nonetheless, I think that we are dealing with a radical metaphysical category of the living organism. In contrast to both Aristotle and the medievals (for whom the habitus is a disposition encrusted more or less permanently in the subject), I formally conceive of what I call ‘habit’ as a "mode of dealing" with things. For this reason, it is a category exclusive to living organisms since non-living organisms do not have a mode of dealing with things. And as a category of living organisms it is radical in them.

Situs and habitus are the two supreme categories of the living organism in its life. The habits can be quite diverse in the same living organism. But there is in every living organism a radical habit upon which ultimately depends its entire life. The biography of every dog is different, but they are all canine biographies because they are inscribed in the same habit. Now, if we compare all living organisms among themselves, we shall discover three radical habits: the habit of growth to sustain itself (this is the etymological meaning of trepho, to favor the development of what is subject to a growth process), the habit of sensing, and the habit of sentient intellective knowing. In accordance with this, things fall into three different formalities: as trophic, as stimuli, and as realities.

"Habit—in its formal respect": here we have the second stratum of the life of every living organism.

Now, habit has two faces. On one hand, the habit determines the type of vital process. On the other, it is something determined by the very nature of the structures of the living organism. Whence the mode of dealing with things is always something intermediate, so to speak, between action and structures. Thus, sentient intellection is a habit which determines every human process, but is {95} at the same time determined by the human structures. Analysis of the facts moves among actions and among the habits taken in and by themselves; but these habits conduce to something which is not a fact but a terminus of a structural conceptualization. This is the third stratum of the life of every living organism.

C) Every animal has its own structures. This system of structural notes determines the habit. Now, the structures qua determinants of the habit to my way of thinking comprise what we call potencies and faculties.

a) In every living organism things determine its vital processes as stimuli. Every cell, whether plant or animal, is stimulable (irritable) and is stimulated (irritated). Under this aspect, every living organism, plant or animal, has what I call susceptibility.

b) But there are living organisms whose susceptibility has a special character, viz. the animal. Although every living organism is stimulable, the animal is the living organism which has made stimulation into an autonomous biological function. It is this autonomization of stimulation which to my way of thinking comprises sensing. Sensing is not a creation of animals; it is only the autonomization of a function proper to every living organism, viz. susceptibility. Sensing is a structural moment of the living animal. This structure consists in the stimuli stimulating by an impression. This impressive structure qua determinant of the habit of mere stimulation is the "potency-faculty" of pure sensing.

The somatic structure and, therefore, its potencies and faculties of sensing, assume diverse forms. In the first animals, it was a type of diffuse sensing which I term sentiscence. In the more developed animals {96} we find a systematization of the structures of stimulus-based impression. This systematization is to my way of thinking the proper formal nature of what quite appropriately we call the nervous "system". The nervous system is the systematization of impressivity. This impressivity makes sentiscence into a strict sensibility. The systematization has for its part a unique character, viz. centralization, by which the nervous system is the transmitter of the stimulus. This systematization grows in complexity from the first nerve centers to the brain and within the brain to the cortex wherein formalization culminates. Susceptibility, sentiscence, and sensibility are the three different forms of the structure of stimulation.

c) All of this happens in man, but there is in him something different as well. In addition to the biological autonomization of the stimuli, he has the potency to know intellectively in a way determined by the hyperformalization of his sentient structures. This potency is not by itself a faculty. The structural unity of intelligence and sensing is determinant of the habit of sentient intellection whose formal act is the impression of reality. Now, qua determinant of that habit, the unitary structure "sensing-intelligence" is the faculty of sentient intelligence. It is because of this that man impressively senses reality. We are dealing, then, not just with habit but with structures. It is for this reason, I repeat, that intellection is an act of sentient apprehension of the real. It is an intellection which in a certain way (although not exclusively) we could term "cerebral". The brain is the sentient organ which by its hyperformalization determines in an exact way the need for intellection to assure man’s ability to respond suitably. {97} In addition, the brain has an even deeper function: that of keeping intellection in a state of suspense. This is what gives rise to its state of vigilance. Finally, by virtue of being sentient, the activity of the brain formally and intrinsically modulates the intellection itself, i.e., the impression of reality. In the unity of these three moments (the exacting nature of hyperformalization, vigilance, and intrinsic modulation) consists the structural sentient moment of the sentient intelligence.

Through its structures, an animal determines the habit of mere stimulation. In it there lies open a medium. Medium is the environment in which this habit is formalized in the animal sensing. Man through his structures determines the habit of reality. In it he is open not only to a medium but is open to a field and to a world; this is the field of the real and the world of the real. To be sure, man has a medium, and this medium qua humanly apprehended is the field of reality. But the field of reality is transcendentally open to the world. Whence the field of reality, as we shall see, is the world qua intellectively sensed. This is the work of the sentient intelligence as a faculty.

In contrast, as a structural note, intelligence:

a) Is not a note of mere stimulation that is completely elaborated. In contrast to all such notes, the intelligence is essentially removed from all merely sign-based stimulation.

b) Nor is it a systematic note. Rather, it represents a new element, but one which is elemental though necessitated by the hyperformalized material structures and formally and intrinsically modulated by them. {98}






The structure of the impression of reality is but the structure of the sentient intelligence. It consists in the structure which has the otherness of the impression of reality, i.e., its formality of reality. This structure has two aspects. Above all, the otherness of reality has different modes of being impressively given. Secondly, the otherness of reality has a unique characteristic: it is a transcendental structure. The intrinsic unity of these two moments is the structure of the impression of reality.



Modal Structure of the Impression of Reality


Sentient intellection, as I have just said, consists in apprehending things in an impression of reality. Now, this impression of reality comes to us given by distinct senses. Each of these senses is distinct, and all of them together comprise one and the same sentient intellection of reality. Whence there are two questions for us to examine:


1. In what does the diversity of the senses consist?

2. In what does their unity as modes of intellection of the real consist?


1) The diversity of the senses. At first glance the answer seems to be obvious. The diversity of {100} the senses consists in the diversity of the qualities which the senses offer to us: color, shape, sound, temperature, etc. In this respect the senses differ among themselves by virtue of the distinct richness of the sensed qualities. Aristotle already noted that sight is the sense which manifests to us the greatest diversity of information: pollas deloi diaphoras. Today, the senses are specified by a distinction in the receptive organs. They are some eleven in number: vision, hearing, smell, taste, equilibrium, contact-pressure, heat, cold, pain, kinesthesia (including muscular, tendon, and articular sense), and visceral sensibility. I prescind from the fact that the specificity of some of these receptors is in dispute; that is a psycho-physiological question.

Nonetheless, as I see it, this is not the radical difference among the senses in the case of human sensing. The organs of the human senses sense with a sensing in which what is sensed is apprehended as reality. As each sense presents reality to me in a different form, if follows that there are different modes of the impression of reality. Now, the radical difference between the senses is not in the qualities which they present to us, nor in the content of the impression, but rather in the form in which they present reality to us. On this point, philosophy has gone astray. It has simply assumed that the thing sensed is always something which is "in front" of me. But besides being quite vague, this obscures a great falsehood, because being in front of me is only one of the different ways of a real thing being present to me. Since the fact that an apprehension is of reality is what formally constitutes intellection, it follows that the modes of reality’s being present to us in the human senses are eo ipso diverse modes of intellection. {101} For the sake of greater clarity I shall successively examine the modes of presentation of the real in sensing as modes of intellective sensing and as modes of sentient intellection.

A) The modes of presentation of reality: intellective sensing. In what follows, I shall limit myself to a brief sketch. Sight apprehends a real thing as something which is "in front"; we say that it is "before me". The thing itself is before me according to its proper configuration, according to its eidos. But this does not apply in the case of hearing. To be sure, a sound is just as immediately apprehended in the sense of hearing as a color can be in the sense of sight. But in the sound, the thing sounding is not included in the audition; rather, the sound directs us to it. This "direction" or "sending back" is what, following the etymological meaning of the word, I shall call "notice". What is real of the sound is a mode of presentation proper to it: notifying presentation. In smelling, an odor is apprehended immediately as in the case of a sound or a color. But the thing is neither present as in the case of sight, nor merely made known by notification, as in the case of hearing. In smelling, reality is presented to us apprehended in a different form: as a scent. Smell is the sense of scenting. In the case of taste on the other hand, a thing is present, but as a possessed reality, "savored". Taste is more than notice, or scent; it is reality itself present as enjoyable. It is reality itself which, as such-and-such reality, has a formal moment of enjoyment. In the case of touch (contact and pressure) a thing is present but without eidos or taste; this is the naked presentation of reality. But the senses also present reality to me in another form. In kinesthesia I no longer have reality present, nor any notice of it, etc. I only have reality as something "towards". This is not a "towards" reality, but reality {102} itself as a "towards". It is thus a mode of directional presentation.

I have spoken in these last lines of sensed qualities and of the thing which possesses them. Clearly, this distinction between things and qualities is not primary but derived from the organization of our perceptions. However, I have utilized it not to fix therein the difference between quality and thing, but so that the essential idea becomes clearer, viz. that qualities are formally real and that their mode of being present to me in impression has the enunciated modalities. They are not modalities of reference to some problematic thing, but rather modalities which are intrinsically constitutive of each of the qualities themselves in its proper and formal reality. Thus, for example, sound is a quality whose modality of reality is to be directional. Directional in relation to what? That is another question which for the moment is of no concern to us. It could be that there is no sonorous thing, but the sound would not therefore cease to be directional, whether to another sonorous quality or simply a directional in relation to empty space. In addition, I should note that each one of these qualities has a possible negative mode. Thus, for example, taste has as a counterposed quality distaste, etc. The denominations of the qualities are for this reason simply denominations which are purely a potiori.

But neither reality nor my sensing are exhausted in these types of sentient apprehension. Above all, we must consider heat and cold; they are the primary presentation of reality as temperant. There is in addition the apprehension of reality not simply as temperant but also as affectant: sorrow and pleasure are the primary expression of that affection. Reality is temperant and affectant. But the {103} apprehension of reality has still another moment, viz. reality as position. This is what is proper to the sense of equilibrium. According to it, I apprehend reality as something centered.

But I apprehend reality in still another form. When we apprehend our own reality, we have an internal or visceral sensibility which can be quite diversified, but which globally I shall call ‘coenesthesia’. Thanks to this sensing, man is in himself. That is what we call ‘intimacy’. ‘Intimacy’ means purely and simply "my reality"; it is a mode of presentation of the real. The visceral sense is in a certain way the sense of the "me" properly speaking. The other senses do not give the "me" as such unless they are encompassed by coenesthesia, as we shall immediately see.

Eidetic presence, notice, scent, taste, naked reality, towards, temperature accommodation, affection, position, and intimacy are first line modes of presentation of the real; they are therefore modes of the impression of reality. It is not the case that "the" mode of reality’s presence is vision, and that the other modes are nothing but replacements for vision when it fails us. Indeed, exactly the opposite. To be sure, the modes are not all equivalent; but all are in and by themselves proper modes of the presentation of reality. The preponderant rank of some modes over others does not proceed from the fact that they are replacements for vision, but from the very nature of reality. There are, for example, realities which cannot have any other mode of presentation than naked reality apprehended tactilly. And in these cases it could be that reality thus sensed is of a rank much superior to any reality eidetically sensed. In all modes of presentation of reality, then, there is always an intellective sensing. {104}

Now we must expound this same unitary structure starting from intellection; all human intellection is primarily and radically sentient intellection.

B) The modes of presentation of reality: sentient intellection. In this respect, classical philosophy has erred in two fundamental directions.

In the first place, it has erred in a direction which is so to speak global, proceeding from the dualism of opposing intellective thinking and sensing. Thus we have the celebrated aphorism: nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu nisi ipse intellectus (there is nothing in the intelligence which was not previously in the senses, with the exception of the intelligence itself). This is radically false, because it expresses precisely the character of sensible intelligence. All intellection, however, is not just sensible, but sentient. Intellection is in sensing as a determinant moment of the formality apprehended therein. Inasmuch as we apprehend sensed reality, the intelligence not only apprehends what is sensed, but is in the sensing itself as a structural moment of it. And this, as we shall immediately see, is true with respect to the intelligence itself. The intelligence as intellection of itself is primarily and radically sentient intellection; the intelligence is not in itself except sentiently.

In the second place, such a preponderance has been given to the presentation of the real in vision that what is not seen is declared eo ipso to be unintelligible. And this is absurd not only philosophically, but also scientifically. Indeed, elementary particles are realities, since they are given a splendid mathematical description in quantum mechanics. Nonetheless, they are not visualizable {105} as if they were waves or particles. Their real structure is such that they are emitted and absorbed as if they were corpuscles and they propagate as if they were waves. But they are neither. And it is not just that in fact we do not see these particles, but that they are in themselves realities which are "non-visualizable". And as we shall immediately see, the identification of the visible and the intelligible is philosophically false: every intellection is sentient and, therefore, every mode of apprehension of the real—even if that reality be neither visual nor visualizable—is true intellection, and what is apprehended therein has its proper intelligibility.

There are in fact different modes of intellection and of intelligibility. With respect to vision, intellection has that character of apprehension of the eidos which we could call vidence.[3] In the sense of hearing or audition, intellection has a peculiar and unique mode: to know intellectively is to auscultate (in the etymological meaning of the word); this is intellection as auscultation. In the sense of taste, the intellection is apprehension as enjoyable (whether pleasurable or not). The enjoyment is not consequent upon intellection, but is the enjoyment itself as a mode of intellection, as a mode of apprehension of reality. Let us not forget that sapere [to know] and sapientia [wisdom] are etymologically sapor [taste]; the Latins, indeed, translated the Greek sophia as sapientia. In the sense of touch, intellection has a special form, viz. groping or what we could perhaps better call roughly estimating. In the sense of smell we have another special mode of intellection, the scent. I lump together in this concept both the scent properly so-called and the trace or vestige. In the sense of kinesthesia intellection is a dynamic tension. It is not a tension towards reality, but reality itself as a "towards" which has us tense. It is a mode of intellective apprehension in the "towards". {106}

With respect to other forms of presentation of reality, intellection has modes proper to each. Man intellectively knows the real through accomodating himself to reality and being affected by it. Accommodation and affection are modes of strict apprehension of reality, of strict intellection. And when reality is presented as centered, intellection is an orientation in reality. Finally, there is a mode of intellection proper to the presentation of reality in visceral sensing: it is intellection as intimation of the real, as intimate penetration into the real. This does not refer to some intimation which is consequent upon the apprehension of reality, but rather the intimation itself is the mode of apprehending reality.

Thus, all of the senses qua intellective and all intellections qua sentient are structural modes of the impression of reality. Impression of reality is not an empty concept, but something perfectly and precisely structured. Yet all of these modes are but aspects of a structural unity. Whence the question which inexorably arises: What of the unity of the senses and intellection?

2) The unity of the senses and intellection. Since the essential difference of the senses rests upon the modes of presentation of reality and not in the specific qualitative content of the sensed note, it follows that the unity of the senses has special characteristics.

A) Above all, the diverse senses are not merely juxtaposed with each other, but, on the contrary, overlap each other totally or partially. If we were dealing with the qualitative content of each sense, this overlap would be impossible. For example, it would be absurd to pretend to have a taste of fire or of the pole star. But we are dealing with modes of {107} presentation of the real. And these modes, and not the qualities, are what overlap. I can have a perfectly enjoyable intellection of the pole star. Although we may not apprehend the quality proper to a sense in a particular thing, nonetheless we apprehend the mode of presentation proper to this sense when we apprehend the real by other senses. To clarify this I shall discuss a few typical cases which are of special importance.

Sight gives me the reality "before" me; touch gives me the "naked" reality. The overlap of the two modes of presence is obvious: I have "before me the naked reality". This does not mean a vision of the eidos plus a touching of that same eidos; that is generally absurd. Rather, it means that the real is present "before" me as "naked" reality. The "before" me is the proper mode of presentation of the real in the sense of sight, and the "naked" reality is the mode of presentation in the sense of touch. These two modes of presentation are those which overlap. All the modes can also overlap with the mode of presentation of taste. Reality, indeed, is not just something present before me, in its naked reality, but something also in principle "enjoyable" as reality and by being reality. This enjoyableness is grounded in the mode through which reality is present to me in the sense of taste. Sight and touch give us, as I said, the naked reality before me, and I add now that it is enjoyable by being reality. Sight and touch, when they overlap with hearing, present to me the reality to which this latter sense points: the sonorous thing is apprehended as something which sounds before me and in its naked reality. A similar thing occurs in the case of heat and cold: I can sense myself acclimated or adjusted to every reality qua reality. In another aspect, orientation and equilibrium overlap with the other modes of sentient intellection of the real. In every intellection there is an orientation, {108} and every orientation is oriented in reality by being reality, even if it be merely reported. On the other hand, every intellection of the external real, overlapped by the intellection of intimacy, makes of each intellection, including external intellection, an effort to achieve intimacy with what is apprehended.

But there is a mode of presence of the real which is of the greatest importance, viz. the mode of apprehending reality in "towards", the directional presence of the real. Overlapping the other senses, the "towards" determines specific modes of intellection. Thus, overlapping the eidetic presence of reality in the sense of sight, it determines therein an effort towards the "inside". Overlapping the listening to the notice of something, the "towards" determines therein a notification through the notice, toward what is noticeable. Overlapping everything which is apprehended in all of its other forms, the intellection in "towards" propels us to what is real beyond what is apprehended.

Overlapping the visceral sensibility, the "towards" determines therein an intellection of the greatest importance. The visceral sense gives me reality as intimacy; i.e., I apprehend myself as actually being in myself. But with the overlapping of the "towards", this actually being in me propels me inside of myself to be present to myself. And this intellection of my own intimacy in its "inside" is an intellection of the "me" through the "actually being"; viz. it is reflection. Reflection has always been regarded in philosophy as being the primary act of the intellection (every intellection would be a reflection); reflection would also be an immediate act (every act of intellection would already be by itself a reflection); finally it would be an exclusive act of the intelligence and foreign to sensing (the senses, we are told, do not turn back upon themselves). But this triple conceptualization is strictly false. In the first place, not every act of intellection is a reflection. Every reflection presupposes a previous "being here-and-now in {109} myself"; only because I am already in myself is there reflection. But since being in myself is an act of sentient intellection, i.e., of strict intellection, it follows that reflection is not a primary intellective act. In the second place, reflection is not an immediate act; i.e., intellection is not an act which is formally an entering into myself. The entering of the intellection into itself is an entering grounded on a "towards" of my own intimacy. Reflection is not an immediate act. Finally, it is not an act which is foreign to sensing, because it is an act of sentient intellection. One does not enter into himself except by sensing himself. I apprehend myself, and I turn "towards" myself, and I sense myself as a reality which turns towards itself. And these three moments unitarily comprise reflection.

All of these forms of overlapping are authentic overlapping, that is, each mode is intrinsically and formally in the rest as a structural moment of the rest of them. No mode has any prerogative, not even the visual mode. It is in the diversity of overlapped modes that the immense richness of the apprehension of reality consists. To be sure, not every real thing is apprehended according to all of its modes; but this does not mean that they do not all overlap, because those modes according to which a reality is not present to us are modes of which we are positively "deprived". Indeed, if we were radically deprived of a sense, independently of the fact that we were deprived of the qualities which that sense can apprehend, we would not have the mode of presentation of the real proper to that sense. A man blind from birth not only does not see black and white or colors, he cannot have the presentation of the real of the other senses as something which is here-and-now {110} "before him". He not only doesn’t see qualities, but is deprived of apprehending the real as something which is "before". Such a man apprehends the "naked" reality of something tactically, but never apprehends it as something which is "before" him. Quite different is the situation of the blind man who at one time was able to see. In this blind man there is not an actual seeing of black and white or colors, but the act of apprehending the real from the other senses as something real "before him" still exists. Thus, a blindness to black and white or colors is not the same as a blindness to the mode of presentation of the real "before me". Hence, in every primordial apprehension of the real there is a strict unity not of sensible qualities, but of modes of presentation of the real, although at times it may be in that special form which we term "privative". Each of these modes taken by itself is nothing but a reduced and deficient mode of the primary impression of reality, whose plenitude is the primary unity of all eleven modes. But then, what is this unity?

B) One might think that the various senses constitute a primary diversity such that what we call "impressive apprehension of reality" would be a "synthesis"; the intelligence would thus be what synthesizes the senses. In my view, this is false because it does not correspond to the facts. The unity of these senses is already constituted by the mere fact of being senses "of reality", by being modes of apprehension of reality. The unity of the senses is not, then, a synthesis, but a primary unity, the physical unity of being apprehensors of reality. And since apprehending reality is intelligence, it follows that the unity of the senses is in being moments of the same "sentient intellection". Hence, the apprehension of reality is not a synthesis of senses, but on the contrary "the" senses {111} are "analyzers" of the apprehension of reality. From the point of view of the qualities—the only one adopted up to now by philosophy—one easily arrives at the idea of a synthesis. Scholastic philosophy conceived this synthesis as a "common sense". The distinct qualities which comprise the perceived thing in each case would be submitted to a synthesis of qualities. But this is false: that synthesis is not what is primary; rather, it is the unity of reality. And it is this primary unity of reality which constitutes the foundation of the synthesis of the qualities. The qualities are in fact qualities of a reality. Pure animal sensing also has a unity which is prior to any possible synthesis of qualities. The senses of an animal are also analyzers of its pure sensing. And in the animal, the unity prior to the senses is a unity of stimulation in which the animal’s senses are the differentiation of the stimulation. There is, then, a unity of being in stimulation prior to the diversity of the senses. In man, the unity of sensing is also given, but not in the form of a unity of being in stimulation, but a unity of reality. The unity of being in stimulation does not coexist in man with the unity of reality. Indeed, it is the replacement of the unity of being in stimulation by the unity of reality which is the constitution and origin of sentient intelligence. If the two unities were to coexist, man would have senses "and" intelligence, but he would not have sentient intelligence. Sentient intelligence is the structuralization of the diversity of the senses in the intellective unity of reality. If man could have only the mere unity of being in stimulation, it would signify a complete regression to the state of animality.

The impression of reality, then, has its own very precise structure. To impressively apprehend the real as {112} real is to apprehend the thing as actually being "before me" and in its "naked reality", and in its "enjoyability", and in its "direction", etc.

This does not mean that one successively apprehends the same real thing in these modes of presentation, because they constitute structural moments of every unitary act of apprehension of something as real. Therefore, except in cases of congenital privation of a sense, all of these moments function pro indiviso in the act of sentiently apprehending any reality whatsoever, independently of the one or more senses by which its qualities are apprehended. It is for this reason that, when one loses some particular sense, he does not lose the structural moment proper to that sense’s presentation of the real—except, I repeat, in the case of a congenital absence of that sense. Conversely, in the exercise of the sentient apprehension of reality, that which each sense delivers is not just the sensible quality, but also its own mode of apprehending that quality as reality. And all of these modes are just that, "modes" of presentation of the real, which in its primary and radical unity comprises the modal moments of a single structure and, therefore, of a single act: the impression of reality.

This primary unity is sentient intelligence. And thanks to this primary unity, it is possible and indeed necessary for there to be an overlap of some modes by others. Overlap is grounded in the primary unity of the sentient intelligence. Sentient intelligence, therefore, is not some vague concept, but, as I said before, something endowed with its own structure. Thus, the diverse modes of sentient intelligence emerge from its structural unity. {113}

This means that the modes of sentient presentation of reality constitute an intrinsic and formal limitation of our intellection due to the fact that this intellection is sentient. Sentient intellection installs us in reality, but its limitations are the root of all effort, all possibilities, and the whole problematic of the subsequent intellection of reality. But I do not wish to anticipate ideas which I will develop at length further in the book. The only thing which I now wish to emphasize is that reality is apprehended as reality and is present to us as such, and that our limitations are not a type of cut-out within reality, but are in their very limitation the positive principle of the presentation and apprehension of reality.

Thus, sentient intellection is intellection of reality which is modally structured.



Transcendental Structure of the Impression of Reality


Each of the modal moments of the impression of reality has its own qualitative content which is always very specific: this color, this sound, this weight, that temperature, etc. But sensing is constituted not indeed by that qualitative diversity, but by the unity of the presentation of the real; i.e., by the unity of the moment of formality, by the unity of the impression of reality. Now, from this point of view, the impression of reality is always constitutively non-specific, in contrast to its content. Formality is not just one {114} more quality. But this is a conceptualization that is purely negative; positively, the impression of reality is non-specific because it transcends all of those specific contents. It has, therefore, a transcendental structure. Transcendentality[4] is the positive face of the negative non-specificity. It is the structure of the de suyo as such, i.e., a structure which concerns reality qua impressively apprehended.

Transcendentality is a central concept both in ancient and modern philosophy. But modern philosophy conceived of transcendentality (as it could scarcely otherwise do) from the standpoint of the conceiving intelligence. The sentient intelligence leads us to a different concept of transcendentality. To reach it we must first of all clarify what transcendentality is. Then we shall be able to rigorously conceptualize its constitutive moments.

1. What is transcendentality? Transcendentality is the structural moment by which something transcends itself.

What is this something? What is the transcendental? That which is transcendental is that which constitutes the formal terminus of the intelligence, to wit, reality. And this reality is present to us in impression. Hence, that which is transcendental is reality in an impression.

In what does its transcendentality itself consist? What is transcendental depends on how one conceives the "trans" itself. "Trans" does not here mean "being beyond" apprehension. If that were true, the impression of reality would be impression of the transcendent—which would mean that the sentient apprehension of the real would be, formally, (i.e., qua apprehension) apprehension of something which in and through itself were real beyond apprehension; it would be {115} to think that the moment of otherness meant that the content of the impression of reality were transcendent. Now, it may or may not be true that that content is transcendent; that would have to be investigated in each case. But it is false that, formally, the otherness of reality is transcendent. That would mean that in the mere act of apprehending something we are apprehending a real thing which is and continues to be real even though we do not apprehend it. And this, I repeat, is formally false. In apprehension we have something real "in its own right". But that "in its own right" should mean real beyond apprehension is, in the first place, something which must be justified. And in the second place, this justification must be based precisely upon transcendentality. The possible transcending is based, then on transcendentality, and not the other way around.

‘Trans’ means something completely different here. Provisionally, it means that we are dealing with a characteristic of the formality of otherness and not with a characteristic, transcendent or no, of the content itself. It is a characteristic which is internal to what is apprehended. It does not withdraw us from what is apprehended, but submerges us in its reality; it is the characteristic of the "in its own right", of the de suyo. And it is this reality which, in a way to be made more precise forthwith, goes beyond the content, but within the formality of otherness. This intra-apprehensive "going beyond" is precisely transcendentality. The impression of reality is not impression of what is transcendent, but rather transcendental impression. Therefore "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, {116} sonorous, warm, etc. What is this "more"? That is the question.

For classical philosophy this "more", i.e., transcendentality, consists in that moment in which all things coincide. Transcendentality would be commonness. Although the word "transcendentality" is not Greek but medieval, that which it designates is Greek. In what do all things coincide? They coincide in being. Parmenides told us that to intellectively know something is to intellectively know that it "is" (such, at least, is my interpretation). The "is" is that in which all things coincide. And Plato called this coincidence commonness, koinonia. This commonness is participation. Nothing, for example, is "the" being, but everything participates in being. In turn, this participation is a progressive differentiation of a supreme genus which is "the" being. Things are like branches of a common trans, of a supreme genus, which is "the" being. Unity, participation, genus: here we have the three moments of what I believe constitutes in Plato the first sketch of what we call transcendentality. I leave aside the fact that these three moments are not, for Plato, the only ones to characterize being; four other equally supreme genera apply: movement, rest, sameness and otherness. Together with being they are the five supreme genera of things. They have a commonness among themselves, at least a partial one, and participation is grounded on this community. Aristotle profoundly modified this scheme but remained in the same general conceptual line. For Aristotle, being is not a genus, but a supreme trans-generic universal concept. Whence community is not participation; it is only a conceptual community of things. Transcendentality is what is proper to a concept in which what is conceived is in all things. Being is the most universal concept, {117} common to everything. Other concepts are not transcendental, except possibly generic concepts. And this line of thought was followed throughout the middle ages. Transcendentality consists in being a trans-generic concept.

In Kant, modern philosophy conceptualized that what is intelligible is the "object" of intellection. Therefore, everything known intellectually consists in "being-object". Transcendentality as such is not the character of all things conceived in the most universal concept, but rather is the character of all things qua objectually proposed to the intellection. Transcendentality is thus objectual community. And this idea lived on in all idealist philosophy.

In both of the two conceptions, viz. the Greco-medieval and the Kantian, transcendentality is clearly a radical and formally conceptive moment. The transcendental is that in which everything that is conceived (object or being) coincides. And its transcendentality consists in universal community of what is conceived. This is transcendentality conceptualized by a concipient intelligence. But more radical than this latter is sentient intelligence. Therefore it is necessary to conceptualize transcendentality from the standpoint of sentient intelligence; i.e., with respect to the impression of reality. In that case, transcendentality is not community or commonness, but something quite different.

Above all, the transcendental is, first of all, something proper to what constitutes the formal terminus of intellection. And this is not "being" but "reality". I shall consider the idea of being at length in another chapter. In the second place, this intellection is sentient. Hence, the real is transcendental by virtue of its reality as its own formality; reality is formality. In what does the transcendentality of this formality of reality consist? {118}

Being the characteristic of a formality, "trans-cendentality" does not mean being transcendental "to" reality, but being transcendental "in" realities. It is the formality of reality which is transcendental in itself. And this "transcendental" should not be conceptualized as a function of that toward which we have transcending, but rather as a function of that from which we have it. It is like a drop of oil which expands out from itself. Transcendentality is something which, in this sense, 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. But this communication is not causal; there is no question of the reality of one thing producing or generating the reality of another; that would be absurd. Rather, we are dealing with a communication which is merely formal. The formality of reality is constitutively and formally "ex-tension". Hence, it does not refer to mere conceptual universality, but to real ex-tensive communication. The trans of transcendentality is an "ex", the "ex" of the formality of the real. In what does this "ex" consist? This is the question which we must now consider.

2. The Formal Nature of Transcendentality. We shall not construct concepts of the nature of transcendentality. Reality is the formality of impression, and transcendentality is the moment of the "ex" of this formality. The analysis of the "ex" is, then, an analysis of the impression of reality. It is not a theory. There in the impression of reality do we immediately discover transcendentality as an "ex". This analysis shows us that transcendentality has four constitutive moments. {119}

a) Reality is the formality of the de suyo. Now, if for any reason the content of a real thing is modified, the real thing does not therefore necessarily become another reality. It can continue to be the same real thing, although modified. What is this sameness? To be sure, it is not a simple phenomenon of perceptive constancy but a strict numerical sameness of the moment of reality. The content of the de suyo, i.e., what is de suyo, has changed but has not changed the de suyo itself as such. The same formality of reality, with numerical sameness, "reifies" whatever comes into its content. The thing is the same although not the same. The sameness in question is not a conceptual identity; it is not mere community. It is communication, reification. This does not mean that the concept of reality is equal in the two distinct realities, but that there is a numerical sameness. Each new apprehension of reality is inscribed in the formality of reality numerically the same. This is what constitutes the first moment of transcendentality: openness. The formality of reality is in itself, qua "of reality", something open, at least with respect to its content. The formality of reality is, then, an "ex". By being open this formality is that by which a real thing qua real is "more" than its actual content. Reality is not, then, a characteristic of the content already completed, but is open formality. To say "reality" is always to leave in abeyance a phrase which by itself is begging to be completed by "reality of something". The real qua real is open not in the sense that each real thing acts on all the others by virtue of its properties. We are not dealing with actuation but with openness of formality. The formality of reality {120} as such is openness itself. It is not openness of the real, but openness of reality.

Being open is why the formality of reality can be the same in different real things. It may be said that in our apprehensions, we apprehend multiple real things. This is true; but in the first place, that multiplicity refers above all to content. And, in the second place, although we are treating of other realities, these realities are not "others" conceptually but are formally sensed as others. Conceptually, the multiple realities would be particular cases of a single concept of reality. But sentiently the other realities are not particular cases; rather, they are formally sensed as others. And, therefore, when we sense them as others, we are expressing precisely the inscription of different real things in the numerical sameness of the formality of reality. Hence we are not talking about "a second reality", but "another reality". Openness: here we have the first moment of the "ex" of transcendentality.

b) Since reality is formally "open", it is not reality except respectively to that to which it is open. This respectivity is not a relation, because every relation is a relation of one thing or of a form of reality to another thing or other form of reality. In contrast, respectivity is a constitutive moment of the very formality of reality as such. Reality is de suyo and therefore to be real is to be so respectively to that which is de suyo. By its openness, the formality of reality is respectively transcendental. Respectivity transcends itself. The "ex" is now respectivity. It is reality itself, the formality of reality, which qua reality is formally respective openness. {121} To be real is more than to be this or that; but it is to be real only respectively to this or that. Respective openness is transcendental. This is the second moment of transcendentality.

c) To what is the formality of reality open, to what is this respectivity open? Above all, it is open to the content. And thus this content has a precise character. It is not "the" content, taken abstractly, but is a content which is de suyo, which is "in its own right". Therefore, the content is really "its own" [suyo], of the thing. The content is "its" [su] content. The grammatical subject of this "its" [su] is the formality of reality. Upon being respectively open, the formality of reality not only "reifies" the content but moreover makes it formally "its own" [suyo]. For this reason it may be called ‘suificating’ or ‘own-making’. Prior to being a moment of the content, the "its-own-ness" [suidad] is a moment of the formality of reality. That formality of reality is, then, what constitutes its-own-ness as such. As a moment of the formality of reality, the its-own-ness is a moment of the "ex", it is transcendental. This is the third moment of transcendentality.

d) But openness is not respective just to content. The fact is that real content, thus reified and suified by being real, is not only its own [suya] reality, but precisely by being real is, so to speak, purely and simply real in reality itself. The formality of reality is open to being a moment of the world; it is a formality which, upon making the thing be reality purely and simply, makes of "its" [su] reality a moment of reality itself; i.e., of the world.

What is the world? It is not the conjunction of real things, because this conjunction presupposes something which "conjoins" {122} these things. Now, that which conjoins real things is not some common concept with respect to which the real things are simply special cases. That which conjoins is a physical moment of the real things themselves. And this moment is the moment of pure and simple reality of each one of them. The character of being purely and simply real is what—because it is an open character—formally constitutes that physical unity which is the world. It is the formality of reality qua open, qua transcendent, of the real thing, and what constitutes it in a moment of reality itself. It is an openness, then, which radically and formally concerns each real thing by the fact of being purely and simply real. Therefore, were there but one single real thing, it would be constitutively and formally "worldly". Everything is de suyo worldly. In this respect, each real thing is more than itself: it is precisely transcendental; it has the transcendental unity of being a moment of the world. The formality of reality is thus "world-making". This is the fourth moment of transcendentality, of the "ex".

Thus there is a transcendental structure in every real thing which is apprehended in an impression of reality. The formality of reality is respective openness, and therefore is reifying. This respectivity has two moments: it is own-making and world-making. That is, each thing is "this" real thing; in a further sense it is "its own" reality (own-making); in a still more ulterior aspect it is pure and simple worldly reality (world-making). This does not mean a "contraction" of the idea of reality to each real thing, but just the reverse: an "expansion", a physical "extension" of the formality of reality from each real thing. This is the transcendental structure of the "ex": being de suyo is extended to being "its own" [suyo], and thereby is extended to being "worldly". {123}

This is not a conceptual conception. It is an analysis of the very impression of reality. We sense the openness, we sense the respectivity, we sense the its-own-ness, we sense the worldliness. This is the complete sensing of the thing in the formality of reality. The sensing itself is then transcendental.

Thus we have transcendentality conceptualized in the sentient intelligence:

a) The transcendental is not "being", but "reality".

b) Transcendentality is precisely and formally respective openness to worldly its-own-ness.

c) The "trans" itself is not a conceptual characteristic of real things. It is not, I reiterate, the concept of maximum universality. What this latter concept may be is something extremely problematic and may even depend upon the language which one employs. Moreover, it is truly problematic that a concept of total universality even exists. But be that as it may, transcendentality is not of conceptual character, but of physical character. It is a physical moment of real things qua sensed in the impression of reality. It is not something physical in the same way as its content, but is, nonetheless, something physical; it is the physical part of formality, i.e., the "trans-physics" as such.



Structural Unity of the Impression of Reality


We have examined the structure of the impression of reality in its two-fold modal and transcendental moment. As modal, the structure of the impression of reality is {124} the structure of sentient intellection. As transcendental, the structure of the impression of reality is the respective openness to worldly its-own-ness. Now, these two structural moments are not independent. Indeed, they are but moments of a single structure and they are mutually determined in constituting the unity of the impression of reality. This is what we must now clarify.

On the one hand, real notes, as I said, have a great specificity in virtue of their content. On the other, the formality of reality is formally not just non-specific, but constitutively transcendental. Now, its content, qua apprehended as something de suyo, is no longer mere content but "such-and-such" a reality. This is what I call "suchness". Suchness is not mere content. In mere stimulation a dog apprehends the same stimuli as a man, but it does not apprehend "suchnesses". Reality is formality and, therefore, on account of being respectively open to its content it involves this content transcendentally. In this process, the content is determined as suchness; it is the suchness of the real. Suchness is a transcendental determination: it is the such-making function.

In contrast, content is that which constitutes the fact that the formality of reality is "reality" in all of its concreteness. The real is not only "such-and-such" a reality but also "reality" as such. The content is the determination of the reality itself. This is the transcendental function. It too involves content, and not just in an abstract way, but also as making of it a form and a mode of reality. Reality is not something insubstantial, but a formality which is very concretely determined. There are not only many real things, but also many forms of being real. {125} Each real thing is a form of being real; we shall see this in a later chapter. Thus it is clear that transcendentality does not conceptually repose upon itself, but depends upon the content of things. Transcendentality is not something a priori. But neither is it something a posteriori. That is, it is not a type of property which things have. Transcendentality is neither a priori nor a posteriori; it is something grounded by things in the formality in which they "are situated". It is the content of real things which determines their transcendental character; it is the mode in which things "are situated". It is not a property but a function: the transcendental function.

The such-making function and the transcendental function are not two functions but two moments which are constitutive of the unity of the impression of reality. Hence the difference between suchness and transcendentality is not formally the same as the difference between content and reality, because suchness as well as reality both involve the two moments of content and formality. Content involves the moment of reality in a very precise way, viz. as "making-it-such".

Green is not suchness qua mere content; suchness is the mode by which green consists in real green. At the same time reality involves content in a very precise way. It is not true that content is simply a particular case of reality, but rather that reality involves content in a very precise way: as transcending it. Transcendentality could not be given without that of which it is transcendental. Such-making and transcendentalization are the two inseparable aspects of the real. They constitute the structural unity of the impression of reality. {126}

To summarize, sentient intelligence intellectively knows reality in all its modes, and transcends them in their total unity. Sentient intelligence is impressive apprehension of the real. And this impression of the real is constitutively modal and transcendental. That is, it is precisely impression of "reality".

In this chapter, we have studied the structure of the apprehension of reality. It is apprehension by the sentient intelligence. But now three important new problems come to mind:

1. In what does intellective knowing as such consist?

2. What is the character of the reality thus known?

3. What does it mean to say that reality is in the intellection?

The three ideas of intellection, intellectively known reality, and the being of reality in intellection, are distinct and comprise the three themes which I shall study in the next three chapters: the idea of the essential nature of intellection, the idea of reality as known intellectively, and the idea of reality in intellection.





It is necessary to stress a bit more what transcendentality is. Following the thread of the impression of reality we see ourselves led to something which is not mere analysis, but to a theoretical conceptualization of reality itself. Since this conceptualization does not strictly pertain to the analysis of the impression of reality, I have grouped these considerations in an appendix. I do not do so capriciously, but rather because these considerations comprise the frontier between a philosophy of the intelligence and a philosophy of reality. And they are not a frontier which is, so to speak, geographical, but are considerations which originate from the analysis of the impression of reality and therefore mark out for us the path of a philosophy of reality.

1) To say that one treats of the physical in "trans" already permits us to glimpse that we are dealing with a characteristic which is "meta-physical". And indeed this is the case. But since the idea of meta comes to us already loaded with meanings, it is necessary to here fix precisely the meaning of ‘metaphysics’.

Naturally, it does not mean what it originally meant for Andronicus of Rhodes, viz. "post-Physics" or "what comes after the Physics". Very soon after this editor of Aristotle, ‘metaphysics’ came to signify not what is "after" physics, but what {128} is "beyond" the physical. Metaphysics is then "beyond-physics". This is what I have just called the ‘transcendent’. Without employing the term, its greatest exponent was Plato: beyond sensible things are those things which Plato calls ‘intelligible things’, the things he termed ‘Ideas’. The Idea is "separated" from sensible things. Hence, what later was called meta came to mean what for Plato is "separation", khorismos. Plato boldly debated how to conceptualize this separation in such a way that the intellection of the Ideas would permit intellective knowing of sensible things. From the standpoint of the sensible things, they are a "participation" (methexis) in the Ideas. But from the standpoint of the Ideas, these Ideas are "present" (parousia) in things, and are their "paradigm" (paradeigma). Methexis, parousia, and paradeigma are the three aspects of a single structure: the conceptive structure of the separation. Aristotle seemingly rejected this Platonic conceptualization with his theory of substance. But ultimately, Aristotle nurtured himself on his master’s conceptualization. In the first place, his "first philosophy" (later termed ‘metaphysics’) does not deal with separated Ideas, but does deal with a "separated" substance: the Theos. And, in the second place, among physical substances Aristotle (after an initial disclaimer) in fact occupied himself more with primary substance (prote ousia) than with secondary substance (deutera ousia), whose link to primary substance he never saw very clearly. And the fact is that ultimately, even after he converted the Idea into the substantial form of a thing, Aristotle always remained in an enormous dualism, the dualism between sensing and intellective knowing which led him to a metaphysical dualism in the theory of substance. In this way the idea of the "meta-physical" as "beyond-physical" lives on.

Though with somewhat varying interpretations, medieval thinkers understood that {129} metaphysics is "trans-physics"; the term even briefly appeared at one time. But here is the great error which must be avoided. In medieval thought, "transphysical" always means something beyond the physical. And what I am here saying is just the opposite: it is not something beyond the physical, but the physical itself, though in a dimension which is formally distinct. It is not a "trans" of the physical, but is the "physical itself as trans". For this it was necessary to overcome the dualism between intellective knowing and sensing which in Greek and medieval philosophy always led to the dualism of reality. The terminus of sensing would be sensible things, changeable and multiple as the Greeks were wont to call them. Thus, for the Greeks, transcendental means what "always is". The "trans" is, therefore, the necessary jump from one zone of reality to another. It is a necessary jump if one starts from the concipient intellection. But there is no jump if one starts from sentient intellection.

In modern philosophy, Kant always moved within this dualism between what Leibnitz called the ‘sensible world’ and the ‘intelligible world’. To be sure, Kant saw the problem of this duality and the intellective necessity of a unitary conceptualization of what is known. For Kant, indeed, intellection is knowledge. And Kant tried to reestablish the unity, but along very precise lines, those of objectivity. The sensible and the intelligible are for Kant the two elements (a posteriori and a priori) of a primary unity: the unity of the object. There are not two objects known, one sensible and the other intelligible, but a single sensible-intelligible object: the phenomenon. What is outside of this unity of the phenomenal object is the ultra-physical, noumenon. And that which is beyond the phenomenon is therefore transcendent; it is the metaphysical. Hence, the Kantian unity of the object is constituted in sensible intelligence: {130} it is the intrinsic unity of being an object of knowledge.

In one form or another, then, whether we consider the Greek and medieval or the Kantian conception, metaphysics has always been something "transphysical" in the sense of beyond the physical, in the sense of the transcendent. Only a radical critique of the duality of intellective knowing and sensing, i.e., only a sentient intelligence, can lead to a unitary conception of the real. We are not dealing, I repeat, with the unity of the object as an object of knowledge; but of the unity of the real itself unitarily apprehended. That is to say, we are not dealing with a sensible intelligence, but a sentient intelligence: the impression of reality. In it, the moment of reality and its transcendentality are strictly and formally physical. In this sense of "trans-physics", and only in this sense, the transcendentality of the impression of reality is a characteristic which is formally metaphysical; it is metaphysical, not as intellection of the transcendent, but as sentient apprehension of the physical transcendentality of the real.

2) With regard to the concipient intelligence, it was thought that the transcendental is something which is not just beyond physical reality, but indeed is a type of canon of everything real. The transcendental would thus be a priori, and moreover something conclusive. We have already seen that the transcendental is not a priori. I might add now that it is not something conclusive, either; i.e., transcendentality is not a group of characteristics of the real fixed once and for all for everything. On the contrary, it is a characteristic which is constitutively open, as I have already said. To be real qua real is something which depends on what the real things are and, therefore, is something open, because we do not know nor can we know whether the catalogue of types of real things (i.e., of what is reality qua reality) is fixed. {131} This does not refer to whether the type of real things is open, but rather to the question of what reality is as such. For example, the Greeks thought that the character of substance expressed the real as such. But personal subsistence is another type of reality as such about which the Greeks did not think.

For this reason, when it came to consider the novelty of personal reality qua subsistent reality, philosophy found itself compelled to remake the idea of reality qua reality from a viewpoint not substantial but subsistential. To be sure, in classical metaphysics—unfortunately—subsistence has been considered as a substantial mode, which to my way of thinking has corrupted the notion of subsistence. But this does not affect what we are here saying, viz. that the character of reality qua reality is something open and not fixed once and for all.

Now, transcendentality not only is not a priori, and not only is it open, but in fact this openness is dynamic. To be sure, it could have been otherwise; but in fact we are dealing with a dynamic openness. This means not only that new types of reality can continue to appear, and with them new types of reality qua reality; but also to the fact that this apparition is dynamic. It is reality as reality which, from the reality of a thing, goes on opening itself to other types of reality qua reality. This is the dynamic transcendentality, the transcendental dynamism of the real.

One might think that I am here alluding to evolution. In a certain respect that is true; but it is secondary, because evolution would have to discharge here not a cosmic function, i.e., "in such a way", but would have to be a {132} characteristic of reality itself qua reality. Suchness, I said, has a transcendental function. Now, the transcendental function of evolution would be, as I have already indicated, dynamic transcendentality. But evolution in the strict sense is a scientific question, and as such is a question merely of fact—a fact however well grounded, but by virtue of being a scientific fact, always disputable. For this reason, when I speak here of evolution I do not refer to evolution in the strict and scientific sense, i.e., to the evolution of real things, but to evolution in a more radical sense, which can even be given without scientific evolution. It is that the different modes of reality as such go on appearing not just successively but grounded transcendentally and dynamically one in another. And this is not a scientific fact, but something primary and radical. It is dynamic transcendentality.

For a sentient intelligence, reality is being de suyo. There are different ways of being de suyo, ways which continue to appear, grounded in things because reality is formality, it is the de suyo, and this is a formality grounded and constitutively open and dynamic. To be real as such is an open dynamism. Reality as such is not a concept of concipient intelligence; it is a concept of sentient intelligence.


[1] [English rendering of the Spanish verb inteligir, which corresponds to the Latin intelligere.-trans.]^

[2] ['Intelligence' renders the Spanish inteligencia, which has the same root as inteligir (translated as 'intellective knowing'). It is used in the broad sense of total human capability of the mind to confront and deal with reality, and should not be narrowly construed as referring to what "IQ" tests measure.-trans.]^

[3] [English rendering of the Spanish videncia, etymologically related to the verb ver, to see.-trans.] ^

[4] ['Transcendentality' is a neologism of Zubiri. It is the noun corresponding to 'transcendental', and must be distinguished from that used in previous philosophy, generally 'transcendence'. For Zubiri, 'transcendence' refers to the content of reality, whereas 'transcendentality' refers to the formality of reality. Transcendentality is a physical, not sensible, moment of things given in the impression of reality.-trans.]^